Friday, March 27, 2015

Pursuing My Passions - Wellness

This is part 4 in a four part blog series about my passions and how I'm pursuing them this year.  I'm doing this as much to get it all organized and straight in my own mind as to share with you what I've been up to lately and why I've been so absent from blogging. So here goes...

True confessions: 

I am not passionate about exercising. In fact, I mostly hate it.

I am not passionate about eating healthy foods. In fact, I'm rather fond of pizza, chocolate, coca cola, and a variety of other not-so-healthy choices.

I am not passionate about visiting doctors. Self-explanatory, right?

In fact, given the option, I'd rather be crafting, watching television, or reading a book while munching on something sweet, preferably chocolate. So I'm not sure this final installment of "Pursuing My Passions" is really about a passion, as much as it is about life choices and making room for the things that promote wellness. 

Because I am passionate about being as healthy as my body will allow.

I am passionate about being physically and mentally capable of doing the things I enjoy.

I am passionate about honoring my One Little Word - Thrive.

In order to be healthy and physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually capable, I have to make choices and do things that promote a healthy body and mind.  With that in mind, my very specific plans for pursuing wellness this year include:

1. Read 12 new books - at least one per month. You know, to promote a healthy mind.  And if I particularly enjoy a book, maybe I'll even manage to post a review!

Jan: "Written In My Own Heart's Blood" - Book 8 of the Outlander series. Oh yes, I was totally hooked on this series. I started last September and read all 8 books on my Kindle.

Feb: "Where She Went" - the sequel to "If I Stay" which I saw as a movie. I just had to know what happened next! 

2. Try 12 new recipes - at least one per month. And I'm specifically looking for Paleo-friendly, wheat-free recipes that can be incorporated into our family meal planning. Because I do feel better when I'm grain-free. But it is HARD to cook grain-free and still come up with things my family will eat.  If I come up with any winners, I'll try to share.

Jan: Banana Oatmeal cookies - technically oatmeal isn't Paleo (it is a grain) but is one of the lesser evils of the grain family. These are great for a "snack" food for me, but the family doesn't like the gummy texture.

Feb: Chicken & Rice Casserole - again, rice is a grain. But it isn't wheat. And I made this recipe a half dozen times, tweaking it just a bit each time. I have now perfected it. How do I know it is perfect?  Becca ASKED for it while home for Spring break!

3. DeClutter my house - at least one area per month. Because clutter causes me stress. And stress is not conducive to wellness!

Jan: The Office. I moved everything OUT. Then moved back in only what I wanted to keep. I totally rearranged the furniture. And I purged SIXTY ONE pounds of paper! I may not personally have lost weight doing this, but I definitely felt lighter.

The two shopping bags full were taken to work to be shredded - lots of receipts, medical info, cancelled checks... dating back into the 80's!  The recycle bin was filled TWICE and taken to the recycling center. 
Feb: Utensil Drawer in kitchen. Not the silverware drawer that houses forks, knives, spoons. The big drawer under the cooktop that houses things like measuring spoons, can openers, spatulas, etc. I added a drawer organizer, so things don't slide around.  And I got rid of the utensils we don't use. It may be a small area, but it was a big victory!

4. Complete Unfinished Projects - work on at least one a month. What does this have to do with wellness you ask? Well, here's the deal. Those unfinished projects are constantly at the back of my mind. Always whispering to me about how I'm scattered and don't keep my commitments, even to myself. Those unfinished projects make me feel LESS than. And I know if I can finish some of them, there will be BREATHING ROOM in my thoughts for new and exciting projects. So yes, another kind of mental/emotional wellness. And yes, I'm doing it! While I haven't technically "FINISHED" anything yet, I have worked heavily on the girls School of Life albums in both January (remember 40 pages completed while Camping at the Crop) and during February's LOAD challenge (at least 12 of those layouts will be incorporated into the girls' albums - some in more than one!).

I'm tracking those four items along with my One Little Word assignments in a Heidi Swapp calendar/planner (the 2014 version which I picked up last year after seeing it featured in the Big Picture Classes "FUN" class).

 Each month starts with this planner page with pre-printed dates, to do lists, and more. I'm using the dates to note appointments and meetings and mostly covering up the rest with ephemera from the month.
 Then there is a divided page protector, which I'm using for photos, One Little Word assignments, and monthly recaps where appropriate.

 The last page of any given month is this calendar. I'm using it for my Gratitude Practice - to record the best thing that happened that day, or what I am grateful for that day.  I'm using the blank circles to record my book, recipe, declutter, and finish items for the month.

 Not much in the way of ephemera for February...
 I posted that Minion photo on my facebook feed when I was feeling particularly OVER the snow.

 I took a photo of my OLW Vision Board to include in this page. I wasn't feeling the monthly recap at this point.

In addition to all the "Thrive" related things being recorded here, I am actually doing all the One Little Word assignments. Here is the March writing assignment:

 So there you have it. Pursuing Wellness. Not a lot of discussion about losing weight (so far I'm doing miserably on that account) or about exercise. I actually had to back off of some body weight exercises I was trying as they were causing other pains. But Spring is coming. And with it my opportunity to try again and to keep improving. 

How do YOU pursue wellness?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Five Faves

I didn't take many photos in February and the few I did, do not rise to the level of scrap-worthy. So I've decided to dig into the archives.  These are the photos (from 2005 & 2006) I plan to scrap in March:

Dad's Helper


School Project
Sweet Sixteen

Sarah's Tree

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Art Journaling

 A manifestation of my goal to FINISH what I start this year! Some of what looks like bubble wrap print is actually modeling paste applied through a stencil - and very rough and bumpy to the touch.  I wasn't particularly happy with my lettering on this one, but had to go with good enough.

This was a quick messy background which I actually liked as a base. But the prompt when I was doing this was to "cover up the good stuff"...

...So I did! This is my "Thrive" vision board - the February prompt for One Little Word. It is lumpy, wrinkly, and heavily layered. After I had all my magazine cuts glued in place, I went back and painted and stamped with texture and used markers to blend... and I'm kind of in love with the glorious mess I ended up with!

This one is my tribute to Artfully Inspired's "passion" prompt. I'd love to take credit for that gorgeous graphic in the center, but it is actually elements from a digital scrapbooking kit that I printed on photo paper. My attempts at drawing a fiery lady from scratch were, well, not so hot (pun intended). And I love the graphic... it goes so well with the quote.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Scrapbooking Shares

It just occurred to me that I never posted the last of my LOAD Challenge layouts from February! OMG...

For your viewing pleasure....

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Social (Media) Butterfly

I got to meet up with Karen and her husband Tracy yesterday! We've been trying for a long time to meet up and it finally happened. We had lunch at The Perk and then went into Philadelphia for the Flower Show.
Layout made with Krystal Hartley's newest kit "Social Butterfly"
While the Flower Show was certainly nice and a great opportunity to practice photography (minus the dark atmosphere and nasty convention floor lighting), the highlight for me was meeting and spending time with Karen! She was just as lovely in person as she is on the Internet. And Tracy is a total sweetheart too. I had a blast!  Can't wait for the next opportunity for us to meet up again.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pursuing My Passions - Scrapbooking

WARNING: This is a LONG and PHOTO HEAVY post! :)

This is part three in  a four part blog series about my passions and how I'm pursuing them this year.  I'm doing this as much to get it all organized and straight in my own mind as to share with you what I've been up to lately and why I've been so absent from blogging. So here goes...

One thing leads to another.  But scrapbooking was the genesis of it all.

Don't get me wrong, I was a creative before scrapbooking... crochet, sewing, quilting, embroidery, macrame, etc. ... selling at craft fairs with hand made dolls, teddy bears, and baby quilts ... in fact, I even did "scrapbooking" back in the days when it meant putting pictures on white backgrounds with a single line caption and no embellishments or *GASP* in magnetic albums!

But Scrapbooking is where it all began.  In 1999.  With an album purchased at Disney World and supplies and stickers from Michaels. Because I wanted to capture in full detail our family's first trip to Disney in November 1998.  An album full of photos cut into shapes with fancy edge scissors and covered with sticker sneeze. An album that, while it makes me cringe, still captures the wonder and joy of that first trip to Disney World.
After that album, I learned about Creative Memories and acid free and a whole new world opened up. A wonderous world with endless possibilities and I was hooked.

Now that I was scrapbooking, I wanted more and better photos. Jay was always the family photographer. But 95% of his photos were of just our three daughters, individually, in pairs, as a group. He had a singular focus. I wanted more. So I got into photography.  But my skills at people photos leave a lot to be desired! I gravitated to nature photography and still life.  

2001 began two successive rounds of being an independent consultant for start-up direct sales scrapbooking companies and having my "style" heavily influenced by the product lines presented.

Scrap in a Snap featured bright,  busy patterns printed on glossy cardstock with cartoony embellishments. Which made for fun happy pages.

Top Line Creations had a more natural palette with lots of slightly-off-kilter geometrics. Which made for more subtle and beautiful pages.
In 2006, I was introduced to digital scrapbooking... which led to online education... which led to blogging... which led to more online classes and exposure to more styles and more things to be passionate about... like She Art... like Mixed Media... like Art Journaling (both digital and the messy kind)... and it all started with scrapbooking... but I digress...

So, Cheri, what are you doing this year to pursue your love of scrapbooking?  Why, thanks for asking!

Right now I'm participating in LOAD215.  The next LOAD is scheduled for October and there is a good chance I'll be ready for another round by then. 
 I don't have any "scrapbooking" classes on tap for this year, although I may go back and finish up a class or two from my Big Picture list - we'll see. 

Ha! Just made a liar out of myself. Had this drafted and I hadn't signed up for anything, but I literally JUST used my 11 year anniversary gift card from work to sign up for a six month membership in "Champions" at Scrapaneers.  So I'm hoping to improve my digital scrapping a bit and maybe learn my way around my new PSE13 - so much has changed since PSE10!
I'm taking inventory of all my paper scrapbooking albums/projects - seeing what work needs to be done to finish off a few albums and what needs to be let go. Using the "Start Fresh" planner and then making plans to get those pages done! 

I'm attending a weekend scrapbooking retreat in mid-April. Hopefully another chance to work through a lot of the girls' School of Life albums.  And possibly a day crop at the beginning of May.

I'm slowly reviewing and purging my digital scrap stash. It is so easy to let things build up when they are "hidden" on your computer (although certainly not neatly put away... the files are a disorganized mess!). 

I'm trying to pare down both paper and digital supplies to make the process of scrapbooking simpler and more in line with "my" style... 
and I'm trying to figure out just what my style is... by ruling out what it isn't... what doesn't bring me joy...  

I admire so many styles out there, but I don't aspire to be the next Cathy Zielski or Shimelle Lane or May Flaum or [fill in the blank with your favorite scrapbooking celeb].  I just want to be the best Cheri Andrews. I want my pages to be recognizable as ME, not as a copycat somebody else.
So I think this is a year of paring down, simplifying, finishing up and of discovering just where scrapbooking goes from here in my life.  One thing is for sure... it isn't going away!

What are you doing to pursue your love of scrapbooking?