Monday, December 29, 2014

Green December

A Winter Walk

Sunshine, so rare and delectable in Michigan at this time of year, called me out to walk. Our neighborhood situates in a circle, and the distance around is one mile. In warmer weather, I often walk that mile, sometimes twice, as daily exercise. I listen to podcasts, usually Paperclipping Roundtable, or when I'm caught up on those, a different one. Today, it was Elise Gets Crafty, and Ali Edwards talked about One Little Word.

At first, I felt good, walking and breathing fresh air, bathing in that precious sunlight. Our last snow here was in November, and temperatures since have been more like October than the usual December 20's and low 30's. The lawns are devoid of their usual white winter blanket, and the grass is mostly green.

As I took the photo, still in full sunshine, I was starting to feel the cold. By the time I was closer to home, my legs felt frozen. My ears, too. Really, it was too cold to walk that far, that long.

But oh, to be in that sunshine, to soak up that fresh air, felt so good.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Brightest Moment 2014

A few days ago, my close friend Janet and I were talking about our brightest moments of 2014. She shared hers and asked what mine was.

I didn't need time to ponder. The brightest moment of my 2014 was my husband Daniel and I swimming together at Fort DeSoto Park, Florida.

The day was hot, of course, but the breeze cooled the air. The water was mostly clear, only a few tangles of sea weed here and there. The waves, plentiful and playful. We jumped and swam and laughed and laughed, again and again. Sometimes, the waves dragged us under just a bit, but all in good fun.

I loved it, and I loved it even more because I shared it with Daniel. We went to Florida, just the two of us, in celebration of his birthday. But it was also a celebration of me and my origins, as I grew up in Florida, swam at that very beach, in fact, many years ago, frolicking in the waves, pretending I was a mermaid...

Going there was a homecoming, not just to the place I come from, but a homecoming to myself.

Being in the water, the day bright and clear, every sense engaged, brought back the girl I was, and it was so good to remember, to savor the memory of what the sea has always meant to me.

And to share that with the man I love, my best friend, my every-single-day hero, my real home.

Talk about a bright moment!

Oh, how happy I am to have that treasure in my memory.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pick of the Week for December 10 - 2014

My pick this week is a stamp set by Stampin' Up! called Wondrous Wreath. My first exposure to this stamp set was a hostess club meeting, and I wasn't terribly impressed, even though I thought it was pretty. When purchasing stamps, I tend to be selective according to how often I will use the stamp, and since I do more scrapbooking than card-making, I usually need to be able to see a use on the scrapbook page.

Then, I started thinking about my little Mommy and how fun it would be for the two of us to make some holiday cards together. I showed her the Stampin' Up! holiday catalog, and she liked that Wondrous Wreath set, so I decided to take a chance and buy it.

We chose a really simple design with two different colors schemes, using Distress ink on blank cards I bought on sale at Joann.

To see what other creative people were doing with this set and get ideas for variations, I did a search on Pinterest and found some great projects using the Wondrous Wreath.

Here's a card by Nancy Amato that goes with an autumn theme, complete with pumpkins. Adorable!

Sharon Cheng did this holiday card, adding cute little birds as accents to the wreath.

This one by Louise Sharp uses a variation of the typical holiday color scheme to lovely result. I love the gold accents.

Here, Teneale Williams cut the stamped image in half to create a swag. Beautiful. (Be sure to scroll down for the second card.)

And finally, this one by Tina Rappe, shows the stamp used in a totally different motif, not holiday-themed at a all, and there are plenty examples of other ways to make this stamp set quite versatile.

I haven't found any ideas using these stamps on scrapbook pages, but I'll keep exploring, and maybe I'll come up with ideas of my own. I know the stamp would work really well for 3x4 cards in a holiday spread for pocket scrapbooking.

Click here to see the set on the Stampin' Up! website. There's also a die set to make cutting out the wreath and its accessory images easy-peasy, and it includes the words "noel" and "joy."

If you're looking to add this stamp set to your stash, keep in mind it's only available until the end of the month as part of the holiday catalog.

Monday, November 3, 2014


On one Tuesday night of the month, I meet with a group of paper-crafters to create a couple of projects and shop from the Stampin' Up! catalog. Most of the ladies in the group are card-makers, and usually our projects are cards. For our last meeting, we did make one card, but our leader, a wonderfully creative lady named Sharon, decided to do a french-fry box treat holder.

While I thought it was an adorable project, I really didn't have much use for one treat holder, and I didn't see myself making more of these. Instead, I did something I love to do: I repurposed.

Here's the supplies I started with:

Four little stamped, die-cut pieces, the stamped, punched greeting element, a yellow ribbon, and that french fry box, stamped and already assembled.

First, I decided to make a card with the supplies. I used a piece of card stock from a previous free project I'd done at Archivers several years ago for the card front, and I took apart the french fry box. Playing around with the flat pieces, trying to figure out how to use them, I finally cut two strips that, put-together, would be the right length to span a standard card.

Next, I arranged the die cut pieces in a cluster I liked and cut the ribbon into two pieces, adhered with a tiny attacher. Using a bit of red twine, I tied the greeting piece to the ribbon and attached the card front to a bright yellow card. For my last step, I splattered gold mist on the card, a finishing touch that really makes the design work.

The result:

A card that I can use, and all those cute supplies did not go to waste.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Favorite Photos - October 2014

1. My sweet husband and I ventured North for our anniversary trip, and it rained every day of the week we were there. I love this selfie of the two of us under an umbrella on the shore of Lake Huron. was cold, too.

2. Horse drawn carriages for hire on one of the main streets of Mackinac Island, one of the places we visited off-Mitten during our getaway. No cars are permitted on the island, so the only forms of transportation are these vehicles, horses, bicycles, and our own two feet.

3. During our horse-drawn tour of Mackinac Island, we stopped at this high point, and whoa! What a gorgeous view!

4. The monumental Mackinac Bridge, connecting the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan, a beautiful feat of modern engineering. I love this photo because I summoned the courage to face my fear of heights and drive over it, and because my husband took the photo from the passenger seat to mark the occasion.

5. Our second visit to Mackinac Island, as we were waiting for the ferry to take us back to the Mitten, a bright and fantastic double-rainbow filled the sky. Here is one end of it, anchored in Lake Huron.

6. On our actual anniversary, dinner out. Twelve years of marriage, and oh, what a crazy wonderful ride it's been! How lucky I am. How happy. How grateful for us.

7. My sweet little Mommy holding up a wreath we made together. Love, love, love that smile!

8. A lovely, luscious autumn day, walking through the neighborhood.

9. And on another fall day, these birds, taking flight.

10. Little Mommy with a brand new hairdo. While taking photos of her out in front of the nursing home, I told her, "Show me sexy!" and that's the response I got. Beautiful woman. Always has been. And I sure do love her.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pick of the Week - October 1

As I have likely mentioned previously, I recently relocated my craft space back where it was before my Mom moved in with us in March of 2011. I scrapbook differently now than I did then, and my stash has grown and changed a lot. For a few weeks, I've given thought to and been on the lookout for storage solutions to help me organize my new old space.

The crate in the photo above was a great find at one of the area Target stores. Made of sturdy white plastic, it is the perfect size for storing my assembled sticker sheets and patterned paper, as well as kits and two rows of Thickers. I bought two and plan to buy a couple more.

So far, this solution is working great, and at $3.49 each, it's great on the budget, too! Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available at Target's online store, but that just means a shopping excursion to the nearest Target!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pick of the Week - September 24

Here it is, my favorite season. I love the turning leaves and the apples and the cider and the chai (which is, of course, available all year long, but I reserve my enjoyment of it for the fall because it tastes like autumn in a cup to me) and the pumpkin everything and cooler temperatures and some luscious days, even that wandersome wind that blows the leaves around in a dance like no other.

Yes...I do love the season for all of its particular flavors and sights, and I'll admit I tend to overdo the photographing and scrapbooking of all things autumn. I probably have more photos of leaves than anything else. makes me happy, so it's all good.

And now for my pick:

LOVE these leaf stickers from Martha Stewart! I haven't used them yet, but oh, the possibilities! I imagine a white card with one leaf and a stamped "happy fall." Or a layout about how my husband and I celebrated our anniversary--coming soon! I can't wait!--or perhaps I will save these stickers to use in my wedding album...someday.

Lovely little leafy things they are, and I know I will find a use for them on something wonderful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pick of the Week - September 17

Truth be told, I haven't been doing a lot of actual scrapbooking lately. I've been using my time for paper-crafting on relocating my craft space and doing an album reorganization. Those things are mostly complete, though the organization of the craft space, now that most everything's been relocated, is now on the list. I need to adjust to the new setting, get into the groove of scrapbooking again.

And somehow find or make time for that.

Hey, how cool would it be if we could actually MAKE extra time? Just whip up a batch some Wednesday afternoon when the to-do list is running long?

The word we're all looking for here is...ANYway...

My pick of the week is a class I've been taking from Shimelle Laine called Cover to Cover. My main purpose for taking this class was specifically to get inspired to develop a better album system for storing my layouts, and that has certainly worked. But this class is a whole lot more that. There are so many inspiring ideas for pages to create, how to acquire photos from childhood, how to use up supplies, and so on. The class first ran in 2012, and now it's a self-paced collection of 25 lessons with several videos and some bonus extras.

At $30, Cover to Cover is a little bit pricier than many of Shimelle's other classes, and it's well worth it. I'm only up to the 18th lesson, and I've already learned so much and been so inspired.

Now...all I need is to figure out how to make some time...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On the Writing Process

Shimelle Laine wrote this post on her blog about writing and invited her readers to participate, so I am going with it.

What writing are you working on?

I am always working on writing more often, making writing a daily habit. Right now, I don't have a project going, though that has been in my head, on that ever-lengthening to do list, for a long, long time. With autumn coming, the season change brings a time of transition, and I hope to find new ways to bring writing more to the center of daily life. Journaling, especially writing every day, keeps me grounded and centered, and I find the page calling to me a lot lately as I navigate very difficult waters in my life. I've also started art journaling, and of course, there's always the writing I do on scrapbook pages, though I haven't done any scrapbooking lately either. Overall, it seems I'm "clearing the decks" for the things I really need and want to do, and it's a process I'm needing to exercise great patience about.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

As it pertains to art journaling, my work differs from others because I'm brand new to it. Not the writing itself, of course, but the way of expressing myself with artistic expression as the background. I love it, too! I have a great bit of exuberance and interest and energy brewing for art journaling. I want to do more, explore more. As it pertains to scrapbooking, I differ in that writing is not the chore it is for some people who feel they are not "good" writers. I don't tend to label myself that way. I've always had a penchant for writing, so it comes more easily for me than it does for others. At the same time, my scrapbook writing could be more detailed and tell more of the actual story, rather than relying on basics that don't really say much, and I do tend to squeeze journaling in at the last minute, rather than planning the pages around the story I want to tell.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because it is like breathing to me. It's how my mind and spirit breathe. Writing of any kind sustains me, keeps me anchored, gives me a place to dump all the garbage of any particular bad day, sort through it--though that often takes some time and distance--and find the treasure. I write because I can't bear not writing. Writing saves me. Writing elevates me. Writing cures me. Writing is what I do because a writer is what I am.

How does your writing process work?

Process is something I probably need to tweak. Most of the time, I find time to journal, and I put pen to paper. I start with the date and usually the day of the week, and then I plunge in. With scrapbooking, again, it's more of an afterthought once the page is finished except for the words, something I definitely want to change. With art journaling, I usually start with a feeling or a thought that I want to express and play on the page with colors and images, then write on top of that, let my mind wander, or include a quote that I want to savor and keep.

When I write fiction or poetry or a blog post (I forget about blog posts), it's usually free-form, meaning I don't do a lot of planning or structure building. I feel more natural when I just write from whatever's inspiring me and let my mind empty on the page. I've never been much for structure in the form of outlines and planning each scene and chapter and section. Writers do that, and it's probably a better way to go, but when I think of doing that, sitting down to plan out the writing, it feels like I might as well just start writing, rather than spending time on planning. That's what works for me, you know...when I'm actually writing something more creative.

There are times, too, when I go from prompts, and it's something I find useful as a jumpstart or springboard. I once wrote a short story from a writing prompt that simply instructed "write about sin." Those things, challenging my mind to create a story, excite me, similar to the scrapbook challenges I've used for the past few years. In fact, I've been thinking about incorporating writing challenges into my life again to hopefully get more writing done.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pick of the Week-September 10

Over at the Paperclipping forum, we are starting a weekly thread for all us scrappin' babes to share our picks of the week like Noell and her Paperclipping Roundtable guests and sometimes Izzy do on the podcast.

My pick for this week is a specialty magazine called Flow.

I'm not usually one to spend so much money on a magazine, but this one is not a regular magazine, either. The photography is simply gorgeous, and this one issue is packed with information and inspiration. I love its design and the way it's divided up into categories, with several articles and columns for each. This particular issue came with postcards to tear out, as well as a notebook with writing exercises that went along with one of the articles.

The inspiration is plentiful, but I also love the texture of most of the pages. I imagine tearing some out to use in my art journal or cutting out quotes or pictures to use on multi-media projects. The magazine is produced in the Netherlands; I found mine on the newsstand at the local Barnes and Noble. Check it out online here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Anniversary Album 2013 - Part 2

For this page, I decided to go simple with a couple of layers and a few embellishments. I used some Sharpie paint as a border to the whole page to tie together with the white letters in the title, and the white polka dots in the patterned paper. The kraft photo corners add a bit of an anchor to the photos.

For this page, containing photos I absolutely love, I chose to bring in lots of hearts and a larger title. Lots of energy and texture on this layout, and it's one of my favorites.

A little bit of variety in colors for this page, with yellow as a more prominent accent color. I used the rick-rack trim to mimic waves and the kraft background to coordinate with the sand in the photos. My favorite detail, the yellow frame to draw attention to my favorite photo of the four.

Fun layout with some 3x4 cards, including the map heart embellishment cut from a fourth card. I like this simple design of photos in a vertical row, the accent photo last, and of course the subject of this layout makes me love this page even more.

Another page putting those cards to use, this time 4x6 cards, trimmed down. Again, a little more yellow added in, and a fairly simple design with just enough embellishment.

I admit the design of this page went a little awry with the odd placement of the patterned paper and journaling label, along with the arrows stamped to add some motion. It's not my favorite, but it tells part of the story, and it's a bit eclectic, which I always appreciate.

A little more simple than most of the pages, but I love the chipboard frame drawing the eye to the accent photo, and I like the other minimal embellishments. The background paper is one of my favorites from this kit, and I thought it was perfect for the subject matter of this page.

At first, I was uncertain about this patterned paper, due to its busy-ness, but I like the end result. The doilies are a great addition to frame the photos, and there's just enough contrast with the wooden hearts.

Another favorite page, this one came together so easily. I especially like the labels to hold the journaling, especially since there wasn't too much of the story to add to these photos of what we ate for that special dinner. I really like how the colors compliment each other, too.

For the last page, I wanted to use that background paper because it's a happy profusion of hearts. I like using the strip on the bottom of patterned papers, and this one made a good "shelf" for the photo. I used part of a cut-apart sheet as a sort of subtitle, and I brought out the red with stamped arrows.

To unify the pages for this album, I used a kit with many love-themed products, a color scheme, hearts and arrows, and I flicked drops of shimmery spray mist on every page to add a bit of sparkle. The pages were completed in a relatively short amount of time, a little over a week, I think, and I love the complete project more than I expected I would. This is the first time I've done an album for our anniversary with anything but autumn colors, and I couldn't be happier with the result.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Great Scrapbook Re-org of 2014

When I first started scrapbooking, back in 2007, I did mostly chronological scrapbooking, and I scrapbooked every photo I printed.

And I printed a LOT.

I focused on the photos, and I didn't include much journaling on my pages. Maybe a caption here and there, once in awhile a paragraph. My purpose was mainly to display my photos creatively; story wasn't much of a consideration at all.

Later, I started paying more attention to the story because scrapbooking became more about preserving memories and telling the story of my life. I still worked chronologically until 2011 when I began to organize my storytelling a different way, by category instead of chronology.

No longer did I have what I call yearbooks, albums containing a certain year's stories. At first, I really enjoyed not having to be quite as organized, concerned about where the pages fit within the album. I could scrapbook by mood, rather than the date the photos happened. It felt a little more free.

Over time, though, I became more and more uncomfortable with not being able to open an album, say 2012, and follow the thread of what happened that year. I didn't like not being able to read through my scrapbooks like I read through my written journals, which are always by date. I wanted to change back.

To inspire me, I enrolled in Shimelle Laine's self-paced class, Cover to Cover, which is about creating albums that make sense, rather than simply containing scrapbook pages. I have completed only seven of the prompts for the class, and already I'm both energized and inspired to streamline my scrapbooking process, which includes going back to yearbooks for the everyday stories of life I want to tell, as well as some albums dedicated to certain other topics, whether it's my childhood, the story of my relationship with my sweetheart, trips we take, or whatever I feel deserves an entire album to itself.

Last Friday night, I started reorganizing the existing albums back into yearbooks, and not only did it go better than I expected, it also took a shorter period of time, and it made me aware that some stories are missing from all three years, 2011-2013. (I haven't even really begun scrapbooking 2014; that's a topic for another post.)

I love Shimelle's ideas that an album isn't ever, or doesn't have to be, finished. I can keep working on any album, if I so desire, even the yearbooks, adding more stories, even retelling some if I don't think they're complete or don't like the design of the page or whatever. 2007 and 2008, particularly, complain pages that tell no story at all, so I may want to go back and remedy that.

For a long time, now, scrapbooking has felt a little too much like a chore to me, and my reorganization efforts are remedying that in a variety of ways.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Anniversary 2013 Album - Part 1

On August 8, I went to a crop at the local scrapbook store, something I hadn't done in a long, long time. I took too much stuff, as I always do, because I wanted choices of what to work on. Included were photos from our anniversary last year, and My Own Kit from February, and I started creating the album for that occasion, which I wrapped up yesterday.


That's the cover page, and I love that red bow. I've had it so long, I don't even recall what it's from, but it rocks to get it onto a page.

The second page, all about one of our favorite things: coffee. I like the subdued tones, here, and the stamped hearts.

4x6 cards as patterned paper made a great background for this photo. With the busy patterns the tilted design, I hoped to convey the energy and busy-ness of the big city.

The large letter stamps weren't part of the original kit, but they fit the bill for a large title.

I like creating pages like this one with minimal product on a neutral background that really lets the photos stand out.

Lots of great patterns here to convey (I hope) the energy and bustle of a busy city street.

This one, my favorite so far. The mix of colors, the title treatment, all of it appeals to me, and it came together easily.

Photos of the rest of the pages are taken. Hope to have those up soon.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week in the Life - May 2014

Last month, I took one week and documented everything we did in detail, using an album from Simple Stories to display those details with supplies mostly from Simple Stories, along with some stamps and inks.

Today, I'm sharing some of the pages I created, beginning with the introduction page:

Next, the first page of day one:

This is the first page for day two. I varied the way I dated each collection of pages, but I used the same day of the week die cuts.

Two pages from Monday, and I'm digging on how all of these photos fit together.

Here, one of my favorite parts of the album, covering Nifty Fifties day at my little Mommy's nursing home, where the staff set up a great little "carnival" in the dining room. Love my Mom's fabulous pose and the background page's color fitting in nicely with the theme of the photos.

Another two pages about our typical everyday life, as well as specifically all the rain we got that week.

For this page, I backed a die cut page with plain card stock so I could fit more photos on the reverse side. I love the little cloud to signify even more rain!

Switching gears toward a bit of a travel theme as we embarked upon a weekend away for the World Expo of Beer on day six.

And a pocket page to hold all the memorabilia, including beer tickets we didn't wind up using and our hotel receipt. Also, a good spot for another photo.

For me, it's very important to document the every day, and this particular week provided a lot of daily content, as well as some special events to round it all out. I enjoyed the process of documenting this week in our life, and putting together the album inspired me to consider more pocket-style scrapbooking on a regular basis.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Happy Birthday - 21

A few months ago, I was going through my stash, assembling some supplies I no longer wanted for the giveaway box. In one of my paper keepers, I stumbled across this make-&-take from Archivers several years back.

Originally, I'd planned to use it as a page for one of my husband's birthdays, but I decided it would make a great base for telling the story of my nephew turning 21.

I gathered the photos and a package of die cut cards from Chic Tags.

I thought I might make use of the packaging on this page, but I didn't find a use for it. Another time, perhaps.

Finding a way to fit all the photos tricked me up a little bit. I added some die cut letters and numbers, using dies from the company that used to be called QuicKutz, and I also created a few embellishments with card stocks and stamps, also using some stamps to create some additional pattern and texture, to kind of "busy it up." (I wanted the design to have a lot of energy, almost chaotic.)

Here is my completed page:

Supplies: Card stock and patterned paper from Archivers and Stampin' Up! Tags from Chic Tags. Gems by TPC Studio. Enamel dots by My Mind's Eye. Letter stickers by Basic Grey. Stamps by Tim Holtz, Basic Grey, and Stamps of Life. Ink by Ranger. Chipboard stickers by Bo Bunny. Ribbon by Archivers. Letter and number dies by QuicKutz.

Overall, I like how everything I added works together with the original design, even if it did wind up a little bit more chaotic than I intended. I really like getting to use something I could've thrown away to create a page that tells an important story.