Saturday, October 22, 2016

So Very Sketchy

Sketches are a scrapbooker's friend. They offer up a blueprint when one isn't quite sure what to build, a compass when one needs a sense of direction, and a spark when one is hoping to kindle inspiration.

As I studied the PDF from the first Elle's Studio "From Sketch to Finish" class, I felt that telltale inspo-push, that compulsion to get scrapping. That's always the sign of a great class!

When I was asked to be a part of the second "From Sketch to Finish" class, of course I happily joined in as a contributor.  Here's a glimpse of one of my projects: 
A few days ago, I got a sneak peek at the full class, and it is ahhh-mazing -- SO many sketches and SO much creativity are packed into a single PDF. 

Be sure to check it out, come Monday!

Monday, October 10, 2016

October at Elle's Studio

I've been a shameful excuse of a blogger over the past few weeks, I know, but I'm popping in today with some good news -- it's October reveal time at Elle's Studio!
You know how much I love the monthly kits, and if you share my love, then you'll be thrilled to learn that there is now a kit subscription option! If you start your subscription today, you'll receive a free gift, and if you're in the U.S., anything else that you purchase today alongside the subscription will be shipped free (there's a reduced shipping fee for international customers).

My October ES layout this month incorporates the kit as well as some Halloween goodies.
Be sure to stop by Elle's Studio to check out more new items! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

This Stuff Matters.

Do you ever find yourself taking seemingly random photos, only to discover later, as you go through your photos, that there is actually a pattern to be found?

Recently I realized that I have a fair number of photos of doctors' offices. Apparently, as these doctors kept me waiting, I got a little antsy and decided to do what we scrapbookers do best: document.  So I documented the yearly physical...and the mammogram...and the eye exam. 

In looking at these photos together, it occurred to me that I had never created a layout about my attitude toward my health and doctors' visits. Sure, I've put together "pep talk" pages about changes in my diet or exercise habits, but I've never actually reflected on my view about seeking help from a professional when the moment calls for it. 

Quite a few of my family members have, in the past and present, avoided doctors until a problem became so serious that it resulted in major surgery, a chronic condition, a serious decline in the quality of living, or, sadly, death. 

As we age, health problems become scarier and more common, and the likelihood of a doctor saying something we don't want to hear becomes greater. That's enough to foster a pretty strong inclination toward denial. Still, I don't want to compound any problem by ignoring the signs. 
The "Stuff" Story Kit from Ali Edwards helped this layout along. The "good stuff/bad stuff" card prompted the journaling.  I'm kind of bummed about the alignment of the journaling, though. Everything was measured perfectly in my word processing program, but when I ran the card through to add the second column, the alignment of the paper in the printer was off, and the columns ended up too close together.  Ah, well...I forgive me. :) 
This chipboard sentiment pretty much sums up the page and the reason that I created it: this stuff matters. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September Reveal at Elle's Studio

It's the 10th, but not just any 10th -- it's September 10, the day of the first-ever reveal on the NEW Elle's Studio website!

To celebrate, Elle's Studio has a free shipping offer. Sweet deal!  If you're in the U.S., place an order of at least $50, and then use the code SHIPUSA for free shipping. If you're an international customer, place an order of at least $75, and then use the code SHIPINT for shipping.

This month's kit is color-rich and packed with cards and tidbits.
I used a few pieces from it on this page:
I haven't always been the biggest chevron fan, but the bold colors in the chevron pattern on one of the cards in the September kit called to me as I layered cards in the center block of the grid on this page.
I shared a step-by-step process for this layout earlier this week on the Elle's Studio blog, if you'd like more info.

The September kit also makes an appearance on this layout, which I created to document a daily trial I've been facing lately with regard to trying to develop healthy habits and stick to them.
The shift from Starbucks to smoothies hasn't been too easy, but it helps to have students who actually notice what I'm drinking each morning, and who cheer me or scold me as needed.
There are a lot more layouts from the design team on the ES blog, and many will be featured throughout the month on the site, so be sure to stop by to check them out.

Thanks for visiting today!

Monday, September 5, 2016

August in Review

I can't believe that it's already September -- but I must say, I'm a little glad to bid farewell to August. It was a butt-kicking month, what with the the transition back to school, way too many appointments, a week apart from my husband, and two hurricane warnings.
Now that September is here, I've acclimated to the school routine, my body and I are getting along again, the hubs is back, and the hurricanes have passed us by.

Still, August was anything but boring, as this layout reveals at first glance. It was busy and colorful and crazy, and that's not necessarily a bad thing for a month to be.  Periods of time like that give rise to changes.

In a single month, I've met about 70 new students and learned all of their names. I look forward each day to spending time with them and the students I have come to know over the years. Because of them, I'm pushing myself to be an even better teacher.

In a single month, I've gone from a healthy, daily exercise routine, which was really quite easy to keep up with since I didn't have to work all summer, to a much more sporadic routine. When work started again, I found myself exhausted, driven toward the couch, or coming home and needing to make dinner right away, with no time to exercise before the sun went down.  However, it's made me realize that staying healthy is a choice, and that even if I can only get in a 20-minute walk, that's still something.

In a single month, I've shifted from a nearly-Starbucks-free summer to having Starbucks nearly every day during my first week back to work...and then, with the help of scoldings from my students, I realized that I was willfully falling back into old habits, and I started making smoothies for myself every morning.

Some changes I can't control (like the changing paths of hurricanes), but some I can, and I'm trying to be increasingly mindful of that when it comes to discerning between what I want to do versus what I should do.

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. :)