Sunday, December 30, 2012

At Home: Setting my Word

I know people have mixed feelings about setting resolutions.  I do believe in goal setting and think it can be a powerful tool.  One of the resolution activities I engage in is picking a word of the year.

The word should sum up where I have been and where I hope to be.  I take a good amount of time considering it beacuse I will remind myself of it throughout the year.

This year I picked the word aware.

Aware of other's perspectives and feelings.
Aware of being in the moment and not being too focused.
Aware of the words I use.
Aware of the blessings in life, so that I may cherish them everyday.
Aware of the lessons that are to be learned during difficult times.

It sums up how the experiences of this past year have really opened me up, allowed me to take emotional risks.  Now I want to live fully in that new state of mind...aware.

I made a layout to help me document it.

I used the Lily Bee Persnickety collection to make this page.  Love the hexagons!!

I used a Jenni Bowlin Chipboard star and just covered it with the green paper.  I layered several of the stickers to match my theme.

Here is an official definition of my word:
1. Having knowledge or cognizance:  2. Archaic Vigilant; watchful.
a·wareness n.
Synonyms: aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, awake, alert, watchful, vigilant
These adjectives mean mindful or heedful: Aware implies knowledge gained through one's own perceptions or by means of information

It is going to be a great year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Busy Days

Hibernation has set it.  With the hustle of the holiday, it is time for rest.  Scrapping, organizing, redecorating and renovating.

Good stuff.

Life is crazy and busy, but I cherish every single second.  Every time I begin to get annoyed about having to pour another cup of juice or pick up a toy, I remember how lucky I am.  Mindset...

Here is a layout about what a typical week is like.

Gotta love Instragram for the can capture a week, not have photos to process and can create!  I made this layout for the Teresa Collins blog...we are focusing on a week in the life.  It is cool!  I decided to go with a layout and use the Now and Then collection.

This week is about vacation.  And hibernation...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Alter It: Deconstructed December Daily

or something like that...

Around the holidays it is hard to find time to create.  I love the idea of a December Daily and want to make one, but then I look at the calendar and it is December 19...and I haven't started.

I also find it too hard to do something holiday related each day...I am barely making it through dinner some nights.

So I decided to create a keepsake box. I altered an old Maya Road tin so it would be a pretty display for treasured Christmas photos.  This particular box is housing pictures of our elf, Dash.  It is one tradition my kids adore.  I like the idea of opening a tin and finding journaling cards and photos.

Here is the outside of the tin.  I have it out on a table now and it adds nicely to my Christmas decor.  I used a super simple design, layering my favorite patterns from the Christmas Cheer collection by Lily Bee.  I went with the "A Christmas Story" card because it really sums up my theme.

When you open the tin, you find the stack of photos and cards inside.  Again, I kept it all simple, yet cute!  I altered some journaling cards and/or just wrote on them.
I love how this little box captures a big tradition in our house.  I think it could easily be made into a cute gift...imagine all of grandma's favorite Christmas memories or even photos of cherished recipes. 
This is a December daily I can handle.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday's Musings: Joy in the Mundane

Life today returned to tasks revolving around normalcy.  With the events this past weekend and the upcoming madness, yet joy, of the holiday is nice to just go about your business...completing simple, everyday tasks.  Making lunches, folding clothes, helping them with homework and making final adjustments to the Christmas list.
There is joy to be found in the everyday moments...times we think are tedious or mundane.  These jobs get us through trying times or cold, winter days.  I so dislike how early it gets dark these days...makes it a bit depressing.  So lighting the fire in the living room after school and making dinner can be comforting.
The kids have been wanting to help a ton lately.  Not with things like picking up toys or sweeping, but with cooking.  They want to pour, mix and mash.  I have been giving them little jobs and making them a part of the dinner time prep.
I can't wait to add to their list of everyday business...chores that make them productive members of our household.  I think they crave that responsibility...when they aren't begging for screens.
This layout shows a soon to be chore.  I imagine Nathan mowing the lawn, Ella feeding the dog...

I grouped some simple embellishments to create the cluster on the top.  I used the Christmas Cottage collection by Teresa Collins to make this design.
I handcut the snowflakes from one of the papers...I love how they pop off the page, yet are monochromatic at the same time.
Everyday moments, family members and rituals.  I am looking at those things with a new set of eyes. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday At Home: Sandy Hook Tragedy

I can't bear to think about putting up a regular normal post this weekend.  Because it is not a regular, normal weekend.  It is a time of great tragedy and sorrow.  So many of us have been touched by the events that occurred on Friday.  It is unimaginable, yet it happened.

I have worked at the same elementary school for twenty years.  I teach in a CT elementary school, about an hour away from Newtown.  You see, elementary schools are happy, active places...always moving and changing.  There is a feeling of enthusiasm, love and innocence.  If you just stop and look, you see kids reading books together, working on art projects, learning about basketball, or holding hands as they deliver the attendance. During all those routine tasks and going-ons, you see smiling children who love to be surrounded by classmates. It is meant to be a friendly environment where we teach kids to build enough confidence to take risks in learning and in life.  There is a feel that is unique to that age group...they aren't yet aware of too much homework or cliches that form at the later grades.

It is innocent and pure.  Teachers love the kids and they love back.

I will never understand why someone would destroy that atmosphere, rip away that innocence.  It is hard not to imagine how it must have been... 

How do we return to school, send our kids to school?  We feel like something has been taken away.  I think we can honor those who have been lost.  We can walk into the buildings...send our kids in and know that we will fight to keep the environment positive, nurturing and as friendly as ever.  Adults can know the gravity of what happened, but can hold that suffering within themselves and put on a brave, joyous face for the kids.  We can be resources if they are hurting and guides to help them move past it.  We can speak with kindness and understand the power of our words.

This tragedy brings up issues like gun control, alternatives for helping others deal with mental illness...even acceptance of other's differences, regardless of disability.  It starts when they are young.  Elementary school age. 

We are living in an age of teacher accountability and educational reform.  Let's do just that, be accountable and facilitate reform.  I just hope the leaders in these initiatives, which are happening on a national and local level, realize that reform is more than just performance scores, universal assessments, and rankings.  Reform is being able to address the social and emotional beings that exists within that child.  It is about building the community that allows them to flourish on all levels. 

As a parent, it brings up issues involving the violence that surrounds children.  Get rid of the violent video games that desensitize them...provide boundaries and discipline on a daily basis.  Kids crave that routine, want structure. It is our charge to love them within an environment where they know wrong from right.

I hope meaningful action occurs...that some positive can rise out of the ashes.  I know I have been hugging my kids with a different sense of urgency. 

When I walk into the doors tomorrow, my role and the roles of all my colleagues is more critical than ever.  We will do as we always have...just with a heightened level of awareness.  The mindset which drives all decisions has been and will always revolve around one is all about the kids.

Sending many prayers for the families and the community members of Newtown, CT...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday Trending: Dark Backgrounds

I typically prefer a slight texture or subtle pattern on my background paper.  It gives the rest of the layout a quiet place to rest.  But lately, I have loved dark backgrounds...woodgrain or browns.

The Autumn Spice papers from Lily Bee definitely have something to do with it.  I have been scrapping for fun, to document some important just play with paper.  It has drawn me to this dark polka dot paper as my base.

There are a lot of white colors in my photos so the dark works.  I also used many light colored papers and embellies to compliment the photo. 

My approach lately has been to grab any photos that move me and then scrap.  No care of season or paper line.  These pictures capture how much my kiddos love school.

I this honeycomb paper and cut it to add a random shape to the layout.  I also put some under the top section of my page.  To add texture, I tucked two fuzzy leaves under the honeycomb and sticker.
I think the dark makes the rest of the page pop.  The only drawback is where to put journaling...I addressed it with the use of the typed strips. 
At the end of the day...dark is a great option!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Loud and Clear

Ever go in a slightly different direction when you create?  Maybe you work with more patterns or use more/less layers?

Take this newest layout...I realized that it is just a little bolder than usual.  I wondered about it for a few minutes.  Then I realized that I am okay with it loudness.

Loud and clear has its place and time.  It works on this layout because I wanted a bold message, vibrant colors and pure happiness.  It fits the paper and it fits the topic.

I just adore this new collection from Webster's Pages & Allison Kreft.  It is called Sweet Notes and it is full of happy bright colors.  I see spring and summer.  You can win this collection and some embellies if you head over to the Webster's Pages blog now!

I saw the row of books that show up in several places within the collection and was inspired.  My kids love books and they love stories.  It lead me to these photos of them with Nana...being silly, sharing tall tales and using their imagination. 

I decided to use the yellow as a base, adding the pinks along the top.  I jazzed it up with the sparkly blue trim...bold.

Look at these fuchsia birds on the wire...swoon.  I cut this paper along a bit of a curve and it is super cute!
Since I had such bright colors and fun patterns, I wanted my title to stand out.  I used a consistent, short title right in the middle of my cluster.  That is where the clear comes in.  In the midst of color comes structure.  See the "documented" is one of the new overlays...journaling cards...these things are awesome!

I incorporated the bright green and fuchsia in other places to carry the eye. 

There are many times in life you should strive to be loud and clear!  Creating is one of them!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nonstop Weekend

It was a fun one...filled with friends and laughter.  Steve and I had two date nights...this was a conversation I had with Ella on Saturday.

Me:  Don't forget that Mommy and Daddy are going out tonight
Ella:  Wait, you went out last night and are ditching us again tonight.  That is just messed up.
Me:  laughing out loud

Really?  ditching...not so much.  But, enjoying time as a couple, yes.  I think it is a necessary thing. 

For the record, we had a great Sunday full of quality time with family.

My Nathan lives life to the fullest...with love and wonder and honesty. He didn't mind Steve and I going was more time he got to spend with Nana.

Supplies:  Teresa Collins Now and Then collection

There was awe in his eyes this day.  He was admiring the Jefferson Memorial and seemed to understand the importance of it.  It was one of life's very cool moments.

Love is a great thing in life. Life is about enjoying every day...all the moments, big and small.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Trending: Allison Kreft Goodies

So....have you heard the big news?  Webster's Pages has expanded the family and Allison Kreft has joined!  Allison is releasing two new collections at winter CHA.  I love the new collections so much!

Imagine Brandin O'Neil creating gorgeous Webster's collections including traditional and Clean & Simple lines as well as Allison Kreft doing her thing.  I have gone to scrappy heaven!

There is a design team call for Clean & Simple scrappers right now.  Be sure to check it out and apply.  You never know until you try. 

I had the chance to play with the new Composition & Color line and I am smitten.  Totally in love, can't focus because I have so many butterflies when I look at it.

Here is a layout I created for the Scrapbook & Cards Today blog!  I tried to showcase my favorite tidbits from this collection...

Love the smaller patterns and the light colored base papers.    I adore the sunray journaling cards...I had to handcut them.

Give me words and I am hooked.  True story called for one.

Gosh, I have such a crush! 
And the best part is is that there are more great WP and Allison Kreft collections to come!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Topic: Group Shots

I often stalk people at any and all holiday events, looking for the right opportunity.  I try to catch candid after candid.  This is an okay thing to do and I usually end up with at least one great, memorable shot. 
But what is forgotten is the group shot.  The opportunity to document everyone who is present.  I didn't forget at the Fire Truck Santa event last year and I love the pictures of all the kids together.
It really captures that holiday spirit.  I placed the shots together on this layout.

I love the colors of a group shot...all the variety, how one person may lean into another.  I have to remember to do that more often.

To make this layout, I created somewhat of a grid.  To fill in the empty spaces, I made lots of triangles.  Gosh, I love the triangle.  I made mine in different sizes to add some variety.  I kinda like how they look like Christmas trees.  I used Christmas Cottage by Teresa Collins for this layout!

This year, I am putting the group into focus!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday At Home: Christmas Decor

As much as I dread dragging out the many boxes of Christmas decorations I own, wrangling with lights and twisting garland...I love getting the house all pretty for Christmas!

I had fun this weekend, mixing and matching goodies.  Some are from places like Target or Joann's, others from right in my backyard...and I like to mix in antiques.

Here are some of my favorite details.

The entryway table.  Some simple decoration...bare pine tree, antique wooden bowl with a candle and berries.  My wire reindeer...

I made this burlap banner at a recent Pinterest inspired craft night.  My friend Sharon organized it and had all the materials ready to go.  We simply used a stencil and black paint to write the letters.  I love how it looks on my stairs.
When you look to the left, you see my living room.  I turn my couch in to the fireplace all winter, which leaves this gorgeous hutch on display.  I went big this year decorating the top.  I grouped all my glass jars and put up my Ikea candlesticks.  These things were only like 6 bucks for a set of three...that rocks.  My tree greets you too!

A close up of one side.  I layered some greens, lights and ornaments.  I wove some wired ribbon through the glass jars to give it texture.  I put things like ornaments, beaded garland and pine cones in the glass jars.

I like to reuse what I have out already.  This is my coffe table in this room. I love this chickenwire it over a wooden bowl filled with pine cones and candles...Easy!  I wrapped some berry garland around the bowl and put the cage right on it...

This grouping is in my dining room on my large hutch.  I simply placed a platter I have had forever behind this tray.  I got it at Joann's on the green plaid.  I layered a wrought iron set of stars and my milk bottles.  It adds a natural, vintage touch.

The only problem now is that we don't want to leave our ever.
I guess that is a good thing...home for the holidays!


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