Sunday, June 17, 2018

Two Fathers

To scroll through social media feeds on Father's Day is to encounter post after post celebrating fathers. These posts profess love, gratitude, and admiration for the men who love unconditionally, who offer support and encouragement, and who model the values that shape their children in innumerable and positive ways. 

 My household is blessed with a father like that. 
From the moment he learned that he would be a father, Rob has been there, and even as our daughter begins to venture into the wider world, he is still there for her. I often look at their relationship in wonderment. Do they know just how lucky they are?

They have a comedic banter that is uniquely theirs. Their group texts make me shake my head. 

They have been pulling practical jokes on each other since Z was in preschool (and likely even before that). Whenever they run errands together, they blast the Decemberists and Silversun Pickups. They share a mutual zeal for video games and trash-talk each other incessantly while playing. 

Granted, their relationship isn't always the stuff of idyllic greeting cards -- it's more of the Shoebox Greetings variety, grounded in directness and laughter. Rob may not always agree with Z, nor she with him, but they always find a way to understand each other, in time.  

Not everyone has a father/child relationship like that. Not everyone wakes up on Father's Day and posts laudatory messages about the man who was and is there throughout it all.


Even though my father lives about 25 minutes away, he is, for the most part, a stranger to me. Here is a comprehensive list of how many times we have seen each other in person over the past twenty years: once when I gave birth to my daughter, two decades ago; once in a dentist's office two decades after her birth, when I walked into the waiting room after an appointment only to learn that for the past 30 minutes, he and my daughter had been sitting across each other, completely oblivious to the other's identity; and most recently, at two funerals. 

My parents split when I was in high school, after years of my father cheating on my mom and finally getting exposed (by yours truly). My mom really was clueless about the infidelity, despite what some very unhelpful people liked to suggest during the divorce: "How could you not have known?" or "Underneath it all, you had to have known." She really didn't know. Even I was shocked when I found out. He really was that good of an actor, the Leave It to Beaver husband and father. 

All of the Judy Blume and Paula Danziger books I read as a kid assured me that even after a divorce, dads still love their kids and will try to maintain relationships with them. Parents get divorced, not children, right? Not so in all cases, I guess. 

It took me some time to realize that it was possible that my father didn't ever really love us, that he was just playing a role in accordance with social conventions. It was a revelation to me: he did not and does not love me, not really. Maybe he does in his own way, I have told myself when I have felt the need to explain his absence from my life. 

Which brings up something even more difficult to think about: do I love him

It's a terrible question. 

I don't know how to answer it. 

Here's where my mind goes when I let myself think about how I feel about him and push past the anger to get to the heart of my feelings: I want to love him. I believe I should. I don't know how. I don't know if it would matter to him. Of course it is what Jesus would do. And the Judy Blume kids. 

I can't find peace in that thought process, so I often focus on this instead: maybe instead of loving him, I should work on forgiving him and dealing with what remains of him in my life -- baggage.  

Instead of leaving a legacy of love, he left one of mistrust and doubt, which has affected my relationships. Sometimes the effect has been positive -- I really work at relationships that matter to me. Sometimes the effect has been negative -- I worry that my relationships have an expiration date, that the love that I think is real is just a ruse and that I will not realize this until the person leaves my life, which feels inevitable, because someone who I thought loved me once, someone whose job it was to love me, no matter what, left. 

He is not a total absentee in that respect, but also in another: today, I have a Facebook father, who sends me simple messages on major holidays -- Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, and the like. It is something. Not everyone gets to have Social Media Dad. 

A few months ago, we thought Hawai'i was under nuclear attack and then learned that it was a false alarm.  Not long after that false alarm was declared, a message appeared from my father, one of the longest that he had sent.  He talked about his neighbors panicking, about people experiencing anxiety, and though he did not share what he was feeling, he told me to "have a good day!!!" 

When we thought it might all be over for us, at least one of his thoughts turned to me, and I am holding on to that. 

Maybe we will never be able to rebuild, but we can acknowledge each other, and that is something: you are my daughter, you are my dad. I don't think either of us knows what that means. I don't think we will ever know. 

So I woke up today, grabbed my phone from the nightstand, and sent him a Father's Day message. Maybe that reveals the answer to that difficult question: yes, still, even now, yes, inexplicably, bewilderingly, ultimately, yes, in my own way, the only way I know. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Lately-ing

Lately, I have been

...hand-cutting circles. Lots of them. Like so:
These were cut from the remnants of the May Hip Kit Club main kit. It's a great way to use paper scraps as well as accents that might not seem to work with one's page themes but that can totally work with one's color scheme. 
...painting -- and not just for crafting purposes. I'm actually painting walls in my actual house, with actual trips to an actual hardware store involved. The gloomy gray hallway is being painted a lighter, warmer color -- Craft Juggler from Behr. If I survive that, the kitchen is next. Over the past two days, I've been procuring supplies and watching tutorials. By this time next week, I hope to be paint-covered and proud. 

...trying not to binge-watch the entire second season of Queer Eye in one sitting. It's impossible, I know. I love this show. Just watching the Netflix trailer made me cry. 

...reading the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. The first book was incredible, pulling me in right away and leaving me nearly breathless with curiosity and anticipation until the end. I'm almost halfway through the second book, Torch in the Night. It's just as engaging as the first. HIGHLY recommended! 
...cooking chili AND eating it. This is a big deal. I hate chili. I've hated it all my life, and every time I think that I should give it another chance, I taste it and cringe.  Then, a few weeks ago, my husband was coerced into entering a chili contest at work. We had never made chili before, as the only time chili ever appears in our house is when it is in a take-out container for one. Still, I love to cook, and I love my husband, so I compared recipes, looked at the common elements, and modified a recipe that uses accessible ingredients, incorporates lots of heat, and is based on my idea of how chili should taste.  It actually worked -- he won the contest with a pot of chili that a coworker dubbed "Netflix and Chili." I even tried some and thought, huh, not bad. 

A few days ago, my husband was craving chili again, and since I'm the one on summer break, I volunteered to make it for him, not planning to eat much at all. I made a few more tweaks to the recipe and included super-fresh veggies from a local farmer's market. I ended up eating four bowls of it!  I share with you the recipe, in case you, like me, hate chili but want to give it another chance. (I  halved the recipe, since the first time we made it, we needed to use multiple pots to hold it all!). 
 2 tablespoons olive oil
0.5 pound ground beef
1 pound chuck steak, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (reserve some seeds) 
1 pasilla pepper, minced 
2-3 Thai bird chiles, minced (seeds left in)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
0.5 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 12-ounce can tomato paste
1  15 oz. can crushed tomatoes (Cento is a good brand)
1.5 cups seeded and diced Roma tomatoes
1-1.5 c. diced Maui or other sweet onions (two small onions)
2 diced red bell peppers
2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
1.5 cup beef broth (approximate)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional or to taste)
grated sharp cheddar or white cheddar cheese (optional)
Heat Dutch oven or heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil immediately followed by ground beef. When ground beef is nearly browned, add the cubed steak, garlic, jalapeño and pasilla peppers, and Thai bird chiles (and a little salt and black pepper to season, if desired), and sauté until the steak is seared, about 3-4 minutes.  
Add water. When it reaches a boil, add cumin, chili powder, ground chipotle chili pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine. Simmer uncovered for five minutes on medium-low, and then add the fresh tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Simmer uncovered on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender (check to be sure onions are clear — alternately, include the onions earlier in the process after searing the beef). Stir occasionally, as mixture will be thick. 
Add black beans and 1 cup of beef broth and continue to simmer uncovered for 20-minutes. If a thinner consistency is desired, add the additional 0.5 cup of beef broth. Let simmer uncovered until you are ready to eat (we let it simmer for about 45 minutes - 1 hour after adding the beef broth). Add cilantro, if desired, just before serving.  
Ladle into bowls, top with cheese, and serve.  

...making my way happily through the ICAD challenge. Here are the two most recent cards (days 14 and 15). 







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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ICAD 9-13



Even though creating these cards is different from my usual crafty preference -- scrapbooking -- each feeds into the other. As I set aside a few minutes each day to just experiment and enjoy the process without worrying much about the product, I find that I am coming up with ideas to use on future layouts. 

The first card above revealed that the go-to grid can be kicked up a notch with the addition of fabric. I alternated chevron-patterned ribbon with paper scraps. 

The second card was meant to be a simple paper collage but it ended up telling a story of sorts. 

The third card had me trying something new -- tea-dyed papers. It's super simple! Just heat some water, add one or more teabags to it, and after steeping it for a moment, remove the teabag, and, when it cools enough to be handled, brush the teabag across the surface of the paper. I used the same concoction over different papers and then pieced together a grid.  You can even use the leftover tea in a spray bottle. 

The fourth card may seem unextraordinary, but within its layers there is meaning. I started with watercolors, and then used invisible ink (a Versamark pen) to write the deepest wishes of my heart, and then I sealed them with fairy dust -- embossing powder. 

I created the last card this morning, also trying something different -- I wandered in the garden, located a small fern, and used it as the base for a combination of crayon rubbings and as a stencil of sorts, applying paint to the fern and pressing the fern between two index cards with a brayer. I cut the resulting cards and "grafted" them together to create one fern with five variations.

Even though I know that these cards aren't masterpieces, I also know that they are not supposed to be -- the point is the process, and I'm loving every moment. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summertime Goals

Each summer, I have the wonderfully liberating but inevitably troublesome habit of letting time sweep me away so that when school begins again, I feel sort of disoriented and anxious.

At the end of the two months, my fellow teachers wander back onto campus looking freaking radiant, with stories of all they have seen and done, and when they turn to ask me how I spent the summer, I try to find an exciting way of turning mutterings like "couch...sleep...dog...never brushed my hair once..." into something that doesn't make them regret asking me such a loaded question. 

Making a list of goals for the summer will not necessarily improve my answer to the agonizing question when it comes, but it will help me to be a bit more...centered...and to make the most of the gift of these sweet days. This isn't a "to do" list. It's a "do it if you feel like it, and maybe try to feel like it, if you feel like trying to feel like it" list. 

1. De-clutter. This is going to be really difficult for me, as I sentimentalize every freaking thing or refuse to acknowledge that it has exhausted its possibilities. That piece of paper that I used to prevent spray ink from getting all over my desk? I could use that on a future project, I'm sure. Into the scrap bin it goes!  That stack of partially used composition books that has accumulated over the past twenty years? I might need something from one of them. What if someone needs the agenda from that one faculty meeting ten years ago at that school where I no longer teach?  You never know... 

2. Garden. My yard is a wild, wild place, where everything is verdant and thriving and entangled and beautifully terrifying, and this is all because I don't really touch anything. I want to learn how to tend to the plants in my yard so that they don't eat my house -- kind of like Morticia Addams and her killer plants. I also want even more color in the yard.  I may be a little too ambitious with this goal. Last week, I purchased two flowering plants from Walmart's garden section. One was an annual, and it's already on its way out -- within days, the leaves lightened and the flowers started drooping, despite me not overwatering it and placing it in a shady area, as the instructions said.  The other one, a lovely anthurium, is still alive, for now. I really want it to live. I'm trying not to get attached. 

3. Paint. Just typing those five letters made me laugh five times with some choking noises between each typed letter. Me, paint? Umm, on paper, suuuuure.  On walls? Cue the choke-laughing again. I'm going to start small, with a hallway that doesn't get much light and is kind of dreary because it is painted a dark gray. I don't even know where to begin, honestly. With wiping down the walls and using primer of some kind, I'm sure.  Maybe I should research this more. Or I could just paste cardstock all over the hallway and work with that instead. 

4. Notice. I'm going to let Mary Oliver explain this one: "Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." I will NOT spend my summer staring at screens. I will NOT spend my summer staring at screens. I will NOT spend my summer starting at screens. 

5. Create. This is the time of year when I feel most free and most creative. The world is color-rich and so much seems possible. Every single day, I will create something, whether that is a scrapbooking project, a poem, or even a dish in the kitchen. So far, so good! I've been keeping up with the ICAD (Index-Card-a-Day) challenge for three entire days now. Only 58 to go! 
6. Read. Throughout the year, I have stockpiled "break books," books that I read just for me, on my terms, at my leisure, no lesson plans or assessments required. I want to choose reading as often as I can. 

I think I'll stop there. I have a lot to do and need to get started! Suddenly, I really want to add one more:  

7. Sleep. 


Note that I did not agree to brush my hair this summer. 



Friday, June 1, 2018

I'm an ICADian (Again)

Even though I have yet to make it through the full two months of an ICAD (Index-Card-a-Day) Challenge each summer, I always make a go of it anyway. It's about "creativity, not competition," as the challenge creator and Daisy Yellow genius Tammy Garcia contends, and that is what brings me back each time around. No pressure. Just play. 

So yep, I'm in again! 

There are prompts and themes that one can follow (or not), and this time around, I'm not going to rely too heavily on those. I am just going to see where a blank card takes me each day. 

For the first card, I worked with simple supplies that were close at hand.  I just started dripping ink on a blank card and added more and more droplets in layers.  
This summer, I'm going try really (really!) hard not to judge the products. I'm going to block out the voice in my head that evaluates the "final" index card creations in terms of likability, and listen to the one that just simply hums along as I am creating the cards. 

Wish me luck!  If you're playing along, good luck to you!  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Stash-Busting Challenge 2018: The Kit

This year's kit is all kinds of color-happy, with a few "buffer" neutrals thrown in to to ensure that all of the strong color personalities play nicely together. Here's the list:
1. Eight pieces of patterned paper scraps, four specialty paper/"other" paper scraps, and two complete/unused sheets of patterned paper that you know you should stop hoarding and should just start using.   
The baseline colors I chose are primary ones -- red, yellow, blue -- with variations here and there. Among the manufacturers are (L-R) Studio Calico, Freckled Fawn, Pretty Little Studio, KI Memories, more Freckled Fawn, Scraptastic, more Studio Calico, Shimelle/American Crafts, even more Studio Calico, and My Mind's Eye. The specialty papers include blueprint paper, uber-cute kitty packaging, wood veneer, and Anthropologie packaging.  A few items here were among my paper choices for past challenges, but I'm working them in because I love them so and didn't use them up the last time around. 
2.  No more than one yard of ribbon/trim; if you want to make this extra challenging, no individual piece can measure more than 12" in length. 
I worked in rainbow ribbon from KI Memories (I've included this in a past challenge, but I still have more left!), a red-orange circle-pattern ribbon (not sure about the manufacturer -- maybe Cosmo Cricket?), as well as white Offray ribbon that I plan to ink/stamp/embellish somehow. We shall see...
3. One sticker sheet or sticker set, with a catch: at least one sticker must be missing from the sheet/set. 
My choice for this item is the chipboard circle sticker set from Studio Calico (slightly to the left, just above the orange arrow).  I wanted to be sure to include dimensional elements in my kit. 
4. A pre-2016 alphabet set. If you don't have a set this old (or don't feel like doing the research to figure out if the set is pre-2016), aim for one of your oldest sets. 
Duuuuude. This was the most depressing part of my kit-content search. I have so many alphabet sets that fit this description. Too many. Intervention time. Among the stacks (and stacks) of alphabets from yesteryear, I unearthed some red chipboard BasicGrey alphas that I am looking forward to actually using. 
5. One opened package/container of scrappy product.     
This one was easy: Crate Paper's Here + There ephemera. It has a lot of travel-themed product, and I am fairly certain that at least one of my projects is going to be travel-related (though not related to my travels, as I rarely leave this island!).  The die-cuts don't have to be used for travel pages, however -- they are versatile. Given my inclination toward bits and pieces, I also wanted to select an item that included lots of smaller elements that could be included in projects. 
6.  One unopened package/container of scrappy product. If you don't have any unopened product, opt for an opened package/container that has hardly been used, or the newest package of product that you added to your stash.  
Enamel shapes are quickly becoming one of my favorite accents, so it's actually kind of shocking that I haven't yet broken into my pack of Amy Tangerine enamel stickers. These are so going to get the attention that they deserve. 
7. One roll of tape (washi tape or other decorative tape) or a package/pad of sticky notes (acid-free ones recommended!).  
This time around, I'm opting for sticky notes instead of tape. Even though I don't have as many sticky notes as I do rolls of tape, I do still have a bunch, and they will nicely serve my need to journal within smaller spaces and then tuck those smaller bits into the layers of a layout and/or pull them together and stitch over them.  I chose a pack of assorted sticky notes from Studio Calico. 
8.  One item or package of product from a company that no longer makes scrappy products (or that has not had a new release within the past two years) or one of the oldest items in your stash.  
If I had my druthers, I would bring back KI Memories and never let it disappear again. For now, I will settle for including KI Memories product in my kits each time around, in the hopes that by the time I run out, there will miraculously be more to replace them. The item I chose is chipboard stickers from Love, Elsie, a "spin-off" line from KI Memories. These chipboard pieces may be older, but they still feel as fresh and original as they did when I bought them years ago. 
9. Up to ten journaling and/or Project Life cards/tags (if you don't have individual cards/tags, you can cut them from a journaling-card-style patterned sheet or use a printable, if you wish).  
My choice of journaling/PL cards/tags included neutral colors, so that I could use them on practically any project. I went with cards/tags from Ali Edwards, Studio Calico, Pretty Little Studio, as well as some "found" items that could be used to house journaling. 
10.    Three "wild card" items. Include anything you've been wanting to use (regardless of whether it is old or new, opened or unopened).   
The three "wild card" items in the kit are fabric tags from Studio Calico/Hello Forever, envelopes from Crate Paper's Here +There collection, and the acrylic word "onward," which is my "one little word" for this year -- maybe including it in the kit will actually get me to use the thing! 
11. A nearby item. Grab something from your desk or craft area that is within arm's reach. This will be fairly easy to do if you are a mess-maker like me. If you are super-organized and have no items within reach, then head for the nearest drawer or bin, close your eyes, and reach blindly. The item that you retrieve will be the final addition to your kit. 
I just realized that I forgot to add this to the kit pic -- just like last year. Ha! In a tray on my desk, I found a tiny bag containing a mix of stick pins and small heart and star wood veneer pieces (possibly from an old JBS kit? They have that homey feel).
Thaaaat's it! Gathering the kit components is always a thrill, but now the real fun begins -- seeing where each item will lead me as I create the projects for this year's stash-busting challenge. I can't wait!  

If you're playing along and are done assembling your kit, I'd love to see it!  If you're sharing a pic on your blog, leave a link in the comments below, or if you're sharing on Instagram, be sure to tag me (@jill.scrap) and use the hashtag #stashbustingchallenge2018.  You can also share your pic via the Get It Scrapped Facebook group, if you're a member (and if you aren't a member, you can be added to the group!).  

Have a great day! 
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ready for Another Stash-Busting Challenge?

In a few days' time, we will officially begin this summer's stash-busting challenge.  Last year's challenge was so much fun -- and so effective in "busting" through a few of the layers in my stash -- that it's prompted me (with lots of encouragement from YOU all!) to make it an annual summertime tradition. Care to play along? 

The challenge is actually based on the Ms. Pacman challenge we played back in the day at Jenni Bowlin Studio. I'm guessing it was called that because it focused on taking a "bite" out of one's stash. 

The basics are pretty simple: compile your own kit based on the list of contents and use that kit to create at least three projects (layouts, cards, etc.) over the course of the summer (that is, a teacher's summer: June and July). 

Here are the basic kit components to "harvest" from your stash, featuring tiny modifications from last year's list: 
1. Eight pieces of patterned paper scraps, four specialty paper/"other" paper scraps, and two complete/unused sheets of patterned paper that you know you should stop hoarding and should just start using.  
2.  No more than one yard of ribbon/trim; if you want to make this extra challenging, no individual piece can measure more than 12" in length. 
3. One sticker sheet or sticker set, with a catch: at least one sticker must be missing from the sheet/set. 
4. A pre-2016 alphabet set. If you don't have a set this old (or don't feel like doing the research to figure out if the set is pre-2016), aim for one of your oldest sets. 
5. One opened package/container of scrappy product.     
6.  One unopened package/container of scrappy product. If you don't have any unopened product, opt for an opened package/container that has hardly been used, or the newest package of product that you added to your stash.  
7. One roll of tape (washi tape or other decorative tape) or a package/pad of sticky notes (acid-free ones recommended!).  
8.  One item or package of product from a company that no longer makes scrappy products (or that has not had a new release within the past two years) or one of the oldest items in your stash.  
9. Up to ten journaling and/or Project Life cards/tags (if you don't have individual cards/tags, you can cut them from a journaling-card-style patterned sheet or use a printable, if you wish).  
10.    Three "wild card" items. Include anything you've been wanting to use (regardless of whether it is old or new, opened or unopened).   
11. A nearby item. Grab something from your desk or craft area that is within arm's reach. This will be fairly easy to do if you are a mess-maker like me. If you are super-organized and have no items within reach, then head for the nearest drawer or bin, close your eyes, and reach blindly. The item that you retrieve will be the final addition to your kit. 
As with last time, the kit includes unlimited cardstock, adhesive, and "technique-type product" (e.g. stamps, stamping ink, paint, mist, stencils, embossing powder, etc.).  
You don't need to use every little bit of the kit that you create, but try your best to take a "bite" out of it anyway. 

If any of the guidelines above are cramping your style, feel free to modify them so that you can be your best stash-busting self.  For instance, if you're in the midst of working on a project, and you realize something that isn't in your kit but in your stash would look great on that project, then go ahead and add it anyway. This is a judgment-free challenge!  

Accounting for the rummaging and scavenging time as we compile our kits, plus more time to create three layouts while also enjoying the summer months, let's aim to complete a minimum of three projects by July 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  

If you can't make it by then, no worries, but if you can, I'll enter you in a drawing for a scrappy giveaway. Just be sure to share your three projects on Instagram (I'm @jill.scrap; tag me and also use the hashtag #stashbustingchallenge2018 when posting your images). If Instagram isn't your thing, you can also post your images and tag me via the Get It Scrapped Community on Facebook, or you can post on your blog and share a link to the post in the comments below.  You don't have to post everything all at once -- individual posts are totally fine! 

Once you've made your own kit, take a photo of it, and blog (and/or share via Instagram or some other form of social media) your list of kit items (see this example from last year).  Then get started on those projects. I can't wait to see what you create! 

I'll update with my kit pic soon! 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Getting It Scrapped

One of the reasons I love being part of the Get It Scrapped team is that the assignments never feel like actual assignments -- they feel like an invitation to play and to discover, and in the process, to make something meaningful. 

Exhibit #1
This layout came about for a feature focused on embellishing focal points
Most of the time, my photos are backed with photo mats, often in layers of papers, but this was a fun departure from that, challenging me to use something other than the usual photo mat approach. I rummaged through my stash in search of everything and anything dog-related, and emerged with a mix of items from Crate Paper, Studio Calico, and KI Memories/Love, Elsie.  I would totally try this again! 

Exhibit #2
Even though I insist on journaling on every project and have tried lots of different approaches to doing that, I had never before attempted "mix and match" journaling until I created this layout. 
In the process of bringing together both narratives here, I pared down the number of papers and accents that I usually use so that the words would remain the focus.  I knew that I wanted to tell this story, but I was not quite sure how to do that until this GIS assignment gave me the opportunity to take notice of the multiple narratives that converge each day in our schools, both of which have at their hearts the well-being of our students. 

If you haven't stopped by the Get It Scrapped blog, be sure to do so. You never know just how transformative some of the ideas there can be until you try them. 
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Sunday, May 27, 2018

HKC Hawaii Mini-Album

In the midst of one of the busiest weeks of the school year -- a week containing final exams, final grade calculations, classroom deep-cleaning, and the commencement ceremony -- I still managed to set aside some time over the course of a few evenings to work on this mini-album using the Hip Kit Club May 2018 main kit. 

I scrapbook for a lot of reasons, and one of them is for stress relief. Focusing on something creative and colorful, even if only in short bursts, really can be therapeutic.  

Another reason that I scrapbook is that it invites reflection; it opens up moments for contemplation, revelation, and gratitude. This mini-album is the product of that, pulling together photos and journaling about the place I am grateful to call home. 


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Life in Technicolor

Maybe it's just the product of working with Hip Kit Club kits so often, or perhaps spring is to blame, but I am feeling color-happy lately. 
 
I'm embracing the rainbow. 
I'm working with the colors of sunshine and grass and sky and flowers. 
I'm documenting the way that love itself colors my world.
One of the perks of being a scrapbooker is being surrounded at all times by colorful possibilities. :) 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

What I Love Most About May


1.  Endings and beginnings seem indistinguishable from each other. Flowers bloom profusely, fading within a few days' time as more buds appear and unfurl themselves. My seniors, who have been looking ahead all year long and counting the days until graduation, now look back wistfully; they are somewhere between holding on and letting go.

2. There is a heightened sense of togetherness.  People gather to fill theaters for summer movie premieres, arenas and auditoriums for graduation ceremonies, fields and gymnasiums for May Day celebrations, churches for Baccalaureate masses, restaurants for Mother's Day, and even online forums for International Scrapbook Day.

3. After the final exams and farewells, May moves seamlessly into the summer months. It is a busy month, but the last few days have a gentle lilt and flow. I often do not realize it has ended until I look at a calendar and see that it is June.

4. The usual routines begin to fall away. This can be bewildering at first, especially for someone who is always productive, always ON, always reliant on alarms and calendars and to-do lists, but the routines that were necessary at the beginning of the month are no longer necessary at the end of the month. Those last days of May? Limitless.

5. It is a time of reaching outward and inward.  In saying goodbye to another class, another school year, I search myself. I question my purpose, my impact. I wonder, do I matter? Did I make this year matter? Will I be remembered? When my face recedes from my students' memories, will something more remain? What is my legacy?  Heavy, I know. Blame May.