Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Z and I donned our blue and yellow today.   It is Leap Day, after all.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations, Sparklin!  You've won a free spot in Shimelle's workshop, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Scrapbooking."  

Thanks, everyone, for posting comments filled with wise advice and hard-learned lessons about scrapbooking.  They made for some insightful and affirming reading all week long.  See you all next month for the March Garden Girl blog hop!  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gardeners' Digest: February Blog Hop

Welcome to the Gardeners' Digest, a monthly update from the Garden Girls, the design team at Two Peas in a Bucket. We'd love it if you'd visit each of our blogs today to see what's in bloom in the Garden.  

My most recent Garden project features my three favorite subjects: 

These are my three people: Rob, Zoe, and Mazie.  And yes, I am aware that one of these people is indeed a dog.  She clearly thinks of herself as a person, and she certainly takes up a person-sized section of my bed each night.  
More detail photos and the full supply list can be found with the original page at Two Peas in a Bucket. 
I have been playing with dimension on layouts lately, and when I saw these Jillbean Soup tags and glanced over at my circle cutter, I knew just what I wanted to do.  I couldn't resist the idea of lovely little gatherings embedded throughout the layout.  Pink can be a challenge for me to use on layouts, but the kraft tempers its impact.  

I know I'm not the only Garden Girl who's had love on the brain this month.  One of my favorites from this week's Garden updates is this layout from Amy Tangerine: 

Bright spots on a neutral background: I am so feeling this right now.  I love the hand-stitched tag, the photos arranged in a grid, and the charming little details.  

Of course I did notice that Amy worked in some new CHA goodies here, like the Dear Lizzy Neapolitan line, which was included in the happy mail I received today from Two Peas.  

"Dreamy Days" Dear Lizzy Neapolitan Paper
(I have big plans for this one!)
Dear Lizzy Neapolitan Fabric & Epoxy Brads Embellishments
(The green heart in the middle is my favorite.)
The box I opened this afternoon also included something I've been eyeing since the CHA sneaks were released:
American Crafts Gardenia Tarragon Medium Clothespins
At first glance at the CHA pics, I worried that these might be a little too big for a layout,
but now that I've seen them up close, I think that they could totally work on a layout.
They're about 1/4" (width) x 1 7/8" (length).
I'll put them to use soon and will be sure to share!  
These buttons were in the mix as well, and they are begging for me to pull out the paint and mist and give them scrappy makeovers: 
Wood Buttons Gardenia Elements
I was also stoked to finally get my hands on this little beauty, which I've been coveting since I saw it appear in the Two Peas store: 
Recipe Card Wood Stamp by Ink + Wit

Aside from lots of new products, there's even more that's new at Two Peas in a Bucket.  A new "Workshops" section is joining the "Classes & Events" section at Two Peas, and the very first workshop is...
That's right!  Garden Girl Shimelle Laine is the instructor of the Two Peas in a Bucket debut workshop, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Scrapbooking."  If you have taken a class from Shimelle before, or have watched one of her many videos on Two Peas, then you know you are in for a treat.   
Here's the course description:
"Are you drowning in a sea of scrapbook supplies and a plethora of photos, but wish things just came together easily?  Then 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to Scrapbooking' is just what you need: your guide to life, the universe and pretty paper! Join Garden Girl Shimelle Laine for this self-paced workshop you can use any time.  Over five chapters, she'll share forty-two brand new scrapbook pages and easy-to-follow advice on choosing supplies, designing pages, embellishing your work and writing your memories.  Each chapter includes a printable PDF and coordinating video, plus the guide's bonus reference section includes sketches, supply lists and other handy hints.  Designed for scrapping at home or at a crop, The Hitchhiker's Guide to Scrapbooking reminds you: Don't Panic - get crafting!  
The lessons are available for you to work at your own pace and upon purchase can be accessed in the 'Workshops' section under 'Classes & Events.'  A private message board forum is also available to ask questions for Shimelle and to connect with other participants.  Enjoy!"
To thank you for visiting today, I'd love to offer you a chance to win FREE access to this workshop.   To be entered to win, just leave a comment sharing the best piece of advice you've received as a scrapbooker.  

Of course, if you have already purchased the class, you will have a chance to either receive a refund or "regift" the spot to a friend.  I will draw the winner from comments that have been posted PRIOR to 11:59 p.m.  Hawaii time on Friday, February 24.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 25.  

[ETA: The winner has been selected.]

The next stop on the blog hop is Julie Campbell (whose embroidery hoop card you must see, so be sure to scroll down a bit after reading the blog hop post).  

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

On the Brain.

On the brain:

Wanted: a dress for the prom
(for a 36 year old).

Heads = Nordstrom, headless = Bluefly.
Needed: an even longer weekend.

Everything in my cart at Two Peas, including:
Echo Park This & That Charming "Yardsticks" Paper
(Look at that B-side!  Major text paper swoonage.)
Prima Nature Garden Wood Buttons
(They're just so romantic.)
My Little Shoebox Aiko "One Fine Day" Paper
(I'm ready for this year's Bon Dance pics!)
(4) Realized:
The next Two Peas GG blog hop is just a few days away, on the 22nd.
I'm so excited!

Have a great week ahead!  Enjoy your Mardi Gras!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine X 12

Today I've shared a lovey dovey album on the JBS Mercantile blog

Rob and I don't show up together very often in photos, but this album will ensure that we take at least one photo of ourselves per month.  I think we're off to a good start! 

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012


What is the deal with these weekends lately?  The moment they start, I'm going, going, going, and then suddenly it's 10:00 on Sunday night and I'm thinking, well, maybe next weekend I'll relax.  Still, even though it was kind of a breakneck last couple of days, those days were full of memorable events.

My grandmother turned 92, and the family gathered to celebrate.

Isn't she adorable?

I think the highlight of the evening was when my stepfather got up to clear away the dishes and my grandmother started muttering something When my mom asked, "What?", my grandmother repeated herself: "We're supposed to get up before they do."

She started scolding my mom for not having gotten up from the table before her husband did. The fact that he was clearing away plates was shameful.

My mom laughed it off, but a few moments later, she was up and cleaning.

Oh, dear.

As everyone left the table, I moved in closer to my grandmother for a heart-to-heart, and to receive some words of wisdom from the nonagenarian.  I leaned toward her to start up a conversation, but she reminded me that the women should be cleaning.

Is it any wonder why I regard my inclination toward messes as a feminist trait?

The weekend's events continued with the school's annual mother/daughter luncheon.  I knew that Z had been asked to give a speech about mothers and daughters, but she refused to share it with me beforehand.  Now I know why. Here's an excerpt:

Most of the girls my age may fight a lot with their mothers and look at them as if they were aliens, but I see my mother as somewhat close to a peer. Of course she is not a peer, but I feel that I can speak to her as if she were one. My mother has told me on more than one occasion that our relationship is different than that of most other mothers and their teenage daughters, and I believe that this is true. I am grateful that she and I can be open with each other and I think that our openness has helped me to grow and face the challenges that we have today.  With all of that being said, my mother can irritate the life out of me. She gets on my nerves more than most people do and I’m almost sure that the feeling is mutual between us. But, when push comes to shove, we will always have each other’s back. 

The audience especially loved that part about Z's irritating mother. :)

She concluded by saying, "There is nothing that I would do for my mother," and then stopped, realizing what she had said. The audience got a kick out of that.  So Z rephrased:  "I wouldn't do anything for my mother."  Uh oh.  Retry.  "I mean, there is nothing that I would not do for my mother."  Even she was laughing by the end.   All in all, it was a great speech.

I also found a teensy bit of time this weekend to work on a mini-album, which I will share in a few days.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few shares from the Jenni Bowlin mid-month gallery:
It's been a while since I attempted an 8.5" x 11" layout.  I used the JBS February project kit and main kit here.  The journaling block is the flip side of an OA Miscellany card. I sprayed Speckled Egg ink over it, and then lightly rubbed away the excess.  
Ormolu products seem to sell out so quickly, so imagine how giddy I was to see them in this month's kits! 
I finally got around to scrapping these photos from 2009.  The colors never seemed to work with anything, but when I saw the orange, blue, and green in this kit, I knew that the photos could finally find their place on a layout. 
More Speckled Egg lovin' here...
I was also able to use a photo of Rob that I've had for a while: 
Have a wonderful week! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

(P)noticed: 10 on the 10th

1. Pin:

2. Passage:

...I joke that I now pity the women who start families who have not been chefs. How I wonder earnestly, how does the office worker woman who is so accustomed to her forty-hour workweek, her daily lunch hour, her in-box, and her out-box, handle all the pain and the physical contortions, and mayhem of suckling, crying, ear infections, and working if she has never had to skin a live eel, placate the angry patron at Table 7 who finds his rabbit a bit stringy, and carry an epileptic line cook off the mats who has suffered a grand mal seizure during service?  How will the woman who is accustomed to great personal and bodily integrity suffer the cannibalizing feeling that nursing constantly can leave you with, as if you were being eaten alive, not in huge monster-gore chunks, but like a legion of soft, benign caterpillars makes lace of a leaf? 
I thought of telling them how changing a diaper reminds me, every time, of trussing a chicken. How sleepless nights and long grueling hours under intense physical discomfort were already part of my daily routine long before I had children.  How labeling every school lunch bag, granola bar, juice box, extra sweater, and nap blanket with permanent Sharpie is like what we've been doing every day for thirty years, labeling the foods in our walk-ins. How being the chef and owner of a restaurant means you have already, by definition, mastered the idea of "systems," "routines," and "protocols" so that everyone who works for you can work smart-hard rather than work stupid-hard.  So that by the time you are setting up your household and preparing yourself for adding children, you have a tendency toward this kind of order, logic, and efficiency. 
Multitasking -- answering questions on the phone, cooking something, and trying to monitor a line cook, while hearing your name repeated possibly six or seven hundred times in less than eight hours -- is exactly like trying to run a family and a business.  
-- From Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones, & Butter

Every time I think about this passage, I wonder if something similar can be said for teachers.  

3. Picture:
This is my maternal grandmother.  She celebrates her 92nd birthday this week. 

4. Person:

Christina Kelly.
I loved her when she wrote for Sassy, the magazine that helped me survive my adolescence, and now I read her blog, so I'm hoping she'll be there to help me survive my senescence.

5. Problem:

There are 24 hours in a day.  When I was little, that meant the day was long.  I am no longer little.

6. Process:

I focus best when I am in a state of perpetual musical motion.  Nails tap tap tap tap tap tap tap and in sequence: index middle ring pinky ring middle index middle index pinky ring middle index...  Feet rock and swing and rock and swing and rock and swing.  My toe spells my name in cursive left to right and then retraces the name right to left, keeping rhythm.  Teeth lightly click click click click click.   Pen on cheek and pat pat pat pat pat pat pat.  Tug tug tug on left ear.  When I am not typing on the keyboard my fingertips dance lightly in tandem as if on a piano, thumbs as base, pounding lightly on the space bar.

I do recognize that this may not contribute to the focusing abilities of those around me.

7. Product:

I just got a box full o' scrappy goodies yesterday from Two Peas in a Bucket, and within it was the new My Mind's Eye "Be Amazing" line, including these beauties:

You know these will be coming to a layout soon. I can't wait to play! 

8. Pleasure:
I have been reading Marie Arana's American Chica, and I cannot get enough of it.  Her style reminds me a bit of Isabel Allende's -- lyrical, magical, appealing to the senses.  Each time I open the book I am drawn into the narrative. It really is a pleasure to read. 

9. Post: 

On Wednesday, Kopecky Family Band posted a link to their KEXP studio performance on their Facebook wall, and what was there for me to do but chortle with glee (oh yeah, I chortled) and just thank my lucky stars that the soundtrack to my life includes music like this?

10. Present:

Tonight my husband has been tasked with acquiring me a copy of Breaking Dawn.  This is how I know he loves me: he will violate his own moral standards to feed my need for otherworldly schmaltz.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Whatever Works

It's a simple philosophy, really: whatever works. 

That is to say, when I get super-charged about an idea and want to make it happen, I tend to want to go all in, right now.  However, the more time I give myself to think about that idea, the more I start to realize that "all in" and "right now" are often not compatible with my real life, real schedule, and real tendency to get overwhelmed when there is too much on my plate.

When I really want to make something happen, it all comes down to whatever works.

Take Project Life, for instance.  I absolutely love the idea of this, and I frequently marvel over all of the layouts I see in the Two Peas gallery, on Pinterest, and on blogs.  As much as I wanted to go all in, right now as January rolled around, after a few days of re-entering the work force following the holiday break, I had to face up to the truth: it was just too big of a project for me.  

Still, I wanted to do something.
So I adapted, by finding something that works for me.

More images and a list of supplies can be found at Two Peas in a Bucket.  
A few years ago, I discovered a challenge thread on Two Peas in a Bucket (which I think was posted by Susan Keuter), inviting anyone interested to participate in a simple challenge: on the twelfth of each month, take twelve photos that capture "a day in the life." Scrap accordingly.  That's it.  Twelve layouts total in the course of a year?  That works for me!

The original design that I used in 2008 was a two-page layout:
I know this is pretty clean and simple, but this time around, I wanted an approach that was even simpler.  Now, I can print all twelve photos on a single sheet of 8.5" x 11" photo paper, and I can arrange the photos quite easily on a grid. Instead of having to print out journaling strips, now I can just handwrite the journaling.  And with all of the washi tape I've been seeing in the CHA peeks, I don't think I'll be running low on that particular product for a good, long time.

This approach allows me to capture the "everyday" (which is what I find most appealing about Project Life) while also being practical, given what my everydays are usually like.

Whatever works, am I right?  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wanted: A Week-Long Weekend.

Although I am technically in the midst of a long weekend, it hasn't really started yet for me.

Now that I am finally home, after having spent the greater part of the last 48 hours out of the home, I am not quite sure what to do with myself.  I can't figure out how to kickstart my mojo.  I have so many ideas, but there's no oomph, no creative push forward to actually get me started on a project.  I'm too much in my head.  I keep thinking that I have so little time left before the weekend ends, especially since tomorrow I have even more tasks to do that need my attention.  Although I am willingly taking on those responsibilities, and I believe that the work I do is important, the side effect has been that I am in a bit of a creative slump, feeling drained.

Likely all this cranky baby needs is just a good night's sleep.  :)  The paper and glue will be waiting for me when I'm ready.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with evidence that sometimes the mojo does flow around here, and that even off-days are temporary:
This layout is featured in this week's Design Team Garden at Two Peas in a Bucket.  The supply list is included with the layout at Two Peas.

The page documents the "consolation" lunch we had with my daughter when her team did not make it to the final round of an academic quiz competition. They had done really well earlier in the competition, advancing to the semi-finals, but when they did not make it to the final round, they were so disappointed.  My mother and I took a down-hearted Z and her teammate to a "consolation" luncheon at Buca di Beppo, where the mood greatly improved and the tears dried after some good conversation at the best table in the house, in the midst of the busy restaurant kitchen.  We had gone there after the team won the semi-finals, and the waiter who had celebrated with us just a week prior now stopped by to cheer up the girls.

They say that laughter is the best medicine, and I so agree.

This layout makes my heart happy. My eyes keep returning to my mom and daughter, so sweet together,  and to the cluster of buttons and roses, so warm, so vibrant.

Hmm...could that be the mojo stirring?  Here's hoping.