Sunday, April 26, 2015

Of Hearts and Scrapbook Surgery

I'm at the point where I have nearly obliterated the April "Darlene" kit and add-on from Scraptastic Club. I used just the main kit to create this page, which features none of my own journaling, since the words from my grandfather to my grandmother say it all. 
He wrote this sweet sentiment on the back of a photo that he gave her in the 1940s. She trimmed around it so that she could keep it in her wallet.

When I first read the words, they reminded me of song lyrics from that era, and sure enough -- they are from a 1942 song called "Always in My Heart." He wrote:
You are always in my heart, even though we're far apart. I can hear the music play the song of love I sang to you. You are always in my heart.
Isn't that sweet?

Creating the layout was not easy -- not because the process itself was complicated or difficult, but because just as I started stitching the first version of this page, the thread from the sewing machine began to bunch and the page ripped when I tired to pry it from the machine.
So I expressed my grief on Instagram, as is the modern custom, and, upon being comforted by those who had been through something similar or worse (thanks, folks), I attempted a remedy.

I removed ⅓ of the page (the top part, containing the worst part of the damage) and added two layers of paper in its place. I then added a series of stitched circles around the photo and title blocks, camouflaging the torn areas that remained.

I feel like a bona fide surgeon -- of the scrapbooking variety, that is.

I really like the addition of gesso to the background of this page. I love the patterns -- don't get me wrong -- but I also love the look of them peeking through the layer of white.

Thanks for visiting today!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

This Happened

Among the journaling cards in this month's Scraptastic "Darlene" add-on kit is one that reads, "This Happened." Those two words became the springboard for a layout idea to document some of the everyday (and extraordinary) events that have occurred this month.
I did something similar last month, and while I'm not yet sure whether this will be something I continue in May (and June and July and...), I have enjoyed working with a hodgepodge of photos that collectively represent what has been happening over a brief period of time. I don't have the energy or organizational skills needed to be a week-by-week Project Lifer, but a month-by-month approach is manageable. It focuses on highlights but also allows room to include details. 
The approach is actually ideal for bringing together assorted photos that may not otherwise show up on layouts devoted specifically to them as individual subjects. For instance, I'm not likely to make a layout about the stacks of laundry in my house, or about a book I've been reading, but those aspects of my life belong on this page, because they help to document the day-to-day life that I live. 
We'll see what happens in May. :) 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Easter (Three Weeks Later)

Three weeks ago, as my husband and I loaded up on sweets and treats for my daughter's traditional Easter morning "surprise," we found ourselves standing before a Paas display.

"Do you think she's going to want to dye eggs this year?" I asked, studying the boxes, genuinely unsure.

He pointed to the basket he was holding.  He had already loaded up on two boxes.

He, thankfully, made the right call. The kid still gets a kick out of dyeing eggs on Easter morning.
(More details and pics are on the October Afternoon blog.)

She's also still game for hunting eggs.
(More details and pics are on the Scraptastic Club blog.)

As Z gets older, I never really know which traditions she'll want to continue, which ones she'll think she's outgrown. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't believe in outgrowing traditions. I guess that's what makes them traditions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Routines and Revelations

I'm sure you've heard this gem of a quote before:

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
-- Annie Dillard
This quote is not only true (and disturbingly so, if you spend your days like an automaton), but it is also a great motivator for documenting those days and reflecting upon how those days come to comprise a life. 
The "Morning, Afternoon, Evening" journaling card from the April Elle's Studio kit became the springboard for a page about my weekday routine.  On a post last week on the Elle's Studio blog, I shared more about the process behind the page.

What's eye-opening about making a layout about routines is that in writing about those routines and pulling together photos to represent them, one inevitably ends up asking Big Questions: "Is this how I want to be spending my time? Am I happy spending my days this way? And if I don't want to spend my time this way, and if I'm not happy, then is it worth spending my time -- and, by extension, my life --  this way?" 

As for the answers to those questions...that's where the real revelations begin. 

Thanks, Annie Dillard. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sharing Is Caring

In clearing off items from my ever-cluttered desktop (of the computer variety), I realized that there are few layouts that I never got around to sharing here on my blog.

The layout below was created for a sketch post on the October Afternoon blog. Though I worked with the Saturday Mornings collection, I focused on weekday mornings.
Although I am not a morning person, the journaling puts those weekday mornings in perspective. 
 I included some authentic A.M. ephemera on the page.
I created the next layout in pursuit of my Calvinball goal and inspired by a challenge at Get It Scrapped to put older supplies to use. I mixed older supplies -- including some Anna Griffin, Scrapworks, and 7Gypsies paper -- with newer supplies from Studio Calico, Freckled Fawn, and Crate Paper.  
I was over the moon when I was asked to share this layout and a related weekly challenge on the Studio Calico blog.  Since the layout features a photo that depicts a subject -- my daughter's first "real" date -- indirectly, I based the challenge on that idea. I loved seeing what people did with the challenge! 

The next few layouts were created for the Scraptastic Club design team. The first is based on a sketch (see all fourteen interpretations on the Scraptastic blog). I used the "Rivers and Roads" kit and add-on (as well as some junk mail, which seems odd, but I love how it looks here -- in the form of the days of the week).
The second was created for a Scraptastic blog post in which fellow DT member Madeline Fox and I each challenged ourselves to create a layout in 30 minutes. I am shocked that I was able to do this, but here's the proof:
I used the April "Darlene" kit and add-on, just as I did on my most recent Scraptastic layout:
I'm loving the accents and stamps in this month's kits! 

So there you have it -- from my desktop to you. :)

Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thank You!

I'm just popping in to say THANK YOU -- thank you ever so much -- for the thoughtful comments left on yesterday's post. I'm convinced that just the act of you all sending good thoughts out into the universe made a difference, because this afternoon, my daughter found out that she is a recipient of a four-year full scholarship that has nothing to do with how much her parents do or do not have, and everything to do with how hard she has been working. Thank God -- and thank you!

April at Elle's Studio

Today's the day -- it's time for the gallery reveal AND the April kit reveal at Elle's Studio! My contribution to the gallery combines the new Cienna collection and the bright and springy April kit:
The layout shares the story behind the photos and reflects on the origins of my love for animals.
It's great to finally be scrapping these photos! I've been waiting for the right moment (and materials).
Today's blog post at Elle's Studio features a little reminder about the limited quantity of the April kits. I feel lucky to have nabbed one!  In fact, I'm working on a layout tonight using the kit. :) The post also mentions this month's exclusive cut files and printables (very cute!), as well as something about GRAB BAGS (which never last long, because they only appear twice a year), so be sure to check that out!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2015


It's been a challenging past couple of weeks. This is the time of year when seniors find out admissions decisions, and, if they are lucky enough to be accepted, they are also receiving financial aid awards. It's not looking good for us so far. There is a silver lining -- the financial aid awards have made clear that all this time, we have been rich beyond our dreams and have been completely unaware of it.  I've been reading my bank account balance incorrectly, and haven't noticed the invisible zeroes tacked on to the ends of the numbers. Those who staff financial aid offices can see those zeroes. I don't possess this ability.

I absolutely hate that my economic status plays such a powerful role in influencing my daughter's education. She's an amazing student with a terrific record, and she is so in love with learning, but money -- or lack thereof -- is going to be the biggest factor regarding what she does next with that brilliant brain of hers. So sad.

So what's a scrappy mom to do?  Channel the angst creatively, of course. Luckily, my angst reached its peak at the same time that I had a project due for October Afternoon:
When I shared the journaling with my daughter, she smiled. I think it made her feel a little better. In times of adversity, we have an opportunity to adapt, to transform, to grow. This is one of those times.
She'll learn something from this experience. Some of what she learns may leave her cynical, but I also hope that something positive will come from this.

As a senior, my college plans suddenly and drastically changed due to my parents' divorce, and I ended up footing the bill for college (I'm still paying those loans two decades later). When I share this with my students (some of whom find themselves in a similar situation), I always tell them that it was a struggle, but that by assuming the responsibility for my education, I owned my education in a way that I might not have if someone else had assumed that responsibility for me.  I pursued every opportunity, took the maximum number of credits each semester, learned as much as I could, and worked as hard as I could. I ended up graduating with highest honors, and I earned a free ride to grad school. Would that have happened otherwise?  I can't be sure. I'm inclined to say no.

I have a feeling that something good will come of this. Right now, the future seems nebulous, but in time -- perhaps someday in looking back -- it will all be clear why this happened as it did and where it was leading.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Crossing the Finish Line

Calvinball is, alas, over. After March 31, the finish line was removed, and the crowds went home. Now, three days later, I can explain where I was on March 31 -- and why I wasn't at home finishing the two layouts I had started days before.

My daughter refers to it as the Zipocalypse.  It's also been called Carmaggedon. You can read about it here and here.  After spending two hours in traffic, we ended up at my mom's. We didn't make it home on the night of the 31st, and on the afternoon of the 1st, we found ourselves in traffic once again (though not nearly as awful as the prior day's).  Hawai'i has the third worst traffic in the nation, but I think after the Zipocalypse, we're going to place first. Crazy.

In any case, as soon as I was able, I finished the layouts -- one will be in the Elle's Studio April gallery, and the other is a mix of SC journaling cards and accents as well as items that I finally stopped hoarding in my stash.
The layout was pretty much done by the end of March. I just had to print the journaling on the labels. Since I had a little extension, I was able to mention the events of March 31. What a way to end the month -- and Calvinball!

I did meet my goal for the month, which was 15 layouts. My layout total is 16.5 (half a point for a birthday card I made for our neighbor). Yay me! I was hoping for 20, but I blame the Department of Transportation for interfering with that. Freaking ZipMobile.

I scored a bunch of bonus point as well this month, making my final Calvinball total 180.5 points. I'm good with that.

There may be no finish line at this point, but I'm taking that victory lap anyway!