Sunday, August 21, 2016


One of the not-so-secrets of boosting one's creative energies is to mix old with new. I've adhered to this approach in practically all of the non-design-team projects that I've made over the years. In fact, when doing design team work, sometimes I've had to grit my teeth and fight the temptation to work in an older pattern or accent, something that I just KNEW would look awesome, just because it wasn't part of the kit or the brand or the assignment.

I like to think of mixing old with new as a way of adapting, of keeping things fresh and moving forward while also recognizing that what is no longer new is still valuable.

So why is this on my mind right now? A ch-ch-ch-change in the industry has once again occurred, as Scraptastic Club has decided to discontinue its scrapbooking kits, though it will continue its planner and This Life Noted kits. As much as I've loved working with Jessica and the team at Scraptastic, I have made the decision to step down from the team once I've finished working with the last scrapbooking kit over the next few weeks.

This has made me seriously question whether I am willfully limiting my own creativity. Is it time for me to suck it up and adapt, to become a planner person or a pocket pages person?  I could have remained on the team in that capacity...but pocket pages are not my thing, and a planner person I am not. I use a planner for work, but it is utterly functional, and thus, flat out resists stickers and stamps and prettifying on principle.  I know it's unpopular for me to say this, but I still don't "get" the planner trend. Help me understand it! My planner is a site of chaos. It just barely lends a sense of structure to my days. Whatever neat and orderly handwriting may be there on Monday, come Friday, it has been replaced by demonic-looking scrawls. There's no room for cutesy in that nightmare. When I throw it out at the end of the year, it's like an exorcism has occurred. Why would I want to decorate it, much less preserve it? This all makes me wonder if I am just perceiving the trend in the wrong way. I can't adapt, I guess.

So I'm adapting in other ways. I'll continue scrapbooking, and will try to be open to the new while also finding value in the old.

One way I'm doing this is by subscribing to my first non-design-team-related kit in years.  I recently purchased a Story Kits subscription. These kits are from the brain (and trademark hand) of Ali Edwards, and at just about twenty bucks a kit, they are so worth it. I've received two kits so far, and I'm really happy with them! Although the kits can clearly be used for pocket-page scrapbooking, they aren't limited to that approach.  Just today I created a layout mixing items from the "Stuff" Story Kit with some older items from my stash.
(These tacos are freaking insane, by the way.)
I'm thinking this is a hopeful sign, that with or without the anchor of a team and its deadlines, I can still find ways to be creative that work for me, instead of feeling as if I've been set adrift.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

And We're Back.

It's back-to-school time, which means...
it's back-to-school layout time! 

During my first week back, I took some time to notice all of the details that surround me daily at school. As difficult as it is to wake up hours before my body actually wants to, I actually really love this time of year, which is bursting with possibility. 
This page wasn't just prompted by the shaking off of my summer self, but also by a challenge on the Scraptastic Club blog.  Each month, the team takes on a challenge posed by the kit subscribers, and this month's challenge was stamping. I used the "Me, Myself & I" stamp set here, along with the accompanying kit and add-on. 

Something about creating a back-to-school page makes it all seem so official.  So does grading the stack of projects I brought home with me this weekend. :) 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August Reveal at Elle's Studio

Today's the day -- it's time for the August kit, extras, and gallery reveal at Elle's Studio!

This month's kit contains some bold colors and lots of positive affirmations, and the extras complement it perfectly. love the heart acrylic shapes. 

My contribution to this month's gallery pulls together some of the kit items, the lovely hearts above, and elements from the Sunny Days collection.  
Yes, I'm still scrapping photos from last year's Disney trip. I have to ration them! Disney photos are always so much fun to work with.

If you're planning to stop by Elle's Studio today, be sure to check out the new mini-collections: "Work Hard," "Read," and "School Days." I have all three, since I couldn't choose just one -- or two -- of them.  How was I supposed to, anyway, being an English teacher?  I'll have projects to share soon using the new collections!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

July in August

Due to a delay with the mail service, the Scraptastic Club July"Me, Myself, & I" kit arrived later than usual, but somehow, scrapbooking with a July kit in August is kind of just what I need right now. It helps me to prolong summer just a bit more.

Today I created two layouts with the kit. The first documents one of the happiest moments of July -- the moment my sweet cousin discovered that she would be having a girl.
I was on Team Blue (mostly because I didn't have anything pink to wear to the party). I honestly did not care about the baby's gender, but it was fun to play along, even though my attempts to explain to the guests that gender is a social construct, and thus, something that can't really be "revealed" before birth, proved unsuccessful. I did enjoy the cake very much, though.

I'm sure I'll do another layout soon featuring more details from the party -- I took so many pics!

The next layout is the seventh one in my 2016 month-in-review series. Still going strong!
I fit thirty -- thirty! -- photos on this page.  Do you like the one of me up top, looking like Axl Rose? I had a cyst removed from my head (super sexy, I know), and the location of it made it tricky to bandage, so I walked around for a few hours looking like I had a "war wound," as the physician's assistant put it.

Before I head out to start another page, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to those of you who took the time to leave comments on my last post. Readership is up from three to five, which has made my head swell. Good thing I have a huge bandage around here somewhere.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

It's That Time.

If you are one of the three regular readers of this blog (hi, all!), then you have noticed that I haven't been posting that often lately.

It's that time of the year, when my focus starts to shift from all things crafty and summery and unstructured and lazy, toward all things school-related and regimented and disciplined and so-not-summery.

I'll still be checking in, and I'll still be getting crafty -- but the blog tends to suffer when the "to do" lists give it some competition, so if you don't hear from me as often, know that I'm still thinking of the three of you, and that I'll pop in soon!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Live Happy

1.  Unplug. The analog life is worth living.
2.  Go outside and breathe in the fresh air.
3.  Don't be afraid to get dirty.
4. Befriend the grass, the flowers, the trees.
5. Back to the earth, face to the sky.


Lately, I've been...

...reading the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. I'm on the last book, and am looking forward to the upcoming movie.  It took me too long to finally begin the series, but I'm glad that I did. It's a little difficult to put my finger on why I keep turning the pages. It has something to do with the quirkiness of the books, which are a mix of The Addams Family, Time Bandits, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.  

...watching Graceland. But why? I don't actually like this show very much (and I really can't stand the way it depicts women or male/female relationships), but my daughter has been watching it, which means that I've been watching it, too, and we have now become somewhat invested in the fate of the characters, whom I also don't actually like very much (with the exception of Johnny -- I have a soft spot for him). We're in the middle of season two, but we won't get much further, as we learned even before we started watching the show that it had been cancelled. Shocker. 

We've also been watching Roadies. Being a forever fan of Say Anything, and a huge, sappy, swoons-and-cries-every-time fan of Almost Famous, and also being willing to forgive Cameron Crowe for the disaster movie (not the fun kind) that was Aloha, I decided to give the series a go, and I'm glad I did. It's not particularly witty or smart (sorry!) or well-written (though it has its moments), but it speaks to my music-lover's heart in a way that makes the relative absence of the other things I mentioned easier to overlook. And Cameron Crowe may not know how to make a movie about Hawaii and he may not know that Emma Stone does not look Chinese or Hawaiian at all, but he does know music, and has never let me down in that respect, so I'm going to keep watching. 

...trying to be healthy -- to eat healthier, to exercise regularly, to visit the doc. It's not about checking the scale daily or studying my abs in the mirror or trying fad diets. It's about feeling better and making better choices for myself without going to extremes. 

...loving the peeks from the new lines! I'll admit, I was bracing myself for a declaration of the scrapbooking industry's time of death, but apparently it's not ready to go gently into that good night. 

Among my favorites are Shimelle's "Go Now Go" and Crate Paper's new lines. 

I'm loving many of the patterns that Shimelle has included in her latest collection. Here are a few that will be mine (oh yes): 
There are also some must-have accents in the collection: 

I'm a longtime fan of Crate Paper and was ecstatic to see the new CP lines revealed this past week.  They do not disappoint in terms of design, but they do bring up a question: is it time for manufacturers (and their clientele) to move past traditional gender stereotypes?  Two CP lines have me thinking about this. One collection features dogs, cars, robots, planes, dinosaurs, and travel/exploration motifs. The other features flowers, mermaids, unicorns, butterflies, and cats.  You can guess which one mentions "boy" repeatedly (and never mentions "girl" once), and vice-versa. All of those themes are great, but why assign a gender to them? 
"Cool Kid" sounds like it could be unisex, but there are specific aspects of the collection that mark it as being designed for boys ("little brother," "boys will be boys," "love this boy," "Mr. Rad"). The blog post introducing the collection explains that the line is "perfect for boys of any age." Still, it's not as if this is saying that the collection must be used in one particular way. There are some versatile components that don't include references to gender. 
I am happy to see that "Cool Kid" includes some non-gendered paper designs and gender-neutral sentiments like "young and brave," "awesome," "little explorer," and "wild child." It would have been great to see a few "girl" references embedded in this collection as well -- or, even better, to have dispensed with gender markers and gendered language altogether. 
The blog post introducing the "Cute Girl" collection mentions that it "is great for any sweet girls or women in your life." It abounds in frills, flora, and fantasy, and sentiments like "adorable," "sweet girl," "friend", "love," and "oh darling."  Once again, though, I will mention that the collection doesn't have to be used for "sweet girls." My cat is a veritable demon, with the bite and claws to show for it, and "Cute Girl" is so being used on a page about her. 

...scrapbooking with the Scraptastic "Sweet Jane" kit and add-on and letter stamps. Here's my month-in-review page for June: 
I know, I know, it's kind of busy. That pretty much sums up June!  You'd think that being on summer break would equate to long, leisurely, mellow days, but June was packed with events and appointments and activities. Usually the moment that I actually start to relax into summer, it ends. 

...falling behind with ICAD.  And I was doing so well!  I need to play catch-up soon. 

...listening to musicals (and analyzing them) with Z: Hamilton, The Last Five Years, Into the Woods, Spring Awakening, and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.  It's not unusual for me to wake in the morning with a line from a musical in my head, and then have it repeat all day long: "In 19th-century Russia we write letters...we write letters..."

...failing to complete the "to do" lists that I created for myself when summer started. Most of them involved cleaning, so I'm not taking it too hard.