January 16, 2015

Five on Friday

Earlier this week I thought I'd try out a new feature (not weekly, mind you), inspired by my friend Elizabeth, called Ten on Tuesday. It's like Five on Friday only twice as long. Obviously, that did not work out! It's been a month since I last wrote a post, so I'm going to be happy with baby steps!

1.  We started school last week.

Last year it took me a full week to get back into the swing of things after our Christmas break before we really commenced our studies and got down to business. But, we don't have that luxury this year. At least, not if we don't want to be "doing school" all summer long. I don't. Of course, Sam had to join in the fun too.

2.  I made pumpkin oatmeal earlier in the week on an unusually cool and cloudy morning, and used up the last of the homemade pumpkin butter in our fridge. I freeze what I know we can't eat within a reasonable amount of time so there are a few containers waiting for us later this year when fall arrives (it keeps amazingly well in the deep freeze in case you are wondering). I use Deb's recipe as my foundation, but I cut the sugar. And the cloves; not a huge fan of clove. Also, instead of using canned pumpkin I roast the sugar pumpkins that have been sitting on our mantel as decorations all November and adjust the recipe accordingly.  It's kind of an all-day process, but I love doing it... is that strange?

3.  I always have to check whether I am using the correct spelling for mantel. I always do, in fact, spell it correctly. But it's just one of those words... I'm never certain about it.

4. Back in November we learned that Nathan might need glasses.

Over the Thanksgiving break we had him tested, and yes, he did. So, this is now the face I see everyday. Pretty cute, huh? The sides of his frames have little flames, and are oh so him. He takes surprisingly good care of them. Although, the lenses are always dirty.

5.  On Monday I will be 32 weeks along in this pregnancy. Yikes! I don't feel quite ready yet, and I suppose that I shouldn't. But, you better believe my nesting instincts are kicking in. I will probably drive Glen nuts the next several weeks with never-ending to-do lists. But that comes with the territory, right?

Well, that's all I've got. A few bits and pieces from life around here. Until next time...

December 15, 2014

I have a really good reason...

I know, it's been exceptionally quiet around here. I'm not apologizing for that; just acknowledging the truth of it. I did want to pop-in and say hello to anyone who might still visit this space of mine.

One reason I haven't posted much these past several months is that I've been keeping a bit of a secret...

Yes, we are expecting a new baby. A girl. A girl!

We hardly know what to do with ourselves. I just hope she likes Legos.

Part of why I've been so quiet was that I hadn't found a way to talk about the other things in our lives until I had found a way to share this big thing. And I wasn't ready to share our news right away. But then time passed, and I got so busy with school, and life in general, and then at the end of most days I am just pooped...

So it's taken me a while. I am pretty far along, almost 7 months. Things are going well, though. I feel good; we are so very happy, and the baby is healthy. She is due mid-March; just around the time of our anniversary. We are really hoping she comes before then. We are also hoping we can think of a name for this little one before she arrives! For some reason I found naming our boys so much easier.

There isn't much else to say. I think I've pretty much covered it! =)

October 31, 2014

five on Friday: Halloween Edition

1. The boys are watching Curious George: A Halloween Boo-Fest for the I don't know how many timeth this week.

2. I've got a pot of pumpkin oatmeal cooling on the stove. That it's actually cool enough to enjoy such a thing is something I'm thankful for.

3. It's been a crazy-busy month, and it seems to have gone by in a flash. Never truly thought I'd look forward to November as a less stressful time. You know, with Thanksgiving dinner, and a Harvest Party to host - it's going to be fun! I really mean it.

4. Daddy has to work tomorrow. Which is lame.

5. The boys are super-excited for tonight.

While we don't go all-out for this day, we do try to have fun. Happy Halloween!!

September 22, 2014

scrappy blog tour

A friend of mine recently tagged me for this blog tour and invited to share a bit about my creative process here with you. Jennifer Larson and I met several years ago when we were both on the design team for Ella Publishing. Which seems like ages ago now! We got the chance to meet in person a couple of years ago at CHA, and we had a lot of fun together spending the day admiring all the new pretty paper, as scrapbookers are prone to do! I have always been a fan of her layouts and style and so I was honored by her invitation. Here we go...

What am I working on right now? 

This is my latest completed layout. A really fast turn-around time for me since we just went on this apple picking trip two weeks ago.

Other than that though, I am kind of between projects at the moment. I just finished up a home decor project for Simple Stories for a new eBook they will be releasing to go along with their DIY Christmas collection. That was quite outside the box for me! I am not usually a home decor kind of gal. But it was fun to push my creativity, and when I get the chance I will share that project here on the blog.

How long does it take me to create a project? That is a tough question to answer because I never complete a layout all in one sitting. If I had to guess though, it would probably be 2-3 hours. I am a rather slow scrapbooker, but it doesn't bother me. Trying to go faster than my intuition tells me to usually results in a layout I don't like very much. 

What are my favorite things to create with at the moment? My favorite things to create with at the moment are the things I have always loved working with, patterned paper, brads, and buttons. I like to use Thickers or something dimensional for titles. I love using my Silhouette for titles as well. I also really like wood veneer and flair, granted they are not too thick. I'm kind of a flat scrapbooker, but do like a little added dimension to my pages.

How does my writing/creating process work? When starting a new layout, I almost always start with photos...

There are times when I have to use specific products, for an assignment or such, but this is actually quite rare. So, I begin with my photos, and think about the story I want to tell. A photograph can often tell more than one story, so I try to narrow down the focus of what it is I want to say. This helps me decide if I will need more than one photo, how long or short my journaling will be, and it also guides my product choices later on. Then, working with my sketchbook I choose a combination of photos and a sketch that would best suit that story.

As an aside, if you are not familiar with my scrapbooking, then you might not know that I am a huge fan of sketches. Just this year I taught a workshop through Big Picture Classes all about sketches called Sketch Solutions. I have had people ask me this, but yes, I actually use my sketches! They are a huge time-saver, and I have found them to be an incredibly powerful tool in my scrapbooking.

After I've chosen my photos and sketch, I begin choosing products and embellishments and start the more creative, fun, and playful part of this hobby.

While I'm doing this step I am also thinking about the journaling. Using my chosen sketch as a guide, I have a good idea of how much journaling will fit on the page, and what style of journaling would work best with the design. In the layout at the top of this post I used block journaling, but I mostly use journaling strips:

Either way, I almost always use typed journaling. I might start typing up what I want to say while I'm still working on my layout, but it is always the last thing added to my page.

How do I become inspired and stay inspired? I am inspired by my family's photos and stories. That is really what keeps me, and has kept me, scrapbooking all these years. It is always the thing that pulls me back in when I'm feeling a lack of creativity.

Design-wise, I most often find inspiration in magazines. From the advertisements to article layouts, there is a lot of inspiration to be found in them. I do browse galleries and Pinterest from time to time, but that is only if I need motivation to get a project started, not necessarily for design inspiration.

What is my signature style? My style is linear, colorful, and photo-centered. I love using paper and color to help tell my family's stories. I do think of layouts as telling a story, so all the parts should work together to accomplish that goal. While scrapbooking is a hobby that I enjoy for myself, the layouts I create are not just for me. They are for my family. When we look back at our albums many years from now, I want our pages to make sense and to be relevant. That is something that has guided my style as it has developed through the years.

To continue this blog tour I've been asked to tag three of my favorite scrapbookers. I do have more than three! But I've chosen Elizabeth Dillow (So, Elizabeth was already tagged. You can read her answers to the questions, here) , Aly Dosdall, and Alissa Fast.

Thanks for stopping by!

September 20, 2014

looking back

I've meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now. As it sat on the back burner of my mind this week, I remembered why I haven't blogged very much lately. Because at the end of the day, I am just so very tired. It's a good tired; the kind that comes from having accomplished quite a lot in one day. We finished our third week of school yesterday and things are going well, but it is an adjustment from our summer schedule to be sure. And I know it will be a couple more weeks before we truly find our rhythm.

Before the seasons change completely, because even if the weather around here doesn't my mindset certainly does, I thought I'd share a few summer pages with you. We didn't do everything we had hoped to, but we did have a wonderful summer. Full, and happy. 

This first page is based on a sketch I created some years ago, long before the pocket page scrapbooking craze began. This grid arrangement comes about very naturally though, since a 3x4 is simply a 4x6 cut in half.

I wanted to make a page documenting the boys enjoying some of the some sweet treats I made for them this summer using both our Zoku pop maker and a traditional ice cream machine. I included one photo of each and replaced the other photo spaces with 3x4 cards.

I printed the journaling on a 3x4 card and trimmed it slightly so that there would be a border of color underneath it. Then I embellished it very simply with a sticker and some washi tape.

Next up is a favorite of mine. A layout I made of Gabe and Nathan and a yearly summertime ritual. Our neighbor has several lemon trees in her backyard and their branches extend just a tad over onto our side of the fence. The boys love to collect lemons for mommy to use in cooking (or making lemonade or lemon bars).

The title for this layout is a bit tongue-in-cheek because the truth is that our neighbor lets them collect as many lemons as they want. And believe me, they collect quite a few lemons! In the summer I never have to buy lemons at the grocery store since they keep me well stocked.

I kept the layout very simple; just a trio of photos, a few strips of pattern paper and a smattering of stickers and brads to embellish the page.

As I just mentioned, I made a lot of fun frozen treats this summer. Sam is allergic to egg whites, and many other things as well, but he can have egg yolks. So while cakes and cookies are out the question for now (I have started trying out a few egg-free baking recipes), ice cream remains an option for dessert. And Sam is always up for a sweet frozen treat. This last layout is all about him:

I used a decorative polaroid-style frame from the Good Day Sunshine Bit & Pieces ephemera pack to highlight the photo of him giggling. Again, I kept the design quite simple. Just a few strips of paper and stickers along the bottom of the page and a smattering of embellishments.

These photos were taken just before he got a haircut and so you can see that his hair is a little wild, but I think it’s cute!

He’s enjoying a bowl of honey ice cream. It was so delicious, and he loved it so much, he was practically licking the bowl!

Alright, please excuse any typos. It's been a long week, and I just want to get this posted! I hope you are having a lovely weekend. Until next time...


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