Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Christmas Journal Pages & Merry Christmas!

I can't believe it is Christmas Eve already! I'm ready ... everything is bought, wrapped, kitchen stocked, etc. Now we just get to celebrate. (I hope).  Here is yet another installment of Christmas Journal pages:

Another of those "just a quote" pages from a day when I didn't have photos.

Documenting real life.  The xray doesn't belong to my kids - it was clipped out of the little booklet they give them about what to expect during & after the surgery.

Love the stockings hung from the mantle - for years they hung on the staircase because we blocked the fireplace with bookshelves to protect the girls when they were little.  Love this!

I've always wanted to document some close-ups of our stockings.  I made these (yes, said with a measure of pride and satisfaction).  We've had them for years and years now and they still look great.  At some point I need to go back and figure out when I made them.

Last one for today.  This is the paper I used for this year.  All green & red and very Chrismassy.

Now I'm off to shower and maybe do some more scrapbooking!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Past

photo circa 1996

Christmas was so much simpler when they were this age - they believed in Santa, had no real expectations of what would be under the tree for them, and loved all their gifts (except the clothes).  Yes, this photo makes me nostalgic and missing my little girls.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Letter to Santa

Postcard is from the Cozy Christmas Postcards set by Tia Bennett available on Two Peas

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Year in Status

with thanks to Sharyn for posting the link to this cool app.  I'm even happy with most of the status posts that FB randomly selected for me.  But I'm thinking about turning this into a real scrapbook page and wondering (since you get a png file from FB) how difficult it would be to change out some of the wording...hmmm.  Or I could just be truly authentic and leave it alone.  Call it done.  It's cool just the way it is.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Christmas Journal Pages

Yesterday I posted this page:

When it was done, I was feeling creative and decided it needed a companion, so I put together this to turn it into a two-page layout for my Christmas Journal:

The paper and frosted overlay are from Erica Zane's Touch of Winter kit. The word art is Katie Pertiet's Defining Christmas set.

Since I was on a roll, I got another two page set done:

Paper, frosted overlay, and snowflake are also from the Touch of Winter kit. Tradition font is Scriptina, journaling font is VT Portable Remington.

As you can see, my pages are getting done in really random order, but they are getting done!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Believe

Do YOU Believe?  Inquiring minds want to know. Click on the photo for a larger view if you can't read it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blogging & Shopping

on Blogging - a case of ask and you shall receive! I love bloggers... it is so reassuring to know that even when I'm not getting heaps of comments there are people out there reading my thoughts and sharing my days. Thanks to everyone who stopped by after Friday's post and left me some love! You all made my day!

on Shopping - I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas shopping.  See if this description fits for you...

In some respects I hate Christmas Shopping - mainly because I'm a little bit claustrophobic, or maybe its enocholophobic. I find them confusing.  I'm not afraid of small spaces like elevators or closets.  I'm not afraid of people or even large crowds of people.  It's the combination I find disturbing - large crowds of people in tight spaces.  Which is why I don't shop Black Friday at the Mall.  And why when I go to convention halls, I pass right by the booths that have large numbers of people in them.  At CK Convention, you can pretty much assume that the booth with all the women elbowing past each other has the best scrapbooking stuff - or the best prices on some gotta-have-it item - but there is no deal great enough for me to join that party! And should I accidentally find myself enveloped by that party, I get a headache, feel like I can't breathe, and immediately search for the nearest "out" where I can find an aisle with some s-p-a-c-e to breathe.  I admire the women who can forge into the melee and come out victorious with that great gotta-have thing. I'm not one of them.

What I LOVE about Christmas Shopping.  That rare instance when I can find the perfect gift for someone.  And even better if it happens to be on sale.  I can go into a store having no idea what I'm looking for and, if I am lucky that day, find the perfect item beckoning to me from a shelf.  This year I stumbled into a half-price sale at a gift shop (Hallmark type store). 

In addition to finding some cute "smores" ornaments for my girls, I found a beautiful canvas print for a friend that I'm certain will look lovely in her scrap room. 

Beyond finding the perfect thing, what really gives me thrills & chills when it comes to Christmas Shopping is finding the deals. Yes, I'm a bargain shopper. With my own daughters, I rarely have the opportunity to find that perfect something. Their tastes in clothing are too specific and individual. Ditto with music, jewelry, or anything else that teenage girls enjoy. So I shop from their lists. And when I can score something off the list at a great price, well heck, that just makes my day. For example - p.j. pants - original price $29.50 a pair. Ouch. On sale at Aerie for $20 a pair. Better. With the 40% off coupon that I've been saving for just this purpose, $12 a pair. Score!

My best find so far this season:
Fuzzy Socks.  This fun little footwear was originally priced at $12.50 PER PAIR!  Are they insane?  I would never even consider spending that amount on a single pair of socks, regardless of how cute.  But at 70% off, they were $3.75 a pair.  Much more reasonable.  Take three pairs to checkout.  Hand over a store gift card and ask sweetly "could you see if there is any balance left on this card?" Understand, I've literally had this card in my wallet for over a year without knowing if there was any money on it or not. Turns out it had $9.79 on it (that's like found money to me!) My total out-of-pocket for 3 pair of fuzzy socks - $1.46.  SWEET! You've just gotta love it when that happens.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Christmas Journal - a little inspiration

On Friday, Scrap Big blog posted a quote from Dr. Suess' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  And I felt immediate inspiration.  As I've said, my Christmas Journal may have days where the entry is a quote and this quote spoke to me.  So I put together this page in Photoshop Elements:

Paper is from LivE's "Winter Breeze" kit at Jessica  Image of the Grinch was borrowed from Google Images. And for once I have a page done same day!  Okay, not a page about my Christmas tree, but honestly, it isn't fully decorated yet anyway.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blogging & My Christmas Journal

I have to say that I am truly missing Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers class.  During the class I posted more and I definitely got more comments! I averaged about 7 comments per post, sometimes as high as 12.  Which made me downright giddy.  Since the class ended, I'm back to no comments or 1 or 2 if I'm really lucky.  In other words, I'm back to blogging for myself.  Google Reader says I have 90 subscribers.  I'll bet about 80 of them set up Google Reader during class and never looked at it again.  I'm still using it, although I have whittled down from 300 blogs to about 30 that I'm actually following.  Hey - I made a few friends in class!

My Christmas Journal is progressing in bits and pieces (and totally out of order).  I've been seeing other bloggers' creativity as they post their pages and I'm jealous a bit.  I know what I'm doing is as much as I can handle right now, but I am really enjoying seeing everyone else kicking it up a notch.

This is the newest ornament on my tree.  It was purchased at Disney World last year when we visited in celebration of DH's 50th birthday. The tree number was an internet download, but I have no idea from where.

And here is my entry for December 5th.  We had a really pretty snowfall.  Of course it rained really hard a few days ago and the snow is all gone.  But it was pretty while it lasted.

The "White Christmas" overlay was a freebie from ScrapDolly and perfect for this photo!  click on "ScrapDolly" above to link directly to the download and get your own copy.  I love when bloggers freely share these beautiful creations!

P.S. These two photos were actually taken in color - you'd never know, would you?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Christmas Journal

My Christmas Journal has been a challenge this year.  Last year I combined ideas from Ali's December Daily and Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas.  This year I've also added Jessica's Holidays in Hand to the mix.

With all this inspiration, and not wanting to duplicate last year's album (which I LOVE), I tried to narrow down how I wanted to handle this project.  I started with this album:

It's a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2" 3 ring binder from WeRMemory Keepers that I had in my stash.  I bought a new collection - Fancy Pants Christmas Magic - that I had fallen in love with.  I even went so far as to precut a bunch of the background papers.

And that is as far as I was able to get before December arrived.  And as far as this album ever got.  Because before December arrived, reality arrived.  And I knew I didn't have the time or the inclination to be overly "crafty" this year with my Christmas journal.

Another reason this album is going no further is that I stumbled into a 50% off sale at a gift shop and found this album:

This is a simple one-up 4x6 photo album which just happens to have a gorgeous acrylic cover.  It has enough pages to do a two page spread for most days if I choose to.  But having only a 4x6 space to work with is going to really limit the amount of embellishing I can do.  Not to worry - right now I think this is a GOOD thing!  Some days I will do just a photo.  Some days I will do just journaling.  On days when I don't feel like writing or photographing, I may just add a Christmas quote.  I am determined to keep this simple and not overly stress about the content.  I just want to document our holiday season and remember to be present in the moment.  Hopefully thinking of some content to add each day will remind me to pay attention to what is happening during the day, rather than just going through the motions of living.

Here is my title page:

For reasons I cannot fathom blogger has insisted on turning this image and I do not see any option for me to turn it back the way it belongs!  Apologies if you get a crick in your neck trying to see this.  The rub-on is from the Fancy Pants "Christmas Magic" line.  The lettering  is Fancy Pants (red) and Thickers (brown).

And here is my opening page:

Just in case you can't see the journaling, it says:
1. Slow down and just breathe.
2. Remember to be present in the moment.
3. Try to see beyond the commercialism to the real JOY of the season.
4. Enjoy the time with my family.

Those are my intentions for this month.  The paper is a journal card from the Fancy Pants "Christmas Magic" line.

Finally, I leave you with my December 1st entry:

The overlay is from Ali Edwards and available at Designer Digitals.  The font is CK Ali's hand.  (Okay, I admit I love Ali's stuff!).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Cards Going Postal! (edited to acknowledge source)

Where oh where has 2009 gone?  I can't believe it is December 9th already!  As you know from my last post I entered this month feeling overwhelmed and terribly behind.  Other than my totally neglected blog and my inability to keep up with my December Journal, I do feel that I am finally making some progress on tackling the holiday "to do" list.

I managed to choose a photo and started designing a Christmas card in Photoshop Elements.  However, on my first attempt at printing on cardstock, I realized that it was literally going to take forever to "get it right" enough to print actual cards and that I would spend more in paper and printer ink than I would spend on purchased cards.  So I lifted an idea I saw on another blog (and my apologies to whomever I scraplifted this from as I honestly can't remember where I saw it!   It took a half hour of paging through my google reader one site at a time, but I found it - I lifted this idea from Sharyn Carlson - check out her card here!) and went hybrid. I purchased two different sets of cards at Target.  Printed and added my doctored photo.  And here are the final versions of this year's Christmas cards:

Keep in mind that I scanned at low res and the scan pretty much sucks.  The first one is printed on kraft colored recycled paper (the black border is the scanner - not part of the card) and the photo covers the front "Happy Holidays" sentiment.  See that white part between the two red borders?  On the real photo that actually looks like vellum and you can see the detail behind it, so it is very clear (to anyone who recognizes it) that the photo was taken at NYC Times Square.  Cool.  And serendipitous given that this is the only decent photo of all three girls together for the entire year.  They are at the age where they hate having their photo taken. Period.  Unless they do it themselves.  With friends.  Which means they are never together.

The second card was actually designed to add the photo above the "Happy Holidays" sign.  Only the snowman part opens, so barely enough room to sign - no room to write personalized messages.  The cards are now completely assembled and signed and envelopes are hand-addressed.  I still need to add return address labels, stamps, and seal.  With any luck the bulk of these will hit the mail tomorrow.

I also managed to get 5 packages out in the mail today (gifts to out-of-town recipients) and got the last one prepared and ready to go for tomorrow.  I'm feeling a little lighter just knowing that is done.  With any luck I'll be back tomorrow with an update on my December Journal.  How is your holiday season progressing?  Do you feel under control? or overwhelmed?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Road to Hell

is paved with good intentions.  You've heard this saying, right?  I don't know the origins of the sentiment, but I'm fervently hoping it isn't true or else I am definitely well on my way to more heat than I can handle.  You see, I had the best of intentions for this Christmas. Really, I did.  I planned to give a lot of handmade gifts and spend less.  I even knew what it was I wanted to create. And the gifts would have been beautiful and meaningful to the intended recipients.

Then LIFE happened. (Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans, right?)  Yep, Life. October was busy with work-related travel. I thought I still had plenty of time to figure it out.  I thought I'd get a head start in November. Then I got totally sidelined and sidetracked - by pain.  Started around 11/5.  See My Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day post if you want more details - although honestly, why would you?  So November came and went and NOTHING on that great list of handmade gifts got done.  Ideas have percolated but nothing has entered the production phase.

And here we are - December 1st.  This time last year I had all of my Christmas shopping done and was feeling really good about the upcoming holidays.  And relaxed.  I had it all under control.  It looked like this:

This year I have only just begun the Christmas shopping. Not a single internet order package has arrived (maybe because I haven't ordered anything yet?).  I still don't even have wish lists from my girls.  I just learned yesterday that I will be having physical therapy three times a week for the entire month of December.  That knocks about two hours out of each day that I go.  And looking at all those appointments on my calendar, I suddenly felt stressed, overwhelmed, out of control, and nearing panic mode.  The more I looked at my calendar, the more I realized that something would have to give.  I can admit that I'm not superwoman and I can't do it all. 

Having regrouped and considered my options, I know what is important to me is to have a relaxing holiday where I can be present in the moment and enjoy time with my family.  To do that I need to be able to take care of myself, get through the therapy and get well.  That isn't going to happen if I'm stressed out over creating gifts that I simply don't have time to create.  Especially since a lot of the gift plans involved being at the computer and right now I can't sit for more than thirty minutes at a time. So all of my good intentions have flown out the window and the road to hell is looming large.  I'm going to have to simplify and settle for what I'm able to pull together at this point.  Just Simplify.  Kind of like - just breathe. I know this is what is best for me.  And now I just need to figure out how to make peace with the idea.