Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Goodbye.

So there's this.

Goodbyes are hard -- really hard, in fact, for a person like me, whose motto in life and love and career and scrapbooking could very well be "in it for the long haul." As much as I might resist the kind of change that involves reluctant goodbyes, I am also all for embracing gratitude and looking forward to good things to come.

With that said, I must share one big, sloppy, lovey dovey, open-armed THANK YOU, sealed with a kiss for Jenni Bowlin, Doris Sander, and the rest of the JBS Mercantile team (past and present).

In 2010, I was asked to be a guest designer for JBS Mercantile...
and shortly thereafter, I was invited to join the team.

I will confess: there was something about working with the JBS kits each month that I didn't really experience when creating projects for any other team. I was never, ever stressed.
I never worried that it wouldn't be good enough.  The censor, the doubter, the critic? I never heard their voices.
Experiment and play and storytelling were not just encouraged, but celebrated, and the only requirement seemed to be that a whole lot of HEART should be invested in the process and radiate from the page.
Every single page I ever made for JBS came from a genuine place, from the me that I am and not the me I worried I needed to be.
I did not agonize over these projects; I just fell into them and emerged transformed, and always grateful.
Working with JBS affirmed for me that pages are not "about" product; the kits didn't just help me to make pages -- they helped me to make meaning. 
So yes, I will miss being on the JBS Mercantile team, but I am also filled with hope and excitement for Jenni and the new direction that JBS will be pursuing.  I'm glad to hear that the Crafted kits are sticking around. Each one is more amazing than the last!

Good luck, Jenni, and once again, THANK YOU!  I wish you all the best, and more.

Monday, November 24, 2014

In My Dreams

Last night I dreamed about hundreds of colored markers scribbling on white walls simultaneously.  I stood in the midst of the marker frenzy, trying to follow the rapidly forming lines with my eyes.

I am not sure if this has any special significance as far as dreams go.

Could it be pent up creativity, struggling to surface after being suppressed by daily routines and predictability?

Could it be fear of chaos interfering with my carefully scheduled plans for the next few weeks, as the semester comes to an end?

Does the fact that I wasn't holding any of the wildly scribbling pens suggest that I am more of a spectator, passive, lacking control in some way?

Maybe I was dreaming about boundaries, about the thing that others seemed to be doing but that I just could not do. Coloring on the walls is not exactly orthodox.

It could just be that the dream was a sign of a restless mind. Sunday nights are always tough for me -- I have a difficult time quieting the thoughts in my head.

Maybe I just need a vacation. A very colorful vacation.

Dreams are weird.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Star Struck

It's been three months since my daughter returned from her summer in Russia, and so many of her stories remain undocumented. I am hoping that over the next few months, what with Thanksgiving break and Christmas break coming up, I will be able to help her get some of her memories down on paper. 

There has been some progress, though. This morning I put together a page about her visit to a space museum in Kirov, and Z happily supplied the details. 
The little circles on this Elle's Studio "Happy" Sycamore Lane paper remind me of planets.  They were in need of some "star stuff," so I stamped some stars and filled them in with colored pencils. The wood stars and star-accented journaling card in the ES November kit also found a home here.  
Initially, I was thinking about making an album for Z to document her trip, but I'm finding that I am getting more done by approaching the photos page by page.  Maybe I'll put something more cohesive together at some point, but for now, this works! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New "Inspired By..." Class (and a Reunion!)

When Two Peas in a Bucket closed earlier this year, I was not just saddened -- I was disoriented. It was tough to say goodbye, to seek out new communities, to continue to hope in an industry that was clearly shifting and changing. The Two Peas design team -- the Garden Girls -- continued to keep in touch, thankfully, and now, I'm happy to share that the band got back together again for an online workshop called "Inspired By...", hosted on

Each of us (Shimelle LaineNancy DamianoPaige EvansStephanie BryanMarcy PennerJen KinkadeWilna FurstenbergLaura Craigie, and me) drew on a particular source of inspiration and used it as a springboard to create a layout and accompanying process video.  Here's a peek at my project: 
Even though we aren't really a team any longer, it felt good to work as one again. I'm so proud of this thing we did together!

You can find out more about the class on Shimelle's blog.  If you happen to enroll in the workshop, I sincerely hope that you enjoy it!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Something Like Love

We joke that Z is going to be a crazy cat lady someday...
even though we all know it really isn't a joke.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Things That Shine: "17"

I remember being seventeen, and feeling both invincible and vulnerable at the same time. Seventeen is an in-between age, a fleeting midpoint between childhood and adulthood (the legal kind, at least).

For me, seventeen started in high school but ended in college. It was the year in which I began to notice that I could slip out between the bars of my cage, unnoticed. It was a year of heartbreak and cutting school and willfully doing what made me happy (writing) and compulsively doing what made me miserable (retracing others' footsteps) and tiring of crushes (because the feeling of being crushed really does get old) and worrying about college and speaking and living and loving bluntly (which is, incidentally, a way of causing oneself pain by trying to avoid it).

At seventeen, there was no struggle involved in putting on jeans. My chest was still flat (well, flatter). My hair was long and thick -- I could barely tie it up in a ponytail, it wanted to be free. I wondered if being told I was beautiful meant it could be true -- I didn't know how to see it in myself. I still couldn't tell the difference between a line and a genuine compliment.

The sky was bluer and much higher up, the sunsets more intense, inciting a keen sense of longing that would, in time, become muted. There were things to do but there were also things one shouldn't do, and the lines blurred. Blame seventeen. There was a someday, and it was waiting. It could wait. At seventeen, I was my best and worst self. So much possibility, so much cynicism. I knew everything and nothing.

And now? My daughter has just turned seventeen. I hope that the description above is completely foreign to her. I suppose teen angst is just part of the package, and I know that the heartbreak we experience as teenagers can make us stronger adults, but here's hoping that she knows herself better than I knew myself at seventeen, and that her heart remains whole.
This layout, created with accents from Things That Shine, shares my birthday wish for my daughter.
Seventeen looks different from the parent side of the "cage" I imagined as a teenager. At seventeen I wanted out (whatever that meant); as a parent of a seventeen-year-old daughter, I want to hold on to her for as long as I can.
For parent or teenager, seventeen is a slipping away.  It's just a different kind, depending on the perspective. Creating this layout actually helped me to put things in perspective. Every year is part of a larger story -- it's a sprinkle on a cupcake.
Seventeen is significant, but it is also one in a series of years that define our lives. I'm so blessed to be a part of my daughter's life, at every age.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Feeling November's chilly tonight! 
Oh, how I've longed to write that sentence and have it be true.

It's been hot and humid for months, but it's in the 60s at the moment, which makes it officially feel like fall around here.  Now, I understand that the 60s hardly qualify as "cold" weather in most locales, but this is sweater weather for me.

I got cozy this afternoon and settled down for some happy scrapping with the November JBS kit. Here's a peek at a layout that will be included in the mid-month gallery at JBS Mercantile.
Even while the weather was warm earlier this week, I was still channeling fall in my scrapbooking, via this layout that I created for October Afternoon based on a sketch by Ginny Hughes.
I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving later this month. I can almost taste the turkey and gravy.  

I love November. :) 

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I don't take enough photos.  Correction: I don't take enough of the right kind of photos.  I know we all have phones in our hands and we speak Instagram, but I still feel as if something is missing. I'm not capturing what I should be capturing -- the spirit of us, of my family, of us together and individually.

I stopped by Tara Whitney's blog yesterday, and thought, now that's what I need to channel. Of course I could be nowhere as brilliant, but there is something intuitive about her photographer's eye, something that translates to real and authentic and life-as-she-sees-it, that has me wondering if this aspect can translate to my own photos.

I've been going through old photos a lot lately.  I don't think it's just nostalgia that motivates me.  It's curiosity. The imperfect, unposed photos are my favorites.  I selected one of them to use on a recent Crate Paper layout:
The photo, taken in the late 1960s, features my grandparents, aunt, and mother on a family picnic.
The photo is imperfect, but it's them -- it's so them. I love how my grandmother is leaning against my grandfather, and how my mom is as she still is today, always mid-sentence, even in front of a camera.

I want a little bit of this photo to be in every photo I take.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

JBS Mercantile November Reveal

The November kits at JBS Mercantile are warm and golden and ever so lovely. They make me long for turkey and gravy in a big way. I channeled that craving into layout form, using the papercrafting and antiquarian kits.
Those gold foil turkeys are my favorite addition to this page. Usually, autumn layouts have leaf after leaf after leaf on them, but my fall doesn't look like that.  Being from an evergreen locale, it's nice to be able to work in a fall-related accent to which I can also relate. Plus, turkey is delectable. That's why this page needed three of them. 

Still, as the journaling makes clear, I am aware that there is more to Thanksgiving than turkey. 
My second layout isn't autumn-related, but it does play with the nature-in-transition color palette found in the November kits -- a mix of cool greens and warm oranges. The color combo was just right for a page about the hot/cold relationship between my dog and my cat. 
Being a lover of layers, I had some fun pulling together different patterned papers from the papercrafting kit as well as some misted papers (using the kit stencil) and repurposed packaging from kit accents. 

The page captures the dynamic between Mazie and Koko -- one oblivious, one calculating. 
This weekend I'm hoping to find the time to return to the kits to create another layout (or two) for the mid-month reveal. 

Thanks for visiting today!