Saturday, May 30, 2015

Taps

This past week we observed Memorial Day, a day that some may consider a "holiday." I suppose how you spend Memorial Day has something to do with how you regard those who serve or have served in the military. Having someone in your family or being someone who has experienced war, who has lost friends, who has seen what cannot be unseen, can make all the difference in how one understands the idea of memorialization. Though Memorial Day focuses on those who sacrificed their very lives for their country, this time of year always brings me back to the memory of my grandfather, who taught me that to memorialize is not to romanticize. 
When I refer to the "memory of my grandfather," I am not just referring to my memory of him, but to his memory itself. He served in two wars -- World War II and the Korean War -- and he experienced not just the loss of many of his friends, but also the loss of self. Part of him never returned.
In creating this layout for the October Afternoon Memorial Day blog post, I was reminded of one of the most powerful, visceral books that I have ever read, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. I prefaced the post with a quote from that book: "...The thing about remembering is that you don't forget." There is so much in that book that helps me to get a little closer to understanding why my grandfather was the way he was and why his memory did what it did to him, even though I know that I never fully will. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The First Two Pages of Summer

School's out! Let the summer scrapping commence!

The first one I started the night before my last day of school, and finished that afternoon, so it counts as summer scrapping, I suppose.
This layout is based on a Susan Stringfellow sketch (shared on the Scraptastic blog this morning). A bunch of designers contributed to the post, and I am loving the different interpretations. I always struggle to work with two photos that are oriented differently -- one portrait, one landscape -- but this sketch makes the seemingly impossible possible. I paired a photo from five years ago with one taken just a few days ago following my daughter's graduation ceremony.  
I used the Scraptastic Purple Rain kit and add-on here, and added some extra yellow to the purples and blues in this kit by painting the paper on which I printed my journaling. 
There are so many colorful little bits and pieces in this month's kits! 

My second layout is also the first official 100% summer scrapping layout. 
I worked on it this afternoon, and was surprised at how quickly it came together, even with all of the stamping.  The secret is repetition -- precision takes time, but stamping here, there, and everywhere is a cinch. 
Once again, I dipped into the Purple Rain kits to create this layout, but I also used the Scraptastic Janglin and Sentiments V.8 stamp sets.
When Kaitlin Sheaffer was creating the stamps for May, I shared my wish that she include the phrase, "Respect the Beard," and she actually rolled with it. Kaitlin's the best! 
As Father's Day approaches, I'm going to get even more mileage out of these. In fact, I'll be using them for a long time to come. 

Thanks for stopping by today!  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Holding On

The school year is at a close. The campus is empty. My grades are done. My classroom is as clean as it's going to get.  I've been going and going and going and am, to be honest, exhausted and somewhat disoriented, now that my daily routine is about to change for the summer. This has been the fastest school year on record. Today I came up for air, just for a moment, only to realize that in less than 24 hours, my daughter is going to be a high school graduate.

And though I know that I have been here all along, I feel as if I missed so much of it, because when I look back, the edges of memory blur and days blend into each other.  I want to hold on to it all, but I can't. Though it's melodramatic, I'm reminded of Poe's "A Dream Within a Dream" -- 
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
I told you it was melodramatic. :) 

I'm so very honored to have had the gift of time with my daughter, regardless of the pace at which
it ticked by or flew. Each moment, no matter how vivid or indistinct, has been a blessing. 

Thank goodness for scrapbooking, which has helped me to document the moments that matter, even
before I realize just how much they matter. 
Tomorrow, I'll watch her graduate, and for as long as I'm blessed with a front row seat in her life, I'm 
going to enjoy the view. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Let's Get Serious. Or Not.

There are so many pressing questions that demand asking and answering in our world today. There are also many not-so-pressing questions that are just plain hilarious to pose, like, "If my dog could talk, what would she say?"

That's exactly what Scraptastic DT member Melissa Mann and I asked ourselves for this past week's challenge on the Scraptastic blog.  Here's my answer:
My husband and daughter helped me to create the list. We cracked up the entire time, trying to create captions to go with each photo. 
I'm pretty sure the dog would approve. 


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Her Day, Every Day

This week's Topic Tuesday challenge on the October Afternoon blog was to create a project that focuses  on motherhood and the legacy of your mother.
Each time I think about my mother's influence on me, I inevitably end up reflecting on my own relationship with my daughter.

I've spent the last few weeks reading Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club with my juniors and seniors in my "Women and Literature" seminar, and though I've read the book multiple times before, I've never read it right around this time of year. It makes Mother's Day all the more significant:
"All of us are like stairs, one step after another, going up and down, but all going the same way." 
Some of my students still haven't realized this, but I know that even if the book isn't clicking for them now, someday it will. It is only as I get older that my mouth begins to form words that my mother put there. I recognize her features in my own when I look in the mirror. I find myself giving advice that she once gave me. I understand the logic in the requests and commands and complaints that I regarded as irrational when I was younger. As a teenager, I never thought I'd become my mother. Now, I think I would be so lucky if I could be half the kind and giving person that she is.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Giveaway Winner!

I'm happy to announce that the winner of the National Scrapbook Day blog hop giveaway is...
Congratulations, Debra! (I checked out your blog, by the way, and it's fabulous, as is your Instagram. Consider me a new fan.)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and who left such wonderful comments that made my head and heart swell. :)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

National Scrapbook Day Blog Hop (GIVEAWAY CLOSED)

Happy National Scrapbook Day!  Folks may be gearing up for the Pacquiao/Mayweather bout, but the cool kids know what today is really about, am I right?  It's the perfect occasion to honor all things scrappy and happy with a blog hop and giveaway!
I'm so pleased to be joining a group of scrap-loving friends -- especially because for me, scrapbooking is more than a hobby; it involves a sense of community. Each of us is sharing a little bit about ourselves in the form of -- what else? -- a "currently" list. I'm planning on converting this list to a layout on this very day. Care to join me? 

1. REPLAYING often on Youtube: an Amy Schumer clip featuring my kind of Avengers: Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Warning: this clip is not for the hyper-conservative or profanity-leery; if you can get past that, the video is hilarious, and there's truth in it).

2. LISTENING to...
3. WATCHING... Silicon Valley...and trying to make the world a better place (you have to watch the show to understand).  I've also been tuning in to Game of Thrones. This season is changing everything. In some ways this is good; in other ways, it is really just not good. 

4. READING...so many books that my head is spinning with intersecting plots and characters. I'm in the midst of planning summer reading lists and course texts for next school year.  I've been fitting in some "me" reading as well.  The most recent book I finished is When We Were Animals (highly recommended), and the most recent book I started is Crazy Rich Asians.

5. EATING (every day, if I could)...mochi crunch. I'm really picky about the brand. The kind I love is sold in movie theaters all over the island -- but only in movie theaters, as far as I know -- and I do admit to watching not-so-great movies sometimes just to get my fix. On Thursday night, I saw Avengers: The Age of Ultron, so I bought an extra bag. It's gone now. I may have inhaled it for lunch yesterday. 

6. DRINKING at 4 p.m.? Water. I'd prefer coffee, but my body is only coffee-friendly in the mornings. It resents me if I drink any in the afternoon or evening. 

7. WISHING...that I could travel this summer. Everyone keeps asking me about my summer plans, expecting some wonderful destination on the other side of that question, but I just kind of smile sadly and say, "Lesson plans." 

8. ENJOYING...the chance to take a whole day to focus on scrapbooking, and have my husband and daughter actually understand that this IS my Superbowl. No mocking, no giggling -- just acceptance. That's gold. 

9. QUOTING...
"Remembering a man's stories makes him immortal."
  -- Daniel Wallace, Big Fish 

This is one of the many quotable lines from the summer reading book I ended up choosing for my students. It's SUCH a great read! I've seen the movie before, but hadn't read the book until recently.

10. SMILING...because it's NSD!  

As part of the blog hop, we're each sharing a favorite project from the year so far. That's a toughie! Instead of a specific project, I think I'm going to share one of the favorite ways that I embraced my "one little word" for 2015: unplugged.  I've been trying to be more mindful of including my handwriting on layouts and not being so reliant upon the computer for my journaling. Of course, the reliance is still there -- computer journaling is awesome, sorry not sorry -- but I also do love pages with handwritten journaling. Here's a glimpse at the progress I've made since January:
The next stop on the blog hop is the bearer of magic scrappy fingers, the creative and awe-inspiring Wilna Furstenberg.  Can you tell that I adore her? If you don't already feel the same, then you just might after I share this: Wilna has created a free cut file/printable for National Scrapbook Day!  Click on the image below to download it.


I'm also feeling generous today, so if you are interested in a little giveaway of some assorted scrappy supplies, be sure to leave a comment below (and ensure that I can contact you via email if you are selected as the winner).

Thanks so much for stopping by today!