Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reading Corner - LOAD it Up!

I'm working hard to get in the LOAD frame of mind this week.  I had nine weeks of class prior to Thursday to gear up - but somehow that whole process was lost on me.  I've been scrambling (in my brain) to think of ways to keep the momentum for 26 days which match up with the first quarter of school and tend to be the most tiring days of Fall.  So - since it's a day about reading - I thought I might share some books that could be incredibly helpful for LOAD.  Believe it or not - I own every single one of these books and highly recommend each.

1.  Idea Generating - We Dare You: Scrapbook Challenges about Real Life by Kristina Contes, Meghan Dymock, Nisa Fiin, & Genevieve Simmonds & 50 Moments: Scrapbook the Pages that Matter Most by Lisa Bearnson & Creating Keepsakes

I love both of these books.  The first book (The Dares) really rocked my world and has a website with ongoing challenges.  I'm excited to use these as part of my LOAD process.

2.  Journaling Help! - Your Words, Your Story: Add Meaningful Journaling to Your Layouts by Michele Skinner.

I actually already have a great idea from this book - blog posts.  I'm going to comb through my blog and find potential pages.  I'll be sure to keep you posted on where I'm at in the process.

3.  Challenge Love: 52 More Scrapbooking Challenges by Elizabeth Kartchner

Let's be clear - there isn't any challenges about scrapbooking the hard times or good times.  It's a book full of fun challenges that have more to do with design and pushing yourself in your styling.  It can definitely help with inspiration when taking on a long project.

4.  Sketch Love: Scrapbook Page Maps: Sketches for Creative Layouts & Scrapbook Page Maps 2: More Sketches for Creative Layouts both by Becky Fleck.

There are a wide range of options in these two books.  Also - there are flash cards with each sketch and an example.  So wonderful!

5.  Ali Edwards Love:  Life Artist: Scrapbooking Life's Journey

I love everything about Mrs. Ali Edwards.  She has great ideas and is just a burst of inspiration.  I credit her and Cathy Zielske with creating my love for this hobby.  I definitely go to her books and website when times are rough.

Before I get going - I want to make sure to give credit to my source for all the book images - otherwise known as Barnes & Noble.  Each book title link will take you to the source page.  Also - I want to say I'm super excited about this journey and can't wait to blog about how it's going.  I'm going to try and find more inspirational sites and books to share in the upcoming weeks.  I hope everyone has a lovely Tuesday.  Not much to report here in the way of a to do list.  I just need to hurry.  Stalling never helped anyone get to work.  Take care.  Until then...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Product Love

LOAD (layout a day) starts in just a few short days - on the first of September - and all I can think about is buying stamps.  Stamps that I will not use on scrapbook pages.  And while I would love to report that I'm getting my rear into gear and focusing on scrapbooking - my mind seems to be everywhere.  I did purchase a high amount of products to prep for the upcoming 26 days - but it doesn't seem like nearly enough.  So - I plan on buying a few things online and having them sent during the middle of the project.  We'll see.  Moving on....

Let me introduce this week's product love by saying I love Dina Wakely.  I love her style.  I love her art journaling.  I wish I could do what she does - and these stamps provide that opportunity.  I'm filled with glee.
 Boys Star
Circle Script

Grungy Circles

Grungy Silhouette

Script Heart
Script Star

Silhouette Script

All images sourced from Stampington & Company

Aren't they just lovely.  I can't wait to get my little hands on them.  I might order them right now!  Anyhoo - moving on...I feel a strong need to apologize for my disappearing act on my little piece of internet heaven last week.  I thought of it often - but just couldn't will myself off the couch.  My new post is basically like moving from the minors to the majors.  I'm happy to report I only had my ass handed to me on one of those days - not that I'm keeping score or anything.  Now that I'm looking at another week - I'm feeling up for it.  I hope everyone has a lovely Monday.  I'll be back tomorrow with a post on books and prepping for LOAD.  Hope to see you there!  Until then...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
~Marianne Williamson. (1992). A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles. Harper Collins , New York, NY.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I listened to the most recent Paperclipping Roundtable podcast today on personality specifically centered on the Myers-Briggs Personality test and it's relationship to scrapbooking.  I took the test - literally minutes ago and was a little surprised.  I highly recommend listening to the podcast to hear Angie Lucas's descriptions on personality and the test.  She's read several books and even presented a powerpoint presentation on the subject.  So - without further are my results...

I = Introverted (67) ~ which puts me in the "distinctly expressed introvert" category.  No surprises there.

S = Sensing (1) ~ which puts in the "slightly expressed sensing personality" category.  Totally surprised by this - I was sure I would be intuitive.

F = Feeling (12) - again it puts me in the "slightly expressed feeling personality" category.  No surprise here - except that the number wasn't larger.  I'm closer to the thinking side than I imagine I would be.

P = Perceiving (33) which puts me in the "moderately expressed perceiving personality" category.  No problem in this area.

From the test site (found here) - there are several links where you can learn about your specific personality, career types, and famous people.  I almost did a little jig when I saw J.K. Rowling on the list.  I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw others which I'm way too nice to name here.  Also, counseling is on the list of careers for ISFP - which fits pretty well since I'm in the mental health field.  I have to say - I was a little disappointed to be in the sensing category.  However, with a score of 1 it pretty much means I teeter between sensing and intuition.  I felt a little better after reading this little tidbit - clearly I'm neither one or the other fully.  

What does this mean for crafting?  Well - I enjoy crafting alone and shopping alone.  I enjoy being with other people/friends in the store - but prefer quiet and solitude during the actual process.  I don't enjoy moving through a store together with people - it drives me a little nuts.  Due to the feeling and perceiving - it makes complete sense that journaling is a major focus when it comes to my pages.  I don't have a problem getting to the heart of the matter in written form.  I fit in the Artisan/Composer category which didn't feel like me at all when I read the description.  I'm missing something...I think.  Well long story short - take the test and listen to the podcast and tell me what you think.  I'm not sure what I think yet about the test.  I absolutely sure that I love the podcast!

On to other topics...specifically reading!  I finished this little gem.  Approximately 60 pages from the end, I almost threw it across the room but got over it by the end.  I'm going to use the word astounding to describe this book - but reserve the right to change it at any moment.  I wanted to quote a passage here that meant a lot to me.  The book begins with the two main character's graduation day and follows that same day over many years.  This is on that first day (but chronologically a LOT later in the book)...

"Live each day as it's your last,' that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that?  What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical.  Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference.  Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.  Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something.  Change lives through art maybe.  Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well.  Experience new things.  Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance."
Nicholls, David.  (2009).  One Day.  New York, NY: Vintage Books. 

I want to start by saying I love the word glandy.  I keep wondering what the American English equivalent is for the word glandy - I'm going with hormonal or bitchy depending on the day.  I read this paragraph and thought to myself, 'isn't that the truth.'  How genius to get that at the age of 21 or 22 instead of 34.  I can't recommend this book more.  All I can say is hang in there - no matter what.  I'm moving on to a new book a friend lent to me on the Nook Color.  I'm told it's hysterical so I really am super excited.  So that's it for today.  I hope everyone had a lovely Saturday!  Until then...

OMT:  I thought this book was astounding TODAY and could very well think it blows 2 months from now.  I gave a good review to this book and actually want to throw things at it when I see it on the bargain table at my local book store.  I even wanted to read the sequel - which I now think only hostile thoughts about.  Oh well - live and learn.  Just to say - tastes change and sometimes it's about where you are in that moment.  The basic gyst is...if you hate it, please don't hate me too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Treat Yourself

I'm a big, huge proponent of treating yourself to something nice.  I just don't like the guilt that comes with it when I go overboard and realize for the 1000th time - this really isn't in my budget and you can't eat crafting supplies.  Still...I think it's important to mark big accomplishments with fun stuff so I treated myself after four weeks of summer work and getting sick at the end to boot.  My reward (drum roll please my beastly kitty)...

Isn't it just beautiful?  40 watercolor crayons, 2 Stampington magazines, and one visual journal in the largest size possible.  Did I deserve it?  Well, since I was sick for two lovely weeks after my summer work - I would say yes.  This is the thing I have to remember - they're not in my house just to look at.   I didn't buy this reward as a accessory.  I have to use them.  God help me - you'd think I'd learned that lesson by now - but not so much.  They're just so darling.  Anyhoo...treat yourself - it's the one important nugget I want to give you here today.  It's important.  You're important.  I hope everyone has a happy Friday.  Until then...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Simple Gifts - Process of a Project.

I have a really simple project to share today.  It's inspired by the wonderful Nancy Nally and Paperclipping Roundtable.  In one of the early episodes - Nancy talked about stamping on Moleskine kraft covered notebooks.  It actually spun off into a pretty hilarious conversation about how to pronounce Moleskine properly with Izzy Hyman almost making me wet my pants.  I digress.  Anyhoo - I took this information to heart and made a little notebook for a dear friend.  Recently she commented that the notebook was almost full so I spent part of Sunday making a new one.  We're both bird lovers - so it's pretty easy to find products in this house.  So here it goes...the process of making a "simple gift."

Step One: This is the blank back cover of my Moleskine notebook.  I actually had started working when I remembered to take the photo.  If you're really brave - stamp directly on the cover.  I usually eff it up so it gets recovered with kraft paper or patterned paper or whatever the heck moves me.

Step Two: So I effed up on my first image (stamped directly on the cover) which gave me the opportunity to use this great paper line from My Mind's Eye.  It's a 6x6 pad which was pretty important for this cover due to the busyness of the pattern.  I recently said I wasn't going to buy these smaller paper pads anymore - but I was wrong - they really do have a function.  Let me just also say - I would bathe in these colors if I could.  They are that yummy.

Steps 3-4:  Since I didn't plan for this with a lot of clarity or forethought.  I don't have each picture stepped out perfectly.  Consequently - there are some pictures missing.  I started by stamping the image from Invoke Arts on every friggin color of paper imaginable and settled on white.  I might also add I started the project after spending two hours cursing the world trying to make just one card.  I then took a piece of paper - this one in particular and chose marker colors.  I have four different type of markers: Copics, Bics, Sharpies, and Tombows.  I love my Copics - but my wallet hates the heck out of them - so I have to mix it up pretty often.  This time was no exception.   I then colored the image.  Just a note - Sharpies are not acid free.  I don't care about that kind of thing - but if you do - be warned.

BTW: It was much easier to lay the stamp face up and place the paper on top.  Since it's pretty detailed and there is a large amount of black on it - it's hard for my crappy hands to get a good impression.  This really works for me.

Step 5-7: I love to layer so it went without saying that I was going to layer the image.  However - the first piece of paper didn't work because of the busyness of the background pattern.  So I layered it one more time - still it wasn't working.  So I broke out the white paper and magically I was satisfied.  I added a little piece of the doily paper to the notebook and then glued on my image.  Project done or so I thought...

Step 8-9: I had another great stamp from Invoke Arts.  I decided to stamp it on patterned paper and glue it to the inside cover.  I then took my random dot stamp from Invoke Arts and stamped it everywhere.  Still trying to figure out if I like the random dots.  It's sort of hard to read the sentiment now.  For those who wonder... it says; "Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."  Love it.

Step 10: I added my favorite saying to the back of the notebook for a laugh.  My friend is definitely NOT DRAINING MY WILL TO LIVE.  I just think the sentiment is hysterical.   This stamp and plenty of funny other sayings can be found at Too Much Fun Rubberstamps.

So there it is - one small conversation on one of the best podcasts ever and a great gift idea is born.  I need to make it for more than one person.  I need to trust the process.  I need to remember I can make artsy stamps work for me with bright colors and beautiful paper.  I need to remember it's okay.  I also need to remember things can go right after two hours of things going terribly wrong.  I need to remember not to give up on crafting because one part of it isn't working for me.  I just need to remember the things that help me push me through.  So here's to remembering.  I hope everyone has a lovely Thursday.  Only one more day to the weekend.  Gotta love that!  Happy crafting!  Until then...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Get Over it Already - Perfection in Cardmaking

I spent the summer completing a personal challenge on reading.  It went so well I'm extending it to the first quarter of the school year.  My goal is to read 5 books in 8 weeks.  I think it's doable - but we'll have to see.  I also made another challenge over the summer - to make 28 cards for Operation Write Home.  It's a wonderful organization that provides cards to soldiers.  If you're interested - please look at the card guidelines.  They are really important!  I also encourage you to look and see what kind of cards are needed currently here.   Also - I highly encourage and give you permission to NOT FREAK OUT when you read the following words...

"Do your best work! Our heroes are giving up so much for us and they deserve the very best we can create for them. Plus - as hard as it is to think about, it's possible your card may be the final communication between a hero and their loved ones at home...make sure it's the best work you know how to do, that it's on good cardstock that will last well in a scrapbook, and that everything's attached securely and won't fall apart. These cards may be heirlooms - so let's create some really beautiful ones!"

Let's just be clear...  I'm giving you permission because these words brought me to my knees.  I haven't moved since my 5th card and that was a month ago.  I have 23 to go and I HAVE to make this challenge.  So - I'm going to do my best to quiet that damn critic in my head and get to work.  Here's a look at my first five cards.  I keep on asking myself if their heirloom worthy or if they are good enough for someone's final communication with a loved one.  Someone help!  .

There are a few things I'm struggling with - mostly my inability to use thick buttons.  I have absolutely NO problem with the glitter rule.  I just need someone to come over and tell me to chill the eff out.  Maybe it doesn't matter so much what the card looked like - just that it was from a loved one far away.  I'm going to do my best on this challenge - no beating myself up.  You heard it hear ladies and gentleman (otherwise known as Poppi).  I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday.  Until then...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reading Corner - I Need Some Direction

So - I've changed the book I'm reading at least four times in the last seven days.  All of the books were good but I just couldn't get settled.  I'm blaming it on the unsettling time of year with school starting again when both anxiety and lunacy is on the rise.  However, it might be the symptom of a much larger issue - I don't seem to read as much during the school year.  I fully intend on this being the first year I kick that past practice in the face and get my reading on as much as effing possible.  So why this book?  To be honest - I started this book at the end of last school year and stopped.  The characters were kind of pissing me off.  Actually - the boy was really pissing me off.  Still...I've spent a lot of the last few days looking at this book on it's shelf thinking I should read it before the movie comes out - which is Friday.  I fully intend on it being my prize for this upcoming week.  So here it goes - another effing change.  I seem super hopeful, don't I?  I'm still working on Life is a Verb.  It's full of essays and I just can't seem to read it straight through.  I'm a friggin' mess over here.  Time to gear up!  I'm channeling Gibbs and getting on it!  I hope everyone has a lovely Tuesday.  Happy reading!  Until then...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Product Love - Move with It!

Product love for this week is dedicated to a few things that move.  I haven't been on a bike for literally 14 years - since my freshman year in college.  However - I'm obsessed with bicycle images and would kill to get my hands on one of those vintage style Schwinn bikes.  So - imagine my absolute glee when I found the stamp set below at My Favorite Things.  I must have it now!!!!

The next "move with it" product is from Practicing Creativity - a company I learned about from this wonderful magazine.  I have never and will never get on/in a hot air balloon.  However - I think they are beautiful.  I've been to a festival in the Midwest and was absolutely astounded at their beauty.  I've wanted some images for a while and love this set.

So that's it for today.  Wish me luck - it's a really big day for me.  I hope everyone has a great Monday and work week (for those of you grown up folks like me).  Speaking of grown up - check out Michelle Ward's website and creative coaching website/business that completely grasps the feeling of NEVER being fully "grown up."  Also check out her interview on the most recent episode of Craftcast.  I'll leave you on that note.  Take care.  Until then...

OMT (One More Thing) ~ I've added a gadget on the right sidebar (the one with the flower).  It's a personal challenge of mine.  I hope to make 28 cards by Labor Day for Operation Write Home.  I've made five so far.  I'm loving these little pledges of mine. I have yet to make a reading pledge for the first quarter of school.  I'll be thinking about that over the next few days.  There are technically nine weeks in a quarter so I'm thinking four or five - but that number isn't firm yet.  I'm also wondering if I should add bookzines - otherwise known as long magazines.  More things to add to the list to think about - fun things :).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Mother LOAD Update

Hello All!  I'm so excited to share something crafty finally.  I feel like I have a little explaining to do to all my readers (all five or six of you).  Right now - I'm really feeling creative and inspired.  However, it hasn't been in the arena of paper crafts.  I've been all about reading, writing, and decorating.  So...don't be surprised if things look a little different for a while.  If there's one thing I've learned over the past four years - it's to go where the inspiration takes you.

On to the Mother LOAD...A few days ago I was watching a video by crafty Lain Ehmann on BPC and she was talking about getting "caught up"; which in scrapbooking terms should be the equivalent of MF in my opinion.  Then I realized...I haven't been doing my assignments and I better get my ass in gear if I'm going to do the 26 layouts in 26 days.  NOT to mention I should probably figure out when that whole thing starts, get pictures ready, do the other assignments, etc.  Basically I need to light a fire under my rear.  So - I took Lain's dear advice and combined two assignments.  I combined my Holy Grail new products from Authentique and started a page with the journaling.  I feel like I cheated a little since the journaling came almost verbatim from a blog post - but got over that quickly.  Using my blog posts on my scrapbook pages is breaking new ground for me.  No guilt necessary - double arm pump essential.  So without further scrappy efforts.

This first photo is my finished layout with everything in it's place.  Almost every product is from Authentique - a very cool company with a rockin' focus on being green.  The only additions are decorative brads from SEI and Basic Grey and wooden buttons from Studio Calico.  The picture is from  I did some processing to it before having it printed.  Gotta love free pictures of hummingbird feeders when you're a girl like me.  

This photo shows the interactive parts of the layout - which is pretty much everything.  Both the large piece of patterned paper and the photo are connected to the background by a brad - making each section moveable.  The photo must be moved first then the large piece of patterned paper with the Jen Lemen quote.  You might be wondering why I chose to hide the journaling.  Frankly - it was a lot of journaling and I could not figure out a way to fit the picture and journaling on a 12 X 12 page.  I also loved the flower paper and just couldn't see covering it up with almost a full letter size page of paper - so I went with the hidden option.  It's not because it's too personal - it's just a story I wanted to document in more than one way.  I'm satisfied with the finished product.  No - I'm not satisfied - I'm ecstatic.  This is the byproduct of using the things I love.  Gotta feel good about that!

This week is a big week for me.  Work starts again and I have the perfect assignment to go with it.  The focus for this week is to be intentional and convey emotion.  This week is definitely bringing up some interesting emotions.  I'm starting at a new place.  I'm super excited, nervous, and a little trepidation.  All the normal emotions associated with embarking on a new journey.  Doesn't it just sound perfect!  I have some pics of my new office and I'm going to get a picture of my building.  The plan is to go digital for this layout.  Can't wait to see what happens.  So that's it for Sunday.  I guess I had a lot to say!  I hope everyone has a wonderful week.  Until then...

BTW:  The Big Idea Festival which is FREE starts tomorrow at BPC.  Sign up immediately if you're interested.

Home Base

 Image Linked with Love from

There are times when I feel like I need to leave my house because I need to clear my head - or I need to read and think about things.  Today I started wondering why this place - my home - isn't it (that place) for me.  I've been talking a lot with someone dear to me about making my place a home.  I'm the person who was living like traveling person - renting an apartment for a month before moving to another place.  It had been almost six years with nothing on the walls - and very few photos anywhere.  I was living in a place - but it wasn't a home.  And now that I've started to put up pictures and find little things to make this place mine - I'm wondering why I still need to leave this place to reboot.  Do I need to burn sage?  Do I need to buy more things?  

No - I don't think I need do any of that - unless the purchase is a perceived necessity like a headboard.  I just need to remember this is my home.  It's hard being away from the people you love - it's a fact.  However, it doesn't matter where the people you love are - as long as their with you in spirit, in your heart.  So I'm working hard on making this my home base - my place of peace.  Don't get me wrong - there is absolutely nothing wrong with hitting up places like these...

It's just start being comfortable in my own home - my own skin.  That's what's most important to me right now - in this moment.  So - instead of spending the day away from home catching up on favorite summer movies or reading a book at my second home, I'm going to be here.  I'm going to craft and read and make a plan for this little nook I have online.  I'm going to play with my new gelatos and watercolor crayons.  Tomorrow it all begins again - and this has got to be home base - not just the place I lay my head or watch Leroy Jethro Gibbs.  It's more than that - it's an extension of me, my life, what matters most.  So I leave you on that note - and one more thing...I know I promised crafty goodness and I'm getting there.  I made a page last night from a blog post that I'm pretty darn proud of which will be going up sometime today.  So - don't fear - the craftiness will be back here soon.  Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday.  Until then...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reading Corner - Save Me

I don't think it's any big secret that the last 11 months and more have been a struggle.  I struggle with a chronic illness and the multiple side effects that go along with being heavily medicated to make sure your immune system stops beating you up.  It's so interesting to me - because it's so easy to be beat up by the person that's supposed to be in your corner - you.'s possible in so many different ways - physically and emotionally.  At least that's how I felt 98% of the time - until I started to read an author named Brene' Brown.  I chose the book mainly due to Ali Edwards endorsement.

Original Source

I know it sounds corny to the highest degree - but this book gave me the magic I needed in that moment.  Throughout the book, I kept on latching to the word shame.  It's not a big part of the book.  It's one of Dr. Brown's research focuses - shame and guilt.  I feel like I possess these emotions in spades - which led me to her first book.

Original Source

To say this book rocked my world is not nearly descriptive enough.  This book is the moment when the fog started to clear.  I actually started recognizing my shame triggers and speaking up for myself.  I started to remind myself that it is okay - no one and nothing is perfect.  I started to get back some of my own power.  And even now - when I'm scared or anxious or someone has said that thing that brings me to my knees - I know everything will be okay even if it's in a very tiny part of my being.  I know it seems silly.  I don't want anyone to think two books turned my life around totally.  I had a lot of help from multiple sources - but I know these books were part of my journey.  They still are part of the journey.  To be perfectly honest, there are still days were I forget and would love nothing more than to sit in my pajamas on my couch and watch a NCIS marathon with a bucket of sweets right next to me - some days I still do that.  And that's okay too.  "Life is a journey not a destination."  If you struggle at all with shame, guilt, imperfection - run to your nearest book store or computer to find these books.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday.  Until then...

BTW: For those of you who are wondering when the heck I'm going to post something craft related - no worries.  I will be hitting the crafts hard once the trainings and meetings stop and I have a few extra days before summer break is over and all I'll hear are the words GO.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Product Love - Say Cheese!

I have the absolute cutest nephew in the world.  He can be happy, sad, or ready to tantrum and you can say two words - say cheese - and he is smiling and all is right with the world.  He is the best thing ever.  So imagine my total glee when I walk into my local Archivers hoping to find the perfect linen scrapbook album and find this Lawn Fawn stamp set instead.

And let's just put this little gem with this piece of paper from Echo Park's Playground line.  The purchase of this piece of paper is a complete example of how crafty collecting can turn into something you never imagined.  I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with this paper when I first put it into my basket - and now look how it's perfect for a totally different purchase.  

I've found bliss.  I can't wait to play with this stamp set and images.  It seems to have infinite possibilities at this point.  It can be used on cards, layouts, mini projects, home decor, and the list goes on.  If you're sitting there thinking I've lost it take a look here for some crafty examples - they're under the product image.  There's an additional product titled Say Cheese, Too which I must get my hands on - but at a later date.  So that's it for today.  Short and sweet for me.  I hope everyone has a great Monday.  I'm looking at a very long day - the jury's still out on whether it's a good thing or not.  Until then...

BTW: I just found out something interesting - if you search for Lawn Fawn Stamps Say Cheese on google and click on the images link on the left-hand side - you can find more examples here.  So cool.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Template Love

I have a story to tell - a big story.  It means a lot to me and somehow I'm having the hardest time finding the words.  I wanted to publish this post on Wednesday - wrote it and hated it.  It's the equivalent of that big scrapbook story you want to tell but just can't get right or the holy grail product you're afraid to use.  However, I will not let the fear of getting the story wrong keep me from writing and posting.  There is no way to get it wrong, right? it goes.  If you've read my last post - you know I've been going through a difficult time which is getting better by leaps and bounds with the occasional setback.  I haven't been doing a lot of the things I use to love including reading blogs for hours and looking for that perfect piece of inspiration.  Fortunately - in the last few weeks - I was reading one of the first blogs I ever read recently by the loveable, talented Cathy Zielske and found what I'm currently calling the mother load.  What did I find?  I found Instagram templates.  If you don't have an iPhone - you might not know what I'm talking about.  Instagram is a wonderful little picture app that allows you to manipulate photos in the most interesting ways.  They come out in these little perfect squares that should never be altered to 4 X 6 under any circumstances - learned that the hard way.  Or - maybe I'm just not handy enough to clean up the image. So to make a very long story short - these templates were a highlight of my summer - maybe even my life (just kidding).  So without further ado, I give you two of the four templates you can find at Designer Digitals.

 Template no. 89 linked with love from original source

 Template no. 90 linked with love from original source

There are two additional templates (87 and 88) in 12 X 12 size for those of you with large format printers or handy enough to find a way to print out high quality large digital pages with ease.  I envy you so much.  So if you're like me - a template is a great thing made even more wonderful by an example...and who better to show the wonderfulness that are these templates than the creator herself - Mrs. Cathy Zielske.

 Layout linked with love from original source

I took a very long time making my own examples - which I will share in just a moment - and instantly feel in love.  I have to confess...I didn't just use Instagram photos.  I believe some might be Hipstamatic and for the second layout - I used movie poster images.  So let's just point out the mad amounts of versatility available through these lovely templates.

I used the templates developed by Cathy Zielske and the Stella Ruby Digital Starter Kit on both of these digie layouts.  I love both.  I got my first iPhone at Christmas time - so I spent mounds of time taking pictures and these templates were a perfect way to document events.  The first layout is my FIRST ever Christmas layout and I love it because it's just my style.  So before I go and overthink this post even more - I want to list of a few my favorite things about these templates and Cathy.

*They are versatile and so easy to use.  

*They cater to my needs for journaling the everyday moments - even when they're big events like Christmas or blessing my sister's new union with her wonderful husband.

*They finally give me an option to use for those little, lovely Instagram photos.  I really don't think that can be beaten.  

*They're by Cathy Zielske who/whom is a huge part of how and why I scrapbooked.  She helped me with design and see the cool element of scrapbooking.  She made it real with her two books on clean and simple scrapping found here and here.  I've read the second book so much it's falling apart - which should not be seen as a lack of quality but the overwhelming attention I've given it.  I hope that helps you understand how much I love it.

*Cathy is a cool person with mega talent and a willingness to share her life - both good and bad.  I admire that so much.  She is one of the few scrapbookers that taught me it is okay to tell the hard stories.

*Her style is beautiful and graphic.  Despite being less clean and graphic nowadays - I still feel her influence on my pages.  

I could say so much more - I just love Cathy and these templates.  She has a free template titled InstaLove found here.  Absolutely take a look when you have time.  So that's it for now.  Look for some Product Love on Monday.  I hope everyone has a nice Saturday.  I'm staying inside today - trying to relax.  Until then...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic?

Source Image - Morgue File

More than four months ago - on March 29, 2011 - I wrote a post with a quote from a book that is dear to me, Creative is a Verb.  Here is that quote.

"There are moments when you absolutely need someone to show up like magic, not because you need something nice, but because you need your world view transformed.  You need hope to be born in you.  You need to know in one moment that someone believes in you.  You need a kindness midwife to hold the space so you can show up like magic for someone else the next time around..."
--Jen Lemen (Quote is from Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh; pg. 91)

Although it's not THE date that marks my complete and utter unraveling - it is a foreboding of what is to come.  The next day - the day of my birth - I was in such a dark place that I couldn't remember the date.  I had to ask a friend standing next to me.  There are no words for the days that followed even after magic came in the embodiment of my father.  And I feel like, after all this time, it's coming together today.  The day I finished my Summer Reading Pledge -  the day I finished this gem.  I feel more like myself than I have in a long time.

The book is all about the hardships of life and how it's possible to get through them and really live life to the fullest - with mistakes, fears, and triumphs.  Patti Digh (who definitely rocks my world) has another book titled Life is a Verb and for some reason I've never been able to get through it and now I think I know why.  I wasn't ready for it.  My unraveling was so complete and debilitating - I couldn't see forward or think about anything other than surviving the next thing - the next moment - the next second.  And after reading this book and going through the last 11 and a half months - I know one thing for sure.  Life is a verb and it's not enough just to survive it - it must be lived, bare-knuckled if necessary.  It seems fortuitous that I would choose this book as the last book in my summer reading pledge - which in some ways has felt like a journey back to myself.  In the end - I am overcome by the themes of forgiveness, love, passion, acceptance, and perseverance...and I feel more attuned with the person I've always been.  It makes it so simple to choose my next book.  The book I feel I'm finally ready to read - the book in between the next pledge.  So here are a few things about me that I want to remember always...

*I'm a reader.  I love to read books.  I love to get lost in new worlds.  I love to learn new things.  Life feels better with a book in the hand or purse or work bag.  I never leave home without one and I never will.  I will love books my entire life and it's time to make them a priority in my life despite what time of year it is - working or not.

*I'm a writer.  I've always loved to write.  I let my chronic illness and the damage it's done to my hands rob me of a lot of weeks and months I could have been at the computer or with a pen in my hand journaling.  I have found writing to be a comfort and a healer in times of strife and I will no longer allow my love for words to be hijacked by crappy hands.

*I'm a blogger.  I love this little place.  I love it despite the fact I have very few readers.  I love it because it's a place I can be myself - where I can speak my truth.  I love this little space.  I will not give up on it.

*I'm creative.  I struggle with the word artist - but I will get there eventually.  The truth is...I'm not an artist in the traditional sense.  However, I'm creative and I express it from a very real, authentic place that I hardly ever am able to access or harness.

*I'm a movie lover.  In fact - I plan on hitting three movies today as a sort of celebration that I survived the throat/upper respiratory infection of the summer of 2011.  I can't wait to see these three films - I'll report there names later.

*I love to laugh.  I love to be with friends and hear funny stories and just let go.  It's been a long time since I've able to do that with any sense of security.

*I'm an introvert.  I need time to reboot.  It's who I am.  I cannot be "on" all the time - and that's okay.  I have plenty of wonderful things to help me reboot.

*I'm a dog-lover.  I have a cat.  I love her more than anything.  She has gotten me through some very rough patches.  I will always love her and she will be with me until one of us is no longer.  However, I need a dog.  I feel it in my bones.  I'm declaring here and now - I will have a dog next summer - hopefully a frenchie or a boston terrier.  Who knows?

*I'm a numbers girl.  I'm always adding things up - time, dates, years, everything.  I've done it less lately but I'm driven by numbers.  It's a little weird but I'm more than happy to own it.

*I'm a believer.  I believe in magic.  I believe in the power of God to change all things.  I believe I can make a difference.  I will try to always remember that making a difference can be the smallest thing like the butterfly flapping it's wings on one side of the world.  It doesn't have to be the life transforming, all-encompassing event that I use to believe it needed to be to really matter.

*I'm a survivor.  I have survived loss, chronic illness, and a host of other things.  I will survive and more importantly - I will live.

*I'm a lover.  I love my family.  I love my friends. I love my diva, banshee, bad-ass cat.  I love the children I work with each day.  I love...

And with that - I end this post.  Times are changing around here and the hope is palpable in the air in this little abode of mine.  I promise something crafty in the days to come.  I apologize for not getting my promised post out yesterday.  Turns out the subject of this post is like those scrapbook stories you're too scared to tell for fear of getting it wrong.  I don't want to get it wrong.  Tomorrow - look for a final post on my Summer Reading Pledge.  I hope everyone has a lovely Thursday.  Until then...

BTW: On a completely other note - I'm frustrated.  Our bloggy mascot (the aforementioned crazy cat lovingly known as Tonks) is behind the LCD television standing up rubbing her head against a picture frame and looking at me as if to say bring it.  Deep breaths.  Double arm pump.  Let the craziness begin.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reading Corner - Outliers

This week's unofficial theme is the little or big things that are currently rocking my world.  I just (literally twenty minutes ago) finished reading Outliers and was blown away as usual by the amount of information Mr. Malcolm Gladwell can pack into one little book.  Blink is still my absolute favorite title of Mr. Gladwell's - but still Outliers was wonderful - a gift really.  Here are the five highlights of the book from my perspective...

1.  Hard work is NOT always the only explanation for the success of others.
2.  There are a number of contributing factors and even cultural influences shaping the success of others.
3.  10,000 hours - read the book to find out more.  I know it's a bit cruel to say but the read is just SO worth it.
4.  Hard work is absolutely necessary for success BUT it is by no means the only thing.
5.  Community is everything.

I'm not sure Malcolm would agree with my five favorite points - but they're mine and I own it.  I want to say something - I'm not a non-fiction girl.  I do not make it a habit to read books on success or choice or epidemics - but put this man's name on the title and I will pull out my debit card in a New York minute.  Amazing.  He rocks my world.  Not only that - it also means I'm ready to start my last book to fulfill my summer pledge and it's going to be an easy fun read with a perfect title if I say so myself.  It's on my Nook so it'll take some getting used to after reading several traditional books.  I'm giving myself a week on this one too.  I'm so happy this has been working out so well.  So without further ado - the next title is (drumroll please Roo Bear aka Tonks)...

Tomorrow - I should have a short update on how my new book is going but that is far from the main event.  I will be showing a scrappy product that rocked my world the moment I saw it.  I plan on purchasing said products today and giving them a little try before writing my post.  Absolutely can't wait.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday and comes back tomorrow for the next thing that's been rocking my world.  Until then...
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