Thursday, February 20, 2014

Birthday Flowers

This layout was inspired by this one by Sheree Forcier that I'd pinned to my scrapbooking inspiration board on Pinterest. Supplies came from My Own Kit, July 2013, except for the card stock and ink from Stampin' Up! I used a tag and pocket to hold the card that came with the flowers, and I always love when I can include memorabilia on my pages. I also love using a stencil with ink and a blending tool to add some fun detail.

Hot Matt

(I don't like to post layouts with obscured photos like this, but because I don't have one of the subject's permission to post his photo online.)

The design for this page was inspired by a Laura Whitaker sketch, and supplies came from My Own Kit, July 2013. I also used some Stampin' Up! ink to add the hearts, and the color fits this collection perfectly. That rick-rack trim I used has been in my stash for years. Literally. That's one of the things I love about putting together my own kits: getting items from my stash onto pages.

Birthday Night Out

For this page about my husband's birthday, I used a sketch from Shimelle, number thirty from July of 2013. I also went back to My Own Kit, July 2013, selecting the supplies from that collection in blues and greens to coordinate with the photos. My favorite detail: the outlined little blue hearts I traced from the stencil in the kit with a marker by Stampin' Up!

Hello, Story - Week Eight

The Hello, Story class I took at Big Picture Classes last year was so full of content and inspiration, I'm still working on the layouts I planned from it. It is rare that I percolate page ideas as long as I did the basis for the following page, inspired by the subject of week eight of the class, maps.

I've moved around quite a bit in my life, and I wanted to do a page that listed and told the story of the states I've lived in. From the first time I saw it, I loved that USA map stamp by Hero Arts, and it became the anchoring element for this layout.

I used Stampin' Up! markers and coordinating card stock for the four states, selecting those particular colors to help me illustrate the tone or feeling each state has in my memory. Bright yellow mimics Florida's persistent and plentiful sunshine. Rust harkens back to the red clay mud so prevalent in Texas. For Minnesota, I chose green, reminiscent of the lush natural beauty of that landscape during the summer months, lightened by the constant memory and reality of winter white. And for Michigan, the blue of water, which surrounds us here on three sides, that lighter shade one of my favorite colors.

Originally, I meant to do the journaling on tags that would slip into pockets decorated by icons of each state. But then I thought of drawing arrows to and from the states to indicate the years I moved back and forth, and tags coming out the top would've obscured that design element, so I changed my mind.

I struggled with finding appropriate letter stickers for the title, until my husband was trying to help me find black letters at JoAnn, and I noticed the map print Thickers I knew I had at home. How perfect! I used asterisks and periods from that set as embellishments on the three groupings, and I used black letter stickers from Jilliebean Soup to finish the title and name the states.

The heart die is an older one from QuicKutz, and the pinked circles were cut from a newer set from Stampin' Up! The arrows are Thickers, and the stamps are from Ali Edwards (how fitting!) for Technique Tuesday and Studio Calico. I also used a grid stamp from American Crafts to add just a bit of texture to the blue die cuts and an arrow stamp from a Studio Calico kit to add a subtle border.

This page is one of my favorites ever. I love how it came together, piece by piece, that I took my time with it and created something that I will enjoy for years to come, especially because it tells an important part of my life story.

Hello, Story is being offered through Big Picture Classes again in April, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Oh, Cupcakes!

After a very long hiatus from scrapbooking, due to illness in the family and the packed schedule of the holiday season, I finally started making scrapbook pages again.

This one contains the last remnants of My Own Kit, June 2013, and I added a stamp by Ali Edwards for Technique Tuesday to the mix, along with some mists by October Afternoon and Studio Calico.

While it was a challenge to create a design I liked with a few scraps of paper and some stickers, it's one of my favorite ways to make a scrapbook page, and I always feel so happy with the results. This page, no exception.

The Year of Me - 2014

Each January, I choose a word to focus my attention, guide my intentions, and establish goals for that year. Usually, I participate in Ali Edwards' class, One Little Word, which provides monthly thought-provoking exercises and activities to help keep the word visible and affect change as the year progresses.

In late 2013, I started contemplating what I wanted to see happen in 2014. That's how the selection of my word begins: I ask myself what's missing or what I want in my life. For 2013, the answer was writing, and that was the word I chose. When I thought about what was missing in my life in this new year, the answer was unequivocal.

More than three years ago, I began taking care of my mother who has dementia, and last March, when my nephew was diagnosed with leukemia and embarked on the long, difficult journey to recovery, I became his full time caregiver, too.

Sacrifices went without saying. Exhaustion, too. Being torn between two or more equally important priorities became almost de rigeur. I juggled, and I dropped balls, and I felt woefully inadequate. For someone like me who has spent most of her life doing her best to please others, it was all too easy to put aside my own needs to take care of these two people I love who needed me.

It was necessary, and it was appropriate, but I wound up neglecting myself in every arena of life, and I needed to put Melissa back on the list of priorities, sometimes even at the top of that list.

That's not an easy commitment for a veteran people-pleaser to make, believe me.

I decided to select me as my word for 2014.

That choice shifts my focus, at least in part, to my body, my mind, my needs and desires, my health and well-being.

That choice reminds me, I matter, too.

Just selecting the word me has already altered the tone of my everyday choices in subtle ways. Doing the assignments for the first two months of this year has already begun an adventure back to myself that would not have happened otherwise.

As my nephew and my mother transition into new phases of their lives, I am transitioning out of full-time caregiving, embarking on an adventure back to myself.