31 January 2011

Simple cards and an exciting announcement

I made these very simple cards, with quotes and blank insides to leave room for a note from the sender to the recipient.  Since my more recent posts have been all layouts from our trip to Cali, I thought I would break up the layout posts and have every other post be cards and the others featuring layouts.  I hope my lovely readers aren't getting too bored!

The exciting announcement? I opened an Etsy shop!  Click here to check it out.  I hope to add more cards and some craft items to the store in time.  Hopefully, crossing my fingers, I start selling soon.  :)

Holler if you have suggestions on how to improve my blog or the posts themselves.  Constructive feedback is always accepted and appreciated.

28 January 2011

Elephant Seals!

I did this as the corresponding layout to the Morro Bay layout.  We stopped to see the elephant seals on the way to the Bay Area.  My guy was intent on finding the vista point and I am so glad we did!  The elephant seals sure are cute!  And there were babies! 

I would like to find dimensional or chipboard stickers of seashells to include on this layout, or something other than seashells if they work with the theme of the layout.  I have looked for the right stickers at Michaels and online some, but again I have not found any I particularly like.  I will keep looking, though!

Friday Favorites

And here, my dears, is this week's Friday Favorites.

  1. Do you have stories of kindness and inspiration? Share here.
  2. If you've read my About Me then you know how much I love these.
  3. Robots!  This woman makes awesome robot art.
  4. Yearly time capsule jars to keep souvenirs of the year's memories.
  5. This is my new favorite blog.  I just found her blog and love it!
  6. A lovely love note for your special someone on Etsy.

27 January 2011


Evidently you, my fine readers, are still having trouble commenting on my blog.  I have posted on a Blogger forum to seek out guidance on this.  I would appreciate if anyone that has had problems commenting could e-mail me and tell me specifically what happens and what browser you are using when you try to comment.

You can e-mail me at:  gina.banina (at) gmail dot com.  Obviously don't spell it as such, just preventing spam bots from getting ahold of my e-mail address.  :)

Update:  If you are having problems, make sure you have permitted third-party cookies.

26 January 2011

This layout is of our stop at Morro Bay on the way to the Bay Area.  I bought paper with a sandy image for it and the corresponding layout.  I normally do not like to buy individual papers because of the costs adding up as they do, but sometimes that is all that makes a layout work (and some of my favorite papers are not in the various brands' paper packs (boo!).

Any layouts with my guy in them will have a smiley face over his own face per his request and private nature.  That's why his face is covered up. Otherwise why would I cover it? *smile*

25 January 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

I moved from St. Louis, MO, to Austin, TX, in March 2010.  I miss St. Louis immensely.  With that in mind, I came up with the following Top Ten Tuesday list.

Top ten things I miss about St. Louis:
  1. Amazing and wonderful friends.
  2. A pretty decent public transportation system.
  3. Beautiful parks.
  4. Cherokee Street.
  5. Local art scene.
  6. Lots to do and lots free to do in the city.
  7. Numerous of ethnic restaurants.
  8. South Grand.
  9. The beautiful, historic brick homes and storefronts.
  10. The sense of community.

Linking to:

Top Ten {Tuesday}

24 January 2011

What a view!

I used this layout to focus on the great view during our travels to and from the Bay Area.  This is the corresponding layout to the roadtrip layout, so I tried to use corresponding colors.

22 January 2011


I have finally begun to print out photos and create layouts of our trip to the Bay Area.  I will post the layouts in the coming days.  Some I am happier with than others.  Feedback is always appreciated!

I would like to add dimensional or chipboard stickers of yellow cars to the top of this layout.  I have looked at Michaels and online some, but have not yet found any I like terribly.

19 January 2011

A fun card

The inside reads "Hey, Sweet Thing".  Fun, yes? It will be fun to give to someone!  :)

18 January 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Crafty Items on My Wish List
  1. Adhesive gemstones in various colors and sizes.
  2. Brads of various colors and styles.
  3. Heat gun and embossing powders/ink pads for embossing.
  4. Markers that can be used directly on the stamps safely.
  5. More clear and rubber stamps.
  6. More solid colored cardstock in black and all the usual colors, bestselling brands.
  7. Paper puncher in a very small hole size for brads.
  8. Paper with fine striped patterns (again, even better:  coordinating solid cardstock)
  9. Paper with small dot patterns (even better: coordinating solid cardstock)
  10. Thickers – All colors and styles
Linking to:

Top Ten {Tuesday}

    17 January 2011

    A Valentine's Day Card

    I rarely use yellow in any craft.  I simply do not know how to make it work with layouts or cards.  This time yellow was the only color that does work.

    15 January 2011

    A winter-themed thank you card.

    I thought this might be a nice thank you note for the winter months.  I did this card in a few different colors.  I am not sure if I like it or not.  What do you think? Too simple?

    13 January 2011

    My craft room/office

    I have owed pictures of my craft room/office for a few months now.  It has taken some time to get it organized and de-cluttered.  I got creative with storage and made labels using cardstock and tape, what with me still unemployed (sigh) we have to watch our costs pretty closely.

    My craft room/office really came together when my guy took me to IKEA and bought me exactly what I wanted for Christmas (and then put it together for me) this weekend.  What did I want? The bookcase you see in one of the pictures.

    Here are pics of the craft room/office for your viewing pleasure:

    The middle two cubes of the bookcase, in the picture below, on the top level have bins with my postcard collection. I have collected postcards since I was a kid and have some postcards older than me in my collection.

    I have some things I still need to find a place or container for, as you can see below:

    Below you will see a collection of containers I cannot yet find things that will work well with them.  I obviously need to find a place for them.  With limited closet space it may be a challenge.  I seem to be up for the challenge when it comes to creative storage solutions, though!

    12 January 2011

    Another thank you card to share

    Here is another thank you card I made recently.  I am rather proud of it.  I came up with the idea all by myself and it was not like the cards I usually make. 

    11 January 2011

    Top Ten Tuesday

    My Top Ten Dream Craft Room Checklist

    1. A big room with a huge empty space in the middle.  Empty.
    2. A large rectangular folding table (like churches use) along a wall.
    3. Several of these drawer units against a wall.
    4. My awesome oak desk/table against another wall.
    5. A big window, with a gorgeous view and lots of sun shining in through it.
    6. Lots of red cube bins, to fit into…
    7. One large IKEA Expedit bookcase and my new smaller Expedit bookcase.
    8. Red gingham accents and accessories and such.
    9. A large closet. I’m talking LARGE, with shelves on every wall.
    10. No clutter between creative sessions.  None!
    Linking to:

    Top Ten {Tuesday}

    10 January 2011

    Thank you's

    Evidently, January is National Thank You Month.  How fitting that it is set in January, with it following the holidays.  I made thank you cards this weekend for everyone we received gifts from this holiday season. 

    Here is one of the thank you cards I made:

    08 January 2011

    The Haight Ashbury District

    Of everything I experienced in San Francisco, the Haight-Ashbury district was my favorite place to be.  In this neighborhood in particular, along HaightStreet I saw the most beautiful, diverse, and interesting people.  I was too nervous to ask the  San Francisco natives if they would allow me to photograph them, but I may very well do just that one day.

    I was so excited when my guy drove to the Haight-Ashbury district and dropped me off to shoot (no parking spots were in sight).  I was in the Haight-Ashbury district and stood at the infamous corner of Haight & Ashbury!  I hope to explore the Haight-Ashbury district much more on the next trip I make to San Francisco for sure.

    Here are some photos from my visit down Haight Street:

    07 January 2011

    Friday Favorites

    The week certainly did not work out as I had planned it.  On Tuesday evening I became ill and I continue to feel rather awful.  I feel better, comparatively; however, I am still very wiped out.  On Wednesday evening I had a fever of 102 and since then I have been maintaining a fever of 99.6 to 99.9 (Fahrenheit).  It is my hope that next week I will be back to myself and have the energy (and brain power) for the job hunt and accomplishing things I have had to put off this week.

    I do owe a Friday Favorites in the very least.  It has been, what, two weeks? More?  Here are a few of my favorite things found on the web in recent weeks:

    1. Beautifully designed 2011 calendar (monthly) that is free to download!
    2. Ouch! Little Monkeys Bandages.  If you know me, you know I love monkeys.
    3. A printable to remind us we cannot do it all.
    4. The 5th National Soup Swap Day.  What a fantastic idea!
    5. An easy Valentine's Day gift for a loved one.  I hope to do this when I feel better.

    06 January 2011


    I had always wanted to visit Chinatown.  I had a very different idea of Chinatown prior to visiting it, imagining more of an open-air market.  Chinatown is actually a tremendous amount of shops selling Asian-style wares and numerous Asian restaurants.  Most of the shops are very affordable, even for us in our current economic slump.  Chinatown does offer  visitors streets decorated in a traditional Chinese manner, with an Asian dragon on either side of the ornamental gate leading into Chinatown.

    I enjoyed photographing Chinatown.  Though not all of my photos turned out, here are a few that I think turned out well:

    04 January 2011

    Pictures as promised.

    We returned from our drive to and from the Bay Area late last night.  The drive was a long one, taking three days each way and only three full days to enjoy in the Bay Area.  I took a ridiculous amount of photos on the roadtrip and in the Bay Area.

    I hope to have more time to explore San Francisco the next time we visit.  We intend to stay in a hotel in the city on our next visit.  Hopefully we will have a chance in a year or so.  We will see.  We have many trips in the upcoming year and another roadtrip/camping trip planned for the week prior to and including Labor Day 2012 (another first-time travel experience for me!).

    I learned a few things about the Bay Area and about San Francisco on our trip:

    1. The drive to anywhere in the Bay Area takes at least 40 minutes to an hour.
    2. More time is often spent driving than at the planned destination.
    3. Parking is impossible in the city.  Next time:  Walking and cabs! Or the BART.
    4. San Francisco is amazing and I would move to the city in a heartbeat.
    5. It gets dark much, much sooner in California than in Texas.
    6. The weather is five to ten degrees cooler in the Bay Area than in Austin.
    7. People in San Francisco are beautiful and diverse and interesting.
    Here are a few photos from our trip.  I will share a few more throughout the week.  Crafty posts to come next week.  I have a lot of catch up to do around the house this week.

    02 January 2011

    New Year's Survey

    My friend Adam posted a new year's survey on his blog.  I am going to post and answer (below) some of the questions from the survey.  Ready?

    What did you do for the first time in 2010?
    I lived outside of the Midwest for the first time.

    What would you like to do differently in 2011 than you did in 2010?
    Many things.

    What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    • February 26:  My last day on a job I held for 7 years.
    • February 27:  Our final day in MO and the day our drive to TX began.
    • March 1:  Our first day living in TX.
    • June 21:  Our first anniversary of dating.
    • November 20:  My 35th birthday.
    • December 30:  My first time ever in San Francisco!
    Where did most of your money go?
    With being unemployed, I have had very little money to use.  So...  Food, soda, cellphone bill, and credit card bill. My guy has been a total sweetheart about paying the rent and all other things right now.

    What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    Our trip to San Francisco at the end of 2010.

    What do you wish you’d done more of?
    I wish we'd had more "adventures" together in 2010.  Hopeful for this in 2011.
    I also wish I had stayed in better touch with friends in MO, in spite of my reasons for why I did not.

    What do you wish you’d done less of?Being alone.

    What was (were) your favorite TV program(s)?
    • Bones
    • NCIS
    • Numb3rs
    What did you want and get?
    I wanted my grandma to recover from the cancer she was diagnosed with in 2010 and she did.  *smile*

    What did you want and not get?
    I wanted to get a good job.  I wanted us to enjoy our new city.  I wanted us to make friends in our new city together.

    What was your favorite film of this year?
    I will have to think on this.  I have seen some decent films this year, but I'm not sure if I have a favorite.

    What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    I went for a lovely walk with my guy and our pup in a local park. Then I went to a movie (Four Lions) with my guy. Then our first fire in our fireplace and watching Numb3rs on television while cuddling. It was a perfect birthday.  I turned 35.

    Who did you miss?
    My friends in MO.  A lot.

    Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
    "You don't know what you got til it's gone." (Joni Mitchell)  Definitely a line that went through my mind many times in 2010.