Sunday, November 13, 2016

Two Notebooks

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and I am already beginning to prepare for two projects that I plan on completing to document this year's holiday season.

On a recent episode of the Live Inspired podcast, Tracie Claiborne interviewed Victoria Marie about her class, The Holiday Project, which could be an alternative to the popular December Daily, or a different kind of documentation to add.

Now, I love the idea of December Daily, and I have done the actual project, as well as several variations, more than once. But last year's version did not go well. I know this about myself: daily doesn't work very well for me. It's hard for me to sustain in the best of circumstances, and last year, I was dealing with more than one stress-inducing realities that made it even more difficult for me to summon enthusiasm and energy to keep up with any kind of everyday documentation.

This year, I wanted something different, and listening to the description of this class, I thought, "This is it." Twelve Stories, One Album is the subtitle for this class, and I thought coming up with just twelve stories to document throughout the holiday season would be doable, so I signed right up.

Here is the notebook I'll be using as a class workbook, the cover decorated with supplies from a past Basic Grey collection:

The other project I'll be doing this December, as every other for the past several years, is Journal Your Christmas, a class taught every year by Shimelle Laine. What I love about this class is that it includes not only current holiday memories and events, but also past, and even a little bit of the future. By far, the albums I've created as part of this class have been my favorites. I have plans to create an album this year, as well, but I can also imagine keeping it as a journal only, just writing, no photos or anything else, if I so choose.

Here's the notebook I will use, its cover decorated with last year's Christmas collection by Shimelle:

It gives me just a little bit of excitement to anticipate the words that will fill this little notebook as I enjoy a holiday season I hope will be a lot less fraught than last year's.

What are you doing to prepare for documenting your holidays?

Flowers - Sketch Inspiration

Lately, I've been into sketches again, and I created this two-page layout from a PageMaps sketch.

I used supplies from one of my favorite collections ever, Bo Bunny's Secret Garden. I did have to tweak the sizes of my photos a little bit to fit the design, and I added an element, the extra journaling box on the left, which is actually the envelope of the card that came with these flowers my sweetheart sent me, turned into a flap to hide the card because its color scheme didn't coordinate with all that purple.

Here's a close-up view of the left page:

And of the right:

I was able to use a lot of dies for this page--the butterfly from Lifestyle Crafts (that used to be QuicKutz), the leaf sprigs from Crate Paper, and the basic shape holding the journaling and the title from Spellbinders.

I admit I had a bit of trouble with this layout, including a mishap with spray mist that lead me to replace pink ribbon at the bottom of the pages with that glitter tape. Sometimes, you just gotta "make it work," as Tim Gunn used to say on Project Runway.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Favorite Photos - October 2016 Edition

1.  Box of Pumpkins

Oh, how I love the sight of pumpkins in the sunshine. These were all piled up in a large wooden box at our favorite orchard and pumpkin patch where we stopped one afternoon to enjoy the quintessentially autumn atmosphere.

2. Hanging Out with the 'Phew

Me and my nephew, DJ, outside Olive Garden after dinner.

3. Friendly Neighborhood Deer

We were trying to get to our favorite park, and we got rerouted because of road construction through this woodsy neighborhood. A couple of deer wandered across the road as we passed, and I stopped to snap a picture with my iPhone.

4. Anniversary Smiles

Us, at Gallup Park, on our anniversary. Together is the best.

5. At Harvest Time

On our anniversary weekend getaway, we visited a tiny little town called Coopersville to take a train ride. We had time to wander the main street there and came across this display of autumn produce for sale.

6. By the Pitcher Plants

There's my sweetheart, posing for me by a pitcher plant at the Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Oh yeah, baby!

7. Pillar of Flowers

Also at the Meijer Gardens, this breathtaking display of flowers, many (or all?) of them chrysanthemums.

8. The Bridge at the Japanese Gardens

I'm pretty sure Daniel took this shot of a bridge in the Japanese Gardens, also at the Meijer Gardens. Purely lovely.

9. Ground Perspective

Out on photo safari one day, I lowered the camera nearer the ground to capture this leaf in the grass.

10. Golden

The photo couldn't possibly do it justice, this tall tree in full autumn regalia.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Layouts to Share

My word for 2016 is "content," and one of the goals I've had for this year is reinvigorating my blog, posting more often. Lately, I have been doing quite a bit of scrapbooking, trying to catch up on 2014, both the regular "every day" stories, as well as our epic Florida vacation, 3 volumes and counting. As my favorite season unfolded, I also wanted to start working more on scrapbooking our first wedding, as its theme was "autumn leaves," and I've done so little on it 14 years later.

So...yesterday, which was an emotionally dismal day, the sunshine here in MittenLand was nice and bright, and I seized the opportunity--admittedly, it did require me to summon energy by sheer will--to take a few photos of some of the layouts I've been working on. I'll start with my favorite, this colorful page about why I love autumn so much:

And This Is Why

First of all, I absolutely adore these brilliant fall colors. Ever since I saw the "I {heart} autumn" card with the leaf filling in for the heart shape from Bo Bunny's Autumn Song collection, I knew this was meant for a wedding page. The leaf embellishments I cut with my Sizzix Big Shot and two collections of thin dies, and the design is loosely based on a sketch, though I don't recall which one right now. That photo of me and Daniel is one of my favorites from our wedding, and I love how this page is a beautiful backdrop for it.

All Aboard and Us On the Train

Next up, these two pages about a train ride at the Magic Kingdom, which are not meant to be a two-page layout, though they coordinate because they're related. My inspiration for the color scheme was the tag on the left of the "All Aboard" page, which I created well over a year ago for a 30 in 30 project, trying to use more of my vast collection of stamps. I was at a crop when I started these pages, and I was able to find some train patterned paper from Carta Bella (I think) as well as that lovely red polka dot from Bo Bunny. I had to be patient in my search for embellishments, finally finding the train stickers (Reminisce) in exactly the right color scheme. Luckily, I still had some of those butterfly stickers I used on the tag that I could add to the second page, as well as some enamel dots (Queen and Co.) and red gems, and I added in enamel dots from Doodlebug in black to tie it all together.

Domain Strong

For this layout, I used remnants of a kit I created and made a mini kit of supplies, inspired by a May Flaum class called Kitastic 2016. Love doing that! The papers are mostly Basic Grey, a collection I love called Typeset, with letter stickers from My Mind's Eye and American Crafts. One of my challenges as a scrapbooker is figuring out how to use patterned paper like this in a way that doesn't detract from or lose the photo in all that bold, beautiful color. I didn't use a sketch for this, but I'm sure there are many similar designs by people who've had the same challenge as I have. I love this page, both for the bold color, and for the sweet picture of me and my Little Mommy, smiling together as we so often did. I sure do miss her.

City Sets

And finally, this page from our visit to Hollywood Studios. There wasn't a big story to tell, but I did want to feature the photos of the big, city street sets. I wasn't sure how to do it. I have used a lot of specific Disney-themed product on the pages of this album, both the Say Cheese collections from Simple Stories, and the one that Echo Park Paper released awhile back. But there are a LOT of pages for this trip, and I couldn't possibly use those supplies for every page. I've been creating pages for this album by sticking mostly to the theme of the photos when possible. That means the album is full of a lot of different patterns and designs, and there isn't really a unifying theme, but I'm okay with that for this project. A unifying theme, again for so many pages, would likely bore me quickly.

So, when I was brainstorming a design for these photos, I was at a crop at Scrappy Chic, and I went looking for some kind of paper reflective of city skylines. At first, I couldn't find it, partially because the store was supposed to be closing at that time (it was bought and is staying open, woohoo!), and a lot of the papers were sold out. I wandered to the clearance section and found the perfect paper from Studio Calico. Plain white background with that cityscape at the bottom. I fussy cut it out and used some polka dot grey vellum from Doodlebug as the background. Cloud stickers (October Afternoon?) and letter stickers from both October Afternoon and American Crafts add just enough embellishment for what I wanted to be a simple page. It's impossible to see in the photo, but the pen work is just a little bit shimmery, adding just a hint of glimmer.

Not a bad bit of scrapbooking for this season so far. I've just about completed scrapbooking July of 2014, except for the Florida trip; that will likely continue well into next year, but I'm happy with getting these stories told and sharing them here on my blog.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fall Color Inspiration

One of my favorite things in the scrapbooking world is when Shimelle Laine holds a weekend of challenges. This weekend, there were six, and my favorite, of course, was the one to scrapbook with a color scheme inspired by autumn, challenge number three.

Here is the page I created:

While this page is about a visit to a brewery in July, the colors of the papers I chose appealed to me specifically because of their autumn flavor. The yellow in the pattern of the circle paper reminds me of turning leaves, and the background paper's shade hints of all things cranberry at this favorite time of year.

I used a sketch from the online class, Ready, Sketch, Go, Volume One, which I highly recommend. I love including memorabilia on my scrapbook pages, and this sketch provided the perfect space for the brewery coaster, since I only had one photo.

I've been busy, busy with scrapbooking lately, and I've got more to share soon, along with a long overdue favorite photos post.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Currently - A Bit of a Reboot

I can't even count the times I've started this post, the one that will end my long hiatus (since last NOVEMBER, people!) from blogging and launch the reboot of my blog in alignment with my word for 2016.

I've really struggled, probably because I'm overthinking it.

So, instead of trying to write a long explanation of all that's happened and all the details about what I want my blog to be, going forward--there'll be time for that later--I'm just going to just start with a simple list of what's currently going on in my life.



Reading - Victoria magazine, catching up on issues from as long ago as 2013! (Looks like blogging isn't the only thing I'm behind in.)

Cheering - Noell Hyman for making big changes and doing what's right for her health, life, and happiness.

Watching - Let's see, NCIS and Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix, the premiere of the 10th season of Big Bang Theory last night, videos from May Flaum's newest class, Kitastic, that started yesterday.

Learning - To be patient with my body as it heals and keep my monkey mind from fearing the worst.

Planning - To rest, recover, and enjoy autumn in Michigan.

Working - Not working on much right now, unless it's keeping the laundry down to a dull roar.

Making - A few scrapbook pages, though I've been a little too worn out to put my whole heart into it lately.

Avoiding - The list is long and distinguished.

Eating - Soup, pudding, applesauce, all kinds of the softest foods.

Buying - Scrapbooking supplies, particularly autumn-themed stuff.

Trying - To figure out what's next.

Drinking - Lots of juice, herbal tea and water.

Enjoying - The Scrap Gals podcast

Wishing/Hoping - That I'll be back to normal within the next couple of days, and this minor health crisis will just be a bad memory.

I was inspired to do this Currently list by this post by Tiffany Lowder, whose blog I recently started reading. It's a good way to grab a quick snapshot of life right now.

(Now, see? That wasn't so hard...)