Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Freebies Everywhere

I've cruised the net for you in search of free stuff, and there is much out there.  The above link to Ella offers a free sampler ebook with professional photography tips, a digital tutorial, three free journaling quizzes, complete instructions for a darling home-decor project, a creativity exercise, a time-saving sketch, and lots of fantastic layout ideas accompanied by expert tips and advice.  Look at the other ebooks there, and you'll see another free one about design.

Next, and you will love this.  I know I did.  Flutterbyes by Leora Sanford  -- Flutterflies.

These are exceptionally beautiful, little butterflies that you can use in your digital scrapping, or you can print them out on cardstock and adhere them to your pages-- hybrid style. 
Then also download, while you're there the free package "LS-Lovely." 

Get it Scrapped has become one of my favorite sites of all.  The free classses I posted just recently, free sketches, and currently she has writtenn an in-depth tutorial about journaling your "story."  Not just journaling the descriptives, like "This is when Junior got the award at school."  This is story-telling.  How to Write a Slice-of-Life Story for Your Scrapbook Journaling.  This is what true scrapbooking is about.

At Scrapbook & Cards Today you can download the new Spring Issue 

This is one I love a lot-- A Year of Tags by Cathy Zielske. 

Check for other freebies on Cathy Z's site.

That's enough for now, though I have a ton left to go.  Check back and I'll keep giving 'em to you.  Over and out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mindful Monday

Happy Monday!  Hope you like my new, pretty-in-pink "spring" template.  I'm one of those persons (right brained) who gets bored easily.  I also like to change my life with the seasons.

I recently bought a new book, The Life Organizer: A Woman's Guide to a Mindful Year, by Jennifer Louden, and I'm enjoying it so much.  Sunday nights are my usual time to make notes for the coming week, my to-do list, appointments, grocery list, and all the stuff of daily life.  However, this book gives me questions to help plan my days, and tips for creating the life I want. 

A long time ago I read a quote:

"Do you control your life or does your life control you?" 

I'm not sure who penned those words, but I remember sensing that I was allowing life to control me.  That changed me a lot.

This morning I was reading some of the first part of my new book that I skipped over earlier which explains how to use the Life Organizer and the word Story caught my eye.  If you've read my blog posts here over the recent months, I am all about Story.  That's why I scrapbook; that's why I write. 

"The questions you ask shape the story you live," writes the author.  "What Story Do You Want to Live?"  she asks.

At the start of my week, or month, or day, I read the questions in the book, and my answers shape my story. 

The questions last week that I copied into my notebook asked:

"What am I most passionate about this week?" 
"What or who do I want to say Yes to?
"What touch or texture, or physical contact, would nourish and calm me?"
"What might shift if I used the interruptionns of my life this week to remind me to be grateful and to come into the present moment?"  (Anyone familiar with "interruptions" in your daily life and hate them as much as I do?)

I've used planners nearly my whole adult life, but I've never planned my time around such questions.  It makes a difference.  The book also gives me lists to use, like what I want to let go of, and what do I have to do, and what could I do.  This makes more sense to me than the Covey planner I use where I asssign A, B, C and 1, 2, 3 to my tasks.  I still use my awesome little leather Franklin Covey planner, but now I use the questions to guide my week and month and include more of the things I could do if I planned my time better.

I started meditating this morning on how we go about our daily lives and more or less react to what is going on around us without a thought to what "might" be possible if we were more mindful.  If we saw ourselves as writing our story more, we could include a lot of more valuable time to make dreams come true

When my children were young, that concept would have never occurred to me.  I wish it had.  I wish I'd read this book then.  I might have included more than just going to work and coming home and performing all the tasks of running a household.  I think of the  time I wasted on an everyday basis.  I complained a lot about not having time to...

Fill in the blanks. 

I wasn't scrapbooking then, so that makes a difference.  When you are aware of the life you live, and the lives of your family, you are open to your surroundings.  You see the little things that most people never notice.  Life is so different now.  A lot of it is age of course, but not all.  I've been saying for the last ten years that scrapbooking and making family albums changed my life.  I know my ancestors' history now, so I have more of a sense of roots.  I'm able to open one of my albums now, when the need arises, and gaze down at my children as babies and curious, lively little tots and gain a true sense of wonder. 

Nature inspires me now in a way it never did.  I appreciate life in a whole new way.  I just love walking around with my camera and capturing it all.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Where Are Your Spaces?

This week my blog on Women's Memoirs was about the Sense of Place, and I wrote about the places that have shaped me and which I've called home.  I showed three layouts from my scrapbooks that depict those places, explaining why each place will always live in my heart and soul.

I got to thinking afterwards that I have several places in my home which also provide a "sense of place," or maybe "space" is a better word.  Places in the house I live in where I think, dream, create, rest, and plan.  I realize that some of you may not be as fortunate.  You might have small children, and I remember those years where my space was in the bathroom with the door locked and little fists knocking against it yelling, "Mama, are you in there?" 

Everyone doesn't have a large home like I do--but I have to tell you it takes longer to clean.  I remember the small houses I lived in with the children.  Every room was used for a purpose.  Maybe a laundry room?  I once heard a young mom scrapbooker say she used he top of her dryer to work on, mainly because her toddlers couldn't reach that high. 

One of my last scrap spaces was in my bedroom, on my bed, with my supplies piled up next to it.  I wouldn't suggest this is you have a water bed.  I found that something that provides a hard surface for cutting underneath your mat is a must.  Finding a square of wood isn't too hard.  Then there are those lap desks they sell at bookstores usually.  I found a bed tray for sick people that worked.  The one I have even has slots on each side for magazines, newspapers, etc.  Great for your stash of paper and embellishments.  I bought this originally for my mother-in-law when she was confined to bed before she died.

You can organize your materials under your bed if necessary, though I had a scrapbooking rolling bag from CM, since I'm a consultant.  I parked it in an empty corner, and it held all of my supplies under cover.

Now I have my own space and find it's exciting to organize when it gets too jumbled, which happens when you crop.  The Library of Memories class I'm involved in at present has been awesome for teaching new ways to organize, and I'm adding these slowly to my space.

Please keep in mind this is still in the organizing phase.  I realize it doesn't look that some of those  beautiful, impeccably organized spaces you see online and in magazines.  But it will.  The blue shawl over my chair was a gift from my friend Allison, and when this old house gets drafty, I can just pull it around me without getting up in mid-creation.  The blue bucket was a gift from my friend Debbie.  It says, "When I get to croppin' there's no stoppin'.  Cut, eh?  The globe with little scrapbooks under it was a gift I won at one of our unit's "Dirty Santa" games.  I love it.  It keeps bits of paper and messages safe.

All of the gorgeous built-in shelves my DH made are not filled yet.  We have many more books to move in.  We're taking our time and purging -- donating some to the library -- because we have way too many. 

My work-in-progress magnified.  Time goes way too fast when I'm in this space.

These pages show the 2008 scrapbook retreat.  No, I am not behind.  Stacy Julian said we don't ever need to say that, because we crop what we want when we want to.  So I have more recent photos scrapped. 

My other, very spiritual places is the old chair by the window with my books close at hand.  This chair belonged to DH's aunts and is very old.  It's seen better days, but I love it.  It's really comfy too.  The light from the window affords these getting-old eyes of mine, and I like that I can pull a book off the shelves anytime I want.  It's also a good place to sit with my laptop.  I also get cards ready to mail, pay bills, and other stationery tasks here.  Thus the box of envelopes and boxes of cards, which don'tt look too organized, do they?

My old, completed scrapbooks are in this section of the shelves, but soon to be moved down to the other end, due to the sun probably fading them from the western exposure of the window.  When the sun sets, this area is ablaze with color.

So where is your "sense of space" in your current home, wherever that may be?  Wherre can you retreat inside yourself, if even for just a few moments, and dream, plan, pray, create, or just rest your weary brain?  My daughter takes baths instead of showers.  I used to do this too, but lately life has gotten just too hectic, and seems I'm always in a hurry.  There's a lot to be said about long, fragrant, maybe candlelit baths.  Hmm, maybe I'll try one tonight. 

Leave your comments below.  I'd like to have some inspiration for my space.  Perhaps you have some ideas for me.  Keep in mind I'm a born messsie, and keeping things neat does not come natural to me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Women's Memoirs

Today was Work Wednesday, and I spent most of it editing my blog article for Women's Memoirs.  Then I caught up on classwork for the tutorials I'm taking online and put St. Pattie's Day dinner in the crockpot--corned beef and veggies of course.

Visit the Women's Memoirs' site after midnight tonight and check out my blog, or ScrapMoir, titled "Creative Energy: Fuel for the Flame."  Leave a comment and let me know what you think or suggest future topics that interest you.     

And speaking of Women's Memoirs, you may be interested in their March and April contest.  You are invited to submit a story that features a recipe. First place winner's story will be published as the month's winner in addition to receiving a free copy of the [Essential] Women's Memoir Writing Workshop, a 5-DVD set valued at $132.  The top five submissions will also be published in the coming months.

 Visit for rules and further info, and I hope one of my readers win!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Free Online Scrapooking Classes

 I'm current taking four classes at once online!  I'm a lifetime learner.  I actually liked school.  Two of the classes I'm taking cost money.  Stacy Julian's "Library of Memories," at Big Picture Scrapbooking is presently taking place and won't be available again until next year.  This class was relatively expensive.  A hundred bucks I think I remember, but worth every penny in my opinion. 

Just rcently I signed up for "Blogging for Scrapbookers" at Shimelle.Com.  This class only cost $15, and this is one of the biggest bargains I've yet to come across.  I couldn't believe what I didn't know!  For scrapbookers, knowing how to do blog layouts is so very valuable, and this girl knows what she's talking about. 

Now I've found another site and two free classes that are right up my alley.  Debbie Hodge has a site with quite a few good ones, and the two that I'm taking are -- did I say FREE!  Can't beat this.

One is Scrap YOUR Story.  How often do we do that?  Never.  It's always somebody else we're focusing on.  This is a work-at-your-own-pace class, and she is up to week 3, but it's not hard to get caught up.  The class is 11 weeks total.  I'm just now finishing up Class 1, our Life Right Now.  Week 2 is our Origins, and Week 3 is our Childhood.  And here's my layout, called "Me Present Tense."

The other free class at Debbie Hodge's site is "The Street Where You Live" taught by Jane Howden.  I'll probably get caught up with this one sometime this week -- in between the other classes, and trying to get the garden ready, tend to the plants and seedlings inside, cook at least a meal or two for my family.  Forget cleaning the house or doing laundry.  Who's got the time? 

I'm especiallyl interested in the "Street Where You Live" class because we are remodeling and in addition to photos of the road we live on (we call them roads here) and the other few neighboring houses (mostly woods and fields), I'd like to have a journal or scrapbook record of the changes we make to the old house, both outside and in. 

Just so many ideas for us scrapbookers and keepers of our family's history. 

I've been spending an inordinate amount of time additionally organizing my products and my workspace, and I'd like to spend some time discussing that aspect of the craft here with all of you.  Do you have any really good ways you organize your scrapping, whether it's a hobby or part of your career?  I'd love others to send in photos so the rest of us can get some ideas.  My space is coming along nicely, but not expensively.  With the advent of spring, a little organizing and housecleaning seem in order ;-) 
Let me know what you think.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sj's - Little Musings: Cosmo Cricket Nutmeg - Garden Planner '09-'10

I love this Garden Planner I found on Little Musings.  Click above to go to the post that describes how it's made.  Mine won't be exactly like this one, but I want to incorporate a lot of the ideas...

like seed envelopes
monthly planning pages
and articles I pull from magazines and the net

I need to get some chipboard probably to make the covers.  Maybe.  I have some pretty stiff cardboard on hand that would work. 

There are several 12-month gardening sites online that would help me fill in my monthly to-do pages.    Here's a few of my favorites:

Once I gather all the info and supplies, I'll show you how my planner is coming along. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Why it Works

Found this on the "Get it Scrapped" site.  I LOVE this type layout.  It's what I strive for but always seem to go astray and get too busy on my pages.  I had to copy this here so I can see it and remember it.  Beautiful, simple, elegant, enchanting. Click on the video below to see it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Great Friday Finish & Finds

Fridays are good for finishing stuff, getting ready for the weekend.  I wish I could say I cleaned the house today.  No, I didn't. 

I finished a layout.

This is a page for my "Me" album, about my semi-annual scrap retreat.  I think I'm going to switch the handwritten journal block for a printed one.  DH took the printer away from my laptop and into his office.  I'll print later. 

Had several awesome finds this week to share.  And the odd thing, they work together.

  1. The "Blogging for Scrapbookers" class was the first resource.  You can click on the link on the right.  The class is $15 and well worth it.  How about putting some of your layouts on a blog.  Blogger, where you're at right now, is FREE.  If you've been here before, visiting my blog, you'll notice I've got a new look today.  That's because I found a FREE Blogger template on the web.  It was easy to do.
  2. The second was "Picture My Memories."  You can click that link on the right as well.  This site advises setting up a blog for your memories.  Then you can declutter your house...or your computer hard drive.  In addition, you'll be saving the memories in a way that will be easy to share.  For example, I plan to email my cousins from Cincinnati with the link to this blog, so they can see their photo and their mom's on the web as well as the journaling on the layout.  Cool, eh?
Weekend Reading ~~ Last year I read Rick Bragg's All over but the Shoutin' and was impressed. I love his writing. Down to earth but his scenes can carry you away to where you find yourself there. He transports you to the time and place he's writing about. I picked up Ava's Man this week, written about his maternal grandfather. I love real stories!  

Also reviewing Stacy Julian's Photo Freedom, which I had Archiver's ship to me.  This one and The Big Picture... Scrapbook Your Life and a Whole Lot More have become my favorite scrapbook books.  I have not read the first one, Simple Scrapbooks, but lately I've read so much about it, I'll be ordering it, probably this weekend.  Something else I! 

Just a final blurb here that you can find some FREE sketches on  I've been printing (when I can get the shared printer away from DH), hole punch and place in a 3-ring binder along with layouts I find so beautiful that I have to "lift." 

Tomorrow I clean my house, maybe.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Importance of Family

Last week I drove to Cincinnati, my home town, for the funeral of my Aunt Dot.  I loved her, and she loved me.  I spent a lot of time at her house over the years growing up.  Being the oldest grandchild on Dad's side of the family, Aunt Dot hired me as babysiter, starting when I was seven or eight years old.  That's when I'd sit on her kitchen floor and play "paperd dolls" with Mar Lou, her first child who is five years youger than me.  Mary Lou loved paper dolls.  Aunnt Dot and Uncle Bill went on to have seven children.  (Yes, we were a Catholic family, so I got more babysitting jobs over the years.

Connecting with seven of my cousins and their spouses and children was a huge blessing in my life.  Your roots and your family cannot equal anything else you may possess.  Family is everything.

Sometimes it's hard to stay connected.  Sometimes I can't connect with my own grown children.  There are all kinds of thieves in this world that can try to steal these precious moments from us.  It's sad. 

The memories are too important.  As we make them, we need to remember them and pass them on to the young people in the family.  Above is a layout I put together with a couple of photos to comemorate not only the passing of my beloved aunt but the joy of spending time with my extended family back in my home town.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Work

When the weather gets close to spring, and I can taste it and feel it.  When I know it's coming at last.  I wat to be outside with my hands in the dirt.  I need to be growing something.  It's soothing and centering.  Gardening transports you to someplace quiet and serene, away from the loud and busy world. 

I will walk today down the road to our other house we are fixing up to rent, where I lived for 16 years up until last summer.  I want to see if my rhododendron is in bloom.  When it is, the beauty is almost unbearable.  Looking at the pale pink-edged creamy blooms make me want to cry.  When I planted it the year we moved into the old house, onn the left side of the front porch, I never believed a could have a full-blown rhododendron drooping with hundreds of large, exquisite flowers.  Must have been acidic soil that did it.  On the other side of the front porch, I planted a lavender shade, and it was gorgeous as well...until the drought several years ago, when it dried up and literally bit the dust.  Watering didn't help. 

Besides getting back to the earth, I have several scrapbook layouts to finish. 

Spring brings out my creativity in lots of ways.

 I also have a new penne recipe to try tonight for dinner, along with one of my spring salads.

Gary has been plowing a new strawberry field next to the house.  The one across from the old house is about played out, so we'll be planting several hundred new plants very soon.  Last time he ordered 1,000 plants!  He has big ideas.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Ali Edwards Blog yesterday talked about "Getting Real."  This applied to me.  In writing, either in our scrapbooks or for publication, writing letters to people -- wait, do people still do that??? Okay, in emails.  How do we come across as "real?"  I strive to write real in my scrapbooks and on my blogs, but, you know, I'm not sure I really go all the way.  It's all about being accepted.  About being loved.  Or at least liked.
Today Ali presents Brene Brown's new  book, The Hustle for Worthiness.  I went to Brene's (don't you love this name?) page and I read:
Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone; I am enough.

It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.
Lord, I feel unworthy so often.  How I would love to wake up in the morning and not care what gets done and how much is left undone.  How I yearn to be able to say, "I am enough."

I also noticed on Brene's page that she has written a slew of books, and they all sound awesome.  You can see two of the links here.  The Hustle book isn'tt on Amazon yet.

I notice she gets into the "perfectionism" characteristic.  Now, that applies to us scrapbookers for sure.  I can't count how many otherwise sane ladies I've tried to help get their kids' photos in albums, and they ended up stashing all the products they invested in under the bed or in the hall closet because they couldn't get past the "it has to be perfect" idealism.  One even admitted it out loud in a group of scrapbookers.  "If it's not perfect, I can't do it." 


Her children are never going to have a legacy in photo albums. 

Now, of course, we can slip the photos into acrylic slots in albums, and I'd say that's far better than never doing anything, but that doesn't include the writing, which is necessary in my opinion.  Unless one uses journal cards and slips them into some of the pockets.  I love that technique myself, and I've done a few of those albums. 

Oh, and the digital picture frames!  Hey, how cool are those? 

Dital scrapbooks.  Those are so easy to do.  And quick. 

So we were talking about authenticity, weren't we?  Maybe that's one of the reasons people shy away from scrapbooking, or writing.  Some people do the scrapbooks for creativity's sake alone.  That's ok.  Most of us, it's about the kids and grandkids.  The moms, dads, uncles, aunts, cousins, sisters, brothers, pets. 

It's about making time stand still for just a little longer while we remember.

It's about showing our authentic self.  It's about getting real.

Or it should be.  Thanks, Ali.

Women's Memoirs

Women's Memoirs
Women's Memoirs