Monday, December 29, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 52

We made it! One full year of weekly kindness challenges. Thank you all for playing along with me. I hope that while I was busy raising my own awareness of opportunities to be kind, I helped to raise yours as well.

In this final week, my challenge to you is to

Whether in the form of a New Year's resolution, a part of a One Little Word practice, or simply as a concept that you are fully embracing, I hope you will continue to spread ripples of kindness throughout the world! :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 51

Throughout the year, I have tried to highlight acts of kindness that cost you little or nothing other than a few minutes of your time. This week is my big exception to that rule.

In line with the Christmas spirit of giving, the challenge for Week 51 is  DONATE TO YOUR FAVORITE CHARITY.  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Club

I haven't been playing along. Time and I haven't quite made a truce yet. But today I felt the pull, the urge, the calling... to come out to play... to wax nostalgic... to join in...

At Christmas We... used to go to Elmira every year. The girls would have Christmas at Grandma's house.  They would all dress up in matching Christmas outfits and see Santa (a.k.a. Uncle Frankie... who, by the way, still plays Santa to this day).
 Our last real Christmas at Grandma's house was in 1996.  In 1997 she was already sick and confined to a bed. In 1998 we had our first Christmas at home, just the five of us.

At Christmas We... used to put up the Christmas Tree in the basement. And the girls used to hang all the ornaments. My job was simply opening them up and passing them out.
 Now the Christmas tree is put up in the family room. Same Christmas tree though! Now I hang all the ornaments. They aren't interested any more.  They want it done. They just don't want to do it.

At Christmas They.... used to love each other... pretty much unconditionally.
 Now, one of them is choosing not to speak to another one of them. Perceived hurts and injustices combined with a little unwillingness to forgive makes for a bit of tension in the air.

At Christmas We... used to hang the stockings along the bannister.
 Now we hang them above the fireplace. Same stockings though!

At Christmas They... used to wake up ridiculously early and wait at the top of the stairs for the all clear to come down.
 Now they wake up later and aren't in any rush to see what Santa brought.

At Christmas She... used to get excited about simple little things like slipper socks...

At Christmas We... gather in the family room, around the tree, and open stockings first... then presents. We eat a turkey dinner, watch the parade on television, and eventually go out to see a first run movie. Some things have changed over the years.  Some things have stayed the same.  I haven't caught a decent Christmas photo of my girls in years... hopefully this will be the year to remedy that.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy your family, enjoy your traditions... whatever they are!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 50

Is your holiday shopping done, or do you still have a few last minute items on your list?  As I'm typing this, I know I have at least one more run to make. And while I'm out, I'll be looking for an opportunity to fulfill this challenge for week 50:


Whether you hold a door, carry bags to a car, let someone with only an item or two ahead of you in line, give directions to an area of the store, share coupons or information about sales for a product someone is looking at... just make someone else's shopping day a little brighter!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 49

This week's challenge is short and sweet - VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME AND TALENTS.

There are unlimited opportunities for you to make use of your time and talents in service of others.

You could volunteer at the local library shelving books, at a food bank, or at the hospital as a greeter.
You could knit or quilt blankets for newborn preemies or sew pillowcases for children in the hospital.
You could help build homes. 

Whatever you choose to do, you'll know that you are helping others and I promise... you will feel so good about it!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Life Tunes 6

This is the last installment of the Life Tunes meme.  The suggested theme is your favorite Christmas or Holiday song.  Your own favorite may be anywhere in the range from Christmas hymns like "Silent Night" or "Away in a Manger" to secular pop titles like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" or "Frosty The Snowman".  There are so many choices!

Here is my layout:

The layout was created using Krystal Hartley's newest kit "Joyeux Noel"

Now it's YOUR turn to share your favorite Christmas/Holiday tune!  Choose a song that speaks to you, has a special meaning in your family, or just gives you the warm fuzzies during this season. You can create a layout, write a blog post, or share a link to a YouTube video. The linky will remain open until the end of the month, so you have plenty of time to join in!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

AYear Of Kindness - Challenge Week 48

Can you believe it is December already?  I lost most of November to back pain and kidney stone issues. I'm grateful that I was well enough to be home and to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. But I'm quite happy to bid adieu to November. Looking forward to a much kinder and gentler December!

And of course for most of us December means colder temperatures and Christmas. So the challenge for this week is to DONATE CLOTHING. 

Especially coats, hats, mittens, etc. Do a quick purge of your wardrobe and coat closet. Pull out anything that no longer fits, no longer suits, or is no longer needed. This is the time of year when the less fortunate really need these items. And there are so many places that will take your gently-worn pre-owned clothing off your hands! Some will even pick up. Just Google "Where can I donate clothes" and see for yourself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coming Soon - Life Tunes 6!

This final installment of my little mini series known as "Life Tunes" is late, but still hopefully very timely for you all!

My suggested topic for our last installment is your favorite Christmas/Holiday song. Your own favorite may be anywhere in the range from Christmas hymns like "Silent Night" or "Away in a Manger" to secular pop titles like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" or "Frosty The Snowman".  There are so many choices!

So pick a song that speaks to you, has a special meaning in your family, or just gives you the warm fuzzies during this season. Then create a layout or a blog post to document your choice. Come back on Friday, December 5th, when I'll be here posting my layout about this song:

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Weeks 46 and 47

For those of you who are my facebook friends, this is yesterday's news... but if you don't happen to be on facebook, let me catch you up with my life....

November has gone by in a blur of pain, starting with back pain, for which I began chiropractic treatment, but was finding absolutely no relief.  Then, on Saturday November 14, I was admitted to the hospital, via the Emergency Room, with some of the worst back and belly pain ever. Morphine became my new best friend. It was a kidney stone. With no improvement in pain levels (absent the meds) by Monday, a decision was made to proceed with surgery. Really it is a procedure, no cutting involved, called a ureteroscopy and the use of a laser to break up the stone (which was too large and too high up to pass on its own) into tiny fragments which can then pass on their own. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. Surgery was 2 p.m. on Monday and I was back in my room by 5:30 or so. And discharged home on Tuesday morning. I spent the remainder of last week going through the basic motions of living while still in a lot of pain.  Friday I had the stent (the worst part of the entire ordeal) removed.

Today is the first day I have felt almost human again. And I am so incredibly grateful. For the excellent medical facilities, for all the nurses who took such good care of me, for a relatively quick diagnosis and resolution, for the fact that I am home and able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family - and all my girls are home too!

So I came to my blog feed to catch up on things and with over 200 unread posts, I had to declare amnesty. I have read or skimmed most of your news, but commented on very few things. Please forgive me. I hope to do better as I feel better!  It is also time to catch up with my Kindness Challenge blog posts. Having missed last Monday, I have two today. So I opened my calendar in which I had laid out suggested topics for the year... and what do I have written down for Week 46, for the very Monday I was in surgery?


Surely you have to see the humor in that? I laughed out loud when I read it. I had never considered the possibility that I would be one myself!  But having been there, let me just suggest this... if you hear of a friend or relative who is feeling poorly or in the hospital, reach out! Phone, text, visit, whatever. Plan to keep your outreach short - people in pain tend to tire very easily. But the contact I had while in the hospital, in the form of flowers, phone calls, text messages, Facebook comments, really did help me to feel better. To know that I wasn't alone. To know that people were thinking of me, praying for me, and wishing me well. I am SO GRATEFUL!

Which brings me to today. To Week 47 of the Kindness Challenge. And this week, being Thanksgiving week here in the U.S., my challenge to you is to EXPRESS GRATITUDE.  Think about all the things you have to be grateful for and express it! Say it in a blog post, say it in a scrapbook layout, tell the people you love how grateful you are to have them in your lives... however you wish to go about it is fine, but make this week the time to acknowledge all that is right and good and beautiful in your world!

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 45

Thanksgiving is a mere two and a half weeks away here in the United States. It is at this time of year (well, not JUST at this time of year, but at this time particularly) that we pause to think of all we have to be grateful for... a roof over our heads, food on our table, clean water, clothing, warmth, companionship... all of our basic needs met, and we stop to consider those less fortunate than ourselves.

With that in mind, the challenge for Week 45, as you plan your Thanksgiving feast, buy a few extras to DONATE TO A FOOD PANTRY so that others may also enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I urge you to consider making a donation for those who are otherwise going hungry in your part of the world. Just google "food bank" along with your general region - appears they are all over the world!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Weeks 43 & 44

Did you notice that Challenge Week 43 came and went without a peep from me? Well, here's the thing. I was busy being kind to ME. Seems I have hurt my back again and was unable to sit at the computer for any length of time and unable to concentrate... so I gave myself... and all of you... a pass week. A week to be kind to yourselves and concentrate on things that were more immediate to your own lives. Hope you enjoyed it!

This week I'm back. Not 100%, but I'm trying for the sake of living out my promise to keep this going for a year.

And here's the challenge for this week:  GIVE MEANINGFUL GIFTS. 

I have no doubt that I am once again preaching to the choir, but I'm going to say it anyway. Christmas is coming. And as you start thinking about what gifts you are going to give this year, practice kindness by thinking honestly about the recipient. What type of gift will truly bring them joy?

For example, you have on your list the person who has everything they really want... or who is actively trying to remove "clutter" from their lives. Buying this person another tie, scarf, or ornamental figurine might allow you to check them off your list... but is that being kind to them? Instead, think about experiences as a gift - how about tickets to the movies, a play, a sporting event? How about a class for a skill they have been wanting to learn?   Or let's suppose you have an avid collector on your list... who collects [fill in the blank]. I'm going to say owls. So instead of another dust-catching but otherwise useless owl figurine, how about making this person something useful with an owl motif? Maybe decorate the cover of an inexpensive journal with owls? Or knit/crochet a scarf with an owl motif in the pattern?  You get the idea.  Give the gift of experiences, of useful items, of hand-made with love, of yourself.

And obviously I'm not expecting this one to be fulfilled within the week. It is just something to keep in mind as you begin your holiday shopping.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 42

The responses to last week's suggestion to send a care package were so much fun! I love it when one of these ideas strikes a chord with you all.

For those of you across the pond still searching for the right fit for sending a care package, I had a thought... how about our sweet young blog friend Abi?  I don't know her Uni address, but I'm betting some of you do, and I'm sure she'd love a nice little package with tea and cookies or other fun little treats. I'm fairly certain she doesn't regularly follow my blog, so she won't know I've posted this.

For this week's challenge, let's all do something kind for a colleague or co-worker. A little praise, a cup of coffee, support on a project... whatever might make an office mate's day just a little easier, a little brighter.  Don't work outside the home? Then pick a neighbor or a worker at a local establishment that you frequent. Sometimes the smallest thing can make a big difference!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Weekend Share

Using Krystal Hartley's newest collab kit "Autumn Reflections".  The only part that isn't from the kit is the "Happy Birthday" wordart that comes from Katie Pertiet's "Another Year Older" template.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Life Tunes 5

This is the 5th installment of our 6 themes for Life Tunes.  This month's suggested theme is "Oldie But Goodie".  What is your favorite old song? What one has a particular meaning in your life? Why?

Here is my layout:

Now it's YOUR turn to share your favorite oldie!  You can create a layout, write a blog post, or share a link to a YouTube video. The linky will remain open until the end of the month, so you have plenty of time to join in!

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 41

I want to make this week's challenge FUN... so without futher ado...

Your challenge for Week 41 is to SEND A CARE PACKAGE.  If this concept is puzzling you, never fear, I have ideas!

1. Send a care package to a kid in college/University. If it happens to be your own kid, awesome.  If not, borrow someone else's.  In addition to my own two, I've been sending the random package to young Taylor, whose own mother is not around to send her packages anymore.

Here is a link with some fantastic ideas for sending FUN themed care packages to college kids:  16 Care Packages

2. Send a care package to someone deployed in the military. If you know someone, send a personal package. If not, there are TONS of organizations that will help you to send a care package... click this link for a list.  While it maybe isn't as easy for my friends over in the U.K., I did find this source for sending a Christmas parcel.

3. If college/Uni kids and military personnel don't spark your imagination, how about making up a nice little basket for someone in a Senior Center, hospital, shelter, etc.  I'm sure the possibilities are endless with a little thought.

Whatever you do, remember to have FUN with this one!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 40

When considering kindness as a whole, I didn't want to leave out our four-legged, furry, and/or feathered friends. Whether your faithful companion is a dog, cat, hampster, or bird, they all deserve to be acknowledged for the joy they bring into your life.

So this week's challenge is to PAMPER YOUR PET!  For the outdoorsy type, how about a car ride, nice long walk, or a romp in the park? For those who grace our homes but have no business in the wild... maybe a new toy and a little play time? Some grooming?  Or special treats?

Or maybe all your pet really needs is a little extra love and attention.

Don't have a pet? Pamper a friend's pet. Or consider a small donation to a local animal shelter. If all else fails, consider making friends with the dust bunnies under your bed.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Coming Soon - Life Tunes 5!

Last month in Life Tunes 4 we considered what dance tune was guaranteed to get us moving. How fun! Thanks for all your responses.

This month, for the 5th of our 6 Life Tunes challenges, my suggested theme is oldies but goodies. What is your favorite "oldies" hit???  For me, music defined a lot of my life in the late 70's and early 80's. I loved Captain & Tenille, Bee Gees, ABBA, Kenny Rogers, Eagles, Bread, Michael Jackson... the list goes on and on. There are at least a half dozen tunes that I could name in this category. In fact, I seriously considered using Eagles "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and telling the story about the guitar man at our local college pub that I had a bit of a crush on...

But this month, I'll be creating a layout about this song:

Notice that it also fits neatly into the Life Tunes 3 song from a movie soundtrack category too?  You may find (if you choose to go back and create Life Tunes layouts at some point) that many of the categories will spark more than one song for you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 39

Back in Challenge Week 32 I asked you to consider donating school/office supplies to schools or other charities that collect them for disadvantaged students. Today I got my letter from Pennridge FISH, indicating that through the donations made by myself and others, they were able to provide nearly 250 filled backpacks to needy children in the area. That feedback just makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over!

This week, the challenge is similar, but with a slightly different angle. This week I am asking you to consider donating art supplies - you know, those unused, no-longer-needed, excess, taking-up-space items that are preventing you from finding the stuff you really want to use!  If you are anything like me, a regular purge of scrapbooking and other art-related supplies is a must.  I try to find "good homes" for the items that no longer serve me. If you know another scrapbooker or knitter or mixed media artist who can use the goodies that are no longer serving you, that's awesome - a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) toward that person is one way to donate art supplies.

Another is to consider donating  them to places such as daycare centers, schools, hospitals, retirement centers, nursing homes, homeless shelters, art therapy centers and the like. These institutions generally run on limited budgets and are always grateful for supplies to keep their students, patients, and clients happy and engaged.  Check locally around you - likely there are lots of places that would be grateful for your donation.
Still stumped? A quick google search will net you dozens of places to send those supplies. Two that I found today that captured my imagination:  accepts donations of scrapbooking supplies which they use to create and donate personalized memory albums for loved ones experiencing end of life.  They have a few testimonials of the types of albums and situations that they have provided for. is a "thrift shop" for artists, crafters, teachers, parents and DIY-ers.  Their mission is to facilitate creative reuse of crafting materials of all kinds. They accept donations and then resell the items at very low prices to those who use them in crafting.  In doing so, they keep tons of "stuff" from ending up in landfills. Check out their seriously cool website!

While these are U.S. based organizations, I'm sure my international readers can find similar organizations closer to home. Finding a charity that you feel good about helping out can ease the discomfort of letting go of those scrapbooking supplies!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scavenger Hunt 5 - the final few

 #3 Birds On a Wire.  What, you can't see them?  They are almost dead center in the photo, below the traffic lights facing the other direction, on the wire stretching between the top edge of the hotel and the street light.  Roughly a dozen of them. I would show you zoomed in, but all you'd see is pixellated blobs. I saw them clear as day sitting at this traffic light. Unfortunately, my iPhone did not.

 So I give you this shot, taken for me by Jay on Saturday morning. Seriously, birds on a wire has become a running joke when we are in the car. So he saw this driving himself to work and snapped the photo for me.

#6. An urban street scene. The streets of Washington D.C. as taken in front of the Thai Restaurant that Sarah and I were visiting for dinner on Friday night.
#7. A rural landscape. Shot from the Bloomsburg University campus. A great view of the valley and the rolling hills of Pennsylvania.

Which leaves me with #10, the photo bomb:
The view of the Oprah Live the Life You Want Weekend event from the nosebleed section of the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.  Seriously, I got vertigo the first time we went up to our seats and turned around toward the stage. It is kind of terrifying. Oprah looked like an ant on that stage. And I'm not really sure this counts as a photo bomb, but I was trying to get the crowd seated and didn't expect all these people to be popping up in their seats.  In any event, I did get both alternates, so I'm calling it good!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 38

So how did you TREAT yourself last week?  My weekend with Sarah (and her work friend Chad) at the Oprah Live the Life You Want weekend event was, in a word, phenomenal! Very uplifting and empowering. Lots of great things to mull over and implement in my life in the coming weeks. Wish I had the time to be more specific, but I'm sneaking this in before heading off to California. In fact, when this posts, I'll be boarding a plane...

One thing that everyone who reads this blog has in common is that we are a creative lot. From scrapbooking to knitting, mixed media to writing, photography to book making, this common thread binds us all.  This week's challenge is to REACH OUT to an artist who has influenced or inspired you - famous or not, it doesn't matter - and just say thank you. Let them know that their work has made a difference in your life. Everyone loves to know that what they are doing matters. That it touches others in one way or another. So pick someone and let them know!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scavenger Hunt - 4 Playing Catch Up

It has been awhile since I've posted any Scavenger Hunt photos. So here goes...

#2 - A garden gnome.  I've been on the look-out for one of these guys since forever June. And never saw one. Well, as it turns out, he wasn't visible from the street. This little guy is on the porch of the house directly across the street from me! And I would have never known had I not been outside taking a photo of a hot air balloon and discussing the Scavenger Hunt with my next door neighbor.

#12 A Mascot. I am not a sports fan and don't get to games. So when we went to Bloomsburg last Friday to take Rachel & Becca out to lunch for their 21st birthday (yes, my babies are 21... YIKES!) I asked them to take me to the bookstore so I could get this photo.

#14 - A Parade.... of college students on the Bloomsburg campus. Which is apparently as close to a parade as I'm going to get this Summer!

#18  A Waterfall.  This was taken in Putnam CT. Jay and I went to "Mystic Country" over Labor Day weekend to visit antique shops. I was so happy to find this... not just one waterfall... if you look closely you can count at least five different spots that have water tumbling down!

#20 A Bus with a picture painted on it.  I have come to the conclusion that buses here in the northeastern United States are BORING! Most of them have the name of the bus company and a few stripes painted down the side. That's it. No pictures. We did spot this one on the drive to Connecticut and I managed to snap a picture from the passenger seat.

Alternative A - A Hot Air Balloon. Believe it or not, this photo was taken from my front yard. I was sitting at my computer when I heard the sound of the balloon. So I grabbed my camera (this is one of only a few not taken on the iPhone!) and headed outside. It was almost sunset. This balloon was riding so low, it skimmed the top of the trees and went right over my roof! I suspect they ended up landing in the soccer field behind the grocery store. My next door neighbor was also out taking pictures. I told her about the Scavenger Hunt. And that is when I learned our neighbor across the street had a gnome.
Alternative B - A Bird House.  Found this one this past weekend when Jay and I were at an antique store up in Allentown (no, I didn't buy it - took the photo in the store). Love the weathered look and the faucet handles as perches!

Which leaves me needing an urban street scene, a rural landscape, a photo bomb, and the ever elusive birds on wire...  I have been seeing birds on wires lately... always when I am driving and always on roadways where there is NO PLACE to pull over. Never out on a walk in my own neighborhood. That would be too easy, right? I'll be right down to the last minute getting these last few photos in! With my travel schedule, I will probably have to post my last few (IF I can get them) via iPhone to Facebook!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Life Tunes 4

Well, it is September 17th and that means I'm already two days late with the 4th installment of Life Tunes! (sorry).  This month's suggested theme is dance tunes. What is the one song guaranteed to get your toes tapping, hips shaking, body moving?  Here is my layout:

The layout was created with Krystal Hartley's latest kit "Soundtrack". The terrible photo is actually of my sister Deanna and I dancing to "YMCA" at a Convention, back in the days when I was in the scrapbook biz... but it is the only photo I could find of me dancing... and I had to ask the friend who took it for it! Guess I don't dance all that much...

Now it's YOUR turn to share your favorite dance tune.  You can create a layout, write a blog post, or share a link to a YouTube video. The linky will remain open until the end of the month, so you have plenty of time to join in!

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 37

I hope that last week you all had an opportunity to practice kindness by being nice to someone who annoys you. I had a few opportunities and was glad to take advantage of them and flex my patience muscles... those muscles still need some good work-outs... they tend to get flabby when I'm not paying close attention!

This week we are turning the tables back to ourselves - your challenge - TREAT YOURSELF.

Whether you give yourself a spa day, buy yourself some flowers, take yourself on a photo walk, gift yourself with time to be creative.... whatever you choose... just do something for yourself that will help you refill your own well.

I'm heading on a train to D.C. on Friday morning. Spending two days with my girl Sarah and going to see the "Oprah Live The Life You Want" weekend. I hope to come back inspired and full of energy.  Because I'm home for ONE day before I turn around and hop a plane to California for a work conference. I already feel as though I've been scarce on my blog and it is because September is proving to be a crazy month. Sarah was home the first weekend. I put her on the train on Monday afternoon, cleaned up the guest room on Tuesday, and picked my mother up from the airport on Wednesday. She was here through Saturday. And I feel like I am still trying to catch up with my own life while preparing for this next round of travel.  I'm pretty much gone for the rest of September!  So if you don't see me posting much or commenting on your blogs, that is why. Busy girl!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 36

This week I'm asking you to practice kindness by being kind to someone who annoys you. Give them extra attention and support. It can be so easy to turn away from or react adversely towards those who may most need your kindness when their behavior is less than pleasant. This is an opportunity to really hone your kindness skills and step outside of your natural reaction. See if you can turn them around with kindness!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Coming Soon - Life Tunes 4!

Last month in Life Tunes we considered beloved songs from a movie soundtrack.  Feels Like Home To Me is still playing in my mind on repeat!  

This month, for the 4th of our 6 Life Tunes, my suggested theme is your favorite dance song.  What is the one song that is guaranteed to get you out of your seat and on the dance floor? Or if you aren't into dancing, what is the one that you can't help but tap your toes to???  I challenge you not just to name that tune, but to provide a photo of yourself dancing!   This month I'll be creating a layout about this song:

No doubt about it, I was a child of the 70's!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One Thing Leads To Another - Contest Winner

I honestly had to chuckle at the guesses that were coming in on the number of layouts in my 4.5" pile.  To those of my blog friends unitiated in a print of a digital layout - it is the same thickness as a photograph, just 12x12 (or whatever size you print at).  

So to help you out... a box of 100 sheets of photo paper (including packaging) measures 3/4 of an inch.  

Yes, the guesses were woefully low.

The total number of pages in that stack...


.... was....



(drum roll please)...  *********************************************


******************************  TA DA!!!!


Which means my winner is Karen!  Kudos Karen - I'll take care of the prize later this week.

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 35

I'm running late again. Jay and I were away for the long weekend and I'm still catching up on both life and sleep!

This week's challenge is to ACKNOWLEDGE VOLUNTEER WORKERS in your community. Take a tray of cookies to your volunteer fire fighters. Write a note of thanks to local groups that help in some way to make your community or environment a better place to live.  These unsung everyday heroes should be celebrated.  I am sure they would like to know that their efforts are making a difference and are appreciated

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One Thing Leads To Another - A Contest And An Offer

It was just over a month ago that I realized I had not filed my scrapbook layouts into my Library of Memories albums in quite awhile. By "quite awhile" I actually mean over a year and a half. Give or take. In that time, I had participated in a few fantastic online classes that resulted in layouts, as well as a few LOAD challenges. So the pile looked like this:

That stack is 4.5" tall.  Broken down,  it is 1" of digital layouts,10 sleeves of Project Life page protectors, and 3" of paper layouts and an office file folder layout (the one with the bow - several pages inside).  So how many pages do you think are there?  Leave your guess in the comments to be entered into my blog contest. The person who comes the closest will win a special prize from me - I can't say what yet as it will be something chosen specifically for the winner!

Here are a few more angles to help you out:

Remember - leave your guess in the comments!

Anyway, having determined that the time had finally come to unite those loose layouts with the albums in which they belonged, I set aside a few hours one day and went to work. That day was over a month ago. I got started only to discover that some of the albums in which those layouts belonged were already full to capacity.

My existing Library of Memories albums
In fact, the "All About Us" albums were truly ready to be broken out into individual albums. Things was full. People was full. There was no room at the inn for those layouts!  So I got online, tracked down the best deal I could find for the albums I wanted and placed an order.

Order of new albums and page protectors
The wait was blessedly short - the albums arrived in just three days - thank you Staples!

So I sat down and started filing away layouts.  At which point I discovered that I had layouts that really didn't fit my category albums. I really needed an album just for "My Art" - those layouts created just for me, either as creative team assignments or art journaling or whatever - layouts in which my family would have zero interest.  And I needed a specific 8.5x11 album as well.  Back to the Internet I went.  This time I found a better deal on Jo-Ann Fabrics site. And another order was placed.  I had to wait a little longer this time, but the albums did eventually arrive about a week later and the last of my layouts were finally filed away.

"Before" photo
But that lead to a new problem. I had literally just doubled the number of albums I was using for Library of Memories and would need more shelf space to store them. Which meant I needed to rearrange the shelves in my craft area to accommodate the new albums. And the only way that was going to happen was to purge my stash of stuff.  I didn't want to simply add more storage for a couple of reasons. The primary reason is there is no room in my craft/scrapbooking/sewing studio for more storage units of any variety. Secondarily, I really want to limit my stash to what fits in this space.  It is a big space and anything more would just be excess that I don't need.

This is what my Library of Memories storage looked like before adding albums. The smaller albums on the top shelf are photo albums. The cream album is my "Seasons and Celebrations" album. And the second shelf contains the bulk of my Library of Memories albums as they existed.

So now I am in the process of purging stash and rearranging storage.
The Library of Memories albums now take up most of three shelves. Because the third shelf down is "fixed" (not movable), I can't store the albums on three consectutive shelves.  The photo albums got moved to the center shelving unit.

A couple of close-ups of the Library of Memories albums:

As you can see, I divided up my three "US" albums into six. There is now one for each family member and one catch-all for family as a whole that showcases relationship type layouts. "Things We Do" and "People We Love" were each divided into two volumes - volume one being full and volume two having room to grow. And "Places We Go" was divided into Near (around the house, around town, pretty much anything within about an hour) and Far (which includes travel and places we don't visit regularly).

And I finally got all of the albums out of the plastic covers, added the tags, and added labels in the spine pockets and added title pages. My girls will now know which album to pull off the shelf if they want to see what I have scrapbooked specifically about them!

The 8.5x11 album I needed was for "Things We Love" which is the album I am dedicating to all of my "Precious" layouts (thanks to Sian) which I will continue adding to over time. I love the beautiful coral "My Art" album!  Finally, the Seasons & Celebrations album - has things like Spring, Winter, Easter, Christmas, Birthdays, Weddings, etc.

As for the rest of the shelves, and all the stuff now sitting on the floor... this is not likely to be a quick process. The time I have to devote to it is limited. But as I go through and identify stash that no longer serves me, I'll be offering it up here in hopes that it will find a home where it DOES serve someone else's needs. I have to let go of enough stuff so that what is left fits in the existing storage spaces!

The first bit of stash I have to offer up is Project Life related.  I have genuine Becky Higgins Project Life page protectors - 28 Style A and 16 Style D.  And an approximately 85% full Project Life Core Kit "Olive Edition" in all the original packaging.  I also have 14 assorted sheets of pocket pages (variety of size and styles) from WeR Memory Keepers.  Having determined through trial and error that Project Life is just not my thing, I'd love to offer up these supplies to one or more of you who will put them to good use.  I only ask that you pay the shipping costs. If you are interested in these supplies, please drop me an email!

Don't forget to leave your guess on my # of layouts in the comments. And check back regularly for more stash-purging offers!