Sunday, January 8, 2012


There are certain times of the year that I love, and certain times of the year that leave me indifferent, as if I am just biding my time and enduring until the next vacation or the next holiday or the next time of year when something actually feels like it is happening.

This is one of those times of the year when I feel like I am simply waiting, looking forward to a time when it does not have to be this time any longer.  I think ahead to the sweetness and bright colors of spring, and the excitement surrounding graduation in May, and the warm summer days and their endless possibilities, and I just wonder -- what is the deal with January through March?  

Hey, January -- why so cold?  And why so long? And February, I know you're trying really hard to impress us with Valentine's Day and the whole shortening of the month thing, but you don't stand a chance, sandwiched between January and March.  This brings me to March.  O, March, you fickle thing.  On those rare occasions when Easter occurs in March, my opinion of this month changes, but when Easter is delayed until late April, March and I just cannot be friends.  Irreconcilable differences. 

That I am still at the beginning of this three-month stretch makes me think that I need to adjust my perspective.  It's time to find the joy in January.   So what have I been up to lately? 

I've been: 

...celebrating a victory!  My daughter participated in the "It's Academic" competition yesterday, and her team WON!  The show will be televised locally -- I'm not sure when, though.  Just before the taping, I turned around in my seat and saw that our neighbors were sitting in the audience. They had come to support Z.   They're good people. ;)  Then, last night, we all celebrated with the rest of the neighborhood at a potluck.  How many people can say they are blessed with neighbors like these?  

...reading Hamlet with my juniors, and as always, I love Shakespeare more with every rereading.  My seniors finished Much Ado About Nothing last month, and I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback I received on my course evaluations with regard to that unit: "More Shakespeare!" Crazy.  Crazy awesome.  Now we're reading Renaissance poetry, focusing on the pastoral tradition.  I love reading Marlowe and Raleigh and Donne side by side.  I do find it sad, though, that Marlowe never had a chance to speak back to Raleigh.  "The Shepherd's Reply to the Jaded Nymph" might have been a classic.  

...thinking about "banished words," having read this article the other day.  I confess that I am guilty of  overusing the word "amazing." I use it when I praise layouts.  I use it when I comment on posts.  I use it when I describe kits.  I use it when I watch The Daily Show.  I use it when my dog sits without me asking her to sit.  I use it all the time.  All the time.   What's funny is that I had become aware of this over-reliance on "amazing" prior to encountering the article, but now I just feel like it's time for me to start seeking synonyms.  I can do better -- but better than "amazing"?  We'll see.

...experimenting with my new Cameo.  I had fun creating these treat bags, which I shared on a JBS Mercantile blog post this past week:

...watching my programs.  Over the break, when I actually had time to watch TV, I didn't watch much at all, since so few of my shows were actually on TV.  Now, though, Modern FamilyGrey's Anatomy, and Private Practice have returned, and I am really quite happy about that.  Top Chef continues as well. I'm not really sure who I am rooting for just yet, but I do like Paul, weird-ponytail Chris (possibly because they both remind me of ex-boyfriends) and even though Ed was kind of a $%#! this past week, I find myself rooting for him, too.  After Wednesday's barbecue episode, I had major cravings, so I made chicken and steak and these incredible beans this week:
(P.S. I fry the bacon first). 

...listening to Depeche Mode.  I think it has something to do with the cleaning I did over the break, sifting through bins of old journals and letters.  Depeche Mode was most definitely part of the soundtrack of those angsty years.

...playing with paper. Yep, when that midwinter slump hits, I head to the place where sweetness and bright colors and excitement and warmth and endless possibilities are always close at hand: my scrap desk.  
This page is a bittersweet one.  A few weeks ago I was in the yard when I looked over the fence at my neighbors' yard and noticed that their flowers were in bloom.  Sadly, both of my neighbors passed away within months of each other last year, and though their relatives now tend to their yard, it just isn't same without them.  As I looked at the flowers, and thought about how much love and care this couple had for their beautiful garden and for each other, I realized that it was time for me to document that.  
So I told their story, in my own way, in this layout that I shared in the Garden at Two Peas in a Bucket.  

I find it a challenge to select supplies for layouts like this -- that is, layouts that aren't bursting to the hilt with cuteness and happiness.  When I sat down to create this layout, I did not want the supplies to distract from the story or to trivialize it; I wanted them to convey that "legacy" at the heart of the layout.  I tried to bring together supplies with a timeless quality to them, juxtaposing them with more ethereal ones, like the florals, to enhance a kind of solemn beauty.  

Looking back at this layout and thinking about the couple that inspired it, I hope I did right by them. 


  1. jill, i don't think i have ever posted a comment here, not because i don't love your creations, they are often "amazing", but just because i am not one to comment. However, your layout about your neighbors touched me to the core. Not only their love story, don't we all hope to have a partnership that deep, but because i have many stories of those everyday things i never get around to scrapping. thanks for the push. laurie

  2. it is amazing and beautiful! you did the photos justice.

  3. I think you did, it's a lovely page.

    And congratulations to Ms. Z!

  4. What a neat thing to record - it's obvious you miss and liked those people.

    I also hear you about winter. I'm feeling the blues, but I'm also feeling hope and I'm hoping to channel that into creativity.