Saturday, February 1, 2014

What I Read in January

Instead of doing book reviews, which I had started last year, I'm going to do a monthly post on what I read that month with maybe some thoughts on the books.  Here's what I read in January:

"S" by JJ Abrams and Doug Dourst - and that's it. Literally.  The reason is that this book is very involved.  It's more than a book, it's an experience.  The premise is that it looks like an old library book and is owned by a man.  He reads through it and makes notes on his thoughts and there's a whole conspiracy behind the author and who he actually was in real life, if he even existed.  Then, a college student finds the book at the library and reads through it, writing a note to the owner that she found it.  They end up writing to each other through the book and leaving it for the other to find and respond.  You get to read their relationship as it grows.  Two stories in one.  There are really cool inserts that they leave for each other and together, they try to uncover the mystery of this mysterious author.  It was brilliant!  Definitely the coolest book I've ever read.

If you want more details on this book, click the link and there are two videos on the amazon page.  It's pretty darn cool!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Obsessed - January 2014

I'm starting a monthly "Obsessed" post series.  Each month I'll share some things I've been enjoying.  I will include all sorts of things: food, music, tv shows, movies, concepts, scrapbook supplies, blog posts...the sky's the limit!

Here is the January edition:

1. This TV show.  James Spader is magic.

2. Also been marathoning this TV show.  Timothy Olyphant = perfection!

3. This song.

4. This mini album by Wilna is so dreamy.  I wish I could make something as stunning as this.

5. Elise Blaha Cripe's Project Life title page.  WOWZA!

6. This month I took a weekend trip to Vegas with some girlfriends. We stayed at the New York New York hotel and it was AWESOME! There is an Irish pub inside the hotel where we ate lunch and the fish and chips ridiculously delicious. I'm still thinking about them.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Project Life 2014 - Title Page

If you've been here before, you know that I do Project Life.  I can't even describe how much I love this project and how it has changed my idea of memory keeping.  When I started scrapbooking in 2003, I fell for it hard. The idea of playing with pretty paper and supplies and recording our family's memories was infectious for me.  It became my creative outlet and I realized I had a talent for it. For a long time, I basically focused on big events with a few little mini albums thrown in here and there.  I didn't think about our everyday memories.  When I discovered Project Life a few years ago, I was floored.  I lurked around for awhile to see other's albums and in 2012, I decided to dive in.  And I haven't looked back!  I love the idea of recording our everyday, even in a small way.  The pockets are small to help keep me from being overwhelmed, all while I'm recording things that my family would normally forget.  My husband and I love looking back through the albums and remembering the little things that we take for granted on a daily basis.  I still do 12x12 layouts of special things I want to record, but Project Life has helped to take the pressure off of doing a huge page of every single thing I want to remember.

For 2014, I'm continuing to record our everyday on a weekly basis and I will stick to mainly the Design A page protector (seen below).  I try to make each two page spread span one week.  Sometimes, we have low key weeks, and only one side is enough to record it, and that's fine with me.  It doesn't bother me when that happens.  I don't want to force anything with this project or I will stress out and it will become a chore, which I don't want.

Today, I want to share my title page for my 2014 album and some of the supplies I'm using for this year.

Supplies used here:
12x12 We R Memory Keepers album in Aqua
Becky Higgins Design A page protector
Cards are a mix from:
Studio Calico PL kits  (this link is for the current kit - mine are from past kits)
Seafoam PL core kit
"Life Documented" card was handmade by a friend
2014 card and our last name is cut from my Silhouette Cameo
Random supplies from my stash - wood veneer, enamel dots, stamps, cork arrow
Pictures printed on a Canon Selphy CP900 printer
Creative Memories corner rounder

I'm working on playing a little catch up for January right now.  My plan is to share each month here all at once.  This week I'm working on catching up on January and I will share all my weeks when they are finished.  Thanks for taking the time to take a look!

If you want more information on the Project Life system of scrapbooking, please check out Becky Higgin's site!

Friday, January 17, 2014

One Little Word 2014 - FINISH

This will be my second go at One Little Word.  I picked one in 2011 and I'm not sure why, but I just wasn't feeling it.  So I tossed it and moved on, convinced this wasn't the project for me.  Now, I'm rethinking that.  For some reason, the word FINISH popped into my head one day and I couldn't shake it.  It might have been because I've been looking at all of my unfinished projects lying around and thought, "I should really finish these..."  Then I got an email from Ali Edwards announcing the One Little Word workshop for 2014.  And I kept the email and kept reading it.  And this word just kept sticking around.  I decided to give it another go and signed up.  And to be serious about it this time.

With this word, my goals are to finish a lot of unfinished projects.  Mostly crafty stuff, but also my ultimate unfinished project - my weight loss journey.  As far as crafty stuff, I've made a list of my unfinished projects and projects that are still in the brainstorming phase.  I plan to revisit these projects and make a firm decision on whether I'm going to FINISH them or be FINISHED with them and move on from them.  This will not only declutter my space a bit, but it will also declutter my head.  Too many unfinished things tend to stress me out and overwhelm me.  I want to be realistic about my projects.  If it's not something I will finish and love, then it's not worth my time.

I'm going to take my time with this project (as it's a year long workshop) and explore my word and invite it into my life to help me make positive progress.  I'm excited!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm Blogging - It's a Freaking Miracle!

Wow - it's literally been almost a full year since my last blog post.  I'll be honest - I have a love/hate relationship with this space.  I love blogs....I love reading blogs....I love other people's blogs (see my favorites in the right margin).  When it comes to mine, I guess I just get lazy.  I have the best intentions, but when it comes time to actually do it, nope.  It's just not a priority.  And that's something I want to change.  I went into 2014 with the attitude of "I'm just a terrible blogger, and I need to accept that."  But over the past couple of days, something has shifted.  I'm getting the desire to write and to share.  I'm getting ideas for blog posts in my head that I can't shake.  I'm enjoying other people's posts and being inspired by them.  I'm wanting to be here.  That being said, I'm ready to give this another go.  I'm making notes and setting ideas to paper.  I'm inspired by others who blog all the time and have a religious following (like me).  I know that it won't happen overnight.  I also know that these other people didn't start off that way either.  I'm just starting.  I want to inspire others and share my ideas and things that are happening.  Even to just a few people.  

I know I won't be able to blog five times a week, but at least a couple times a week would be amazing, so that's what I'll strive for.  I know my goals will change as I work my way into regular blogging and that's great.  I want it to become a natural and organic thing.  I'm making notes now and working on some ideas to share.  I WILL be back this week to get things started by sharing my One Little Word for 2014.  Thanks for joining me here and I hope that 2014 will be an amazing blogging year!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hand-Stitching on Paper

Lately, I've been into hand-stitching on my scrapbook pages.  I wanted to share an example of how I do it.  Currently, I'm taking a great class called Bright Ideas at Studio Calico.  The first challenge of the class is to use a stencil somehow on your layout.  After looking around my scrap area, I noticed that I had a negative cut from a word I cut from my Silhouette Cameo and used on this layout that I made months ago.  I'm happy I kept that negative cut!  I pulled it out and a layout quickly came together in my mind.  It also helped that the challenge came with a sketch to use if you needed an extra push.  Here is the layout and how I created it:
The layout.  The word "bestie" in the title is what I hand-stitched.

The negative from the cut.  It said "besties" originally, but I cut off the "s" to accommodate for this page.
I played around with the layout before adhering anything down.  I needed to be sure I put it in the correct spot before putting the layout together.  I didn't want to be stitching when there's a bunch of stuff on the page, it gets a little heavy to handle that way.
I traced the word onto the paper in pencil.
Using a paper piercer (and a mousepad underneath), I poked holes along the word where I wanted to stitch.  Be sure to poke a little closer as you go along curves so they come out looking correct.
Using a needle and 3 strands of thread, I stitched along the outline of the word.
The final result!
 Here are a couple of other examples of pages that I've hand-stitched on:

I'm loving the look of hand-stitching and it's really not something that takes up a lot of time.  I just poke my holes, and sit down in front of the TV and stitch away!
If you're interested in starting stitching, but it kinda scares you, Amy Tan has some great stitching stencil kits that come with stencils, a needle, thread and a mat...everything you need!  I haven't seen them for sale anywhere yet, but she blogged about them recently.  Check it out!

Monday, February 4, 2013


A while ago, I had decided to take on a new challenge for 2013.  It all started with these Handbooks that Studio Calico started designing (I don't think the chevron album is available anymore, but my eye is on that geotag one...another album is in the works in my mind for that).  I'm a sucker for an awesome album...and these are awesome.  They fit 6x8 page protectors, which is different and fun to work with when I need a break from 12x12 pages.  There are many different types of page protectors as well, which is an echo of Project Life.  I've actually seen quite a few people using these Handbooks for their Project Life albums.  Great examples are: Shanna Noel and Kelly Purkey.  Kelly is actually using a Snap Album, but it's the same idea.

For 2013, I decided to do a goal oriented album.  I got some page protectors (the full sized and one with three slots).  For the album, I am choosing 3 goals for each month of 2013.  I'm calling the album "3."  I'm not choosing crazy big goals, definitely goals that I can accomplish each month.  The basis of the album is that the full sized page will have my goals listed on it, while the 3 slotted page will hold the pictures of the goals being met.  I'll share the progress of the album here each month.  And with that, here is the album and January:
The cover.  The album is raw chipboard, so I spray painted it turquoise and used silver acrylic paint to paint and emphasize the chevron pattern.  Then, I added the 3 coaster that I had in my stash.

Cover page.

January's goals.
 I'm excited about this album and so far, it's going very well!  I already have February's goals page done and I'm close to getting two of them accomplished.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book Review: The Yellow Birds

I recently chose this book as my book club selection for January.  I heard about it on Morning Joe on MSNBC.  Now, if you know me, you're probably thinking, "What in the WORLD were you watching MSNBC for???"  I'm a Fox News girl through and through.  I took some friendly advice to give this show a try from a friend who watches it.  It was fine.  And I actually met Joe Scarborogh when I was working at a restaurant in Pensacola, FL and he was very friendly.  So I was watching and they had this author on and they were discussing the book and read a few excerpts.  I immediately added it to my TBR (to be read) list.  The author, Kevin Powers, is an Iraq War Vet and the book is a fiction novel that follows two soldiers through a war.  And wow, it was powerful.  Very brutal...we're talking about war there were some hard parts to get through.  And it jumps around a bit, so I had to get used to that.  But what captivated me so much was the way that the author wrote it.  He's a very good writer.  The words he used and the way he wrote it was almost....poetic.  That's pretty talented when you're writing a book about a war situation. While this is a fiction novel, with the author being a vet and going through a tour in a hostile country, I'm assuming that some of these experiences are things that he actually experienced somehow.
I also wanted to choose this book because my book club is made up of military spouses in my husband's group.  I wanted to see how they reacted to it, being wives of soldiers.  I got some mixed reactions.  Some really like it, some found it hard to read.  Everyone appreciated it, and we all were affected by it somehow.  In our husband's career field, they are lucky to not be on the front-lines, the way the characters in this book are.  But they do deploy and it is a hostile environment and can be scary at times.  I do recommend it if you can read this type of topic.  It's powerful and really shows you what can happen in war-time situations.

Project Life, Week 4

Full view
Week 4...already?  Wow, where did January go?  This week was a good one.  Lots of stuff to fill my pockets up.  Dogs went to the vet, we spent a great morning at the park, got our new iMac, Caylan started reading an actual book...reading! rained in Tucson...I got some new jeans....Layla had her 18 month check up...yep, it was a good one.
Left side
Right side

 And yes, yes I did put my weight in my PL and also on my blog.  There it is.  All out there.  No excuses now!  Am I crazy or brave?  Maybe a little bit of both with an emphasis on crazy.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Project Life Week 3

Full view
And we're on to Week 3!  Trutting right along!  I absolutely am loving this process.  I've made my process a little easier this year by gathering some of my supplies that would be good for my album at some point and storing it on my Raskog cart with the rest of my PL supplies.  Mainly, alphabets!  I pulled some tiny prints and some colors that go well with my kit and keep them together.  I'm determined to make a dent in my 147 different fonts...yes, I said 147.
Left side
 This week, I documented a couple things from TV: the Golden Globe Awards (so so so happy Les Mis won great awards!).  I also documented the NFL playoffs...although I was bummed Atlanta didn't win....  And it was 31 in Tucson last week.  Say what?
Right side
My husband and I were able to get away for a date night to see Jack Reacher and have dinner at Bamboo Club.  Awesome. *Later I went back and added a yellow heart-shaped paper clip on the "date night" card.  I also wanted to include the fact that Layla is now sitting forward in the car....eeeeeek!  It was a great week.  I'm working on week 4 and will probably need to get week 4 and 5 done at the same time.  Trut, trut, trut!