Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My First Artist Date

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, advocates taking yourself on weekly "artist's dates" to help fuel your creativity.  I've been doing a great job writing morning pages, but have been balking at the idea of taking myself on a date.  But today...

was a gorgeous day...
...so I laced up my walking shoes and took myself out for a Photo Walk.

I enjoyed blue skies and 50 degree temps - so NOT like January!

I caught a beautiful shot of the American flag in all its glory.

On the way to visit my favorite covered bridge, I picked up trash along the path.  I love leaving a place ever so slightly better off than I found it!

I thought this particular shot looked really cool with Pioneer Woman's sepia action followed by a bit of erasing to bring back the red... (thanks for the idea Amy!)

And then there was this really moody shot of a big old tree along the path.

I went home via a short cut through the grocery store and treated myself to this very colorful salad!

40 minutes of fresh air and exercise, some great shots, and a healthy lunch. I'd say that was a pretty good date!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Because You Asked...

I always aim to please and because so many of you asked so nicely...

Here's the secret recipe for Rachel's Peanut Butter Blossom cookies (with apologies in  advance to my overseas friends - sorry I don't know how to do the conversions!).  And to be quite honest, the recipe isn't all that secret.  It was sourced here. (You can go to the link and easily print the recipe from there!)


  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and                      brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt;              gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each
    cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
    About 4 dozen cookies.

    Nutritional Information per serving (1 cookie):
    Calories: 90, Total Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 75mg,
    Total Carbohydrate: 10g, Dietary Fiber: less than 1g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 2g

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Take Twelve (12 days late)

As part of my Twelve class with Stacy Julian, I decided to participate in the Take Twelve challenge over at Ella Publishing.  So yes, these photos were taken on the 12th of January.  But it took me until last night to actually get them scrapped.  I used Cathy Zielski's 20/20 template, available at Designer Digitals, but put text in the photo box and photos in the text boxes! Too fun!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beyond Layers - My Six Word Memoir

My photo with KK textures "simplicity" soft light @100% & "storm" darken @40%
My Six Word Memoir:

"Striving to be best possible ME"

The only connection with the photo is that bit of tree bark that curled itself into the letter "C"... captured this photo in November... the tree is one in my front yard.

Six Word Memoir prompt inspired by Smith Magazine and part of Beyond Layers class assignment.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Beyond Layers - "Just Enough" and Just A Quote for Friday

"Less is More."  ~Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
First photo exercise in Kim Klassen's "Beyond Layers" class.  My photo with KK "awaken" texture added with soft light blending mode at 80%

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More from the Crop

You all didn't seriously think I went to a weekend crop and only came away with 12 cards now did you????

First let me start by saying, I had a lot of comments about the amount of "stuff" I took to the crop.  So I thought I'd share with you the "anatomy" of packing for a crop.  And in case I didn't make it clear, this particular crop was a full weekend getaway - starting at noon on Friday and running until 5 p.m. on Sunday (although we left by 2:30 on Sunday - my ride had a dinner to attend!)
This is what I took:

Bag #1. The Xyron 900 on the top of Bag #1 was something I took to sell in the yard sale. I haven't used it in years - it was great back in the days of school projects, but has sat in a closet since. I'm happy to say, it went home with a new owner.  

In the bag itself is my baker's racks for holding tools and such, my cup holder/trash can that attaches to the table, my Epson PictureMate 4x6 portable photo printer, my Xyron 250, a blanket for when the ballroom gets cold (it does!), a plastic cloth for covering my work when I leave at night - basically all the odd bulky things that don't fit in with scrapping supplies.

Bag #2 is a small tote filled with mixed media supplies - inks, stamps, brushes, mod podge, etc.

Bag # 3 is FOOD! 8 bottles of water, apples, peanut butter, clementines, almonds, dried mango, oatmeal.  (and my "Twelve" egg crate of embellies sitting on top of the water bottles).  Some of our meals were included in the weekend, some not.  And since I'm trying to eat healthy, I needed snacks that would keep me going.

Crate #4 - believe it or not, almost everything in that crate was for a single project... Rachel and Becca's "School of Life" albums for grades K-6. I figured since they are graduating high school this year, it's high time I got this project underway.  In the crate - two unopened 12x12 dark green Dalee albums, a few pouches filled with school themed scrapbooking stickers and diecuts, two 12x12 clear expandable envelopes filled with all of the layouts I've already made that belong in these albums, and then all that stuff turned sideways... is 8.5 x 11" envelopes filled by grade with all their memorabilia (school photos, report cards, awards, papers, etc.).

Bag #5 - several 12x12 paper "stacks", a couple of magazines, idea books, my "Twelve" binder, etc.  Oh - and squished there between bag #2 and bag #5, my pink "Tote-ally Cool" tool tote which holds my trimmer, ATG gun, scissors, pens, other adhesives, cropadile, corner rounder, tiny attacher... you know, all those things you just can't scrap without!

Bin #6 - large punches

Bag #7 (inside crate #8) - all this is a bunch of miscellaneous papers, stickers, and embellies for the yard sale.  And everything in there that I didn't sell was donated to charity at the end of the crop - that bag came home EMPTY!

Crate #8 - other than the bag above, the rest of this crate is filled with page and project kits - basically everything I hoped to work on and accomplish during the crop.

Bag #9 - clothes! Jammies and slippers for at night and two days worth of clothing changes and toiletries all in a relatively small duffle bag - obviously my wardrobe was much less important than my "stuff"!

#10 - the only item not pictured - my computer!  Laptop goes with me to crops too! And that bag also carries my p&s camera, cell phone charger, external hard drive, power strip, journal...

So you see... not really so much stuff when you see how critical it all is to being able to crop the weekend away...

And without further ado... what I did...

1. Twelve Cards!

2. the 2011 layout for Jay's birthday album.

3. A two page layout of all my blog friends! (Okay, not all of them... the ones who visit and comment the most...)

I swiped everyone's photos from their blogs and then where I had them, I used those cute little colored faces from Mel's coloring exchange.

Hey, Kai - when you do yours, can you send me one???
There were a few more people I would have liked to add, but for whom I had neither blog photo nor colored face... see, there is a reason to put your photo on your blog!

4. A quick layout about my disappointing round of jury duty.

5. I added some things to my "Junque Journal".  It seems to be filling up a lot faster since blog friends started sending me wonderful things in the mail...

All that crafty goodness...

6. A complete and total scraplift from Melissa - this tracker layout for my "Twelve" class (the chart was created by a fellow class member and I just printed it out and trimmed it down to fit).  I can mark off as I create the layouts... how many of those little circles do you think I'll have filled in by the end of the year???

And on the back I can write the title of each layout, so I'll always know which layouts in my albums were created during this class!

7. Our annual Christmas Greetings pages - this one shows what we sent out this year

A collage of photos/cards we received this year - so yes, I did need my square punch - in fact between this layout and the cards, I used all three sizes!

And the cards that were just too beautiful or cute or sweet to be cut up... all from my very crafty bloggy friends!

8.  Got the foundation done for two School of Life albums and a few interior pages... but I haven't taken any photos yet, so that will be fodder for another post!

And finally, 9. I finished the canvas I was making for Kai!  I had most of the background done - I added the She Art Girl and the saying at the crop, as well as some finer details. The canvas is in an envelope now and ready to go postal tomorrow!  I sure hope she likes it!

Picture Inspiration {48/52}

I fell off the Picture Inspiration bandwagon for about 3 months. Now I'm hoping to climb back aboard and finish the journey strong!

Week 47 was "Outside Looking In" (or vice versa) and Week 48 is "Winter Light".  This photo covers both prompts:

This was the view from my sun room window at about 7:30 this morning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pass The Book - last Chance!

If you haven't put your name in the hat for this wonderful book, go to this post and do so now!  I had so much fun playing with this book over the weekend.... I really do think I need my own copy!

 Yes, I ended up making a dozen cards!  The three valentines cards were made with the most adorable set of stickers that I found in the yard sale room for 50 cents!  I apologize for the quality of these photos, but taking pictures in "the ballroom" of a hotel... well, I think it takes more than a point and shoot to make it work!
The best part of making these cards is that other than the cardstock base, this is all using up scraps!!!  These aren't nearly as elaborate as Jacky's or Karen's and my stamping skills could use some practice... okay, a LOT of practice... but I'm still thrilled with getting these together!
So Sian, thanks for being so patient with me passing on this book!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Just a Quote for Friday

very late on Friday...

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”  Joseph Chilton Pearce

I'm off playing - and hopefully getting smarter in the process! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pass The Book

Here I am, hanging my head in shame.  I have a Year One "Pass The Book" from Sian. I'm not even certain how long I've had it, but at least two months. My bad.  :(

I have skimmed through Card Maker's Sketch Book and it has tons of great ideas for cardmaking! I hope to put some of those ideas use it at the crop I am attending this coming weekend.

I promise I will be ready to Pass The Book by next Monday... which will give you plenty of time to put your name in the hat if this book would appeal to you or if you are planning on making lots of handmade cards this year - the sketches and the various ways they were used truly are quite yummy!

To be included in the drawing, just leave a comment on this post.  I'll draw a winner sometime next Monday, after I return from the crop.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Call Me Crazy - Ten Ways To Make FOCUS Work - a Ten on the Tenth Post

Remember me saying my One Little Word this year is "FOCUS"???  And that my biggest goal was to FOCUS on just one thing at a time???  Well, as we all know, life doesn't really come at you one thing at a time. So how do I corral this whole concept of FOCUS? How am I going to make this word work for me?

One. I've been writing morning pages ala Julie Cameron, The Artist's Way.  I was finding myself totally distracted during the writing process and constantly stopping to check my email or google reader. So I bought a kitchen timer. I set it for twenty minutes. I turned off my computer monitor (note, computer is still running, just not in my face!), and started writing.  Soooo much more effective!

Two. I'm NOT involved in Project Life or any of the "365" type projects.  I know I would never keep up with it, although I'm mighty impressed and awed by all you ladies who do!  I'm well aware of my own limitations.  But beyond what will go in my One Little Word album as I live with FOCUS, I wanted a way to track my year and all the different topics I choose to FOCUS on.  I already had a 2-up photo album that holds 300 photos, originally purchased with the idea to use it for photos in the "Picture" series at BPC.  I never did get started with that. And since I'm all for working with what I already own and repurposing, I now intend to use this album as my 2012 FOCUS project! :)

That's a little self-portrait in the lower left corner of the album - me caught in the glare of the cover.

I had been toying with the idea in my mind, when I saw this post from Carrie.  Which really clinched it for me. I'm going to do this! I'm not tied to every single day ... that wouldn't fit in the album anyway.  Some days will be photos, some days journal cards, some days maybe a bit of ephemera.  But each month, I'll be FOCUSING on a new topic.  For right now, the breakdown looks like this:

January - Healthy Eating
February - Meditation/Rest
March - Movement (aka Exercise)
April - Lightroom (learn the program and implement it with my photos) and Digi Skills.
May - Photography (working on my camera skills)
June - Family and Friends (to coincide with three graduations and a big party!)
July - Creativity - Mixed Media
August - Creativity - Scrapbooking
September - Learning (to coincide with Shimelle's LSNED class)
October - Kindness (my idea is to practice and document random acts of kindness all month           - thanks to Kelly for this idea!)
November - Gratitude (documenting a month of what I'm grateful for in November - perfect!)
December - Christmas Spirit (nicely fits in with JYC, right?)

This list is not set in stone. It is subject to modification if a different topic moves me in a particular month or things need to get shuffled around because life gets in the way (it has been known to happen!). But this gives me a structure and place to document all the wonderfulness I hope to achieve this year.

The other thing I've done differently is set up all my online classes for the year already.  Say what??? No, you read that correctly! I've got this year nailed already, and here's the line-up:

Three. For FOCUS:
One Little Word with Ali Edwards at Big Picture Classes - this is a year long class with monthly prompts. The actual time commitment doing this last year was fairly limited, but it kept my word active for me all year long! Registration is open all year, so you can join at any time! PLUS, my own 2012 FOCUS project noted above! :)

Four. For healthy eating and movement:
Move More Eat Well with Cathy Zielski at Big Picture Classes - this is a year long class with monthly prompts and a lot of information, inspiration, and challenges in the community and on the message boards - registration is open all year!

Five. For Lightroom:
Finding Photo Flow with Kayla Lamoreaux.  This is a self-paced class that will allow me to learn the Lightroom software at my own speed. I actually signed up and got started with this in December.  Karen and I are going to work through it together.  So fun!

Six. For Digi Skills:
Beyond Layers with Kim Klassen.  Another year long class, this is weekly emails with prompts, downloads, challenges, and new things to try. Starts January 16. I've always admired Kim's photos and use of textures, so I'm sure there is lots I can learn here!

Seven. For my Camera Skills: a variety of classes that I started and never finished (but will this year!) most particularly Your Life: Captured Through the Lens with Katrina Kennedy.

Eight. For Mixed Media:
The Art of Wild Abandonment with Christy Tomlinson and Junelle Jacobson. A 3 week workshop starting March 12.  I couldn't pass this one up - I've seen Junelle's work and I follow her blog and I frankly can't wait to learn from her!!!  Followed up immediately by...

Nine. 21 Secrets - An Art Journal Playground at Dirty Footprints Studio beginning April 1st - this is self-paced but runs through the end of 2012. It features a workshop from each of 21 different instructors including Christy Tomlinson and Dina Wakely. That's a lot of inspiration for the price. I figure if I like even two or three of the 21 instructors, the class price was fair - beyond that it's a bargain!

Ten. For Scrapbooking:
Twelve with Stacy Julian at Big Picture Classes. (Sorry, registration is already closed). This is a 12 week 4 Experts class, but Stacy is continuing it beyond the 12 weeks with prompts and inspiration all year long.  Her idea is to get us to scrap 12 layouts each month for a total of 144 by the end of the year.  I admit that I had a lot of trepidation about entering this class. I knew going in that I wasn't going to hold myself to that number - I mean, come on, 144 layouts??? I've NEVER scrapped that much in a year! But now that I'm in the class I'm really excited about the possibilities! I'm trying to do things as Stacy is outlining them, not my usual change everything and make it more difficult than it needs to be!

Stacy wanted us to paint a muffin tin to house color-coordinated embellishments. I didn't want to buy anything, so I repurposed a cardboard egg carton - lots of mixed media fun putting this together!
Close up of detail on front.
Inside of egg carton with all my color-coordinated embellishments. I did this by putting down a coat of gesso first (so the paint wouldn't all get absorbed into the paper fiber). Then painted each egg spot a different color, then finished with a coat of mod-podge and labeled each spot with the topic that the color will represent.
Close up of my embellishments.
This is my Inspiration File. Again - repurposed an old accordian file that I've had sitting around forever! Perfect, because it had exactly 12 file spots! I used my cropadile to hole punch the upper right corner so I could attach my bingo cards. We are using those to track our progress in the class.
View of accordian file expanded.
Top-down view. You can see the back portion of this file folder also holds my Twelve class notebook!

So... I get to spend an entire year with three of my favorite scrapbookers - Ali Edwards, Cathy Zielski, and Stacy Julian! Plus a host of digi gurus and mixed media artists! I'm planning to treat this just as though I'm back at school with a full roster of classes and need to structure my time to make sure I "pass" each one. And I'm so excited about my professors this year! I never had a line-up like this when I was in college! I'm hoping that with this full roster I won't be tempted by all the other great classes sure to come up as the year moves along.  After all, tuition has already been paid and is not refundable if you drop one class to pick up another...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Move More Eat Well

Last year's fitness journey collapsed into a pile of nothingness between Jay's temporary stint with unemployment and my subsequent diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  This year I decided to join in Cathy Zielski's "Move More Eat Well" class over at Big Picture Classes. My goal for this class is simply to regain my health - by moving more, by eating REAL food, by giving up my love affair with junk food, and by spending a year with the hilarious and inspiring Cathy and over 1200 other folks who all want to get healthier this year!
My Statement of Intention for 2012

Second "pre-class page" - 5 Things I do Well.

January - My Story - Worst Photo of Me EVER - but I'm trying to keep it real and honest.(no, I'm not pregnant)
Usually I suck it in, so the muffin top and love handles aren't so obvious.
These numbers are embarrassing - but it is what it is...

Move More Eat Well is open for registration all year and is well-priced at just $36 - there is already a ton of 
content and lots of support on the message boards.  Care to join me???

Monday, January 2, 2012

Storytelling Sunday - Party Like It's 1999

This is my entry for Sian's Storytelling Sunday. And yes, I'm a day late. Because yesterday was the One Little Word Blog Hop. For more stories check here.

Do you remember New Year's Eve 1999?  The big Y2K scare? How everyone thought the Internet and our personal computers were set to self-destruct at midnight?

New Year's Eve 1999 was the first year that we allowed our girls to stay up until midnight - to usher in the new millennium.  They amused themselves with television and drawing and board games.  They drank soda and ate popcorn and chips.  We watched the ball drop on Times Square on television.  And miraculously the computer still worked the next morning!

The twelve years since then have flown by.  On New Year's Eve 2011 Rachel was working at the Piper Tavern, Sarah was at a party with friends, and Becca was home, watching television alone and lamenting spending the evening without the boyfriend who broke up with her two days before Christmas. I had a lot of opportunity to practice patience and empathy and my listening skills!  Jay and I waited up until everyone was safely home and then trudged our weary selves off to bed at 12:30 in the morning.

2012 promises to be a year of big changes in our household.  All three girls graduate - two from high school, one from college.  I have no idea what New Year's Eve 2012 will look like here.  I'm ready. But I'm suddenly feeling very nostalgic for 1999...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

One Little Word Blog Hop - January Edition

Hello and Welcome to the One Little Word Blog Hop! If you came here from Margie's blog, welcome! You made it to the right place.  Grab a drink and stay awhile! I love visitors!If you are a regular reader, you already know the drill! ;) The entire hop goes live at 8:00 a.m. Pacific (11:00 my time) so if you are early, just check back later to catch everyone!

My one little word for 2011 was "happy".  In retrospect, it was the perfect choice for 2011.  Happy was my constant companion and helped guide me through several very rough patches last year.  It is with some sadness that I bid adieu to happy, but I know it will stay with me and the lessons learned will not be quickly forgotten!

So thank you happy, for a year of allowing me to see the light in the darkness and to focus on gratitude for all the wonderful and awesome in my life!

As I move forward, I am ready for a challenge this year.  Last year "focus" was vying for my attention as my word for the year, but it just felt too heavy - like too much work - and in hindsight, I'm not sure "focus" would have been such a great pal in 2011.  But in 2012, I'm ready for focus.  
In 2012, I'll be focusing on my health - moving, eating well, regaining my strength and hopefully my energy.

In 2012, I'll be focusing on my family and friends. They need me. I need them. I need to pay attention.

In 2012, I'll be focusing on my camera skills - determined that this will be the year I finally understand aperture and f-stops and white balance...

In 2012, I'll be focusing on my photographs - particularly getting them organized and tagged in Lightroom.

In 2012, I'll be focusing on my creativity - that part of me that heals me and keeps me alive!

But mostly in 2012, I'll be focusing on ONE THING AT A TIME!  Yes, time to let go of my adult onset ADD and really learn to single task. It will be my biggest challenge and one I do hope to conquer!

Thanks for stopping by! Your next stop on the hop is Veronica's blog.  And just in case you get lost, here is the entire hop list:

Margie              http://xnomads.typepad.com 
Cheri                  http://cheriandrews.blogspot.com 
Veronica           www.veronicanorris.typepad.com 
Kara                 http://iwannabemewhenigrowup.blogspot.com/ 
Rebekah           http://istampscrapcraft.blogspot.com/ 
Sharyn              http://www.LaVieEnChic.com 
Jill                      http://jillconyers.com 
Lynn                 www.crafty-creativity.blogspot.com
Monica             http://scrapinspired.com/
Lisa                  http://backtoallen.com/writers_blog
Cynthia H          http://paperpapereverywhere.blogspot.com
Lee                   http://thelinarstudio.typepad.com/embracelife/
Abbey              http://athomewiththerichardsfamily.blogspot.com/
Nikki                 http://www.inkyart.com.au
Tere                  http://terecontodomicorazon.blogspot.com/
Melissa S          http://blog.mshanhun.com
Nicky                http://seejanebake.blogspot.com
Stephanie         http://www.scrapworthylives.com/
Jenn L               www.studiojenn.blogspot.com
Cindy                http://seriousplay.typepad.com
Amanda            http://scrappnbee.blogspot.com
Sam            http://learncreatedo.wordpress.com/
Jan                   http://mysimplelittlelife.typepad.com
Jamie               http://jmpgirl.blogspot.com
Karen                http://breathenowsmile.blogspot.com/

And many thanks to Margie - our fearless One Little Word blog hop leader - for keeping this going so that we all have incentive to stay up-to-date with our One Little Word albums!  I've finished off my 2011 pages, started 2012, and am looking forward to what this year has to bring!