Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gratitude on a Rainy Day

I am sitting in my car on a rainy day, thinking how rare it is for me to have time to sit and listen to the rain. One of those simple things I love about living that so often falls away in the wake of stress and crisis and the urgencies of everyday life.

My Daddy and I used to watch the rain together when I was a wee one, standing at the open front door of our home in Florida, thunderous winds bending palm trees over in ferocious embrace. Into my teens and twenties, I loved the rain, its nourishment of land and spirit, the feeling of adventure it inspired in me, like the time my Dad and I picked dewberries from wild vines alongside our blacktop lane in the pouring rain. I will never refrain from welling up with tears at the memory of his smile at me that day, colander of berries in hand, an expression on his face that said, this is crazy, but I love it!

It wasn't until he was gone that the rain started to scare me, the power of water to damage and destroy I somehow never noticed before. Maybe rain lost its appeal for me in part because the day my sweet father left us, almost eleven years ago, rain fell. I watched it out the window of the hospital in Texas where he died as I called his sister to tell her he was gone.

Today, I can listen to this steady drumbeat of raindrops on my car roof as I wait to meet my husband for lunch and choose to let it bring me happy memories of my Dad and all he was to me, rather than fearing some rain-fueled spectre of disaster that is unlikely to happen, except in my own mind. Even if it did happen, I am completely equipped to handle it, partly because of the wisdom and strength I inherited from my Dad who loved life to the fullest until the very end and didn't allow fear to rot his joy.

I can love the rain, as I always have, as a tribute to the memory of that wonderful man who loved me so very much and would want me to dance in the rain, not be afraid of it.

Dance, I will...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Author's Note

I used to think about it all the time: what would be my dream job? It's a good exercise, thinking outside the box of life as it is. What might my life be like if I could do what I really, really want and get paid for it?

In the past, I came up with some elaborate fantasies. Once, I wrote about having my own publishing company and finding new, bright, creative writers who were having trouble being published elsewhere because of how difficult it is to get a foot in the door of the huge print publishing machine. I'd get to read great writing for a living and make dreams come true myself. I even described the building that would house my office and its huge picture window overlooking the ocean...

Hey, as long as I'm dreaming, right?

The real dream for me, though, the dream that will always remain at the top of the list is to be the author. Writing is my heartbeat, my anchor, my purpose in this life. It always has been, and I think it always will be.

Though my writing life has gotten a bit stale in the past few years, with the harsh realities of life interfering with my best intentions, I still want that dream, and the good news is, I don't have to wait on anybody else to make that dream a reality.

Part of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

10 Things I Love

In no particular order, ten things I love:

1. Making things - scrapbook pages, socks, stitched projects, bookmarks, tags, just about anything. I love to create.

2. Travel - the excitement, the discovery, the photo ops. I love it all, and I want to do so much more, see so much more than I've already seen.

3. Photos - my own, my family's, my friend's, even total strangers'. I love the stories photos tell.

4. Puppies - I'd have one if I could, and I just love to see them romp and play and sleep and walk with their big floppy feet.

5. 1980's music - I love the sense memories so many of those songs invoke from my teenage years. It was the best, people. Current music doesn't hold a candle, in my opinion. The 80's rocked!

6. Star Wars - the original, not that Phantom Menace nonsense, by which I mean the prequels. I'm still a fan.

7. Singing - In the car, in the shower, while I'm walking or doing the dishes. What songs? See #5.

8. Flowers - So many gorgeous blooms right now, especially. Lilacs are my current favorite.

9. City walking - Like I did this weekend, I love to walk around a city or town, discovering and enjoying the local culture. One of my favorite things to do when traveling.

10. Road trips - Whether a distant destination or someplace just a couple hours away, getting in the car and driving with some music (see #5!) delights me. Give me the open road...

This post part of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge.

Saturday in the Life

In the Blog Every Day in May Challenge, the prompt for May 17th was to photo journal a day in the life. I was out of town for a beer fest called World Expo of Beer, and I wasn't really able to do it justice, being away from home without the proper tools. (Yes, I do have a Blogger app on my phone, but I'm still a bit on the learning curve, and trying to do a long post like that felt a little daunting, so here I am a day late.)

The morning began in the hotel lobby with coffee, the important start to all of my days.

We headed out down the street to explore and shop. First stop: the local farmer's market on its opening day.

Gorgeous spring blooms, though it definitely looks warmer than it was.

The 'phew was able to join us, and that's him and me on the bridge over the Cass River.

And me...

...and that handsome husband of mine.

Over that bridge, a quaint little shopping center with lots of shops, including...

...this awesome place where we got gourmet cupcakes, black forest for me, orange creamsicle for Daniel.

Here, we got a small bottle of cherry whiskey, and while I thought this sign on the wall was amusing, I doubt I'll ever totally "end my dependence" upon a wee bit o' the creature called Jameson's. That's just crazy talk!

For lunch we went back to the place we'd eaten dinner the night before. Good food, good beer...why wouldn't we?

After lunch, skee ball and more shopping with more people who joined our party.

Afterwards, we separated for awhile, some napping, some drinking, some (me!) walking around town, soaking up local sights, like this fountain in the midst of a sculpture depicting a may pole.

Later, dinner at a local restaurant that served enough food for a small village. Lots of laughter and conversation and good ol' fashioned fun. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and so did the people with me. Already looking forward to World Expo of Beer 2015.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


We're in Frankenmuth for World Expo of Beer, though we haven't spent much time at the beer tent. Plenty of fun all over town, though, and plenty of libations. More photos soon...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blogs I Love

Here are five blogs I read regularly and really enjoy:

1. May Flaum - - May is always inspiring and shows great paper-crafting projects and techniques on a regular basis. She offers classes from her site that are simply awesome. I've taken several, and I've learned a lot from her. Whether you scrapbook, make cards, or go in for more varied forms of crafting, definitely check out May's site/blog. You will be happy you did.

2. Ali Edwards - - I know that almost everybody has heard of Ali and reads her blog, but it remains one of the best I've ever read, so I had to include it. I love her scrapbooking style, even though I tend to be a little less linear in my own, and I'm often inspired to try something new by looking at her traditional scrapbook pages especially.

3. Midwest Scrapgarden - - I discovered this one fairly recently, but I'm enjoying it, and I plan to continue reading. I love the style of the pages Jennifer Larson creates, especially the ones with larger photos. Nifty!

4. ScrapInspired - - I started reading Monica Bradford's blog when I took a class from her at Big Picture Classes on how to incorporate those adorable pocket cards into traditional scrapbooking. She is full of great ideas and lots of inspiration, and that's what a good blog's all about.

5. Shimelle - - Another scrapbooker almost everybody knows, I realize, but I have learned more from Shimelle Laine than I have anybody else. Her blog is a bit sparse on new posts right now because she is on maternity leave, but there are plenty of awesome and inspiring ideas and sketches and videos in the archives to keep a scrapbooker busy for days...probably literally.

Note: this post is part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I found this quote on Pinterest and pinned it to my One Little Word board. It's something I need to be reminded of. Frequently. I'm so thankful to this generous woman for helping so many people learn to have compassion towards themselves.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Everything Is More Fun With Him

That's my sweet husband right there. Last weekend, he went with me to MegaMeet, an annual scrapbooking convention, and we both had a good time. Being together makes whatever we're doing more fun, one of the many things I love about him, about us.

We started down the first row of booths and discovered that guy there, demonstrating techniques with Distress inks, markers, paints, and stains. Not only does he make it look easy and fun, his enthusiasm for all things creative is contagious. He's funny, too, and the hubs and I stood watching for almost two hours before we shopped at the booth of Ranger goodies.

We walked around a lot, visiting booths full of scrapbooking and paper-crafting goodness. My sweetheart was not only patient while I shopped, he encouraged me to snag lots of treasures to take home with me. When we needed a rest for our tired feet, we got hot pretzels and chocolate-covered and cinnamon roasted almonds, found a place to sit, and chatted until we were ready to get back into the shopping fray.

And shop we did! I even won a prize: that swirly stamp on top of that pile of loot I brought home--which doesn't even contain the stuff I bought on a trip to the local scrapbook store later in the evening.

What a great day! And to get to share it all with the man I love, that just made it better.

Note: This post is part of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge. Today's prompt was to write about something funny or share a funny picture. I tried, but I couldn't find anything amusing in my photo library, nor could I think of a funny story, so I went with a fun day, instead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


the water gone
out of the sky.

except the TV

This day
winding down
and me

off to bed.

**My feeble and somewhat exhausted attempt at a poem off the cuff, this post part of the Every Day in May Challenge.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Last Three Layouts

Yesterday, I exhausted the contents of My Own Kit, September 2013, creating these three layouts.

Happy At Packo's

When the kit supplies start to dwindle, it becomes a challenge to create a whole page out of just kit supplies. No matter, I'm up for it! I did employ the use of a Stampin' Up! die to cut the pinked circles I used for two embellishments. (Apologies for the bits of card stock on the photo; I didn't have the permission of the subjects to post their photo publicly.)

On a Toledo Street

Here, the supplies were getting really low, and again, I went with a punch, this one from Stampin' Up!, to create some different shapes for interest. I also had to add some Thickers to this page because I didn't have the letters to create the title I want it with the alphabet sets from the kit. At first, I wasn't quite on board with the background pattern I chose, but I went with it. The subject of this story isn't really the Toledo street, it's my Little Mommy, and that pattern suits her and her personality just fine.

July Days

The last remnants of paper (and most everything else) from this kit went on this page, and it was a bit tricky. More punches went to work for me, all from Stampin' Up!, and I also brought in some stamps by KaiserCraft and Technique Tuesday. Pages like this are what make me really love scrapbooking, and I'm already looking forward for what I'm gonna create with my next kit!

What Is in the Name

The name of my creativity blog, LaLa Creates, started when my niece Lyndsey was just beginning to talk. My family calls me Lissa, short for Melissa, of course, and Lyndsey couldn't quite say "Lissa," so she called me the easier to pronounce "LaLa." Later, when my niece Olivia was learning to talk, I taught her to call me LaLa, too, and as she got older, the nickname stuck.

When I first started blogging my paper-crafting life, I chose the title LaLaScraps, but later, when I decided to blog with Blogger, I changed the name to LaLaCreates to incorporate other creative pursuits besides scrapbooking, including writing, photography, other hobbies, and living a generally creative life.

Note: This post is part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Reunion

It's been a long time since I've participated in a challenge from a challenge blog, but I couldn't resist this sketch, #392, from Scrapbook Challenges, particularly its versatility: this is a sketch I could use again and again, without the resulting pages looking the same. The supplies for this page are from My Own Kit, September 2013, and I used a die from Stampin' Up! to cut the pinked circles.

Be sure to check out all the challenges at Scrapbook Challenges because they're cool!

Photo Walk

After a particularly troubling day, a walk in the fresh air on a lovely spring evening with the man I love soothed me. Here's what I saw and captured with my camera:

Forsythia just starting to bloom. bloom. Seeing them, I gasped in delight, and as we approached, I could smell their dizzying fragrance.

This lovely, old tree.

A tulip, fly on board.

The lily of the valley, just getting started.

Cute little fella, scared enough to scatter up the tree, but brave enough to wonder if I've got a nibble for him. (I didn't.)

I've always thought of this beauty as a tulip tree, but I don't think that's the actual name. So pretty...but such a brief blooming season.

Almost just about back home with this handsome devil.

**Note: This blog post is part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Beauty Tip

That is my mother with flowers sent to her by one of her sons. Her name is Rachel, and her smile is one if the most beautiful things I know because it mirrors her love, her joy, her sweetness, and just a little bit of mischief.

A smile is the best beauty enhancement at any age.

***Note: This post is part of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Last Four of 30 in 30 April 2014

Hello, New 'Do

This one was based on a Shimelle sketch, except I did not have three additional photos for the spaces on the bottom, so I used embellishments instead. I like this design for highlighting a really lovely piece of patterned paper like that delectable blue background with rose clusters. So pretty and quite perfect for this story about my Little Mommy getting a new 'do!

Tasty Memories

I like this page because I was able to incorporate memorabilia, which is something I feel I rarely do at all, and rarely with success. Yes, I did use newspaper, and no, I did not apply expensive spray to render it archival safe. I totally understand the need for that, but in this case, that was not my focus. I used an article that was sent to me by my Mom's cousin about the restaurant we visited where the photo was taken. The top of the article contained a photo of people that of course I don't know and didn't really need to feature on my scrapbook page, so I used that portion of the page for my own photo and embellishment. I was both surprised and delighted at how this page turned out, and it made me want to explore including memorabilia more often.

Mother's Day Cupcakes

Fun layout to create, this one. I love all the leftover bits and pieces from many different collections that all work together to tell the story about cupcakes with my Little Mommy. I did add a set of Thickers to this kit because I was running out of letter sticker options that would work.

Mom Loves Her Books

This one was a bit of a struggle at first, but once I diversified the color scheme, it took off. I liked the background patterned paper because of its flight theme that coordinated nicely with my own theme that books are an adventure and a journey. And aren't those little white hearts from Prima adorable?

And that wraps up the layouts I'm sharing from the 30 in 30 Scrapbooking Challenge, April 2014. To create all these pages, I used My Own Kit, September 2013, and there's more of that kit left, so there'll be more pages to come!

Five Things I Love on Friday

One - Coffee: Since I was 19 years old, I've been a coffee drinker. It started out with lots of cream and lots of sugar, but along the way, I quit the sweet, and that's how I've enjoyed it ever since. I've tried it black, but I can't do it. So a little half-n-half does the trick. Discovering Starbucks in the mid-1990's at a Barnes and Noble in Tyler, Texas, only increased my love for coffee in a lot of different forms. Mocha's my favorite, but I can do a caramel macchiato or even plain Pike's Place blend. Coffee every morning when I wake up starts my day off right just like those commercials I watched as a kid. Of course, then I thought coffee was "yucky."

Two - Scrapbooking: No surprise there, but lately, I've been feeling in my groove again, loving most of the pages I'm creating and feeling like the craft is coming more easily than ever before. I've learned what I like, what works, and I've developed some confidence when it comes to creating my own designs. Like probably every other scrapbooker ever, I still feel a bit of pressure to "catch up" on some of the projects that have been waiting in the wings while life took its turbulent and time-consuming turns last year, but oh, yeah! I am loving the scrapbooking thing.

Three - Spring: While the season of flowers and increasing warmth is not my number one favorite time of year, I do love how everything is blooming and green and full of promise. Winter here was harsh this last time around, and even a person like me who loves the snow and icy cold, who pines for it when summer is at its hottest, can get to the point of eyes-to-the-sky enough already! (That actually happened. I told the sky to quit with the snow in moment of frustration at having to shove ANOTHER inches for the umpteenth time! The sky ignored me.) In my neck of the woods, spring is glorious with so many different kinds of flora, and while the temperature topped 80 degrees yesterday, it was a lovely day for sitting outside, soaking up some sun (people in Michigan are known for being Vitamin D deficient!) and dreaming a summer daydream or two. Oh, spring...welcome back.

Four - Books: I'm a book lover from way back, and that hasn't changed. I can't see it ever changing. Every time I go to a bookstore or the library, I'm almost intoxicated with story. Novels and memoirs are my favorite, but I love many other kinds, too. This year, I've been able to finish books I started several years ago, and that feels awesome. I'm also adding to my library and really looking forward to reading new books, too. Reading is something I've missed from my life the past few years, and I love that I'm bringing it back into my regular rotation of things I love to do.

Five - Writing: I wanted to be a writer when I was a small child, even before I totally understood what that meant. Writing is something I've always loved. Telling stories. Pen dancing across a page, fingers dancing across the keys. It's not just something I love, it's part of who I am and always have been and always want to be. That it comes in last on this little 5 item list does not mean I love it less than anything else, though it does tend to fall to the end of the priority list a lot of the time. That's just how life does, sometimes. This year, as I keep exploring what matters to me and ways to get those things higher on the list of things that get done, writing is in play. Maybe I'll even write something like a novel or a collection of poetry and self-publish it by year's end. That would be awesome.

***Note: This post is part of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge, but perhaps 5 Things I Love on Friday should be an every Friday series?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Some Pages Using My Own Kit - August 2013

These are some layouts I created as part of my own 30 in 30 Scrapbooking Challenge for April, 2014, using My Own Kit, August 2013, and the Add-On I created to supplement it.


For this bright page about me and my Little Mommy on her birthday, I used a Cameo cut for the title, and while the design is my own, it was definitely inspired by a class I recently took at Big Picture Classes called Scrapbooking Outside the Pocket by Monica Bradford. I love putting those pocket cards on a traditional scrapbook page like this, and the class provided so many great ideas for doing just that. Check out Monica's blog here. She's super creative and inspiring.

All You Need Is Love and K-Cup Coffee

Another example of using those great 3x4 cards on a layout, and this one was SO much fun to create. In addition to the supplies from the kits, I added some stamps from The Stamps of Life, TPC Studio, and Cocoa Daisy.

Spring Walk

With this layout, the background patterned paper really steals the show. I didn't use anything extra, just the kits, including some little scraps of paper for layering. Really enjoy looking at this layout. It brings a smile to my face.

Warm Weather Love

Another favorite layout that was a bit of a challenge when it came to placement of the photos, but once that was sorted out, fun-fun-fun to put together. The only thing I added was ink, both Distress and Stampin' Up! Picked raspberries (I think that's the name!) is the perfect match to the pinks in this kit, and I just love how bright and happy it is. I used it to color the heart shape, which I cut with the Cameo.

First Solo Concert

I admit I love this page, just love how all the elements work together, the energy, the colors, and of course, that lovely photo of my niece Olivia. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, creating kits gets my stash into play like nothing else does. The journaling card has been in my die cut bin for years, and here it is put to adorable use on a page. Flowers and buttons and those ticket die cuts are fairly old, too, and there are some acrylic die cuts that I've had a little while I was able to use, so a happy layout all the way around. Oh, and in that envelope? A little bit of a secret message for my niece to read someday.

45 Things at 45

This layout has been awhile in the making. I like to do a page about myself at each age, and one of the assignments for Ali Edwards' class Hello, Story last year was to do exactly that. In addition to the kit supplies, I used a Cameo cut for the big numbers in the title, as well as punches from EK Success and Martha Stewart and dies from Spellbinders and the company that used to be called QuicKutz.

So Helpful

For this layout about my niece helping to paint cabinet doors for a kitchen remodeling project, I started with a bright, adorable patterned paper and some light pink Distress paint. I also used some ink from Distress and Stampin' Up! to fill in some of those circles to add interest. The ampersand in the title was cut from a 3x4 card, and I used periods from the Thickers set as a border for the side of the photo. I'm kinda diggin' it!

High Five

It's been a long time since I've used one of Shimelle's Starting Points, and this is by far my favorite. I love to use scraps up, and this design is the perfect opportunity to do just that. For the spatters of color, I added some water to some Distress ink in picked raspberries that I rubbed on a plate, then flicked onto the page with a paintbrush. Nifty, no? I also used ink from Stampin' Up! to stamp the smaller part of the title, a die to cut the hearts out of Stampin' Up! card stock, and a Fiskars punch for the ovals. This is a design starter that can be used again and again with plenty of different variations and adorable results.

Calm Before the Storm

Last of the pages created with this kit (at least so far; I do have a few pieces leftover.),  this one is another favorite of mine for its simplicity. I used Stampin' Up! ink for part of the title, photo corners by Recollections to anchor the photo, Doodelbug sequins to stand in for "raindrops," and I fussy cut the umbrellas from a patterned paper strip.


And that is not a bad collection of layouts from one kit! There could be more, as I do have some remnants left, and I do love to create with little bits and pieces. Some of my 30 in 30 challenge pages were created with the kit I created for September of last year, and I've got a lot left of that kit, so more fun to come. While I didn't do kits for October and November last year, I did a huge one for Journal Your Christmas, a project I'm still a little bit on the fence about completing, and I made a great kit for February with kits for March, April, and May in the process, as well as a bonus Spring kit, too!

Can you tell I really dig the kits??