January 29, 2015

looking back

Usually sometime in late December or early January I'll notice other scrapbookers posting their top ten favorite layouts of the year. I've always liked the idea, but never done it myself. It's part procrastination, part I just don't ever have it in me to do it in a timely manner. We take a pretty low-key approach to Christmas, and it is our time to unplug and really get away from it all (even if we are staying home). For me, I get to spend lots and lots of time with my husband; it truly is a special time for us. When January comes, I focus all of my energy on getting us back on track with our studies.

All that to say, I'm just now getting around to posting this.

I should probably say that these aren't actually my top ten favorite layouts. I scrapbooked quite a lot last year, but a lot of my favorites have either already been posted, or were part of my workshop Sketch Solutions, and I am not at liberty to share them here. So instead of posting my favorites, I thought I'd do a bit of catching up and share 10 layouts I made last year that never made it to the blog.

Considering that pregnancy usually completely zaps my creative energy I was happy to keep making layouts until about November. Then the hustle and bustle of the holidays kicked in and I haven't made any layouts since. I'll start with those last two, an assortment of favorite photos of the boys:

and Sam, who won't stay still for much, but loves to have his picture taken.

Actually, these two probably would have made the top ten. The Life Documented collection from Simple Stories was one of my favorite collections from last year. It was both fun and inspiring creating with these papers. Seriously, some of my favorite colors (primary color base with a twist) and simple basic patterns (stripes and polka dots) are included in that collection. Plus, Bradz.

Sometime early last year I was organizing my albums and I got the bright idea to remake some less-than-favorite layouts... Here is the first of, well, not many if I'm being honest! It is Nathan as a baby eating one of his favorite foods (he was super-picky as a baby!) The original had drab papers and I wanted to brighten the page and change the design by putting the photos front and center. I'm happy with how it turned out.

Another collection of photos that make me happy. =)

Last year I had mentioned that Crate Paper's Boys Rule collection was on my must have list. These are just three of the layouts I made last year using that collection. There are many more, but as I said above, unfortunately I cannot share them here.

Love this one of Nathan and his fashion choices.

Sam, not smiling for the camera, but generally being silly.

Then there is Gabe being an awesome big brother and taking Sam for a ride in the pedal car.

It took me a while, but in August I finally got around to scrapbooking our trip to the apple farm. You know, our trip from the previous year.

In actuality, this does not bother me. I keep a list of stories I want to tell, and when I get to them, I get to them.

Sam at the pumpkin patch.

Playing with patterned paper is probably my favorite thing about scrapbooking. Admittedly though, even this layout has more pattern than I typically use. But I love this layout. It doesn't hurt that it features a baby and a pumpkin. Hello, cuteness.

Finally, here is another set of photos that took ages to scrapbook. My photos weren't all that great, and I struggled with how to include the map and brochure from our visit. I ultimately created a little pocket behind the patterned paper and tucked them in there for safe keeping.

Well, that's it! It's taken me longer than it should to get this posted, but I'm gonna be happy I did it before the end of January. =)

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!


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