Friday, December 31, 2010

Simply Renee Clip It Up Rotating Craft-Storage Base Rack with 80 Swivel ClipsSimply Renee Clip It Up.  This is the first Scrapbook Tool I'll buy in 2011!

Wanted the older version -- different supplier -- for the last two years.  This one is for me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Creative Ideas Journal

Entries from my Creative Ideas Journal

Winter finally here, the Solstice just recent.  The holiday season, warm hearths and hearts.  Gifts of love and affection.  Christmas pajamas.  Soft socks.  Warm chocolate in winter cups.  YARN.  Lots of yarn.  Knitting needles and crochet hooks.  Scrapbooking and reminiscing over those summer photos. 

Is there any more savory feeling than to cuddle with a great book and a comfy quilt? 

Reading can be a craft!

Current read is Susan Wittig Albert's An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days (Southern Writers Collection Series), a memoir of the year 2008, including all of it's major upheavals and turn-abouts.  The year of the first woman candidate for president, at least in the primaries, as well as the first black man, who ultimately won.  The job losses and big bank bailouts.  The subprime mortgages and defaults.  Average people living on the streets or in homeless shelters.  A controversial, illegal war being fought and the daily loss of human lives. 

The book follows the author throughout her own daily life as she writes, travels to book signings and speaking engagements, reads increasing numbers of books on the threatening changes to our world, cares for her pets, tends her garden, and chronicles the grim news reports and political victories and losses.  I love this book and it's a keeper for your home library.


Then there's an audio book, a CD or an MP3 download of Wild Places, read by the author, Susan Tweit.  Click to go to CDBaby to order

I love listening to books on my MP3--soon to be Ipod Touch.  Got my grandson one for Christmas and got hooked when I played with it.  Check out Susan's Wild Places on CD or download.  Go to Women's to listen to a sample first if you like.

Crafting -- I'm still knitting, though now I'm not on any timeline or deadline to finish a project, which means I leisurely watch the Today show in the morning while I knit a lovely, soft  scarf for my husband.  This is relaxation.  Soon I'll be working on some socks, which are nice gifts to put aside for birthdays throughout the year, and of course Christmas next year.  Who doesn't like socks??? 

Also some scrapbooking and working with photos.  Needed some layouts for my Women's Memoirs guest blog on January 6th.  "11 Tips for Saving the Stories in 2011."  Scrapbooking included, but not all the stories are in albums.  There are other tips for saving your stories too.  Tune in on January 6th to read.

This layout is on my Everyday Display board, hanging on my diningroom wall.  Layout of Anna Maria Island, where we vacationed in 2008.  I was emotionally sliding downward then from months of severe family issues.  I needed a quiet get-away, and this is where I found it. 

The above is a layout I created for the first page of my "People" scrapbook. 

Writing:  Posted Part 2 of "Your Life's Soundtrack"  "Voices of the Past," on my guest blog.   I started writing this and realized the first words I recalled I've kept secret all of my life.  Instead of writing about some sweet words of encouragement my Grandma probably said to me, I wrote the true first words I recall.  Disturbing words that followed me through life. 

You can also read "I Remember the Music," Part 1 while you're there in case you missed it. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Craft Journal Entry

What I've Been Up To. 

Youngest granddaughter wants a Baby Alive.  When I got her, I couldn't find any decent baby doll clothes, and I wanted a cute Moses-type basket to carry her in along with her diapers and bottle, etc.  Also it's winter out there.  She was dressed  in a little flimsy sundress.  No shoes. 

So I knitted Baby A. an ensemble -- a hat, sweater, and booties.  Then a pink basket, and made a colorful blankie from fleece.  This was fun!

And here is the cute hat I made for Granddaughter!  This was so easy. 

Read Spoon Fed:  How Eight Cooks Saved My Life.  This was a great read!  Written by Kim Seversen, Food Editor for New York Times.  The stories of early life in her big family around the old oak table brought back lots of food memories for me, and I've decided I love these types of books most of all.  The author's mother is an authentic Italian, and there are some awesome recipes in the book along with the stories.  Authentic pasta sauce and the kinds of meat is used along with the sauce.  Not just plain old ground beef meatballs.  I hung out with three Italian sisters as a teenager along with having lots of good Italian cooks in our neighborhood, and it became my favorite food.  Oh, yes, I was called "Betty Spaghetti." 


I posted a fun piece on Women's recently.  "The Soundtrack of Your Life."  Part 1:  I Remember the Music.

I'll bet you can recall events from your life when you think back to the hit songs of the times.  I had a good time writing this.  This week -- Thursday -- will be "Voices From the Past," so check it out.

Christmas is upon us.  Can't believe it's only a week away.  I'm a Christmas Believer.  I love the magic, the goodwill, the peace of Silent Night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24th Page, Stitch, & Meal

Well, I did a typical woman thing (at least I think it is).  After laying on the couch long enough, watching two men go about their way, ignoring the dirt and piles of junk growing around them, no clue as to Thanksgiving just a day away, I got up and began doing it myself, hobbling as it were with the bum knee.  Hurling insults of course as I did.

Whoa, what happened?????

Instantly shocked, one pulled out the vacuum while the other threw a load of laundry in the washer and ran in the kitchen and began scrubbing. 

Does it always take jolting them out of their oblivion for them to get it? 

The house looking a lot more inviting for a holiday now, the two of them made a pan of GF biscuits following the recipe I'd placed on the bar.  They practically wrenched the measuring cup out of my hand.  The biscuits didn't rise as I thought they would, but, hey, they'll be crumbled anyway for dressing. 

Then came a batch of cornbread, also for dressing.  T his was made, as I anticipated, following the recipe on the back of the Quaker's plain yellow cornmeal and adding the GF flour mix I put together.  This bread turned out looking identical to real cornbread.  I want to make another batch of this. 

Later today I'll make a loaf of white rice flour bread.

I threw the frig door open on my rampage this morning and started throwing old food onto the table.  Sadly, a whole bag of chicken had spoiled which we could have eaten had anyone cooked it.  Instead we had leftover chili for two days.

You don't want to know what I had to say about the spoiled chicken and how sick of chili I was.

At any rate, I'm getting some of the Thanksgiving meal prepared today.

I've cast on 116 stitches of Lion Brand fluffy white "Jiffy" yarn for a "Tweens & Teens" hat, which will have a few stripes of my leftover Red Heart shimmery black yarn I used for one of the purses.  It's really a cute hat for the granddaughters. 

Last night I wrote a book review for Goodreads on Eating In, the book about not eating out in New York City.  I wrote it by hand in my writer's journal while plopped up in bed on my pillows.  Today I'll post it on Goodreads and continue taking notes in my journal about the one I'm reading now, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, by Kim Severson, food writer for the New York Times.  This is a really good book, and I've been saving quotes right and left. 

Eating In was ok, but a little too "hoity-toity" for me.  I do applaud the author for what she did, which was not easy, saving money and learning to cook in a time and place where it's almost unheard of. 

I hope I can get my camera software back on my hard drive.  Son Eric did a repair job on my laptop and I have to re-install it.  I want to show photos of my knit creations and some of the finished food dishes, especially the breads.  One has to have photos to show.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22nd Page, Stitch, and Meal

Unfortunately I'm still off the leg and on my butt as Thangsgiving draws nearer and nearer.  For the curious, I slipped and fell on the evening of November 12th at a restaurant.  Even more unfortunate, I fell on the knee that I'd broken in December 2000, and while my orthopedist says the fall did not injure the hardware inside the knee, it did pull a ligament, and I'm wearing an immobilizer, staying off of the leg, icing throughout the day and keeping it elevated. 

Gary sawed off an old cane that was too tall for me, so now I don't have to use the crutch.  An improvement.

When I return to the doctor in a couple of weeks, we'll see how I'm doing then.  The plan is to avoid surgery.  Hopeful here.

So I have time to do the page and stitch challenge I've imposed on myself.  In fact, I should be churning out a lot more than I am, but laying on one's bum all day isn't what it's cracked up to be.  Depression causes one to stare at the boob tube for countless hours. 

The cooking part is rough, but I'll have some input every day to share, one way or the other.

I'm writing my article for Women's for next week, "The Soundtrack of Your Life," and I did my page working on that. 

I also got all of my digital photos organized and ready to send for prints and backed them up to my flash drive, which was a little overdue.  Okay, a lot overdue.  Worked on the digi scrapbook layouts for the ebook for Women's Memoirs.  That was fun.  I already had a  good deal of them finished, some of which I changed a bit, and created a cute one showing me back in the 70s as a hippie.  Lovely.

I finished my knitted washcloth and now ready to start some cute wool caps for the grandkids. 

Hubbs Gary and son Eric are cooking these days of course (we had chili tonight), but I did sit on a stool at the bar today and organized all of my gluten-free flours for bread making.  Tomorrow I'll allow myself to ambulate just a bit to whip up a loaf of white rice bread and possibly some biscuits (found a great recipe using cottage cheese instead of all of the shortening--I'll use ricotta). 

These breads will be used, along with cornbread, for the Thanksgiving stuffing.  I'll be using the recipe for cornbread from the back of the Quaker yellow cornmeal box, using my rice flour mix instead of wheat flour.  I'd like to add some orange zest -- got this from my Bette Hagman's Gluten Free Gourmet cookbook, which was the first really good source for cooking without gluten.  She is truly a pioneer. 

Gary transferred the huge 26-pound bird from freezer to frig today, which signals the countdown. 

I so want a pumpkin pie right now I can hardly stand it.  A huge, thick slice topped with whipped cream -- real whipped cream made in my stand mixer, not the frozen stuff.  I may end up opening a can of pumpkin puree and eating it right out of the can.

Oh, another thing I did today was add a couple of rss feeds to my home page, including the "Gluten-Free Goddess" blog.  That girl can create beautiful food as well as write mouth-watering descriptions. Definitely a keeper.

Okay, I'm legal now.  I've logged in what I accomplished toward my Page, Stitch, and Meal.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Page, A Stitch, and A Meal a Day

As a crafter, a writer, and a homemaker, I often ask myself, "How can I do it all?" 

I don't think I'm alone in this pursuit of wanting to do all the things I want to do.  We want our homes clean, comfy, and attractive, our meals served up tasty and nutritious, our family well taken care of, and time left over to do what our hearts are calling us to do.

In my world, I'm called to read good books, write stories, create scrapbooks, and use my hands to make lots of different items, especially yarn crafts--knit and crochet. 

Many women are not like me and you.  They do exactly what they have time for and don't worry about the rest.  We can't do that.  We figure out how to "make" time to get it all in.  Because that's who we are.

We are Creative

I've set out to figure a way I can keep up with all of  my interests and finish the projects I've taken on.

It's called "A Page, A Stitch, and A Meal a Day," and I will keep myself in line by blogging here how I'm doing.  I want to be held accountable.

First, the Page a Day is for scrapbooking or writing, or both.  I can write a page a day easily; not so much with scrapbooking.  However, I can pick out a photo or selection of photos, a few sheets of paper, a layout design to get me going, and lay them out on my work table or make a page kit.  Any of these will qualify for my page a day. Plus I'll be posting about pages in books I'm reading.

The stitch is some work done on any of my yarn projects.  A row of a blanket or bag, or a wool cap.  Just a row will do.  I don't have to finish the item in a day.

The meal of course is what I cook for dinner.  At present, I'm striving to cook gluten free for the entire family, not just for my youngest son..  It's so much easier to prepare one meal.  One pot of pasta, not two, just one loaf of bread, one pie cruest or cake we all can eat.  Therefore, my Meal a Day will most likely be along this theme, although at the same time on a nutritious and environmental note.  I'm trying to buy food as local as possible and grow as much as we can ourselves. 

If you'd like to take part in this challenge, go for it.  Leave comments about a few things you want to strive for and post your progress for others to see. 

Below is a sample post.  Today's Page, Stitch and Meal:

I wrote in my writer's notebook the content for this blog and outlined my next article for Women's 

I knitted about half of a cotton washcloth, one of many I'm making for Christmas gifts. 

We had a funeral to go to today and the typical mid-afternoon meal afterwards at the church.  Since I'm off my leg for the time being because of an injury, I instructed my husband to make what I consider the easiest of all dishes.  Stewed Potatoes. 

I have a good supply of potatoes and needed to use them, so all he had to do was wash, peel, cut into cubes and boil.  Then I had him drain them and add butter.  I stood up for a bit and added a sprinkling of paprika.  Can't get much easier than that, but this is in my file of "comfort food."   Oh, and of course it's gluten free.  No wheat in potatoes. 

Tomorrow I want to go to Whole Foods in Nashville and see if I can get some Sweet Sorghum Flour (gluten-free) to make a loaf of no-knead bread and I also want to experiment with a good pan of GF (gluten-free) cocrnbread.  This is research for Thanksgiving dressing.  Last year, I made two.  One for Jeff and one for everyone else.  I hope to make just one -- a good one -- this year. 

Tomorrow, ya'll.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Stumbled onto this site from a fellow writer in my Story Circle Network group.  The Simple Woman's Daybook.  Awesome.

I think I'm a simple woman, so I'm joining. 


Outside my window...the wind is fierce and the autumn leaves are raining down.  We're under tornado warnings, and our lawn chairs have been thrown about.

I am thinking...about writing.

I am thankful loving and supportive husband and everyone in my exteded family.

From the kitchen...we have leftover turkey from the freezer for a casserole and half of a raisin pie we can have for dessert with the homemade vanilla ice cream my husband made last weekend.

I am wearing...pajama bottoms and my Skyline Scrapbook brown and pink tee-shirt.

I am creating...a small black knitted purse--I call it "The Little Black Bag," and it's a Christmas gift for one of my granddaughters.

I am going...nowhere today.  Tomorrow is errand day.  I only want to go to town one day a week.

I am reading...Mason-Dixon Knitting and Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journling.

I am hoping...tornados don't hit any of the schools, especially my son's and granddaughter's.

I am hearing...the continuing weather updates on the TV and the wind shaking our 100-year-old trees.

Around the house...the dogs are huddled close to my legs--they are afraid of storms.  Husband is down the road at our other house--doing repairs in anticipation of renting it.  He took the weather radio with him so he can be alerted.  I wish he was here.

One of my favorite not having urgent "stuff" to do, hanging around my home with dinner in the crockpot or oven and being able to do whatever I want, creating whatever I want.

A few plans for the rest of the week: 
  1. Grocery tomorrow and cooking for The Master's Table (our homeless mission and soup kitchen).
  2. Friends of the Library mailing about next meeting.
  3. Write part 2 of article for Women's
  4. Call attorney about Power of Attorney for special needs son.
  5. Make appointment for colonoscopy : (  ugh.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing..   My thoughts are traveling to the Holidays.  This is a page from last year's Holiday Journal. 

Click  Simple Woman's Daybook if you want to keep your own daybook.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life's Sensations

I'm getting ready to post this week's article for Women's and saw some nice comments on my last one.  Always a shot in the arm when people respond to what you've written.  This week I'm writing about Life's Teachers.  I got the inspiration from the quote, an old Buddahist saying:
When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.
I realized it's going to have to be two parts--my life has had many teachers.  And this student wasn't always ready the first time.

Last week, "Writing Life's Sensations," was good therapy for me.  It's not what it sounds like.  The sensations in my article weren't all good.  Sensations aren't always possitive. 

I wrote about seeing my life like a speeding train going by which would stop suddenly, long enough for me to catch a glimpse of a scene from my life, and the first one the train stopped at was one I hadn't thought of for a long time.  The sensation of the scene was hurtful because I was being bullied. 

While I was working on this, there was a lot of news on TV about bullying going on in schools and kids actually commiting suicide.  That's real scary, don't you think? 

The bully in my life was in my family.  A step-Aunt who was only a few years older than me but very BIG!  And I was little.  I tried to stay out of her way, but I was only about six years old and not too smart.  She even tried to drown me one time.  Thank goodness Grandpa was nearby and rescued me.  And punished her.  She was his stepdaughter by his second marriage.

The thing about writing--you're not real sure sometimes where the story will end up.  Yes, I write from an outline a lot, but not always.  Even when I do follow an outline, the story will just take off on its own and I'll have to let it go and try to keep up with it.  It's an odd sensation.  And that's what I discovered last week.  The big sensation was not so much in the scenes I was describing.  It was how the story ended that I didn't see coming.  I never intended to write that ending.  It sneaked up on me.

But it was the right ending for the story. 

It's like writing fiction where your characters just go off the page and do their own thing and refuse to be brought back to where you want them.  All fiction authors I've talked to admit to this.  The first time it happened to me I thought I was going loony, so I asked someone.  She said, "Oh, yeah, my characters do all sorts of stuff they're not supposed to." 

Imagine that.

Those of you who read novels, know that some of the main characters you're reading about might have jumped off the page and wrote their own story.  Stephen King says he starts with a character and puts him or her in a particular place or situation and then watches to see what the character does.  And they surprise him lots of times.

Now you know.

Look for my latest post on Women's Memoirs this Thursday, "Your Life's Teachers."  And if you can, read the week before, "Writing Life's Sensations," and tell me what you think.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Craft Journal Entry--What are you Making?

The season of giving is soon upon us, so my question today is:  What are you making?  For gifts, I mean. 

Busy week here, but that doesn't mean I can't create.  Cooking is creating, and I'm onto some new recipes and a new book for my daughter and granddaughters.  The old one I put together about 23 years ago needs to be revised.  Some recipes taken out and a lot more added.  This time, however, I'm going to have the book bound, instead of the three-ring notebook type.

I've got a short stack of washcloths I've knitted in some of the new Peaches and Cream Stripes yarn, and some heady scented homemade soap I bought from a fellow crafter to wrap inside the cloths.  Then I'll just tie them all up with beautiful ribbon.

I'm knitting and crocheting bags.  The patterns are from Just Bags, a Lion Brand book.  I'm working on a knitted tote and have finished a few smaller crocheted bags. There are a few beautiful purses in the book I'm dying to make for the granddaughters.  We'll see who wins the countdown, Chrisstmas or me.  I'm loving this.  I'll post some photos soon.

I'm working on my Women's ebook this week, and of course trying to put in some labor on my Memories in Order ebook which I hope to publish before the end of the year.  My next ScrapMoir appears this Thursday on, and it involves writing about the "sensations" of your life. 

If that's not enough, I've done some more work on the family history for my memoir:  Live Over-the-Rhine: A Memoir of the Families. 

In between my crafty pursuits and writing, I'm stealing some extra minutes to stock up the food pantry and the freezer.  It's that "nesting" time of the year.  My mind always goes in that direction when the wind gets a little crisp and the leaves begin falling.  I want to feather my nest for the winter festival.  I'll be knitting and reading in front of the fire and browsing the seed catgalogs and planning the perfect garden.

 I used the Kitchen Garden Planner last year, as we started moving away from the long rows here on the farm.  A few raised beds will supply some pretty good crops for the table.  I confess we ate so many salads from the abundant lettuce we grew, I thought we'd sprout bunny ears.

Scrapbooking????  Well, my retreat is the 21st of this month, so I'll be catching up with all my pictures down in the mountains of Alabama for a long weekend--soaking up the air, sleeping good, visiting with my girlfriends, and eating all that yummy food those awesome cooks make for us.

All this doesn't leave a whole lot of time for reading, but I have to get my fix somehow, so I've been squeezing in some Kindle treats for nighttime reading.  Enjoying some very good ones on journaling.  I'm currently in the middle of Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling, by G. Lynn Nelson.  This may be the best book on journaling ever for me. 

All in all, the Creative Life is Good!

What about you?  What are you doing and making?  Care to write about it?  Comments welcome.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Elementary Simple

Mark your calendars - ele.ment.ary goes on sale August 13th!

It’s an exciting week here at MemoryWorks! After months of preparation the launch of our new ele.ment.ary release will soon be here – our entire shipment of ele.ment.ary products will be delivered to our warehouse very soon and we couldn’t be more thrilled. In fact, we’re so excited about this new release that we’re making it available for purchase a little earlier (isn’t that music to any scrapbookers’ ears?) Our entire ele.ment.ary collection will be available for purchase on Friday, August 13th! Exciting, right?

Email me at or go to my Memory Works Site to order.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fr*ee* Scrapbook Festival

BIG Picture Scrapbooking is having a FR*EE* Idea Festival, starting August 12 and ending August 24th.  They're saying this is their BIGGEST summer event yet!  Head on over to Big Picture Scrapbooking and get signed up.  You'll get a confirmation email and then a reminder email so you don't forget.

In our neck of the woods, the kids are back in school, so if yours are too, it may be a little free time for you to do some inspired layouts.  They're promising 39 different project ideas hosted by some of the best talent.  While you're there to sign up, you can check out the syllabus and the supply list.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Making Books & Journals

Appears I've been on vacation a few weeks.  Kinda, sorta.  Actually did spend a few days with a close friend, just hanging out. 

A lot of the time, though, I've been laying back at home and enjoying summer.  Well, not enjoying the intense heat here in Tennessee, but, still, it's summer.  Lots of fresh tomatoes from the garden, and pair that with pasta, and it's all good. 

Mostly, I've allowed myself time to "think," mull things over.  Sometimes we can push ourselves to the burning other end of the candle and forget what's really important in our lives.  I think that's what's best about vacations...IF we allow ourselves to be alone with our thoughts for a while. 

I've also thought and meditated on my "Creative Pursuits."  Literally.  Not just my blog but my own personal creativity.  I've been journaling a lot, more than regular, about this subject.  What is motivating me?  I've asked that question in my journal. 

I both journal in my scrapbook albums and the one that sits on my nightstand.  Sometimes I write in the small notebook I carry in my purse.  Much of what I journal, I transfer to my albums along with photos.  Personal journaling is a tremendous boon to creativity in any craft, not just scrapbooking.  A lot of artists journal to uncover the beauty of the project at hand. 

Some people journal to make sense of chaos all around them, to figure things out.  I do that regularly.  Like having a conversation with myself on paper when I'm trying to make a decision.  Do you journal?  How does it help you?  Leave a comment. 

I love to make my own journals and books.  Anything from covering a cheap composition book with paper or fabric and decorations to actually making them from scratch, folding the cardstock and sewing it, pasting and gluing.  The process bring out the child in me. 

To the left is a travel journal I created several years ago.  Not in 2004, though.  My camera decided to date it all by itself, and I never got around to cropping the photo.  This is one of those cheap compo books, which I made inside pockets for, where I could slip such items as maps, tickets, etc., into.  I wrote directions on the pages and journaled everywhere we went.

This is the inside, showing the pocket and the first page where I'd sketched  out our itinerary.

This is a concertina book with pocket pages and sewn with thick thread, leaving enough to wrap around the closed book. 

This little journal was made with thick decorative scrapbook paper for the cover, with plain unlined white paper inside.  If you remember making "book covers" for schoolbooks, then you will know how to make the cover of this journal.  Same theory.   It too is wrapped with a cord, or thick thread, and wound around a hot-glued, large button, with a smaller glass button at the knotted end. 

Again, a plain composistion book covered with decorative scrapbook papeer, with a pocket on the front for my scissors.   The penguin logo square and the bookmark inside the pocket were made by a scrapbook sister who attends our retreats.

If you have some homemade books or journals you'd like to show, please leave me a comment or email, and we'll get the photos and instructions on the blog.  I could use some new ideas.

The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books: Gabrielle FoxMaking Books by Hand: A Step-by-Step GuideCover To Cover: Creative Techniques For Making Beautiful Books, Journals & Albums

Thursday, July 15, 2010

And the Winners Are...

Today is July 15th, and the All Aboard Contest has ended.  From all of the entries, three were chosen at random (little squares of paper, blank side up, laid out and mixed up, which my special needs son picked). 

First Prize of the $25 Gift Certificate goes to --Jessi W.

Second Prize of the $15 Gift Certificate goes to -- Cyndi K.

Third Prize Winner of the $10 Gift Certificate goes to -- Jo W.

YEAH!!  For all three of you.  I will now announce on Facebook plus email you.  You can choose your retailer of choice and I'll email your certificate. 

A BIG THANK YOU to all who participated. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

What is Your Creative Pursuit?

Yes, new look, new name.  Like me, and some of my friends, lots of you are "crafty" in lots of ways.  Join our group and leave comments about your own pursuits.  We'll have contests and challenges in all areas of creativity.  This "Journey" blog was started with scrapbooking in mind but has evolved with age.  My Scrapbook Contest  (see below) is still in full swing.  Sign up to win.  Stay tuned for simply creative events.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All Aboard Contest

Those of you who haven't signed up yet for the Scrap Contest, read blog below to see info.  You could win the big prize of a $25 gift certificate to your choice of online scrapbook retailers!  Just leave a comment under the blog about why you scrapbook and click to "follow" my blog.  That all there is to it.  Second and third place prizes will also be awarded.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Free Friday Prize

**A Free Friday Contest & Prizes**

This is so easy! 

To win a $25 or $15 or $10 Scrapbook Product Certificate -- from several online retailers -- you merely have to leave a comment stating "Why You Scrapbook."  What interests you most about creating scrapbook pages?  The Creative Outlet?  Preserving Your Family's Photos?  Writing Stories About Your Familly?  A De-Stresser? Or even Making Cards.  It can be anything. 

I'm doing this as a survey for a writing project, and I'm willing to PAY.  How cool is that? 

PLUS -- and this is part of the contest.  You must click on the "follow" tab, in order to be eligible.  Click to "Follow" either at the top of the page or in the right sidebar.  If you are already a follower, then all you have to do is leave a commend after this post.

I've been contacted to write an ebook, and part of the build-up to this will be to increase my followers. 

I am so excited about this!

The Winners will be drawn randomly on JULY 15th.
First Place Winner - $25 Gift Certificate - Second Place Winner $15 Certificate - Third Place Winner $10 Certificate to your choice from this list:
Jessica (digital)
Two Peas in a
Scrap Your

Winners will be contacted and posted here on my blog on July 15th.

Good Luck! 

And Thank You!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do You Scrapbook History?

How the birds mired in the Gulf oil spill teach us to properly grieve.

By Katelyn Beaty

The above article in Christianity Today impacted me so deeply that I had to share it with everyone.  Then I got to thinking of how I will preserve this event in my life.  Because I'm living through it. 

No, I don't live on the Gulf, but it's my world, my land, my country.  I have a story to tell about my feelings about this mess.  Much as I did with Katrina, 9/11, the wars our country has fought while I've been on earth, the assassinations of Jack and Bobby Kennnedy, and MLK.  I consider my takes on these tragedies, all preserved in my scrapbooks along with the birthdays, weddings, cute pictures of my kids and grandbabies, to be the most vital possession I leave to my family.  My oldest daughter has already made me promise she will get them.  :)  I guess she'll decide if the others get any of them or not.  Or copies of them.

If you don't add history to your scrapbooks, why not?  Your life takes place today in an ever-changing world.  Your children and grandchildren will learn the school's version of history in their textbooks.  They will receive a precious gift from you that they will cherish forever if you commemorate the world you lived in and the feelings that filled your heart.  They will see first-hand the world you lived in and the events that took place in your lifetime, both good and bad.

This was the original pull I felt when I first started adhering those photos in  that old album that stands proudly on my shelves.  I wrote about history, both personal/family events, and the world-altering timeline as I observed it.  This is the most important thing I feel I do for my family.  I am leaving them a legacy.

The horrific, current assault to my world, my own country, has been going on for almost 60 days, the oil spill in the Gulf.  My family has enjoyed those beaches and towns in that area, and I feel deeply about the impact this tragedy has caused.  To me personally as well as the inhabitants of the coastal towns. 

We have been dumped on literally by a giant corporation, and if that doesn't rile you, I don't know why not.  The beauty of our land has been outright traded for big bucks.  The land we were given by God to take care of.  Worse, we've allowed this to happen by our ever-growing hunger for fuel.  How many of us personally have really and truly tried to cut back on our own consumption? 

The article linked to above is a must-read.  It will inspire you to "think."  Really think. 

We are so busy living our robotic lives, wasting so much time on a daily basis, that most of us don't really think about the importantance of what's going on at a deeper level.  Or we don't think we can make a difference or change anything. 

No, I can't go to the Gulf and help anyone with either money or time.  But I can pass on the truths I learn and try to inspire other people to do the same.  I can memoralize the atrocities as I see them and write about how I feel.  Because someday I want my grandchildren and their children to know and understand what kind of person I was.  My moral beliefs.  What gave joy to my heart and what broke my heart. 

They will know their roots were planted in deep soil. 

That I was more than just an observer on this planet. 

Because I chose the time, right now, to tell them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Happiness Project

Are you part of the Happiness Project?  There's the book by bestselling author Gretchen Rubin.  And then there's the on-line Personal Happiness Project where you can list your own goals and to-do's, answer the challenges, track your progress, see how other people are doing.  The daily quotes in and of themselves are jewels to inspire you.
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

I'm doing The Happiness Project.   And I plan to do some "Happiness Project" scrapbook layouts soon.

The topic for this month is Order, and one of the cool posts I read this morning was "Don't Organize."  Yeah, I know, I love it when somebody gives me permission.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When Life & Scrapbooking Gets Too Hard

This photo of  the awesome
beauty of God's creation in my own back yard
whispers to me that I am loved.
I'm working on my next guest blog on Women' Memoirs, to go live on June 10th.  It will focus on scrapbooking and writing about illness and the healing that comes through the process of story.  Your story.  My own illness, severe clinical depression lasting for years, has not yet been written.  I will tell that story in my guest blog, along with the journey to daylight and peace.

Today, however, in this "Journey to Faith" blog that you care now readinng, I focus on the times when hurt and tragedy invade your life and you're just too overwhelmed to even think of doing anything positive.  If you're like me, your emotions take over and even everyday tasks and priorities become impossible.  I am going through one of those periods now as a mother of a grown child who has caused my heart to break.

Again.  It's happened before, several years ago, and before that too, when I wanted to give up.

But how does a mom ever give up?  I don't know how.  I continue to grieve, and I continue to try.  Even when I can't make it right.  Once again I am up against a stone wall.

Two years ago, when my heart was broken, I didn't even want to try again to make it better.  The assault was so bitter, so damning, that there were no words to offer, no ways to defend myself against the attack.  I didn't even know what I'd done to deserve it.  My pastor said, "You've done everything you can.  The ball is in her court."

I waited.  But the ball was never served back.

My incredible husband felt like our pastor.  "Let it go.  It's all you can do.  You can't fix her problems."  I knew deep down that she had issues far more greater than I'd realized, but, still, I couldn't handle just waiting.   A mother never stops waiting.

One day I decided to pull some of  the old scrapbooks I'd created off the shelves and revisit the photos of the children when they were young.  When the problems were minor.  I often tell young moms, "The problems are small when your children are small.  When they get bigger, the problems are bigger."  This is so true.  When they are little, they can't hurt you psychologically.  When they are adults, they can carve out your heart and let it lay bleeding on the floor.

Not all children of course, but one every now and then.  And you will never understand why.

If I could go back and raise the children all over again, I would do so many things differently.  Wouldn't we all?  But it is what it is.  And you just try your best in the present.

That day several years ago, gazing at the pictures in my albums, remembering the sweet little faces on the pages.  Some of the happy things we did.  Some of the funny memories I have carried in my heart.  I guess I've chosen to remember more of the good rather than the bad.

In my own family, growing up, I had a vault of anguish that had impeded my emotional growth.  My parents loved us, but it wasn't shown so much.  My father was an alcoholic.  He was not a mean alcoholic, but the constant arguing between my parents left a deep, festering wound inside me. My mother suffered one "nervous breakdown" after another (as the doctors called them at the time), usually after the birth of each of my five younger siblings. As the oldest, I had a heavy burden.  I resented the loss of a normal life like all of my friends.

When I grew up--really grew up, physically and mentally--I realized my parents did the best they could, and our lives weren't nearly as bad as a lot of others I'd seen and heard about.  No matter how awful you think your situation is, or was, there is always someone else who has suffered way more than you.

My scrapbook albums told stories of how hard I'd tried during my child-rearing years.  Not perfect, not even close.  But I had tried.  I stayed in the first marriage longer than I should have, always hoping it would get better, that I could "fix" a dysfunctional man.  I wanted a father for my children.  And I remembered the bitterness I'd felt toward my mother for not leaving my own father.

This is a Happy memory of the very
best thing that every happened to me--My marriage to the
man who loves me unconditionally and never stops
believing in my goodness.  My protector and best friend
My scrapbooks provide a series of slices from my life that have the power to heal my wounds.  I didn't know, when I started this incredible art form, that this would be an outcome.  Never, never.  But I am here to say to you that this is a very good thing to do.

Today, with my broken spirit, I will scrapbook.  I will record the events shown in the recent photos in my storage binder.  I will select uplifting pictures of good things about my life today.  My youngest son's graduation last year, a birthday party for my niece, my two little granddaughters' last visit, our last beach vacation.  Because I know someday these albums will be important, maybe to me and maybe to someone else in my family during a difficult time who "needs" the photos and the words I write.

I suffer from clinical depression, like my mother.  But, unlike my mother, I have a positive force in my life to help counter the dark days.  It is called scrapbooking.  I am hoping someone else reading this will identify with my story and I have managed to help you.  And I'm available to help.  Leave a
comment or send an email.

My healing "art."  I can't believe how much this
has added to my life.  This was taken at one of
my girls' scrapbook retreats.  An event I can look forward
to every six months.  A VERY healing time away
with friends.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simple Scrapbook Strategies

Library of Memories Class is finished, and Thursdays aren't as exciting now.  Every Thursday morning, first thing I did was pull up my class on Big Picture Scrapbooking and see what Stacy had cooked up for us that week.  What a great experience.  Everything I heard about the class was true.  It indeed changed my scrapboking process.  I'm loving it more and more as I implement each and every system and hone and customize it to my own life.  If this is what you're after, read on. 

Always Be Current
How many time have you said, or heard somebody else say, "I'm so behind in my scrapbooking."  This isn't true for me anymore...  Because I don't just keep adding more and more photos to be scrapped in my photo box.  I'm not using a photo box anymore.  When my prints come in, I slide them into my 3-up photo storage binder IF I plan on scrapbooking them.

Now that I have my system in place, I don't "have" to scrapbook every single picture.  Or I don't have to scrapbook them right now.  I take a lot of the extras and file them away in my "photo category drawers" for later.  I always know where to find a photo when I want it because of my filing system. 

I love scrapping current photos because ... and this is going to sound strange... because if something happened to me today or tomorrow, I will leave my scrapbooks up to date... with the overflow in my filing drawers for my family.  Besides, isn't it fun to sit down with the just-taken photos and slap 'em on a page and get creative?  Isn't that part of what makes this wonderful art so fun? 

I love everyday pics of our regular life.  I don't just want to capture big events.  When you see one of your kids doing something cute, don't you want to snap that picture, print it out (or take it to one-hour printing) and get it into one of your albums right away?  That's a BIG part of what scrapbooking is about...keeping current with your everyday life.  At least it should be. 

One of my everyday layouts  Of all the snow pictures, I chose these two to commemorate the event

The easiest way to stay current and also be able to chronicle those every day memories on-the-go is to select just one or several standout photos from events and spend some creative time with those.  The rest from that event can be filed, either in a photo box or a storage album, or in category filing drawers like me.  The reason I like the storage binder so much (for photos I'll probably scrap in the near future) is that we can flip through the pages and see our pictures that aren't in scrapbook albums yet.  It's like having them in albums, but all you've done is slide them into the pockets for temporary storage.  I love it, love it.

If you've scrapped just one or two pages of an event using the BEST several photos, you can stay current.  If you feel like then going through your binder or photo box and pulling the rest of that event out to scrap, you can do it.  Also remember that with slide-in album protectors now, you can slip layouts in and out if you just _have to_ stay strictly chronological.  I use Creative Memories' Side-Loading Protectors now.  I create my pages on cardstock and printed paper and just slip them into the protectors--no bound pages.

This is my Number 1 way to stay current.  It makes sense, and it works. 

Digi Layout of My Two Youngest Granddaughters, Erica & Rachel, both age 8

Sometimes when we're overwhelmed with a backlog of photos enugh to fill another house, we tend to just want to get them in the albums and get it over with.  I found myself doing this after 10 years of abiding by the chronological, scrap-every-picture law. 

We want to have fun doing this, and most of us want to feel those creative juices fill our heads and come out on our pages. 


Learn to Lift.  I started learning from the masters.  You know who they are.  Becky Higgins, Ali Edwards, Stacy Julian, Cathy Zielske, and a load of others on the big worldwide net we love so much.  In the magazines you'll find them and their spectacular designs.  Lift those layouts!  In scrapbooking, it's legal.  It's not plagarism.  If you use somebody else's layout design publicly, you need to give credit.  But they're tons of "sketches" or page maps for free on the net you can use for your own layouts.  Eventually, you'll find yourself becoming more creative.  It's just like annything else in life.  The more you do it, the better you get at it.

Start Simple.  Simple is beautiful.  When you focus on just the best photo or two, instead of using all of the pictures on multiple two-page spreads, you start with a simple concept that ends up being more creative.  That's not to say you can't use more photos on a spread, but to stay current, this is the way to go:  document the here and now in your life right now.

The digital layouts on this blog may not look simple, but they are.  Not too much glitz or bling.  Some complementary paper, a title, and of course the story.  Maybe just one small bling.  Digital pages are fast and easy to show off your creativity.  Strictly paper takes a little longer, but the same rule applies.

This definitely is an evereyday layout, my garden.  I like to look back in my gardening section of my albums and see what we'd done in past years. 

Check back for more Scrapbook Strategies.  I'll be sharing some more of my organization systems as I upgrade them and layouts that you can "lift."  Feel free.  We're all in this together.

If you're new to scrapbooking, or want to get started, please leave comments, and I'll be glad to help. 

The digital layouts here were done with Creative Memoies' Storybook Creator.  Log on to my CM Page to learn more.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You in Your Scrapbooks

I've been on sort of a Sabbatical the last few weeks, having gone on my ScrapShare retreat in the beautiful mountains of Mentone, Alabama, at Camp Skyline.  Four days of rest, mountain air, awesome food by wonderful, local cooks, and fun!  It's hard to come home and get down to the business of daily living again,   I've been trying to catch up on lots of things, like spring gardening which demands our attention this time of year.. 

And writing.  Tomorrow you can visit Women's Memoirs and read my latest blog post about "A Sense of Self" in scrapbooks and memoir.  It goes live at midnight tonight.  Please leave a comment, because I love to hear from people who tell me about their own scrapbooking and storytelling.

I didn't complete as many pages at the retreat this time, but that's because I was focused on "creating" more than getting pictures on pages.  My Library of Memories class, taught by Stacy Julian at Big Picture Scrapbooking, has certainly changed my views on scrapbooking in a BIG way.  No longer do I strive to just be "caught up," because that's not what it's really about.  I don't care about strict chronology in my albums anymore.  If I want to create a layout about a vacation that came after a birthday party, I can do it. 

If I decide that only one photo in a stack will be enough to document an event, I can do that too, knowing that the rest of the stack is still there, sitting in my category drawers for future use if I care to go back to them and use a few for another layout.  This is truly Photo Freedom (Simple Scrapbooks), people!  I am having more fun scrapbooking than I've ever had, even more than when I first started 11 years ago.

Most scrappers I try to explain this concept to immediately blurt out, "Oh, I could never scrapbook like that," so I guess this is more of a personality issue.  I'm just glad it fits my personality, because I could never go back to the old chronological way again, using every bloody picture I take of every event in our lives, always feeling like I'll never catch up.  Other personalities don't deal with those issues, and that's okay too.  It's all about suiting your own self, what makes you tick.  As long as you are thoroughly enjoying what you're doing and creating.

I created a series of layouts for tomorrow's blog post on the Women's Memoirs site about putting "you" in your scrapbooks.  A lot of scrappers don't do this in an in-depth way, but I feel it's important to reveal more of yourself for the people you love, and who will look at your albums in the future.  I've found when I do this in my albums, share my feelings openly, my family treasures these stories a lot more.  If you want to know how I do this, you'll have to go to the blog post tomorrow and read my tutorial.  I will share a little here with you, however.

The above digital layout was created using a free OScrap template, created by Tabary.  It tells the story of my journey to growing up which started when I had to leave my childhood best friend Joanie because my parents moved across town to a different home.  I was 13 years old, but I was still a child.  And I looked like one.  I was lost without Joanie.  The endeavors to still see her, visiting each other's homes, wore off gradually, and especially when I met my new best friend Jackie. 

Jackie was "worldly" at the same age as I, and fully developed as a much sought-after young woman.  She had bleached blonde hair, wore makeup, and had boyfriends.  I was still in a training bra, wearing size 10 child's clothing. 

Over the next four years, Jackie and I were inseparable, and I began to blossom under her care and teaching.  We even bleached my hair.  My Dad didn't like it a bit.  He said no one in our family had ever been a blonde. 

Jackie ran off and got married during our senior year in highschool, and her parents begged me to find her; they were worried sick.  I knew some people, who knew people, etc., etc., and I showed up at her and her new husband's door early one morning.  She couldn't believe I found her.  She purposely didn't tell me about her plans because she knew her parents would get it out of me.  I convinced her to go see her parents and let them know she was fine.

After graduation, Howard (Jackie's husband) went into the army, and I moved into her apartment and we shared expenses, so we stayed best friends even after the marriage.  We had some of the most hilarious times living in that little apartment.  When we ran out of food and had spent all of our week's salary, we bought a sack of potatoes and I made french fries like my Dad taught me.  We lived on french fries and catsup for a week. 

This was a good time in my life, and I want to share it with my kids and grandkids.  They love reading stories about my younger self and the things I did and cared about.  It gives me a more accessible link to them, knowing I was once their ages and had experiences they can identify with.

I also write on tomorrow's blog a couple of sad stories about my past, because these stories are important too in the grand scheme of scrapbooking.  It's all about the "Sense of Self" appearing on the pages of your albums. 

Women's Memoirs

Women's Memoirs
Women's Memoirs