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!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 34

This week's challenge is short and sweet. LET SOMEONE ELSE GO FIRST.  So if you are shopping and someone only has an item or two, allow them in front of you in the check-out line (queue). If you are on the road, make space for a merging vehicle. With a friend or family member and you both have stories to share? Let the other person go first.  Just slow down enough in life to notice and let someone else ahead of you! It is a great way to practice patience too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 33

 I heard from several of you after last week's challenge that you donate school and/or art supplies regularly. Kudos! I went through our school supply cabinet and found that even after last year's massive purge, I still had more than we'll need of pens, pencils, erasers, so I culled our stock a bit more. Then I went to Staples and bought spiral notebooks, glue, pencils, and index cards. I took two large bags of donations to Pennridge Fish (our local food bank) and dropped them off. Felt pretty good too!

This week I'd like to honor Robin Williams with a challenge centered around a quote from him.  I've seen a lot of movies starring Robin Williams - Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, License to Wed.  There are just as many I haven't seen. But I want to.

But I know that his movies always touched me. He made me laugh.  He made my world a better place by being here. He will be missed.

Robin was quoted as saying:  "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."  I would like to believe that my little Kindness project is changing the world, or at least little bits of it, in some small way.

Your challenge this week is to USE YOUR WORDS to make the world a little better.  How you do that is up to you. Write an uplifting blog post. Write a letter to someone you love, letting them know how much they mean to you. Smile and say "hello" to everyone you come in contact with. Whatever it is, this week make a difference with your words.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Life Tunes 3

It is August 15th and that means it is time for the third installment of Life Tunes!  This month's suggested topic is a song from a movie soundtrack. Here is my layout:

Now it's YOUR turn to share a song from a movie soundtrack.  A song that touches you in a special way. Or one that is just fun.  Whatever.  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!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Documenting The Everyday - Week 32

Flap closed. For this week, I wanted to go with a softer, almost vintage palette. The background color is a cheap acrylic paint - french vanilla. I received a number of items in Happy Mail that were perfect for this week as well.

The challenge for the week was to add a fortune from a fortune cookie. I didn't have one, but did have the little banner (from happy mail) that says "many hands make light work" which sounds very fortune cookie-ish and kind of looks like those little slips of paper.  Jay and I celebrated our 29th anniversary during this week and I journaled a bit about that - blurred it out because it is a bit personal. This was a nice change of pace for me, but I know I can't stay away from the bright colors for long! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Texture Tuesday - Stillness

My original photo - taken Sunday at Peace Valley Park - with my iPhone. Minor post processing to increase sharpness and contrast.

With Kim Klassen "quiet" at 85% soft light and Kim Klassen "Follow" at 65% soft light.  And a quote that is a reminder I need this week!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 32

This challenge this week is simple. As we are coming to the end of the Summer holidays/vacation and thinking about Fall and back-to-school, consider donating school supplies.

Free school supplies, health exams offered in Louisville
photo source
Check your own stash of office and art supplies first - do you have multiples or more than you need of anything? You might be surprised at what you have stock-piled in drawers and cupboards. Lined paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, glue, rulers, index cards, highlighters, crayons, colored pencils are all welcome items in schools where not all of the children can afford to bring their own.

Next check the sales. Right now you can cheaply purchase basic supplies from any of the major office supply stores (Staples, Office Max, etc.) or major department stores (WalMart, Target, etc.).  For example, this week at Staples you can buy spiral notebooks for 17 cents each, rulers at 25 cents each, school glue at 39 cents each, a box of twelve pencils for 68 cents and a pack of index cards for 48 cents.  At those prices, a mere $5 can purchase a sizable stash of school supplies.

Many places will accept school supply donations at this time of year - our local food bank runs a drive for school supplies for area children. Some of the stores selling supplies will take your purchased donations and deliver them to area schools for you. You can also drop supplies off directly at schools in need. You may not get to see the smile on the face of the child who receives your donation, but you can feel good knowing that it will be appreciated and used!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pile of Postcards Exchange

I joined in on Sian's Pile of Postcards Exchange.  As soon as I had my list of names, I found a vendor of vintage postcards at a flea market. I bought up a group of them - all centered around Lancaster, PA which happened to be the area of the flea market. Sent them off to all of my names, plus one to Sian. I also had a small pile of postcards from some of my quote photography, so I randomly picked a handful of blog friends and sent those out too!  I honestly don't remember how many postcards I sent in total.

And here is the bounty I received in return:

Top Left: From Susanne at Snaps and Snippets is a shot of a monument called "Four Freedoms".
Center Left: from Lizzie at Lizzie Made a post card from their vacation spot in St. Ives, Cornwall.  Of course when I saw it I couldn't help but thinking of that riddle "When I was walking to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives..."  You know the one?
Bottom Left: This most recent one was received from Mare-Liez in Cape Town, South Africa. How cool is that? Unfortunately I couldn't find a blog or email address for Mare-Liez to thank her, so if you are connected to her, let her know I got her card!
Top Center: from our fearless leader Sian herself!
Bottom Center: from Sheena over at Sheena's Scraps and Scribbles this lovely Legend of Lady Godiva - from which I learned that the phrase "peeping Tom" may have arisen. Something new every day.
Top Right: from Laura in Ireland. Beautiful area. Not enough info on the card for me to identify Laura's web home.
Center Right:  from Debs of Debs World with a great glimpse into her quaint home town! 
Bottom Right: and finally (outside of the swap) from Barbara at Happily Ever After a map of her home state of Tennessee.  Barbara was one of the folks I sent an extra postcard to and she was very quick to reciprocate. 

The swap was a lot of fun and I feel so blessed to have received all of my cards!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Documenting The Everyday - Week 31

Here is week 31 with the tip-in closed. I got some happy mail from two gals in the group, so all of the pasted in elements on the right-hand page were created by other women.

With the tip-in flap opened. Again most of the elements (except the bar code tags) were provided in happy mail, but went great in this layout! I'm really happy with the messy background. And the hummingbird card was perfect - been seeing a little hummingbird feeding on the hanging plants on my back deck. Just wish I could get a photo, but the little guy only stays for a few seconds and is gone.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Scavenger Hunt - 3 (So Many Signs)

#1 - A sign welcoming people to my home town.  These are posted at various entrances to the borough. This one happens to be just a few blocks from home.

 #16 - A sign not in English.  This billboard is located on Old Bethlehem Pike in Sellersville (next town over). Old Bethlehem Pike is a moderately traveled two lane roadway that leads to Route 309.  This area happens to be very "white bread" - very small minority population and certainly not a significant Spanish speaking population. In fact, I'd be surprised if even 5% of the people who drive by this bill board can read Spanish (I can't).  I did a google translation - it says "From home to forest in less than 90 minutes". (ahem, there is plenty of forest within 5-10 minutes of this sign)  I'm just totally stumped as to what demographic the advertisers are trying to reach???

Oh, and take note of the completely bird-free overhead wires...

#19 - A Public Garden. This might not be what you'd expect. This land is set aside so that any borough resident can come claim a small patch and grow their own flowers/vegetables.  Meant for those that don't have the yard space for a garden.  It is really hard to tell from the photo, but there is a beautiful patch of sunflowers growing at the far back corner (nearly center line of the photo, right in front of the white house).  If I had to venture a guess, there are at least 50 different little plots in there with folks growing things - mostly veggies.

P.S.  All taken with my iPhone... I may be getting a little better at this. Although zooming with my feet has proved a bit dangerous - especially with that billboard photo!

Linking up with Rinda's July Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Coming Soon - Life Tunes 3!

Last month in Life Tunes we considered our favorite spiritual songs. Not many of you are playing along with a blog post or scrapbooking layout, but I hope you are at least finding some inspiration for the future!  I know many of you wanted to play along ... maybe it is just the Summer business...

This month my suggested theme is a song from a movie soundtrack.  This is so wide open.  There are so many beautiful songs that were created specifically for movies and so many beautiful, fun, and crazy songs that are featured in movies.  Share Yours! This month I'll be creating a layout about this song: 

Texture Tuesday - Artsy Flowers

Playing along with Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

My Original Photo - the only post-processing is a slight sharpen.

With Texture

First I added Pioneer Woman Quick Edge Burn.  Then I added Kim Klassen's "Achieve" texture in hard light blending mode at 45% opacity.  With a layer mask, I removed most of the texture from the focal flower. Then I used the burn tool in PSE to darken the edges of the photo, creating a frame. And finally, added the quote.

5 in 5 - August

I decided to play along with Sandie's 5 in 5 meme this month.

My inspiration was to start in my office and just take 5-10 steps and just see what caught my eye. Since I did this mostly indoors, you get a little tour of my home:

 I started at my desk. This is where I spend most of my day at least 5 days a week. It is always a mess!

 I went from my office into the "living room" which actually houses my craft space.  This box is on the floor, waiting to be moved to the attic. Sarah's nursery lamp peeking out of the box. It had been in the attic previously but was pulled down to provide lighting when she moved out.  Now her bedroom is being converted (slowly but surely) to a guest room and the lamp has been replaced. But she wants this saved.

A few more steps and you are into my craft space. Here's my collection of acrylic paints.

Leaving the "living room" you enter the hallway (that's the front door) and down the hallway to the kitchen. My girls are home for the summer. You can tell because of the lack of visible surface on the kitchen island. It drives me insane. It looks this way most of the summer... until they leave again.

On the back deck. We spray painted the old brown wicker rockers turquoise at the beginning of the Summer. Becca thinks they look "tacky".  What do you think?

And what do all of these photos have in common? What is it that caught my attention in each space?  I think it is the pops of bright color.

To see more 5 in 5 entries, check here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 31

So how did your week of practicing self-compassion go? I had lots of opportunities to cut myself some slack because I wasn't feeling well over the weekend. Nothing specific, just that blah feeling like you are trying to fight off something. I allowed myself lots of rest and didn't push to accomplish other than the basic necessities (laundry, grocery shopping). Happy to say it worked and I feel better today!

This week's challenge is one for when you are out and about anyplace touristy... so if it doesn't fit for this week, just keep it in mind for a week that it does work.  The challenge is OFFER TO TAKE PHOTOS FOR COUPLES/FAMILIES.  It can be rare and difficult for a couple or an entire family to get EVERYONE in the photo - so step up and offer to help them out! They will appreciate it and you will feel good for doing it!
Back in May, I was the photographer for this photo of Melissa and Robbie taken on Robbie's camera. I played a little in Photoshop, adding the Pioneer Woman's "lovely" filter and RadLab's "Sparta" filter.