Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You Don't Know What You've Got Til It's Gone

Last Wednesday I posted an update here with photos of my Art Journal project.  Then signed off and shut down my computer.  My desktop computer.  The computer that has been causing me no end of grief with programs hanging and messages about inadequate virtual memory.  The computer that was processing so slowly that I was LITERALLY watching....screens.....paint..... Remember that - like in the old dial-up days???

So I packed that computer in my car and took it to work last Thursday to have them diagnose and (hopefully) fix my performance issues.  After clearing off some malware and still having problems with slow operations and hanging programs, the guys at the office decided the best course of action was to wipe my computer and start from scratch.  So I finally got it back today.  But it isn't functional yet.  It is sitting in the back of my car (too heavy for me) waiting for Jay to get home and hook it back up. 

I have survived the week without my desktop using the laptop that work issued to me for travel purposes.  A less than satisfying substitute.  Don't get me wrong - I am SOOOOO grateful to have the laptop.  It is great for connecting to the Internet to check email and for minor net surfing and such.  It has kept me connected to my absolute lifelines - work, the internet, the blogs I follow.  But the laptop isn't so great for blogging.  So I've been away for a week and I see by my Google Reader that I've lost four subscribers in that time.  Can't say I blame them.  I get bored with blogs that don't have regular posting too.  Well, I've missed posting so much that I decided to muddle my way through posting with the laptop - just to get back here! 

The laptop also isn't so great for anything that involves graphics.  My attempts to digi-scrap with Photoshop Elements on this laptop have been nothing short of mind-bogglingly frustrating!  I'll be plugging along working on a layout and then the computer will hang.  And when it finally works again, I'll get a message stating that Photoshop has encountered an error and has to shut down.  Arrrrggggghhhhhhhhhh.  All that work lost.  Supposedly the processor in this laptop is sufficient and additional RAM was added so that I have 1.25 gigs.  That should be sufficient, especially if I'm not running any other programs.  Has anyone out there encountered this issue?  Any idea what the cause might be?  I'd love for my PSE to be portable!

Anyway, all this to say I really truly miss my desktop and I hope it is fixed!  I'm going to have to reload a bunch of programs (PSE7, the software for my Epson PictureMate, the software for my card reader, etc.) but if it puts me back in the game, I'll be SOOOOOO HAPPY!  In the meantime... here are a few layouts I did manage to squeak out with the laptop.

  My latest Art Journal page. 

Credits:  Papers are Tangie Baxter's Fantasy Solids; Word Art is the Art Journal Caravan Week 4 download; all others PSE7 brushwork.  To create this look, I layered three different solid color papers and then used the PSE eraser tool with various brushes (mesh and butterflies) to expose parts of the under layers.  It was fun to just "play" with the capabilities of PSE.

My newest 2 page layout from Cathy Zielski's Design Your Life class.   Catching R & B in the act. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wholehearted Journey

My Art Journal for 2010 (documenting my wholehearted journey) is beginning to take shape:

Cover Page

2010 Intentions

On Happiness

Contemplating weight issues.

Each of these pages is accompanied by a bunch of journaling - some of which has already appeared here in my blog, some of which is private, since this is really just for me.  But the genre of art journaling is totally new to me and so far I'm finding it interesting to try to convey a feeling with color and images and the way things are put together. I know my happiness page does convey that feeling for me, but what do you think of this one?  Does it adequately convey frustration with weight loss goals?

Monday, January 18, 2010

This is Why...

It was just about a year ago that I posted some current layouts, including this one about why I scrapbook.  The only thing that has really changed in my life since that time is my own perspective.  I'm growing, I'm changing, I'm spending more time acknowledging who I am.  And with that new perspective, I've realized that I scrapbook for ME.  Yep, me.

THIS is why:

So I can spend time with my BFF Krystal - who lives 12 hours away, so pretty much the only time we see each other is when we get together at a crop.  I adore my girl time!  Freedom from kids, housework, my job - and nobody to please for a few days but myself.

And THIS is why:

Because I derive great joy out of the simple act of creating and expressing myself.  And learning more about who I am through the process.

And THIS is why:

Because the act of scrapbooking allows me to preserve moments, make connections, show growth and change, and leave a legacy for my family. I hope these pages will remind my girls of happy times together even when they are mired in the thick of sibling rivalry.  And I hope they will be evidence of how much I loved my family long after I am gone. 

Credits: Template - Cathy Z, Design Your Life Class; Background Paper - Jessica Sprague Kraft; Title Font - Porcelain.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Card Layout

Apologies for the terrible quality of this photo, but here is my 2009 holiday card page.  Every year I have saved cards and scrapped them, but it usually runs 3 or 4 pages because I was saving the whole card.  I totally scraplifted this idea from Ali Edwards
and ended up with a single 12x12 page of holiday cards received this year - I love it!

This also qualifies as an asymmetrical layout for my DYL class, which means I finally finished ONE assignment (and we are about to begin week 3 - yikes!).  I'd be concerned that I was already messing up on my intention to participate fully in all my classes this year, but I intend to catch up and rectify this issue at the Winter Getaway crop this weekend.  Can't wait!

P.S. I know the lines are off because I cut the top right picture wrong, and I couldn't cut the bottom right picture to size without losing heads, but I'm embracing the imperfection - I've decided the layout is just fine this way, even if it isn't perfect.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Be Happy

Credits: paper - Studio Flergs "Twilight" kit (; fonts - CK Ali's Hand and Angelic War.

I have loved this quote for a long time.  The pursuit of happiness is not only one of those inalienable rights that we, as a country, crafted into our Declaration of Independence, it is our birthright and it is, in fact, important that we strive to be happy.  "Happy people make people happy." Gretchen Rubin.  The happier we are, the more happiness we bring into the lives of others.  It is the law of attraction and the Universe at work. 

Conversely, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I know those are the lyrics to a song, but I don't know who gets credit for writing/singing it first.  But when we are unhappy, we tend to bring down those around us as well. 

So... go forth and be happy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Ball and Soccer - one girl, two looks

Becca and Rachel all dressed up for the Winter Ball.

Peter, Becca, Kerry, Rachel.  This is the group of teens that is most often found "hanging out" at my house.  Usually not all at the same time.

Rachel (in white) at the Quakertown 3v3 indoor soccer tournament.  Rachel played really well today.  But can you believe that is the same diva pictured above???

And other than laundry and grocery shopping, that about sums up my weekend.  What about you? Anything exciting on your schedule?

Friday, January 8, 2010

TEN for 2010

In my last post, I told you that my one little word for 2010 is "wholehearted". 

{wholehearted} [ˌhəʊlˈhɑːtɪd] adj
1. done, acted, given, etc., with total sincerity, enthusiasm, or commitment
2. with unconditional and enthusiastic devotion; "heart-whole friendship"; "gave wholehearted support to her candidacy"; "wholehearted commitment"; "demonstrated his whole-souled allegiance"

synonyms: sincere, complete, committed, genuine, real, true, determined, earnest, warm, devoted, dedicated, enthusiastic, emphatic, hearty, heartfelt, zealous, unqualified, unstinting, unreserved, unfeigned.

Sources - a number of online dictionaries that I borrowed from and consolidated into my own definition.  Google "wholehearted" to see the originals.

In order to live and love with my whole heart in 2010, I have set ten intentions for myself for the year.  Note, I said "intentions."  I'm not getting caught up in resolutions that I'll break or goals that I won't be able to reach.  This is meant more to be the way I want to live my life in 2010.  I know I won't be able to adhere to it perfectly.  But having set the intentions, I also know I'll do a better job of living wholeheartedly than if I had not taken the time to think this through and document what it means to me.

I plan to document my "wholehearted journey" in an art journal (having signed up for Tangie Baxter's Art Journal Caravan to learn more about this genre of creative expression.)  I will also be following along with Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project as well as Brene Brown's Ordinary Courage blog as additional sources of inspiration for meeting my 2010 intentions.  Gretchen's book The Happiness Project was just released on December 29, 2009 and hit #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List in its first week.  I had pre-ordered the book and found it to be a quick and easy read packed with great ideas for bringing more joy into your life and learning to recognize the joy that is already there that is sometimes all too easy to take for granted. 

Credits: background, wings and heart from Tangie Baxter's Art Journal Caravan kit; 10 Plans notebook paper from LivE Designs, available as a free download on her blog.

With all that in mind, here is what my Ten Intentions mean to me:

1. “Take Care of Myself” - Eat real food - not the processed stuff that comes conveniently packaged in single-serving size crinkly packages. Exercise more. Make time for pampering - including shaving, exfoliating, manicures and pedicures (even if it's just the do-it-yourself variety). Keep up with medical appointments and needs.

2. “Kiss More, Hug More, Love More” – Spend more time with my husband and kids, be accessible when needed, listen attentively, show appreciation.

3. “Practice Kindness” - Find opportunities to serve strangers. Be polite to sales clerks. Smile. There is only Love.

4. “Tackle a Nagging Task” - At least weekly cross something that you’ve been avoiding off your “to do” list. It can be as simple as making a phone call to schedule blood work or as big as completing an unfinished project.

5. “Buy Some Happiness” - Spend money on small splurges that have big impact. Things that will make your life better or really make you happy. Make charitable contributions.

6. “Learn Something New Every Day” – be mindful of your surroundings, your day, what people say to you, stretch beyond your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to tackle new technology.

7. “Cultivate Friendships” – remember birthdays, make phone calls, make an extra effort to connect on a regular basis.

8. “Have an Attitude of Gratitude” – be aware everyday of what you have to be thankful for; try to find the silver lining in difficult situations.

9. “Make Time to Create” – blog at least 3x per week; create at least one layout per week; engage fully in online classes. As time permits, finish up unfinished projects from prior online classes (see # 4).

10. “Laugh Out Loud” – lighten up, enjoy life, don’t take yourself so seriously, make time to play, seek out activities that you enjoy and that make you happy.

With my Wholehearted Journey Art Journal, I intend to document specific things in my life that I have found to be grateful for, things I have learned throughout the year, and kindnesses that I have given and received.  I'm not committing myself to document these things daily or weekly as I don't want to turn the Wholehearted Journey into another chore that needs to be crossed off a list.  I want to enjoy the process and document it as I am moved to do so.

What about you?  Have you chosen a word for 2010? Have you set goals, resolutions, intentions? What is your process for tackling this?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Little Word

My word for 2009 was "enrich" and I embraced it fully. I took more online courses than I care to count and learned something from each one of them.  I learned Photoshop Elements and graduated from novice to intermediate digi-scrapper. I followed a lot of really meaningful blogs and learned a lot about myself. I have no doubt that even with the struggling economy, health issues, broken heaters, and all the other petty annoyances of 2009, my life was truly enriched during the year. 

That is a tough act to follow. I really struggled with my "one little word" for this year.  It started with my mental "to do" list.  A lot of unfinished projects and online classes that I started but (thanks to life) didn't get to complete.  I was toying around with words like "complete" or "finish" or "commit".  But they didn't speak to me. While completing unfinished projects would surely give me a great sense of accomplishment and relief, I wasn't sure it would help with the spirit of growth as a person that I want from my one little word. Then I got this ornament as a gift from a good friend for Christmas:

I laughed out loud when I saw it.  Literally. It was funny. But the sad part is that it is also true. And the truth of it makes me feel guilty and ashamed and a whole lot of other crap I just don't want to address or think about. I knew that in 2010 I wanted to cross a lot of those unfinished projects off my to do list, but I also wanted more than that.

I have been following Brene Brown's Ordinary Courage blog for some time, because so much of what she has to say resonates with me, deeply, at a soul level.  And I remembered that in addition to the word authenticity, she uses the word "wholehearted" a lot.  Click here to learn more about how Brene defines "wholehearted".  "Wholehearted" is my word for 2010.  I want to live and love with my whole heart.  I want to approach each new thing I do with the attitude that anything worth doing is worth doing well, worth giving it your full attention and your best effort.

For my online classes, this means engaging fully in each course I sign up for and attempting to keep up with the curriculum and the assignments. Which means limiting myself to what I can actually handle in between work, family, life, and other commitments. I'd like to say it means one class at a time, but that intention would already be blown out of the water.  I'm currently signed up for Cathy Zielski's "Design Your Life" over at BPS which has already started and runs three months. I love her as a teacher.  I'm also signed up for a Wacom Pen Tablet class with Jessica Sprague that starts on the 18th. And I have every intention to sign up once again as an alumni participant in "Library of Memories" with Stacy Julian. That starts Feb 4th.  Which means I'll have three classes that overlap each other.  But here's the thing.  The Wacom class will get me to use a pen tablet that was a gift over TWO YEARS ago - which is still sitting in the box! Yes, I'm afraid of new technology without someone standing over my shoulder to point the way.  And the LOM class will allow me to get further along on my photo organization and my Library of Memories albums - another thing on that aforementioned list of unfinished projects. So these classes will help me reach that goal. Now if Jessica and Stacy and Shimelle would quit offering such enticing classes, I might be able to keep my intention of fully engaging in each class!

So, I'm looking forward to my wholehearted year and will be posting more about my intentions for 2010 later this week.  For now, let me leave you with a few more Christmas Journal pages:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welcome 2010!

It is not only a new year, it's a new decade!  And I'm looking forward to the changes that will bring, both personally and hopefully with the economy and the world in general.  You may have noticed that I was absent for awhile.  I had 10 days off from work and a mental to-do list about a mile long - all the great things I was going to accomplish during the Christmas break.  And how many things did I cross off that list?  Not a single one!  In ten days of freedom, I did NOT
  • catch up with my Christmas Journal pages
  • sew the curtains for my craft room
  • convince Jay to get the wiring done for my office
  • get my garage space back (still putting old cabinets out for bulk trash a couple at a time)
  • do the "pre-work" for Design Your Life
In ten days of freedom, I did
  • relax
  • spend time with my family
  • go shopping
  • celebrate Christmas and New Years
  • eat entirely too much
  • watch a lot of television (we had an "Office" marathon here)
  • read most of "The Happiness Project"
  • outline my intentions for 2010 (more on this in a coming post)
  • choose my "one little word" for 2010 (more on this in a coming post)
  • put away all things Christmas
While I don't feel entirely prepared for everything that needs to happen in January and beyond, I do feel that the "break" from routine was necessary both mentally and physically. And I'm ready to tackle this year.  Let me leave you with a few Christmas Journal pages that I did complete!

I made these holders for all the gift cards I gave this year - great use for leftover bits of Christmas papers and ribbon!  I originally saw this idea from a post by fellow blogger Karen Walker.  I absolutely ADORE Karen's style and find lots of stuff to scraplift from her blog.  Karen kindly sent me the link to the original instructions on Two Peas.
  This was the girls' "big" gift for the year.  $150 in cash.  The idea for a money book came from Jessica Sprague's Holidays in Hand class.  She provided a link to the instructions here. I found I had to play with the sizing and actually cut the covers 7" wide rather than 6" to allow for the ribbon ties.

I went a step further with the book and created this poem based on "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to include with the book. Hopefully my girls understood the message.