Monday, June 20, 2016

Weekend Roundup

Happy Monday ya'll! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

As always, it seems the weekend just flies on by. A couple of weekends ago, Manny and I decided to clean the house on a Friday night, simply because I couldn't take all the dust, pollen, cat hair, etc. on the hardwood floor from having the windows open all week. What I noticed by doing this one chore one day early, was that it actually felt like we had a weekend. Meaning it actually felt like TWO whole days of doing fun things, instead of one day, or even half a day, of fun.

So, this past weekend we decided to do the same thing. Clean the house on Friday evening and party hardy on Saturday and Sunday. BTW, partying hardy for me is actually being able to knit or scrapbook for a whole day if I wanted to without feeling guilt over the lack of completing the chores.

Today I thought I would share my weekend in pictures.

It really consisted of three things: Knitting, scrapbooking and lots of kitty.

Saturday

Kitty assisting with my knitting:
Trying to "help" me knit is just so exhausting:
After photographing some completed layouts for a future blog post, I sat down at my desk to work on some more:
While I scrapbooked, kitty napped in the sunshine:
Dinner is served. She is fascinated by watching me put together my shake:
Sunday

A little morning cardio in the freaking heat:
Finished the two page layout from Saturday:
Kitty in a box (she decided this was an excellent place to take a full on bath):
And what day would be complete without an afternoon nap:
My husband was indeed around this weekend. For him it consisted of spending both days in the garage fixing our vehicle. He asked both me and kitty if we wanted to help. We both politely declined.

After hubby was finished on Sunday, he and I took a lovely afternoon walk around the neighborhood. We usually end up at one of our favorite cafe's, get a couple of iced teas to go and then go sit in the shade in the park a couple blocks from our house. I'm thinking this will be a weekly tradition, provided the humidity doesn't put a quash on it that day.

I spent early Sunday evening organizing my craft space again. Well one little corner by the window which led to working on the closet a little too. I ordered some paper organizers and wanted to get everything squared away so I wouldn't have it looming over my mind all week.

I have wonderful news in regards to my knitting. On Saturday, while kitty napped next to me, I finished knitting sock #1! I just have to graft the toe together. I didn't start sock #2 yet, but plan on it this week.

How was your weekend? Do anything fun, exciting, different or just the same ol' same ol'?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Return to Knitting

I haven't touched my knitting needles since December and my plans to return to knitting during the Memorial Day weekend didn't happen. I'm not going to focus on the reasons why I haven't knitted in over 6 months. I'm going to focus on that I am finally spending some quality time with my yarn again.

On Sunday, I decided to spend a little time knitting. Mid-morning I claimed our favorite armchair in the corner of our living room right by the window and got reacquainted with a pair of socks I needed to get finished.
This is what it looked like when little Miss Shana discovered the yarn bowl in the middle of the floor:
I had to laugh because whenever something in the house changes, she freaks out a little and stalks whatever it is that has changed.

The last time she did this was when I changed out her food bowl to a new one. You don't realize just how much a little thing like that can affect a cat.

After the yarn bowl was thoroughly investigated and then relocated to my lap, I spent a few hours turning the heel flap and began progress on the foot.

By mid-afternoon I took a little break to focus on some scrapbooking and after dinner resumed knitting on the couch. This is what Shana thought of that...
After attacking my yarn a few times, Manny was so kind in trying to distract her for me.
Eventually she gave up when she realized she wasn't going to win this battle.

On Monday, I decided I was going to bring my knitting to work with me again and knit during my lunch break. By the end of my break, I think I had made some decent progress.
As of today, I'm an 1.5" away from starting the toe. My plan is to complete it by the end of this weekend and immediately start on it's mate.

Going forward I am going to focus on balance. I have too many hobbies and not enough time. I need to find a balance where I feel I am able to spend time doing each of the things I love.

Right now I think I have figured out my new balance.

Hobby #1 - Reading: I am an avid reader and love to spend copious amounts of time getting lost in my books. Right now I am reading during my subway commute to and from work and then 10-15 minutes at bedtime. While I am not devouring my books like I used to, I am happy I am still getting time to read.

Hobby #2 - Scrapbooking: You guys know that this is where I have been focusing all of my creative juices. After not being able to scrapbook for over two years, once I got my new crafty space setup I tried to make up for lost time with a hobby I hadn't been able to do for so long. I've got myself more organized during the past few months and therefore I feel can be more productive with the time I am spending scrapbooking. I am currently scrapbooking a little each day on the weekends and occasionally during the week after work when I am not too tired.

Hobby #3 - Knitting: My hopes going forward is that I will spend one morning on the weekends getting in some action with my knitting and as long as my project remains portable, I will continue to bring it to work with me to knit during my lunch break.

I have one more hobby, sewing, to eventually work into the rotation. Don't know when I will make that happen and right now I am choosing to focus on the new balance I've just started.

So tell me, am I alone in this? Do you guys have more than one hobby and struggle with finding the perfect balance between them all?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My First Mini Album

I wanted to share with you today a special project that I put together in two short days, not even full days, just half ones. My first ever mini album!

Manny and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary the other week and when it came to giving him a gift, I wanted it to be something from the heart and treasured.

The traditional gift on your first wedding anniversary is paper, so I thought I would put together a quick little album celebrating the first seven years of our lives together. The idea came to me just a couple of days before our anniversary, so I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it off. Amazingly, I did!

So I took this from my stash (which has been in there for forever):
There are a total of 16 pages if you count the front and back. As I had quite a few photos to include, I decided to use it all. Which in the end, resulted in the album not fitting back in the tin and I am ok with that. I just tied a ribbon around it to hold it all together.
Printed some of my favorite photos (after turning them black and white) that represented our first seven years together on my Instax printer (used all but 2):
Then pulled a bunch of supplies from my stash:
Which included:
  • Two 6x6 paper pads that would coordinate well together color wise (Basic Grey "J'Adore" and Shimelle's from her first collection)
  • A few sets of alpha stickers (October Afternoon, Elle's Studio, Ali Edwards, Kelly Purkey, Tim Holtz)
  • Coordinating sticker sheets and chipboard embellishments from Basic Grey "J'Adore" collection
  • Martha Stewart mini doilies, washi tape (black with white dots), enamel dots from Doodlebug, Shimelle's Roller Date Stamp
  • Phrase roller stamps from October Afternoon and Amy Tangerine
  • Dies from Spellbinders, Die-namics and Momenta
Since I didn't give myself much time to complete this, I wanted to limit the supplies I had to use and to repeat at least one element throughout the mini album to bring cohesion to it. I chose the washi tape and the date stamp to be my repeated elements.

When I sat down to put the album together, I was quite nervous. I wasn't sure if I could finish, wasn't sure if it would look nice, wasn't sure of the size, just wasn't sure about a lot of things.

However, when all was said and done, I was in love with it. I couldn't stop flipping through the pages and just being amazed I did it!

Here is what it looked like:
The icing on the cake was when I gave it to him, he smiled and made little comments about the memories for each of the photos.
After completing my first mini album, I've decided that I must make more! It was so much fun to create once I got over my nervousness.

The best tip I have about making a mini album is this...Keep It Simple!

By minimizing my supplies, printing all my photos in black and white and repeating one or two elements across each page, really helped in putting this album together quickly!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mr. & Mrs.

With our 1 Year Wedding Anniversary being today, I thought it would be nice to share with you a layout of one of my favorite wedding photos.

In all honesty I started this layout about 3 weeks ago, but really struggled with putting it all together. When I sat down on Saturday to give it a go at finishing, I realized what my issue had been.

I wanted the first layout I did with our pictures to be just as magical and perfect as I felt it was that day.

When I decided to let the pressure go, everything seemed to fall into place.
I utilized two paper collections to create this layout. It includes 2 patterned papers from Pink Paislee's "C'est La Vie" collection and one from Felicity Jane's "Chloe" April kit. I used a piece of chocolate brown Bazill cardstock to frame the layout and also as a layer in the middle of the layout.

I went with a diagonal design to bring your eye down the page and opted to put my title along the left hand side to bring your eyes back across the page.
I love how this top little cluster came together. I used some leftover Pink Paislee paper to punch out hearts in two different sizes. I thought they looked nice clustered with the gold glitter heart die cut piece and XO tag from Maggie Holmes' "Bloom" ephemera pack. I received the tiny pink puffy hearts from my sister and the gold gems I bought in Michael's the other week.
I'm very happy how my main cluster turned out as I really struggled with how I wanted everything to be placed. Everything had moved from one side of the page to the other several times, before I settled on this design.
I used a Project Life card from Heidi Swapp for my journaling spot. However, instead of handwriting my journaling, I decided to use those wonderful Maggie Holmes tiny word stickers that came out in her "Confetti" collection. I also managed to finally use one of the gold Maggie Holmes doilies. You can see a small portion of it in the above photo. I also cut it in half so I could use it elsewhere on the page.
Shortly after we got married I had purchased a package of wedding themed wood veneers. I absolutely loved the road sign piece. I decided it needed to be painted white in order to go with the page better, especially since I wasn't adding any additional wood veneer pieces to the layout.

I layered it on top of a Becky Higgins Project Life 4x6 photo overlay from the "Desktop" collection. I like how the "You + Me" is nestled right under the sign. I included another die cut piece and paper flowers from Martha Stewart (so sad Michael's doesn't carry her line anymore). I punched a few more hearts, added more puffy hearts and gold gems to complete the grouping.
To finish the page, I added my title along the left side of my photo going vertically. Here you can see the other piece of the gold doily under my title. I finished this off by adding one more paper flower and three more small gems. I used "Imprint" gold foiled Thickers for my title.
Finally, as for my paper layers for the photo, I simply cut a small border in white paper, then another in a pink Bazill cardstock to add a small frame around my photo. I then took a 12x12 piece of vellum and tore it in rectangles using my Tim Holtz ruler and folded and layered them under the photo. I love how it helps you focus on the photo in the layout.

I simply can't believe how fast our first year of marriage has flown by. We've been together for a total of seven years today, and it feels just as amazing as it did when we had our first date. Here's to my hubby who constantly keeps me on my toes, brings me to uncontrollable laughing fits, loves unconditionally, is my rock and is a wonderful daddy to our new fur baby. I love him more than I ever thought was possible.

I hope you enjoyed my layout celebrating our marriage. Now that this first one is complete, I am hoping to get more of our amazing pictures in our album.

Thanks for looking and I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Life Update

So much has happened in my life since my last post on Thursday, March 17th. Where do I begin?

My husband received some of the worst news ever in the very early morning hours on Saturday, March 19th. His father had unexpectedly passed away. It rocked our world. We were in utter disbelief. Life for the next two days became a whirlwind of plans to head to Greece.

The one week my husband was gone, was one of the longest weeks of my life. I unfortunately couldn't travel with him for medical reasons, so being apart during this time was so difficult. It didn't help that we were now in two different countries and several times zones away, made it even more hard for me as all I wanted to do was be with him to support and comfort him.

Less than two and half weeks after he came back from Greece on Tuesday, April 12th, I heard from my mother that my father had been rushed to the hospital after collapsing in the yard. I couldn't believe it. So close to my father-in-laws passing, I didn't want to think I could lose my own father.

It turned out my father had developed blood clots in both legs and in both lungs. I had never been so worried. I ended up getting on a plane that Saturday and surprised him in the hospital. The look of surprise and him holding my hand while I sat next to him, made the trip worth it to me.

Fortunately, after him being in the ICU for almost 5 days, and down graded from critical care for a day and a half, the day after I arrived we were able to take him home. As of today, he has had his medical follow-up appointments and is doing really well.

The rest of April was all about getting life back to normal.

On Saturday, May 7th Manny and I expanded our family. We decided to adopt our kitty Shana!
The idea of getting a cat had be milling in our minds since last Fall. We just hadn't really pursued it until May. We ended up heading out to North Shore Animal League to see if we would find our new family member and after looking at all the kitties, we decided that Shana belonged in our lives.
As of tomorrow, it will have been three weeks since we adopted her and let me tell you, she brings so much life, love and joy to us.
She is truly like a puppy. She needs to be played with in the morning and the evening. She will bring you her toys to play with her. She follows us around the house and always wants to be in the same room as us. When she lies down next to you, she always has to be touching you. Many times when you go up to her, she will give you her paw to hold.

And boy does she like to stretch!!!
So that pretty much brings you all up to date. I am still scrapbooking. I haven't touched my knitting needles since December though. With this long holiday weekend, I am planning on changing that. I have a pair of socks that desperately need to be finished. We are heading to a family BBQ in CT on Sunday, so I will take advantage of the car ride to getting some knitting done.

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe and not too hot Memorial Day weekend! The temps here have been in the high 80s, low 90s, so I'd say it feels like summer has arrived.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Twinning Together

Christmas is long gone, but I am still reminiscing and scrapbooking those photos. We aren't even going to talk about how I am still working on my Christmas Journal. We'll save that for another day.

Today we will focus on one of my favorite photos from exchanging Christmas gifts with my hubby.
Several months ago we had bought him a pair of Crocs to wear around the house. While these things may not be fashionably attractive, they are super comfortable! I had wanted a pair also, but the store didn't have any in my size. No biggie. I could always get a pair online. Which I never did.

While I may have forgotten about the Crocs I had wanted, my hubby did not. He gifted me with a pair that were exactly like his at Christmas.

The simplest gift like this put a huge smile on my face and I couldn't resist snapping a picture of us wearing our matching Crocs!

For this layout I used  a couple of Crate Paper off cuts I had left in my stash (oh how I love that wood grain paper) along with several papers from Basic Grey's "Dear Heart" collection. I am so sad Basic Grey is leaving the scrapbooking business and I may, or may not, have added one too many papers from this collection into my stash when I heard the news.
I included three embellishment clusters as per my usual design. Each varying in size.
I pulled items from other collections that contained the orange/peach color that I felt coordinated with the Dear Heart papers I chose to use. The chipboard and ephemera pieces came from Crate Paper's Wonder collection. The clear "Sweet Stuff" tab was found in Maggie Holmes' Shine ephemera pack.
The paper flowers are from Martha Stewart.
The sticker doily came from My Mind's Eye "Sweetest Thing" sticker sheet. The Project Life card I used for my journaling was from Amy Tangerine's "Ready Set Go" mini kit. I even used the plastic heart clip (tucked next to a paper flower above) from the Simple Stories "I Am" collection.
This was the first time I had been able to find so many elements from different manufacturer's that would coordinate together effortlessly and I love the final outcome!