Thursday, January 28, 2016

Scrapbooking Share - Part 1

(Or "What I Did At The Crop")

 Highlights from Rachel's Kindergarten school year.  (Although the letter to Santa was more likely from first grade).

Highlights from Becca's Kindergarten school year

 A very uninspired layout about Rachel's sixth grade electronics project

And a very similar one for Becca.

 I made 3 or 4 of these pockets.  Actually there is one for every grade in each of their albums and some of the other ones are far more inspired.  But I'm working at this point to just get these albums DONE. So I'm totally letting go of perfect.

 The 2015 entry for Jay's birthday album.  True Confession - that "amazing" sticker accidentally stuck down to the photo much higher than I wanted it, as well as crooked, and I couldn't peel it off without destroying the layout. So I purposefully distressed it to make it look like it was supposed to be that way.

 My annual 2015 Greetings Card pages for our Christmas Greetings album.  I've noticed that as the years have passed we get a lot less of the photo cards that used to dominate these pages...

 In fact, if it weren't for cards from blog friends, we wouldn't have many cards at all!  Every single one of them is enjoyed very much, so don't feel bad if yours didn't make the album. I simply couldn't fit everything!

I still haven't had a chance to photograph the pages I made for my Challenge of Me album, so there will be more coming next week.  What have you scrapbooked lately???

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So Here's The Thing...

Do you remember way back in October when I shared that I had an upcoming trip but it would have to be a blog post for after Christmas?  Ring any bells?  Well, I've tried to figure out a clever way to introduce this but nothing is coming to me.  So here goes...

First, let me just say that I dropped easter eggs about it here (in November, check out my gratitude page) and here (in December, again check out my gratitude page) and here (in January, check out the journaling on my December Reflections pages) and again here (where I nearly hit you all over the head with my news on my 2016 OLW Intentions page).  Only two people called me out on it. So what's the THING? LONDON!!

Our big Christmas gift this year was (is) tickets to see this:

Now in order to take advantage of these tickets - which Sarah spent four hours of her life in two separate online queues to procure (she had really good seats in the shopping cart but the "buy" button wouldn't work because the website was having some technical glitches. She had to jump into a second queue and start over. She's tenacious like that.) - it means the Andrews family will be traveling to LONDON in July!!!

So here's the deets.  Arriving London Heathrow at 6:20 a.m. on Monday July 25.  We've booked a rental apartment on Fitzroy St. in the Fitzrovia section of London.  Which means absolutely squat to me at this point, but Sarah says it is well situated.  She really wanted to be in Soho, but we simply couldn't afford the housing options there!

Our tickets for the Harry Potter play (any Potter fans get tickets for this?) are for Wednesday the 27th.  Of course all the typical touristy stuff (ANY RECOMMENDATIONS/TIPS WILL BE GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED) will be undertaken.  On Saturday we'll head to Edinburgh, Scotland and then back home early on Tuesday.  Whirlwind, yes. But we stretched our budget as it was.

Now I certainly can't haul my big butt 3500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean without at least trying to meet up with my U.K. blog friends, can I????  Save the date!!!  Friday, July 29, 2016.  Put it on your calendar.  Meet me in London - I'm open to suggestions for restaurants or other suitable meeting places. Yes, I'm just a little excited about the prospect. Can I count on seeing YOU there???

Monday, January 25, 2016

Memorandum Monday - The Blizzard of 2016

I spent my weekend watching the snow pile up outside. Quite literally.  It started snowing here around 6 p.m. on Friday night.  When I awoke on Saturday morning, the window in my office looked like this:

We had such high winds that the snow blew through the window screen and was stuck between the glass and the screen.  It is still working on melting out as I type this.

And yes, it was this grey and overcast ALL. DAY. LONG.
The sliding glass door from the sun room to the deck at 9:45 a.m.  At this point we already had nearly a foot of snow.
Same location, 3:30 p.m. There were no lulls in this storm.  It was either snowing lightly or snowing heavily all day.
 At 6:06 p.m.  From the inside, that second line on the window is 28" from the floor.  But immediately outside, there is a step down, so the deck itself is about 6" lower that the inside of the house.
Final shot - 8:45 a.m. on Sunday.  The snow stopped some time during the night. All told, we got 30"  with blowing drifts that were easily 4 and 5 feet tall.  If that were water and the deck could contain it, we would have a swimming pool!

Obviously we can't open this door!

What I learned:

  • weather forecasts can be wildly inaccurate (our area was in the band that was supposed to get 6-12")
  • Perkasie had the highest accumulation in Bucks County PA.
  • 30" of snow means multiple times out shoveling and snow blowing. 
  • I am EXTREMELY grateful that Jay is the one who handles all the shoveling and snow blowing!!!  Here he is with the snow blower around 4 p.m. on Saturday. You can see the snow is up to his knees as he clears the sidewalk!
  • A day stuck at home when you are fully prepared is really a lovely thing.

And finally - check out what came in the mail on Friday (before the snow thankfully).  This beautiful calendar from Carola.  I'm going to enjoy all these scenes from the Oregon coast during the year!  Thanks Carola.

I'm playing along with Sian's Memorandum Monday.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Memorandum Monday - Sweethearts

I'm playing along with Sian's Memorandum Monday.

I spent my weekend at a crop retreat. And the week preceding it purging my scrapbook supplies and making up page kits so that my time at the crop would be productive and worthwhile. I never really had a chance post-holidays to get back into any kind of routine. That starts today. Life should finally settle back to some semblance of normal.

Something new I learned this weekend:

1. If you really spend the time pre-planning pages for your crop you can:

  • take a lot less stuff with you
  • get a lot more pages done
  • have time leftover for other things
I actually finished all of the paper pages I had brought to work on and did a digi page from scrap as well! That left me time to update my planner, keep up with my Simple Abundance reading every day, get to the hotel gym twice!, keep up with my online classes, and do some light reading.

2. The weight it took you two full weeks to lose can be regained in just three days - despite getting to the hotel gym and making the best choices you could from the foods available. Ugh.  I guess pizza and coke just can't be part of a weight loss plan.  Bummer.

3. Did you know that the Valentine's candy "Sweethearts" has been around since 1866?  

Apparently the original version was much larger and had long flowery messages.

The current miniature hearts with short messages first appeared in the early 1900's.

What's even more interesting is how the messages have changed over the years. Who knew???

I used to love getting these candies at Valentine's as a kid. Now I wouldn't be able to tolerate the taste - but they are still fun!  Did you get Sweethearts as a kid?

Waving hello to all the Monday-ers!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hello 2016!

Hello 2016! I am ready for the best year of my life!

I know this post is a week late in coming. It literally took me through the fifth of the month just to fully wrap my brain around my intentions for the year. But I'm ready now, and easing into turning those intentions into realities. Fair warning - this post is long. 

My primary intention for 2016 is to take my health in hand - get fit, lose weight, and break my sugar addiction.  I joined Cathy Zielski's FIT class and was thrilled to have Melissa, Alexa, Karen, and Alison also join in the class.  It's not too late if you are interested - introductory pricing of $26 for the whole year is good through January 15! I'm excited about this class and my blog friends joining in for the factor of accountability. I need to be accountable outside of myself or I just don't get things done.

 My FIT title page. I tweaked Cathy's colors just a bit.
My first page of the many cards Cathy provides for tracking.  I'm not going to use all of the cards she provides - just the ones that fit my needs for each month. I'm absolutely cringing at putting the numbers out there, but I'm trying to be honest and real with myself and accept that this is where I am at right now. It's the heaviest I've been in my entire adult life and I do not like it - not one little bit! I'm hoping that putting these mortifying numbers out there will give me the needed motivation (or kick in the pants if you will) to actually make some changes in my life!

The little red dress in the photos is very similar to the one I bought (mine is a little longer) and haven't yet worn. I bought it when I was at least 14 lbs lighter than I am now and at the time, I really needed to lose another 5 pounds to make it look good. I will never have the leggy look of the model wearing this dress, but this photo gives me a tangible goal to strive for that isn't tied to the number on the scale.

The daily step goal of 5000 steps will be adjusted as I start to consistently reach my goal. Right now, left to my normal sedentary work day, I only get in about 3500 steps. So yes, even a mere 5000 is pushing me out of my comfort zone - just not too far. I'm hoping to rack up some success before I up the goal!

I was inspired by the one page tracker Melissa is using to track her quiet time. But I needed something that would fit my 6x8 album and I didn't want to pay for a download I would have to change anyway.  So I created this one in PSE. I'll be tracking every day that I eat sugar free! I hope to see a LOT of colored squares by the end of the year!  If anyone would like this tracker, say the word and I'll email you a printable file. I can leave the subject line blank or fill it in with your choice of topic.

I'm also participating in Ali Edward's One Little Word class again this year.  My word for 2016 is SIMPLE.

In an attempt to honor my word, I've kept the title page simple. In fact, all that white space kind of bothers me. But I'm trying it on for a bit to see how it feels!
back side of title page
I think the following pages largely speak for themselves. :)

this should read "unnecessary clutter and busyness" - but I haven't gone back and corrected my spelling mistakes on the card yet. Not sure if I will.

I didn't have room on the page to get more specific with the creative intentions. Getting FIT is my primary intention, but addressing my Creativity is a close second for me in terms of importance. I intend to use Rinda's method and focus on one area of creativity each month. I hope to cover the following topics in 2016:

  • paper scrapbooking
  • digital scrapbooking
  • planner pages
  • art journaling
  • card making
  • mixed media
  • photography
and anything else I happen to think of during the year. I may give some topics two months and really delve in. I'm hoping this approach will be easier than trying to hit everything each month.

Have you chosen a word for 2016? How does it tie in to your intentions for the year?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

SNAP 1 - scrapbooking share

I am going to try to play along with Helena's SNAP meme this year.  So my first entry is a set of four scrapbooking related shares. I "scrapped" all through the holidays: a 30 Days of Thankful album in November, a December Reflections (my own version of JYC this year) in December, and finishing off my 2015 OLW album.  However, I didn't manage to share any of it here on my blog. Rather than trying to catch up with all of those pages, here's a representative sampling:

From my 30 Days of Thankful album

From my December Reflections album - this was the 26th & 27th.

My final photo spread in OLW. That is a picture of the Christmas card I made this year. It turned out to be so much work (I started in October) that only 14 lucky folks got one. And can I just say... SIMPLE is going to be my card-making mantra from here on out!

My final gratitude spread. I love the way this album turned out and am so glad to have documented these things all year!

Hopefully my future SNAP posts will be more in line with Helena's meme, but I really wanted to share these and, you know, two birds...

Monday, January 4, 2016

Saying Goodbye to 2015

2015 was my year to "Thrive".  In some respects, I was successful, in others, not so much. But when I look back on the year as a whole, it was a good year.  Not great, but good.

2015 was not the year I lost a lot of weight, to the contrary (and this is the really bad part), I steadily gained 14 pounds over the course of the year.  But in terms of health - I worked with a chiropractor until insurance stopped paying the bills, I started a fitness class, and I went to physical therapy to deal with the radiating pain caused by ridiculously tight neck muscles. I attended all the necessary doctors appointments and testing.  So I did address my health, just not in the way I originally intended.

Thanks to Plan to Eat I have made weekly meal planning into a habit and streamlined grocery shopping as well. I LOVE this program and can't recommend it highly enough.  Knowing at the beginning of each week what is for dinner each day has really simplified my life!

2015 was a great year for travel - Baltimore, Texas, Ocean City NJ, Kansas City MO -  and for meeting up with Blog Friends - I met up with Karen and with Melissa (twice!).

In 2015, I made some progress with decluttering (especially in terms of paperwork in the office!) but I have a long way to go! You'd never know to look around my home that we donated literally multiple van loads worth of stuff to Care & Share. But every space that gets tackled is a small victory and makes me feel lighter.

I set a goal at the beginning of 2015 to read 12 books during the year.  In fact, I managed to read 24 books! I also set a goal to try a new recipe each month. I think I was successful at least 10 out of 12 months.

I definitely didn't "play every day" in 2015. In fact, play and art in general took a huge back seat to opening and running our booth at Black Rose Antiques and Collectibles. And the jury is still out on how long that will last.  We renewed our lease through the end of March and are waiting to see how sales do in this first quarter.  We had fairly brisk sales through the holiday shopping season, at least one retail theft that we know of, and other minor problems that make us question if we are in the right place. But we continue for now.

All things considered, I'm happy to let 2015 go and ready to embrace 2016 with open arms. Stay tuned.