Thursday, December 13, 2018

Spread A Little Love

Jay and I started watching the show "Knightfall" last night. It's an historical fiction drama on the History Channel set in the early 14th century involving the Knights Templar. 

In the first or second episode, there is a scene set in Paris where a "Christian" is on a soapbox railing about the "Jews."  A man, allegedly a Jew, approaches and stabs him in the back.  The Christians want revenge.  The King of France expels the Jewish people from Paris.

As Jay & I were watching, I was struck heavily by the awareness that human beings have been persecuting each other practically since the day we arrived on earth.  And from this scene in the show over 700 years have passed and apparently as a species we have learned NOTHING.  Hate crimes are still rampant.  We are the only species (that I'm aware of) on the planet that kills for sport rather than necessity.  We are the only species driven by fear and hatred of what we don't know, don't understand, or what is different than us.

It is truly disheartening to think that after all this time, we have evolved SO LITTLE.  We haven't (as a species) yet reached a place where we accept and celebrate each others' differences.  Where we live and let live.  Where we seek to understand, rather than fear. Where we are inclusive rather than exclusive.  Where we understand that "we" aren't superior or better - and "they" aren't inferior or less than - based solely on skin color, religion, sexual orientation, political leaning, or any other category that divides "us" and "them."  The current political climate does nothing to help the situation either. 

It just made me sad.  And angry.  And I'm just sharing the feels tonight.  And thinking that tomorrow when I am out and about I'm going to make an extra effort to be kind and helpful and spread a little love.  Care to join me?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sharing A Little Bit More

Manu Design Studio's Blue Velvet kit needed to take the center stage.  Paired with a very old photo of me at (I think) 3 years old.  From the time I spent living with my Aunt Bev.  The curls are NOT natural. But the blonde totally is!

 From Tami Miller Designs - a collab kit with Aimee Harrison called Family is ForeverA photo of my family at Ocean City NJ in August. 

Also from Tami Miller Designs, the Grateful Hearts collection.  This was also taken at the shore, but includes our +2 boys, Andrew and Kyle, who are quickly becoming part of the family.

And yes, this is the extent of my creativity lately.  I haven't had the time or inclination to log into Lifebook in the last three months.  Hoping to get past that soon as I'm already signed up for Lifebook 2019 and I'm missing my paints and getting messy.  But these pages are making me happy too!
How's your creative life these days???

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Creative Team Share - Tami Miller Designs - part 2

Here's more from Tami Miller Designs.

 1. Using a kit called "Above Rubies".  This was a proud moment in 2016.  Can't believe it has already been two years since we were in Scotland.

2. Using "The Story of Us" to highlight a photograph of our Summer daylilies.

3. This one is "Sweater Weather"

4. Probably my favorite from the group of nature inspired photography, this was taken in Scotland - while everyone else was pointing cameras 180 degrees in the other direction at Sterling Castle, I was focused on the beautiful flora growing alongside the road.  Using "Sweet Simplicity."

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Creative Team Share - Tami Miller Designs

 Today, I'm highlighting layouts created with kits from Tami Miller Designs.  Again, the name of the kit will link to where the kit can be purchased.

1. From Thankful for You.  Picture taken while hiking in the Waimea Canyon on Kauai in October.  Jay and I don't really "do" selfies, so this is one of only about 3 photos of us together on Kauai.  The kit colors were a perfect match!

 2. Using Autumn Glow.  Sometimes Tami sends out a kit with a real mixed media, art journal vibe.  This was one.  Loved using it to showcase my first fall photo into an artsy layout.

3. Using Beautiful Dreamer.  This one got me scrapping a very old photo, but brought back so many memories.  I actually turned the round frame into a freebie cluster that was available through Tami's newsletter.

4. This is Tami's newest release - BeYOUtiful.  The photo is Becca and Kyle at the shore. It's not a great photo but I love that they are both laughing and goofing around.  This kit has some great self-esteem word art.

5. Using a collection titled Bliss Yourself Out.  Just the title of the kit evoked art for me!  But seriously, click the link and check out the absolutely gorgeous colors in this kit!!!

6. I almost can't believe this was created with a kit titled Hello Fall.  I wanted to do a "big photo" layout that would commemorate my trip last year to NYC with my mother, without it being the typical "touristy" layout.  I feel like I succeeded.

I still have several more layouts to share, but didn't want this post to get too long.  So more coming in my next post!  Needless to say, I've been doing a bit of scrapping the past two months... not so much art, but this is filling the need for now.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Creative Team Share - Manu Design Studio

Man am I behind!!!  Two months since my last post - I blame it on work commitments and travel.  But so much catching up to do...

Today's post features layouts from recent kits by Manu Design Studios.  The name of each kit is a link to where it can be purchased.

This first one is from a kit called Book of Memories, using only elements from the kit:

These next two are from a kit called Bound By Love and I just ADORE the ripped papers!  Photos are from this year's family trip to the shore.

 The Last Ride was created with a kit called Fading - it was an interesting exercise in trying to turn a kit that is basically vintage shabby chic into a manly layout - but also highlights just how versatile Manu's kits really can be!
 This memorial layout for Kira was made with Ripped Paper Templates 3  and the Antiqueness Kit.  Kira was actually sleeping on my lap in the photo.
 And my newest set of layouts from Manu use her beautiful new Snowlicious Kit.  It's a wintry mix with a beautiful pop of pink:

It's easy to see why I adore her kits!!!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Creative Team Share

Really quick because I'm packing (yes AGAIN) to head to Rockville for work (yes AGAIN) and man I just really wanna stay home...

Touch of Fall from Manu available HERE

and Autumn Breeze from Tami Miller Designs available HERE

Thursday, August 9, 2018

PLAY - Life Book 2018

So I haven't exactly been keeping up with all the lessons in Life Book. I've got more projects "in progress" than I care to admit and several lessons I haven't even watched yet. But I have been spending time creating! In addition to getting back into digi-scrapping, here are my recently completed projects:

The Life Book lesson below was titled "Mandalas of Positive Light" with Instructor Louise Gale.  It is one of my favorite pieces to date!  You start with a very bright watercolor background and then mute it with a lot of white gesso on top - thick in some places, thinner in others to vary how much color comes through.  Mine is still very bright compared to the instructors.  Other than some circle templates (think tracing bottle caps, cups, etc.) the mandalas are all hand drawn.  They are not perfectly even and it totally doesn't matter!  I showed this picture on my phone to Deanna while we were on retreat, explained the basic concept, and next thing I knew she was cranking out mandalas like crazy!

This next lesson goes waaaaaay back - week NINE - it was titled "Friends are the Flowers in the Garden of Life" (the quote used on the Instructor's version) with Instructor Effy Wild.  Starting with a painted gold background, then adding layers of mixed media, finally topped with hand-drawn flowers.  My attempts to color in the flowers with Tombow markers was an exercise in futility - the colors wouldn't show up.  I ended up using Posca paint pens which worked beautifully!  Regular acrylics would have worked as well I think, but I wasn't being fussy about this piece - I was just enjoying the process.  If I was being fussy, I would have to totally re-do the quote because my lettering (size and spacing) was just way off the mark.

Point is, the exercise alone was so much fun, I ended up doing a second version with a copper background (not really clear in the photo, but the background is a shiny metallic):

These following two pieces aren't Life Book lessons.  I just challenged myself while on vacation to create some watercolor paintings using photos I had taken as inspiration.  I bought a little 5.5 x 8" watercolor pad that is easy to travel with.  I made a small art kit (makeup bag size) including one small set of watercolors, Tombow markers, a couple of paint brushes, 2 graphite pencils, an eraser, and black and white Posca paint pens.  It really is amazing what you can create with such a limited set of supplies!

I finally got smart enough to start marking my work with the Life Book lesson week and instructor, so I don't have to go back to figure it out!  This mandala lesson was on using opposites (circles/squares) to create a cohesive whole.  It was fun and meditative! Done while on a work trip, also in the small watercolor book, also with limited supplies.  In fact, here I only used a couple of Tombow markers and the Posca paint pens.
This isn't a Life Book lesson, but it is from Tamara LaPorte - it's a mini class called "Sacred Inner Eye"  ($22.49 to purchase on it's own) and really gets into the finer points of drawing an eye - not meant to be entirely realistic.  Fantastic lesson!  Also completed on that work trip with the supply kit mentioned above.

These lessons are really stretching me and I'm learning so much - if you want to do sketching/drawing/painting, I can highly recommend Life Book... or anything that Tamara teaches!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Creative Team Share

Remember I told you I joined a few new Creative Teams?  Here's my first post!

I was accepted on Tami Miller Designs team.  Tami's work can be found at and  Her newest kit - "Give" - released this week:

And you can find it Here
When I played with the kit, here is what I came up with:

I also played with two of her older kits.
 "Just Breathe":
Available HERE

and "Sweet Memories":
Available HERE
 I fell in LOVE with the torn edged papers available in the Collection! 

Tami's kits use a lot of colors that I love and have a bit of that shabby chic vibe that feels so ME.  Just hoping I can keep up with her!

Friday, July 27, 2018

SPSH 2018 - July Link Up

I'm joining in with the Seasonal Photo Scavenger Hunt hosted by Mary-Lou over at  Patio Postcards.

My sister Deanna and I had a girls trip to a yoga/meditation retreat center high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone N.C. from July 12-16.  Deanna was taking a Reiki Certification class.  I had signed up for a yoga and meditation retreat called "Essence of the Heart."  I challenged myself to try to get ALL of the photos on the SPSH list during this trip and here's what happened...

1. The rosiness of red was snapped in my own front yard.  And I didn't see any great "red" to photograph during the trip.

2. Stripes.  Our first morning at the retreat center was drizzly and overcast.  But it made for some fantastic shots.  And I was honestly giggling to myself when I took this one for "stripes."

3.  A framed view right through the window of my room.  I have several other photos that actually include the frame of the window, but this one was just too pretty not to use.

4.  Wings.  Outside of the Linville Caverns was a butterfly bush that was full of these butterflies.  It was nearly impossible to get a good shot because they did NOT sit still.  But this shot inspired this... which I created while at the retreat center.

 5. Pedal Power.  Passed this door every morning on the way to the dining hall.  That bike was there the entire time!
6. Glorious Green
And to be quite honest ... it was green EVERYWHERE.  I have so many shots that would have worked for this one!  But I was kind of partial to these beautiful ferns.

7. An unexpected reflection.  The building is the
dining hall from the outside.
8. A pile of... logs.  For the Saturday evening campfire.  I just couldn't decide between this photo and the next, so you get both!

8. A pile of ... rocks.  By the side of a very precarious "nature trail" that tried its best to kill me.  To give you perspective...
that pile of rocks
9. looks smaller than you [expected!]

10. A field of plenty.  So I'm taking liberties on this prompt.  Because there were no fields in the mountains.  But lots of hills and valleys covered with trees as far as the eye can see.  So there were PLENTY of trees in MY FIELD of vision.  I think I get credit for creative use of the words in the prompt!

11. Pretty in Pink.  I did get some pink flowers on the trip, but I like these from my own yard better.

12. Bells.  Being sold in the gift shop.

13. Equal Portions - railing along the deck of the dining hall.

14. A Trilogy of Three - of the kind you don't want to mess with! That lined the aforementioned precarious nature trail.  I managed to avoid this stuff.

This was the "nature trail" - climbed straight up to the right of the photo, and fell straight down to the left of the photo.  The path itself might have been about 18" wide (that's being generous).  At one point my left foot slid off the path and headed down that hill... my body naturally started to follow my foot... luckily a dead tree trunk stopped me from going too far down the hill.  My right hand took the brunt of the fall, but is fine.  Sprained my left ankle nicely though.  This trail did NOT come with sufficient warning about not being designed for fat old ladies!

15. Out of the Blue - on our drive up the mountain, we came around a curve and saw this rainbow.  In the minute it took us to get to a safe place to take a photo it was nearly gone.  Amazingly, when we leaving the mountain and headed back to Nashville, on the same stretch of road, we saw...

Another rainbow!
 16.  From a Book or Movie.  The formations in the Linville Caverns reminded me of some of the scenes from the movie "Alien" with Sigourney Weaver.
 Or we could go with this one... That was actually taken on "Friday the 13th"!

 17. Repurposed
18. Currency.  Not so much.

19. I'm liking this one for "Picture Postcard Perfect, although I also thought #3 was a contender.

20.  Mellow Yellow

Alternate B: A coupon that did NOT get used.  My retreat (Friday afternoon - Sunday morning) involved a total of about 12 hours of yoga and meditation (mostly yoga).  I was going to use this coupon on Monday after the retreat ended (our extra day) but by then I had determined that I don't even LIKE yoga.  I'm still definitely sold on meditation though!

And because I simply can't end this post with a boring photo of an unused coupon...

I'm leaving you with my favorite shot from the entire trip.

These are all unedited iPhone 6 photos.