Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How We Do

Rob and I have the hardest time taking "normal" photos. For instance, I will try to smile nicely, but then he'll turn and open his mouth and will pretend to bite my head. It's terribly romantic.

Recently, my daughter attempted to snap a few photos of her not-so-well-behaved parents, but a few turned into many, as she soon realized that every photo was going to look like an outtake. I used the lot of them on this layout below -- collectively, they are testament to silly, crazy, true and real love. 
I worked in lots of blues and greens from the Scraptastic This Must Be the Place kit and add-on here. You know how I love my layers. :) More details can be found on the Scraptastic blog

Thanks for visiting today! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A New Old Layout

There is little open space to be found on this desktop of mine -- the wooden one and the computer one. Yep, my desk isn't the only part of my workspace that's messy. My desktop is a wreck, too. I tend to keep a lot of my files there, where I can easily access them (in theory), but I often forget to place them into folders, and they build up quickly.

As I was organizing the contents of my desktop recently (for the first time in a year, actually), I came across the image of this never-before-shared layout for Crate Paper, created last February. 
This is my take on the seasonal page. :) 

“Rain, rain, rain: it is the surest sign of a Hawaii winter” --  so goes the first line of the journaling on my layout, which documents a month of rainy days and their impact on our household (dog included). 
For me, winter has nothing to do with snowflakes. My winter palette is a combination of muddy and rain-soaked colors. The "pineapple showers" common to Hawai'i are represented through little bursts of yellow and gold peeking out here and there. 
The layout design is one of my "go to" approaches -- six blocks, clustered together, each of which serves as a home for a photo or a cluster of accents. I have the most fun putting together layouts like this one, adding details as I go along.
To enhance the repetition from block to block, I added stitching to each section, varying the direction and type of stitch to ensure that even while being part of a unified whole, each block would remain distinct from the others. I have most definitely become one of those scrapbookers for whom a page just doesn’t feel complete unless the sewing machine has made its mark somehow. 

I could actually go for some mud puddles right now. Lately, the weather's been rather dry, and the lack of wind means that the vog has been building up. I always feel bad for the tourists who visit the islands when the vog is thick. It lingers in the valleys, obscures the mountains, turns the blue sky a hazy gray brown, and makes allergies and asthma act up something awful. It's downright ugly. I'm hoping that some rainy weather and trade winds come to visit soon. It doesn't feel like winter without them. :) 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lately-ing

Lately I've been...

...binge-watching Frasier. We're on season 7 now, which, if you were ever a fan, you may recall as the one full of big revelations.  I miss intelligent TV -- and Frasier isn't just cerebral, it's also hilarious. A few episodes back, Frasier quoted Dorothy Parker: "Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words." EXACTLY.

...reading a few chapters of a book, putting it down, picking another up, reading that for a while, and then putting it down. I'm searching for a good book that doesn't leave me embittered or depressed, but that isn't so escapist that it makes me feel lobotomized.  I'm looking forward to starting (and hopefully finishing!) Sarah Addison Allen's First Frost, Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers, and Marina Warner's Once Upon a Time: A Short History of the Fairy Tale. I just ordered these, and I'm hoping that they're worth the read. Fingers crossed.

...drooling over the February Scraptastic kit peeks. If you just clicked that you link you see what I mean. The sneaks alone make my fingers itch. I can't wait to get my hands on those lovelies! The stamp sets are so cute. Just look:

...proofreading college essays and writing recommendations. Seriously, we should give college-bound seniors (and their devoted teachers) at least two months off from school just to work on applications. I don't know how those kids keep up with the workload from school while writing essay after essay after essay for college apps. 

...listening to (upon my daughter's recommendation -- since she is Boss of the Radio when awake during our drives) songs from The Decemberists, The Avener, Panda Bear, Modest Mouse, Bahamas, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Hozier, The Head and the Heart, Fort Atlantic, Andrew McMahon (and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness), The Tragic Thrills, and more. Z has awesome taste. :) 

...doing laundry. What else are weekends for? The cat appreciates it. 
A few weeks ago, the weather was chilly, and the cat found her way into a pile of towels fresh out of the dryer. Ever since, she's made a beeline straight for the towels whenever we bring in a basket of them.  We did two loads this morning. She was elated. 

Thanks for visiting! Have a great week! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Note to Self

It's college application season in the U.S., with most deadlines occurring this month. Students are already receiving acceptance letters, and, as evidenced by my Facebook feed, their parents are bursting into tears and doing happy dances and using all caps in status updates and singing the "Hallelujah" chorus.

There must be something wrong with me, because my daughter has received two acceptance notices so far, and I didn't weep or scream. It's not that I'm not happy about the letters -- I really am! While the letters are an affirmation, both of us have been cautious, waiting to see what happens next with financial aid. The real celebrating can't happen until it becomes clear that this college thing can really happen without breaking us. Fingers crossed!

Come what may, 2015 is going to be a year of big ch-ch-changes for our family. What better way to channel the nervous energy that's been building than in the form of a cathartic layout?
Fellow Scraptastic Club DT member Nancy Burke and I challenged ourselves to create layouts that feature the selves we are now, at the beginning of 2015, addressing the selves we will be at the end of 2015. I wrote a "note to self" -- my eventual 2015 self -- in the hopes that she would be able to look back at who and where I am right now and let me know that it is going to be okay.
I know my December self will be revisiting this page, if only for a good laugh, which she will be happy to share with her daughter, who will have just completed her first semester of college.

Monday, January 12, 2015

XOXO 2015

This is the year in which two of my favorite people will finally tie the knot!
I couldn't be happier for my cousin and her love, who took this photo at the beginning of "their year." We are eight months away from the big day, a time period measured and marked on this layout that I created for Elle's Studio using the Hello 2015 and Love You More collections. 

We're all counting down the days until these two make it official. Just think -- in a few months' time, I'll be scrapbooking wedding photos! :) 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dear CHAnta

Dear CHAnta,

It's the most wonderful time of the year (again) -- CHA time!

I know that some people don't believe in the industry, but this time of year is still special to the true believers. With that said, here are some items from this year's wish list:
Hero Arts: Clearly Kelly stamps
American Crafts/Shimelle: True Stories collection
Bella Blvd: Star Student "International Studies" paper

American Crafts/Dear Lizzy: Fine and Dandy paper clips and papers 

Doodlebug: generally, I avoid cutesy, but I am not made of stone. That carrot paper is adorable, no?  I could see this line as being perfect for making Easter cards and treat bags.
My Mind's Eye: Fancy That and Hello World

Crate Paper Craft Market and Confetti: I'll just take the works. 

That's just for starters.

I've been good this year -- really, not as much hoarding as usual! -- and with these lovelies, I'll be even better.

Thanks, CHAnta. :)

-- Me

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cookie Love

There's a lot happening at Elle's Studio on this fine Saturday: there's the reveal of the January kit and add-on, AND the first 2015 design team gallery is live. My contribution is all about love, love, cookie love.
Drawing upon the colors and shapes of the cookies in the photos, I incorporated a series of "cookie cutter" shapes in similar colors all over the page, giving a few a little boost with some adhesive dots. 
More details (and a bunch of colorful and creative layouts from the team) can be found at Elle's Studio! 

Thanks for visiting today! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A True Breakfast

I'm not ashamed to admit it: when visiting Pinterest, if anything remotely resembling a fitness-related pin shows up in my feed, I will unfollow that board immediately.  I don't want to know the secret to creating the perfect thigh gap (although I actually do know the secret -- Photoshop). I don't want to read about 100 exercises to ensure "perfect" abs, since the pursuit of perfection, as far as the human body goes, is futile (and kind of scary, when it becomes obsessive). Gravity and time are formidable forces.

While I can respect the "do not go gentle" attitude, I'm afraid for those people on Facebook who proudly report that they just finished a workout so grueling that they "only threw up twice." What-whaat?

I am the girl who takes occasional walks (but only if I feel like it), who chooses the stairs instead of the elevator (unless the stairwell is sketchy), who tries to eat balanced meals and never counts calories (there are better uses for math), who believes that getting a good night's sleep is the healthiest thing she can do for herself (and for those with whom she comes into contact), and who allows herself to indulge in ice cream for breakfast without feeling guilty (see below).
The Scraptastic "This Must Be the Place" January kit speaks to my frame of mind, offering up some delectable treats in the form of sweet pinks, creamy neutrals, and tasty accents to complement the photo I snapped of a recent breakfast -- vanilla ice cream with blackberry sauce.
I embossed the title letters and stamped the background with berry hues.

I even included a recipe, for posterity (just in case my disregard of the whole "buns of steel" doctrine leads to an early demise).
(Apologies for the typo -- the last line should read "to gobble.")

I highly encourage you to try it. You can always work it off at the gym later...or just let it add to your soft and and lovable parts, like I do.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Elle's Studio Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who visited during the Elle's Studio blog hop!  I so appreciate every single comment! I feel loved. :)

Congratulations to the winner of the Elle's Studio giveaway!
I'll be touch soon via email, Laura, with more information.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Scraptastic Share

Though I'm taking a brief crafty hiatus for a few days as school starts again this week, I am proud to say that I have LOTS of happy scrapping to show for my holiday break.

One of the highlights of the past week has been working with the January Scraptastic "This Must Be the Place" kit and add-on. Can you spot the "Currently" stamp from the "This Must Be the Place" Stamp Set on this layout? You might have to squint to see it. Ha. 
I broke out the watercolor pencils for this one. Every time I use those I'm reminded of the "Paint with Water" books I loved as a child. I still get a thrill out of dipping a paintbrush in water, putting it to the page, and watching the colors smooth out and intensify. 
The pencils also assisted me as I drew lines for the journaling. I actually used my handwriting on this one. I should do that more often. It's just so tricky sometimes to place it exactly where I want it. This is why I deliberately set up the journaling areas on this page to allow for more of a free-flow approach.
I'll have another Scraptastic layout to share soon!  Thanks for stopping by today!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Meet the 2015 Elle's Studio Design Team! (Giveaway CLOSED)

I'm thrilled to announce that this year, I'll be joining the Elle's Studio design team! I still can't believe that my face is included among those of these talented and crafty folk: 

(I can't get The Brady Bunch theme song out of my head, looking at my spot in the graphic above. I do kind of look like Jan Brady.)

The 2015 design team includes:


We're also joined by four ever-inspiring contributors: 
(Left to right:  Jenni Hufford, Waleska Neris, Megan Klauer, and new team member Paige Evans).  

So many of my scrappy heroes are on this team! 

Here's a sneak of my first project of the year, using the Good Cheer collection as well as the soon-to-be released January 2015 exclusive kit. 

The design team gallery and the exclusive January kit and extras will be live on January 10, 2015. Be sure to stop by the Elle's Studio site for the full reveal!

To thank you for stopping by today (and because Elle is so sweet and generous), I'm giving away a few ES favorites: 

To be entered to win all of the above, leave a comment (and be sure to include a way to contact you, whether through email or through an active site link in your profile) by January 6, 2015 at 6:00 HST (that's 11:00 p.m. EST). I'll draw a winner at random, and will post the winner here on January 7th.  Be sure to visit all of the team members' blogs for a chance to enter and win even more goodies! Good luck! 

Thanks for visiting!  

Friday, January 2, 2015

Now for Some Good News

No more lamenting for me today -- instead, I'm excited to share some good news! I'm officially a member of the Scraptastic Club design team!

I've been working on a few projects using the January kits, which you can see in their full glory on the Scraptastic blog.  Over the past few days, my attentions have been focused on two of the kits, which are packed with loveliness.

Here's "This Must Be the Place"...
and its ever-so-pretty add-on...
I absolutely love the variety of colors, patterns, and accents here, not to mention the inclusion of several exclusive papers. And if you haven't seen the stamps yet, be prepared for some major swoonage.

Don't even get me started on the fact that these kits are named after a Talking Heads song.  So "if someone asks, this is where I'll be": creating happily with these beautiful kits!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Unplugged.

My phone and I, in happier times. 

My word for 2015 has been selected for me, against my will, but also with my inadvertent cooperation: UNPLUGGED.

Tonight, on the way home from a New Year's Day gathering, it occurred to me that I had no idea where my phone was. A moment later, a horrible realization hit: while rummaging in my purse to find my keys, I had set down my phone on the trunk of my aunt's car -- a car that was, at the moment of this realization, doing at least 55 on the freeway.

Thanks to the wonder that is the "Find My iPhone" app, my daughter determined the whereabouts of the phone, and we made our way toward it, hazard lights blinking, at 10 miles per hour on the shoulder of the pitch black freeway until the app claimed we had "reached our destination" -- at which point I came to learn that by "destination," the app meant "destiny," as in, "Your destiny is never to see your phone again."

So we erased the phone remotely.

Mind you, this was not easy. I form strong attachments to objects, like the hair barrette I lost in seventh grade while playing soccer. I spent five consecutive recesses searching every part of the field for a barrette that hadn't meant much to me up until I lost it.  I never found it. Just thinking about that barrette makes my chest tighten. I imagine it is somewhere still out there, waiting to be found.  I kind of want to go looking for it right now.

That's how mental I can be.

Now substitute a PHONE for a stupid barrette, and maybe you'll begin to understand how I reacted tonight. Luckily, my passenger was a daughter I can blessedly call my own, who talked me down, erased the phone's contents, and reminded me that it was, after all, just an object.

I told her the barrette story. She was, unsurprisingly, unsurprised.

What will life be like for me, without my cyborg capacities? Who will I be without my phone? What will I do? Will Instagram go on without me? If a text goes out into the wilderness of the Interwebs, and no one is there to answer, did it really happen?

As you may know if you visit my blog at this time of year, I am in the habit of declaring a word for the year, and tonight, after reporting the time of death of my iPhone (9:10 p.m.), I joked that my word for the year should be "unplugged."

And then I realized that it really should be.

Oh, HECK yes, I am so getting another phone, but I am also going to take some time to learn a lesson.

In one of my favorite TED talks ever, cyborg anthropologist Amber Case, referring to cell phones, claims,
So now we're all these paleontologists that are digging for things that we've lost on our external brains that we're carrying around in our pockets. And that incites a sort of panic architecture --"Oh no, where's this thing?" We're all "I Love Lucy" on a great assembly line of information, and we can't keep up.
And so what happens is, when we bring all that into the social space, we end up checking our phones all the time. So we have this thing called ambient intimacy. It's not that we're always connected to everybody, but at any time we can connect to anyone we want. And if you were able to print out everybody in your cell phone, the room would be very crowded. These are the people that you have access to right now, in general -- all of these people, all of your friends and family that you can connect to. 
And so there are some psychological effects that happen with this. One I'm really worried about is that people aren't taking time for mental reflection anymore, and that they aren't slowing down and stopping, being around all those people in the room all the time that are trying to compete for their attention on the simultaneous time interfaces, paleontology and panic architecture. They're not just sitting there. And really, when you have no external input, that is a time when there is a creation of self, when you can do long-term planning, when you can try and figure out who you really are. And then, once you do that, you can figure out how to present your second self in a legitimate way, instead of just dealing with everything as it comes in -- and oh, I have to do this, and I have to do this, and I have to do this. And so this is very important. I'm really worried that, especially kids today, they're not going to be dealing with this down-time, that they have an instantaneous button-clicking culture, and that everything comes to them, and that they become very excited about it and very addicted to it.
Preach on.

This year, I am going to seek unplugged moments, calculated intersections of time and space, mindfully turning away from the screen -- irresistible as it is -- to focus on the "creation of self."

Your death was not in vain, dear iPhone.







I wonder when my new one will be arriving?