Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Almost TIME!!

Time? Time for what, you may be asking . . .

Well, it's time for all you scrapbookers to use up all those old supplies that you've been stockpiling for so long or holding onto for a "good reason." Maybe it was a piece of paper that was just so beautiful you wanted to wallpaper your bedroom with it; or maybe it was an expensive set of Jolee's that you can't stomach getting rid of because you spent hard-earned money on it.

With the start of the new year, and a new decade, lots of scrapbookers want to declutter their space so they can feel more productive and FIND things in their spaces. I am taking this time to join in this blog hop and share a page or two that I create with OLD (read: 2007 or earlier) supplies that I've just been hanging onto. I'd love to have you join us! Just go to this blog (Liberty Cottage) and sign up in the McLinky area. Then on February 1st, post a page, or two, and join in the fun! I can't imagine how old some of the supplies are that some of us will be using!!

Okay, and you know what else February is bringing? A LOAD of fun, of course . . . with Lain. Last October, when I participated in the Layout a Day challenge, everyone decided that we wanted Lain to host another one as soon as we had a chance for all the holiday hubbub to die down and get some normalcy back into our lives. Enter: February LOAD!! February's almost here, so go quickly and enter. She's promising some tips on how to scrap faster, and prizes too!! Go scroll down on her blog (linked at the top of the paragraph) to find the Q&A on the rules and I hope to see you there!

Speaking of these things, I'm supposed to be having my room organized and decluttered in time for these events (and LIBRARY OF MEMORIES). Since they're quickly approaching, I thought I'd update you!

Remember this tub??

That tub became THIS tub:

So that I could make it look like this:

That is what happens when my 6 year old decides he doesn't want to clean his room. He says "it's too messy" and "there's too much stuff all over the floor," so I go in and help him by making less toys in his room to deal with. The poor kid didn't know what to do when he came home and his most favorite new toys were in "time out" because he couldn't find a home for them. When he decides to either a) get rid of some of the toys he has left or b) put the ones left in his room where they belong, then he will earn these toys back. Poor kid thought I was throwing them away.

The buttons that were in that tub ended up here, in Making Memories plastic bottles. I had these left over from the Christmas treat containers that I did for teachers and neighbors, and I do wish they were bigger, so I may be saving up some of those Starbucks frappachino bottles and using them instead. I must say, while I love the look of these, they're kind of hidden from me and where my desk is located. I may need to invest in a shelf to put on the wall under (or above) my dry erase board (that still needs hung) and place these bottles on that shelf, with ribbon hanging underneath on pegs of some sort. I also didn't have enough bottles yet to put the black, white, and brown buttons away.

My friend April over at The Fragrant Hand is doing a marvelous job on her room and keeping me posted as well! Way to go April!!

I'll have an update on the ribbon storage I've been finding soon too!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm NOT "Caught Up"

Lots of people in scrapbooking today are always talking about how they're not caught up with their scrapbooking. They feel overwhelmed; often to the point that one day soon, they're considering stopping this wonderful hobby of memory-keeping. I'm so sad for them because you see, I'll never be caught up either, and this is what makes scrapbooking so exciting to me!! So, if I am caught up, it'll be a sad, sad day.

My friends, there's just so many hours in the day . . . and if our life is in perspective, our families and friends often come before scrapbooking . . . and therefore, we just don't scrapbook all day long, every day. Hopefully we're out there taking more photographs and making more memories - more often than we may have a chance to scrapbook.

The point here is:
Are you scrapbooking your MOST IMPORTANT memories?

Every time we add more photographs to our collection, our priorities have a chance of changing with what the most important events are to scrapbook . . . and even then, are the events really at the heart of scrapbooking? Our priorities change . . . maybe that vacation we took four years ago doesn't need an entire 12x12 album; maybe I can just slip them into a Photo Album Scrapbook or pick out some favorites to put on just a two-page spread. Maybe ALL those sports photos just get uploaded to a Shutterfly Share site for the team to enjoy instead of making an album for the coach. Everything I WANT to do just isn't going to happen. It's time to move on and accept that fact.

I've also learned for me that I really truly don't need a layout on every event we do - especially if we do them A LOT. Sure, I still take photos, but I don't always print out every photo from that trip. The photos I do tend to still print out are very personality-based; or location based . . . and are a lot of me just working on my photography skills.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we WILL NEVER scrapbook all the photos we have. Currently, in my digital organizer (I use PSE 7.0) I have 14,978 photos. There is NO WAY I even want to scrapbook all of those! I want to keep them to browse through, but I'm even in the process of working through and {gasp} deleting a lot of them that aren't "favorites." When I upload images from my camera, I delete some immediately. From there, I take favorite shots (not all 25 shots from my son's soccer game but maybe 2 or 3) and move them into a highlight tag for that season. These are the photos I choose to upload to Shutterfly and store for longterm archives. Shutterfly doesn't delete your albums if you don't happen to place an order within a 12 month period which is why I go with them; and it keeps all of my online backup in one location too. From there, I only print select photos (maybe 3/4 of what I upload) to do something with in real life. Will I scrapbook even all of those printed photos?? Nope, probably not even close, but I want to have them here in case I am inspired to scrapbook them at some point. Many of these photos end up in what I call category drawers: places for themed photographs (like everyday things, or sports) will age and end up being mixed together from all different time periods. Wonderful connections are made through things like these drawers; connectioins that may not have otherwise been captured as a memory.

If I had been caught up on scrapbooking, I'd miss out on a whole lot of connections of my children over the years; I'd have missed out on scrapbooking a layout of my husband pretending to be a train engineer and my older son also doing the same thing; and have it recorded for future generations years down the road for them to also compare their own son's actions on pretending to be an engineer! :-) Not being "caught up" has its privileges! I can now go back through and put lots of photos from different Christmases at my grandmothers house together on one layout and not worry about yet another Christmas layout from 17 years of going to my grandmother's house for Christmas Eve. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the tradition. It's very close to my heart. But I do NOT need 17 layouts of going down there when one or two will explain my memories in journaling and photographs over the years.

I'm more excited about scrapbooking than ever before!!

Then to add to that, when you realize that there are lots of solutions before you about how you "scrapbook" your memories and photographs, maybe it'll be a little more freeing.

What is scrapbooking to you? You must define this within yourself, and decide to either open your outlook to incorporate lots of different ideas; or struggle with the concept of putting limits on.

To me, I view scrapbooking as anytime you record a memory or place value on a photograph as being important. Sometimes (and most often) that is putting words + photos together (in a layout), but other times, it's making a photo album scrapbook, making an album from somewhere like shutterfly, or even uploading to a Shutterfly Share site.

I think when you're oversaturated with something, you tend to put less importance on them. I don't want the value of photographs and memories to be watered down because there are too many. I have over 14,000 photos just on my hard drive and if I were to scrapbook every one of them, I'm afraid my children wouldn't appreciate what they have in scrapbooks nearly as much. They'd never go through half of them . . .

These days, my children are looking through our albums more. And I love that. THIS makes my heart sing and I feel like I'm doing something worthwhile when I scrapbook. Of course, I KNOW this in my heart, but this is when my head is in unison with that. I never thought it'd be my two boys that want to create layouts with me in my studio; but it is. I can't get my daughter near the place . . .

Sorry for the rambling . . . I hope you take something away from this, because I have had a lot of these thoughts jumbling around in my head for the last month or two and I needed to start getting the ideas "out there."

Scrapbook Studio Update

I have to admit, I've not accomplished a whole lot this week in the realm of decluttering and organizing my scrapbook room. My plan is to really work on it during the weekends, so I'm hoping today in between loads of laundry I will get in there.

I have been researching ribbon solutions though. Here are a few that have caught my attention.

This idea was sent to me from librarybug. It's from the makers of the Clip-it-up, which while I love that product, it's highly overpriced. I had a friend make me one that is larger for only $25 (I should do a post on that next since this IS organization that we're talking about). I like it, but only if I had more ribbon by the spool, which I don't. I have maybe six spools of ribbon . . . maybe the 18" one? It's definitely something to think about. You could probably do this yourself too, with a gutter from the hardware store and a little ingenuity for the rod and slider to hold the alligator clips and keep the spools upright.

Here's another idea I found. Again, good for spools of ribbon.

Since these ideas are related to spools of ribbon, I am thinking I need the embroidery floss card idea (their plastic) with holes punched in them to go on a jump ring; and the ribbon stays on by slots that are in two spots on the ring. Does anyone have a clue what I'm talking about? There's one company that makes and sells them, and they're not sold in stores to my knowledge. I found them at CHA back in the summer in Orlando. This way, I can have them out and easily accessible, and use them as wall decoration as well. Problem is . . . I don't remember where I need to go to find it.

On another organizing note, I mentioned in my earlier post how I love how my paper is stored now. First of all, I purged A  LOT. Here's the stack of paper that is gone now. It's probably half of the patterned paper that I previously had (and even some pre-done layouts and cards). I'm not one to get rid of cardstock.

I have my paper now set up in the following way:

CTMH Cardstock: in bags by color in ROYGBIV order. I used to use A LOT of CTMH when I was an active consultant so I know these colors and even know which papers coordinate well with some of my non-CTMH product lines.

Other cardstock and patterned paper: ROYGBIV together in the cropper hopper paper holders. I love seeing these rainbows of color on the shelf. I keep all paper of one color together, using the dominant color.

Kits: There is a mix of kits here, from CTMH to Cocoa Daisy. My plan is to go through and purge these about every six months; splitting up kits that I've either used or decide that I don't want to use (and put them in my giveaway pile).

Patterned Paper in Display Dynamics racks: These are patterned paper by theme and a few by manufacturer. I {heart} Scenic Route, Basic Grey, and American Crafts so they get their own section and then by theme, including school, boy, girl, Christmas, among others.

How's everyone else doing in their quest to purge and organize their craft room? I'm glad several of you decided to take on this challenge with me!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

12 on the 12th (January edition)

I know, I'm a few days late with sharing; but the fact remains that I've dedicated myself this year to doing this project. My hope was to find a digital template before I shared, but I do want them recorded, so this is the way they're appearing here, and maybe, just maybe, by February 12 I'll have a really cool template to put my photos into.

For those of you not familiar with the concept, the idea is to take 12 photos of your daily life the way it is right then on the 12th day of every month. I think it'll be fun to see what changes and what stays the same over the course of my year in 2010. I'd love for you to join me in this journey, whether you decide to share your photos or not . . . if you'd like to share, please leave a link for me to follow in the comments for me to see your images each month! :-)

Anyhow, back to the images from January 12, 2010 . . .

1. scanning 2002 pre-digital photos, 2. our house is a racetrack, 3. Lance doing homework, 4. Matthew reading, 5. Christmas boxes, 6. breakfast for dinner, 7. home sick, 8. Gator bathroom, 9. stuffed animals anyone, 10. American Idol on TV, 11. laundry, 12. report cards today

1. I've been working on getting my pre-digital images scanned so I can start using them in the way I want to use them to scrapbook a few layouts. 2002 was the year I started staying at home and Matthew was born.

2. Matthew (and Lance) love to use our house as a racetrack for all their trucks and cars. from the dining room, to the living room, to the breakfast nook, to the kitchen and back into the dining room, there's at least a race a day and sweatpants have made it extra fun to run and slide on their knees.

3. Lance has loved homework this year. Tonight, he started with the craft project of decorating a mitten (that will decorate the hallways) and then continued to use my stickles (glitter glue for scrapbookers) in gold for some "tattoos"). Of course, he chose gold because that's the shiny version of yellow.

4. Matthew reading his weekly story on the computer. This week they're reading Click Clack Moo and it's a story I've loved for a long time. He did a great job, but it never ceases to amaze me where technology has taken us. I'm grateful for the computer process with this because I can hear him read along with the story and I know if he's saying the right words, and I can still be helping my other child with his homework; or folding laundry; or cooking dinner (see other photos).

5. Christmas boxes are STILL in the house and I'm so annoyed with that. I took down the decorations HOW LONG AGO?? Ed's working a lot these days so maybe before the end of February they'll be out of here.

6. Mmmm . . . pancakes. My kids are spoiled.

7. Poor kid. Kristen came home sick from school today with her stomach bothering her. Weird. She hadn't eaten anything out of the ordinary so we're in a watching stage (btw, she was fine yesterday and back to school).

8. A sneak into our Gator bathroom . . . our guest bathroom . . . it makes me very happy even though the orange is a little overpowering at first. We plan on putting some Gator slogans in white on the wall above the towels.

9. Matthew is going through this phase where he's taking ALL of his stuffed animals to bed. With freezing temps at night, he says it's because he doesn't want them to freeze. I find this interesting since he's never really been one to sleep with stuffed toys. Lance on the other hand, always has! :-) It's interesting how he's treating these animals like they're real and they'll freeze, and also that he cares enough to "take care of them."

10. American Idol auditions started airing tonight. Welcome back, lovely Spring lineup. 24 starts Sunday and Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice tonight.

11. Laundry, oh how I despise you so. It never fails that as soon as I "catch up" on it all, there's another load right there waiting . . . but then again, I stop and remind myself that it means I have a house full of growing kids; and that we're blessed enough to have enough clothes. I'm working hard on getting in a rhythm that will keep my laundry cleaned and PUT AWAY that works for me.

12. Report cards came home today. Matthew is still doing okay while Lance is doing fabulous. L is still getting the 31 and 13 mixed up a bit. M still has As and Bs except for his language arts which remains a C. It'll be interesting to see what happens now with his IEP in place this next half of the year. Fingers crossed . . .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Room To Move

Err, I mean scrapbook.

I'm working on reorganizing my scrap space over the next few weeks. Anyone want to join me in this undertaking and work on your own craft space???


There's a few reasons for this, but mainly it's the start of a new year, and the kids are back in school, and it's time to finally get to USE the space the way it was designed. Things are going to be getting busy again for me in February between Library of Memories and Lain's LayOut a Day Challenge and I'll NEED my space so I need to get busy.

Using the lessons I learned in BPS's Get Organized and Be Inspired class taught by Wendy Smedley last spring, with a few friends for online moral support, I'm clearing the room (did that Friday and Saturday); sorting them into piles of like items, and purging. THEN, I'm slowly moving things back in, thinking of where I will use them most, how I can best see them, and just how I want them sorted for long-term use.

My goals for this week are to:
  • purge and organize ribbon
  • organize buttons
  • organize tools

Tools are in here; as are buttons (in one large shoebox bin) . . . that'll be fun to dig through and sort! :-)

Ribbon is at the bottom half of this tub . . . I love looking at all the colors, but never use it. It was previously stored in a drawer, so I'm thinking I need some type of visible storage for this one . . . Any ideas??

This past weekend, I accomplished THIS (though I forgot to take a picture of the stack of paper I'm getting rid of). I think my paper looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

Anyone want to join me?? Share a link in the comments section to some before photos (whether they're on your blog or somewhere else online like a flickr account) and where I can keep updated on your progress. I think it'd be great to share the ideas that we come up with or to ask questions; or just for plain moral support! I'll be doing weekly updates here so be sure and check back!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Holiday Card Idea

In the last week, I've been celebrating the fact that all of our holiday decorations have already been pulled down and packed away. While I love the holidays, and even rearranging our furniture to fit our tree, I must admit that after a little over a month of having it all out, I'm quite ready for it to all be put away too. During the holiday season, I had a basket shaped like a sleigh that collected all of our holiday cards that sat on our kitchen counter this year. After I had put the basket away, the stack of cards remained . . . piled in a hot spot on my kitchen counter waiting for me to decide what to do with them. I had actually contemplated throwing them away . . . until I read Ali's blog post here. I took a square punch to the cards that very night.

Here's the resulting layout:

I started with a mix of sizes, but when it came down to arranging them, it was difficult to find a layout I liked. Since 1.5" was the smallest punch I used, I found a way to punch the larger sizes down to that for consistency. I was left with one open square and put our initial in it. I love it. For now, it'll go in the Poeple We Love album with thoughts in the back of my mind with moving it to a family Christmas album if I ever get to that point.

Last year, I just trashed my Christmas cards (gasp), but had I known how easy this was, I would have done this in a heartbeat! I love hanging on to the ever-changing faces and sentiments from loved ones near and far.

What about you? What do you do with your Christmas cards? Save them, trash them? If you save them, what do you do with them? I'd love to have other options besides sticking them in a pile to be dealt with later, but I'm also not one for making pocket pages and saving them whole.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Musical "blog train"

Today I've been thinking about music. Helen organized a blog train to celebrate the music in our lives and I couldn't resist. We chose today as it would have been Elvis' 75th birthday, and of course, where would our music be without a little Elvis?

If this is your first stop, or you're early in your trip, no worries, the train runs in a circle so from here, you'll just start again at Helen's blog and follow until you get back to your starting blog! In case any link is broken along the way, I've also included a list of participating blogs at the bottom of this post.


I love all kinds of music. Not just Top 40 mix, but everything, from classical to country and even to heavy metal. Music has always spoken to my soul in the many facets of emotions throughout my entire life. While I was never personally talented enough to sing, or learn to play the guitar, I could still name every artist and song on the radio when I was younger, AND be able to tell you all the words too.

I attribute my love of music to my dad. He did sing . . . and play the guitar . . . and owned a lot of 8 tracks and LPs . . . and every year under the Christmas tree, whatever music store gift certificate (yeah, in the days before "gift cards") I would get, I knew he was behind it, pushing that love. He opened my eyes to The Oakridge Boys, the Righteous Brothers, and Peter, Paul and Mary. He took me to my first concert, and even my second and third, and he didn't try and stop me from enjoying whatever music I wanted to listen to. In middle school, that music was more along the rock and heavy metal sounds. You know, Poison, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Alice Cooper, and many, many more . . . and while I loved all of them, I think my favorite band from that era was Bon Jovi. I made sure to see them every time they came to town, and they always put on a fabulous show. To this day, I still love the music that Bon Jovi created, and is still creating.

On that note, here's a video of my all-time favorite Bon Jovi song, Livin' on a Prayer.

Ahh, seriously, I could watch that over and over again . . . all day long. I even still love the hair! lol

In honor of my love of music and what it means to me, I created this layout. This layout was based off of a sketch we received in Ali Edward's Big Picture Scrapbooking class, Yesterday+Today. It was about putting the focus back on the words when you had no photos available (and off of all the extra embellishments). When I felt inspired to create this layout after doing the journaling for this post, I knew I had some childhood photos of posters in my room and of me at a concert or two, and maybe even my collection of tapes and cds . . . but I have a little secret to share. My childhood photos. My childhood photos are everywhere, and in no particular order, and though I spent about 30 minutes looking for them, I still couldn't locate anything appropriate and I didn't feel like trolling the internet for a stock photo. While I have a goal to work on that issue this next year, the fact remains is that I didn't have a photo for this layout, so I chose to use a few different patterned papers instead of a photo.

I used PSE 7.0 for the journaling, set into a layered template from Ali, but turned off all the layers, created my own layer for the title, and used Garamond and Amelie fonts. Most of the journaling was taken straight from the above post, though I did add some extra at the bottom. You can click on any of the images to see it larger.

Thanks again for stopping by!!
If you're just joining the train at this location, it just circles around. You'll go back to the top of the list with Helen and follow down until you reach your starting blog again. Thanks for joining us on our ride and I hope you had a lot of fun!!

Below are the participants in the Musical Blog Train in case you missed a stop.
April (You are here!)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

For Today

(Inspired by the Simple Woman's Daybook)

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW ... it is very cold (32 degrees F), and sunny, with leaves freshly bagged at the curb (the lawn guy was here this morning). There's also a hawk that's been coming around and sitting on a branch in our backyard, waiting for the lizards to enjoy the sun.

I AM THINKING ... about being organized and motivated and accomplishing a lot; and about all the things I have to do today.

WE ARE LEARNING … to do unto others as you would have done unto you. I know, basic, but my boys seem to be lacking in this area lately.

I AM THANKFUL FOR ... the sun, that warms my house and my heart on these cold days.

FROM THE KITCHEN ... I'm planning on cooking Chicken Fettucine and salad tonight.

I AM WEARING ... jeans and a grey ruffled vneck tshirt layered over a blue tank (compliments of my kids and Ann Taylor Loft for Christmas).

I AM GOING ... to the grocery this morning. We're in dire need of milk, salad mix, and Gatorade

I AM READING ... The Physick Book of  Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. Ever hear of it?? My mom said it's good, so now that my other "to read" books are done, I'm picking this one up.

I AM CREATING ... a layout to share tomorrow. I hope you come back to see. I'll be participating in a "musical blog train"

I AM HOPING ... that it doesn't snow tomorrow. Florida can't handle snow (or ice) and schools will likely be cancelled if that happens . . . I'm also hoping that Kristen is able to pull off straight A's on her report card again this 9 weeks.

I AM HEARING ... the hum of our refrigerator and otherwise, complete silence. It's wonderful.

AROUND THE HOUSE ... all signs of Christmas and New Years are gone, but I still have a few piles of laundry to deal with, as well as cleaning up the spare bedroom. Matthew and his tutor will be working back there tonight.

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS ... listening to my iPod (New Moon soundtrack) through our new surround sound system.

A FEW PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK ... include heading to Home Depot for some posts for a post bound album whichI lost the posts to; doing a few Design Your Life layouts, and scanning my husband's childhood photos (starting to at least); as well as cleaning and apparently Matthew needs a new pair of shoes.

Yeah, I know they're a little goofy, but they're mine . . . New Year's Eve at the Sea World Christmas Tree . . . getting ready to head home. Matthew won that turtle in one of the games and Lance rode the hydraulic Polar Express at the Wild Arctic (which is a HUGE step for him with the rides). Kristen was a huge help and it was nice to be in shorts while it lasted! Since Jan. 1, we've had a cold streak that has kept us in the highs around 38.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Favorite Photos of 2009

Inspired by Stacy Julian's Sprinkle the other day, I finally had a chance to sit down and peruse my 2009 digital image library. Boy, did I take a whole lot of sports photos just to get the one or two "perfect" shots. I really need to go through and delete a lot of those too, now that they've been uploaded to the teams' Shutterfly Share sites. I also realized how much I missed taking photos of some everyday activities around the house. I barely touched the camera during the time our house went on the market to the time we moved into our new house too. Lessons learned that I need to pay attention to for next year, I guess! LOL

Anyhow, the idea of this "sprinkle" was to take 10 minutes to go through your 2009 photos, grabbing ones that you love and tagging them. Then, set the timer for another two minutes and start deleting photos until you got it narrowed down to your top 12 photos of the year. They key was to go with your gut. Don't over-analyze and try and keep it even between your family members, or even try and do one each and every month. What I realized was that there were LOTS of meaningful photos, things I could say TONS about, but the fact remained that they really weren't favorites of mine. Below, you'll see my Top 12 Photos of 2009! Enjoy!

Matthew, though hating the Gators (colors are Orange and Blue) still seems to love the color orange! His new crocs and his orange hula hoop that he and Lance were taking to the soccer fields to play with while K had soccer practice. Though I don't care for composition and I'd love to have had only the shoes and hoop in focus, it's still a fun personality photo to me.

Ahh, nature at Washington Oaks State Gardens. I love going here, especially in the springtime. So glad I was able to see some butterflies out.

Also taken at Washington Oaks State Garden, but on the beach side. I have other shots of the boys playing and having a lot of fun in these rocks, but I couldn't resist the calm serenity of the landscape.

Kristen and her friends visited DC this past Spring. Good friends are so important in a teenager's life, and I'm glad she's surrounded by good ones. Some of these girls have been her friends since elementary school.

I don't know what it is about shots from the back, but I love them. Maybe it's because I'm always running behind my boys to keep up with them (especially at the park) and this is my most common view. Maybe it's because I can see what it is they're interested in and what they're walking (or running towards)..There's just something pretty emotional to me about them though. This photo was taken at Riverside Park. There is a duck pond surrounded by an aluminum fence and Lance was on his way to go feed them but got sidetracked by some pigeons he's looking down at trying to convince to come to him in this shot.

For Father's Day this year, we took the boys to Gainesville and took them fishing with their Grandma and Grandpa for the first time EVER. This shot is of hubby teaching Matthew about patience and waiting..We didn't catch anything until some guy shared his chicken liver with us, and finally some catfish started biting. The boys finally started having a ball after that. We, of course, gave the guy our catfish for allowing us to use his bait. No gators, no snakes . . .

Thank goodness that since we live in Florida, there's plenty of sites to see. We were going stir crazy once we finally moved into the apartment and now that we had some time before school started and the house was sold, and we had found one to move into, it was time to have some fun before school started back. My kids have always loved the Alligator Farm, and I'm glad we were able to make it there with Nana before they hit the books again!

Sunsets are fun to catch - between the colors and seeing the sun's rays go through the clouds, it just feels magical to me. This was the view of the sunset as viewed from the front of our new house.

The grin, the glow from the candlelight, and his love of that John Deere hoodie sweatshirt just make my heart sing. Happy 6th birthday, Lancelot.

The excitement is just contagious! Matthew always runs home from the bus stop so he can rush out to our backyard to see if the gator is there, and then back out front to wave goodbye to the bus driver as she's leaving the neighborhood. And I thought it was just to see me! LOL I usually will get a "hi mom, can you carry my backpack inside for me? thanks"

I love the details of this shot. Matthew so focused on painting, the colors of paint lined up on the side, and his prized dino that he's painting for me since the triceratops is my favorite. This was one of his birthday gifts from Nana that the boys fell in love with at Barnes & Noble. Lance got a dragon set, which of course, he painted one all yellow (his favorite color).

And last but not least, a shot of our family room on Christmas morning while fixing breakfast. The kids have all opened Santa gifts and are enjoying themselves, yet the chaos of unwrapping and having visitors hasn't quite happened yet. Usually, I get a shot of the tree on Christmas eve as I think it's always so peaceful. This year, that didn't happen, but I think I love this one just as much. I love seeing my kids all on the sofas, snuggled in pjs, enjoying their gifts. I enjoy seeing my husband's stereo equipment and tv where they sort of belong (that was one heck of a project getting the surround sound installed) and seeing the stockings hung over the fireplace. A fireplace that I had long lived without and have missed. The only thing left to do is to hang a collage of frames up above the sofa on the right of family photos - including past generations. I can't wait to start working on that project this new year!

Did you do this "Sprinkle" (or something like it) as well? Please share your link with me! I'd love to go have a peek.

And, while a little late, I hope you have a safe and happy 2010!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

One Little Word

One little word can do amazing things. by being one, it automatically increases its value exponentially and takes on an entirely new focus. Inspired by Ali Edwards and her One Little Word project, I made sure to take time and reflect on my past year and come up with my own One Little Word. Something that speaks to my heart, that is something I want to focus on in my life this upcoming year. I did this in 2008 (but it fell off the chart), didn't come up with one in 2009 because I didn't want to fail again, and decided to plunge into it again this year. The time is now, and a word has kept coming up in my thoughts the past few weeks, an underlying theme that I need to spend more time on. That one little word, my friends, is PRESENT. Not just a present as in a gift, but the present - focusing on the here and now, not the past and not the future.

Stop worrying, stop dwelling and enjoy here and now,  with who I'm with and where I'm going. I know I won't be able to do this EVERY moment, as I think it's good to spend some time reflecting on the past, as well as doing some planning for the future . . . but I'm not going to do it randomly - rather, focus on what I've got in front of me, while it's here.

Originally, I had chosen the word Engage - even tweeted about it - but in the end, it didn't focus on what I wanted. Something about it sounded wrong . . . I wanted to be actively engaging in my life; but the fact of the matter is, I want to be present more. I've had tastes and little glimpses of being present when I set up projects, but I want to work on it even more . . . to make it such a routine habit that it becomes easy and I can remember little snippets of my day with my kids, even find a way to enjoy chores in my house, and not be reactive to my environment but form what I want around me; to be proactive and present in my life, every day.

Did you decide to do the One Little Word this year? I'd love to know what yours was. Please share with me!

This class changed my life . . .

Library of Memories, taught by the one and only Stacy Julian, is OPEN for registration. I hinted about it on this post (yeah, it's there, down towards the very bottom), but I came back to tell you just how much this class has changed my life. Read on . . .

Back in 2001, I had just ventured into my very first scrapbooking store. I was overwhelmed with how and where to start since my daughter was already six years old. On the magazine rack, I started this book titled Simple Scrapbooks (the book in which the magazine was based off of long before it was a magazine). I browsed through it, and bought it. It had tons of fabulous ideas and I was excited about tackling my albums in bite-size chunks. One of Stacy's ideas was a Family Fun Library, and this one really hit home. It was all about writing your story and linking to layouts in "library albums" by category. While I loved the idea, I got stumped with how to keep up with that story (typing everything up and adding to it as the months went by). Eventually, I let it go. I was still struggling with TONS of prints too, since I didn't own a digital camera at this point.

Enter 2006 and I heard through a friend that Stacy was teaching Library of Memories (LOM) at her new website for online education. Unfortunately, I didn't make it into that 2006 class. It was full before I could register, but I did make it into 2007s class. I pretty much set up my library that year. My photos were organized to where I could put a finger on what I wanted to scrapbook; photos, for the first time ever, were seeing the light of day because I was printing them. My boys (who weren't around in 2001) were seeing them in photos and enjoying looking through their own memories through my photos. The look on their faces when they realized they had had a first birthday party and who all was there was astounding. Yes, they were loved, and now they knew it through the images that were captured and shown to them in my storage binders (the loose chronological storage system used in LOM). Not only this, but in class you start setting up category drawers by themes. Now, when I'm out for a walk with my kids and one of them says something particularly cute or funny, I can go find a photo I loved and wanted to scrapbook (but didn't necessarily have a story to go with it), and scrapbook the memory - right away. This, my friends, is what is referred to as "inspiration-based scrapbooking."

It's not using your photos as the memory trigger, it's using life as the memory trigger. And, that is a very BIG thing.

If you've been frustrated that you're not scrapbooking what you really want to be scrapbooking, and it's maybe caused you to stop taking photos completely, or you're just not inspired to scrapbook anymore, you really need to take some of your money and splurge on this class . . . for YOU. Scrapbooking is important!

If you've taken this class, please feel free to share your thoughts in a comment, or if you're planning on taking it this year (or anytime in the future) I'd love to hear that too! :-) I know LOM has touched many of us!

Just Finished

Reading this . . .

and it was really good, though I still don't think it was as good as Angels & Demons (though there's no way the movie was as good as the book either). It was intriguing to see all the symbolism surrounding Washington, DC and daydream about some of the experiments taking place from one of the supporting characters. I don't want to go into a lot of detail in case some of you haven't read it yet, but if you want to talk more about it because you have read it, feel free to leave a comment and we can email!