Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One More Peek

Before the New Year's Eve festivities officially begin around here (that is to say, before I find something reasonably interesting on TV, open some take-out containers, and don my sweatpants), I have one last sneak to share of the JBS Mercantile January kits. This month I helped to put together the mini-album kit, and created a year in review album. 
The full reveal is tonight at JBS Mercantile! Black tie optional. Sweatpants preferred. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

De-Stashing Giveaway Winner

Well, it's the end of the weekend, and as promised, I have a giveaway winner to announce. However, before I share the name of the winner, I must say, WOW! I was taken aback by the response. Who knew that so many people would be interested? Rest assured, though -- I will be clearing more of my stash in the weeks ahead, so this won't be the last of my giveaways. 
 Lucky number 15 is...
Congratulations, Stephanie!  I will be in touch!

JBS Mercantile January Kit Sneaks

The January JBS Mercantile kits are just days away from their full reveal, but since there is a chance that you, like me, have very little patience when it comes to waiting for scraptastic anything, I will be merciful and share a few sneaks of what these lovely kits have in store for you: 

I'm particular excited about the mini-album kit this month.  I'll let you know why that is soon enough!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Great Purge of 2013 (Giveaway Closed)

Last night I filled a huge Priority Mail box with a sizable portion of my stash.
Most items are new -- never used -- and some are the remnants of the contents of packages that I have opened but only used a little of as I worked on design team and kit club layouts. I have multiples of many of these items, and it would just be plain wrong of me not to share.

If any of the above sounds tempting to you, please feel free to take it all off my hands! I'm giving away the entire box, with one catch -- you'd need to be willing to pay for the shipping (you can reimburse me via Paypal).  Just leave a comment below, and I will pick one lucky winner by the end of the weekend. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

13 from 2013

It's been a prolific year in paper for me, and now, looking back, I am amazed at all that has happened over the past twelve months. I've created close to 150 projects, put together a class (Scrapbooking from the Soul) that was a true labor of love, made twelve videos for the Two Peas Scrap Your Stash series, and still have a week of scrapping to go before the year ends! 

The following layouts serve as evidence of where my crafty inclinations and sensibilities have led me in 2013. 

Shiny Happy Pages
Whether in the form of tape or straight out of the bottle, glitter is good. Yes, I have finally moved beyond my aversion for what Demetri Martin once called "the herpes of the craft world." Granted, there is such a thing as glitter overkill, but in small, manageable amounts, glitter can enhance a page.  The same is true for other shine-inducing elements, such as iridescent mists and stamping ink. 
Everyday Photos, Everyday Stories
It is rare for me to declare, "Smile!" before taking a photo. I have learned to find meaning in the details and in the not-so-poseable moments that characterize everyday life. To capture the everyday, whether in the form of a photo or in language, involves removing the filter that interferes with authenticity. I have tried to be present on the page, and even when I am not in the photos, I have tried to share my view of the world as I see it. "Scrapworthiness" is in the eye of the beholder. 
The Sum of All Parts
I get a kick out of the small bits on pages, the details that add character and dimension, and I believe that even the tiniest bits of a layout can be embedded with meaning. A layout is the sum of its parts, but it is so much more -- ultimately, what builds the unity on a page is the passion behind it. If I can look at a layout and feel something, then I have made it matter. The techniques are fun, and I love to lose myself in the process of creating a layout, but for a layout to really resound, my heart must be on that page as well.
Get Your Quirk On
Scrapbooking is about the preservation of memories, sure, but it also involves cultivating a sense of play. When I just have fun with a page, I discover ways to push past what is conventional, and I discover new ways to approach pages, not just in terms of design, but in terms of the story. The journaling for this layout is emblematic of why it is so worth it to regard personal quirks as a strength when it comes to the creative process. Embrace that quirkiness, and let it find its way into how you tell the story. 
Time After Time
This year I created several layouts that bring together photos taken over time, and these layouts are now among my most treasured keepsakes. Placed alongside each other, these photos tell a story of growth, change, love, loss, and legacy.
It's All Worth It
Not every layout needs to have a single, cohesive story at the heart of it. Even fragments can be pieced together to form something valuable and real and worth sharing. I keep my ears open and I jot down thoughts, observations, and snippets of conversation that I want to remember.  From the fragments can come something remarkable, made whole with the help of your hands and heart. 
The Year of the Frame
On a  recent Two Peas forum thread, I shared that 2013 has been "The Year of the Frame" for me. I've used them in so many of my layouts. They're so versatile. They can be filled with photos, embellishments, journaling, and more. A single frame can make a statement on a page, but so can many, gathered together.
Enjoy It. All of It. 
Above all, this year has been great for my scrappy psyche, as I have really come to accept who I am and what my strengths are, and I have not really found myself worried about measuring up to others or clamoring toward some unspoken standard of how layouts should or should not look. I work toward the moment that I feel something "click," and I realize that everyone experiences that "click" in a different way. I use what makes me happy, and I avoid that which does not make me happy, and in doing so, I create happily. Sure, sometimes I experience stress as deadlines loom ever closer, but once I'm in the zone, surrounded by paper and color and words and ideas, I am at my best. I hope that what comes through as people look at my layouts -- whether right now or someday -- is that whoever put them together really seemed to care about what she was doing.  
I am definitely looking forward to 2014. Who knows where I will find myself creatively a year from now? 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all the best on this day, one of the best of days. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Finally Feeling It

It only took 24 days, but I am, at long last, feeling the Christmas spirit. Extra sleep may have something to do with it, but I also must give credit to my holiday playlist and the aroma of a turkey roasting in the oven. The tree is decorated (finally), the gifts are wrapped, the dog has a candy-cane-shaped bone, and my family is together.  

And now that my heart is happy and my tummy is about to be, too, why is it that NOW is the time that my scrap mojo decides to surface? I keep having to push it back down, but maybe I can steal a moment later to add a few more pages to my holiday album. 

Here are some of the pages that I added to the mix last week: 
This page documents the evening we came home to find that some of our lights were falling down. We got a good laugh out of that one, though I am not sure that our neighbors did -- the lights stayed that way for two nights, until Rob had a break in his schedule and could get to them.
The next page shares my thoughts about Christmas music and other holiday favorites. It's sad, but I haven't really surrounded myself with holiday music much this December, until today. This morning, while I prepped the turkey, my playlist kept me company:
This month has been kind of a whirlwind, and I haven't always been able to devote a page per day to my album, so at times, I've just collected some pics and pulled them together. The Daily Flash album pages have made this so easy for me.
I will have more to share from my album this weekend.

In the meantime, have a WONDERFUL holiday!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gardeners' Digest: December Garden Girl 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 "hop" by each of our blogs today to see what's in bloom in the Garden this month.  If you've been following the hop so far, you were just visiting Paige's blog. 
This past week I shared my latest Scrap Your Stash video, which features a combination of holiday and non-holiday supplies. 
The layout is not just the sum of its physical parts, however; at the heart of it is the journaling, which sums up just how I have been feeling as Christmas draws ever closer.
The beautiful thing about the Two Peas gallery in December is that it is PACKED with inspiration. Every time I visit, there is something there that makes my jaw drop, or that makes me want to create something, or that reminds me why scrapbooking matters, or all of the above.  Here is a sampling of what has been catching my eye lately:
(Projects by JenChapinMarie-Pea, Dani_TJ. Leija, and BlueStarDesign.)
Right now, here are a few of the products that have found their way into my cart and into my happy hands.
I used this printable on one of my recent holiday layouts.
I went a wee bit crazy with the punched circles. 
I've also been feeling the flair lately. The ones above come from October Afternoon and Two Peas in a Bucket

I am also crazy about those wooden stars, from Studio Calico.  I coated them with copper embossing powder. 
Lastly, I can't seem to stop reaching for my Color Shine mists.  My go-to color lately has been Blush. I used it on the "Wish" wooden card (see the top of the post). 

Given that it is the holidays, and I'm in a giving mood, I'd love you to be the recipient of a $10 Two Peas in a Bucket gift certificate!  Just leave a comment on this post (including your Two Peas username) before 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time on Monday, December 30, and I will select one lucky winner. 

Thanks for hopping by today!  The next blog on the hop is Céline Navarro. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Christmas Wish

I haven't made a real Christmas wish list of my own since I was a kid. Nope -- the lists that I make around the holidays all involve "to do" items or "to buy" items.

My husband doesn't have a wish list either. Every year, around mid-December, he and I have the same conversation. A few days ago, it went like this:

Husband: What do you want for Christmas?
Wife: Ha. Nothing. What about you?
Husband: Nothing. I'm good.
Wife: I have to get you something.
Husband: No. You're the one who needs something.
Wife: Fine. Let's agree not to get each other anything.
Husband: Deal.
Wife: Don't do what you did last year. Seriously -- we are not getting each other gifts.
Husband: Okay, no gifts.

And then a few days pass -- as they just did -- before he says something like this:

Husband: You're going to be mad at me.
Wife: What? Why?
Husband: I bought you a present.
Wife: Hey! We said --
Husband: I know, I know, but it doesn't count. It's just something small.
Wife: No fair! You know I have to get you something now.
Husband: No, no, really, it doesn't even count.
Wife: (Mutters something that puts her on the naughty list, although apparently even while on that list, she is still managing to have a present coming her way.)

Will I never learn?

Okay, I was going to get him something anyway, but still -- it's the principle of the thing.

Seriously, though, my Christmas wish list is nonexistent. The only kinds of wishes I make are those written on the heart, those that seem or really are unattainable. This is the kind of wish that I shared on
my latest Scrap Your Stash video, which is now up at Two Peas in a Bucket.
This will be the first Christmas of my life spent without my grandmother, who passed away in April.

She loved the holidays, and even as she got on in age, and even as our family itself changed as result of distance, death, and divorce, we tried our best to continue the traditions that she loved. Christmas was that one time of year we all seemed to find our way back to each other -- my grandma had a way of calling us home -- but this year, without my grandmother there at the heart of the family, it just feels…different.

I still love Christmas, but I wish…I wish I could experience it with her once more.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Making Merry

As I complete the pages in my holiday album using October Afternoon's Very Merry December kit, I am starting to get more and more excited, but also more and more panicked.  I'm looking forward to Christmas, but I am SO unprepared for it. There's just way too much going on lately. Still, I'm trying to focus on the "merry" more than the "worry." Scrapbooking the bright spots helps: 
Last night I worked on a layout using tidbits from the JBS Mercantile December kits. I fought my desire to hoard every piece in the Antiquarian kit (not an easy temptation to overcome, let me tell you) and put them to good use alongside some of my favorite December kit goodies and one of my favorite family holiday photos.

I am definitely feeling the holiday spirit. Let's hope that it is strong enough to combat the exhaustion that this week is sure to hold for me!  You'll know that the dark side has won if my next post is entitled "Bah Humbug."

Monday, December 9, 2013

December, Daily.

First of all, props to those of you out there who are having no problem at all making every single day of December count by keeping up with your December albums daily, making delightfully intricate Christmas cookies, singing carols with your flawless soprano voices, taking perfect family portraits, and decking the freaking halls with boughs of -- what? What's that you say? People like this don't exist?

I want to believe that.

Yes, let us hope that people like this are just a fictional breed spawned by the pages of Martha Stewart magazine, because when I think of that kind of perfect, I get a wee bit breathless.  A Stepford Christmas is not for me. I am a Griswold through and through.

What I am trying to say in a roundabout way is that there's the idea of December, and then there's the reality. My reality includes an earnest hope that I will finally see the end of the jumbo roll of wrapping paper that I have been working my way through for the past three years. My reality does not include an iota of wassailing (whatever the heck that is; I'm pretty sure a breathalyzer must be involved) but it does include a plan to sleep in once the holiday break starts.  A morning without an alarm: that is as close to perfect as my December can get.

Oh, December.  I'm trying my best to be as merry as merry can be, but it's a challenge when the majority of my days consist of:

a. sitting in traffic
b. sitting in more traffic
c. sitting in even more traffic
d. repeat a-c in the afternoon, plus 45 minutes

I really (really) need the holiday break to start. I believe my students would stand by this statement as well, those poor things. I've been slipping them candy canes to distract them from their stress over the impending midterm exams.

In the meantime, I have been scrapping a bit to keep myself in a yuletide state of mind. It's kind of working -- sort of like immersion therapy.
I've been trying my best to keep up with my album daily, but when I lag behind, I don't sweat it. This is why I organize the album by week.  I'm all about the December Not-So-Daily.
My Advent "focal words" approach has actually been really helpful, keeping me centered on days when more accurate words would be "honk" or "screech" or "surrender" or "bills."
It's a simple approach, which works for me, helped along by the October Afternoon Very Merry December kit. There are a lot of albums out there that are veritable masterpieces, and I stand in awe of them, but I can't go down that path, lest my December 31 photo be one of me with bald patches from where I have pulled out my hair.

Speaking of photos, my family still hasn't taken one this month. All over Facebook for the past few weeks, I have seen photos of families of five and six and seven gathered together, but for some reason, just getting our family of three to say "cheese" at the same time is a Herculean task.  We shall see what the next few weeks hold. Last year our photo was taken next to an outhouse, so there really is nowhere to go but up, methinks.

I pulled together a few photos taken through the years for my most recent Two Peas in a Bucket layout:
I cannot believe how much my daughter has grown through the years. Whoosh! 

Also, please note the outhouse. 

I had a great time adding accents to this page. You know how crazy I am about bits and pieces, and there's no shortage of them on this page. 
I used a Technique Tuesday/Ali Edwards stamp set as a springboard for the journaling.  
Every so often, when the December rush gets a little too overwhelming, I try to take a step back. This is, of course, really difficult in traffic, but I'm finding hope in the small things -- a remembered signal before switching lanes, a yellow light that seems meant just for me, the same Imagine Dragons song being played on three stations within a five minute period, and the daughter next to me, snoring, oblivious to just how close I come to the "naughty" list every time someone cuts me off. 

Oh, December. Daily, you are growing on me.