Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Holiday Album: Journaling Through Advent

From the time I was in kindergarten through the sixth grade, I attended a public school, where religion was a topic we talked around instead of about.  In fact, the only time religion came up was when my teacher announced that Steven, the boy who sat next to me in my sixth grade homeroom, did not have to say the pledge and sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" with the rest of us because he was a Jehovah's Witness. That was the extent of her explanation. We had no idea what a Jehovah's Witness was, beyond the boy who sat quietly and stared at his desk when the rest of us stood.  

When my parents enrolled me in a Catholic school in the seventh grade, it was quite a shock to experience religion as a subject, taught daily and graded pretty harshly. I spent hours committing my textbook to memory, in order to bring up my grade from a C to an A.  When Advent rolled around that year, I found myself relieved as the teacher introduced a project that did not require memorization, but rather, reflection: an Advent journal.  Each morning throughout December, she would have us read a passage marked for that day of Advent, and we would quietly reflect on the passage and share our thoughts in our journals. 

Though I memorized so much information back then that today, I could hold my own in a game of Trivial Pursuit: Catholicism Edition (if such a thing existed), what truly stays with me from those years is that journal. Advent, as I learned back then, means "coming."  It is a season before Christmas, a time of preparation and reflection.  This year, as I considered how I wanted to approach the journaling in my holiday album, I recalled the journal that was so meaningful to my seventh grade self. 

So I started going through the readings for Advent 2013, which runs from December 1 through 24, and I noted passages that stood out to me. 
Based on these quoted passages, I identified a focal word for each day of Advent.
When I had gone through all of the passages, I had a list of words for each day. These words will serve as springboards for my journaling (and album pages) for the first few weeks of December.
Here is the full list:

December 1: awake, spirit, begin, now
December 2: peace
December 3: notice, see, look
December 4: glad, rejoice, joy, celebrate
December 5: light(s), shine
December 6: wait(ing), expectation
December 7: give, gift
December 8: hope, prepare
December 9: yes
December 10: sing, song, comfort
December 11: rest, trust, pause, reflect
December 12: blessed, act
December 13: prosper, tree, grow
December 14: connect, friendship, company
December 15: soon, patience
December 16: kindness, compassion
December 17: happy, family, tradition, list
December 18: together, reminder, present
December 19: miracle, wonder, delight
December 20: sign(s)
December 21: come, music, anticipation
December 22: seek, serve
December 23: message, heart, wish
December 24: home, house

If you find yourself looking for a journaling kickstarter as you work on your album, feel free to borrow from the list!  I tried to come up with terms that don't require a Catholic school education to understand -- no memorization needed! They're all pretty open to interpretation, and I think they'll all work wonderfully in a holiday album.  

It all starts tomorrow! 

A Peek at December

Rather than join in the Black Friday stampedes, I opted to stay at home today, spending a lazy Friday with the hubs and the pets and, of course, the scraps. Care for a few peeks at the December first galleries at Two Peas in a Bucket and JBS Mercantile?
I've been having some fun with my circle punch and the December printables. 
I've also been creating a few layouts with the JBS December kits. Here's a peek at one: 
The December kits have sparked the holiday spirit within me. Tonight I scrapbooked and watched one of my holiday favorites, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. As I get older, more and more do I begin to see the Clark Griswold in myself. 

I'll be sharing the full layouts soon! Thanks for stopping by today. :) 

Monday, November 25, 2013

New at Two Peas!

I'm happy to share that Amy Heller's new Lily Bee collection, Urban Autumn, is now available at Two Peas in a Bucket!
I'm so happy for Amy!  I'm also happy for me, since I get to enjoy these lovelies. :) 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bad Bad Blogger

My apologies for being AFK for almost ten days. It's been a busy ten days, let me tell you. It's that time of year when everything intensifies, when the spaces in my calendar fill and I have to write in the margins, when the post-its mount, when I look in the mirror most days and just stick out my tongue.  This is the time of year when I try to remind myself to savor the small things, to make the little moments last, to notice that which might otherwise pass me by if I let myself get overwhelmed.

And now I'm about to enter another busy ten days, albeit ones that promise gravy and leftovers.

I have been stealing minutes here and there to be crafty. Today on the October Afternoon blog, for instance, I'm sharing the cover of the album that I have created with the Very Merry December kit.
I had some fun with embossing, can you tell? 
I stamped the sentiment using watermark ink, and alternated white, teal, and copper embossing powders. 

Each week through the beginning of January, the team at OA will share their mini-albums as they come together. 

Before I leave to go hunt down my turkey (at the store, that is), I have some good news for one lucky person.
The winner of the Urban Autumn blog hop giveaway is…
Congratulations, Patricia! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mid-Month Reveal at JBS Mercantile!

Not long ago I shared a few sneaks of the projects that I created using the JBS Mercantile November kits, and now I can finally share the full projects, since it's time for the mid-month gallery reveal!

In October, I had the opportunity to chaperone a college tour of the Pacific Northwest. It was my first time visiting Oregon, and I fell in love with the landscape. It was a bit chilly for this Hawaii girl at times, but honestly, I have never before breathed air so clean and crisp.  You'd think the air here in Hawaii would be great, but there's so much vog here.  What's vog, you may ask?  It's a thick blanket of yuck that descends on the island chain when the tradewinds die down and emissions from the erupting Kilauea volcano mix with the exhaust from the never-ending traffic.  Ah, paradise.

Anyhoo, back to Oregon:
I am crazy about these gold leaves, especially after seeing leaves turning for the first time in my life.  I've always been a summer girl, but now I'm thinking that I may defect to autumn. 

My second layout focuses on my heart and my home -- my family. Recently my daughter celebrated her sixteenth birthday, and it was indeed sweet to think back to our sixteen years together as a family and the way that having her in our lives changed everything, in the most wonderful way. 
I am always delighted each month to open my JBS Mercantile papercrafting kit and see the exclusive patterned papers designed by Lisa Dickinson (like the paper above).  She has such a great designer's eye. 

My third and final layout was inspired by the large wooden die-cut from the papercrafting kit.  I've had a lot of "best days" in my life, but I suppose we all are questing in some way for the "best day ever." The journaling on this page reflects on that quest, shifting the meaning of the title from a declaration to a speculation -- what are the best days of our lives? 
I incorporated some lovely lacy touches from the antiquarian kit. 
The full November gallery may be viewed at JBS Mercantile.  I think you'll love what the team has to share!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Resistance = Futile.

I will admit, I've been pretty proud of myself lately, as I have been making a concerted effort to use my existing stash instead of just adding to it.  Today, however, Two Peas forced my hand.

No longer can I resist.  Just look:
( Papers and accents from Studio Calico's Printshop collection.)

(New inks, stamps, and stencils from Hero Arts.)

Off to go load up my cart!  
I am, alas, an addict. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Different Kind of Monday

Usually my Mondays begin with a groan, as the alarm clock heralds the onset of another week of traffic jams, "to do" lists, and pressing deadlines, but today I woke without an alarm clock (unless you count the hungry, screaming cat who made me stumble out of bed at 5:00 a.m. -- someone in this house is her own alarm). There's no school today, no work today, and my family planned a belated birthday celebration for me, which is really quite sweet.

Is it strange, then, that I am most excited about making a dent in the laundry today? I have neglected the stacks for far too long. It's so bad that I am not even looking in my drawers or closet for clothes any more. I head immediately for the laundry baskets each morning.

And don't think that in my excitement over folding socks that I have forgotten the real reason for this day off. It isn't just a "free" Monday. It is a time set aside for reflection and celebration; it is a day to remember all those who have served our country, and who continue to do so. I am truly grateful for our veterans!

Before I embark on my clothes-folding expedition, I have some happy news to announce for a lucky giveaway winner. A $10 Two Peas in a Bucket gift certificate belongs to…

Congratulations, Jennifer! I'll be touch!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lily Bee Urban Autumn Blog Hop

Welcome to the blog hop for Urban Autumn, a Lily Bee Design collection by Amy Heller! This is Amy's first collection, and I am thrilled and honored that she gave me the chance to get my scrappy little fingers on it already!

The first time I set eyes on Urban Autumn, I told Amy, "It's so you." It really is! On her layouts, Amy often mixes bold elements with softer ones, and she has such a way with color. Her design aesthetic is evident in Urban Autumn. Maybe it's because Amy is not just a designer but a scrapbooker that she knows the way to my scrappy heart.
There is so much to love in this collection, but I must admit, these cards are my favorites! I used a bunch of them on this layout that I created with Urban Autumn: 
I also worked in flair and wood veneer embellishments from the collection. Those arrows -- I need MORE!  

If you'd like to check out the other blogs participating in this hop, here's the full list: 

Lily Bee Blog -
Nancy Damiano -
Kelly Goree -
Christine Middlecamp -
Suzy Plantamura
Jill Sprott (ME!) -
Kinsey Wilson -
Michelle Wooderson -
Amy Heller -

Perhaps I should mention that you will find an Urban Autumn giveaway on every one of those blogs. That's right -- a giveaway! If you'd like a chance to win a set of the patterned papers from the collection, be sure to leave a comment below by Thursday, November 14 at 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time. 
Thanks for hopping by today!  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stuff My Stocking

…with these, please:
Have you seen the new holiday flair from Two Peas in a Bucket?  These are going to grace the pages of my holiday album, for sure!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

JBS November Kits + A Few Peeks

Although the mid-month gallery update at JBS Mercantile is a little over a week away, I do have a few peeks to share of the layouts that I have created this month.
I am crazy about these gold foil leaves, part of the antiquarian kit, not just because they are pretty, but because I finally "get" them. All of my autumns have been spent in an ever-green place, and only until I traveled to the mainland this past October did I experience a true fall, with leaves turning red and yellow and gold. Usually fall-themed products don't interest me much, but this year, I am totally feeling fall!
The accents in this month's kits have made for some very happy scrapping, let me tell you. I am also a huge fan of the exclusives that have been popping up in kits, like the patterned paper (above) designed by Lisa Dickinson, the stencils, stamps, and die-cuts, and now, wood veneer!
Pretty pretty!

Monday, November 4, 2013

OA's 2013 Very Merry December Kit

Have you heard the news?
October Afternoon is offering a limited edition holiday mini-album kit!   Last year I had SO much fun working with the kit, and this year I will also be sharing week-by-week updates of my album.  I can't wait!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Holiday Albums Galore!

Today's design team gallery at Two Peas in a Bucket is packed with holiday mini-albums!
Some of the albums shared by the Garden Girls are complete, while others (like mine, above) are works in progress, to be completed during the holidays.  For more about my process and plans regarding this album, check out Two Peas in a Bucket .