Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A List, a Winner, and a Sneak

Summer is officially here!  Granted, I only get a 24-hour break, since I have two back-to-back workshops to attend, but after that, my summer will be mine, all mine!

I've gotten off to a great start.

(1) I've finished my first book of the summer:
Shipstead can craft a sentence, but the plot left me wanting. Still, I finished a book that wasn't part of a syllabus, and no one's getting quizzed on it! Victory!

Now I'm on to reading Dan Brown's Inferno. I know his books aren't without controversy, but I find them to be page-turners. Here's hoping this one's a worthwhile read.

(2) I'm actually preparing dinner at home tonight. This doesn't happen often enough in my household.  Long days plus the second worst traffic in the nation equate to way too many nights of take-out.  This summer, though, I am getting my Martha on. Tonight?  Salmon, wild rice, and asparagus. Note the lack of "Mc" before any of those items. Victory!

(3) I've finished my first layout of the summer, and it features one of my favorite summertime subjects:

Mmm...shave ice. The layout will go live on the October Afternoon blog tomorrow. One layout down, a whole summer to go.  Victory!

Today I'm also happy to announce the winner of the Garden Girl blog hop giveaway:

Jan, I know that you'll enjoy Jen's workshop!

The next Garden Girl blog hop is scheduled for June 22. The next gallery update, however, is just a few days away. June's theme is one of my favorite themes ever.  Jamie posted a few sneaks on the Two Peas blog, asking for guesses, and there's one guess that's really, really close. Here's a peek at my layout:
Maybe the theme will be a little more obvious now. Maybe not.

Thanks for visiting today!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gardeners' Digest: May Garden Girl Blog Hop (Giveaway Closed)

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 with Marcy Penner. If you'd like to go back to the beginning, it all starts on the Two Peas blog
Summer is nearly here, and as many people make summer plans that will likely lead to scrapping lots of travel-themed layouts, it's the perfect time for a reminder (since I will be continuing a long-standing summer "tradition" of not traveling anywhere) that travel-themed products need not be limited to travel-themed pages. In fact, you can get more mileage out of those products than they might earn on actual travel layouts. This is precisely the focus of my most recent Scrap Your Stash project: 
This layout features an "elemental" approach to the self-portrait page. If you'd like a peek into my process, check out the full video at Two Peas. 
Lately I have been bookmarking layout after layout in the gallery! Here are a few that have called out to me recently, begging for a closer look: 
(Layouts by DebDutyJenandTricksRegiane, and PaperLiitin)
"Spring Showers" Cambridge Court Kate & Co. Paper from My Mind's Eye  It's even prettier in person, if you can believe that! I used it on my Two Peas NSD layout
Painted Circle Woodblock Stamp from Hero Arts. I'm envisioning a layout with this image stamped multiple times, each enclosing photos and accents. 
Daubers from Hero Arts. These are going to be so much fun to play with this summer! 
The Pier slides frames, from the Crate Paper Pier collection. These just arrived in my last Two Peas order, and I just keep picking them up and staring at them.  I've challenged myself to use them on my next layout. Let's see if I can move past the hoarding phase (if it is just a phase, that is). 
"Stargaze" paper from the Pebbles Lakeside collection. This paper called my name the moment I saw it, and when I finally held it in my hands, it was even more amazing. The possibilities! 
To thank you for visiting today, I'd love to offer you a chance to win a spot in Jen Gallacher's new Two Peas in a Bucket workshop, Tool School. 
Here's more about the class: 
We all have them: punches, die cut machines, die cut shapes, and even our most basic tools. And while some of these tools get more use than others, some get completely neglected. Garden Girl Jen Gallacher comes to the rescue with this workshop designed to help you use your tools in creative new ways. 
The "Tool School" workshop includes over 100 creative ideas for using your tools. Some basic knowledge of how to use a digital die cut machine, a manual die cut machine, and paper punching are required. 
In the following chapters, Jen focuses on teaching new ways to use each type of tool system. Full step-by-step instructions are included for all of the 102 techniques found on the 30 layouts for this workshop. 
Chapters are divided accordingly:
Chapter 1: Punches
Chapter 2: Die Cutting
Chapter 3: Other Tools 
In addition to the 37 page PDF, Jen has incorporated many of the techniques in each chapter video (120 minutes of video!). Learn how to die cut a shape from Washi Tape. Punch and layer two of the same photo. Hand stitch an embossed pattern. Or staple ribbon to your page. There are so many techniques to choose from! Each video also includes a full start-to-finish layout so you can see how Jen approaches designing with tools into her design process.  
Samples include 12x12" and 8 1/2" x 11" layouts and feature seasonal celebrations, family outings, and special memories. 
Whether you're looking to purchase and use new tools, or whether you're looking to stretch your tool supplies even further, this fun and exciting workshop will give you plenty of ideas to choose from. Lessons can be completed at your own pace. A private message board forum is also available to ask questions of both Jen and to connect with other participants.  
Join in on the fun!  

If you'd like to be entered to win a spot (a $12.00 value), please leave a comment below before 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time on Monday, May 27, and I will select one lucky winner.  If you purchase access to the class and end up winning the drawing, the fee will be refunded (or you can "regift" the class to a friend). 

Your next stop on the hop is Janna Werner. Happy hopping! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Saying Goodbye

In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.

                           -- Tennyson, from In Memoriam
Not long after I became a mother, my grandmother shared this with me: 
“You know it's so funny, I can tell you something right now. What my mother went through, [when I was] a mother I went through. And then your mother is a mother, what she went through, now you're a mother, you went through [it, too]. See, that goes right around and right around and right around, from generation to generation, it will never stop, 'cause that's the way this world is.... That's the way it is.”  

“I'm proud,” she said.  “I have healthy and strong children.”

In her children, her grandchildren, her great-children, in everyone -- she had so much


In the last decades of her life, she maintained this hope, and found the joy in little 
everyday wonders. 

She had birthday parties at which she was celebrated as the “Queen Mother” (or the
“Queen of Portugal,” as she joked on her 93rd birthday). 

She had her green thumb, which continued to nurture seedlings to reach ever higher
toward the sun. 

She had a spark. She used to say, “I feel sixteen inside.  The body is old, but the mind is 

She had sweet memories of the golden years spent with her husband. Chester Jr. 
continued his father’s tradition of spontaneously scooping Eva up in an embrace and
dancing with her in the kitchen. “When she twirled,” he remembers, “she twirled.” 
Perhaps even now, she and her husband are dancing to one of their favorites, “Red Sails 
in the Sunset” -- “oh, carry my loved one home safely to me.”

She had conviction. There was nothing she would not do for anyone who needed help.  
Throughout her life, her prayers were always for others. She was always praying for 
those with problems, that God would change their hearts, and make them good. She 
forgave and forgave and forgave and forgave. She never stopped hoping for change. 

She just wanted us to be good to each other. She just wanted us to be happy. It is what 
she would want of us today. 

The testament of a life well-lived is that it has been lived in love.  Eva, mom, grandma, great-grandma, sister, auntie, cousin, friend -- your life was a good life, and your love...will live on in us. 

My love involves the love before;
My love is vaster passion now;
Tho' mix'd with God and Nature thou,
I seem to love thee more and more.

Far off thou art, but ever nigh;
I have thee still, and I rejoice;
I prosper, circled with thy voice;
I shall not lose thee tho' I die.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dog Days

My favorite part of each day is when the entire family comes together after spending most of the day apart. It all starts with a greeting from a dog who wags her tail so energetically that her entire backside shakes with it. Some days she gets so excited that she can't contain herself, and starts running in circles around the yard or rolling in the grass wildly.

There's no happy like dog happy. They give themselves up to their glee, and it's a joy to behold: 
I documented my dog-girl's afternoon antics in my most recent October Afternoon layout. It's based on a sketch shared by new DT member Mandy Koeppen on the OA blog yesterday. I used the new Travel Girl line on this page, along with some items from the Daily Flash Snapshots collection. The green ribbon was repurposed from my Mother's Day gift. I also used woodgrain cardstock in the background -- I love that texture! 

It seems as if every time I make a page about Miss Mazie, I end up using a similar green-and-yellow color scheme.  Those colors are just so her -- energetic and earthy, spunky and fresh, bright and lively.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New October Afternoon at Two Peas!

The new Travel Girl line is in at Two Peas in a Bucket! Isn't it awesome?  I used a bit of it on this layout below (along with the new Snapshots line):
If you're curious about how I created the title, I shared a quick tutorial on the October Afternoon blog last week. Remember those tools you once used to set eyelets?  I dusted mine off and put them back to work. 

Speaking of getting back to work, it's the last week of the quarter, so it's back to the grindstone for me right now.  Wish me luck! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

We Think Back Through Our Mothers

"We think back through our mothers if we are women." 
                                                                                          -- Virginia Woolf

The morning began like any other morning, with me being the first awake, attending to my usual break-of-dawn task of tending to the furkids. After the requisite food, water, and belly rubs, there was much tail-wagging and contented purring to be had all around. 

Then it was time to check email, as usual, but as I headed toward my desk, I saw that my actual kid had left a wonderful surprise -- a cherry blossom fragrance gift set from the Body Shop. Someone knows her mom well.  

When the kid finally woke up a few hours later, she treated me to lunch at one of our favorite spots, Cholo's, on the North Shore. It was a little crowded, but as long as the salsa kept coming (and it did), it was all good. 
A little later we headed across the island to spend the afternoon with my mom. The drive there was rainy, with little visibility at times, but crossing over the Ko'olau range was worth it, as the mountains were streaming with waterfalls. 
Mazie tagged along with us, and the furkids had a playdate. 
It was wonderful to be able to spend the day with my mother and my daughter (and my furdaughter, who inherited the Sprott ears, as you can see above), but there was also a palpable absence. 

This year is the first year that we will not spend Mother's Day with my grandmother. She passed away several weeks ago, and her funeral is next week. I've been asked to prepare the eulogy, which feels like an honor, but it is also overwhelming, because I want to do right by her. 

My mom and I went through her entire life today, looking back at all that she had experienced in her 93 years of life. I am amazed at how much love she bequeathed to the world that she inhabited, and I take seriously her wish for all of us to be good to one another. She truly believed that those who were lost could be found; she saw the good in everyone, and challenged us to see it as well.  Forgive and forgive and forgive -- that is one of the most important lessons she imparted to us. 

I know she was not there with us this year for Mother's Day, but I feel as if we spent it with her all the same. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

She's Alive!

Hmm...a whole week without posting.

Can you tell the end is near?

That is -- the end of the school year! It gets crrrrrazy 'round this time of year. Yesterday, for instance, I left home at the crack of dawn and got home after my usual bedtime.

It's Saturday now (finally!), and though the laundry and dishes are calling my name (the way the nurse might call your name prior to an enema, say), I am declaring some me-time, and it all starts right here, with my bloggity blog -- and more importantly, with announcing the names of two lucky giveaway winners!

The winner of the Two Peas in a Bucket gift certificate is...

The winner of the NSD de-stashing giveaway is...

Congratulations, Jennifer and Mel!  I'll be in touch to request your shipping information. 

This week also saw the mid-month gallery reveal at Jenni Bowlin Mercantile. The May kits are full of brights -- lots of oranges, yellows, and blues. The antiquarian and historian kits are, alas, sold out, but there are a few papercrafting and mini-album kits left. I used both of the latter to create the two layouts that I contributed to the mid-month gallery. 

With the papercrafting kit...
I scrapped the photos my mom sent me from Paris when she traveled there earlier this spring. All her life she'd been dreaming of going there, and that dream finally came true for her. 
With the mini-album and papercrafting kits...
I scrapped one of my favorite subjects -- my sweet Cleo-girl (nicknamed "Smee" for some reason I can't recall). 
She just turned nineteen. Nineteen!  What's her secret?  Lots of naps. Also, cardio -- she steals socks from the laundry pile and runs down the hallway with them in her mouth in the middle of the night, shrieking. It's an unorthodox routine, but it seems to work for her. 

I also used both the papercrafting and mini-album kits to create a two-pager for the first gallery reveal. 
I placed the program from the event on the left side, and added the photos, journaling, and embellishments on the right.  I backed the die-cut silhouetttes with strips of patterned tape -- I love the effect! 
I'm off to conquer the dishes, before they conquer me. 

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Morning After

Yesterday was National Scrapbooking Day, and I spent most of it gawking at galleries and cleaning my scrap area instead of actually scrapping.  The idea of me cleaning on NSD seems awfully sad, but I woke up this morning and actually felt a sense of clarity and felt a real boost of creativity (now that I know how to find everything again). I'll just have to think of this as National Scrapbooking Weekend, and let the wild rumpus continue! 

I was able to take part in a few of yesterday's festivities out there in Scrapland, starting with Shimelle's 'round the clock challenges on her blog. My challenge was to journal in the form of a letter
The journaling reads: 
A few years ago, at a professional development session, the speaker challenged the teachers to articulate their mission statements in a nontraditional way.  So here it is: I imagine that a student sends me a letter after I have retired from teaching. The letter reveals just how I hope to be remembered someday by my students. It reveals a mission, accomplished.  
Dear Ms. Sprott, 
You may not have witnessed the moment when it all clicked, but it eventually did.  
I became a teacher because of you. 
You made me love literature and writing.   
You helped me to consider multiple points of view.   
You made me a better person, conscious of how I could be an agent of change in the world.  
You challenged me to think beyond myself, but you also made me look within myself.  
You showed me that changing one’s mind can be a strength, not a weakness. 
I actually looked forward to your class; I never thought of it as something to be endured. 
You made me laugh; somehow you found a way to make laughter a part of the learning process. 
When others saw flaws and shortcomings, you saw my gifts and talents.  
You made me confident in my abilities.  You asked me to imagine my “someday” and start moving toward it hopefully.  
You helped me to understand that my choices shape who I am.  
You did not reject me. Even when you corrected me, it was for my own good.  
You never spoke to me with condescension in your voice. You respected me.  
I learned to listen to others’ opinions, and I learned to voice my own.  You helped me to realize that everyone does have a right to his or her opinion, but that we also have a responsibility to question those opinions, consider the evidence, and seek what is right.  
I became a critical thinker and a close reader. Your class taught me skills that I have used throughout my life.  
I realized that words have power.  They may liberate us or oppress us, and when we wield them, we must consider their impact.  
I stopped being afraid of Shakespeare.  I even might actually love him.  
Because you taught me that nothing is too difficult, I stopped setting limits for myself and just...tried.  
You helped me to see that I have a “good and worthy” voice. 
I think of you and smile.  My time with you, though brief, mattered.  
Your Student
As I was layering the papers under the title block, a few of the words peeked through -- "voice" and "teach" -- and I could not believe my luck. Is there such a thing as pages that are meant to be?  

A full supply list may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket
Shimelle's challenges are open until May 12. There are bunch more, so be sure to visit her blog to take a look at them (and the amazing layouts that accompany them). 

Throughout the day at Two Peas in a Bucket, a new Garden Girl project was featured every hour. I had the chance to play with some wide washi tape while also embracing my newfound fascination with neon: 
I backed the eggs with strips of washi tape as well as patterned paper, and added pop dots between the layers to give the whole layout a boost. 

A full supply list may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket. 
Now that my scrap area is clean, I'm off to make a mess! Have a great day! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

NSD Giveaway! (Closed)

Want some stuff?
I'm happy to share! Just leave a comment below (with your email address or a link to it) and I will pick a lucky winner at random by the end of the weekend.  One catch -- since shipping is expensive, only those within the U.S. are eligible to enter. I feel so isolationist right now.  Sorry! Of course, if you'd like to pick up the shipping, then we can talk. :)

Good luck!

NSD at Two Peas!

These colorful badges have started appearing on profiles,
a bunch of challenges have been posted,
new Garden Girl projects are being released each hour,
chat threads will be popping up on the boards,
and the store is packed with new Crate Paper, Pebbles, American Crafts, and Studio Calico
(and there's also a cut file freebie) --
it's National Scrapbooking Day at Two Peas in a Bucket!
It's where I'll be spending much of my day -- I hope you'll join me!

Friday, May 3, 2013

NSD Shout-Outs!

Be sure to stop by Chic Tags this weekend -- apparently there are some great National Scrapbooking Day (Weekend) deals to be found!

You will also want to check out the October Afternoon blog!
There's a Travel Girl giveaway there -- sweet!

Welcome to the World, ES2!

Today marks the launch of Everyday Storyteller 2! Find out more here!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The New Two Peas Digital Store!

Have you heard? Today marks the opening day of the new Two Peas Digital Store
I'm crazy about the new cut files!

Aren't they awesome? There are so many more in the store, along with printables and Photoshop actions. 

Today is also the reveal of the May Garden theme -- photos!  My contribution to the gallery pulls together fifteen years of photos of my daughter and me. 
The whole time I was working on this layout, I could feel it in my chest. This one matters
More details may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket

Thanks for stopping by today!