Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another Freebie

I'm a little late posting a template this week, but it's been pretty busy around here.
I hope you like it.  I started with a layout of Michaela using the Everyday Eclectic Kit.  I catch myself staring at her big blue eyes all the time.  Get the template here.

My Girls

Just wanted to share a few new pictures of my girls.  I love that I'm here to capture all the little moments as they're growing up.  We put Michaela in the Jumparoo for the first time this week, and she's really excited about it.

This is my good friend Loraine holding Michaela.  She was quite curious about the new pop up flash diffuser that I have for my camera.  Every time it went off, her eyes got a little wider.

I love this shot of Lilah.  Isn't she just beautiful?

Monday, January 28, 2013

A couple of examples

I've been sharing templates for nearly a month here, but I haven't had a chance to use all of the templates, so I thought I would share a few examples of the layouts I make from my templates.
When I make my templates I start with a color scheme, which is weird since they wouldn't necessarily be the colors in the final layout, but building with a color scheme lets me visualize where I want to go a little easier. For most of these layouts, I liked the color schemes a lot, and I looked for a kit that matched the color schemes well.
Kit Tuesday Morning from One Little Bird
Kit: Everyday Eclectic from Echo Park
Kit: Everyday Eclectic from Echo Park
Kit: Firefly Collab from OSraps

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Girly Girl

Lilah is my little girly girl.  She loves to play with my shoes and accessories.  I lost track of her in the house for a few minutes today, and when I found her she was coming out of my room wearing one of my headbands.  I just had to take a picture.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Baby Wearing

My younger daughter Michaela is what my dad would call a handbag.  She never wants to be put down.  We have a baby bjorn that we got as a shower present with Lilah, but those fabric slings that everybody has always looked so much cuter and more importantly much more comfortable for mom and baby.  The problem is that they are crazy expensive.  I found this tutorial to make one last summer while I was pregnant.  It seemed pretty simple, so I found 6 yards of jersey in the $1/yard bin at a local fabric store and a yard of some quilting fabric and went to work.  I hadn't used it yet because I'd been in a pretty big funk, but I really had to get house work done yesterday so I broke it out.  OMG! Why didn't I ever use this thing before!?!?!  The baby instantly falls asleep as soon as she is loaded into it, and I can go about my business.  I need to figure out how to wear her on my back, but so far, I'm really digging my wrap!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

We've got a papercrafting convert!

My good friend Loraine came to my house last weekend to help me after my surgery.  I'm so thankful for her assistance, especially the day after the procedure.  On the second day she was here, I was feeling a little better, so I decided to get out my social club kit again to make some more cards.  She saw the stuff and decided that she wanted to make a card.  We worked together to make a small thank you card.  She was so excited about the results, that we decided to make a birthday card for her sister.   After she finished with that, she asked me to put one together, to see what I would do with the same materials.  I cut out the pieces to make 2 of the same cards at the same time, and this is what we each ended up with.
I've been really into butterflies recently, and I love that background paper.  This card has all of my favorite colors: blues, greens, and that corally orange.  I love this little card, and it only took a few minutes.  By the time she had to leave, Loraine was talking about finding a group of girls to make cards with locally.  Do any of you belong to a card exchange?  How did you get started/find the people in your group?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The next two Valentines Envelopes

Yesterday I shared the Valentine Envelopes that I made for my husband and my youngest daughter.  Here are the ones that I made for Lilah and me.  I used the silhouette to cut out the words and shapes.  I used the negative space from the cuts and put some cute paper behind it.  I think they came out pretty well.  What do you think?
I went ahead I showed you a couple of the cards that we're using for Valentine's notes on the Silhouette post, but here they are again.  Would you be interested in the cut files for the cards?  If so, tell me in the comments.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gearing up for Valentine's Day.

I can be a prickly person to be around sometimes, so I try to do little things to remind my friends and family that I appreciate them. Valentine's Day isn't a huge deal around here, but I do like hand written notes.  Last year, I went a little old school...literally.  When I was in elementary school, we always made envelopes to hang from our desks on Valentine's Day to collect all the cards that the other kids brought.  At the beginning of February, I made mini versions of those envelopes for each member of our family and hung them by the door with a pen and handmade blank cards for us to  write notes on and put in each others' envelopes as the mood struck us throughout the month.  Of course, I don't have any pictures of the ones I made last year, but I'm planning on making this a tradition.
The first thing I usually do when I sit down to do paper crafting is pull together the supplies that I think I'm going to use for the project.  I never have very much time to work on things like this, so I don't want to spend all of it looking for a bottle of stickles.  You might notice that I don't have a lot of pink and red in this pile of stuff.  Each member of our family has their own signature color (this is one of my many little quirks, I'll talk about it eventually).  Mine is green.  Alfred's is blue.  Lilah's is purple, and we're still deciding about Michaela's, but it might just be pink (there's some hesitation about this because my niece's color is pink...we'll have to see).
The envelopes are just as simple as they look.  This year, I'm planning to make 3 x 4 cards for the valentines because I'm doing project life, so they'll fit nicely into the spots for the journaling cards.  I'll just use a pocket page protector for one of the February layouts in the kids' scrapbooks so these notes can easily fit.  The notes Alfred and I write to each other will probably end up in the family Project Life album, unless they're just so sentimental that they inspire me to make a whole layout about them in our individual books.  
Since I'm using 3 x 4 cards, I made the envelopes pretty small.  I started with a 6 x 9 sheet of cardstock and scored it horizontally at the 4 inch mark.  I folded it so I got a 4 x 6 face and a 1 inch header space.  I layered on patterned paper and white cardstock, then embellished with stamps, punches, glitter glue, and die cut letters.  The sides of Michaela's envelope are adhered to one another using washi tape folded over the side, and Alfred's is held together with decorative brads.
I used one of my favorite new toys on both of these.  It's a glue pad made by Hampton Arts.  I got it when I was trolling around JoAnne's, which I often do.  It looks pretty much like a regular stamp pad except that it comes with a small bottle of glue that you moisten the pad with each time you use it.  That way, you can stamp images and then adhere glitter (like I did here) or flocking power, or whatever.  I just love getting intricate designs on my projects with beautiful, sparkly, wonderful glitter.  
What do you think?  Do you have any fun, low key family traditions for Valentines Day?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Silhouette Portrait

My Silhouette Portrait came today, so first thing I opened it up and started using it.  To start with, the unit is amazingly light for those of us who started with the Cricut.  It's also much simpler to use because the software is much more intuitive than the Cricut Interface.  I'm not big into instructions.  I'll go back to them if there is something that I don't understand, but I like to figure things out pretty much for myself.  That being said, I was able to take the Portrait out of the box, plug it in, hit cut on my favorite shape in my library (a steampunk cog background), and it worked.  Right away. No fuss.  No muss.  Just worked! Amazing.  The next step was to try the print and cut feature.  I should have read the instructions.  The machine didn't immediately recognize the registration marks on my page.  These are marks that you print from the software in the corners, that the machine uses to line the printed images up with where the cut lines will go. Instead of manually detecting the first time that auto didn't work, I just hit cut.  I ruined a journaling card that way.  However, the pause button followed by the power button worked, and I used the easy to follow guidelines to manually detect the marks.  Voila! Success! I am going to have so much fun with this machine. Here are some pictures of the things I made in about 30 minutes of having the machine out of the box.


That hot air balloon is from the Everyday Eclectic collection from Echo Park.  I liked it so much in paper that I got it in digital as well.  One of the first things that I did with my new Silhouette was to see if I could print and cut some more of the elements from the collection to use with the left over scraps of paper I still had.  I think that it turned out pretty well.  You?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This week's freebie

Here is this week's freebie.  I hope you like it.  Download it here.  
I've been MIA recently because of that surgery I told you all about.  I've been on percocet, which makes thought, and therefore writing, difficult.  I expect that most of you already know how to use a digital scrapbooking template, but if you don't, my favorite learning resources are Jessica Sprague and The Daily Digi.  
Steph from the daily digi has an excellent class on digital scrapbooking with a layered template at big picture classes for free.  Get the class here. has a whole curriculum on digital scrapbooking with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements from beginner to professional design coursework.  The classes aren't cheap, but they are totally worthwhile, and they have sales frequently.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

So much for no more hoarding

As I'm sure you could tell from yesterday's post, I'm a little bummed about this surgery.  I'm actually a lot bummed about this surgery.  I would like to say that I'll be better when it's over later on today, but I won't.  I'm a baby about this kind of stuff.   I felt bad about something I couldn't do anything about, so like any good compulsive personality, I went shopping.  My dear husband is lucky to be married to a very frugal papercrafter because I only spent $30, but I added significantly to my stash.  In addition to the entire Cosmo Cricket Social Club collection kit, I also picked up 3 sets of clear stamps, a stack of cardstock, a bunch of stickers, and a sprinklers pink balloon spray mist.  I know.  I have a problem, but how cute are these stamps?  They were only $2/set.

 Since I feel guilty about the spending, I made sure to at least start making things with my new purchases right away.  Here are a few of the cards I made, while dreading the upcoming procedure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

3 in a million

Last July I felt a lump on my lower abdomen.  I was pregnant.  As anyone who has ever been pregnant will tell you, you feel all sorts of lumps in your abdomen when you're pregnant.  This particular lump showed up when Miss Michaela (then called Mysterion) went head down.  It made perfect sense to me that the lump was her shoulder.  Several midwives, even my mother agreed with my assessment that it was a shoulder.  Then I got suspicious.  It didn't move.  Ever. It stayed in that same spot for months.  So when I was 35 weeks I asked my midwife if she thought it was the baby.  I explained my suspicions, and she said no.  That definitely wasn't baby.  I got scared. A little scared anyway.  She referred me for an ultrasound.  That's when I got much more scared.  The lump was solid, but what was more scary was that it had central blood flow.  Four days after I gave birth I had the lump removed.  When the pathology report came back, they weren't sure what it was but they suspected that it was a desmoid tumor.  Desmoids are a particularly rare form of tumor that occurs in 2-4 of every million people.  They aren't considered cancer because they don't travel in the body, but they can invade other tissues locally.  They are also known to grow back after they are removed.  So, they had to go back in and take out wider margins.  I thought that was the end of it, but I was really sore in a pretty wide area around the incision 2 weeks later.  I went in to ask the surgeon if it was normal.  She said that my incision looked great...but.  I hate that word.  Every time I hear that word come from a doctor, it means needles.  I hate needles. I know everybody hates needles, but I really don't cope with them well.  I hyperventilate.  I cry.  I faint.  It's not pretty.
Apparently, at my last surgery, there was no visual way to tell if the tissue was abnormal or not, and the pathology had to be done at the Mayo Clinic.  She took out what she hoped would be enough.  Unfortunately, when the pathology came back, it turned out that most of that tissue was still abnormal. There were clear margins, but not large enough to be reasonably assured that it wouldn't grow back.  So here I am, 9 weeks postpartum getting ready for my third surgical procedure in that time.  I know that I should feel lucky that it was caught so early.  If I hadn't been pregnant, we might not have caught it before it invaded the muscle tissue.  I don't have to do any reconstruction.  I should feel lucky.  I do.  I'm just tired of all these invasive procedures.  I want to get back into the gym.  I'm tired of carrying around all this baby weight. I'm tired of having to shield my tummy from everything.  Do you have any idea how many things bump into your lower abdomen on an average day that you don't even think about?
Ok.  I'm done complaining.  I'm back to feeling lucky.
Here's the layout that I did about my thoughts when we first discovered the lump using the Tuesday Morning Kit from One Little Bird Designs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The kind of things I worry about.

As I've mentioned before, I'm biracial.  I've experienced all the angst and awkwardness associated with being a mixed kid.  When I married a Cuban-American man, I expected that my kids would look even more ethnically ambiguous than me.  I thought about all the ways that I would prepare them for the racism that they would experience: the people who would say horrible things about whites, blacks, hispanics, etc. in front of them not realizing.  I've even had people insult my own mother to my face not realizing that I was connected to her.  When Obama was running for president, I became more concerned because despite the fact that he was elected, I began to see an amplification of racist stereotypes and rhetoric. For the first time in my life, I began to feel that the country was becoming more racist instead of less so. Lilah could be mistaken for any number of ethnicities.   After she was born, I worried for her because the trend of increased racism seemed to continue.  Now, I have Michaela, and you wouldn't know that her parents weren't "WASPs" if we weren't with her.  So last night I had a dream about a worry that I hadn't considered before.
She was in college, and dating a boy she thought she would marry, but when she brought him home to us he was horrified that he had been dating a minority and didn't know it (basically a plot line from Queen, except with my blue-eyed baby playing the lead instead of Halle Barry). I remember watching that movie when I was a little girl, and thinking that it was horrible, but that the world wasn't that way anymore.  Now I know that I was wrong.  Not only did I experience racism periodically (though, ironically, most often from other minorities), but I also find myself concerned about it for my children.
Will we ever, EVER get beyond this issue?

Monday, January 14, 2013

One Little Word 2nd Page

I am an art journaler!  Ok, that might be jumping the gun just a little bit, but I have now done 2 pages in a row for this OLW project with paint on them, without pictures, and with relatively thoughtful writing.  That's all it takes.  Right?  I'll be the first to admit that my pages aren't as messy and free flowing as most of the art journal pages that I see, but what can I say?  I'm a non-conformist...Actually, maybe I'm too much of a conformist to do anything like the lovely things that these people are creating.  So here's my second page
I might just be over using that butterfly punch, but I like it.  It doesn't look so great in the picture, but the journaling is on a white paper doily that was colored using distress ink followed by antique gold perfect pearls, so it has a sheen that you can't see in the picture.  
The journaling is about how difficult it is to focus on self improvement when I'm still only a few weeks postpartum.  It's not always easy to distinguish between when I'm engaging in meaningful introspection, and when I'm just beating myself up over things I can't change.  I added another journaling card behind this page with a string to pull it out.  I'm challenging myself to dwell on 3 of my favorite memories when I get caught in a destructive thought pattern: 1) My wedding ceremony: we laughed through the whole thing; 2) The first time Lilah said, "I love you;" and 3) Catching Michaela's first smile on camera.  How do you keep your thoughts positive, when you're not feeling the best about yourself?
Michaela's first smile.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This Kid Just Amazes Me

Lilah is a really smart kid.  I know every parent says that, but this kid is something else!  She can sing the whole A,B, C song. This morning, she brought me letters from the fridge and correctly identified every one she brought me: F, W, O, M.  Yep, you saw that right.  She can identify both an M and a W correctly, but she will also turn each one upside down and tell you that it's upside down and looks like the other letter, but it isn't. She won't even be two until next month!   Then, I asked her to put her puzzles together.  She has three wooden puzzles that she got for Christmas.  One is all bugs, another all animals, and the third is a combination of bugs, animals, and people.  Both the bug puzzle and the combination puzzle have caterpillar on them.  This morning, she took the caterpillar out of one of the puzzles and said, "That's a caterpillar!"
"You're right!" I said  She picked up the caterpillar from the other puzzle and said,
"It's like this one."   She lined them up against each other to prove to herself that they were the same shape. It's just a small thing, but it really amazes me every time she figures something new out on her own.
For instance, last night my mom brought me a whole big box of Meyer lemons sent to us by our friend Barbara in California.  I gave her a lemon to smell, and she pointed at one end and said, "It's the lemon's tail!"  We giggled at first, but then my mom asked her,
"Well, if that's the tail, what's the other end?"  She thought about it for a few seconds.
"Hmmmmm.....The nose!"  That girl's a thinker!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Laundry Clean? Yes. Put away? Yes. Folded?...

No. Not folded.  :-/   But I'm still chalking it up as a win for team Valerie.  This is the first day in weeks that the sight of an empty laundry basket could be seen in the Reyes household.  What can I say?  I'm barely keeping my head above water here.  In addition to that, I have fish thawed for dinner; all three of us girls have had lunch; the little ones are down for naps; I zested and juiced all of the Meyer lemons Barbara sent me;  the zest is frozen in 1tsp cubes with coconut oil. (That was an unexpected but much enjoyed chore.)  Have I worked on my dissertation? Not yet, but it's only 3, there is a ton of time left in the day.  Well, maybe not a ton, but some time anyway.  In celebration of my small accomplishment, may I present you with a new template freebie.  Enjoy!
Download it here.

My new Silhouette Portrait

I have been eyeing the Silhouette in all its manifestations since the original came out.  I already had a Cricut and several cartridges, so I couldn't justify the $300 buy in for the Silhouette.  Finally, last fall, I decided to sell my Cricut on Ebay so that I could pay for the Silhouette Cameo.  Well, the Cricut sold...with all of its cartriges, but I clearly am not a saleswoman.  My Cricut with 12 cartridges sold for less than $250.  I also underestimated the cost of shipping, so long story short, no Cameo for me, but also no Cricut!  This was a sad state of affairs.  I never bought letter stickers for my scrapbooking while I had my Cricut; I never realized just how expensive they were.  Suffice it to say, that my recent scrapbook pages have a lot more of my own hand on them.  I did buy a set of clear letter stamps, which is nice, but I still missed being able to cut my own dies on demand. I heard about the Silhouette Portrait around Thanksgiving, and was super excited...partially because at $100 less than the Cameo, it was a lot more reasonably priced, but also because my new scrap space in the basement is significantly smaller than my old space was and the smaller size would fit perfectly.  I thought I might get it for Christmas...No Dice, but I did work out a deal for my sister to buy it for me in exchange for babysitting services and since she didn't get around to getting me a Christmas present.

I'm pretty excited for my new machine to get here, and I'm sure I'll have a ton of things to say about it. Maybe I'll even do a review of it in comparison to the Cricut.  Maybe. In the mean time, here's my first attempt at playing with the software.  It's an 8x8 chevron background.  I have to be honest and say that I don't know if it will work.  I'll let you know when the machine gets here.  Download it here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

No more hoarding!

I have resolved to use my stash this year.  That isn't to say that I won't buy anything new at all, but scrapbooking often seems like a hoarders' hobby.  Kind of like Warhammer, but I digress.  Like every other scrapbooker out there, I have a bunch of beautiful papers that I've had for years because I just can't bring myself to use them for fear that I'll ruin them.  No more! I'm going to use all of this stuff I've got lying around.  That's what I bought it for after all...Isn't it?  Most of my pages last year were digital because I didn't have time or inclination to get out my supplies, but also because my craft room was next door to my daughter's bedroom. She just wouldn't sleep if I was in the next room working.  Now, my craft space is in the basement family room, so I can sit there and work while my husband is playing video games  or while my daughter is playing with her toys.  Another serious benefit is that I don't have to schlep supplies to the dining room anymore.  All my stuff can stay at my table, and I can leave projects out to work on until I'm done.  No more clearing up for dinner!  Well, not clearing up craft supplies anyway.  I made two more cards that I have to show you.  The first is the same design as the smile card from a few days ago.  I just swapped out the paper an stamp, an I wrote a different word.  Other than that, it's exactly the same, not having to think about the design meant that it only took 8 minutes. I know this because I recorded it, thinking I would post a video to youtube.  I'm not quite ready for video editing yet, I'm afraid.  The second card is a thank you card.  The butterfly tag is another one from the same BasicGrey element pack that I used before.  I did the scalloped border using my American Crafts knock outs border bunch.  Distress ink and letter die cuts and that's it. What do you think?  Any suggestions about what kind of card I should make next?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Toddler dropping the F bomb

Yes, this really happened.  My lovely little Lilah (that beautiful little girl) looked me in the face and said that word.  She said it several times, actually, because I couldn't understand her at first.  She had some ink on her hand, and she was holding it out to me asking "whadafrogusat?"  I didn't understand her, of course, and she kept saying it over and over, a little clearer each time until she slowly and distinctly said, looking into my eyes, "What the f#@& is that!" Hmm. Not good.  I told her, that wasn't a good word to say and that what she meant to say is "What is that?"  She repeated her question without the expletive, I explained that it was just ink, cleaned it off, and that was it. That still leaves me with the question of what to do.  I’m not going to say I don’t know where she heard it.  Her daddy has quite the potty mouth, and I’ve been known to let go of my tongue from time to time.  We’re working on it. My husband has been trying pretty hard, but, apparently, she still hears words she shouldn't  occasionally.  We tried the swear jar, but who has cash or coins on hand these days?  It's not nearly as effective when you're keeping track of the toll in your head.  I guess all we can do is keep working on ourselves.  
Have any of you had a problem with children picking up on swearing?  Do you have suggestions for helping parents remember not to swear?  Was my response to her enough?  We haven't had a repeat offense yet, but I don't know.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My First One Little Word Page

I've decided that my One Little Word scrapbook this year is going to be something between a scrapbook and an art journal.  I love the idea of art journaling, but I don't consider myself an artist, and I get so tied up in knots worrying about it looking good that I can't start.  I figure that using one new to me technique on each  art journal type page.  I was watching this video at Two Peas in a Bucket, it seemed easy enough to do a painted background.  I have khaki acrylic paint, that I used to form the background for this page.  When the paint dried, I used an oil pastel pencil to write the verse directly on.  It smudged a little, but I'm trying to forgive myself for that.  Nothing's perfect the first time you try it.  What do you think?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Taking down the tree

I have resolved to take my Christmas Tree down by the end of the day today.  I know, I'm behind the curve as far as a lot of you are concerned, but I can't help it.  I love Christmas Trees.  When else in the year can you get away with having a huge, lit up tree complete with glittery ornaments and a foot tall angel on the top dominating your living room. Never!  So, I am one of those people who have their tree up by noon on Black Friday, and I think I'm doing pretty well if it comes down before February.  My oldest daughter's birthday is at the beginning of February, so that's pretty good motivation to get the tree down.  Christmas and her birthday should be pretty well separated.
I was especially excited about the tree this year because I upgraded from a 6 ft unlit tree to a 7.5 ft prelit tree.  It looks so much more impressive in my living room.  I love that it nearly touches the ceiling and takes up a 4 ft diameter in the corner.
  Here is my one last look at my 2012 Christmas Tree. Oh, how I have loved you.  Can't wait to see you again November 29!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why Rainbow Coalition?

Photo by No Blondes! Photography
Like anyone you meet, I have a very colorful family, but that isn't why I chose that name for my blog...well not exactly. I have a lovely one month old daughter, Michaela.  My little brother, Casey, saw the pictures of her from the hospital, and he said, "Your family pictures are going to look like a meeting of the Rainbow Coalition."  That's just his type of humor.  Let me explain  I'm biracial (Caucasian and African American...really Jamaican American, but more on that some other day). My husband, Alfred, is a Hispanic Caucasian.  We both have dark hair. My eyes are brown and his are hazel. When our first beautiful daughter, Lilah, was born, we could see a little bit of all of her many backgrounds in her appearance.  She was definitely a mix with dark hair, light brown skin, brown eyes, you know gorgeous in a Princess Jasmine sort of way.  When my second daughter, Michaela, was born, she was also beautiful, but as different from her sister as could be.  She had blue/gray eyes, light skin and light hair. She's Aurora to Lilah's Jasmine.  Casey isn't the only one who has remarked on how different we all look from each other, but I liked the implication that we all somehow fit despite the differences in appearance.  That's how I think of my little family now, as my own little rainbow coalition.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Project Life 2012 Album

Last year I tried my hand at Project Life.  I wouldn't like to say that I failed because I do, in fact, have an album to show for my efforts.  The album encompasses the entire year, but it is far from the in-depth look at our lives that it was intended to be.  Part of that was because I was pregnant.  I am not ashamed to say that I don't do pregnancy well...Okay, I am ashamed to say it, but it is true (that's one of the many reasons I'm not planning to do it again).  As a result, the photo-a-day component of the project was far from complete.  To be honest, there wasn't even a photo every week sometimes.  It's difficult to scrapbook without pictures, and it's difficult to drum up the effort to do it when pregnant and tired.  Apologies aside, I do love the album I have, which is a general overview of our lives for the year. Here is a sampling of digital pages from the album.
I used the Wendyzine Photoshop Actions for the pocket page style designs. They are available at  as templates.  I really haven't been good about keeping track of the supplies that I used for each layout.  You can ask me, if you're interested and I'll try my darnedest to figure it out.  I'm going to try really hard to be better at it this year. Around April (when morning sickness set in), I started  doing one layout a month, with a few extras thrown in there if I felt like it.  At the end of the year, I still had some catching up to do, so I used my pocket page actions with pictures and journaling cards, then I wrote in the blank spots after I had them printed.  To be quite honest, I had to go back and do June through November at the same time because I was that far behind.  The Studio Wendy actions make that pretty easy though, and since I didn't hold myself to doing the journaling before the pages were printed, I got all those pages done in under an hour.  The most time consuming part was deciding which pictures I would use.  You can get Wendyzine's scrap actions at  I love them!
I'll be using some form of Project Life this year.  I'll be using the 365 photo app on my phone again.  I really like how it's set up, and how easy it was to see which days were blank so I knew to look on my other cameras for them. However, I need to recognize that these projects are supposed to be fun, so I don't want to put the pressure on myself of having to take a picture every single day.  I'll consider it a success if I have a couple every week.  I think I will use dropbox this time to transfer photos onto my phone from my other cameras to make it easier to keep track of the photos.  I'll also be using the Photo Freedom sleeves for some of the paper layouts, I started using them at the end of the year last year and really liked them. I'm still aiming for 1 layout a week, but we'll see how that goes.  If I get behind again, it'll be back to the pocket pages for month-in-review layouts.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Kids say (and do) the darnedest things

My daughter, Lilah, is a very precocious little girl.  I've lost track of all the words she has learned because she picks them up so quickly.  She's a bit of a mimic.  She copies new words she hears until she learns to use them correctly.  Her younger sister is only 2 months old, so I'm still breastfeeding her.  To be more accurate, I'm pumping and feeding her breast milk through a bottle (I don't like her latching.; It hurts. Don't judge me.). Anyway, that means that every 3-4 hours I have to sit down and hook myself up to my pump for 10 minutes, and apparently, my big girl has been watching me because a couple of weeks ago my husband snapped this picture
What you see in her hands are the two microphones attached to a karaoke machine that her twin cousins received for Christmas.  In the middle of the living room at my parents house, my little girl unzipped her footie pajamas down to her belly button, put the two microphones to her chest and declared, "I'm pumping! I'm pumping the baby milk from the nipples." It was just hysterical.  Of course, when her cousins saw her pumping, they wanted to do it too, so everybody started taking turns at the "pump."  My poor father was completely mortified.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I know that there is a lot of overlap between the scrapbooking and the cardmaking communities, but I haven't made very many cards.  I think it's mostly because when I sit down to make a scrapbook page from scratch, I start with the photos and/or story that I want to document.  Somehow, that makes it easier to come up with a design.  When I look at a blank card, I'm just not sure where to start.  That being said, I received a 50 pack of blank, plain white greeting cards and envelopes in my stocking this year, and it seems a shame to let all that go to waste.   I decided to sit down and try to make one for the first time today.  Here's the result:

I started with a group of blue glitter letter stickers and a multicolored chevron paper I had in my stash. I inked the edges of the paper with Peeled Paint Distress Ink.  I had used the letter sheet a couple of times before, so I had to use a little bit of scrabble logic to figure out what word I should put on the card.  I settled on smile, and thought that the butterfly stamp in a nice blue Studio G pigment ink would work well.  The small butterflies were punched out of white cardstock that I distressed using Distress Ink in Broken China, Peeled Paint, and Vintage Photo. I bent them in the middle so they would pop of the page a little and adhered them with Studio G glitter glue. It's not terribly exciting, but not a bad firs attempt.  What do you think?  Are you a scrapbooker that is intimidated by cardmaking or vice versa?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Little Word

I've been reading about people doing Ali Edwards One Little Word project for a few years now.  I've always been intrigued about the idea that instead of making a specific new year's resolution that's practically impossible to achieve, you could designate a word for the year, keep that word in your heart and on your mind, and improve your life in subtle but important ways.  This year, my one little word is humble.  I think of myself as being pretty smart, and I know that I often underestimate the people around me.  I want to spend time this year trying to have more humility in my interactions with people.  I want to make sure that I'm appreciating the people around me in a way that I haven't before because I'm so busy interrupting with some anecdote of my own or rushing their stories along.  I'm going to try not to roll my eyes at my husband so much, and I'm going to try, try not to be so bossy. The goal is to write a post here once a month on how I'm doing and how focusing on the work humble has influenced my life.  Even if I'm not perfect by the end of the year, at least I'll be a little bit better.
Here  is the cover of my OLW album for the year.  I decided to make it a hybrid layout.

I printed the title directly onto my kraft background.  I used one of the pictures that my brother (No Blondes! Photography) took of me at my house while he was visiting for the holidays.  It probably isn't one of his favorites, but I like that he caught a candid moment of me concentrating on something.  I'm usually the one behind the camera at my house, so I don't have a lot of pictures of myself that aren't pretty well posed because I have to use a tripod and timer.  The embellishments are from the Fact & Fiction collection from BasicGrey.  The circle tag originally said "Enjoy the Journey," but I didn't really think that was appropriate, when my word is humble. I just wrote the word absorb on a scrap of cardstock and cut it to fit over the word enjoy.  the 2013 in the title was done using another one of my new favorite things, the picket fence distress marker by Tim Holtz.  It's so fun to watch the words develop as the ink dries, and it's great that I can use it to write on black cardstock.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Welcome to my blog! During the next 12 months, I'll be working as a stay-at-home mom, and I want to make the most of it.  I'm graduating in the Spring of 2013 with a PhD in Genetics, but I also have two daughters: Lilah (23 months) and Michaela (7 weeks).  I don't think that there will be any other time in their lives when I will have the opportunity to take time away from work and really devote myself completely to them, so I'm doing it now.  I'm excited to have a chance to witness all of Michaela's first milestones. During the year I'll be documenting our stories big and small.  A few of the adventures on the agenda for the year are potty training for Lilah (a little nervous about this), teaching Michaela baby sign language, a trip to Maui for my sister-in-law's wedding (yay!), the job hunt, swim lessons for Lilah, studying for the National Society for Genetic Counseling Board Exam, exercise, Exercise, EXERCISE (I need to lose this baby weight). That's just a light sampling. I hope to get a bit of crafting done along the way, so I'll be sharing those projects as well. It looks like it's going to be a busy and exciting year.