Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reading Corner - A Little Lost Yet Again

Very quick post on reading.  Very long post on my life RIGHT NOW.  I love Rice Freeman-Zachary.  Rice is pronounced like Lisa by the way - with a R.  I can't find a way to put those little dots on the E.  This is all about art retreats and I must admit I have desperately wanted to attend Art Fest for a few years now.  I love the idea of this book and have found her previous books to be very good.  I'm just waiting to decide if it's coming home with me.  Big decisions...I know.

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The last couple of days haven't been so hot.  I haven't been feeling well and am feeling myself slip a little.  I'm not waking up with that pep in my step.  I'm waking up with the water behind my eyes and a headache from being SO tired...and you know what?  That's okay.  There will be ups and downs.  Sometimes I"m going to feel like crap and the week is going to look long and somehow insurmountable.  I must remember this - life will move forward.  This thing I'm dealing with is not some linear line - it's like an echo cardiogram - there are ups and downs.  And that is effing okay.  I also need to remember the little things...I cannot spend two days outside of my house on the weekends.  It sets me up for stress and frustration during the week.  I didn't score a 67 on the introvert side for nothing.  It's okay to say no to some outings without the guilt.  I want to yell to myself - IT IS OKAY.  Life isn't easy.  No one promised it would be.  It's worth it on most days and I love what I do now.  The positives outweigh the negatives - I just need to remember to relax.  Lord please help me do that.  I hope everyone has a rockin' Tuesday.  Be gentle with yourself.  Until then...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Layout Love - Sketchy Sunday

Another Sunday - a long weekend - and I can't believe I decided to be crafty at 9:00 in the evening.  This is going to be a quick post.  It would be nice to get more than 5 hours of sleep for one night before work.  We'll see.  I took another sketch from Shimelle - have I mentioned how much I admire her - and made my definition of a "simple" layout.  Let's start with the sketch shall we!

Source Image: Shimelle Laine
Love the layout.  Love the little circles.  Didn't manage to put them on my layout.  I shifted the layout a little.  I had horizontal photos and not nearly enough space to journal below them.  I like the end result - despite a lot of emptiness on the left side that drives me a little crazy.  Maybe I love it so much because it reminds me of a time of renewal spent with one of my favorite people.  Maybe that could be my OLW for this upcoming year - Renewal.  Moving on...

Patterned Paper: American Crafts & Studio Calico; Stickers: American Crafts: Letters: American Crafts; Embellishments: American Crafts & My Mind's Eye; Journaling Spot: Unknown
Allow me a little explanation of the origins of the layout.  First of all - I have no idea where that wooden flower button came from.  It's not on the layout.  Sheesh!  I just noticed it!  Man alive I'm a hot mess.  Anyhoo - I refuse to get up and take another picture and hook it up to my computer.  It's 11:00 at night!  I digress...when my Dad was here in the Spring we spent a lot of time purging and organizing.  This included getting rid of a huge chunk of my personal library and disassembling my magazines to pick out my favorite articles.  I bought 100 sheet protectors from one of my favorite stores and put the articles in three binders.  It's a practice I'm going to need to do regularly.  I love the end result.  Less stuff.  Less stress.  Hope everyone had an outstanding weekend.  Until then...

BTW: Unless something MAJOR happens - I will not be posting a new product tomorrow.  I'm tapped out of new products.  I'm almost scared to say it.  However...I assure you - product love will be back soon!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Product Love - Stampy Goodness

Tonight I was reintroduced to a hard truth - I can't seem to be involved in two hobbies at one time.  I tried to make a card for the Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger - which is just gorgeous.  I couldn't do it.  Everything was pissing me off.  The way things stamped.  The paper I chose.  I hated it all.  So what's a girl that loves cardmaking and scrapbooking to do?  Well...I believe it's time to dedicate a product love post to all things stampy.  I know it's a made up word - but I love it.  Maybe this will be the jump start I need.  I just don't want to give up my scrappy momentum in the process. it goes.

Friends United: Source Image

LULU loves POPPIES: Source Image

LULU's MORNING FIX: Source Image

Lulu's TWO PIES: Source Image
So everyone knows I love Stamping Bella and most of their Lulu Collection stamps.  She's just so cute and lends herself to so many ethnicities and races.  It's the thing I love most about Stamping Bella and My Favorite Things.  So imagine my surprise and glee when I learned of Lulu's new collection - Uptown Girls.  Here are four of my favorites.


Uptown Girls CLARISSA and CAMILLE with a CAFE: Source Image

Uptown Girl VICTORIA and JULIETTE'S NIGHT OUT: Source Image

So I figured it out and if I wanted to buy every single one of these stamps it would be approximately $91.  If I added this lovely stamp I've wanted for several months - it would be $98.  Add shipping to those amounts and it's $95 and $103.  You know what - I think it would be totally worth it if it got my cardmaking mojo moving again.  I just want to be able to do two paper crafts at once without feeling like one blows more than hunchback whales.  Is it really that hard?  Yes, for me it is, and that's okay.  The bigger question is...will I buy all of these stamps in a little over five days or wait a little while...only time will tell.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday.  Until then...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Scrappy Fun

Last night I spent a lot of time telling my stories.  I loved it.  I felt pretty crappy most of the day due to some milk products I love but my body clearly doesn't.  However, in the evening I was feeling well enough to sit in my crafty chair and bang out some crafty goodness.  I used a sketch, starting point, and layout inspiration from a new book I ordered from Amazon.  So without further ado...let the scrappiness begin.

First up is Shimelle's lovely starting point from yesterday.  I love this new series and find it far more inspiring than a sketch.  I'd love to do more of that around here (on this humble blog of mine).  I just noticed she provides dimensions which I really don't give a flying hoot about  - which is a real departure from my typical crafty perfection craziness.

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Here's my interpretation of the starting point.  I love this paper from Garden Cafe.

Products - Patterned Paper, Tags, Stickers, and Flair Button: American Crafts; Scallop Border Sticker: Crate Paper; Journaling Block: October Afternoon; Pen: Pilot Precise Extra Fine
I had a real hard time placing the journaling block - but I think it ended up okay.  If you'd like to read the journaling, click on the photo for a ginormous picture of the layout.  So on to the sketch...

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Another lovely sketch from the wonderful Shimelle Laine.  She is giving me a whole new education on the art of layering and I love it!  Here is my interpretation of this sketchy goodness.

Products: Patterned Paper: American Crafts & Crate Paper; Die Cuts & Stickers: American Crafts: Chipboard Stickers: Crate Paper: Letters: American Crafts Thickers: Pen: Pilot Precise Extra Fine.
After doing two Shimelle inspired layouts, I decided to give my new book from Creating Keepsakes a try.

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I used a layout from the wonderful Jen Jockish as inspiration...And finally came up with this layout.  I have to be honest.  I'm not sure I like it which has NOTHING to do with the inspiration.  I just didn't get a chance to tell the story well.  This has been a theme in my last few layouts - telling the story well.  Maybe I need to start being more deliberate in my journaling instead of free flowing.  Something in me hates the idea of that - but really, it's the story that matters most to me.

Products: Patterned Paper: Echo Park Paper; Letter Stickers: October Afternoon & Webster's Pages; Die Cuts & Chipboard Stickers: Crate Paper; Pen: Pilot Precise Extra Fine

So that's it for today my crafty friends.  I'm making myself quite late for brunch by writing this post.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday.  Blessings all around.  Until then...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quote Love, Confessions, and High Anxiety!

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Kathleen Kelly: [writing to "NY152"] "Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void." 

I'm a quotes girl - no question about it.  I love them to little itty bitty pieces.  There are so many quotes in this movie that are just outstanding - mostly from Tom Hanks in my opinion.  However, when I heard this quote in You've Got Mail from Kathleen Kelly - I thought that's me.  I lead a small life.  My belief on it's wellness and value depends on a number of different variables.  I often wonder if I've been brave or just gone through the motions.  And I do wonder if it should be the other way around at times.  Should I be living the life I read about in books or see on television or even dream up in my head?  Like her, I don't really want an answer.  It's just something to consider.

So where did all this cosmic questioning come from?  Well...I've started a new book - one of my Borders Closing Sale buys.  It's a second book in a series and I'm loving it already. 

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I'm only on page 14 - but there's a reference to a small life and it made me think of You've Got Mail and Kathleen Kelly and my own small, meager life.  And maybe that's the truth of it - maybe most people's lives are small yet meaningful with value and goodness sprinkled in amongst the reality and muck.  Maybe that's the truth of it - maybe that's the truth for me.  So - I'm loving this book so far and felt the need to say it - right the heck now.  

In other news...despite being less than happy about the new fad of classics with supernatural elements, I loved this book.

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Illinois has a soft place in my heart and I'm pretty sure there are people out there that would say this book was sacrilege, however, I found it to be quite entertaining and a great read.  Far better than the previous book I read with a supernatural bent, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Highly acclaimed, highly recommended by friends and my favorite book club and... highly disliked by yours truly.  The truth is - I don't like reading classics.  It's plain and simple - adding zombies to the mix doesn't change my feelings in the slightest.

Moving on - I don't think I've kept my struggles the last several months a secret on this blog.  And here I am again.  It's hard to remind yourself there will be good days and bad days.  Days you can't wait to leave your house and do something fun and be with loads of people - and days you want to crawl into the fetal position in a dark, warm, safe place in your house.  And that's absolutely okay.  Sometimes I'm going to disappoint people. Sometimes I'm going to disappoint myself.  However, some days I will soar.  That's what matters in the end.  So...make the decision, suffer the consequences, but don't waste time worrying.  The people that love you understand the struggle and the people that don't will forgive you eventually.  

My mom always says, "don't let people rent space in your head for free."  It's such a hard concept to understand or even embody when you feel like you're letting people down - but taking care of yourself is the priority.  Knowing your limits is essential.  I believe I've hit mine today - and solitary journeys are all I can handle.  It is okay.  Life isn't perfect.  No one said it would be.  Just keep swimming.  There's always another opportunity tomorrow - at least I hope there is.  And the honest to God truth life is better than it's been in a decade and that's what matters - even if it is really small.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday.  I think I'll be taking a solitary journey and using everything in my arsenal to deal with my high anxiety.  It is okay - just keep swimming.  Until then...

Update: I've completely given up on finishing 26 layouts.  It's just a very hard time of the year to have the energy to do a layout every evening.  However - I have regained my enthusiasm for telling my story which was which was always the main point - so score one for me.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Product Love - Throwback Style

I want to make an attempt at a quick post today.  I wanted to bring back a few products from previous Product Love/CHA Madness posts and show what kinds of things I do with these little products I love so much.  So... first up...

This product from Fancy Pants Designs came out at the Winter 2011 CHA show.  I bought up the entire line when I found it at Archivers in the Winter/Spring and used it for the first time TODAY on layout #10 for LOAD.  I'm clearly a hot mess using product 6 months after buying it.  If you're interested in the original product love post - it can be found here.  So without further ado - a page on our beastly mascot.

Almost every product is from Fancy Pants Designs excluding the camera die cut from Amy Tangerine's line for American Crafts and the brads from the Stella Rose line at My Mind's Eye.  Love this glamour shot of the crazed animal living in my home.  Love the layout so much.  The $1 embellishment is an inside joke.

On to the the next products from Crate Paper found in a recent post here.  I love these products.  I ordered them recently from Two Peas and got them so quick. I highly recommend their products and customer service.

I decided to do this layout #11 for LOAD on a turning point in my life last spring.  It was the point where things started to come together and I finally started to feel more like me again.  I hope to never forget it.  Once again, I feel like I didn't get the story quite right.  However, it was a day I did a lot of journaling - so the story is in my little owl.  So here it is...

I'm struggling with pictures again - as usual.  I can't put on the flash without getting a glare off the picture.  I'm working on it.  All of the products are from Crate Paper excluding the number paper from My Mind's Eye Lime Twist Line and the  Thickers from American Crafts.  So there it is... Product Love in a new way.  I hope everyone has a lovely Monday.  Until then...

OMT: I'm behind on LOAD - but I'm not worrying about it.  It's the end result that matters.  I WILL have 26 layouts on the 26th day of this month.  I might be the tortoise - but I'll get there.

Edited at 5:17 pm: OMG!!!! I forgot to say the 2nd layout was inspired by this sketch on Shimelle Laine's blog.  Love so much what she does.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memoriam

Source Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Barak Obama at the Ground Zero Memorial

Monday, September 5, 2011

LOAD - Alternative Scrapbooking

Another day, another layout - and I'm loving it.  To be perfectly honest - I'm loving my life right now which is unbelievable in a way that words cannot express.  I'm happy in this moment - and that's huge for me after the last few years I've had.  I think it's partially because I'm being creative - telling my story.  I'm not getting hung up on the "big" things like not being married or having kids.  I'm not questioning whether my life is "worth" scrapbooking or my audience.  I know who it is - me.  I am worth it and that is enough- what a phenomenal shift.

So what the hay does this have to do with LOAD?  I'm happy to be creating each day and I really credit this class and other new circumstances in my life.  So - on to today's challenge.  Mondays are titled "Mother May I" by my scrap happy teacher Lain Ehmann.  This Monday's assignment - scrap an alternative page.  Do the thing you normally wouldn't do.  Now let's be clear - you don't have to follow the assignment.  You can do whatever you want - but Lain is an evil genius.  At the end of each assignment she suggests trying the assignment if you're feeling any "resistance."  So let's just say - I was feeling a little resistance and I decided to take Lain at her word and give it a try.  I started with something new I found on Shimelle Laine's blog - it's a starting points "challenge" for each week.  This week's starting point was really a lesson in layering (even for a girl that loves to pile it on like me).  Shimelle has started to post the starting point on Saturdays and her finished layout on Sundays.  Have I mentioned how much I love her blog!

Source Image 

I knew from the beginning I would not be doing a 12 x 12 page - which broke my heart a little.  I decided to go with a standard 8 1/2 x 11 page and put it in a horizontal orientation - something I did when I first started scrapbooking.  I have to say - I like rocking the square much better than the rectangle.  I wish I would have thought about it and taken a picture at the starting point stage - but I didn't so here's the finished project.

It's been a long time since I've done a page on the boys.  I love these dogs so much and they are too far away from me.  I haven't seen them in almost 20 months - not that I'm counting or anything.  It just sucks.  I miss seeing them - even if it was only once or twice a year.  I really am happy with the finished product despite it being outside my comfort zone.  However, it was nice to go back to a somewhat familiar place.  I don't have any grids in this size paper so I was "forced" to go with a solid gray background.  I think it worked out okay.  Let me give a quick product run down.  Papers are from Archivers (gray), My Mind's Eye (Stella Rose) and Authentique.  The embellishments/brads/stickers are from My Mind's Eye and American Crafts.  The journaling card and letter stickers (Thickers) are from American Crafts too.  I have no idea where the flowers are from - sorry.

So that's it for today.  I tried something new.  I layered like nobody's business.  I participated in a challenge.  I knocked out Layout #5 for the Mother LOAD.  I took a trip to Borders (my third) and don't intend to go back.  I wish I would have thought about that more when I was there today.  It's just a little hard.  I know it sounds lame - to be broken up about a store closing - but I am and that's just it.  So - I hope everyone has had a nice Monday.  I'm looking forward to work tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to crafting tomorrow.  I'm looking forward - I can barely believe it.  It's so great.  Anyhoo - Until then..

LOAD - So Much for Basic

I thought about starting this post with a whole thing about Labor Day - but then I realized - it's not celebrated everywhere.  So - here's just a quick Happy Labor Day to those of you that celebrate this day otherwise known as my first three day weekend of the school year.  Moving on...I would love to say I finished Day 4 on Day 4 - and trust me it was the right day and time in another place - on the west coast even.  So let's just go with it.

Part of the LOAD process includes weekly structure.  Sundays are designated as a day for getting back to basics. Initially - I thought about going back to some of my first layouts where I was more fearless and didn't care about any "rules."  I decided against that - the thought of some of those layouts make me cringe - and went back to what I learned in Finding Your Way and from Ali Edwards book, Life Artist.  Words and photos is all I need - right?  Not so much.

This is my "basic layout" and I have no idea what came over me.  It doesn't feel like me at all.  I got inspiration from a layout in a magazine - which I ran with.  I'm not sure how I came up with this finished product and I'm not sure I like it.  It didn't do the story justice.  The great thing about the digital age is that I still have the picture and the opportunity to tell the story in another way...the harlequin pattern on it's side is driving me CRAZY!  This is what you get when you do a layout at 11:00 pm with Men in Black on in the background - craziness.  I'm all over the place here.

So - let's talk products.  This layout is almost all Echo Park all the time in terms of paper.  The buttons are from a friend.  The scallop border sticker is also Echo Park.  The flowers are Prima and Heidi Grace. The letters are from Bo Bunny and Webster's Pages.  Last but not least - the word stickers are from Making Memories - I'm not sure they make these anymore.  I actually used them to cover up journaling from a teal pen that had dried out without my knowledge.  I think I might need to sit down and look at this layout and do an autopsy - figure out where I went wrong.  I already know a few things.  Hey - maybe that can be a weekly post - layout autopsy.  We'll see.  

I hope everyone has a lovely Monday wherever you are at in the world.  I hope it brings joy and a day off work.  I plan on hitting Borders for the third time in as many days and stopping by Target.  Big fun over here.  Until then...

BTW: If there was one class in the world I would encourage everyone to take, it would be Finding Your Way by Karen Grunberg.  Challenges and structure are fun - but knowing what you really want from your pages is priceless!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

LOAD it Up - Day 2 and 3

Being the ever relaxed person I am - imagine this said with the utmost sarcasm - I was completely okay when I slept through the evening and did not even get a chance to start on Day 2's layout.  So...after waking up at 1 a.m. on Day 3, I took a deep breath and remembered it is okay.  It is okay to be one day off - the goal is to have 26 layouts within 26 days and I'm sorry but life is going to get in the way.  Fridays seem to be the wild, wild west in my new daily home - so I'm okay with doing two layouts on a Saturday.  I figure if it were a true marathon - I just went really slow on Day 2.  Good enough for me.  So without further ado, my layout for Day 2 completed on Day 3.

This is my beautiful sister and she cracks me the hell up.  She is sophisticated, articulate, and stylish - and there are times I'm blown away by the things that come out of her mouth.  I think she feels the same way about me.  I made a lot of changes on this layout.  I basically started it over after figuring out I liked the flower paper more than the original pattern I had chosen.  I'm a little foggy on products.  The pink paper is Crate Paper.  The flowered paper, background paper, and teal photo mat is  from Echo Park.  The brad embellishments are from My Mind's Eye.  The remaining embellishments are from American Crafts.  The washi tape and date stamp is from K&Company.

Next up - Day 3 of the Mother LOAD...I did not get the email prompt for this day and was a little frantic.  I finally just decided to do a layout and it actually ended up being pretty close to the prompt.  Imagine that.    We were supposed to make these product bags with 4 different elements in each Ziploc baggie - but I just couldn't do it.  It's not the way I do things - I have Karen Grunberg to thank for that realization.  So - I didn't follow that missive and the sky didn't fall down.  Not to mention, I think my layout turned out pretty good.

I could almost copy the paragraph from above for products.  The date stamp is K&Company, the brad embellishments is My Mind's Eye.  The stickers, dimensional sticker, and wood grain paper are from American Crafts.  The rest of the paper and journaling card is from Crate Paper.  The button spool is from Pink Paislee.  Seeing a thread here in my product usage.  I'm using brand new product - I need to jump into my stash a little more.  So - that's it for today.  It's late and time to go to bed after a day with friends eating yummy Greek food and cupcakes.  Such a good Saturday.  Hope everyone's having a great weekend.  Until then...

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Mother LOAD - Day One

So I did it!  I made my first layout late into the night after a long nap - but I did it.  I have to say - it feels pretty good.  Not much to report beyond the layout.

All of the products are from Amy Tangerine's new line with American Crafts minus a button and brad flower from the Stella Rose Line at My Mind's Eye.  I also want to everyone to take note that I messed up on the camera stamped in the lower right corner and just went with it.  I even liked the sketchy effect. Something must be in the water.

One more thing...since I have you here....I recently did a layout based on Sketch 250 on Pencil Lines challenge blog.

So here's my take on the layout.  I could not do the pendants for my life - I almost gave up.  I thought about cursing the world.  I decided to just move forward and not sweat the fact that I'm not a pendant girl.  It is okay.

I'm not sure about where all of these products are from - I'm sad to say.  The vacation card is Studio Calico and there is some hidden journaling behind it - notice the brad from Basic Grey.  The flowers are Prima and some other company - I was using older product.  All paper (excluding background) is My Mind's Eye - Lime Twist.  The balloon is from Echo Park and the stamp is Tim Holtz.  I think the background paper is from Crate Paper - but don't quote me.  I'm sorry my information is foggy.  It is 12:25 in the morning here and I combined older products with new stuff.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday.  For my part - I will probably post Day 2 & 3 of the Mother LOAD challenge on Saturday.  Hope you have a chance to take a look.  Until then...

BTW: I was surprised to find a prompt email on the BPC site today - should make the layouts a little easier.  Hopefully there won't be any prompts about kids since I don't have any.  Also - I'm excited to announce I have more yummy product coming for the LOAD so I just HAVE to keep going. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day One - In My Own Head

Source Image: Morgue File

The high number of rebellious thoughts about LOAD in the last 24 hours is leading me to believe I might have lost it a little.  I have went back and forth about doing the LOAD challenge and it seems I'm never sure about what I'm going to do.  The thing is...

*I signed up and paid for this class because it's what I wanted.

*A girl is allowed to change her mind.

*It would waste my gift certificate I used on this class!

*I was unsure about taking the class from the beginning.

*I'm an introvert.  I need some kind of task to do to stay in contact with the human world - even if it's on the computer.

*It will keep my mind off work.  I need to learn that turning off thing others do so well.

*I don't want to do it.  I'm tired when I get home.  Please imagine this being said in an upset toddler voice.

The truth is - I need the structure and I'm going to take it one day at a time.  No stress.  No anxiety.  One layout at a time.  The only thing that matters is one layout at a time.  There will be NO PENALTIES for missing a day.  If it causes too much stress and anxiety - I'm out.  However, I'm giving this thing a try.  I'm doing my first layout TODAY.  I might not nap for the next 26 days - not a bad thing.  It's time to LOAD up.  Can you hear the excitement in my voice?  Hope everyone has a great Thursday.  Until then...

OMT: The cat in the pic is not our beastly mascot.  She might act like that - I just am not lucky enough to have a picture of it! :)
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