Thursday, July 21, 2016

Life Update - July Edition

Life Update bullet style!

  • The night of July 12th, little one decided she was either extremely bored or extremely hungry because she ate a shoelace in the middle of the night. How do we know? She decided she must of been full after devouring 35" because we found 6" nicely chomped off by her bed and the rest was no where to be found. The other tell tell sign of her eating it was when she vomited 8" early Friday morning. To this day remaining 27" is still inside of her.
  • If remaining shoelace doesn't appear by Friday, we have to schedule a sonogram with the vet as she may have a partial blockage. She will be given an additional 4 days to produce said shoelace or else she gets a belly shaving. I keep reminding her that!
  • Last night, she played like she did before she ingested the shoelace. We are taking this as a positive sign that maybe said shoelace has vacated her small intestine and has now taken up residence in her large intestine just waiting for eviction.
  • I decided to take a little vacay to visit my family in Georgia this weekend. I will be doing laundry and packing like a madwoman tonight as I fly out tomorrow afternoon.
  • Leaving hubby behind to look after our little one and assist with removal of shoelace if needed.
  • I am hoping little one won't miss me too much or be mad at me when I return a week later. We shall see.
  • Also looking forward to heading to Acadia National Park in Maine for a week in August.
  • Still knitting away on those little socks I talked about a few weeks ago, here.
  • Need to bind off the toe on Sock #1 so I can use the needles to finish Sock #2.
  • Mission tonight before going to bed is finishing off Sock #1.
  • Need to finish this pair before I leave Georgia next week as the recipient lives there and I can save the postage from having to mail them.
  • Already have my next sock yarn balled up and ready to go.
  • I've completed a few more pages since my last layout update, here, which is one of four parts. I've done three more for my backpack album and one from adopting our little fur ball.
  • I haven't completed any pages for the past week and a half as my thoughts and time have been consumed with little one and the shoelace ingestion.
  • Looking forward to going to an actual scrapbooking store with my sister during my visit in GA. The price she has to pay by me assisting her with her craft room purging/organization. Of course I didn't have to twist her arm and after seeing pictures of the room situation, I think my price will have to go up.
  • Still plugging away on my reading goals for the year and have now finished 21 books of 40.
  • I shared all the books I've read so far this year here.
  • Loving that Goodreads is emailing me "Goodreads Deals" for purchasing books in genres I elected to receive deals for and so far have purchased several through these emails at $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 or free.
  • For some reason the first five or six books I purchased, I got for free. Amazon must of been having a promotion that day. 
  • Started running more consistently lately. Gotten myself up to running 2.5 miles without stopping. Starting over sucks.
  • Need to start incorporating weight workouts again and even HIIT workouts.
  • Started a Midori Notebook to keep track of all this. My thinking is that by finding a crafty way to record all of this will keep me motivated as I am physically writing all of my accomplishments down in this notebook.
  • I've been hitting at least 10,000 steps a day almost every day this month.
That's it! Now tell me what you've been up to!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reading More

As a young girl, I always had a bookshelf in my room filled with tons of books. My mother is an avid reader and I think she felt it was truly important for her children to always have books on hand to read.

I have very fond memories of going to the public library and obtaining my first library card. I remember enjoying spending so much time perusing all the books that I could potentially bring home.

While I always had books, and enjoyed looking at them, I remember the younger me taking forever to finish a book. I also remember as a teenager and having to read books for school was something I struggled with, not sure if it's because I was being told I had to read these books or if the subject just wasn't for me.

Fast froward to my twenties and all of sudden I became an avid reader and as time went by I couldn't get enough. I have been known to stay up way past my bedtime because I couldn't put a book down or even devouring a 1,000 page book in just under a week.

Since 2013, I have participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. My goal has always been to read 40 books and I have yet to hit it. The closest I came was in 2013.

2013: 36 books read
2014: 32 books read
2015: 24 books read

This year; however, I think I just may hit my goal.
For the first time in years, I am 50% to meeting my goal halfway through the year!

If you were to look at my bookshelf, you would see a wide variety of genres. I like to pick books that suit my mood. Sometimes I want funny or an easy young adult book to read. However, by far my favorite is a mystery/thriller. As a young girl, I had Hardy Boys and Agatha Christie books on my shelf. Some things never change.

Here's a peek at what I've read so far this year:
There is definitely a variety in here. If you want a good paranormal book read "The Piper", couldn't put it down. A good tear jerker, "Me Before You". A funny feel good book, "Big Girl Panties". Pyschological suspense, "Black Eyed Susans". Need a vampire fix, "Lover Reborn".

I am always looking for my next great read. Let me know what you recommend.

Friday, July 1, 2016

2013 Europe Backpacking Album - Part 4

Today may be the last of the layouts I completed immediately after taking Shimelle's "The Scrapbook Process" class, but there will be many more layout shares to come in the future. If you missed Parts 1 through 3, you can check them out here, here and here.

I'm sharing two layouts in the same post today, because while they are not a double page spread, I created them with each other in mind. I wanted to make sure they complimented each other as they will be facing pages in the album and of the same location.

For both layouts I used the My Mind's Eye "Hello World" collection and used a Bazzill cardstock for my background.

Layout #1 was based on this sketch.
I kept all my embellishing really simple. I'm loving that I have started using my roller stamps more in my layouts. I have a few that work really well with travel pages. As you can see I did some more floating embellishing and I felt adding the enamel dots to the stamping helped ground it towards my title. The floral chipboard is from the same collection as it the brad.
My journaling wouldn't show up on the floral background paper, so I added a journaling card. Even though it's a dark background, my writing is still legible. I added a couple of chipboard pieces on top of each other. Another brad, flair, geo tag and enamel dots bring it all together.
I turned to the 6x6 paper pad that I had for the collection and used both of the orange diagonal patterned paper pieces. After placing my photo on top of one piece, I randomly cut up the second piece and layered it all together until I liked it. Adding ink to all the edges helped make the layers stand out more.
After adding the orange paper layers to my photo, I felt it didn't stand out enough when I placed it on the background paper, so I added the mint patterned paper behind the photo/paper cluster and it helps your eye focus on the picture instead of it all blending in together.

Layout #2 is based on this sketch.
What can I say about this layout? I think I kinda love it. Even though I have quite a bit going on with my layering and embellishing, I think the photos still stand out.
I recently purchased the October Afternoon travel stamps and love, love, love how they look on the kraft cardstock. I think the stamping made perfect embellishments.
Even incorporated more of the roller stamping too!
Let's take a closer look at all the little details of this cluster.
I  can't get enough of the royal blue enamel pearls!
I used Kelly Purkey's grid rubber stamp on the same kraft cardstock as all my other stamping to give myself a place to journal. I didn't want to use a white pen on the background.
The Tim Holtz "Small Talk" phrase stickers didn't have a problem finding a home on this layout. 

So there you have it! I hope you have enjoyed taking a closer look with me at the 4 layouts I completed.
I can't wait to share additional layouts with you for this album. My hope is to have all of Barcelona completed by the end of August, if not sooner. I estimate I have about 12 more layouts to go in this section of the album.

As my husband said the other week, "For us only spending just over a day in Barcelona, there sure are a lot of layouts for it!" Why yes. Yes there are. And that's ok because stories are being told!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

2013 Europe Backpacking Album - Part 3

Another day, another layout share! Today I'll be sharing the second layout I completed after finishing Shimelle's class "The Scrapbook Process". You can read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed my previous posts.

The original inspiration for today's layout can be found here. Once again it's a scraplift, but this time I've embellished more than the original.
For this layout I used KaiserCraft's "Wanderlust" collection.

I used my Paper Smooches Pinked Circle Die cut set again. I just love how easily it adds texture to a layout, but also is a great base for building your embellishments.
I pulled out a couple of my Ali Edwards stamps sets.They are both from past Story Kits and I was thrilled to have finally used them. I made sure to stamp in each of the clusters.
The printed dictionary vellum I used is from DYI and even though the words have nothing to do with travel, I don't think it distracts you from the layout. In addition to the large matting piece, I made sure to include a little punched piece on top of each of the pinked circles.
I really love how the main cluster/journaling area turned out.

I incorporated wood veneer from My Mind's Eye "Hello World" collection. The "wood" geotags are from Studio Calico. The green washi tape from Kelly Purkey was the perfect color match.
I felt it was important to have arrows pointing back into the page since my journaling card had arrows pointing off the page. I managed to get my hands on the October Afternoon Daily Flash arrow chipboard the other week and I noticed how well the colors work with my travel layouts.
I'm not one who usually includes floating clustering, but since I did it in my last layout, it was quite easy to do on this one.

That's it. Another story has been told.

Please come back tomorrow where I will be sharing the last two layouts in this series of posts.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

2013 Europe Backpacking Album - Part 2

Yesterday, I shared how Shimelle's latest class, "The Scrapbook Process" helped me toward completing more layouts for my 2013 Europe Backpacking album. If you missed it, Part 1 can be read here.

Today, I am happy to share the first of the four layouts I have completed so far.

The original inspiration for my first layout can be found here (Pinterest Link). It's from the Glitter Girl Adventure 75: Extra Large Lessons episode.
For the most part, this is a straight scraplift. While I think the original is more embellished than mine, I followed the same design and placement of my embellishments.

All paper used to create my layout is from the Carta Bella "Travel Stories" collection.

The top embellishment cluster is quite simple. I pulled out my Paper Smooches Pinked Circle Dies to punch three circles in varying sizes to spread throughout the layout.  The smallest one I used here. I topped this cluster off with stickers from Shimelle's "Starshine" collection. The geotag sticker came from the Carta Bella sticker sheet that came with the collection.

I noticed on the original layout that I happened to have the exact same wood veneer used so I thought "Why not?" and on the layout it went.
A tiny floating cluster on top of some washi.
The main cluster at the bottom of the page includes a journaling card from Amy Tangerine "Ready Set Go". The colors on the card didn't match my layout exactly, so I used the remainder of a small border sticker from the top cluster that I ended up cutting to cover up the bits of the card that totally didn't coordinate.
I laid my title out on top of the largest pinked circle. I used the gorgeous teal Fitzgerald Thickers and small alphas from Basic Grey to spell my title. I rummaged through Pink Paislee's "Atlas" ephemera pack and thought the acetate globe and was too cute not to use and it matched perfectly. Another geotag sticker landed in the middle of the globe. The camera and and banners also came from this collection and I placed them all on top of the last pinked circle I punched.

The final touch on the layout was stamping the date on an October Afternoon label.
If you have any questions about this layout, please let me know.

Tomorrow I'll be back to share the next layout!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2013 Europe Backpacking Album - Part 1

A couple of weekends ago I spent some quality time in my crafty space (aka scrapbooking to my hearts content).

My focus was on completing additional pages for my 2013 Europe Backpacking album. 

But let's rewind just a tad. 

I recently completed Shimelle's new class "The Scrapbook Process", which was excellent and I highly recommend! (Click here for class details and to sign up!) She focused on three of her personal albums, each with their own "issue" and provided tips on how to complete pages for them. 

I really zeroed in on the tip of putting page kits together for an album that has been in progress for a long time (say years), but hasn't been touched in quite some time. These kits will include paper/embellishments, the pictures to be scrapbooked AND sketches for inspiration. 

I've used sketches, or scraplifted completed layouts created by other scrapbookers, in the past, but for some reason I felt like I was cheating because the layout design wasn't 100% my own.

After taking this class, I felt like somehow the guilt of using a sketch, or scraplifting, was released from within me because really, they are an awesome tool to help us in our own creative process. It's up to you just how much you stick to the sketch or original design.

I know this is deep and a little crazy for scrapbooking. So, let's jump ahead. 

I wanted to put my focus back on my Europe album and hopefully make a dent in it. Sketches and page kits came to my rescue. I went through all my photos for Barcelona that had yet to make it into my album, printed them, found sketches for them and finally created page kits. 

I managed to create 5 kits, each within their own page protector and placed them within the album of where they would live once completed. For the pictures that I didn't create a kit, I slid them in their own protector and also placed them in the album so I would have an idea of what was left to complete. 

The initial group of supplies I put together when I started this album has started to dwindle. So I need to complete some pages so I can assess what I have left to complete the remaining Barcelona pages.  My hope is that I can stretch these supplies to complete Barcelona and then use a new stack of supplies for our next country visit. 

I have to tell you that by just completing this bit of organization for my album, I felt super accomplished. It really took some of the stress I had been feeling about how I was ever going to move forward with this album. 

Since doing this, I have completed the 5 kits (one of them being a double page spread) and I have a sixth layout in progress right now. 

Tomorrow, I am going to start sharing the first 4 pages I completed during my scrappy weekend. 

Here's a little peak:

And yes, all these layouts used a sketch or existing layout as inspiration from one individual, Shimelle

Until tomorrow my crafty friends!

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.


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:

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!