December 19, 2013

Stretch Your Sketches this Holiday Season

Hi there!! Just a quick post today to let you know that I have a special coupon code to share with you. Now through the end of December you can save 20% when you purchase Stretch Your Sketches together with Stretch Your Sketches 2!

My first eBook covered one-photo to seven-photo sketches, while the sequel covers 8-photo through 14-photo sketches.  However, you'll find a huge variety of pages within that framework.  For example, in the second book there is an adaptation that will accommodate up to 20 photos!  Both books teach and introduce principles that will help you adapt any sketch to the number of photos you have, to a different size or orientation, or from a single page to a spread. So whether you are new to using sketches, or use them all the time, there is something in both books for you!

You can find my books at the Big Picture Classes website under the eBooks tab.  Here are direct links to both books:  Stretch Your Sketches and Stretch Your Sketches 2.

Use the code STRETCH to get 20% off when you purchase both eBooks. Code expires 12/31/13.

October 24, 2013

variation on a theme


Several months ago I made the card above using bits and pieces I had left from Walnut Grove. Now, that was a collection I didn't realize I'd love as much as I did. It happens that way sometimes. I don't use too many floral designs in my scrapbooking, but that line was perfect for cards (for me, anyway).

Often when I come upon a design I really like I'll want to play with it a bit more. Just making small changes, or sometime no change at all, just to see where it takes me. I do this, a lot. These next two cards are nearly identical to the one above.

I had these die-cuts from Jillibean Soup and I knew I'd never get around to using them on a layout, so I decided to put them to use here.

They were the perfect size and I think they work well. Gabe and Nathan like the card with the bike the most; that is their "favorite."

I don't have as much time as I'd like for crafting these days. It does not help that we moved my scrapbooking space to a room upstairs. It is just not as easy as it once was for me to do a little bit here and there throughout the day. So I'm having to find a new rhythm and be a bit more intentional in finding time to be creative. I'll figure it out I'm sure, but for now it is a little bit of a bummer.

This morning as I was putting on my jeans I felt inside one of the pockets to find a cookie and a cheerio (except that we don't buy Cheerios we buy Trader Joe's Honey Nut O's, but you get the idea). Yeah, does stuff like that ever happen to you? It kind of grossed me out a little 'cause I forgot they were in there as I had meant to put them in the trash yesterday. I'm thinking it is an occupational hazard... And yes, I am wearing the same pants two days in a row. I make no apologies or excuses for it either.

Until next time...

October 21, 2013

Sn@p! giveaway... designed by you!!

Last week I shared Sam's first year album. Brought to you of course, by Simple Stories. I used their new Sn@p! sets as the foundation for my album, and it all came together so quickly and easily. I hope you don't get sick of me saying this, but I still feel so lucky to be working for such a great company. I truly love their products and I know a lot of you do too. Which is why I am super excited about today's giveaway!!

Before we get to the details of that, here is the album I used, the 6x8 Sn@p! Faux Leather album in Teal:

In case you didn't know, Simple Stories makes 12x12 albums too. These new albums are faux leather and really are so beautiful. There are 6 colors available - red, teal, black, brown, green, pink. And they come in 2 sizes - 12x12 & 6x8. They have non-slip, interlocking D-ring binding and as you can see in the image above contrasting stitch detail and metal corner accents. On the outside binding you will find a metal spine bookplate.

Of course, Simple Stories also makes corresponding pocket pages. Here is an image of the 6x8 Multi-pack:

They also make a huge range of pocket pages in 12x12. You can see their full range, here. No matter which pack you buy though, each includes 10 pocket pages. I have been happy with the quality of these page protectors and do feel that they will last. The plastic they are made from is thick, not flimsy and they are also acid free and archival safe.

Now for the really fun part! Simple Stories is letting me giveaway one faux leather album and one set of pocket pages of your choice!! To enter please leave a comment telling me which album color is your favorite and what you'd like to make with your Sn@p! album. Please be sure to leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.  Comments for my giveaway will remain open until Monday, October 28th, 11:59 pm PST. I will select a winner at random and they will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Just the be clear, you get to choose your prize, either a 6x8 or 12x12 album and whichever pocket pages you'd like. Isn't that awesome?!

We've got a busy week ahead but I'm thinking it will be a good one. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

October 17, 2013

Sam's First Year

Can I tell you how happy I am to have this done? So very much. I shared this album on the Simple Stories blog last week, but I wanted to share it here too because I am seriously happy about this project. This post is kind of long because I want to share not just what I made, but why I made it and some of the design choices I made before I got started. Those choices went a long way towards making this a truly quick and easy project. Something of a rarity for me.

When Simple Stories announced they were releasing new mini Sn@p! sets I was excited. They are cute, they are colorful... they're new and shiny! But I wasn't sure how practical they would be for me since I don't keep a Life Documented album. And while I like making mini-albums, and the cards are perfectly fine for layouts too, I just don't really need more stuff. You know? 

And then, here is where the only instance of scrapbooking guilt I have ever possessed comes into play.

You see, Gabe has a first year baby album. Nathan, while he doesn't technically have a first year album, does have an album of his first year filled (filled!) with scrapbook pages. And then there is Sam. Truth is, there aren't nearly as many photos of him as there are of Gabe's or Nathan's first year. Also, most of the photos of him also have one or both of his brothers in them. So, there are very few pages in his first year album. Do you see where I'm going here? I wanted to document Sam's first year, but was unsure of how to go about doing it in a way that made sense. And maybe that doesn't make sense! But I suppose I just didn't want it to be this huge, enormous, time-consuming project. Then I saw the new Baby Boy Sn@p! Set. And along with the smaller 6x8 album I knew they were the perfect solution to my problem.

That and the determination to just do it already. And I did...

Before I got started I did collect a few embellishments to compliment my album: enamel dots and rhinestones in coordinating colors, binder clips, brads and sequins. Also, since getting my Silhouette almost two years ago it has become a huge part of my design process. I use it on almost every page I make. I love using it to create my own custom shapes and titles, but I wanted to keep this easy so I limited myself to three sheets of cardstock:  white, yellow and gray. I also kept the designs very simple and only allowed myself use shapes already in my library - no searching for or buying new shapes!

Here's a little more, two photos as we left the hospital and one from when we got home:

You might notice the binder clip in the two images above. If you are having problems with items slipping out of your page protectors these are a fun and practical solution. Personally, I have only noticed this problem with pages that are not embellished, and even then, only on the top openings of the 4x6 pocket pages. You can clip your pages from the outside of the pocket page and they will hold them in place while adding a touch of color.

Sam did not like changing into his going home outfit!

While I made this album as a keepsake for our family, I also volunteered to do this as an assignment for Simple Stories. I wanted to show that you could put together a complete album using the Sn@p! sets alone... well, almost. I wanted to keep the album very simple because I wanted to put it together quickly, but I also wanted the album to reflect my own personal style. So I added in some additional papers, in particular from the Sn@p! Color Vibe line and from Vintage Bliss (and goodness, for someone with three little boys I have used the heck of out that collection).

The 'watching you grow' and 'welcome' cards above will be filled out as soon as I locate all of the doctor's visits papers! I know where they are, I just need to actually get them out of their hiding place.

Hanging out with daddy while he does some work from home:

Sam has two cowlicks... and he has the cutest baby toes.

Here I enlarged a photo to 5x7 and created a very simple mini-layout:

Nathan loves his baby brother...

he says Sam is, "the cutest baby in the whole world."

In one of the photos above he is "reading" him a story, and below giving him hugs and kisses. Lots and lots of hugs and kisses.

Another spread with an enlargement: 

This time I simply matted the 5x7 onto cardstock, then placed it on a background of text pattern paper and slid it into a 6x8 page protector. I have a few more enlargements I want to include in the album, and this will be my approach for them as well. Keeping it simple.

Chubby baby legs are definitely good stuff...

Clean and simple - just photos and Sn@p! cards (and one little binder clip):

There it is! Like I said above, I have a few more pages to do, but this album is 98% done. Really. Since I limited my product choices ahead of time, and used mainly the Baby Boy Sn@p! set, the album came together very quickly. The longest part of the process was actually choosing, editing and then organizing the photographs.

In addition to the Baby Boy set, I happen to love the Family and Everyday sets too. I plan on making some pages and cards with those this weekend. And um, we'll see if I ever get around to posting them...

Thanks for stopping by!

September 17, 2013

looking back

The first day of fall this year is September 22nd. A little less than a week away. I know I haven't written much here this past year. I was going to say summer, but really, I just looked at my post count for this year and it is abysmal. Maybe I will write more about that at some point. For now, I'm going to share a recent layout I posted over at the Simple Stories blog.

{supply list}

In my last post here I mentioned that the boys were taking swimming lessons. They have always been a little timid around the water. And even though I felt it was important (even necessary) that they learn how to swim I never wanted to push them into it. I know my boys; the oldest in particular does much better when I wait for him to be ready for something. Whatever that something is. So they finally expressed an interest in taking lessons and it ended up being the highlight of our summer. It was a bit exhausting I have to say, but it was fun too. The boys learned a lot. They still have a long way to go, but I was pleased with their progress. And they are no longer terrified of the water.

Until next time...

July 31, 2013

hello sunshine?

The last time I tried to write a post blogger wouldn't let me upload photos. To say that that little incident knocked the wind out of my blogging sails would be an understatement. As it stands, I don't have much in the way of motivation to post these days. Sorry, but there it is.

This summer has been so very odd. I wrote last month that we all need a cloudy day now and then. Well, we have had our share of cloudy days. I has been rather mild temperature-wise, but the humidity has been ridiculous. We don't live near the coast; our climate is generally very desert like. As I sit here and write this it is gray out. In late July. Like I said, odd.

I've got to run. The boys started swimming lessons this week. They love them. Love. The excitement level around here rivals that of Christmas. It pretty darn precious. Anyhow, I've got to get everyone up, make breakfast and then be on our way. I will try to post some layouts soon. Although I'm afraid that whoever took my blogging motivation ran off with my mojo as well. So not nice.

Take care, and until next time...

June 26, 2013

summer memories

So I believe I promised to post a layout today. I made this one for Sketchy Thursday on the Pebbles blog a couple of weeks back. You can see the sketch that inspired my layout, here.

Most of the time when I work with a sketch I follow it pretty closely. Especially if it is one I have made myself. Every now and then however I like to use a sketch more for a starting point of inspiration rather than as an exact blueprint. For the layout above I looked at the sketch only once or twice to get an idea of the main design elements before I began creating.

I knew I wanted to use this photo of Gabe and Sam together at the Safari Park. Aren't they cute? Big brother and little brother... and oh my, Sam does love his big brother.

I began by converting the photo to black and white so that it wouldn't clash with the colors of the Lakeside collection (which is absolutely gorgeous, as I mentioned yesterday). Here is a sampling of all the patterns:

When I first saw the collection online I didn't take to it right away. I thought some of the patterns were okay, but I wasn't too sure about the pink, and the camping theme (we are not campers just yet). But once I saw all the colors and patterns in person, well, I did in fact fall in love. It really isn't too theme-y, and the pinks are balanced by the greens and blues, and to round it out are the pretty gray and brown wood grain prints. I already have more than one favorite paper...yeah, it has totally grown on me. =)

Back to the layout, the journaling card to the right of the photo adds a pop of color, and to keep things simple I used one of the printed chipboard pieces as a title. I am all about keeping things simple these days.

I don't know if you've noticed, but since the release of Seen & Noted (otherwise known as my all-time favorite Pebbles collection) most of the collections have come with these coordinating journaling cards:

Included is a mix of 4x6 and 3x4 designs, and they are doubled-sided. While obviously designed with Project Life in mind they are great on layouts and cards too. I sort of love them. Especially that orange one I used above. Kind of proud of myself for actually using it and not saving it. Something I am definitely getting better at, let me tell you. Although, perhaps another day. Right now I am going to eat peach crisp and watch Inspector Lewis with my husband.

Until next time. =)

June 25, 2013


Hello out there! Six more days of school guys. Six more days. Trying to tie up all the loose ends, as they say. We're getting there and then we are going to enjoy a much needed break. Well, I know I will be enjoying the much needed break.

Yesterday was Mix and Match Monday on the Pebbles blog. I've been wanting to create a set of cards with the Basics Cardmaking Pads using a common foundation and color scheme. As part of the collection there are coordinating Phrase and Sentiment stickers in all of the colors. These stickers sheets are one of my all-time favorite products. They are only $1.99 a sheet and are perfect for both cards and layouts. My favorite color combinations are the Aqua & Green as well as the Honeycomb & Melon.

I chose Apricot (which is the melon color in the stickers), Aqua and Leaf (this matches the green stickers) colored bases and then added patterns from Walnut Grove and Lakeside. The base of each card is created from a piece of patterned paper matted on white cardstock then layered with a shipping tag and doily. Once the bases were completed I added elements such as chipboard and the die-cut pieces. I finished each card with a sentiment sticker in a contrasting but complementary color.

I have said before that I am not a fast scrapbooker. I like making cards because they have always been something that I can finish quickly. For some reason I just don't agonize over design choices as much I suppose. These cards came together even quicker than usual though. Once I had decided on my base design, putting the details together was fun and fast. And I haven't mentioned this yet, but Lakeside, it's gorgeous. Really, it is such a beautiful collection and one I know I'll be using a lot this summer. I'll be back tomorrow with a layout using Lakeside. I know. Blogging two days in a row. Amazing.

Until then. =)

June 6, 2013

June Gloom

Having a gloomy kind of morning here. And I kind of like that. I find the constant sunshine of Southern California to be, well, oppressive sometimes. Have I said that before? 'Cause I feel like I'm repeating myself. You need a cloudy day every now and again. In May and June we get quite a few cloudy days, or rather mornings. In the end, the afternoon sun beats through the clouds and ends up winning. But I'll take what I can get.

I've got two boys that are sick and one that's been in a kind of funk lately. I'm not gonna say who is who or name names. I'm hoping it all resolves itself soon. I'm sure it will.

Lately I've just been trying to take it one day at a time. We've got about three more weeks of school left to finish everything up, and I'm really concentrating on ending our first homeschool year on a high note. So that is where a lot of my energies have been focused recently. I keep meaning to stop in and post something, but by the end of the day - I'm pooped!

So, this is just a little note to say, hello. I'll see you again soon. ish. I hope. =)

May 24, 2013

Give Help and Hope to Tornado Victims

Simple Stories has partnered with We R Memory Keepers and Bo Bunny to do something to help the victims of the tornado in Oklahoma. See the graphic above for all the details. The donations and cards will the distributed through Catholic Charities. Please note the deadline, cards must be sent in by May 31st

Even if you are not the crafting or card-making type, you can still help. Catholic Charities is providing both immediate help and help in the long-term and they need our support to do it.

Call to Give:

Mail a Check:
Catholic Charities USA
P.O. Box 17066
Baltimore, MD

or make a donation online.

May 10, 2013

Creative Bliss

Part of why I took a couple of months off from blogging is that life had gotten a little more than crazy around here. We had a very unusual March. Truly. I don't need to go into all the details; they aren't important now. But it was rough, I won't lie. And I have been asked, how do I deal with all that is going on in life and still have time to scrapbook. I have always said how fortunate I feel to be part of such amazing design teams. I actually like having assignments! Really. Sometimes if it weren't for an upcoming deadline I might not create at all. And the thing is, I tend to get antsy if I go too long without being creative. Those deadlines, in a strange way that may not make sense, help feed my soul. 

Today I want to share with you three cards I made using Vintage Bliss. I made these for the Simple Stories blog some time ago, but with Mother's Day quickly approaching I thought this would be a good time to finally share them here too. When I made these cards I was in a pretty bad mood. Even though I don't have little girls and don't tend to use this style of paper in my scrapbooking pages, I do like using more feminine lines when making cards. With it's beautiful springtime palette and butterflies, I was hoping creating with this collection would put me in a better frame of mind.

You probably know by now that Simple Stories released embellishments along with their new collections at CHA this past winter. I am in love with all the options. My favorite are the brads... I have a thing for buttons and brads. But the adhesive chipboard stickers are very cool too. The frame, saying, and butterfly in the close-up above are all chipboard. I don't care for too much bulk in my projects (this is my own personal preference) and these are a super-easy way to add just the right amount of dimension to a project.   

The bingo cards that are a part of each collection make card making so easy. No need to stamp a sentiment or agonize over placement. I really love layering them with other elements like patterned paper and butterflies or flowers. Easy and fast.

This last card is small, only 3.5 x 4.5 inches. To make the previous two cards I cut a 12 x 12 inch sheet of cardstock down to 8.5 x 11 and then cut that in half. This was the scrap of cardstock leftover from those cuts. It ended up being the perfect size for one of the Sn@p! pockets.

You can tuck a gift card or photo into the little pocket as a small present. Inside I lined the card with grid paper so that I can write a note or short greeting for the recipient. A lot of fun to make and I made use of something that would have otherwise been thrown away.

So, did my experiment that day work? It did. I spent a couple of hours crafting and just enjoying the process. As always, I have to thank Glen for watching the boys for me. He knows his wife is an introvert, and sometimes I really do just need some time alone. He gives me that time to recharge and then I come away feeling so much better and able to tackle the madness again!

These next projects were made for our product swap with Petaloo. You can probably guess that I am not much of a flower girl, but these were perfect for card making, and they coordinated quite well with Vintage Bliss.

I decided to layer two flowers for this first card by removing the stamen from the larger blue flower using jewelry wire cutters and then I adhered the smaller pink flower to the center. You can see a close-up here,

To match the gold center of the little pink flower, I embossed my sentiment with metallic gold embossing powder. I am still completely in love with metallic embossing powder. It is just so much fun to watch the powder melt and go from matte to shiny as it sets. Plus, it is a simple way to add an elegant touch to a card.

This last card has lots of simple layers including my favorite card embellishment, a layered butterfly. I loved the bold color of this flower, and wanted it to be the focus.

And again, to customize it I removed the stamen, this time placing one of the brads from the Vintage Bliss collection in the center. Instead of punching a hole through the flower though, I used my wire cutters to remove the prongs from the back leaving me with a flat surface. I then used a glue dot to adhere the brad to the flower. The chipboard embellishment was the perfect final touch and an easy way to add a sentiment to this card.

Do you have any plans for Mother's Day? We are still deciding... I think we may go out for gelato. Keep it simple. We'll see. =)

Happy Friday, and I hope you have a great weekend!

May 3, 2013

3rd Annual Creative Crop & a Giveaway!!

Tomorrow is National Scrapbooking Day!!  If you don't have any plans yet, I'd like to invite you to join me along with nine other teachers from Big Picture Classes for a 10 hour FREE crop.  You can register here, or by clicking on the image above.

So what is the Creative Crop 2013?
10 hours of free scrapbooking challenges, prizes, chats, and more!  Every hour on the hour, for 10 straight hours there will be a new scrapbooking challenge that will inspire you to create, stretch, grow, and play. Throughout the day, you'll also have the opportunity to live chat with industry experts, amazing prize giveaways from the event sponsors, and constant inspiration and interaction!  The fun starts May 4th, 2013 at: 10am Pacific / 11am Mountain / 12pm Central / 1pm Eastern

I'm going to be in the chat room from 1:00-1:30 pm PST and I hope to see you there!!

In honor of the big day, I have one spot to give away in Lisa Day's upcoming class 28 Days of Sketches: Round 2.

Here is a little more about the class:

Lisa Day is back with another round of 28 sketches—again! 28 Days of Sketches: Round 2 delighted nearly 400 scrapbookers last summer, and this is your chance to get in on the action.

In this daily email class, you'll receive a new 12" x 12" sketch every day for 28 days, each accompanied by a layout from Lisa and a layout or card from one of eight fabulous guest stars! In addition, you will see each sketch adapted to a double-page layout and an 8 1/2" x 11" sketch.
There are 60 exclusive projects in all to inspire you to create beautiful layouts and cards quickly. All this means MORE inspiration and MORE ideas of how to make a sketch work for you!

I was asked to be a contributor to the class along with these amazingly talented scrapbookers.


Lisa was a contributor to my new eBook, Stretch Your Sketches 2.  While our sketch styles are very different, we both believe the same things about them:  sketches provide a foundation for your creative process.  They are not meant to limit or control your creativity, rather they give you the freedom to focus on other aspects of the scrapbooking process such as product choice, color, techniques and storytelling.

If you want a chance to enter this giveaway leave a comment telling me what you love about sketches.  When you comment, please be sure to leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.  Comments for this giveaway will remain open until Monday, May 6th, 11:59 pm PST.  I will select a winner at random and they will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Happy Friday!

May 2, 2013

Super-big, huge, exciting news!!

Well, how's that for a blog post title?!  But it's true, I am thrilled to announce the release of my second eBook, Stretch Your Sketches 2!  With this second book we pick up where the first one left off.  The first eBook covered one-photo to seven-photo sketches, while the sequel covers 8-photo through 14-photo sketches.  However, you'll find a huge variety of pages within that framework.  For example, an adaptation that will accommodate up to 20 photos!  Just like the first book this second book teaches principles that will help you adapt any sketch to the number of photos you have, to a different size or orientation, or from a single page to a spread.

Writing this book and creating the layouts for it was a true labor of love.  I really wanted to include a wide variation in the types and styles of sketches you'd find.  Putting 7 or 10 or 14 photos on a layout is not easy.  And I didn't want to do all grids.  Although you will find a couple of grids in the book, the goal was to keep the content both fresh and timeless.  I am a practical girl at heart after all.

I was joined by four fabulous designers who helped create layouts for the book:  Monica Bradford, Lisa Day, Aly Dosdall and Marie Taylor.  The pages they created are beautiful and creative and I couldn't be happier with their contributions.

Here is a basic overview of the book, you'll get:
  • 7 main sketches for multi-photo layouts, each adapted 3 original ways
  • 18 sensational bonus sketches for multi-photo scrapbook pages
  • 21 gorgeous layouts based on the main sketches

And here is a sample page,

This happens to be one of my favorite layouts from the book.  My first eBook featured a layout of Nathan titled, "One of a Kind" and this second layout sort of elaborates on that idea.  Truthfully, I am so happy with the way all of my layouts turned out.  As I said, it was tough creating that many multi-photo sketches and layouts!  But in the end, I am truly proud of what I created. 

You can find my books at the Big Picture Classes website under the eBooks tab.  Here are direct links to both books:  Stretch Your Sketches and Stretch Your Sketches 2.

As always, thanks for stopping by and for sharing in my excitement!!

April 29, 2013

Everyday Storyteller 2 Contributor Blog Hop


Welcome to the Everyday Storyteller 2 Contributor blog hop! The second volume of Everyday Storyteller will be released soon!!

Everyday Storyteller 2 is a brand new idea book offering more than 100 tips, tricks and techniques for scrapbooking. Go behind the scenes with 33 of your favorite memory keepers to see how they capture moments, tell stories and document their best memories. Sign up for the VIP list to be the first to know when the book is released and receive an exclusive discount.

Each book contributor participating in the blog hop is giving away an eBook copy of Everyday Storyteller 2. Use this entry link or click the graphic below to complete your entry form. You must enter by 11:59pm PDT on April 30, 2013 to be eligible. You may enter from each stop. Winners will be contacted directly as well as posted at on May 1, 2013.


I had a chance to preview a draft of the book, and I have to say, it is everything it promises to be! There is a great variety of topics included, and just like the first book, it is filled with practical advice for scrapbookers.

When brainstorming topics for my contribution I thought about the one thing that people ask me about the most, the issue of time. How to find it, how to use it... I know you know what I'm talking about. We are all busy, and finding time to do what you love can be hard when there are so many other things to check off our daily to-do lists. In my chapter you'll learn my formula for getting it done. My process has evolved over time and through the years I've developed a set of tools based on what works and what hasn't worked, and I'm sharing those tips and secrets with you! I hope you will find them as useful in your own scrapbooking as I do in mine. 

Be sure to stop by the rest of the blogs in today's hop:

Donna Jannuzzi <<< You are here

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!!

April 26, 2013

a promise, to you

This post is going to seem as though it is coming quite out of the blue.  Um, 'cause it sort of is.  It's just that there is something I have wanted to say out loud for a while now, but I just wasn't sure if I should say it.  If you read my blog often, or if you know me in person, then you know that I am always honest.  Sometimes to a fault.  It is a matter of personal integrity for me.  While I sometimes fail a this, it is always the goal.

I'm hoping you know this.  But then, you might not.

Years ago, I used to read a lot of scrapbooking blogs.  Or at least, the blogs of women who scrapbook.  I always loved reading a little about their lives and then seeing how they would translate that onto a page.  Then, as time went on, it seemed like all my favorite blogs went, commercial.  To the point that over time, they stopped talking about their lives so much and started talking more about, stuff.  Slowly, as that happened, I stopped reading those blogs.

There are a lot of scrapbookers out there whom I find incredibly inspiring, and while I still love to see their pages, I suppose I'd rather just look at them in a gallery or in a magazine... well, not so much magazines anymore.  I hardly feel like I need to read their blogs because reading them is just like reading an advertisement.  And more and more, everything just seems like a big commercial.  Sometimes, it is just nearly impossible to avoid.  You go to your favorite scrapbooker's blog and you feel like they aren't trying to just inspire you, but they're trying to sell you something too.  Telling you how much they love this, and LOVE that.  And how this latest collection is their absolute favorite... even though the last collection only came out three months ago.  I honestly just find it all too much.  I'm guessing some of you do too. 

It's been bothering me because it is something I was afraid would happen here.  Not that I could ever monetize this blog.  That has never been, and is not one of my goals for blogging.  But I was afraid that being on a manufacturer's design team might have that effect on me, and this space.  Because part of my job working for Simple Stories and Pebbles is to provide some measure of advertisement for them.  But I don't want for my blog to become one big advertisement.  I also never want for you to feel like I am gushing about a product because I have to.

I suppose what I ultimately want to feel is a connection.  I want to be connected to my readers, and I want you to feel connected to me.  Even if only in the very simple way that we can be.  I want for it to not be about stuff, but about life.  The blogs I still read and visit and comment on are the ones where I have built a relationship with the person writing.  Sometimes even outside of their blogs.  I want to have that here, and I do.  I don't want to lose that.  So...

I know I have not been writing much about our lives here.  It has been all scrapbooking, scrapbooking, scrapbooking.  I can only be honest with you and say that life for the past year or more has been a little out of balance.  Particularly the last four months or so.  More and more it seems that this out-of-balance-ness is the new balance, and I need to learn to live with all of the new responsibilities being thrown my way.  Both Glen and I are being pulled in a million different directions, but we are both determined to keep our focus on God, each other, and on our children.  In deciding to homeschool I have taken on a great responsibility, and I feel the weight of its importance.  It is not something that can be compromised. 
So, what am I getting at here?  I suppose I'm asking you to be patient with me.  And I'm asking you to trust me too.  I have, in the three years or so that I have been blogging, gone through many phases.  Sometimes I post often, sometimes not as much.  Right now when I blog, it is just easier to share my pages and cards with you.  Because even when life is crazy, I still like to make beautiful things.

I suppose I'm also trying to tell you that yeah, from time to time, I'm going to feature products here.  And yeah, I got that stuff for free.  Maybe you think that will bias me, but I'm promising you now that I will never say that I love something unless I actually love it.  Unless it truly inspires me, and unless I think it will inspire you too.

Reading all this you might wonder why I chose to post this now.  Well, I've got to get back to blogging somewhere, somehow.  And this has been on my mind for months.  I just wanted to get it out there.  Also, I have lots of news to share with you, and pretty soon, this blog is going to seem like one big commercial... I say this a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I hope you'll forgive me. =)

Thanks for sticking with me, and I'll see you again soon...

April 18, 2013

you can take the girl out of Texas...

So much sadness this week.  Texas will always be my home, and West is not very far from where I went to school.  If you want to do something to help those affected by the plant explosion, consider making a donation to Catholic Charities of Central Texas or to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.  If you read the pages linked, you can learn how these two organizations will help the families in need.  The Red Cross provides disaster relief for the first 30 days, from the 31st day onwards these two organizations will then be helping families in the long-term.

Here are the direct links to make donations: Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul

March 4, 2013

I'm a storyteller...

I'm so happy I can finally share this news with you, I am a contributor to Everyday Storyteller 2!

If you are not familiar with them, the Everyday Storyteller idea books help scrapbookers bring their stories to life with simple ideas for memory keeping. The first volume had 33 ideas for real-life scrapbooking, and this May the second volume will be released with 33 more practical ideas from 33 new contributors.

To find out more about the upcoming release, click on the image above to sign up to be on the VIP list. By signing up you'll:

* Receive an exclusive invitation to the launch party on Friday, May 3rd
* Gain exclusive entry in special VIP-only giveaways
* Get first notice that the book has been released AND a special VIP discount

And, P.S. There will be prizes!! I need to mention the prizes.  =)

I'm pretty excited to be among the list of scrapbookers chosen to contribute to this second volume. I just know that the new book is going to be amazing! The concept of the book is to help you tell your story in a way that is practical and easy and fun. There are some amazing women on the contributors list; women who inspire me with their creativity and I know they will inspire you too. I can hardly wait for the full release of the book! =)

Thanks so much for stopping by today and letting me share my news with you!

February 28, 2013

I think...

this is the longest I've ever gone without blogging.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  I knew January and February were going to be busy for our family, but I had no idea.  And the breather I was hoping for a couple of weeks ago, it never arrived.  There is so much to say, and yet, not much to say, and so I'll just leave you with a couple of recent projects I did for the Pebbles blog before I head off for bed.

This first layout uses the new Basics collection:

{supply list}

I don't talk about this much, but color is a huge inspiration for me in my scrapbooking.  When I first saw the sneaks for this collection on the Pebbles blog in January, I fell in love immediately.

I wanted to do something fun with all of of the colors in this collection and play with them a bit, but still stay true to my style.  I decided to cut the star pattern on this page with my Silhouette using a kraft cardstock and then use different colors and patterns to back the empty spaces in some of the stars.  On the right-hand side of the page I used the Honeycomb Mini Dot paper; yellow is my current favorite color and it offset the blue Sam is wearing in the photos.  I don't usually make very fiddly layouts like this, the background stars were kind of tedious to cut, but I was pretty happy with how this turned out.

By the way, you can find the cut file for the star background in the Silhouette shape store, here.

This next layout features Love You More:

{supply list}

This layout is about Nathan and his love of snacks.  Oh my.  This boy and snacks.  I don't know how many layouts I have of this boy eating snacks, a few.  Honestly, I think it is his favorite part of the day!  I sometimes say that he is a picky eater, but he really isn't.  Although compared to rest of us he is picky...  Really, he is more picky about when he eats.  Snack time is my chance to sneak some nutrients and calories into this little guy. And yes, he likes to enjoy his snacks with friends.  See Blue and his storm trooper in the background, they might be hard to see.  I'm in love with the bold colors and the designs of the Love You More collection.  So perfect for my little boys, and perfect for documenting this sweet moment.

I hope you have a great weekend!!  Until next time.  =)


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