Friday, January 30, 2009

5 Random Things

Just a bunch of random stuff on this windy and dull Friday.

1) I redid the old blog's design and spent WAY too much time on it! But I learned a lot and it will be so much easier to change it up the next time. I found lots of online resources for free templates and tutorials. The new banner is called Vector Dreams and it makes me so happy just looking at it! Two other sites I found with fabulous blogger friendly templates are Gisele's and Lena's. I'm sure I will be looking there again the next time I have the urge to change.

2) I haven't posted any layouts for a while, so here are a couple of digi layouts I did recently using two kits from a new manufacturer called Marks Paper Company. I really like their product lines:

"He Loves Me" by Noreen Smith. 12 x 12 digital layout. Storybook Creator + Software - Creative Memories. "Old Fashioned Courtship" kit - Marks Paper Company.

"Grow in Love" by Noreen Smith. 12 x 12 digital layout. Storybook Creator + Software - Creative Memories. "August" digital kit - Marks Paper Company.

3) Happy Mail! I love to get packages in the mail - it makes my day. Recently I received TWO packages full of happy. This one:

from Big Picture Scrapbooking in anticipation of the upcoming Library of Memories class. (Uh...have I mentioned how excited I am about this one yet???!!!) I must go and alter my clipboard before the class starts in 2 weeks.

And this one from Creating Keepsakes/CK Media:

WOW...can you believe what I got? And CHEAP I tell you! Check out CK's Clearance Centre for some great deals. Even with the exchange rate and shipping to Canada I spent less for all of this than what I would have spent here in Chapters/Indigo for just a few of them. I found the clearance centre by chance when I was ordering my Project 365 kit. (Yes I was one of the lucky ones who actually was able to order it. It hasn't come yet, but that will be a VERY happy package!)

4) Speaking of Project 365...I am pleased that I have been able to keep up with it. I am enjoying focusing on trying to capture one image from our lives each day. I have been posting them in my Flickr gallery and have been doing my journaling using these digital downloads so that when I get the kit I will just have to slip it all into the page protectors! Are you doing some version of Project 365? If so I would love to hear how it is going after one month.

5) Finally for today...a reminder of the GIVEAWAY!!! In honor of one year blogging I am offering some blog candy to TWO readers. Make sure to comment to the post below before midnight MST January 31st! (So far your chances are very good!!!)

Have a great weekend and happy scrapping!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How do you Scrap? GIVEAWAY!

It feels so good to work with and help others that love to scrap as much as I do. I had a great day hosting a workshop for 7 lovely ladies who created an average of 5 scrapbook pages each today! And we had one gal who was brand new and created her very first layout ever about her sweet son. (And so another unsuspecting soul was introduced to this sweet addiction known as scrapbooking...!)

A lot of the discussion today was around the idea of being "caught up" and the organization of albums, and whether you scrap chronological, event-based layouts or "just because" layouts. I for one am in the middle of transition from scrapping chronologically to a more open style. I am hoping to really grasp the philosophy behind this style of scrapping when I take Stacy Julian's Libray of Memories class that starts in February. I am so excited! It feels like a whole new take on scrapbooking for me and I am looking forward to embracing it. I have set up my new albums that are divided into four categories that really make sense to me: All About Us, People We Love, Things We Do and Places We Go. Any layout I create could easily fit into one (or more) of these categories. Here is a shot of my album shelf with my new albums all labeled and ready to go:

I am using the same albums I have been using since I started scrapbooking - Creative Memories 12 x 12 Strap Hinge Style Album in four different colors - Green, Cobalt, Ruby and Chocolate. When you use this type of album you would normally work right on the page and that really supported the chronological style of scrapping I used to do. But with the introduction of these cool side loading page protector sleeves, I can now scrap on whatever type of 12 x 12 paper I want, slip it into my album and rearrange at will. I am so happy about this because I think CM albums are one of the best quality albums out there and they have a lifetime guarantee. That's important to me because if I am going to put all this work into preserving and sharing my family's story, I want to know that my album is going to last for a LONG time! I am one happy scrapper because now I get the best of both worlds.
Now for a GIVEAWAY!!!!! This is the first time I have given away anything on my blog and I am excited! I realized the other day that I have had this blog for a year now and have really enjoyed it. I know I get quite a few hits each day, but my readers must be shy because they don't leave many comments, and I would really love to hear from you! SO...I'm giving away a Creative Memories page kit to TWO lucky reader who leave a comment! If you live in Canada, leave a comment to this post about the questions below by next Saturday, January 31st and I will draw for a winner on Sunday February 1st.
So, here's the questions for you about how YOU scrap.
  • Are you a chronological scrapper?
  • Do you make pages about special days and events?
  • Do you scrapbook the everyday moments?
  • How do you organize your albums/pages?
I can't wait to hear your answers!
Happy Scrapping!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Heart Projects (FREEBIE!!!)

Creative Memories has really been stepping it up lately in terms of their Project Centre. They have a great design team who are really active. They created and featured a project a day prior to Christmas and they are doing the same thing for Valentines day - a new project a day for 45 days! Wow, there is so much inspiration here! (Apparently they will feature a seasonal or product inspired project a day everyday for 2009! WOW!)

One that caught my eye was by a fellow Albertan and CM consultant Jennifer Fehr. I really like her work and she created a 12 x 12 sheet of gorgeous valentine cards using CM's Storybook Creator Plus software and various CM digital kits. You can download the jpg image for FREE and print it out if you have a large format printer at home (if you don't you can have it printed at Creative memories Photo Centre or a local printer that does 12 x 12 images, like Costco). You could also use it as a background for a digital or traditional layout...print it out and use it as a piece of patterned paper! Lovely!

Another favorite site that features a project a day is Fiskars. Check out their January projects here. You'll find layouts by scrappers like Stacy Julian, Lain Ehmann and Valerie Salmon. I really like Fiskars TV as well...short videos that show step-by-step projects using Fiskars tools and products. There's also chances to win the prodcuts used in the video! And if you are a Fiskars fan but haven't become a Fiskateer yet, what are you waiting for? There are cool contests, giveaways and lots of fun and inspiration on the message boards! Send an email to one of the lead Fiskateers and join us now!

Hope these projects get your heart pounding too!

Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Colors I Love

A question was posed on Sisterhood of Scrap today: what's your favorite color and what does it say about you?

There is no simple answer to that as I love many colors. In my former life as an art teacher, the color theory unit was one of my favorites to teach. I could go on for days and days about the science of color and I had loads of exploratory assignments featuring the color wheel! My students didn't always share my love though! I am fascinated by how color works and the magic that happens when colors combine. I love to play with color - paint, paper, crayons, markers, fabric etc. That is probably ONE of the reasons I love scrapbooking and all the yummy products that go along with it!
My closet has some clues as to my favorites. Let's yellow, no orange, a few items in red. A lot of black and brown. But mostly I favour all the cool colors...blues, teals, greens, and even some purples. Calm, cool and collected I like to think! If you had to pin me down to one favorite color though, I'd probably have to pick turquoise. It's rich and deep and lush and exotic - all at the same time!
And what does my favorite color say about me? According to this site, I am complex, imaginative and original. I don't know about that. I just know my eyes look prettier when I wear turquoise!

You can visit these sites to have lots of fun with color:

Kuler - an application by adobe that lets you create and save all sorts of color schemes. Check out the ones I made here. (Hmmm...when I look at these themes there are a lot of variations on aqua and turquoise! Go figure!)

Big Huge Labs - which is part of Flickr and lets you do some really neat things with your photos. I love the Palette Generator which looks at a photo and gives you swatches of colors that match the photo! How cool for use scrapbookers, eh? Here's an example:

On a much different note...did you see the announcement about Simple Scrapbooks Magazine? The May/June issue will be the last. I love Simple Scrapbooks and I will miss seeing it in my mailbox, but they said that the simple philosophy will "live on" in Creating Keepsakes. Oh well...time to move on, eh?
Happy Scrapping!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Muffin Tin Mama

I absolutely felt like the worlds best mama today, all because of a muffin-tin!

OK...let me back up...

One non-scrapbooking blog I really like to check out every once in a while is Let's Explore - it has lots of fun ideas for pre-schoolers and is written by a former teacher, like me! As I was browsing around, I came across a post about serving meals in a muffin tin. Intrigued, I followed some of the links in the post. Lo and behold there was a whole bunch of muffin tin mamas giving their kids fun meals served up in the wells of muffin tins! Cool!

So I jumped on the blog-wagon and served Grayson his lunch today in an old (rarely used!) muffin tin!

Banana muffin, ham cubes, goldfish, grapes, cheese cubes and raspberries. And to make it even better, I gave him a pair of springy chopsticks I got at the dollar store a while back.

He looked at it.
He tested the springy chopsticks.
He dived in.

Grayson is not necessarily a picky eater, but most times he can't be bothered to sit still long enough to eat. So capturing his attention and allowing him to have fun eating really made a difference. Except for a few goldfish he ate it all...which is really unusual! Needless to say I will be serving up some meals in muffin-tins more often!

I also got a little more organizing done today which is great. I started in on the playroom - organizing craft supplies so we can get creative a little more easily and a little more often! I also dug out the baby toys for Sammy and separated a few of G.'s big toys to put away in storage (I'll rotate them in a few weeks).

We got two nice things in the mail today... the Family Highlights storybook I wrote about on January 1 came today from Creative Memories and we had fun looking through the hard copy. We also received the much needed but not very exciting Wireless Sensor Bar for our Wii. Apparently we need it in order to play because of the projection TV/screen. We have had the Wii since before Christmas but haven't been able to play with it! I'm guessing we'll be very busy this coming "wii"kend!

Two design calls caught my fo my favorites - Sisterhood of Scrap and a new paper company called Marks. I think I'll try for both and see what happens! Keep you posted!

Happy Scrapping!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Birthday Invite

I have to get to bed, but I had to share this first! I just finished doing the invitation for Grayson's birthday party! I did it as a photocard with Storybook Creator Plus software and the Disney-Pixar Cars Digital Kit, both from CM. I love the "cut-out" of G...hopefully he'll love the whole thing when he sees it tomorrow morning!

These photocards are great because I can get them printed just like a 4x6 photo at my local Wal-Mart or Costco in an hour or so. That makes them under .20 cents each - cheap and quick!

Hope the party is as fun as the invitations!

Happy Scrapping,

Blogosphere Blues

The blogosphere can be a cruel place indeed.

Don't get me wrong...I love writing my blog and reading blogs by others. There is a real camaraderie out there in blog-land. But sometimes it just seems a little unreal.

Last night after finally getting Sammy fed and to sleep I was using my precious free time to do some surfing - looking for organizational ideas. I started clicking links to blogs I had never visited before and magically I wound up in a land of mommy bloggers who seem to have PERFECT lives. Wow - they have, do and know it all. They all live in perfect houses and have perfect husbands and children. They give advice on how to have perfect lives as well. It all became a little overwhelming. Is anybody's life THAT perfect? I know mine isn't.

Normally I don't spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and their situations, but on a couple of occasions lately I have found myself doubting whether I am really doing a good job as a wife and mom. Consider...

  • My house is a far from perfect it is laughable. We seem to exist in a state of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome).
  • My meal planning and cooking skills of old have dwindled to choosing from amongst the pre-made entrees in the freezer. (And which frozen vegetable would you like with that, honey?)
  • My once meticulously cared for wardrobe now consists of tee-shirts and flannel PJ pants or spit-up stained sweats, none of which fit or are flattering.
  • My vision of going to visit my mom in her care facility regularly once or twice a week has yet to be realized.
  • My attempts at doing organizing projects are thwarted by a 6.5 month old tyrant who demands to eat every two hours. (He's pretty cute though, so that's ok!)
  • My soon-to-be four year old is actually saying NO to me when I ask him to do something, and I don't know what to do about it. You would never know that I was once a Vice-Principal used to disciplining kids for all sorts of things.

I guess it's easy to get a little down when you haven't showered and are still in your pajamas at 2 in the afternoon and you imagine that everyone else is "out there" living fabulous and "perfect" lives. And when everyone in your family is sick (including you) and you can't get outside because of two feet of snow and negative temperatures, it all just seems YUCKY!

I know it isn't the truth and that I am very lucky to be at home with our boys. SO...I'll go comb my unwashed hair and have another cup of tea and play with Grayson for the 15 precious minutes left before Sammy needs to be fed (AGAIN!). And I will count my lucky stars and be thankful for my many blessings.

Happy Scrapping!

Note: After I wrote this post I went downstairs to find Grayson and see what he was doing. I got a great shot of him standing on his toychest, moving all the Thomas wall decorations around in his very messy playroom (remember - CHAOS!) It ended up being my Project 365 pic for today!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This and that

We are all suffering with some kind of winter sickness around here...Shane and Grayson have sore throats, I still am suffering from sinus pain and congestion and poor Sammy has pink eye! We went off to the doctor to check everyone out, but apart from Sam's anitbiotic eye ointment, there isn't any medicine that can help us. Sigh...

Sam actually had another doctor's visit at the Head Shape Clinic at the Alberta Children's Hospital to have a flat spot on his head checked. After an assessment, it looks as though he will benefit from wearing a corrective band/helmet for a few months to help his positional plagiocephaly. The before and after pictures of children who have had the treatment are quite remarkable. We also were assured that the band/helmet seems to worry the parents more than the child, and is not painful or uncomfortable. Sam's is not as severe as many cases are and we are hopeful that it will improve after the band is worn. Still...I feel bad for poor Sammy and even moreso, I feel guilty that perhaps he didn't get enough tummy time or something and this could have been prevented if I had done something differently. Mother's guilt, eh?

I haven't done a lot of scrapbooking in the past few days, but I am enjoying keeping up with my Project 365 photos and posts each day. It makes you look at life a little differently! And as it becomes a habit it becomes very gratifying to know you are recording just a little snippet of daily life for your family to look back on.

Happy Scrapping!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Project 365

As well as doing my Year of Memories Calendar/Album Project, I decided to join thousands of others and do Project 365. The project is basically to take a photo or document something EVERY day and slip it into a great binder/album using the kit designed by Becky Higgins. I was even able to buy one of the kits, which apparently is no small feat. I look forward to receiving it and starting to slip my photos into it. I will be taking a photo a day and posting it on my Flickr can see them by clicking on the Project 365 icon on the sidebar.

One of the things I love about blogging is the stuff I have learned - about websites, e-commerce, online traffic, HTML, Javascript, available resources etc. Plus, it has opened so many doors into an online commuity I never knew existed! I have made many new cyber friends in the world of online scrapbooking and I have really enjoyed it. I never feel isolated when I am at home with the kids - I have a bunch of friends just a few clicks away!

This past year started partly as a way of making scrapbooking a more viable source of income in my life, but it has become a journey of personal learning and enjoyment as well!

Happy scrapping!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Happy New Year!

What did you do to say goodbye to 2008 and ring in 2009? Since I am loaded with a sinus cold, I didn't head out to a celebration party as was planned. Instead I stayed at home, drank lots of tea and created a 2009 Highlights Storybook!

I went back through my photos from 2009 (easy to do using my Memory Manager software software, then using Storybook Creator Plus software I plopped them into a 8x8 template to create the bones of the book. Then I added the background pages using the MOD Digital Kit and some point form journaling. The resulting book will be sent to me within a week or so and will be a great review of the entiure year...and I did it in only a couple of hours!

Here are a few pages from the book:

First and last pages:




Pretty cool, huh? I love digital!
Lots of us make resolutions at this time of year that only last a couple of weeks or even just a couple of days. I am really going to try to keep my (scrapbooking) resolutions and stay on top of
"keeping up" with our family memories. Have you thought about how you might keep track of all the memories to be made? I am definitely doing this and am thinking about doing this. Both are great ways to start and STAY organized in the process of memory keeping. And just think, on New Year's Day 2010, my 2009 memories will be safely tucked away in an album...complete and ready to look back upon with fondness! (Is it strange that I am so excited about getting organized???)
I am also excited because the January 1st challenge is up at Christmas Cards All Year Round! The challenge was to create a traditional card using red/green, a stamped image or rub-ons. Here's mine:
I was itching for a chance to use the new Christmas papers from American Crafts, so I punched some squares out of the fun patterned paper, inked up the edges and arranged them on a 5 x 5 card base. I liked the brown in the patterns, so I used brown cardstock as the base for my rub-on sentiment from Memory Makers. A fun little star brad finished it off. It probably isn't as traditional as it could be, but I do love the colors and patterns together. (And I have to say that I am tickled to see my work posted as a Design Team member!)
Staying with the idea of looking ahead, if you did each card challenge from CCAYR over the coming year, you would have plenty of Christmas cards for NEXT CHristmas! So, get started already!

Whatever your plans for the upcoming year, I hope it is happy and full of blessings. I look forward to saring more memories with you in 2009.
Happy Scrapping!