DIY Notepad

I’m a sucker for notebooks and notepads.  Though I haven’t kept a journal in several years, I like the IDEA of having a journal…and I certainly have enough blank ones to just get started already.

I also love making (and crossing things off of) lists.  I have grocery lists, to do lists, lists of books to read, lists of things to buy…it helps keep my brain organized and I can’t help but feel just a little accomplished when I finally get to cross something off!

diy-notepad2

Before I started making my own notepads, I just had a purse full of receipts and post-its with various lists on them…but these cute little DIY Notepads are so easy to make that you’ll have your life organized in no time!

DIY Notepad

Materials:

  • 30 sheets of white computer paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors (or a paper trimmer if you have one)
  • Stamps and ink pad (optional)
  • 2 sheets scrapbook paper
  • 2 binder clips
  • Paint brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Cardboard (optional)
  • Embellishments

Instructions:

Cut your computer paper (or cardstock if you want thicker sheets) into 5 in. x 7 in. rectangles.  Do the same with the scrapbook paper you want to use as the cover of your notepad.

cut-paper

Gather all the pages together and secure with binder clips on the 5 in. end.

journal-binder

If you want to decorate the pages with stamps, do that before securing with binder clips.  

Using paint brush, apply a generous coat of Mod Podge glue on the 5 in. end to hold all the pages together.  Once that coat has dried, apply one more coat.  Let dry fully.

In the meantime, cut your cardboard, if you’re using it, into a 5 in. x 7 in. rectangle.

Cut the second sheet of scrapbook paper (I just used a scrap piece, honestly…or you can use the flip side if your paper is double-sided) into a 7 in. x 3 in. rectangle.  This will be the binding cover.

journal pieces

Once your binding has dried, remove the binder clips.  Use Mod Podge to glue your paper pad onto your sheet of cardboard.  Place cover on top of pages.  Glue backside of 3 in. rectangle and carefully attach over binding.  Let dry completely.

Once that’s done, you can decorate your notepad cover to look however you’d like!

And there you have it!  A cute little notepad with removeable sheets that’s great for gift-giving and keeping your life organized!

diy-notepad

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Never Look Back

never look back

“I never look back, darling…it distracts from the now.”
The Incredibles

 Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread

Here’s your homework for the day.  Go into your recipe collections and find all the pumpkin spice cake recipes that you have.  Gather them together and throw them the F away…because this Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread is a legit game changer.

swirl-bread

Soft and delicious, this pumpkin bread is great for breakfast or dessert.  You can add a sweet cream cheese glaze on top for added richness, or just serve it as is because it’s just that good.

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread

Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa or hot cocoa mix (either one will work! It’s mostly for color)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a 9 in. loaf pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix together and set aside.

In another large bowl, combine butter and sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  If your butter is room temp, you can also beat with a whisk by hand, which is what I prefer…but to each his own!  Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating well until combined.

Alternate adding flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with flour, and mixing until everything is just combined.  Fold in the pumpkin.

Divide batter in half.  Add melted chocolate and cocoa powder to one portion.  Mix to combine.

Alternate adding pumpkin and chocolate batter to prepared pan.  Using a knife, swirl batters together.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Let cool completely, then remove from pan.

Your kitchen will smell amazing and your stomach will thank me.  And you’re welcome.

If you want to make a cream cheese glaze, you can combine 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese with ½ cup confectioners’ sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.  Add 1 teaspoon milk, and continue adding milk little by little until you achieve the right consistency.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Hostage Book Review

In the summer of 1997, Christophe Andre, a humanitarian worker with Doctors Without Borders, was kidnapped in Nazran by men seeking a ransom.  He was blindfolded, driven to some unknown location, and locked up in a small room with nothing but a mattress.

In Guy DeLisle’s biography of Andre’s kidnapping, aptly titled Hostage, Andre’s story comes to life in simple illustrations and, with the highest form of complement intended, is pure torture to read.

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With little to no dialogue and illustrations that show Andre’s first-person nightmare, Hostage is based on DeLisle’s recordings of Andre’s accounts of the abduction and his attempts at escape.  What it lacks in action it makes up for in hundreds of pages of inaction…adding to the pure boredom, terror, and monotony that comes with being locked up in a room for months on end.

A limited color palate also helps add a dream-like feel to this story and in a sense becomes a character itself, helping us feel limited, enclosed, and claustrophobic.

hostage.interior180_1

Over the course of four months, we sit patiently with Andre, eating…sitting…eating…sitting, just waiting for a rescue that may or may not ever come.  The only thing driving the story forward are the thoughts in his head…and as Andre’s story continues and races to a heart-quickening finale, Hostage becomes quite a page-turner and has an ending that will not leave you disappointed.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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21 John Denver Lyrics that are Everything Right Now

On October 12, 1997, country music star John Denver died in a plane crash.  The voice behind such popular songs as “Take Me Home, Country Road”, “Rocky Mountain High”, and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970’s and was America’s best-selling performer of the time.

Throughout his short life, he recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he wrote and composed himself.  His songs often had to do with country life out west and the beauty of nature.

The poetic lyrics of his songs paint a beautiful picture of life in “God’s Country”, and while it may seem hard to find good things on TV or in the news, you can have fun sinking into these 21 beautiful, inspiring, and thoughtful lyrics from some of John Denver’s best songs.

21 John Denver Lyrics that are Everything Right Now

rocky mountain high

Life ain’t nothin’ but a funny, funny riddle.
Thank God I’m a Country Boy

sunshine

Welcome to my happiness
You know it makes me smile.
And it pleases me to have you here
For just a little while.
– Farewell Andromeda

rainbow

Let me drown in your laughter.
– Annie’s Song

country-roads-quote

There’s nothin’ behind me and nothin’ that ties me to
Something that might have been true yesterday.
Tomorrow is open, right now it seems to be more than enough
To just be here today.
– Sweet Surrender

stillness

To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean
To ride on the crest of wild raging storm
To work in the service of life and living
In search of the answers to the questions unknown.
– Calypso

beach

Sometimes I feel like a sad song.
– Like a Sad Song

rockies

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through.
– Perhaps Love

feather

Lying by your side, the greatest peace I’ve ever known.
– My Sweet Lady

eagle

It’s the little things that make a house a home
Like a fire softly burning and supper on the stove
The light in your eyes that makes me warm.
– Back Home Again

mountain tops

Though I seem a half a million miles from you,
You are in my heart and living there.
– Shanghai Breezes

diamonds

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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Adorable Little Crocheted Pumpkins

It’s FINALLY fall in Chicago!

For a few days there, Chicago was experiencing weird 80 degree fall days and I was having NONE OF IT.  BRING ON THE SWEATER WEATHER!

To help cozy up my house for cool weather, I decided to make a couple of these adorable little crocheted pumpkins.  Aren’t they the cutest?!

crocheted pumpkins

This pattern is very forgiving and you can make a whole series of pumpkins smaller and bigger than this by stopping or continuing your increase rows.

You can find this pattern at 5littlemonsters.com.  I made two of the “large” pumpkins, but there’s also a pattern for a pumpkin about half the size of these.

You can also add a little face for a fun jack-o-lantern or just leave them as is to decorate your home for Halloween and Thanksgiving!  I think I might even make some pumpkins in a series of fall colors to help cozy up the living room!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Must. Have. Cake.

lovely_multilayered_cake_vector_181052

“A party without cake is just a meeting.”
–Julia Child

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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