Monday, November 30, 2009

Help us meet Martha!

We need your help! Michaels is having a handmade holiday contest. Of course, we think that our products make the perfect holiday gift so we quickly entered our Memory Puzzle Blocks. The grand prize winner receives TWO tickets to NYC to see the Martha Stewart Show. Oh how Suni and I would LOVE a free trip to the Big Apple. Even better, we'd LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a chance to swap ideas with the queen of crafts, Martha! Help us make this dream a reality!

Go here to vote for us. Click on the snowmen on the bottom of the page...the more you like the project, the more snowmen you click!

Looking for your own kit? They are in now available in all Roberts Craft and Deserert Book stores.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So Much to be Thankful for!

We have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Business is good. Our families are healthy and happy. The weather is cooperating. At our house, we've instigated the tradition of having each family member prepare a dish for our celebration. It really takes the stress off the mom! This year Kevin is making the sweet potato gratin (YUMMY!). Trent will make his famous turkey gravy. Davis had a hankering for Silk Chocolate Pie. Without any help, he found the recipe of choice, got me a list of needed ingredients and prepared (what promises to be) a scrumptious dessert! True to form, Colton requested Mac and Cheese for dinner. You'd think that 12 is old enough to expand one's taste buds, but it's his dinner too, so tomorrow will find the two of us whipping up a pot of a homemade variety that will feel comfortable next to the stuffing, green beans and salad! All this help gave me enough time to think about table decor. We've had such fun with our new block ornaments that I decided to bring them to the table. I want EVERYONE to know what I'm MOST thankful for! Before our last snow storm, I happened to find some fallen tree branches that I knew would be perfect for a project somewhere down the road. Who knew that I'd put them to use within the week?!

All I did was spray the branches with a bit of silver and gold spray paint. After they dried, I simply secured them in two long, skinny vases. (The display was too tall for the center of the table - it competed with the overhead lighting, so I decided to plant one at each end of the table.) Next, I add 4-5 bright red ornaments, along with 5 block ornaments featuring family faces to varying branches on the limb. That's it. Really! It makes a spectacular display!!

The rest of my ornaments adorn some greenery that I've already placed around the front door. I thought I'd get a running start on the Christmas decorating. Next week is going to be pretty busy. Did we mention that we're going to be on Channel 4, Good Things Utah? Oh, we did?! :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All kinds needed!

I've always been a firm believer that it takes all kinds of people to make this world go around. My son (who shall remain nameless) falls into the extremely bright category. Yesterday was his 18th birthday. He'd like to think that he's ready to conquer the world. He's pretty sure that he has the answers to all of life's questions. Well, yesterday found this brilliant boy participating in an all-day school event. Some sort of triathlon for the brain. Since the bus pulled out at 5:30 in the morning, I suggested that he put his lunch together the night before. Here's the part where bright, independent teenager still needs dumb, dependent middle-aged mother. The kid actually had NO IDEA that you can't leave a ham sandwich out over night without risking serious gastronomical consequences! Yes, I'm pretty sure that someday I will need to rely on his surgical skill as my personal brain surgeon, but until then, he's going to want me around to keep him alive!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks & Stay Tuned!

We had so much fun at the Salt Lake Family Christmas Gift Show this past weekend. A great big thank you to ABC4 and Good Things Utah for sharing our Memory Tree Kit. Even though we didn't have a chance give a Stories by Me shout-out or mention our exact show location, we were BLOWN away at how many of you found our booth because of that TV spot. The event was an excellent way to get into the Christmas spirit and it didn't hurt that we got some of our own shopping done while we were there!

This week our products will be in the spotlight again! As we've mentioned, our Memory Puzzle kits are now available at all Roberts Crafts locations. Well, our new friends over at Roberts love our puzzles so much that they are highlighting them on KUTV 2 News at Noon on Wednesday, November 18th. On Friday, Nov. 20th, Lisa will be featuring our puzzles on Good Things Utah at 10am. (channel 4)

We are thrilled to have so many people share the excitement that we have for these fabulous products. Be sure to tune in!

Monday, November 16, 2009

check these out!

We came across these beautiful family trees out there in blogland.
Aren't they beautiful?

Find at My Tree & Me.

Etsy Links Fixed

We've had a few troubles over at our Etsy shop. Just wanted to let you know that the links are working and ready to go. Thank you for letting us know they were broken!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This weekend we are going to be here:

We were lucky enough to be chosen as one of three booths to be featured on this show tomorrow morning!
Be sure to tune in tomorrow on channel 4 at 10:00 am to see us shine!

And if you're coming to the Family Christmas Gift Show at the South Towne Expo Center, stop by and say hi! (we are located at booth 620.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Puzzle Kits

Our puzzle kits now come with a new and improved metal tray. We selected metal that, over time, will develop a darker, vintage-looking patina. Because we feel that looking like 'you've been around the block once or twice' adds character to a finished project, we came up with a few ways to speed along the process.

The metal is shipped with a protective coating to keep it from aging prematurely. You'll want to remove it for these processes to work best. We sprayed our tray with a common household cleaner (something that will cut grease), rinsed and dried it.

Bleach Bath: In the example on the left, we submerged the tray for about an hour in a bucket of regular household bleach. Make sure that you use common sense when working with bleach; wear old clothes, rubber gloves and protective eye wear! Once we removed the tray from the bleach, we carefully rinsed it under water. The resulting piece was a little too rusty for our liking, so we did a quick once-over scrub with our handy Bar Keepers Friend (a BEST friend in my kitchen!) and fell in love with the end result!

Coke Bath: This easy process simply requires a bucket of coca-cola. You'll want to use soda that is fully carbonated. Soak the tray over night for best results. Don't try to drink any soda that is used in this process. (I offer this piece of advice because I had a teenage son seriously dumb enough to consider swiping a swig.) Once the tray has soaked sufficiently, rinse it in water and thoroughly dry it. The tray on the right features the end result. It offers a more subtle distressed look then the bleach process and was voted most popular by all of our friends that were polled.

These versatile trays can also be painted (use a paint made for metal) or decorate the outer edge with stickers or decals. Protect your furniture by placing felt or rubber bumpers on the bottom corners of the tray. A six-inch square of fabric in the bottom of the tray will provide a nice cushion for your blocks. The inside of the tray is also a perfect spot for storing extra copies of the puzzle pictures.

Keep in mind that the major emphasis in this project is the six pictures contained on the nine blocks. The tray is just a handy way to display and store the puzzle.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion

Exciting things are happening here at Stories by Me!

We've just been featured in the Nov/Dec issue of LDS Living. If you get the magazine, look for us on page 76. They selected our puzzle kits for their 2009 Holiday Gift Guide. These are our new kits...the ones with the cool metal tray. Check 'em out on our website. We're thrilled to report that the kits are now in ALL 40 Deseret Book stores. We loved seeing them sit on the shelf at our local store. (Of course, we'd also love seeing them in your hot little hands on their way to the checkout counter!) The Roberts Craft order is shipping now. They should have their kits within the week.

On November 20th, Roberts Crafts stores is going to be featuring our puzzles on ABC's 4 Good Things Utah. And...if that's not enough, we're getting our own spot on GTU December 3rd!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Website Update

Tomorrow is a big day for us! It's the day that we share what's been keeping us so busy. We're excited to have you check out our new and improved website. The look and feel of the website hasn't changed, but take a look around and see if you can spot the changes.

Here's a couple of the new gadgets...

1. You can now use the Photo Wizard to prepare your pictures for the ornament and letter block projects! Yah, we know, it's about time. Thanks to our Swiss Day customers who have been patiently waiting. We think you'll love how easy it is to format your pictures for the different projects. We sure LOVE that we can now print 20 ornament pictures on a page! No more fiddling with the scaling or only getting one block ornament printout per page.

2. Had pictures that were too big to load into the Photo Wizard? Notice the past tense?? You're going to love how much easier it is to upload your pictures. We still have size limitations based on the whole internet thing, but now if you try to ADD a big picture, the Photo Wizard is going to give you the option of using our new Java Uploader feature.

3. We've also updated our Demo's and Tutorials section! Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, but it's the place to go if you have questions about any of our projects!

It seems like there is always something needing cleaning, changing or explaining, in life and in the virtual world of the internet. We'll continue to chase down the dust bunnies and get everything in working order, just in time for the next set of changes. Remember, tomorrow is the big day! Come check out the bells and whistles, kick the tires, look under the hood and let us know what works...and doesn't work.