Monday, November 7, 2011

Eat, Pray, Sleep

Adding to my quest for the good life, a good night's sleep.

No, this isn't about the "fall-back" time change yesterday.  It's about my journey over the last three years to find that elusive good night's sleep.  In light of all the recent news on America's sleep deprivation problems, looks like I haven't been alone.  Profits on prescription sleeping meds soared to $3 billion this year (, and up until this past July I was contributing to those revenues to the big drug manufacturers.

2011 has been my banner year for going drug-free.  Not entirely by choice, but because my body chemistry doesn't mesh well with medicines.  The worst part is coming off these heavily addictive chemicals. Be prepared to suffer is all I can say to anyone who chooses to go prescription drug-free.

The longer you take the meds, the worse the coming-off symptoms.  The first drug I weaned off of, an antidepressant, actually listed "death" as one of the side effects of discontinuing it.  That's good news for the drug industry; what a way to stop innocent people from quitting your drugs. It's like being held at gunpoint.   I managed to do it, though, by sheer determination and my belief that the human mind is capable of incredible accomplishments.

After months of getting myself off that first drug, the sleeping med I'd been prescribed began fighting against me.  I had to do the same thing, but this time I visited a local osteopath I'd seen in the past, and coming off this last drug wasn't as bad, using the protocol he gave me.  I was prepared for months of sleepless nights, up to 48-hour stretches of lying in bed staring at the ceiling, because on the sleeping pills, if your prescription ran out or you left home without them, that's what happened.  That's how addicted your body and mind become.

Off the pills, in just a few nights, my body began returning to its previous, before-drug state.  I'd fall asleep for a few hours and then wake up.  After a few weeks, I began falling back to sleep when I woke up.  Every night is different at this point, depending on my mental state.  If I can control my thoughts and get my brain to relax sufficiently, I have a pretty restful night.

And that's the point.  It takes your input.  It's different than just popping a pill and drifting into unconsciousness.  You have to "learn" about your body, your mind.  What a concept.

The good part is that sleep without drugs is so good.  Natural sleep feels great.  I'd forgotten what it was like.

I'm not advising anyone here to stop taking your drugs.  That's a personal decision I made for myself with the help of a medical practitioner, lots of research, and natural alternatives.

As thinking, alive human beings, we need to be in control of our bodies and minds.  We should be vigilant about taking care of ourselves first, before we turn our lives over to someone else.  We should know ourselves better than anyone and work at listening to what our bodies and minds try to tell us.  Those subtle messages we're usually too busy to pay attention to.  I think we jump too fast and too impatiently into the grinder.  I know I did.

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your Personal Fairy Tales

Sunday night I watched the premiere of  ABC's new TV show, Once Upon a Time.  The programs I don't like on the tube heavily outweigh those I do like, so I was surprised that I got caught up in this reenactment of Snow White with some interesting--and humorous--side trips.

The real-life story played alongside the fantasy captured my attention, and I'm looking forward to the continuing  Sunday-night saga.  I already care what happens to the characters.  I want to see justice triumph, watch both the real and fairy-tale wicked witches go down. As they always do in fantasy.

I applaud ABC for the creative talent at work here.

Then yesterday morning, I opened my email, and as I ran down the list spotted my Story Circle Network's weekly newsletter, "Women's Wise Words A Week's Worth of Writing Prompts."  Surprise!  This week's subject.  Fairy Tales.  

Fairy tales are like a pair of glasses—not the rose-colored kind that make everything look wonderful, but the kind that bring reality into focus. Like good bifocals, they help us discern the way the world really is up close, without losing the biggger picture of the way the world was intended to be... The world of fairy tales sharply reveals that what we see around us is not all there is... Fairy tales offer hope. And hope, like nothing else in the world, inspires us and motivates us to keep going ~ Nicole Johnson

Then the writing prompts for the week, including the one I pick.
Do you have a fairy tale within you?  If so, this would be a good week to start putting it down on paper...crafting it so that it brings reality into focus but holds fast to the concept of how life could be. ~ by Lee Ambrose 

As a lifewriter, a family historian and memoir writer, maybe I'm the feminine role in Hansel and Gretel, leaving crumbs of where I came from, so I can find my way back.

Sufficiently engaged with this concept now, I look to Amazon to see what has been written on this subject.  I find Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life.  Perusing the Contents page, which is the first thing I do when examining a promising read, chapter titles like Beauties and Beasts:  Looking Love in the Face promise interesting ideas to prompt more writing in a new territory for me.

Okay now.  A new writing focus emerges.  What fairy tales embody your life?  What direction will these mythical stories take your writing?  Leave a comment, please.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bullet Lists for Writing Scrapbook Stories

I'm a scrapbooker who loves to write.  I'm a storyteller.

But not everyone likes to write.

As a scrapbook consultant for eleven years, getting people to write on their pages was the biggest obstacle of all.  Well, getting organized was right up there too.  But that's another post.

When I'm writing anything--a family story for my memoir, a blog post, an essay or story for publication--I use bullet lists as outlines before I actually write the content.

I learned when I was a kid the fine art of outlining.  You know, those Roman-numeral, indented, long lists English teachers loved so much.  Over the years, though, I came up with my own style of outlining which is short and sweet.

Using a simple bullet list can actually tell the story.  So for those who freeze up when they stare at the blank scrapbook page, try bullet listing the individual parts of the story behind the photo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Systems, Schedules, and Nesting

Okay, Dear Reader, you can tell from my last post on Motherhood that I'm into my trying-to-be-organized mode.  Let's call it the Seasonal Nesting Syndrome.  I catch it every Fall.  Along with all of the allergies that reside in Tennessee.

Freezing and stocking the pantry are high on the list during Nesting.  
Below are a few of the collard greens awaiting attention.  
Husband Gary and his farmer friends down the road grow a field of mixed greens for anyone who wants to eat them.  I like the collards more than the others.  Now to get some in the freezer for winter.

Organizing my office.  Too much stuff for so little room.  Shelves help.  So does purging stuff one really never uses but is afraid to let go of.  

But in the meantime, while the office is getting a re-do...

... our bed is a nice place to write.  The only problem is that I have to clean it off every night, LOL!  

The guestroom becomes winter storage for freshly washed blankets. And baskets of yarn stash!!  

The evenings are cool...great sleeping weather and cuddle-up opportunities with a good book or some knitting.

The best thing about this bedspread-in-progress (besides being my favorite color) is that as it grows longer on the needles it will cover my lap and legs on those frosty cold days of impending winter.  

These are the projects I have goin' on here in between the writing and blogging, and networking... 

Anybody else out there feathering their nest for winter?  

It's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where Do We Turn in Our Mom Badge?

Yesterday I read on someone else's blog a review of a book I knew I wanted.  Just from the title.  Writing Motherhood, by author Lisa Garrigues.

I can tell you right now.  I love this book.  I got inspired just by reading the contents page.  And that's a good thing.

Because I was about ready to turn in my Mom Badge.

You know, the one they pin on you the moment you realize you've conceived.

A big family means there's always an emergency.  And I am "Mom" to a big family.

The trick is handling the crises with grace and class.  Not always so easy.

And still have time and energy for whatever "work" you've chosen.  And we all must have work of some type.  Outside of the duties of Motherhood.  "Work" in this sense means what you do as a person, not as solely a mom or a wife.

My work includes not only writing, because it's what I feel I'm called to do, but also volunteering, because I can and I want to.  This is my work now.

Work used to be leaving my home and going somewhere to perform various duties for a salary.  That was when the children were younger.  It was hard to squeeze everything in then, but I was young too.  Youth trumps it all.

Before I retired to write, I was a freelance court reporter with an office in my home, and my work situation now is similar.  People just don't get that because you are at "home" you don't work.  Everyone, including spouses and children some days, see you as a free agent who is available at all times simply because you do not go out the door to a job everyday.

Let me just say here, whoever invented voicemail was a genius.

So finding a book like Writing Motherhood is a win for me.  Here's a Writer Mom who's found some gold in them thar hills of self-employed at home.  We want more than just squeezing a few precious hours into our family schedules.  We want to be good at the Mom part as well as keeping the home fires burning.

We want to plan sensible schedules, provide a peaceful, beautifully decorated, organized atmosphere for our family as well as healthy home-cooked meals.

Not only that, but I want to also "grow" the food for my well-stocked pantry and freezer.   I want to create gifts and treasures with my mixed media of yarns, ribbon, fabric, scrapbooks, beads and baubles.

Worker Moms wear many aprons.

No matter what choice of work we choose.

As a Blogger-Writer Mom, Writing Motherhood is a double delight of tips for keeping it all together and inspiration for what we write.  That's how this blog post was conceived.

And having another book on my Kindle stack, for a reading junkie like me, is icing on the cake.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What's Your Passion?

What gets you going and keeps your focus?  What are  you passionate about?

I read that about 75 percent of people can't answer this question:  What is Your Passion?

My husband's passion (not including me!) is his farm.  This plot of land that's been in his family since the 1800s.  It's the reason he'd never move to any other location.  He is all about this farm, everything to do with it.  It's what he thinks about every day when he wakes up.  It's his main focus in life.  The farm is his biggest joy, his biggest reward.  He works incredible hours on his farm and doesn't even realize it because he loves doing it.  He is so pumped when he gets on his tractor and rambles around his fields, surveying everything.  It feeds his soul.

For me, writing.

Note here we are not talking about family members, the people you take care of and love.  In that case I'd have to say being a wife and mother, and my husband would say being a husband and father.  Those go without saying.

Not your job...unless of course you're fortunate to be living your dream where you work and are paid.  .

Something you DO for the sake of just doing it.

A hint would be that you probably thought about it when you were a child.  Remember those fantasies?

What would you do even if you weren't paid for it?

If money weren't an object, what would you spend your life doing?

What would make you jump out of the bed in the morning anxious to start doing?

What is your dream, your passion?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Writing Opps This Month

A couple of recent interesting writing prospects I'm eyeing.  Of course, Glimmer Train is on my list of life success stories.  Sent off for a sample copy about four years ago and still haven't submitted.  Worth a try, especially as I'm developing a lot of stories now.  A lot of their winning entries are stories that could easily be fictionalized memoir.  Why do I love literary so much?

If I can just keep the energy pumping...  And not spend so much time in the kitchen!

Memoirs Ink is looking for original, well-written personal essays, memoirs, or stories that are based on autobiographical experiences. The narrative must be in first person, other than that, the contest is open to any type, genre or style of story. Stories can be funny or sad, serious, artsy or fragmented. We are interested in pushing the boundaries of memoir and also in just regular memoir that doesn't try too hard--so long as it moves us. This contest is open to any writer, any age, writing in English--that means Canadians, Brits, Australians, Ugandans and anyone else anywhere can enter.

Glimmer Train Bulletin 55 - The August Short Story Award for New Writers closes August 31. Open only to writers whose fiction has not appeared in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000. Word count: Most submissions run 1,500 to 6,000 words, but can go up to 12,000. See writing guidelines. First place wins $1,200 and publication in Issue 85 of Glimmer Train Stories. Second- and third-place winners receive $500/$300 (or, if chosen for publication, $700).


Friday, July 29, 2011

Scrapbook This: Modern Day Family History

Photos from July not printed yet, but the digitals still beg for attention. 

These will be family history someday.  Good old summer 2011.  What were my ancestors up to back then? 

Well, look at those Harry Potter cups.  And fresh blackberries and peaches.  Wow, they really had a lot of fun back in the good old days!

It doesn't take long to chronicle everyday memories with digital images on your computer, a good software program you know how to use, and just a few words about what life was like today.

You don't have to scrapbook every photo.  Just a few will tell your story.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lifetime of Summers

Last Week's Photo Freedom Challenge

All of these summer photos were taken from my Library of Memories Category Drawers ~~ See Big Picture Scrapbooking to read up on this.

How quickly can you find pictures of different summers throughout your life and throw together a layout in about an hour?

Before the Library of Memories class last year, I guess I would have pulled my already scrapbooked albums down from the shelves and flipped through for pics, and then gently removed them from the albums, copied or scanned them, put the originals back in the albums, and then created my layout.  Don't think I could've done it in an hour though.

Last year, I began archiving important photos into "category drawers."  Leftovers, duplicates, and, yes, some I pulled from my albums and copied. 


This is how I was meant to scrapbook. 

Sure, I still create the family albums, the events, the celebrations, the day-to-day shots my camera catches.  But I don't have to scrapbook ALL of them.  I like saving quite a few in my file drawers where I can find them at a moment's notice.  This means I'm only scrapbooking the best photos into my albums, the ones that tell the stories.  And enjoying it more!  And I now have a decent stash of various photos to "play" with, using them in creative ways to tell more important stories.  Stories I'd have never known to tell.   

This is Photo Journalism!

This is truly Photo Freedom ~~

~~ which, by the way, is one of the books Stacy Julian, founder of Big Picture Scrapbooking, has written. 

Big Contented Sigh.  I love Photo Freedom

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19 Daybook


Outside my window...Sunny for a while, then gray and stormy.  Clothes on the line.  Jeff decided the laundry was behind and made Dad help him hang it up...on Father's Day, lol. 

I am many people hang laundry outside to dry anymore.  I've met a lot of women lately who acually do...a new surge back to the old days maybe.  In my Story Circle Network, many of the women hang their clothes out to dry.  I like that group.  So, with the wind billowing the sheets outside my window, my dryer sits lonely and unappreciated in the laundry room.  As it should be. 

I am thankful...that I remain a Simple Woman.  And on this day, I am thankful for my husband.  And I remember my father.  I miss him every day.

In the kitchen...Homemade Cincinnati Chili for Hubs for Father's Day.  And a Carrot Cake Supreme, gluten-free of course so son Jeff can eat it too.  All food now is gluten-free.  Easier that way.  Lovin' m beautiful Kitchen-Aide stand mixer.  Life is so much easier with her in my life.

I am blue shorts and white tee.  Yesterday got me the cutest little white Goodwill!!!  My fave store in the world.  If I'd have gone to church this morning, I might still be wearing it.  But getting granddaughter out of bed and confronting that mass of thick, permanently tangled hair and her whine and wimper over every little disturbance was just too great a task.  So didn't wear my little cotton skirt.  I love light, airy skirts and dresses for summer.

I am creating...a crocheted "Sea Breeze Top,"

Lion Brand pattern.  A yoked and flared cool looking summer top to breeze around in.  For me. Then if it turns out well, others for gifts.    Using Kiwi green, Peaches & Cream.

I am wondering...why politicians like Mitch McConnell, seen on Face the Nation this morning...for only a few seconds, before I switched to NPT, why he didn't hear the latest poll of Americans just a few weeks ago, where over 70% said they wanted the US to bring the troops home and get the money back in our own country because we have still so many unemployed people here.  McConnell thinks Americans are concerned mostly with deregulation and spending.  I am wondering why he thinks I am stupid. 

I am reading...several books.  Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral [Hardcover].

And The Freedom Writers Diary : How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them.  My pastor's daughter Molly loaned it to me, after I told her I saw the movie FINALLY.  She'd told me about it last year.  This is one of the all-time greatest stories ever.  Not many people heard about it.  It didn't garner a lot of press.  But that's par for America.  What Erin Gruwell accomplished is BIG stuff, huge, something that can change the world as we know it, but who really cares, right?  Why would we want to change the world?  Isn't it fine just the way it is? 

I am hoping...for just a slight drying off of the soil so I can finish planting what needs to go in the ground.  But, hey, I'm not complaining about all the rain.  My friends in Texas would pay for some rain along about now.

I am looking forward to...seeing my friends Sharon and Karen this evening.  Sharon, from Georgia, is visiting Karen, who lives just a few miles from me.  They are some of my scrapbook buddies.  Beautiful ladies I love.

I am on my Android!  And I even figured out how to change my ring tone to "Don't Stop Believing," by Journey.  That's kind of my personal anthem song presently.

Around the house...We are getting a new kitchen!  Hubs wrote the check to secure it.  A couple who is getting a new custom kitchen sold their present one to us for a fraction of the cost new.  Complete with appliances.  Can't wait.  My old vintage kitchen will soon be a memory, so I'm spending time in it saying good-bye.

I am much better I feel since finishing up the evil drug I was taking.  I still have some shakes from the physical addiction that set up in my body, but my dr. thinks it's about all out of my system, maybe just a few more weeks.  I'm thinking about how I feel a lot these days, making connections, stuff I never really dwelled on before.  Getting to know myself all over again.

One of my favorite having time to go slow. 

A few plans for the rest of the week
  • Finish Woman's Memoir post for Thursday. 
  • Update ScrapLife website. 
  • Work on Blurb Book-- due June 30th.  If I finish in time, I'll get to offer my online readers a discount on their own Blurb Book
  • Family History book, insert family tree and charts, lay out chapters, and post stories & pics on Rhine Girl Blog
  • Add some scrap layouts to Photo Freedom Class gallery and read forums. 
  • Clean the House!!! 
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...  design beauty and art symmetry.  From

Friday, June 17, 2011

Online Photo Sites

So many possibilities!  I'm currently enjoying my Photo Freedom class at Big Picture Scrapbooking, and doing all sorts of fun and inspirational stuff with my pictures.  We are into "Digital Workflow."  I love systems.  Systems for everything.  And I'm lovin' my Digital Workflow system at present.


I, Love Flickr.  Love, love it.  It's Yahoo.

My Flickr

Groups (2525)

Writers General 1,712 photos, 325 members

write the caption 694 photos, 132 members

History : images without words don't document 4,704 photos, 535 members

Digital Scrapbook 8,861 photos, 1,472 members

Written Words 4,926 photos, 622 members

Creative Writing 2,142 photos, 497 members

Choubox Scrapbook Layout Gallery 6 photos, 31 members

It's Skyline Time 111 photos, 44 members

The Write Way 76 photos, 60 members

Prospect Hill 33 photos, 14 members

Scrapbooks 766 photos, 72 members

Cincinnati Skyline 420 photos, 144 members

Over-the-Rhine 382 photos, 51 members

Cincinnati Places and People 2,441 photos, 81 members

Clifton, Cincinnati, Ohio 437 photos, 73 members

Scrapbook Edge 2,978 photos, 236 members


Cincinnati; The Queen City 518 photos, 53 members

Visual Libraries - Leave Your Mark 730 photos, 25 members

Journal Junky's!!! 1,153 photos, 100 members

Creative NonFiction Writing Forums 88 photos, 19 members 516 photos, 133 members

Organize Your Genealogy Life! 19 photos, 19 members

Heritage Scrapbooking 156 photos, 14 members

Vintage Photographs and Genealogy 502 photos, 111 members

All of my best photos go to my Flickr Stream.  By best, I mean 2- and 3-stars.  1-Star photos remain in digital storage but they don't go anywhere. 

At the end of each season, or quarter, I cull out the best of the 2-stars and all of the 3-stars on Flickr, and with a click send them to print with SnapFish.  I just finished batching the past year's best of 3-stars and collaging them for my Year Highlights Album. 

This took all of five minutes.  Extremely fast and functional.  And Gratifying.

Before this year, I was sending my pics to whoever had the best deal of the online photos printers.  Aaack!  That's just way too overwhelming for me.  To scattered.  I must have structure to operate with any kind of efficiency.  That means deleting all the emails daily that come calling into my inbox folders announcing their awesome sales and happiness.  After a while, your system hums and you just don't mess with it.  That's worth money to me.



I should back up and say that I first load up Picasa, which pulls in immediately any new pics on my hard drive.  Picasa is where I edit my pics.  I LOVE Picasa!  And to boot, it's free.  I'll take free whenever I can get it.  In my opinion, Picasa ranks high on the list for photo editing.  It's Google, which makes a lot of other nifty things possible.  Like just click to send to Blogger.

For Picasa, you need a Google account; for Flickr you need a Yahoo account.  I sign in and out of each.  If I have to.  Not always. 
I have Picasa Web Albums online.  Just like Flickr. 

I can also, in Picasa, send to a variety of printers, but I don't use that feature, since I like my Flickr arrangement. 

Picasa and Flickr.  These are my top two choices of all the online photo sites.  It makes my picture life simple. 

Picasa:  My Family History Web Album and 2011 Jan-Mar Highlights Web Albums


I love Shutterfly too.  And gobs of others out there.  But I like Picasa and Flikr the best. 

 I have my system.  And that's what it's about really.  Your System. 

I use ACDsee for digi scrapping. Another easy-peasy but powerful program. Does everything Photoshop Elements does.  Even better, it does everything I want it to do.  And more.  And it doesn't hang up and make me mad like some of the other scrapbook software.  I've tried them all.  Seriously.  This is, in my opinion, the best.  It's clean, fast, and efficient.

You can download a free 30-day trial, and that's always a good thing.  I like to try products out if I can before handing over my bucks. 

Hope you got some ideas.  Leave a comment about what you like and how it works for you.  I'd like to hear about some other Photo Systems.  What's your Digital Workflow? 

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Cat Outside My Window

The window over my kitchen sink, there I see Sid, curled up for nap in the tree.  Posted by Picasa

June 3 Friday's Daybook


Strawberries linger in the field. Not for long. 

Outside my window...My kitchen garden.  Need to pull remaining cold weather crops...spinach, collards.  Set more onions and non-bolting lettuce.  Plant the poppy seeds my friend sent me and the Rosa Bianca eggplant and Scarlet Runner Beans.

I am thinking... of our visit to hometown Cincinnati next week.  Getting my family history notebook and laptop files organized for Downtown Library research.  Email family when we will see them.  Going home.  Thinking of going home.

I am thankful for...feeling so much better than I was early part of the week.  Energy slowing returning. 

From the kitchen...for Friday dinner, maybe grilled cheese (Granddaughter Erica's fave) oven fries, and salad.  Plan Sunday church lunch.  Buy groceries today.

I am today using ClubScrap kit, Greetings to Go-- Jeff, Erica, and I, later today--maybe evening.

I am library with Jeff and Erica this afternoon, then getting milkshakes YUM, some groceries, a few summer wardrobe things for Jeff and Erica.

I am reading...the rest of yesterday's "Finding Photo Freedom" classwork for the week on Big Picture Scrapbooking site--click "This is Big" top of left sidebar.
I am hoping...that I don't have to take any more medicine.  I feel free now, calm, and good.  Don't want to relapse.  Praying.  Please, God.

Around the house...pretty good order.  Sweep kitchen floor and mop.  Oh!  Cabinet maker comes tomorrow to talk about kitchen makeover.  Can't wait for new cabinets and countertops.  And new stove and dishwasher.  It's been long in coming, and I am so ready.  Dream come true.

You can join Simple Woman's Daybook project at

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Daybook Post

FOR TODAY...from

Outside my window...Green!  Finally.  Lots of trees.

I am thinking...of how I can feel better tomorrow.  The medicine I've been taking is pulling me down.  Today it took its toll.

I am thankful  And Spring.

From the kitchen...felt too bad to do much cooking, but threw together a rice, bean, and cheese casserole for dinner.

I am wearing...a pink tee-shirt and navy blue shorts.

I am creating...finishing up the 2009 scrapbook.  Did a digital layout of cat Sidney today for Journey blog.  Posted content about Scrapbooking Family History on website along with a Family Tree Layout from my family memoir.  Still don't know how I did all of that as bad as I felt.

I am take Jeff and Erica to the library tomorrow and then come home and make lasagna for the Master's Table soup kitchen.

I am reading...genealogy books on Kindle...lots of them.

I am hoping...I can finish this medicine and get it out of my system once and for all. 

I am hearing...silence, as the house is quiet right now.  Love it.

Around the house...everyone is in his or her own room.  It's almost bedtime.

One of my favorite sleeping!  Yes.

Icing on the Cake

Captured the photo of my cat, Sidney, on my bed, sprawled out, sleek and regal as all get-out. 

Downloaded a new Kindle book recently, Icing on the Cake, by Cynthi Rakes Bowden, which gives scrapbookers tons of page titles and novel sayings, in alphabetical order. 

So I pulled the book up when I created the layout of Sidney and found just the right words.  "A glass of

water, a night light, and I'm good."  Purr-fect.

Some of the captions are nothing I'd think of on my own, and I'm already getting ideas for layouts just from scanning the pages.

"And who will help me eat these brownies," for a layout showing a plate of fresh-baked gluten-free


Or how about, "An artist's orgnization is never understood by the rest of the world," for a layout of my messy work table.

A really cute book.  I can see I'll use it lots.  Just wanted to share.

Now back to work.  This was my break.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sprapbook Dreams: Weddings

Granddughter Vickie

Storybook Wedding Albums

I love the above photo so much.  It may just be my favorite, though there are so many others to choose from.  I haven't even gotten to adding the groom yet.  I'm working on the pre-wedding photos.  You know, creating the big build-up.

And using Vickie's colors.  Black, White, Red.  Awesome to work with.  Trying to keep to her style, her theme.  A simple elegance and beauty.

The layouts here are from the digital version.  I'm doing both.  The paper album and the digi. 

I look forward to weddings, because they're a scrapbooker's dream.  You can go overboard and create a Storybook Wedding Album actually. 

That's what I'll call the paper album for Vickie, which contains the stories about how they met, the years of being together before they married--yes, including the breakups.  The shopping trips leading up to the wedding.  The old, new, borrowed, and blue.

In Vickie's case, there's another story that played out alongside her wedding.  Her paternal Grandfather, my son-in-law's Dad, was dying of cancer.  It was tough on my granddaughter, as well as the entire family. 

Time and time again, it looked like he was at the end, only for him to snap back to life.  He was hanging on.

He wanted to see his sweet granddaughter on her wedding day. 

Indeed, only one week following the wedding, he passed on.  It was a bittersweet time for all.  A few times Vickie wondered if she had the right to start a new life while her "Pops" was so sick.  But she wanted him there when she got married.  This was important to her.  So she went ahead with the wedding, and Pops was there.  Barely.  But he made it. 

It was meant to be.  One part of my granddaughter's life ended, and another part began.  A New Story is now being written.

And I am having a good time playing with these precious photos and my scrapbook products.  Life doesn't get any better for a scrapbook addict.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Love These Scrapbook Products!!

"You're Gonn Love This Club," is what the brochures say.  Club Scrap, you are so point on.

My first "pizza box" arrived four days after order. 

I wasn't expecting such quick service.

While I was still in awe of the beauty inside that first box, my next order of the greeting card kit arrived  within three days of order.

I am a happy girl at play!!!
I'm ready for this.  Neat and tidy instructions for using every item of the large, awesome kit.  I don't have to follow the plan of course; I can use the paper -- oh, the paper!!! -- any way I wish.  I can place those metal keys on any layout I want.  I can put them in a frame and hang them on my wall.  But after 13 years of scrapping, I like this a lot.

The white binder is so cute!  The Fonts & Headlines, "Word Art," pictured above can be copied and used over and over.  Drooled over the "Fly like buttah" circle embellishment.  Got some creation stuff in my head going on.

The May kit, "Papillon," stencil is the butterfly. 
 Ink or colored pencils, paint, markers--that butterfly is shouting, "Come Decorate Me!"
Making Cards ~~ Yay! 
Like, I don't want to spend a whole day on just one or two cards, you know? 
And when someone opens the envelope, I want them to think my cards are beautiful, inspiring.

Above pic shows the cards I've made so far. In about an hour-and-a-half

Next step is to make a cool box with dividers for my know, Birthday, Anniversary, Congrats, Sympathy, etc. 

Yes, I'm going to make my own box!  And decorate it with some of my to-die-for Club Scrap paper. 

My Scrapbooking Self is excited again...and, as Stacy Julian says, "This is Big!"


Which reminds me,  Stacy's Photo Freedom class is coming up.  I'm taking it again as an alumni member. 

 If you only took one class in your life, this is the one.  A rooftop experience.

This class rocks your scrapbooking world!

Originally called "Library of Memories," this year is Back to Photo Freedom, from Stacy's book, Photo Freedom.  Includes and meshes nicely with the Digital World of photos and scrapbooking.

More on this to come...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Dress & Tiara from Somewhere Over the Rhine

My 1963 First Wedding
Adjusting Dad's Bowtie
Page Layout from my Somewhere Over the Rhine: One Family's Memoir

I got up yesterday later than I'd planned.  Instead of 4 am, the clock's digital reading of 5:30 jolted me out of bed.  Yikes!!  Kate and William were probably already hitched. 

I was right.  And I so wanted to see the first glimpse of "The Dress!" 

Of course, they re-ran the scenes over and over throughout the day, and I did get to see in "real time" the rest of the ceremony, but I felt a little let down because I lingered in slumberland too long.

I loved the dress, by the way.  The more I saw it, the more perfect it became.  And the tiara--how simple and elegant was that?

I've had two weddings.  The first one was in 1963 and took place in St. Monica's Catholic Cathedral, a high mass ceremony.  No royalty certainly associated, but high tradition. 

Yesterday reminded me of that long-ago July morning as I watched the awe and splendor inside Westminster Abby.  The "Lord's Prayer," was even in the old Catholic tradition, using the original words.

I enjoyed the wedding.  Even made a royal fruitcake for the occasion, though the only fruit was oranges.  Had two oranges that I used for zest and thought it logical to slice the fruit later for an Orange Upside Down Cake. 

I've given all of the first wedding photos to my oldest daughter except for the few including my own family. The above image of me and my father is special, and while memories of the actual marriage have faded, sweet, heartfelt events from the past have grown in importance.

I wore the long, flowing gown, the tiara and veil in '63.  In 1987, I wore an ivory silk suit.  Instead of a veil, a strand of seed pearls in my hair.  The second marriage took. 

I hope Prince William and his beautiful bride's wedding takes too.  I want them to be happy. 

History in the making yesterday, and I witnessed it.  Another memory of my life on this earth.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Yesterday was a Creations Day.  Rainy and dreary, not a good garden day.

A good day to work on my Spring "Poppy Beanie," I've shown here several times. I'm working on the flowers now.  So far, I've created four and used my pearl pins to stick them various places until I get to the craft store to buy sequins and beads.  I kinda like the pearls though, yes? 

I used lightweight yarns in lavender, green, and blue, and a fluorescent-like green silk ribbon.  The pattern calls for an antique type beaded flower, and I own several from my vintage-costume-jewelry phase some years back.  I'm also considering beading a flower myself. 

Yesterday was also Create-a-Cookie Day here.  Of course, all foods are Gluten-Free in this house because of son Jeff.  I found a Linzer Torte GF cookie recipe online and made a batch of them, using my husband Gary's homemade strawberry jam.  Yummy.  These turned out so deliciously good!

Today I'm switching knitting needles to the ones holding the soft white cotton bedspread I've been dying to knit for years.  When it's finished, I'll embroider some flowers atop and finally enjoy it on my bed.  Unless I give it to someone of course.  That usually always happens here.

Also today, I'm working on an old-fashioned Sunday Chicken Supper, which is doing nicely in the oven. 

Later this evening I'll work on my Family History Book.  I've got new ideas for stories to write.  

Life here is all about creating.   

What have you been creating?  Got pictures? 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Showers Scrapbook Layout

Good news today from Cottage Arts on their 8th Anniversary Sale.  When I got the email this morning, I remembered last year's Easter Egg Hunt at my sister-in-law's home--the pictures I haven't yet got in an album.

Cottage Arts has a 33% off sale for their birthday plus an additional 10% off on orders over $40. 

Plus a chance to win a $50 gift certificate.

Plus there are freebies every day until Monday, April 18th, when the Birthday Promo ends.

I am not an affiliate for Cottage Arts and receive nothing for guiding you to their site.  I'm just a happy customer and use their digital products. 

They were one of the first digital scrapbook sites I found when I finally took the digi leap.   I fell in love with their paper packs, kits, and templates.  I started off back then downloading free stuff, and I loved their freebies. 

Today I purchased "Spring Showers," which included some awesome Easter themed goodies.

For software, I use Picasa 3, which is a free download from Google, and ACDsee, (see link in sidebar for a free 30-day trial).  I love these two programs and have finally settled on what I think are the best deals on the market.  I've tried them all over the past two years.  I'm a frugal scrapbooker. 

Hope you find this info helpful.  Leave a comment with any questions or if you need help. 

Also let me know if you've created some Springtime Crafty Arts.  I'm thinking of some awesome egg coloring and decorating tips.  Anybody got any?  With pictures?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wanderings Wednesday

In the mood today to just wander around the online neighborhood, dropping in on some of my favorite sites.  I usually do this when I'm tired and not up to doing anything too hard.  Window Shopping!

Actually, first good thing this morning came in my email, a note from Jill Evans, a scrapbook and craft designer, and founder of Jill Evans Design International Ltd., who I guess thought I was still writing for Bella Online, and asked that I review the nifty mobile scanner, Flip-Pal. 

She said this product received the 2010 CHA Innovation Award.  I checked it out of course, and agree this is a great tool for scrapbookers and people like me who scan a lot of vintage family photos.  I haven't tried it out yet but I plan on doing just that in the near future.  I'll let everyone know how it works for me.  You can check it out for yourself by going to  And I believe you'll land on a Facebook link as well on their site.

Then I ambled over to where I saw an ad for Scrapping Spring, an eBook with a beautiful cover.  You can see the projects included in the ebook on the site I've provided.  I was inspired by the Flying Birds mobile especially and the Vintage Jewelry Flowers, so I went ahead and downloaded the book.  I will mention that I am not an affilliate for this site and have no monetary interest involved.  I just thought others would like to have a look at it.  It's $14.99, and I'm reall happy with the download. 

I also was influenced by Debbie Hodge's review of the book, as she is one of my favorite, very talented scrap ladies.

Next, I wanted to search for some Family History Scrapbooking products to go with my current work-in-progress, my family memoir book, and was surprised to see that K&Company had joined up with to sponsor a cool Ancestry Collection. 

 In this collection, there's also an old string-tied, leather-look Scrapbook! 
I'm sure the old-look scrapbook album by K&Company is photosafe and archival quality, like their other products.  Thinking this would be a great gift.
From antique-looking metal frames and dies to beautiful paper and charts, this is an awesome kit to scrap your family history. 

For the book I'm writing, I'm using digital scrap layouts, but I still like to use the physical paper and embellishments for my family albums, now that I've acquired quite a collection of vintage pictures from my cousin. 

One of my favorite digi stores is Cottage Arts, because I like the grunge - shabby chic look for the vintage products. 

This layout of my Grandma was created with Cottage Arts' Vintage Blues Page Pack.

Finally, but not insignificant, is the word on Amazon of a new Kindle with Special Offers for a reduced price of $114.  The Special Offers are sponsored ads and screensavers. In other words, sponsors are helping pay the Kindle price for you.

Amazon is now taking pre-orders for the special Kindle coming in May.

If you've been waiting to get your Kindle, now might be the time.


Women's Memoirs

Women's Memoirs
Women's Memoirs