Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Going to admit it... I need HELP!!!  Serious help when it comes to organizing my craft stash.  What worked in the past isn't working now and I need to finally get some of the projects on my list finished.  Why do I still have boxes upon boxes in my crafting room, because I can't seem to stay in the "FROG" longer than my time on the treadmill.  It stresses me out that I have such a mess in my craft room and I just walk out.  Well, today that ends!  See in one of those boxes is the new organization system from Close To My Heart, I think I'm going to love it, just need to clean off one of the tables and actually use it.  

I need to really learn to not just buy the amazing products from CTMH, actually USE them!!  This month the super cute Thin Cuts are on special and I'm going to use them, just after I either find the proper plates or order a new one.  It's an issue, not quite ready for a hoarders support group, potentially getting close.  Wish me luck as I go in, if you don't hear from me in the next few days, send help!!!

Happy Crafting!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Goal #5 Advent Cross-Stitch

While on a Disney Cruise to the Norwegian Fjords, I stumble into a shop and found this amazing cross-stitch.  I looked at it and thought to my self, "I LOVED to stitch when I was little, I could totally do this".  That was the summer of 2015 right before moving to North Carolina where our first few months were turn upside down with the delay of our household goods shipments and the loss of 2/3 of our storage.  To say I was depressed was putting it mildly.  I didn't want to do anything or even think about stitching.  After a few months of feeling sorry for myself I decided to take out the cross-stitch when my parents were visiting.  My Mom (an expert stitcher) looked at it and laughed, she said "good luck, it's going to take a while."  Oh great!!!  We tried to start with the fabric that was provided, only to get frustrated.  So I ordered new fabric and put the pattern away.

About 8 months later, on a trip to California during my huband's last deployment, I started to stitch.  I managed to complete the top girls hat.  Again, the project sat.  I set the goal of finishing during the deployment, I would stitch here and there, not making much progress since I was both parents to 3 active kids and focusing on other things.  I decided to make it a goal for 2017 and have stuck with it for the past few months.

This is the progress I've made!  I'm loving seeing it come together and feeling a sense of my childhood come back as I finish each line.  The progress is slow, daily stitching helps keep my mind off the potential of upcoming orders and at least one of my kids has expressed an interest.  I hope I can teach her to love something that has been passed down from generation to generation.  After working the past few days, I've assessed it should take me most of the year to finish this with daily stitching.  Here's to having this cute decoration for Advent 2017!!!

Happy Crafting!

Friday, March 3, 2017

2017 Goals

In an effort to be a bit different this year with my goals and view of 2017, I decided to listen to a few different people and their take on goal setting. One person talked about setting lifetime big goals and each year breaking them down into manageable steps.  So one night, I set a date with my Lovey and we talked about some lifetime goals we would like to set.  After about 15 minutes we had only come up with 10 between us.  After thinking it was sad, we actually started talking about all the things we have done already that would normally be on that list.  We have traveled to many amazing places, lived in 2 different countries, and run the original marathon... then the ideas started coming.  From there I set goals that would help us towards our big goals of retirement, traveling, and growing old together.  

My top 5 for the year are:

1. Read 30 books
2. Save $10,000
3. Run 2 half marathons and 1,000 miles
4. Finish 6 scrapbooks (from my list)
5. Finish my Advent cross-stitch

Once broken down into monthly, weekly, and even daily goals, I see how this year will be busy.  I have found a love for reading this dyslexic girl would never have thought.  It's true the more you read the faster you get.  I have a huge stack of books by my bed and can't wait each day for my reading time.  Currently I'm readying 3 VERY different books, Flying Black Ponies by Kit Lavell, Uninvited by Lisa TerKeurst, and Craft A Life You Love by Amy Tangerine.  I don't normally ready 3 books at once, each one is so different and easy to read a chapter a day without being overwhelmed.  Honestly, they all represent a little about who I am and what I like; history, faith, and crafting.  Bonus points: the history book is about VAL-4 the squadron my Dad was in during the Vietnam war.

Saving money has never been something I've been good at, I was about to set aside money while Cory was deployed last year and still have lots of fun with the kids.  This year it might be hard to save much as we are waiting for orders and if the USMC plays nice and we move back home, we have lots of things to do around the house that has been a rental for the past 5 years.

Running, this is a daily thing for me or at least 4-5 days a week.  Broken down it's about 83 miles a month or just under 3 miles a day.  January was an awesome month with 91 miles, February was a little less with taking a week off after traveling with 73.  I'm still on track towards 1,000 miles and we have signed up for a half marathon next month.  Again, we are waiting to see what is next for us before signing up for the second half.

Crafting, specifically scrapbooking has been challenge for me the past few years.  I have had the same goal each year to finish 2 kids 1st year books.  This is the year!!!  I also need to get our Christmas book up-to-date along with the kids school albums.  Easy day, that all manageable and once I get started watch out.

Finally my Advent cross-stitch, which when I bought it looked so simple.  Guess that's what I get for buying something while on holiday in Norway.  It's super cute and I don't know if I'll actually use it as an Advent calendar or just a cute decoration during the Advent season.  I started last summer and have not been very consistent with my time.  There are 3 pages to the pattern, so far I'm almost finished with the first page.  As my sister said "just keep stitching, just keep stitching!"  It will be a project that I will be happy to cross off the list, no pun intended!

There you have it, 5 goals for 2017.  Below is a picture of my Vision Board that I started and will add as time goes on.  I love having a daily reminder of what I'm working towards, a wonderful life with my husband and kids.  Off to log some miles on my treadmill and maybe get a little crafting done after reading.  It's going to be a great day!  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How is it March?!?

  Where has the year gone?  I really don't know what happened, it seems like I blinked and here we are turning the calendar for MARCH!!!  Since my oldest started school, February seems to kick my backside every year.  This year was no exception and seemed to be worse.  Not only did we have Valentine's Day and a birthday for my pre-teen, we took an amazing holiday to the Italian Alps.  It seems that just now are we recovering from all our excitement and its time to get down to business.
    In early January, I set aside time to really think about what I wanted to do in 2017.  I decided I wanted to really be happy and learn new things.  For the most part, I'm a very happy person and am knowledgeable to a certain extent.  What I wanted to do was really apply myself since I'm a stay-at-home mom for now.  After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I set out to focus on one aspect of my life each month.  So far I have cleaned and de-cluttered my house (January) and expressed love (February).  Here we are in March and I'm focusing on work, for me that means 'working' my Close To My Heart business and really being crafty.  I'm setting resolutions/goals and will work daily on finding my happiness in crafting.  I'm also going to be working through the book Craft A Life You Love by Amy Tangerine.  
    As for the learning part of the year, I started out with figuring out our budget and where all our money goes in January and February was to be learning more about photography.  I think I have our budget figured out, my camera on the other hand... not so much!  I guess along with learning how to REALLY use my Cricut machine I will also be figuring out my fancy camera and hopefully be taking better photos and learning a bit about editing.  I hope to be sharing more of my creations with you on the blog, my Facebook page, and Instagram.  If you aren't following me on those, you can find me at Semper Crafty-CTMH Scrapbooking and Stamping on Facebook and Sempercrafty on Instagram.  

Happy Crafting friends!  Here is the CTMH special this month, I'm so excited to be working with these thin cuts, I'll post some photos soon.

Friday, January 27, 2017

I'm back!

Hi everyone!  After a 3 year break I'm back to the blogging world.  I'm going to make this an active blog again, as a busy Mom of 3 school age kids it's going to be a challenge and one that I'm up for.  My goal is to post here 3-4 times a week, lets be honest if I get on here twice a week I'll consider that a goal I reached.

2017 is shaping up to be a big year for Team Martin and Semper Crafty!  As a family we have lots of goals, we are working daily towards reaching not only our yearly goals, we are working towards our BIG life goals.  As for me personally, I have not only my own goals, I have business goals.  I need to finally get this CTMH business up and running, be creative and help people see that they are crafty themselves.

Be on the look out for all sorts of different things coming your way on this blog, I hope to make it somewhere you can come to learn, laugh, and just have fun.  Life is full of surprises and I'm ready to handle all that the Lord has in his plans for us.  I hope you come along this journey with me and my Team.

All the best,

Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking back at 2013

It's the morning of New Years Eve here in Bella Napoli and I find myself reflecting back over the past year.  It's that time of year when people decide to change their lives and come up with how, yet never plan to stick to them.  I was just looking over my goals for 2013 and realized I really didn't stick to mine either.  Here is my recap...

1. Become a better cook.  Well, when you have 3 little mouths to feed and they aren't too interested in trying new things, I stayed in my confort zone. 

2. Craft more, work my CTMH business...  I did that!  I got my Cricut machine buzzing and made so many projects, started making cards to sell, and got myself involved with some opportunities in the community here in Napoli.  I didn't see my sales reach the levels I wanted, I had fun being creative and it will all come together.  The best part is I'm HAVING fun crafting again!  I have a sweet craft room and hopefully I can get more people to join me down in my basement.

3. Run-Run-Run!  Well, we did one half marathon and one marathon, the "Original" in Athens.  It was amazing to say I ran a Marathon FROM Marathon to Athens.  Will I do one again... Not sure.  ;) I did log some miles not sure how many, I did find that I was happier when I was running.  

4. Raise funds and awareness for the Semper Fi Fund.  I feel we did that, we raided over $1500 from our runs and have raised over 50% of our total goal.  Thanks to everyone who helped so far!!!  If you would like to help us reach our goal, head over to  Or better yet join our team!  The more people we have sharing the Semper Fi Fund the better!  

So there you have it...  NOW for 2014...

1. Run-Run-Run!  Not sure how many half marathons or if I will ever do a marathon again.  One thing I know running makes me happy and as long as I can run, I will be logging some miles.  We found out that it's 6474 miles from Bella Napoli to Beautiful Carlsbad, so we are going to try to "Run Home". I would like to log 1200 miles this next year.  Better lace up those shoes and pound some serious pavement.  It will be a whole family event, let's see how far we can go.

2. Craft more, work my business, and have fun!  It's funny how it's my 'job' to craft and I'm so far behind on so many projects.  I'm going to focus the first part of the year on getting caught up on our travels, Christmas album, and the younger 2 baby albums.  After that I'm going to work on my hubby's college years and his Marine life up until now.  Look for more blog updates about crafting and traveling, too.  

3. Travel more!  We did a great job last year of going to new places and yet the list keeps growing.  I would like to visit more in and around Napoli, we seem to forget that we have cool places right here.  AND it's cheaper when we don't have to pay for 5 plane tickets or hotel rooms.

4. Focus on learning... Italian for the hubby and I, keeping track of standards for the girls (Italian school are SO different than California), and increasing our little guys vocabulary and get him off his Speech IEP.  I find that my understanding of Italian has improved and I'm starting to try to say more, then I get nervous and end up speaking in English.  Really need to just put myself out there and laugh if I get it wrong.  

5. Have Fun and Be Awesome!  These are the kids goals!  I love how they keep it real.  When talking about what they want to do in 2014, their answers were simple.  Study hard, learn lots, travel, have fun, and (my favorite from my little guy) PLAY ALL THE TIME!!!  Yes, he did yell it and right in my face.  Love him!  I always say "Be Awesome" to the kids.  Not in a bragging way, just be you and everyone will see how amazing you are.  My parents had sayings growing up, "Keep your powder dry" and "remember who your mother is" I think those would go over the kids heads right now.  So "Be Awesome", it is!

There you have it, 2014 is going to be the best year for Team Martin.  Watch out world, we are coming and we are going to "Be Awesome"!  

Happy New Year!  Felice Anno Nuovo!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oktoberfest 2013 and a few Small Countries

Sometime in late spring/early summer I got an email from a friend who said why don't you join us for Oktoberfest.  It took me all of 2 seconds to respond with YES!!!  COUNT US IN!!!  We went to Oktoberfest in 2006 and were excited to be going back.  In planning the trip we decided we would drive, it was the best way for us to hit a few other spots on the way up and back.  So the first stop was the Republic of San Marino, a small country totally surrounded by Italy.  A very nice little place, we spent the afternoon walking around, exploring the castle and had dinner overlooking the Italian country side.  The views were amazing.
License Plate in San Marino
 Then a night outside of Bologna and off to Germany via Austria!  Once in Bavaria, we stayed in a great little town, Murnau am Staffelsee.  It was just want this Momma needed, a great Germany town full of happy Germans and good beer around every corner.  We started our tour with a visit to a great brewery and then the next day into Munich for some Oktoberfest fun and it was fun.  We started out in the Oilde Weisn, which is the more traditional/family friendly part.  There was music, dancing, food, and of course BEER!  After a few hours in the tent it was time to venture out.  We rode some of the fun rides, had some yummy fest food, and hit a few tents.  This picture is taken inside the Lowenbrau tent, hands down one of my favorite.  

 The music was fun, the people were great, and our little guy fell asleep!  He was quite the novelty, as many people took pictures with him.  Such a little smoozer even when he is asleep.  From there we headed back to Murnau via the train, it was a great day and everyone was ready for bed after a long day of whooping it up.  The next day it was back into Munich for a bike tour with the kids.  What a great way to see the city, via a bike… only in Germany!  We had a fun tour guide and the kids enjoyed riding and seeing the sights.  A lunch break with a playground was a big hit and we all enjoyed a pretzel (adults had beer too!).  Another night of good sleep, being in the fresh air will do that to you.  On our last full day in Germany (sadly), we did walking tour of Munich with a visit to the Hafbrauhaus before going back to the Weisn.  After some more rides and yummy fair food, it was time to head back to the train station and head back to the hotel.  The next day was German Unification day, so the fest was packed, people were getting silly, and I had had enough of dealing with people.

One of the things we did the first European Tour was visit Liechtenstein, unfortunately we forgot our passports.  This time I was ready, we were getting a stamp and it didn't matter how much it cost.  The drive through the Alps was beautiful and the kids missed most of it due to iPad time and naps.  Ugh!  Once we got to the small country to Liechtenstein we found some license plates to take some pictures.
 This is now becoming a thing with us, so why not keep up the tradition!  If anything it is a great way to show the kids the different country codes.  We spend time walking around and even sent ourselves a postcard with local stamps.  Then it was over to the Liechtenstein Postage Stamp museum for some fun.  The kids were able to draw their own stamps and I took a few pictures of the stamps with my stamps, sorry Sticky Boys!

It was getting late, so back into the car we all went.  We took the Swiss route back into Italy, thru the Lake District (amazing) and finally stopped in Parma for the night.  Too bad we had to get home to Bella Napoli the next day, it would have been nice to get some cheese.  :)  All in all it was a great trip and one all of us will remember for a while.  More Italian fun coming up, involving some chocolate and some wine.  All good things here in Italy!