Friday, May 31, 2013

June Daily and Other News

Another hiatus from my happy little blog as complications of my life as a caregiver interfere. My nephew is back in the hospital, about a week and a half now, after an infection from his second round of chemotherapy.

Which means I'm driving back and forth to the hospital every day. Thank goodness for good music, like Hall & Oates and Rick Springfield, music from my favorite era, the 1980's. And thank goodness for interesting podcasts like Paperclipping Roundtable and Adventures in Arting.

Especially thank goodness for a wonderful, generous, patient man who holds down the fort at home so I can be at the hospital, keeping the 'phew company.

Normally, I'd be on the verge of a flurry of scrapbooking fun with 30 in 30 Scrapbooking, but with everything going on, I'm not going to hold that challenge this month either. Sad, I know, but maybe in September, things in my life will have settled down enough that I can at least coordinate the 30 in 30 challenge, even if I can't participate as much as I'd like to.

We have no idea yet what's going to be happening in my nephew's journey toward recovery from cancer.

But in June, I'm going to try something new. Well...sort of new. Each December, I do some kind of documentation of the holiday month, either December Daily with Ali Edwards or Journal Your Christmas with Shimelle Laine. Last December, I thought about what it might be like to do a different month of the year in the same way. Granted, no other month tends to be as full of fun and activity and celebrations as December, but I decided to try some kind of daily project for a different month of the year, see how it goes.

I picked June because it's about halfway between, and because June is my birth month. Most of my supplies for the project are already bought. (I'll try to grab a photo in the next couple days if the cloud cover goes away.) I bought new notebooks the other day, one of which will be perfect for documenting June's happenings on the go. Figuring on at least one photo per day, and since there are 30 days in June, I'm still kind of keeping with the 30 in 30 theme, right?

I'm looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to May Flaum's Camp Scrap class, and I'm already looking at materials from Heidi Swapp's Art of Observation class, the self-paced version, which is awesome. Heidi has a unique perspective, and I am looking forward to learning from her as there is time.

Time remains an elusive commodity. I'm trying to squeeze in moments of creativity and craftiness. Today--yes, the last day of the month--I worked on the project for One Little Word, and I'm hoping to complete the monthly report for Move More, Eat Well before my head hits the pillow tonight.

May was another difficult month for us, but we are standing strong. We are looking forward to the good mixed in with the difficult as summer arrives. Daniel is off next week before he begins a new adventure with a brand new job, and we're hoping to steal some time together, maybe have an adventure or two to give us a taste of vacation, and we'll keep supporting our nephew as he continues to face the rigors of fighting cancer.

So, saying "so long" to May and saying "welcome!" to June.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Own Kit - April 2013

Yes, yes. Still a little behind. I'm catching up...slowly but surely.

Here's the lusciousness I've put together for myself as My Own Kit, April 2013 edition:

So much stuff there, it's hard to see all of it. Papers from October Afternoon, My Mind's Eye, Glitz and more. I've got some Prima embellishments, some from Little Yellow Bicycle, Glitz, Precocious Paper, Dear Lizzy for American Crafts, even one button from Stampin' Up! I went a little heavier on fibers this time with ribbon from Crate Paper, twine from American Crafts, rick rack and trim from Making Memories, and a roll of fabric tape I've had a long time. Lots and lots of remnants in this collection of goodies, including those stickers from Prima and paper butterflies from Making Memories and the gems from Kaiser and Prima. I went really heavy on letter stickers because only one set is complete, the rest are partial sets, and I use lots and lots of alphabets in my scrapbooking. Usually, my biggest frustration when I'm creating with paper is running out of letters for a title I want to use.

Two stamps sets this time, one from Dear Lizzy for American Crafts, one by Ali Edwards for Technique Tuesday.  I've included two different mists, one a shimmery one in brown from Tattered Angels, and the other an older one from October Afternoon in pink. I also included a mini-book from the 5th and Frolic collection from Dear Lizzy, building on the success I had with the one in the March kit by Amy Tangerine. I love using the papers with the torn edge in my layouts.

Here are a few closeups of the kit:

I can hardly wait to start creating!

As for May, I've got that kit assembled, but I haven't had a chance to take a passable photo. Coming soon! Be watching for it, as well as layouts I create with the April kit.

March 2013 My Own Kit Roundup

Yes, that does say March. I'm still playing catch-up after being out of scrapbooking commission for about two months. I've been having such a good time with the kit I created for myself to play with two months ago. Check out the first three layouts I created here, here, and here.

Here's a picture of the kit itself:

And here are the rest of the layouts I created with it:

Let me tell you, I am totally digging on my Cameo machine, which I used to cut that title. That was the inspiration on which I built the whole layout, and I love how well it works.

I admit I don't totally dig the frame on this layout, but I went with it anyway, and the page makes me happy.

One of my favorites of these kit layouts. Came together easily, and I love the pink and green together.

A little Stickles added to this one, not part of the kit. I'm disappointed the stamping came out smudged, but as my grandfather and father used to say, what the hell can ya do? ;) Sometimes, the little mistakes are what give this paper-crafting gig its handmade charm.

I know, I know. I gotta work a little harder on photo quality, but Michigan's climate being what it is, if I don't sometimes go with poorly lit pictures, there won't be photos in my little corner of the Internet at all.

Another favorite, this page is the only one that was even inspired by a sketch/design by someone else, Shimelle Laine. I like her standard arrangement for three landscape photos. What can I say? It works! I love this story, too, and the title treatment with the little pearls between the letters: cuteness!

This is the last layout from the kit, so I was down to the bare minimum of supplies, just some scraps, and I had to get pretty creative. I LOVE the splattered white background and the layers. This is my favorite type of layout to create, and I don't know why I don't work like this more often. Just a lot of fun going on all over the place. I love it. I just love it.

So...there you have it: my ten layouts from My Own Kit, March 2013. Next post, I'll share photos of my absolutely luscious and delightful April kit. I hope to start creating layouts form that soon.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mega Meet 2013

Actually, I almost didn't get to attend MegaMeet this year, especially with my nephew in the hospital for round two of chemotherapy. As it turned out, I was able to sneak away on Thursday afternoon, the first day of the convention, but I only had about three hours. I almost didn't go just because it hardly seemed worth it to pay for parking and the ticket price, just to hurry through the booths for a couple hours.

But I decided to go ahead and go, take some time off for me and enjoy the fun of it all, and I'm so glad I did.

When I arrived, I started down the farthest row, pausing at a couple booths, but not taking too much time. At the end of the row was the Stampers Anonymous/Ranger booth, and just beyond that, a crowd of paper-crafters were gathered around Tim Holtz.

For quite awhile, now, the Tim Holtz Distress line has been my go-to inks. I love how the Distress products react with water, and I've been slowly building my stash of ink pads, adding a few other products in as well. I REALLY dig the new line of Distress paint, and I've been back-and-forth with myself on whether or not I need a whole set of Distress markers.

But what I love the most about all things Tim Holtz is his creativity and the philosophy behind it. I love the ease, the freedom, the messiness, the play of how he does his crafting. Watching him play with his products, creating all kinds of beautiful things in a matter of minutes, wound up the best way I could think of to spend my allotted time at MegaMeet.

Of course, it also made me want to add some of his products to my stash, like that background stamp there, which he used to make the most awesome rainbow dot pattern with a variety of Distress inks, sticky embossing powder (which I'd never heard of) and glitter.

I also learned a few things, including that Distress Stickles can be heated to dry, and so can alcohol inks. I learned a couple techniques that I'm going to try, including one project that's in progress already. Tim demo'd this really cool technique with Distress paint and Starbucks napkins (He said paper towels work better, but that didn't seem to stop his result from being awesome!) that I am practically drooling to try for myself...if I can recall how he did it, exactly.

Watching Tim, I was so inspired. I know he has that effect on thousands of paper-crafters just like me.

And most importantly, I was able to take a few hours off from the stress of my life right now, relax, decompress and enjoy myself. Thanks to Tim and to everyone involved in making MegaMeet happen!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Power of Three

In this post, Shimelle Laine challenged us to use the power of three on a scrapbook page, also sharing a video that illustrates the use of that magical number in design.

Using my own kit, March 2013, I created this page that uses the power of three more than once:

Let's enumerate the threes, shall we? I've got that great green twine in three different places, and each of three embellishment clusters has three embellishments each. I've also got three spots where I stamped the word "Love," and there are three embellishments in addition to the clusters: the doily, the sticker, and the tag with rose die cut.

Pretty good representation of the power of three, I'd say.

St. Patrick's Day 2013

Another layout I created from my own kit, March 2013:

My sweetheart husband bought me the Silhouette Cameo for Christmas last year, and I've started using it after taking a class to figure out how. I love that machine! So many possibilities!

I cut the title for this page with it, after taking advantage of a half price sale the Silhouette store offered at the end of April. Given how often I like to participate in my "Irish heritage," I think that title will get a lot of use. ;)

Kind of a simple page, and I don't totally love the design, but I didn't want to overthink things when I had such a small amount of time for scrapbooking. A memory preserved with lots of green and pretties? I'm callin' it good!

Scrap In Pink

Last Saturday was (Inter)National Scrapbook Day, and one of my favorite scrapbookers, Shimelle Laine, offered several challenges on her blog, including this one to scrap in pink.

For my pink page, I used supplies from my own kit for March 2013:

And since creating my own kits was in part inspired by Shimelle doing that same thing, which you can read about right here, this page was double Shimelle-inspired!

I'm really digging on those fabric photo frames, and one of my favorite things about this page is the use of a page from the Amy Tangerine mini book as a background paper. Also totally digging on those tiny heart buttons, a surprise find in my local Target store, which carries some American Crafts products. Did you know? Just another reason Target rocks!

And by the way, that adorable man in the picture? I'm so very lucky he is mine. :)

Coffee Break - A Scraplift

For one of my 10th anniversary album layouts, I scraplifted this adorable page in Creating Keepsakes Magazine:

I really loved the look of all those patterned paper tags with the title in the right corner of the second page. I didn't have the same number of photos, but I had more journaling to include, so I adapted the design accordingly.

Here's my version:

Lots of different patterned papers on this page, bits and pieces of a kit I assembled just for this album. Most of the supplies came from Simple Stories, but there's a bit of Bo Bunny in there, some Thickers, of course, a couple Studio Calico mistables. I like how it all works together, capturing the style of the inspiration layout, but definitely my own style, too.


On March 24th, early Sunday morning, my nephew was diagnosed with leukemia.

News like that tears your life to shreds in a matter of minutes.

Fortunately, my nephew is young, and he is strong, and he is now in remission, though the road ahead will be long as he endures another round of chemotherapy, followed by more medical procedures and possibly more chemotherapy after that.

As his closest relatives, my husband and I are accompanying him on this journey, even as we continue to take care of my Mom in our home.

We are learning to juggle the many challenges that arise, and we are taking a day at a time as we move forward. Time for anything but managing the crisis and its impact on our life has been sparse for the past four or five weeks. Little by little, as the crisis decreases, we are able to return to some minimum level of normalcy.

Whatever that is.

Last weekend, for National Scrapbook Day, in between tending to my nephew and my mother, I was able to spend a few hours scrapbooking. It felt really good to feel like playing with paper and pretties again. For a few weeks, during the darkest moments of my nephew's health crisis, it felt like I'd never have the energy or interest to be creative again.

Creating does soothe me. Playing with colors and textures, telling the stories of happy memories, is a good antidote for the stress that has been so much a part of my every day for a very long time.

And there is more stress to come, but I hope that I will be able to sneak away to my craft table once in awhile, make things, and share them here on the blog.

During this terrible few weeks, so many people in my life have been supportive of me, including my scrappy friends. You all know who you are, and there aren't words to express the gratitude I feel for your thoughts and encouragement while I took care of my nephew and while I continue to help him on his healing journey.