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Monday, December 31, 2012

Am I Crazy? and Other Year End Musings

It is hard to believe that is it the last day of the year today. I've been frantically trying to finish up a major project that I am SUPER excited about but can't share with you just yet. Teaser: stick around until February!! I've also been reading a lot of year end posts. Favourites round ups. Resolutions. New One Little Words. It's all got me thinkin' ...

For the past few weeks I have had this crazy idea rattling around in my head. Really crazy!

What if I tried to go for the whole year without buying a single (non-essential) scrapbooking supply?


What do you think? Want to join me?

Here's my reasoning: 1) Money is extremely tight for me right now. I was left a handsome inheritance that ALL came to me as soon as I turned 19 (our age of majority here in BC). I used that money to live comfortably, buy a car, go to University, move to Scotland to "discover myself", travel and generally have a fabulous 20's experience. Then once I was married (oh yeah, we had an awesome wedding!) Greg and I used it to buy a townhouse, buy a new family friendly car, stay at home with my girls, buy a new, bigger house, buy a minivan, buy a new roof for the new house and all the while staying at home with the girls. The market crash of 2008 was pretty devastating for me too. The long and the short of it is that I am now back at work because we need that second income now. So .... I need to cut my personal spending and since scrapbooking supplies are quite expensive, and since I have a lot of them, this seems like a great place to start my new budget conscious life. 2) As I mentioned, I have a LOT of supplies! So, like money in the bank, I'm going to "spend" them instead of adding to them. Okay, that analogy doesn't totally make sense but I think you get my gist! 3) I'm curious to see if how long I can go without buying new pretty paper! Simple as that. I know it's a weakness and I think in order to quit my paper addiction I need to go cold turkey for a while.

Quick, someone start a PPA near me!! (Patterned Paper Anonymous!!)

Still think I'm crazy? Want to join me yet?

In preparation, I am doing an inventory of sorts. I've sorted my card stock by colour and am in the process of counting it. Next is my patterned paper. That could take a week! Good thing I don't have any shifts until Saturday!! I have typically kept most of my patterned paper in my paper racks but there have been stashes of random papers in drawers here and there so my goal is to get it ALL on the paper racks. I'm also amalgamating my Stampin' Up papers with my regular papers. I've made the decision to give up my Stampin' Up Demonstrator-ship as it really wasn't a good fit for me. (I have other reasons too which I'll talk about in a bit.)

Last but not least on my preparation list is to sort out and reorganize my crafting room. It's no longer really working for me so it's time to re-jig it. I also made the purchase of a Silhouette Cameo during all the Black Friday sales so need to make room for it in here. That's actually another reason I think I can get away with this crazy scheme. With my Cameo I should be able to cut any title or embellishment I need rather than buying pack of Thickers and ending up with a drawer full of half used packs!

Now that I've shared the crazy, let me share my musings.

My OLW (One Little Word) for 2012 was FOCUS. It turned out to be a great word for me. Towards the end of 2011 I was feeling pulled in several directions and wanted a word that would pull me back. Back into focus so to speak. I had intended on picking an area which I felt could use some attention and focusing on it for a month at a time. What ended up happening was that I started focusing on my scrapbooking and really started seeing results. I haven't counted exactly how many layouts I did this year but I'd hazard a guess at close to 200. Seeing as my goal was 144 (for my Twelve class at BPC) I think I can call that a win! I was also successful at getting onto two different Design Teams. The first was with Practical Scrappers and the second with Let's Get Sketchy. I am pleased to say I will be continuing with both in 2013! 

I was also published! My ScrapHappy group got together and published an e-book called Your Story Matters - 25 Memories to Capture Now. Right now it is only being offered to new ScrapHappy members but in mid-January it is going to be for sale to the general public. I am SO excited! I contributed 2 layouts to it and it was a ton of fun to do. I will keep you apprised of when it goes on sale so you can be sure to snatch up a copy for yourself!! :)

To say that FOCUS was a good word for me in 2012 is quite the understatement! SO ... the question is, what to choose for a new word to guide me in 2013. I have really struggled to find a word. I've toyed with words like "fun", and "family" and "lighten" but nothing is ringing true to me. Until today that is. It came to me out of the blue. My word should be REFOCUS. Focus worked so well I was loathe to give it up but at the same time I did feel I needed a change. Choosing the word Refocus may seem like a cop out but that is truly how I have been feeling lately. 2012 was good to me personally and professionally (I went out to get a job and ended up with 2!!) and now I need to refocus my energies for a new year of challenges and experiences.  As part of my resolution not to spend money on non-essential scrapbook supplies, I will also not be spending money on classes this year. So I will not be joining in Ali's OLW journey through BPC or Cathy's Move More Eat Well 2.0 or even Shimelle's classes (sob!) but I will be continuing these journey's in my own way. Seeing as I really didn't participate in the MMEW class last year all the material in new to me so I may just work through it "for the first time" on my own!

As I wrap this up, I wanted to say thank you for sticking with me on this journey of mine. I appreciate every single person who takes the time to read and comment on what I have to say or what I have created. My creative projects will continue to be posted here but I will be refocusing (LOL!) on my blog with the intent to include more family updates and more regular features. I intend to grow my blog this year as well as my presence in the creative world. I hope you will continue to follow me as I do this.

Have a safe and happy New Year's celebration and may 2013 bring you joy, love and success in your endeavors. 

**All images courtesy of Pinterest. Click on each image for more information. Thanks**

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Practical Scrappers Holiday Sketch #2

Wow! Two posts in two days! What's going on? LOL!

Over on the Practical Scrappers blog today you can see what some of our designers did with this sketch.

Here's mine.

Since my computer is in the shop with more recent photos trapped inside it, I went with what I had in my "printed to be scrapped" drawer. These are photos from Marley's first Christmas - I look so young!! We were having a Christmas celebration with my brother and his family and took Marley and my nephew Matthew to see the lights at Van Dusen's Gardens. I had fun mixing Christmas papers and tags with non Christmas papers on this layout. Digging deep into your stash can be so rewarding sometimes!! In fact, it has prompted me to come up with a totally crazy idea that I'll share with you soon!

Here are some close up shots of the details.

Layers and layers of tags by Teresa Collins and Echo Park.

Like my lights? I used my Holiday Ornaments Framelits by Stampin' Up! to create them. 

I liked how these Basic Grey letter stickers matched the old Basic Grey papers I found in my stash. The addition of  a simple pen outline makes them pop off the page.

Well, thanks for coming by today. In case you are wondering what is happening with my December Daily ... the short answer is nothing. I found it completely impossible to keep up with this year and have packed it away to try and finish in the new year. Between my work schedule I either wasn't around to record what was going on or I was too tired to attempt to make pages even when I DID have both the story and the photos. So, the lessons I have learned here is that next year I will prep WAY more, make it simpler and probably go to a December Recap book instead of feeling the need to record every day. As much as I'd like to say we have something worth recording every day of the month, the truth is we don't. I think one spread of our normal routine is more than enough!

I am rambling so will sign off now. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Little Late Let's Get Sketchy Post

Okay, since my computer is still in the shop and Greg's is becoming more comfortable to me, I thought I'd get up my Let's Get Sketchy layout for this week. The official reveal went live on Monday morning. Did you check it out? If not, click on the link above to see all the fabulous layouts by our DT Team A!

Here was the sketch that we were given.

And here's what I (somehow) managed to come up with.

I am a bit limited in what photos I have to scrap so ... since these were sitting out on my desk, I decided to go with them! They are from last November when Greg did the Movember thing to raise money for a colleague diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. I was SO glad when he was finally able to shave off the 70's Porn mustache!!

Some close ups too.

The journalling is half hidden so here is it tucked away (above) and pulled out so you can read it all (below).

Well, thanks for sticking with me this December. I know I've been spotty at best posting to this blog. Life with 3 active children and their own December activities as well as my own increasingly busy work schedule is just a wee bit more than I am comfortable handling. Live and learn. Next year I'll do a lot more pre-planning in November!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Practical Scrapper Holiday Sketch #1

Over at Practical Scrappers we are showing what we did with this sketch.

Here's mine.

And some close ups.

Got crazy with my red Dazzling Details (Stampin' Up!).

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you click on the link at the beginning of this post to see all the other amazing layouts by my fellow designers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Computer Catastrophe!

I just wanted to post really quickly to say that my laptop has died. Can I have a moment of silence please?


I took it in today and preliminary diagnostics indicate it's either the motherboard or the hard drive. The good news is that it is still under warranty (bought the 2-year warranty plan - phew!) The bad news is it may take a couple weeks to get it back. So ... my December Daily has been put on hold for now. If I can get decent pictures uploaded and printed from Greg's computer then I may continue from today onward, but I had not printed off anything from Days 4 - 12 so those days will have to wait until I get my laptop back. Looks like I'll be playing catch up in January!

Sorry to all of you looking forward to more pages from me. Thanks for your kind comments on what little I have been able to do this month. My schedule is so crazy that I really have not been able to much crafting of any kind which is driving me nuts! Working in retail means I'm getting lots of shifts (yay, money!) but not a lot of down time. :(

That's all for now. Wish me luck! I am REALLY hoping my data has not been lost!! Despite recent reminders from on-line friends I had not done a recent back up! Yikes!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Slowly Making Progress!

After posting pictures of my December Daily foundation you're probably wondering where the finished pages are. Well, they're taking me a bit longer this year. Partly due to my format (live and learn) but mostly due to my work schedule. December started on a weekend. A weekend in which I worked the Friday night and Saturday and Sunday all day! Not only was I a wee bit tired come Monday when I had time to sit and work on things, I found that since I hadn't been around all weekend I had no pictures and not much of an idea of what to document. Greg had taken some pictures from Marley's Jazz class on the Saturday and Sunday evening I got the girls to take some pictures of Greg's "do" after Marley styled his hair. Not very "Christmas-sy" but it is what it is and I just have to embrace it.

So, here we go ...

Here's a reminder of my front cover.

The inside of the front cover and Day 1.

I decided to add some stamping to the inside but because I'd already glued the frame and whatnot to the front it caused some missed bits in my stamping that I wasn't totally happy with. So I covered most of it up. Now its just background and I love it! I added a journalling card explaining how different I am finding this process this year as a working Mom and other bits and pieces.

Day 1 was kept pretty simple. A few pictures that Greg had taken with his phone, some journalling and some stamping.

Here are Days 2 and 3.

This is my attempt at creating a digital overlay. Not the best but it'll do. Some journalling and border stickers finish it off.

For Day 3, since I had no pictures, I took one of my pre-done art journal pages and simply added my number, some stickers and the journalling. Easy peasy!

There you have it folks. I'm working on Day 4 right now but will be working all day tomorrow and Sunday so ... who knows when this project will get finished!! Thanks for stopping by. If you're working on a December Daily or something similar I'd love to see it so please leave a link in the comments section.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Let's Get Sketchy Reveal Day

It's Monday. The first Monday of December in fact! Can you believe that?! I am already behind on my December Daily (working all weekend tends to do that to a gal) but I did manage to get my layout done for Let's Get Sketchy. This week Team A was working with this sketch.

Yummy, right? Here's what I did with it.

These pictures are from last year (some of my loyal followers may recognize them for Day 7 of my DD last year.) They were also taken with my crappy camera phone but I am embracing them for the story they tell. A story which in another year and a bit won't be repeated! Little Christine is growing so fast that these Mommy Dates will just be another memory once she starts Kindergarten. Sigh. As excited as I'll be for that day (don't get me wrong, the happy dance WILL come out!) I'll also likely be one of those Moms tearing up as I watch her skip into class! Until then I think I may need to have more dates like this!!

Here are some close ups of the details.

The little silver dots are Liquid Pearls. I forget to use it a lot and then when I do I wonder why because the results are so pleasing! Go figure!

Be sure to pop over to the Let's Get Sketchy blog (if you haven't already) to see what the rest of Team A has come up with today. We always appreciate some love left ... just sayin'!
Have a great week everyone!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Let the Fun Begin!

In November 2009 I got the idea to make an advent calendar for my girls. I wanted something with little drawers that I could put 3 small sweets or gifts into. You can read all about it here. Last year I revamped it using the Dear Lizzy Christmas line. Why, you ask? I needed to make the drawers easier to open and my original "drawer pulls" were ripping off.

So, why am I telling you all this now? Two reasons. One, I don't think I took pictures of the Advent Calendar last year and thought you might be interested. I've been seeing some pretty cool versions out there this year so figured I'd throw my little calendar into the ring! And two, I had to fill it up today as tomorrow is December 1st. Marley has been gently reminding me (read - most annoyingly pestering me!) to get it ready but I've been so busy I have been putting it off. Really couldn't put it off any longer though could I?

Here it is.

I've since moved it into it's December home above the fireplace in the family room. I really hope Christine can't reach it! She'd empty the drawers before you could say "Naughty List"! 

Just one close up for you today. These are the first two drawers. I can tell you that they only contain candies (extras from Halloween). I normally fill the drawers with little candies and a note with a fun Christmassy activity to do. This year, with my two jobs I'm not sure how much time and energy I'm going to have to do all those extra things so candies will have to suffice. For the most part!

Anyway, tomorrow (almost today!) also means the official start of my December Daily. I'm working all weekend so I'm not sure what's going to get in there but ... hope you'll check back to see!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's almost December Daily Time Again

Can you believe it? If you're American you are probably still in a Turkey Coma today or you've been at the malls since 4AM scooping up some great deals. Up here in Canada we're in full Christmas Prep Mode. As many of you know, I have two jobs right now. (Why two you ask? Not sure ... it just ... happened!) Anyway, BOTH my jobs are ready for Christmas. Pier1 Imports started putting out the Christmas product in mid-October (basically right after our Thanksgiving) and The Upstart Crow (my local job) got their halls decked this past weekend. So ... I'm in a Holiday Mood!! Beware!! I may start singing Christmas carols and  hanging lights!!

Must. Wait. Til. December. 1st!

You know what can't wait until December 1st? My December Daily. I am featuring my foundation pages over on the Practical Scrappers site today (check it out here) but for all you loyal followers, I thought I'd share more pictures and (maybe) more insight into my process. Oh and if you are wondering just what is a December Daily, it is a project started by Memory Keeping Guru Ali Edwards designed to help you record the daily goings on during the Holiday Season. You can check out her blog for more information here and see what she's prepared to use this year here. This is my 3rd year embarking on this journey with her (and thousands of like minded memory keepers out there!)  You can find my 2010 album here and 2011 here. Both of these albums use digital templates that I purchased from Ali Edwards and this year she is offering them again but I have decided to try my hand at making my own. I've downloaded a trial version of Photoshop Elements with the assurance from Greg that I can have the full blown version whenever I want (it was actually a birthday present that I haven't cashed in yet!) We'll see how it goes. I may break down and buy hers in the end!!

So, what have I got ready for 2012? I'm sure you're all dying to see some pictures, right?
Well, here you go ...

This is my cover. I had another set of the same Teresa Collins Christmas album covers that I used last year so I just covered them with layers of white paint, stencils and other bits. 

And this is what the album looks like at the moment. In previous years I have had every single page ready to go - all I needed to do was add pictures, journalling and some embellishment. This year I want to leave room for a bit more creative freedom so my pages are pretty unfinished (as you will see). I'm also hooked on the Art Journal look so a lot of my pages will be more art journal and less traditional scrapbook page.

This is a close up of my cover page embellishments. I am using mostly Echo Park papers from various Christmas lines (some have been in my stash for a while so it's time to use them up!) The frame was one I found in the clearance bin at Michael's several months ago. It was originally turquoise but a couple coats of some white craft paint and some brown ink distressing and voila! 

The insides of the front and back covers look like this.

And the back cover is a blank canvas waiting for inspiration to strike!

While digging through my stash trying to figure out what to use for the cover I found these pieces of raw chipboard. They were almost the perfect size to fit into the Teresa Collins covers! They are also what prompted the art journal idea as they lend themselves nicely to being covered with all sorts of things!

These are the art journal-esque pages that I have started so far. Some are messier than others and to be honest I'm not sure where this is going to end up, but the journey should be fun! 

These are the back sides of the pages above. As you can see, some are covered in patterned paper, some are covered in more paint and some are still raw ... I'm leaving myself lots of room for play this year.

Here's a close up of some of the texture I've got going. 

I've got a variety of supplies set aside and ready to add to this album. My day numbers (see below), lots of different journalling tags and cards, papers, scraps, paint, stamps, inks, stencils and some transparencies that may go in front of these art journal pages as day dividers if I don't feel like putting the numbers over any art. I can't wait to see how it all comes together!

As for my numbers, here is what I've done.
 Pretty simple. I felt that the pages themselves were going to be quite busy so the numbers needed to be bold enough to stand out but simple enough to let the artwork take centre stage. As you can see I have not attached them to any of my pages. I am determined to assemble as I go this year!

A close up so you can see how I popped up each star to give dimension.

And #25 got special treatment ...

Well, I hope you enjoyed this look into what I will be working on this December. I'd love to see your December Dailies if you are working on one this year. Please leave a link in the comments so I can come and  check out your work!