Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cambodianmom.com is mine!

This is the launch of my new custom domain name www.cambodianmom.com! It literally only cost a few bucks to get it and maybe it'll prompt me to blog more often and direct people to it since it's much easier to remember. It kind of has a nice ring to it, doesn't it - Cambodian Mom dot com. Nothing else changes on my blog until I update it; I just wanted a simpler name. This is about the 2-year anniversary of my online life, and I haven't written regularly at all so far, though I always mean to....so we'll see where this new chapter leads.

Just as an update, my husband and I are great, our kids are growing rapidly, and this year is going to spell lots of changes for us work and home-wise (no, this is not a baby announcement). Excited for the change!

My goals for 2014:
» Build up my website in the following areas: kids, recipes, craft tutorials/project showcase, weddings, resources and product recommendations (amazon associate links)
» Publish or self-publish a creative writing story or how-to article
» Put my kids into school/daycare
» Volunteer at a non-profit legal services or community organization
» Write a business plan
» Use my new sewing machine to upcycle (repurpose, refashion, remake) clothes and make more wearable clothes, aprons, tote bags, and other crafty projects
» Make more jewelry
» Make scrapbook albums (long overdue: Year of Disney, Cambodia Trip, Jake's Baby Album)

Friday, March 8, 2013

More Spring Inspirations and Cards


I've been following this blog Scrapbook & Cards Today for a long time. Actually it's a company that puts out a magazine by the same title. They are very into providing inspiration sketches, cards, scrapbook layouts, and projects, including tutorials. Last year, during World Card Making Day on October 6th (aka WCMD - yes, that's a real thing), they produced 12 card sketches (one for each month) and a sample card by one of their designers, including supplies and techniques used. I was so enraptured by a few of the cards that I bookmarked the pages, thinking I could try my hand at emulating them someday.

Well recently, I finally did. I've been putting finishing touches on both the cards below. I included pictures of the original inspiration and links to them below. I also entered my cards in several card challenges around the blogosphere. Winners are picked at random (usually) so wish me luck!

 First for WCMD - February... the sketch and inspiration card

Source: Scrapbook & Cards Today blog
The inspiration














And here's my card...really close huh? I can say that it's the first time I really tried to copy an inspiration card, down to the polka-dotted paper.


"Follow Your Dreams" hot air balloon spring card: A lot of layers, but everything was cut by hand except the circle and scallop (Cricut) and the edge on the balloon's basket (MS punch - double loops); dry embossed clouds in the background and dots on the floating clouds


Then for WCMD - March... the sketch and inspiration card

Source: Scrapbook & Cards Today blog
The inspiration
 And below is my card. I started with the window pane idea and red polka-dotted paper, but just cut squares of different patterned papers I liked. And even though I love cupcakes, I love butterflies more, especially the swirly one from the Straight From the Nest Cricut cartridge. It helped to find card challenges online that honed in on colors and things I liked, like the pink and yellow, and the butterflies, so I could put on the perfect finishing touches.


What do you think? If you received this card, would it "brighten your day"?
"Brighten your day" Pink & Yellow Spring Card*
Inside: I try not to waste a single bit of scrap paper if I can help it
* This card is entered into the following challenges:

1) Whimsical Designs (Wednesday March 6th - think spring + pink & yellow)

2) Flutter By Wednesdays (#230 - March 6th - open challenge, just as long as it includes a butterfly or fairy)

3) 365 Cards (Day #65 Word Wednesday = WINGS)






And last but not least, perfect for March and a certain very green holiday, a card inspired by a challenge to use a shamrock from any Cricut cartridge. The "Anti-Pinch Device" badge is detachable and has double-sided foam tape on the back so you can stick it on your shirt. I think I'll give it to my husband who never remembers to wear green on St. Patrick's Day (Sunday, March 17th). The little guy is also easily detachable, so he will probably become a little leprechaun puppet (just put him on a popsicle stick) for use in my son's puppet theater. The leprechaun was cut using the Cricut and the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge. The shamrock card and badge and tiny hat shamrock were all from the Cricut cartridge Designer's Calendar. The background piece of the "anti-pinch device" was a leftover cut from my Green & Yellow Spring Flower Card and the Flower Shoppe cartridge.

Anti-Pinch Device Leprechaun Card
Entered into the Cricut challenge blog Bitten by the Bug 2 (So Lucky Shamrock challenge)
 Hope my cards have at least brought a smile to your face. And even though you may not have a Cricut or fancy supplies, making something for someone special, or writing a little heartfelt note, is a sure way to fill someone's bucket, and in doing so, fill yours too. Also known as "random acts of kindness"....see what I'm talking about at my other blog From Dazed to Dazzling.





Thursday, March 7, 2013

Green & Yellow Spring Flower Card


From DCWV Lemon Flower Stack
Bright green and yellow are two of my favorite colors, and what else says "spring!" better than these two colors?? I had this dress I loved that I wore year round (I do live in So. Cal so it seems okay) that is green and yellow. Oh and my wedding many years ago was green and yellow (and champagne gold). I really gravitate to this lemon-lime pairing. Looking through my stack of papers, I pulled a couple patterned papers (cardstock) and some solid papers and decided my base size first - about 4.5 in x 6 in. Isn't the yellow pattern pretty? All the patterned cardstock is from Diecuts With A View (DCWV): Blossom Song and Lemon Flower stacks, bought at JoAnn's, and the solid papers are from various sources.
A closeup of the flower



I cut several layers, deciding beforehand to mix solid paper, patterned paper, and dry embossed paper. Dry embossing - which is basically pressing a design into a piece of paper, to create a raised effect - is done with a little machine that you crank, plus design folders. I got mine at Amazon.com: Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine Beginner's Kit.*

I added the polka-dotted ribbon and strips of paper to further divide the top and bottom visually. The white strip I punched with a Martha Stewart Crafts Edger Punch, Doily Lace. Then I created the 3D flower and green leaves using my Cricut and Flower Shoppe cartridge. This took the most time, as I wanted the flower to be perfect. At the last minute, I added the intricate white "leaf", which is actually a heart diecut that I had in my scraps pile (made using the Cricut and Storybook cartridge). I added the pearl center and drew on it with a white gel pen to make it even more detailed. I will add some extra flower shapes I cut on the inside when I figure out what I'm writing. This card will go to a special aunt of mine who shares my love of these colors!
All the layers make this card POP!

This card is entered into a challenge on Ruby's Rainbow Challenges. Visit here for a look at some other great green and yellow cards and crafts this week!

* This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I get a little commission. Thank you!


Handmade with love.....Year 2

I've been very proud of the cards and crafts I've made this past year, especially the ones in the past few months. I've really gotten into heat (or thermal) embossing. This is a technique where you stamp an image using pigment ink (ink that stays wet for a long time), sprinkle embossing powder on the image (shaking off any excess), then blasting it with a heat gun* (a special tool that melts, not blows away, the powder), turning the stamped image into a shiny, raised design. It feels polished and professional, and looks beautiful. I especially like using a clear ink and gold embossing powder. This was the featured technique we used on my cousin's wedding invitations (all 200 of them!) and many other cards and projects I've worked on lately, like the bookmarks below.
Supplies: stamps (various Inkadinkado clear stamps); Martha Stewart punch (floral vine); gold embossing powder (Ranger superfine gold detail powder); colored pencils; gel pens (Sakura Stardust metallic pens - see below) paper (www.paperandmore.com - my favorite online vendor for fancy bulk paper and cardstock); ribbon (ebay).
 

Also, for the first time recently, I made cards because I was inspired, not just for a specific person or occasion. Mostly, I get an idea and build upon it myself using the supplies or paper I have on hand (of which I have built up quite the collection). For a few cards, I was inspired by ones I saw online. By "online" I mean from the blogs I read; I read blogs every day (easy to do when they all come into my feed reader - Google Reader, which is as easy as checking my email).

In the handmade card and scrapbooking world, there is a concept called a "sketch" - which is literally someone's sketch of a layout for a card or scrapbook page, including where to put shapes, colors, titles, and embellishments. A lot of times, people draw upon the sketch for their own personal cardmaking, or join in a weekly or monthly challenge, where they post their own creations inspired by the sketch or challenge parameters. The challenge could just be simply "use red and pink" or "use a flower", and cardmakers submit their creation to that challenge blog, where a winner is picked later. Prizes range from "good job!" to gift certificates. And a link to your own blog always means more blog traffic and exposure for yourself. I always considered entering, but was intimidated by the awesomeness I saw on these blogs. Now I think I've made some lovely cards, but posting them here or submitting them for challenges every week seems quite the hassle.

It already is difficult to find the time to flesh out my ideas or fuss with the details and finishing touches. Not to mention take a picture of it and then write about it or show it to people. But maybe I'll try to post my creations more often. All the time it takes is worth it to me because when I complete a card or craft, I know I'm accomplishing two things: I feel proud that I made something, and (hopefully) the recipient will appreciate it. Even if I don't have any plans to give it away yet, or the only one who sees it is my 3-year old...it's like a two-for-one because I already love it (and had a good time making it) and then if someone else loves it, I get validation that my time was worth it. That's like a three-for-one! And that's why I always stamp "handmade with love by Sunny" on the back of my creations. I really do invest a lot of time and love in everything I do. It's like a little personal logo. Hallmark - you better watch out!

My next post will showcase some cards (and maybe challenges I entered?) and a little "how-to" about what supplies I used or techniques I employed. I posted links to some of my favorite products below. Hopefully, you'll get a little inspired too!


*This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I get a small commission. Thank you!


*

Monday, December 31, 2012

Year-End Reflection

I can't believe it's been a year...well, not quite a year since I started blogging, crafting, and writing about my life for all the world to see...but close. A lot has changed.

My newborn is now a walking, active toddler. Super cute and unwilling to start talking but the profound thoughts are there, I'm sure. He's 15 months old and I'm still nursing him, though he sometimes will drink cow's milk from a cup and he eats solid foods (sometimes more than my 3 year old!). He's growing fast and getting strong and his teething makes me want to wean him a lot sooner than I did with his older brother...that is to say as soon as possible!


My toddler is now a "preschooler", though not in school or any form of daycare. At three years old, he just doesn't stop - talking, running around, getting into trouble, developing a curious and independent mind of his own. He likes his cars, puzzles, and Mickey Mouse paraphernalia almost as much as he loves doing whatever I'm doing. He doesn't nap during the day anymore (sigh) and he still has to cuddle next to me to sleep. Potty training has been slow, but positive (we made a push for it these past couple weeks during our "stay-cation") and I'm certain we'll be right where we want to be in the coming month.

Two Mickeys for Halloween 2012 (their Dad was also Mickey and I was Minnie)

Oh that reminds me - as part of our stay-cation (a vacation where we mostly stayed home or stayed local), we took them to Disneyland and California Adventure Park for the first time. They loved it! Everything was new to me and the hubby too, since we haven't been there since Grad Nite (when we graduated high school). Crowded and tiring (and cold) but worth every penny to see their faces light up at the 60 foot Christmas trees and holiday lights, and ride a rollercoaster and spinning teacup, dance along with the parades, or meet the mouse himself - Mickey. I think we've got the park's fastpass and rider swap techniques down. That saved so much time. We never waited more than 15 minutes in line for a ride. And we have the (cheapest) annual pass, so we can go back again. Soon I hope.



We also went to Griffith Observatory and the LA Zoo recently, and earlier this year - San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and Seaworld, and....SEVEN WEDDINGS! Yes, we were guests at seven weddings in 2012, and Allen was the best man and I was a quasi-coordinator for one of them - my brother-in-law's wedding. I helped make the flower centerpieces, bouquets, placecards, table numbers, and photo props (see pictures below). Stressful but fun, and it turned out beautifully.
The rest of the weddings included an old college friend, an old med school friend, three cousins of mine, and the last - the marriage of two of our friends, last-standing singles among our many married friends. I helped a little on that wedding too. And went to my first bachelorette party and bridal shower! I never even had ones of my own, so they were both fun. As I blogged about before, I love weddings, wedding planning, attending, helping...everything! So in addition to the planning and designing of decor, I also enjoyed making wedding gift cards this year. Each card was unique and I tried to incorporate colors and designs I thought each bride would like. I took cues from their invitation or save the date card. Hopefully, they liked them!

I also am in the process of designing invitations and decor for two more weddings that are coming up in March and May 2013. Fun! Maybe one day I'll do this as a job and not just a hobby or favor to friends and family. But that would mean even more time away from the boys, which I'm just not willing or able to give up at this time.

That brings me to just crafting in general. I've crafted so much this year, sitting at my crowded desk and building up my craft supply collection, making cards, stamping, embossing, doing wedding crafts, birthday parties, and gifts. And I've cooked more and tried new things...but the documenting it all and blogging about it thing ended pretty quickly. I still read others' blogs that I get in my Google Reader feed every day, and I garner ideas and recipes from them all the time. Some of which I try out myself. Some of which inspires me on my own path to creation. But I just can't take the next step and write about it all to share here, as I intended to do. I'm sorry blog readers!
Who can resist these faces??

I don't even want to make promises that I will post more often and take more pictures and write about my experiences on a regular basis. Because bottom line is this - I don't want to spend more time away from my kids than I need to. I understand everyone needs some "me-time" and I definitely get some (uh...TV and kindle addict over here). But when I craft or cook, I try to involve the boys (well, at least my 3 year old) and they love doing new things and are curious about everything and I have to explain every little thing and teach them and be safe about what they touch and do...AAHHHH!!!! There really are not enough hands free to take a picture of what I'm doing, or enough hours in the day to sit down and write about it all later. Even now, I'm writing this post on my cellphone while everyone is still sleeping, and I have only marginal hopes of formatting the post, including good pictures and actually uploading it. I'm lucky if I can send off a blurry picture to facebook and write a status update every now and then so everyone knows I'm alive and well.

Because I am well. WE are well. 2012 was fantastic because we are doing so well and are healthy and our home is homey and we are surrounded by friends and family and see them often. And all the weddings made me so happy and reminded me of the beginning of my own little family and made me feel lucky to be where we are now. There were quite a few new babies and growing toddlers and kids this year too and I'm happy to think mine will have friends they've "known since birth" if they do end up being life-long friends. I know I'm happy for my cousins who are my friends also and my old and new friends, who are like family too. I'm happy for my blood family and their health and successes this year and my parents' beautiful remodeled home and my grandma's new house and varied family members' businesses that launched and are growing this year. We are an entrepreneurial family, that's for sure. That's why even though I have a law degree, I always planned on either starting my own office or business someday. I could never picture being a part of the corporate grind, nor could I ever be now, with two young boys. Not that there aren't many women who choose to be, and can do so successfully. I just know I would need something more flexible. And as long as I have the luxury to decide, I choose my boys. I choose my life.

2012 - you've been great. 2013 - BRING IT ON!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Poems

I can't believe I let my 2 month anniversary of starting this blog just pass me by! I've been busy writing hubs (online articles) and I guess I have been neglecting this blog. Also, the weather has been beautiful and I enjoy spending time outdoors with my kids during the day. To celebrate spring, I thought I'd share some poems with you. They're nothing fancy, just a few stanzas that have been bouncing around my head the past month...
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sweep winter blues out the door
Dust the scraggly cobwebs away
Clean out your closets and drawers
Spring clean, organize, and donate

Sunshine and warm weather all around
Spring blossoms and flowers bloom
Chase the winter chills away
Get rid of the gray and gloom

 

"Spring ahead" for Daylight Saving Time
Wear green on St. Patrick's Day
Easter bunnies are hopping
It's time to come out and play

Spring showers may at first seem sad
But instead, your heart should feel glad
Because rain today means plants tomorrow
Plenty of green grass and flowers ahead  


 Wear bright colors, not black and gray
There's plenty of sunshine and fresh air
Break out the shorts and flip flops today
Warm weather style from toes to hair

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


White and gray bunnies
Are so cute and funny
They bounce around and run
When the weather is sunny

I miss my little bun
She was so soft and sweet
Bunbun was one of a kind
A happier bun you'll never meet

April 2009: She was my first real pet, my friend; RIP Bunbun

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's time for spring,
Put a spring in your step
Spring-a-ling-ling
Dance a spring fling 

Get out and bop
Along to the beat
Hop hop hop
And stomp your feet

Music is in the air
Love is in your heart
Dance to feed your soul
Sing to show it out loud

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Friday, March 2, 2012

Making Memories

It's been awhile since my last confession, I mean diary post. I definitely want to dedicate this post to my boys. Sometimes I think...why write about them when it would only be interesting to me, their mom....like when Jake mastered the alphabet (repeating back each letter after I say it, not by himself), or when Logan tummy-timed for 20 minutes without crying. But I realized that those types of things are exactly what I should be documenting, be it by pictures and video or writing and posting online.

January 2012: Staring contest and Logan's extended tummy time with big brother Jake

I don't even have a chart of Jake's first milestones. I wrote every day when I was pregnant with him and took dozens of pictures daily and I'm sure his big moments are captured on film. But I still should go through the pics and note when he did what. And I definitely should for Logan while he's still a baby. With all my scrapbooking materials and album pages (some of which were designed by my friends at my baby shower, below), I have no excuse. I should just write his milestones on one page and then make them pretty sometime later after I print some photos.

Scrapbook layouts that I have yet to fill with photos....soon I keep saying!

So to get a start on preserving these moments, which may amuse or even embarrass them as they get older....

Worst moments this week:
Being sick along with Logan. We caught whatever cold bug Jake had two weekends ago, so we spent all last weekend sick and this week just stuffy and runny nosed. And Jake had caught it from his Dad who must have brought home a bug from work (three weekends ago). Yay...the cycle of (a virus's) life. We finally got a new humidifier (our old one leaks) and this one can put menthol/eucalyptus vapor pads in it, so we get that nice Vick's "I smell like a sick person" scent. Whatever....it worked.

Search for Vick's humidifiers on Amazon



I get a new favorite moment of all time every morning when we wake up together.

Favorite moments this week:
Even though we were sick, we bundled up and went to Soup Plantation (soup and salad buffet) on Sunday for breakfast. Their french toast was actually pretty tasty, as were their cinnamon sugar donut muffins! And of course I wanted soup. We cut down on any possible contamination (me infecting other customers) by lots of Purell, and Allen fetching me food while I sat with the boys in our corner booth. When Allen was coming back one time, a song came on - "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO. And of course Jake started dancing, while standing up in the booth. He loves that song! And I have to admit - I love it too. It's such a catchy dance beat and the fact that without fail, Jake will dance to it anytime, anywhere, just makes it all the better. It was released 2011, but, as evidenced by its feature in this year's Super Bowl half-time, numerous commercials, tv shows, and on the radio, it seems to be very popular still. That's good - that means more head bopping, booty shaking and elbow wiggling by my funny toddler (and his silly parents). And plus, we have that song on our "Just Dance 3" video game for Xbox Kinect (where we don't have to hold any controllers) and that's always fun for a family game night/dance party anytime, like last night.

Here are some coupons and some handy links to the games and song I'm talking about:

Buy "Party Rock Anthem" for $0.99
Party Rock Anthem


Also available for Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3
Just Dance 3