Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolved:

where there is doubt, faith
where there is a recipe, experimentation
where there is temptation, restraint
where there is this child, time
where there is a camera, click
where there is beauty, notice
where there is a smile, me
where there are calories, exercise
where there is an opportunity, growth
where there is this man, love
Each morning, my class begins the day with "The Prayer of Saint Francis." I get wrapped up in the language, which is truly all about balance. When it comes to seeking balance, we need to remember to calibrate the scale in terms of faith, hope, and love. This was the perfect inspiration for my 2010 resolutions. The first line comes directly from the prayer, and I riffed from there, using a similar structure from the second line onward. It all came together on the layout I did for this week's "fresh starts" post over on the Lily Bee blog.

Can you believe it's December 31 already? I'm off to celebrate by clearing away a few messes, in the hopes of creating new ones in 2010.

Best wishes for happiness and health in the new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh, Yes I Did.

Some people aren't resolution people.
They enter the new year fresh, no goals, no promises, no focus,
and I'd imagine that it feels good.
It must feel new, a true blank slate.

I am, however, a resolution person.
I have been since I was first introduced to the idea.
I don't actually care about whether December 31, 2011 will find me "resolved,"
but I do believe in charting one's course,
while being open to changing it.

This year, I'm working toward BALANCE.
It's a great word -- solid...maybe a little ominous,
because it's not just about doing with, but doing without.
It's a challenging concept --
self-control, moderation, forethought,
a quest to embrace some kind of inner equilibrium.
To be honest, at this point, it sounds tedious,
which means that it's probably just what I need.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Monday Ever

Usually my Mondays begin with me ignoring my alarm clock
and negotiating just how long I can put off getting out of bed
before the paychecks stop coming.

Today, my Monday began with NO alarm of any kind.
My eyes opened to sunlight rather than darkness.
Yep, I slept in, and woke up according to my own clock,
which, apparently, likes the idea of me waking gradually,
smiling, at 9:30 a.m.

Usually, my Monday mornings involve the collection
of homework papers and the acknowledgment of a monstrous
"to do" list.

Today, the only paper that I held in my hands
was the patterned sort.
Usually, my Mondays are spent indoors.
The focus is on productivity.

Today, I actually ventured outdoors.
The focus was on...well, whatever the lens focused on, actually.
I even got on the other side of the camera -- mind-blowing, I know.

I will not go so far as to say that I like Mondays,
but if all Mondays could be like today,
then I'd definitely consider a change of heart.

Happy Monday! And I actually mean that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Girl, One Year

...and one heckuva lot of embellishments:This is what happens when I scrap twelve pics instead of just one. The amount of patterns and embellies inevitably multiplies. It's onomatopoetic. Kablam! Kapow! Kaboom! Kaloving it. Color and embellies and patterns and stamps and pics abound. I had a blast putting this together (so to speak).

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Big Picture


One of my holiday traditions each year is to read A Christmas Carol with my seventh graders, and "The Gift of the Magi" with my eighth graders. I admit, though, that of the two, my favorite is A Christmas Carol. We read each stave aloud together in the week or so before the holiday break, and every year, I'm reminded of why I love this book so much. It doesn't so much focus on Christmas as a day or a time of year as it does on the bigger picture -- keeping Christmas every day, for as long (or as short) as we live. Some of my favorite lines are found at the end of Stave Four, when Ebenezer Scrooge pleads with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, proving himself to be a dynamic character after all: "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future."

These words remind me of a simple truth about time and character: the choices we make in the past influence who we are today; by remaining mindful of how our past shapes us, we can make better choices in the present, which in turn, will shape our future. I love that Christmas is so close to the new year, because both events signify for me a simultaneous looking back and looking forward. Today is a snapshot, but we can't forget about the big picture.

Before I head off once more into the holiday breach, here's my latest project for Lilybee Design. Full details are on the Lilybee blog, if you're interested.
Ooh, and don't forget to check the Lilybee blog for daily giveaways. Today is day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaways, so there's still time to enter.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Checking It Twice

This week, get in on an amazing Collage Press giveaway: check it out on the CP blog. Not only do you have a chance to win a set of Collage Press papers, but if you do win, you'll double your luck by also winning a set of papers for a friend (imaginary friends count, too). All you need to do is comment. That's it. Too easy, right?

Here's my latest Collage Press layout, documenting this year's "tree guilt" -- the result of us having a fresh tree instead of our usual artificial one. I know that that there are benefits to having a fresh tree that go beyond that lovely smell, but it's still hard for me to look at it sometimes and not feel sad. Of course, I'm the kind of person who has trouble seeing flowers in a bouquet starting to wilt. I'll let those sad little flowers sit until they are nearly dried out, prolonging their lives as long as possible. I am a total sap.

I had a lot of fun putting together this tree. I cut layers of Collage Press Joyride ride paper, and assembled them atop each other. I punched circles from more paper, and then sewed back and forth in a slight curve over the circles, for a "garland" effect. No tree guilt there!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Lily Bee Style

'Tis the season for giving, and starting today, Lilybee Design is celebrating with twelve days of GIVEAWAYS. If you'd like Santa to come early this year, bearing gifts of patterned paper and other scraptastic goodies, then be sure to check out the Lilybee Design blog daily, and leave a comment. If you'd like to double your chances of winning, then you'll want to head over to the Lilybee Facebook fan page and post a comment there.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gotta Deal

Wow, it's been a LONG week.
It's been a good week in many ways,
but it's also been an exhausting week.
I've never been the headachy type,
but my head has been pounding for the last 72 hours.
I guess not sleeping enough
and reading what equates to 350+ pages
of essays and science fair reports
will do that to a person, huh?
Thankfully and finally, though, the weekend is here,
and there's a light at the end of this tunnel,
because Christmas break begins in ONE WEEK!
Callooh callay!

Hopefully I'll be able to scrap a lot more over the break, but in the meantime, I'll leave you with my most recent layout, which probably should have been called "Catharsis" rather than "34."

I'll also leave you with a Collage Press Joyride peek, to be posted on the CP blog soon. I've had a peek at what the team has come up with for the December Design Day, and I'm seriously blown away. Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Campy.

The Lily Bee design team recently had a chance to incorporate Maya Road products into our Lily Bee Vintage Poppy projects. For a while, I've been eyeing the Lily Bee frame die-cuts and wondering if they could translate into a mini-album. As soon as I held the Maya Road envelopes in my hands and placed them alongside the die-cuts, I knew that they'd work together perfectly. With a little help from my sewing machine, I assembled the pages of the album, and went about documenting Z's experience at camp.

I assembled pockets for extra journaling by putting together two pieces of patterned paper and sewing around them on three sides. I think this is my favorite page:

And of course, I couldn't resist the Maya Mist.

I stored memorabilia and copies of my "camp update" blog posts in the envelopes.

No matter how much I loved this project, though, it didn't become truly meaningful until I saw Z looking through it, turning each page and opening the envelopes. I'm a firm believer in the "everyday use" of the projects that I create. If they're too precious to hold, then they really aren't truly valuable.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Green Card

One thing I don't do very often is make cards. I know that it's a quick way to get a bit of a scrappy fix, and to use the odds and ends that might otherwise make their way into the scrap drawer or the trash can, but I'm still not really a "card" kind of person. I guess I visualize them being received (which is a nice thought), but then ultimately, thrown away (which is a not-so-nice thought).

Still, every so often, I will attempt a card -- like when CK asks me to do so. :)

Unfortunately, I needed to downsize this one, so the one that is featured in the December issue of CK is teeny tiny in comparison, but I love them both. Here's the process I used to put the card together:
Steps:
1. Trim or punch 25 1” squares from patterned paper, die-cut paper, and textured cardstock.
2. Trim or punch a few extra die-cut paper squares, and use them as a mask over white cardstock squares, misting over them with red and green.
3. Stamp and emboss letters on individual squares to spell “Happy Holidays” or another desired greeting.
4. Fold a 6” x 12” length of cardstock in half, and affix squares to the front of the card in a grid format, adding pop dots behind those squares with letters.
Supplies:
Cardstock: American Crafts (Shamrock), Doodlebug (Green Glitter Dot), Bazzill (white); Patterned Paper: October Afternoon, BasicGrey, Scenic Route; Die-cut Paper: BasicGrey; Stamps: Studio Calico; Watermark Stamp Pad: VersaMark; Embossing Powder: American Crafts; Mist: Maya Road; Pop Up Dots: Glue Dots.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Faves


Let it be known: I don't do Black Friday.

I have a hard enough time shopping on any other day. Why would I willingly surround myself with the one thing that I hate the most about shopping? Crowds. Ugh. Shudder shudder blanch blanch. On an average day, I hold my breath when I pass one or two people too closely in a store aisle; I don't think there's enough Albuterol in my inhaler to get me through Black Friday.

However, I still managed to make a few purchases today without entering the stampede:

1. $14. TWO tickets to see New Moon. Yes, again. This time I noticed what I missed last time. The werewolves' clothing bursts into shreds around them whenever they change. We're talking explosions of denim and skyrocketing sneakers. Way cool. Way expensive. Now there's a reason for a Black Friday special.

2. $9. ONE run to Starbucks on the way home. Edward's taste buds may whisper la tua cantante when he thinks of what he craves most, but mine whisper venti coffee frappuccino with whipped cream. The drink sings for me. I literally cannot pass a Starbucks these days without spending some of Zoe's college money. It's just not possible.

3. $20. ELEVEN awesome scrappy purchases from Lifetime Moments, including some of my favorite chipboard letters from Sassafras, for almost half off their usual price:

You can't beat 45% off everything in the store! Sadly, there's a reason for that great deal. LM is going out of business. It's such a bummer, because it's been one of my favorite online stores for scrapbooking supplies for years now. The changing economy has not been kind to our hobby, unfortunately. It must be so difficult for stores like LM to make the decision to close. It's also difficult on scrappers who want their favorite stores to keep existing, yet can't afford to literally pay the price to keep their stores afloat. This is why I choose not to spread my scrappy purchases too thinly. Customer loyalty makes a huge difference in these trying times.

4. $28. FOUR Studio Calico must-haves. Studio Calico is an example of one of the businesses that I support wholeheartedly, and the proof was in the pocketbook this morning (but it's not there anymore, tee hee). Today is the Studio Calico December kit reveal, and subscribers always get a head start. I could NOT resist getting extra SC patterned paper...

AND extra colored cardstock to match this month's SC kit, sunflower yellow Maya Mist, and the new SC months stamps:
I'm going to be one happy scrapper come December -- can't wait for the holiday break!

5. $0, or 5000 calories. ONE Friday evening with the family, eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Mmmm...gravy...

Have a happy weekend! Ooh, and before I wander off to eat gravy by the spoonful, let me share a few of the layouts I've been working on for Lily Bee and Collage Press:

Lily Bee Vintage Poppy line
(and a lift of the wonderful, talented, and always charming Stephanie Howell) --

Collage Press Joyride line (which is easily my favorite Christmas line EVER. Evah.) --

NOW it's gravy time.
Oh, yeah.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five Faves Friday

1. New Moon. This afternoon, Z and I saw it. FINALLY. It's good. It's better than Twilight. Great effects. No garish makeup. Almost no bad hair (sorry, Jasper). Decent music. Granted, the soundtrack isn't as good as Twilight's, but the acting is MUCH better, as is the overall flow from scene to scene. Most importantly, the movie was true to the book, because I sit here now, hours after the movie ended, and my heart is still breaking for Jacob.

This is not to say that I'm of the Jacobean persuasion. I'm not into the whole Team Edward/Team Jacob nonsense -- in fact, I can see why Bella is drawn to both. Edward's intensity and Jacob's warmth and humor combine to make the perfect man. Frankly, I just can't see why they're so drawn to her. Someone, help me understand the allure of Bella Swan (film-wise, not book-wise). Granted, Kristen Stewart looked stunning in this film, but beyond that -- what is Bella's secret? Other than the smell of her blood, her shielding abilities, and the fact that she doesn't recoil from all that is Strange, what sets her apart from other girls (okay, maybe those things are enough)? Perhaps she's relatively un-extraordinary on purpose, so that she becomes an Everywoman, leading droves of female fans to identify with her, and thus, establish an even stronger connection to Edward or Jacob...and ultimately, purchase more t-shirts, keychains, and Burger King cups in the name of otherworldly love.

Moving on...

2. Neosporin. This may be the weirdest 1/5 of a five faves list of mine ever, but I'm going to have to give a shout out and a sincere thank you to this antibiotic ointment.
For some reason, I've been particularly accident prone this week, and I'm full of scrapes and scratches. It's nuts. Neosporin to the rescue. I'm so lucky to live in the age of antibiotic ointment.

3. La Musica. Lately: Dashboard Confessional, The Bravery, new Vampire Weekend, Conor Oberst, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Owl City, and Shiny Toy Guns. I've also been revisiting The Specials and Dance Hall Crashers. Ah, to be young(er) and yearning to breathe in a mosh pit again.

4. Joyride. This new Collage Press line is starting to pop up here, there, and everywhere, and it is redefining the term "Christmas line" for me.
It's all about the oh-what-fun-it-is-to-ride-AND-also-to-scrapbook-with-papers-that-I-can-use-again-even-when-Christmas-has-passed. The B-sides of the patterned papers are awesome. Trust me on this. One of them has an excerpt from Pride and Prejudice. Enough said. This week, I've been playing with the new line (and yes, playing is the best word choice; it doesn't feel at all like working). Next week, the CP blog will feature three days of Joyride projects. You will LOVE what the team has been doing with the line.

5. The Honest Truth. "You're the best, Ms. Sprott!" Today I heard this more than once from my students, and all that I could think was (1) True, and (2) More, please. It was a good day. :)

Have an awesome weekend!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tidbits


I know it's been a little while since I posted any scrappy pics. As you might be able to guess from my "plans" above, I've been busy scheming. Sort of. I've actually been working on some projects for Lily Bee and Collage Press. Here are some peekies at bits and pieces:


I promise to share more soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking Up

Tonight I went outside
and did something I rarely do these days.
I looked up at the sky
instead of at a computer screen
or a stack of papers.
I was simply
still

not rushing through my "to do" list
or workingworkingworking
or worryingworryingworrying.

In silence, in stillness,
in the midst of everydayness --
take time to wonder.

When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; 5
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

-- Walt Whitman

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Live from New York!

So tonight we've been sharing our favorite SNL moments with each other.
It started when Z wanted to rewatch last week's Taylor Swift monologue..."la la la...ha ha ha..."
Then we watched Alec Trebek go head to head with Sean Connery on "Jeopardy."
Soon there was Natalie Portman's gangsta rap
and of course, "Lazy Sunday."
We just finished this brilliant sketch:
Oh, man, this makes me laugh.
Like, stomach-unstapling kind of laughter.
What are we watching now?
Well, all I can say is, MORE COWBELL!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Growing Together


I know that this layout doesn't exactly scream "fall," but it's the product of a combination of two things that always impact my scrapping this time of year: (1) the weather and (2) my sentimentality. There's something about rainy weather and the longer nights that makes me seek out all that is warm and cozy, both literally and figuratively. Luckily, my Studio Calico kit arrived just in time for me to channel all of my autumnal ooshy-gushiness into this layout.

The sweet couple in the pic includes my cousin Shelly and her boyfriend Philippe. Can you believe that they've been dating since they were fifteen? Now they're all grown up and starting to plan for a future together. I don't know where the years will take them, but I'm glad that they'll be traveling that road together.

See? Warm and cozy. Downright schmaltzy. Blame it on the weather.

Ere I go, I'd also like to share a thank you with our many veterans, past and present, who help(ed) to make our country and keep our country free. Sadly, sometimes peace must be the product of war, but I don't see Veterans' Day as a celebration of war; I see it as a celebration of those whose lives and service are part of a larger story of the efforts to make and maintain peace. Here's one of my favorite veterans, my grandfather, who is also part of one of my favorite love stories:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Year Luckier


This morning, Rob surprised me with breakfast in bed. He had driven into Pearl City and picked up Cinnabon, Starbucks, cards, a balloon, and even a bouquet of sunflowers for me. How sweet! He came into the room singing "Happy Birthday to You..." The cinnamon rolls were topped with candles.

It's still kind of hazy, since I was seeing with early morning eyes, so I'm sure that the details will begin to fade over time...but I know I won't forget how amazing and thoughtful Rob is.

I don't even care that I was sick today. This was still one of the best birthdays EVER.