Sunday, December 10, 2017

Elle's Studio December Reveal

It's December 10 -- time for the reveal of the monthly kit and extras at Elle's Studio!
Did you notice the new chipboard shapes? More, please! I used a few of them, plus the "Counting Steps" stamp set and one of the wood veneer words on the following page: 

Yes, there is a lot of green here. 'Tis the season, right? 
Actually, this isn't a Christmas page at all. It's more of a year-ender, the kind of page that comes about when I start thinking about where I am and where I hope to be. I love my life, but that doesn't mean I can't still have goals -- in fact, I have goals precisely because I love my life and want to make the most of it. 

I began the layout by painting a sheet of cardstock with various hues of green and aqua. I then stamped the word "goals" in a large circle using green and white ink. I hand-cut the cardstock into large circle and then used watermark ink and embossing powder over parts of it.  Then I added my journaling over that and stitched around the circle multiple times.  

Be sure to check out the blogs of the other team members as well as the Elle's Studio blog, for more project ideas.  

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hip Kit Club's 12 Days of Giving Blog Hop

For the first twelve days in December, Hip Kit Club is gifting twelve crafty freebies on its blog, including cut files and printables galore!  In addition, for each of those days, the design team is giving the gift of sharing projects created with each of the giveaways. 

Lucky me -- as the guest designer for the month, I'm joining in the Day 3 fun, which means that I have the pleasure of playing with today's printable along with talented team members Tanya Hubbard (first in line during today's hop) and Ashley Fowler  (whose blog you probably just visited).  

To get your hands on the festive four above, follow this link to the Hip Kit Club website. Log in to your account and look for the "Downloads" tab. You will find a subheading, "12 Days of Giving," where you will find all of the 12 Days of Giveaways. Please download them and enjoy! Happy Holidays from everyone at Hip Kit Club!

A few of these cards found happy homes in my holiday album (and yes, I did just hear you gasp in disbelief that I really am doing the album thing this year). The December card follows the title page in my album, and has the important job of prefacing the month ahead. 
This card is the cutest, no? It was lonely and needed some company on the page, though, so I stitched together accents from the Hip Kit Club November kits, and then the card really found its purpose. I love it so. Apologies for the darkish stars -- they should be radiant gold, but it's been storming here, so the glimmer effect has been elusive.

On the opposite page, I added some journaling -- which is really a note to self/pep talk/word of caution/binding agreement. 
Oh, but I didn't stop there. I added even more pages (I just heard another gasp.)

Instead of organizing the album based on a basic Dec.1, Dec. 2, Dec. 3, etc. approach, I've decided to make room for moments that aren't necessarily limited to specific days. The next few pages are focused on a period of time when the holidays -- that is, the feeling of the holidays -- really began for me this year.
 
I used the November kits once again for these pages. Heck, I even used packaging from the kits here (the stripes hail from a package of Crate Paper accents). 
And yes, the pink stripes you see behind this page are indeed from one of the printable cards from today's giveaway. Instead of using the entire card, I opened up the printable file in Photoshop, selected only the striped area and cropped it to the size of an album page, typed my journaling directly on the striped pattern, and then printed the resulting page. 
To create the gathering of trees on the opposite page, I cut several of the zillion Christmas trees found in the November kits (which I love!) and stitched them together in two layers -- first the back row, and then the front. Stitching tree lines in my holiday albums is must. It's tradition.
I'm fairly confident that this album would still be sitting empty and untouched had it not been for this printable and the November kits coming into my life when they did. Kismet, I say! 

Now, on to the business of hopping. If you've already visited Tanya and Ashley's blogs (see links at the top of this post), then it's back to the Hip Kit Club blog for you -- if not now, then tomorrow, which brings Day 4 of The Twelve Days of Giving, yet another freebie, and even more ideas from the team. 

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

People, We Have a Title Page.

My holiday album exists! Whoa.
I'm using a mint Instax album (the one I set out to use last year and never actually did).
And there's even more than this title page. Stop by tomorrow for the proof. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Two Decembers

Welp, I'm finally documenting LAST December, which means that my month-in-review project for 2016 is now complete. I kept up with it pretty well until that last doozy of a month.

Luckily, the most recent Elle's Studio kit and extras put me in the holiday mood and gave me just the push I needed:



At least it's done -- just in time for THIS December, which starts tomorrow. How did that happen so fast?

Maybe I've totally lost my mind, but I am going to return to documenting December with an album this year.  I've made holiday albums for years, but last year, I decided to break that tradition. I had my reasons, which mainly concerned time (and the lack thereof) and this gnawing feeling I had that the holiday album had become less about documenting the Christmas season and more about staging it.

So I'm doing December authentically this year. No compulsory content -- just real life as it happens. If it turns out that this means creating layouts about my third go-round of binge-watching Friends nightly (for the next few months, likely), my lack of a Christmas tree (again), my hilariously atrocious gift-wrapping "skills," and the end-of-semester pandemonium at school, then so be it.  I'm going to document the month first and foremost. Maybe that'll take off the pressure to make every freaking page merry and bright, and create some space for pages that reflect that one does not have to slip a little something into the eggnog daily in order to make this December album thing happen.

I'm going to December the heck out of this album. Just you wait.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Love List: Scrappy Finds

I loathe the idea of Black Friday, as I have an aversion to waking at 0-dark-thirty and being stampeded to death in the name of saving a few bucks. That said, I do not have an aversion to discovering some great deals and super-cute scrappy finds from my desk, whilst wearing my pajamas.

The way I see it, I'm just doing my part to keep the scrapbooking industry going. It's altruistic, really.

Here are a few of my favorite finds from Studio Calico's sale:

I am also loving Freckled Fawn's November release: 
Confession: I actually got these last week, and already used a few items on an upcoming Get It Scrapped project. I'm a fool for that striped pattern. Here's a peek: 
 

And then there's the 30% off deal with the code "Thanks" at Paper Issues that was just the push I needed to give the Crate Paper goodies in my cart a forever home: 
I think I've done my part to contribute to the scrappy economy. Now I just have to summon the courage not to hoard this stuff and actually put all of it to use. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I'm Trying Here.

Live your life.

This is the advice that my doctor gave me yesterday. It sounds overly simplistic and perhaps even trite, but it was revelatory to me when she said it. Maybe it was the way she said it, warmly but earnestly, like a directive, but also a wish.

I'm not a hypochondriac, but I do experience a fair level of anxiety when it comes to any health issue that doesn't seem "normal" to me. At appointments to inquire about these issues or to undergo tests or procedures, my blood pressure and heart rate tend to spike, as my fears take hold of me and my mind runs wild, imagining the worst.

One such episode -- and my determination to push past that fear -- is the focus of one of my most recent layouts.
This page is featured today on the Get It Scrapped blog, which includes projects that use a black and white + pastel color scheme. The pinkish-purplish pastel background channels a hospital vibe, don't you think?
I was a nervous wreck before my surgery, but I wanted it, and I knew that I needed it in order to breathe more easily and to break the streak of back-to-back sinus infections that I had been having. Today, I have no regrets. I don't even regret being afraid, as it forced me to learn everything I could about the procedure and the recovery period, and it also taught me through experience.

Am I a less anxious person now? Kind of. Maybe. Not really. It depends.

My doctor is right, though. While I await yet another test result, I can obsess about what may or may not be revealed and what that means for my life...or I can invest my time in living.

Monday, November 13, 2017

This Wednesday...

Even though my face looks yuuuuge by comparison here, I'm still excited about this Get It Scrapped class, which is just a few days away for members. I'm sharing a reunion story that overlaps with the design principle of continuance -- that sounds like a mouthful, but trust me, it makes for meaningful storytelling. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Lately-ing.

Lately, I have been

...following my daughter's travels throughout Europe.
I've never been to Europe, and I am so proud of Z, for making this semester abroad happen -- it was a longtime dream of hers. 

I am also in awe of her, for embracing a spirit of independence and adventure, and taking the initiative to explore cities, often on her own.  She has visited many landmark sites, but has also discovered many unexpected gems along the way.

At first, she was worried about making friends and finding traveling companions, but she has since become more self-reliant -- she doesn't want to miss a thing. Some of her classmates are homesick at this point, but not Z -- she's fallen in love.

...reading a few books simultaneously, including Dan Brown's Origin (I'm about halfway through) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists (with the students in my Art of Argument class). In the latter is a section that is especially relevant to our current cultural conversations about masculinity, power, voice, and harassment:
   We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.
   ...By far the worse thing we do to males -- by making them feel they have to be hard -- is that we leave them with
very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.
   And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males.
   We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.  
(Adichie 26-27)
I'm also rereading Romeo and Juliet with my freshmen, which I love partly because of Shakespeare's language, and partly because of the students' reactions to the "misadventured piteous overthrows" of R&J.  Interestingly, this year's class seems especially attentive to the way in which the men in the play talk about and treat women.

...binge-watching Stranger Things season 2 (we blew through it in two days) and Mindhunter (again, two days).  We've also been watching The Good Doctor.  I like it so far -- Freddie Highmore is amazing -- but I'm not sure how long the show can last, as it seems to be taking the same approach each week.

...worrying about an upcoming colonoscopy. I understand that it is a routine procedure and that everyone has to endure it at some point -- and that it can save lives -- but I'm wary of being put under anesthesia once again. The last time I was kind of a wreck.  At least this time I know what to expect and the procedure will be a quick one.  I am so not looking forward to drinking that gallon o' grossness beforehand, however. Yuck.

...enjoying the rain today.  We don't get nearly enough of it. The dogs have been sleeping all day, as has the husband.  It's cozy weather.  It makes me feel like...

...scrapbooking.  In the absence of a daughter, I've been directing some of my scrappy energies toward her furry sibling.
This project came about through a Get It Scrapped prompt to use design elements to reveal character. It is so Linus. 
A second project devoted to Mr. Linus features this year's Halloween costume, which he loved so much that he set aside time each day to hunt it down and chew on it.
I have also been making sure that from time to time, a layout about me finds its way into my albums. This one was prompted by a Get It Scrapped feature on recording intentions, the Studio Calico Gypsy Moon kit and its autumnal elements, as well as by a birthday that took me even further into my 40s...and into reflecting on what this time in my life means (and what I want it to mean).


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