Saturday, January 29, 2011

One Little Word | Captured | 5

This is my "One Little Word" necklace. I bought the original necklace (24" ball chain) and "enrich" charm from Lisa Leonard Designs back in January of 2009. 

In 2010, with my b-i-g little word "wholehearted" it didn't occur to me to purchase another piece of jewelry. Now I'm glad it didn't!

With the current fashion trend of cluster necklaces, I decided to go for it and add charms for my 2010 and 2011 words. My challenge was in finding charms that would maintain the look and feel of the original piece - and one that would actually fit the entire word "wholehearted" on it!

After a bit of internet browsing, I found exactly what I was looking for at Heart on Your Wrist.  This was one of the few sites that allowed ordering charms without the necklace where the option was right in the ordering info - no emailing for a special request! And now that my necklace is complete with my "happy" word of 2011, I really love the look and feel of the whole piece!

Thinking into the future, assuming I continue participating in One Little Word, adding a charm each year may become too much for a necklace.  But it would make a stunning little charm bracelet just packed with personal meaning! To which I could add some sea glass beads, maybe some turquoise... oh my mind is just whirling with the possibilities!  But for right now, my One Little Word necklace makes me very HAPPY. 

Life…as I see it

Thursday, January 27, 2011

LOAD Anyone?

I'm seriously considering signing up for Lain Ehmann's Layout A Day Challenge for the month of February.  (It's $30).  Is anyone else doing this????

I'm already signed up for the FREE Embrace Imperfection class with Karen Grunberg over at Big Picture Classes which runs the middle two weeks of February, but I'm figuring any layouts I would create for that class would count for LOAD... I'm just trying to keep in mind that I want to stay focused and finish what I start this year... so what do you all think???


Thundersnow?  I've lived in the very snowy Northeast U.S. most of my life, but had never heard of this.  No small wonder. According to Wikipedia, Thundersnow is a rare occurence and in the U.S. happens mostly in the Great Lakes region and in the mid-West.  I experienced it first-hand last night.  Someone here in Perkasie shot a [sideways] video and posted it on You-Tube, so I'm borrowing to share:

It was kind of wild and crazy, hearing the loud and long-rumbling thunder while it was near-blizzard snowing outside!

This is what we woke up to in the morning:

15 or 16 inches of new snow on top of what was still left on the ground from previous snow, ice, snow storms.
A true "winter wonderland" complete with Jack Frost on the windowpanes.

And of course - school was cancelled.  So my girls have spent more time OUT of school this month than in it!

Spring will be so welcome here!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I Did At The Crop - Part 2 of 3

My apologies that this has been so long in coming, but you all know why. :(  Anyway! A little more about the crop...

The crop I attended was a full weekend retreat. Held at the Inn at Reading, it hosts about 200 croppers in the ballroom of the hotel from Friday noon to Sunday mid-afternoon.  If you buy the full package it includes two nights lodging and some of your meals.  So it is a fairly sizeable event. But so well run... by three sisters who do this twice a year - once in Reading, once in the Poconos. 

Back in the "biz" days, I was a vendor at this crop - first for Scrap in a Snap, then for Top Line Creations and my own line of scrapbooking clothing.  But after these start-up direct sales companies went belly up back to back, I called an end to my eight year scrapbook "career" and went back to scrapping for myself.  But I digress...

One of the major sellers of this event is that each cropper gets a full eight foot table all to herself!  Yes, room to create is important.  Some of the larger more commercial events around here cram you into a three foot space - which for me just doesn't work!  And it is one of the best priced crops around.  If you are ever interested in attending, you can check out the details HERE.

Still interested in what I accomplished during my mini-vacation?

My Reverb10 album!

Now, before you get all excited, please understand that I had done all the computer work BEFORE the crop.  I had copied and pasted all my Reverb10 posts into a word document, cleaned it up and printed out each entry.  I had also chosen a half dozen of my favorite photos from 2010 and printed them out at 7x7 on 8x10 photo paper.  The album itself is from a kit I had leftover from my Top Line Creations days.  So using only what I had on hand... 

My work at the crop was actually trimming down all the pages and assembling the whole thing.  And I won't reprint all the pages here... just enough to give you a flavor.

For the most part I tried to keep one prompt to a page.
And every four or five pages I would add a photo just to keep it interesting.
Some pages already had photos included from the post, or photos added from some 4x6 prints I had on hand.
And in some cases, where I was particularly verbose, a single prompt could go on for FOUR pages of the album! 
Overall, I was quite pleased with the finished product and glad to have this glimpse into my life in 2010. 

Next up - my new "Move More Eat Less" system. Again, I had printed off most of the content at home. So this work involved trimming down the papers, filling out the templates, and assembling the album. The album itself is a 5.5 x 8.5 WeR Memory Keepers Album.

For the cover of the album, I actually recreated Cathy Zielski's title block in Photoshop (from scratch) and printed it on a 4x6 photo paper.  I'm amazed at how vibrant it came out! The photos actually don't do the colors justice.

The "Move More Eat Less" journal templates are from Cathy Zielski and are available at Designer Digitals.  Of course, I recolored the entire thing... I can just never leave well enough alone!
These "numbers" are actually from April of 2010, but also roughly approximate where I was at the end of September 2010 when I started tracking on My Fitness Pal.

This template is designed to be used monthly and that is the way I intend to track from here out.  So my "Fitness Friday" posts will only occur once a month - on the first Friday of each month.  In between, I will continue to track daily exercise and calories and weekly weigh-ins at My Fitness Pal.

To keep the journal going, I will use this weekly template to summarize my daily logging in My Fitness Pal.  I need the daily logging on MFP to keep honest about my eating habits, but I like this weekly overview as a way to spot trends and keep an easy overview.  I actually think these will be more useful than the reports from MFP.
What you can't see here is that I added in my prior pages from when I took Lisa Cohen's Wellness Journey class back in 2009 and from when I was using CZ's 4x6 fitness journey templates in 2010.  So I actually have wellness inspiration and fitness documentation dating back to early 2009!  I want my "journey" all in one album... even if the pages don't all match! :)

The "bonus" to my new system is this mini-exercise album that I created.  The album itself is just a 3x5 index card thingy that I bought at Target with a totally different purpose in mind.  I took the exercises I was given in Physical Therapy, stretches given to us in Lisa Cohen's "Wellness Journey" class at BPC, and some yoga moves I had clipped from a magazine and cut them down and glued them into the album - one per page.  I can add to this when I get strength training exercises from my Personal Trainer at the gym (...if I ever get back to the gym...) or others as I come across them.  And keep this by my computer and when I need a break... just flip to a stretch and voila! I'm doing mini workouts all day! :)

I think one more thing my "system" might need is a healthy eating recipe album. So I'll have to start collecting for that one!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Picture Winter - 25

"Magic Machine"

Picture Winter - 24


Version 1 - converted to black & white. It wasn't actually snowing when I snapped this photo, but the wind was seriously whipping the newly fallen snow around in little cyclones, obscuring my shot of the sun through the trees.
Version 2 - using the Pioneer Woman "Heartland" action.  I love how this really makes it look like I'm in the middle of a blizzard.

Picture Winter - 19

"A Different Kind of Story"

The prompt wanted a glimpse of our life at the moment.  This was actually taken on the 21st, but accurately depicts the story of me camping out in Sarah's room for two days!

Picture Winter - 21

"Winter Pull"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sick Days, the Boring Common Cold, and Be Careful What You Wish For

Being sick sucks.  I have been sick (this time around) since January 13th. It started with a lump at the back of my throat. By the 16th it was a raging sore throat, soothed somewhat with Halls cough drops.  And a LOT of hot water (since I don't drink tea or coffee, just hot water).  I survived the weekend crop at Reading with the sore throat and a bit of nasal congestion.  I woke myself up snoring. yeah, fun times.

I came home from the crop and continued my "normal" routine Monday and Tuesday - catching up with laundry, grocery shopping, and work. 

I think maybe it was Wednesday the 19th that did me in.  It was one of those you have no choice, you have to fake it kind of days - our annual Board of Directors Orientation and quarterly Board Meeting at work.  I had a presentation for the new Board members in the morning and a different presentation to the entire Board of Directors in the afternoon.  I made it through the morning okay. In the afternoon presentation, I nearly choked during my speech until a co-worker brought me water.  Sitting through a full day of meetings just isn't all that.  

I was wrecked when I got home and really just wanted a good night's sleep.  My coworkers had convinced me that my normal Nyquil-induced-coma wasn't working for me because I was under dosing. According to them, the recommended dose is for toddlers.  So I brushed my teeth and double-dosed.  And promptly got a signature Cheri nose bleed.  I am prone to them when traveling or taking any kind of antihistamine - airplanes, dry hotel rooms, etc. usually bring them on.  And when I get one, it usually takes about a half hour and lots of nasal spray to bring under control. Which is of course, counter-intuitive since the nasal spray is an antihistamine.  This nose bleed was no exception.  Ugh. Yes, I'm pretty convinced that "fake it day" was my undoing.

Thursday morning I woke up feeling like total crap and thought "I really need a day to just be sick and be done with it."  Thursday marked a full week without a solid night's sleep.  I was tired and cranky and still feeling the sore throat and congestion.  I drove the girls to school, made a quick stop at the grocery store, came home and started a load of laundry and the dishwasher.  Then went back to bed.  At 8 a.m.  And slept until 10.  Perfect, I definitely needed the extra zzz's.  Got up and showered then started dinner in the crock pot, emptied the dishwasher, started another load of laundry, and did some work.  I was feeling pretty darn productive for a sick girl.  Broke around noon for lunch.  Ate my simple rice & veggies lunch.   

Thursday definitely falls into the "be careful what you wish for" category. I should have been more explicit when putting my request out to the Universe!  Because Thursday afternoon was when the Universe decided to grant my sick day wish. In spades.  Involving excruiating abdominal pain. Involving simultaneous use of trash can and toilet.  Repeatedly.  For several hours.  And chills. And cold sweats.  And hot flashes.  On the upside, I lost three pounds.  And spent two days camped out in my London-dwelling daughter's bedroom.

I called in sick Friday and asked them to dock me for Thursday as well.  I spent the weekend eating bland foods, in extremely small quantities, sleeping a lot, and trying to deal with the raging sore throat that continued unabated. Even though I basically "checked out" for the weekend, my sore throat and the constant feeling that I was choking would not go away.

So Monday morning, thoroughly tired and bored of being sick, I called the doctor.  Made an appointment.  Went in.  Having just put up with ten days of misery, I really wanted the doctor to tell me something that would at least validate it all.  You know, a sexy diagnosis like strep throat or bronchitis or walking pneumonia (all of which I have had in the past). Something that would at least engender a bit of the sympathy vote, right?

But no.... not for me..... My tonsils look fine.  My chest sounds perfectly clear.  Obviously I HAD (past tense) a virus that caused Thursday's misery and was advised to continue eating bland foods until my poor innards return to normal. 

But as for the rest of it?  That raging sore throat and choking feeling?  The doctor acknowledged that the back of my throat was red and cobbled and appeared irritated.  Irritated?  Are you kidding me???  Talking, sneezing, blowing my nose, swallowing - all cause excruciating drag-razors-over-raw-flesh kind of pain in my throat.  Irritated has got to be the understatement of the century.  The official diagnosis?  A very unsexy "post nasal drip".  What a let down.  Treatment - over the counter meds and saline spray.  Woo Hoo.  And this is exactly why I wait ten days to see the doctor. Because she could do nothing for me and I'm right back where I started - trying to allow my body to heal itself.  And getting further behind in everything while I wait to feel well enough to concentrate on anything.

In the time that I have been sick, we have had snow, ice, and more snow. In the middle of mid-term exams my girls have had two snow days. I have gotten behind on Picture Winter.  I've read blogs but haven't had the energy or concentration levels to comment much.  I haven't been to the gym.  I haven't read.  I haven't paid the bills.  Life is happening outside but I'm inside, just existing.  And I'm bored.  So, ummm, Universe... if you don't mind... I don't need any more sick days okay?  I need some healthy, feel great, productive days.  Some pain free, no drip kinda days.  Some HAPPY days.  Okay Universe??? 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One Little Word | Captured | 4

I loved Jill's capture last week so much, that I totally copied the idea this week! Straight out of the ancient American Heritage Dictionary that I've had since high school!

Life…as I see it

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I Did At the Crop - Part 1 of 3

My annual Christmas Card page (I save the photo cards).

In a total scraplift of Karen's layout from last July, I did this layout
about how I see my world now that I'm learning photography. 

Not my greatest work, but I just wanted a simple and done for this topic!

Becca attending Peter's Junior prom. 
OMG - that's my baby growing up way too fast!

My first "One Little Word" monthly page from the
Ali Edward's course over at BPC. This is true hybrid
work - a mixture of printed on the computer with
actual scrap papers and embellishments and was a
definite stretch for me!  And yes, I spilled hot water
on one of the cards! But I'm embracing imperfection
here.  Otherwise this page would still be in the works!

Picture Winter - 18

"Center of Attention"

Flowers seem to center in a lot of my photography. In all seasons!  This one is my Christmas Cactus in bloom.

Picture Winter - 17

"Stark Raving Magnificent"

Prompt 17 asked us to photograph a "stark" scene. Tracey said to "Think minimal beauty. Think simple."  This was the view out a Northeast facing window this morning.  We had ice overnight that coated all the snow, the trees, and obviously, the windows.  I thought this qualified as stark!
View from a Southeast facing window - significantly less ice and definitely more light! :)  But still pretty stark, except for that teeny tiny spot of sunrise...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Picture Winter - 16

"All Wrapped Up"

Today's prompt asked us to use the mundane subject of towels "to evoke some kind of emotion."  Being at a weekend crop at a hotel, I had the fancy hotel folding at my disposal!

#1 Using the Pioneer Woman "Sepia" action.  I even incorporated a little of myself in this one!
#2 using Pioneer Woman "Vintage" action. This action definitely gets a nod for dramatic effect!
#3 using the Pioneer Woman "lovely" action.  I love the definition and texture on this one.

I honestly couldn't say which of the three photos I like best. I posted in the Picture Winter gallery this morning and the Vintage one seems to be the favorite among the students there.

What do you think? Do any of these "evoke some kind of emotion" for you?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

One Little Word | Captured | 3

Scrapbooking makes me HAPPY

Picture Winter - 15

"Cooling It"

Today's prompt asked us to play with post-processing to add that "winter chill" to a photo.  I used the hue adjustment to create the blue effect. Pioneer Woman also has a free action called "cooler" that will accomplish the same thing.

And for anyone counting, yes, I skipped 14.  That prompt wants us to go outside and find beauty that isn't snow, icicles, etc.  And sorry, but I'm getting a cold and it is freezing out, so that prompt is going to have to wait!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Picture Winter - 13

"Controlled Chaos"

Yesterday's prompt was an interesting one. And I thought this was a perfect response.  Now you all know what this picture means....

Yes, I am at a Weekend Crop.  In the course of the afternoon, I got myself set up, assembled my Reverb10 album (had everything printed out, but needed to trim and assemble), and finished a single 12x12 layout - my yearly Christmas greetings page.  More pictures will be coming, but right now I need to get back to scrapping!  :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just For Fun

I wanted to celebrate 11:11 on 1-11-11 (do I sound a bit like another blogger we know?).

Here it is on my computer

And here it is on my BlackBerry

I got to celebrate the moment twice - because for reasons I don't begin to understand, my BlackBerry is three full minutes ahead of my computer!

Picture Winter 11

"Warm Your Heart"

This post-it note is several years old.  Left on my dashboard when I was traveling for work.  This warms my heart. I keep it on my bulletin board and smile every time I see it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sarah Update

Sarah arrived safely in London on Saturday morning:

Here she is with her roommate Shona, gathering their luggage and waiting for the coach to their flat.

She says she didn't sleep at all on the plane - arrival time was the equivalent of 2 a.m. for her and they had a full day ahead! Moving into the flats, a walking tour of their neighborhood, orientation, and dinner out.

The entire group in front of Buckingham Palace.  And there is my girl - front and center!

On day 2, they had a bus tour of London. Sarah has already posted 200 photos to facebook - Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, all the Harry Potter sites. Love Diagon Alley! Since many were taken from a moving bus, quality is questionable, but I appropriated a few of the images (and did my best to sharpen them up in PSE) to give you an update anyway.

My favorite shot of the all.  Those red phone booths really are quite the photo opp!

Sunday I was feeling rather weepy and lost, just wanting to know what my girl was up to - when she called - to let her Dad know that she was hanging out at the Victory Pub to watch the Eagles (American football playoffs). Unfortunately our Eagles lost and are now out of the running.

She is dealing with sticker shock over the price of a bag of potato chips and frustration that she can't find staples like grated Parmesan cheese, chocolate chips, and Peanut Butter????  But she has managed to find an ATM that doesn't charge transaction fees and is getting acclimated to her new surroundings.

Sarah is blogging her experience at London 2011 and has given me the green light to share the blog with you - feel free to subscribe or check in occasionally if you care to follow the adventures of a 20-year-old college student in London!

And thanks to everyone who asked how she is doing - I appreciate the thought! :)

Picture Winter - 10

"Seeking Balance"

I'm seeking to maintain a balance between healthy eating choices and still enjoying what I eat!

Picture Winter - 9

"Bundled Up"

This prompt asked us to feature our favorite winter clothes. Most of the posts I saw in the gallery were hats, mittens, sweaters - me, my absolute favorite winter wear is my furry pajamas and slipper socks!  Since I am always cold, these help keep me toasty and warm at night!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Picture Winter - 8

"Texture Lovers"

Ashley - one of our two resident felines. Has taken up the practice of keeping me company in the office.
I love her big head and blue eyes.
Here's the "texture" shot - her fur is very velvety soft and much like a rabbit.