Dec 26, 2013

Remembering Christmases Past

Can you believe I didn't take one single picture during Christmas this year? Well, except this one. Some scrapbooker I am, huh? I have to admit it is really hard to get into the season now with both my Mom and Dad missing. It just never quite feels like Christmas to me even though I'm surrounded by my family. Somehow the spirit of Christmas seemed to die off along with them. We don't really have any real young kids anymore (the youngest is 10), which usually infuses a house of that never ending glee of Santa Claus visiting... so it's just sort of any other day, but with family by your side.
Don't get me wrong... I am so very appreciative of having my family with me -- I couldn't face the day without them (My Dad's 70th birthday would have been Christmas day 2013), but I don't know... it's just not Christmas. It's a really fun day, but missing something (or someone!).

Anyway, this year I decided to make a special gift for my sister and brother to hopefully bring my Mom back into the celebration a bit. I made the two frames above (the one on the left is for my brother and the one on the right was for my sister) as part of my brother and sisters' gifts. The hearts were made using a mish-mosh of my mothers buttons (and I still have thousands left!) and I used my hearts framelits from Stampin' Up to use as a template for the hearts. I simply placed the framelit on the canvas in the size that fit best and then filled it in with various buttons. Once I had the template filled in, I pulled up the framelit and then hot-glued the buttons in place. I took the glass out of the frames and attached a larger button with the "Love Never Ends" scripture to the exterior of the frame.

"Love Never Ends" was my Mom's favorite thing to quote after my Dad died. She even had it written in stone on his (and now her) grave. So I hope it will be a constant reminder to both of them that although life is very different without Mom and Dad here on Earth with us, I have no doubt that they are both here -- watching, guiding and loving us from afar.

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas (or whatever other holiday you may celebrate) with your family and friends. Can you believe we are less than a week away from 2014?


Dec 1, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wait? What? I know. You want to know why I've skipped ahead to February already! Well, Stampin' Up just announced some new Valentine's Day products that are available for sale beginning today.

You can see in the picture above the adorable new Valentine kits for kids... little Monster girl and little Monster boy Valentines. So, so cute.

There are also two super cute Valentine's Day stamp sets available while supplies last or through January 27, 2014.

Here is the first set that is available. It is called "Love You More" and I've already ordered it! So fun:

Next up is the "Follow Your Heart" stamp set, which is also adorable and may end up on a future order of mine (Have I ever told you that Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays -- well except for a few years in college... but that's another story!):

In addition to the two new stamp sets and the adorable kid Valentine's Day kits. There are also two other package specials available beginning today.

Sweetheart Treat Bag - 12 printed bags (red with white hearts), 12 die-cut labels, 12 pre-cut pieces of Pool Party baker's twine.

Sweet Sayings Cards and Envelopes - 12 printed card bases, 12 envelopes (four Real Red, four Pool Party and four Crisp Cantalope).

Here is the PDF for these specials so you can print them out and see for yourself how much fun these new items are!

I hope you had a wonderful long holiday weekend and got to spend some quality time with family and friends!

Nov 29, 2013

Stitch Fix: Help Me Decide!

Quick! I need help! Don't worry it's nothing urgent, but I got my latest Stitch Fix box and I really can't decide what (if anything) I should keep!

Let me bring you up-to-date on Stitch Fix. It's this awesome clothing subscription box that you can schedule once a week, once a month or once a year depending on your needs... or more aptly, your wants. You pay a $20 styling fee for each box, but if you keep anything out of the box that $20 goes towards your purchase. If you should keep everything, then you get a 25% discount on everything in the box! Cool deal, right? And I can't tell you how exciting it is to get clothes in the mail!!  I seriously get giddy every time I see that cute little box on my doorstep. :)

Anyway, on to my problem of the day... I got my latest Stitch Fix Box (#5!) today and I only have three days to decide what I'm going to keep (then I ship it back in the pre-paid mailing envelope!) and I really don't know what to pick... soooo, can I show you some pictures and have you give me some feedback? (Bonus: You get to see my new 'do, too!)

Ok... so I got all sweaters/shirts in this box and I don't really think I LOVE any of them (which is usually a requirement for me to keep anything), but I do LIKE all of them... although some of them don't fit so well... but again... I digress!

So here is the first peek at the colors in my box (I love this part!):

Fun, right?

Ok so here is item #1: Northridge Cowlneck Jersey Top $68.00

Let me start by saying this is the most comfortable fabric ever! It is so soft and warm! It's hard to see in this picture, but it's got a wide-band at the bottom of the shirt. I think it will look really cute with my black leggings and high boots... I have it on with my skinny jeans and high boots and that looks cute, too. I really do like this shirt a lot, but I'm not sure if I like it $68 worth or if it is flattering (of course, I would only pay an additional $48 -- as I could use my $20 styling fee towards it...)

Onto item #2: Jaclynn 3/4 Sleeeve Button-Up Cardigan $38.00

Ok. So this one I really liked the color (So sorry about these pictures... they are kind of hard to see because the sun was so bright when I took these!) -- it's Navy blue in case you can't see it. It is a really good quality and super soft as well. Unfortunately, I can't really button this one and it's a little bit short so I think this is a no, but I hope they send me more cardigans in the future... I really liked the price point on this one, too -- $38 is totally doable!

Item #3: Maverick Cut-Out Dot Striped Sweater $68.00

This one felt super tight when I put it on... it doesn't look too bad in this picture, but I don't think I'd be comfortable wearing it, though. At least not until I lose some more weight. And, again, the $68 price tag is kind of a show-stopper for me. I can say that this one is a no.

Item #4: Benning Mixed Stripe Raglan Shirt $54.00

This one is fun... kind of like long-john fabric... again with the super comfy and cozy. It's a bit long but I don't think it's too, too long. I think this one will look cute with black leggings, too and it looks ok with the skinny jeans, as well. I'm just not sure if the horizontal stripes are a good idea? Also, $54 is a little steep for long johns.... I'm on the fence about this one...

Item #5: Dalilah Sheer Floral Cluster Blouse $58.00

This one kind of surprised me... when I pulled it out of the box I was like "eww" I don't like this one at all. But seeing the picture of it on I think it looks kind of cute. My stylist (it's so fun to say that!) said in her note to me: "I also included the Dalilah feminine blouse that is easy to dress up or down," which this would look really nice with a cute pencil skirt (not that I have one of those yet) or a nice pair of black slacks. The problem is this one is a little tight around my thighs and across the shoulders. I hate to spend money on something that doesn't fit correctly... so another one that I'm torn on...

So... what do you think? Anything a must have? Or a definite "no"? You know how it's sometimes easier to see what looks good when it's not on your own body? That's where I'm hoping you can help me out!

And hey, if you want to try Stitch Fix out for yourself (which I highly recommend -- even if it's just once), I'd love it if you use this link so I can get some shopping credit! :)

I hope you have a fabulous weekend... I'm off to prepare for a craft fair tomorrow. If you are local, be sure to come visit me at the Chatham Community Center between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow!

Nov 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh my goodness. How does this blog get so neglected? I have big plans and then life just always seems to get in the way.

I did want to hop on this (US) Thanksgiving Eve, though and say a big ole Thank You to all my friends, family and customers. It's been a tough year (still), but I am very grateful for all the blessings in my life. I had a delicious turkey dinner tonight and a plan to spend all day with my family tomorrow.

My nephew is a Senior in high school and will be playing his final football game tomorrow. I'm super excited to see him play -- hopefully he gets put into the game a lot tomorrow! Then -- believe it or not -- we actually go out to dinner for Thanksgiving! No dishes or clean up for us! Are you jealous? :)

Well, anyway just sharing a card from one of my Holiday Card classes this year. Can you believe we started in August and just finished up our fourth and final class this past Tuesday -- that's 40 cards for everyone that attended all four classes!

I'm hosting a class again in December... usually we meet on the last Tuesday of the month, but since that is New Year's Eve and people probably have better things to do with their evening that night... I moved class to Tuesday, December 17. Be sure to RSVP if you are planning attend because I'll have a giftie for everyone who RSVPs and attends! We'll be making some Christmas Thank You cards and perhaps some Valentine's Cards... fun, fun!

Ok... I digressed again. Back to the card. This card uses the Banner Greetings stamp set from this year's holiday catalog. I also used the Pretty Print Textured Impressions Embossing Folder. Love that one! It's also from the Holiday Catalog.

Fun little tidbit for today -- I selected all my "peeps" to get the upcoming Occasions catalog tonight! That means they'll be headed to your mailbox real soon!! Lots of fun new toys to play with in that catalog...

Well, I'm off to bed... got to get up sort of early to get my high school football game spirit up and running!! Wish us luck...

In the meantime, have a wonderful, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving!

Oct 23, 2013

It's A Stamp-A-Versary!

Howdy Stampers! Whew, life has certainly been on a whirlwind lately. I've been super busy planning some fun surprises for my Creative Escape attendees! I'm so excited for this event, but I have to admit ... I'm going to feel very free when it's over!! :)

I just wanted to pop in quickly tonight to let you know that for just one week (through October 28), Stampin' Up is offering 25% off of 25 awesome stamp sets to celebrate their 25th anniversary on October 25! That's a lot of 25!

Download the list of stamp sets on sale here: 25 sets for 25% Off

As an added bonus for my loyal "stampy" friends, I'm offering the first EIGHT people who order in my online store a hand-stamped "spooky" treat bag filled with a special SU treat! Of course, anyone who orders from my online store will get a hand-stamped thank you card. To qualify for the special treat please use Hostess Code 96AB97PP when you checkout.

Remember you only have until October 28 to take advantage of this deal... and don't forget to check out the Weekly Specials, the Thankful Thursday (the special will be posted on Thursday) deal and the Clearance Rack as you shop!

As always, thank you so much for checking out the old blog... I have a bit of create time this week so I hope to be back soon with some fun new projects!


Oct 18, 2013

Stampin' Up Artisan Award: 3D item

Hi There Stampers! Welcome to the weekend.... I love Fridays. I'm actually at another Scrap-A-Way Retreat this weekend. Having fun with all sorts of fun Halloween costumes for the Halloween Spook-tacular theme.

Anyway, while I have a minute as they play some games I thought I'd share another Artisan Award project. As a reminder, some of the products on these projects may not be available anymore as these were made with the old book.

The idea for this project actually came to me while strolling the aisles of my local craft store. They were having a sale on these little 4 X 4 canvases at the time and I had been thinking about doing a 12 X 12 canvas for one of my projects anyway. Stampin' Up's "tagline" is Inspire. Create. Share. So I made one canvas/flower for each of those words. I used the Big Shot, some fabric, bits of cardboard, packing paper from the SU boxes and ribbon to layer my flowers.

I then spritzed the canvases with different colors (Pool Party, Certainly Celery -- which is now retired and Pretty In Pink - also retired). I glued the flowers to the canvases with a hot glue gun and voila!

These were really fun to make and would be a great décor item in your craft room or even in a living room or bedroom. I was kind of bummed that these didn't appear anywhere on any of the Convention boards this year -- but maybe they'll show up at Leadership instead!

Thanks for stopping in... "see" you next time!

Oct 4, 2013

Greetings! Happy Friday.... As you may know from some of my previous posts, Stampin' Up is celebrating their 25th year. And the actual start of the company was in October. So naturally, they want YOU to get in on the fun of this fabulous company for an A.MA.ZING deal! The lowest ever! From Monday, October 7 through October 21 (just 2 weeks!) you can join the Stampin' Up family and more importantly the Pitta Padders team :) for just $25!

What does it mean to "join" Stampin' Up? Well, other than owning some of the most amazing, trendy stamping products around, you'll also enjoy a discount on all your purchases, the ability to earn CASH for the holidays or just to pay some bills and tons of exclusive creative ideas through video tutorials from the home office and loads of inspiration on the demonstrator-only forum: Stampin' Connection.

The best part? There's no obligation -- you can totally try this out and if it is not for you... well, no biggee!
This special starter kit includes the following:

■ $26.95 worth of Stampin' Up! product (it must be more than $25, but not more than $26.95 before tax)

■ Business pack which includes:
      A box of annual catalogs
      A package of the current seasonal catalog
      Getting Started DVD
      Customer Order Forms
      Customer postcards

You still get some amazing perks, too! If you place your first workshop order (total of $150 or more) within the first 30 days of your demonstratorship, you'll also be able to select a stamp set from the 2013-2014 Idea Book and catalog for FREE. You'll also still receive the extra 10% commission (so, 30%) on your first order and any hostess benefits!

You really can't beat this offer! Have more questions or want to schedule a one-on-one coffee date to chat about it (I'll treat!) -- e-mail me. Ready to go now? You can sign up here (beginning on Monday, October 7).

Have a great weekend....

Sep 28, 2013

Stampin' Up Artisan Award Entry: Card #1

Hello, Hello! What a fabulous Saturday... the weather is gorgeous and I'm spending the weekend with some fabulous new peeps at the Scrap-A-Way Retreats weekend. Many of the girls stayed up late last night, so I thought I'd pop on the old blog and share with you a card a made for the Stampin' Up Artisan Award earlier this year.

This is a close up of the card. I used glossy cardstock and embossed the large white doily images using versamark and white embossing powder. Then I used Stampin' Up's colored embossing powder in Pool Party for the smaller flower image. After I heat embossed the random patterned images on the glossy cardstock, I took a sponge and sponged Crumb Cake ink over the entire front of the glossy cardstock. Then wipe off the excess ink using a paper towel (this will also take any of the ink off the embossed images, too).

Add a few layers of paper and some brads as accents and you have the finished card:

This emboss resist technique is one of my absolute favorites. While Stampin' Up doesn't carry the glossy cardstock anymore, it is still readily available in the crafting market... it's super fun and I hope you'll try it!

What is your favorite technique these days?

Sep 16, 2013

Stitch Fix #2

I am anxiously awaiting my next "fix" today. So I thought I'd share with you my last Stitch Fix delivery so I'll be all caught up when my new box of goodies arrives!

For those of you who are not familiar with Stitch Fix -- let me explain. Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription company. You can schedule "fixes" as often as you want (once a week, once a month, once a year -- whatever you like). You pay a $20 stylist fee and then one of the Stitch Fix stylists selects five items specifically for you (based on your style profile you fill out when you join) and has them delivered straight to your door. It's general four pieces of clothing and an accessory, but you can opt out of the accessories if you'd like.

I've had two "fixes" so far and I love the excitement that comes from these little surprise deliveries! You can read about my first fix here. If you decide to keep anything from your "fix" you get to put your $20 stylist fee towards that purchase. Or if you purchase all five items from your box you get a 25% discount on everything. If you don't keep anything, the $20 stylist fee is lost. The items are a bit pricier than what I would probably pay in most stores, but they are very high quality and things I would never pick up for myself generally. So it's pushing me out of my comfort zone a bit.

What I really love is that you don't pay for any shipping! The "fix" arrives - you try everything on in your home with your other pieces and then decide what to keep. Everything else you pop in the pre-paid envelope and send back to Stitch Fix. Easy Peasy!

So on to the photos.... let me again apologize for the crappy photo quality and the toilet in the background! My bathroom is the only place in the house where I have a full length mirror - hence the bathroom backdrop.

My first item was this adorable top. (And I forgot to write down the official names of each of these items again! I promise I will with my 3rd fix!). Probably not a print I would have selected for myself - but I really liked it. Unfortunatly it was a bit tight in the shoulders and the hips. Verdict: sent back.

Next up was this super soft cardigan sweater. I wasn't too sure of the colors on this one, but oh my gosh it was such a comfy fabric!! I tried it on and it fit pretty well, but I felt it wasn't doing me any favors in the hip and buttocks areas (where I already have some concerns). The pockets seemed to give me a bit more width than I'd like. Verdict: sent back. Although I must say this is the one this month where I question that decision a bit... what do you think?

My third piece was this black and white tank top. I'm not a big fan of gold so the gold buttons turned me off to begin with (I did update that in my style profile) and then other than that it really just didn't excite me. Not to mention I'm kind of moving on from the tank top... it's time to think about fall a bit more. Verdict: Sent back.

My final clothing piece was this gray and ivory top. It was a very different style -- it had a cute pleating on the back (which I couldn't get a good picture of), but I felt it was a little box-y. Verdict: Sent back.

Sorry this photo is really bad -- I'm missing half the shirt... but you get the idea. My last item were these cute silver earrings:

I really like these earrings but wouldn't normally pay $28 for them -- especially since I don't remember to wear earrings very often (in fact, I think I'm going to have to re-pierce my ears in order to wear these!), but because I was going to lose my $20 styling fee if I didn't buy anything, I decided to spend the extra $8 and keep these since I really do like them. And since I now have shorter hair, they will look super cute peeking out from under my 'do. Verdict: Kept.

So there you have it, my second Stitch Fix. What do you think? Are you ready to try a "fix?" If so, I'd love for you to use my referral link (disclaimer: I do get a $25 "Fix" credit if you use that link). And please link me up to any reviews you do -- I'm sort of obsessed with looking at people's Stitch Fix reviews.

Sep 14, 2013

A Stampin' Up Artisian Award Entry 2013

Hello there! Happy Saturday... it looks like this is at least becoming a weekly thing - this blogging. I'm working on my consistency folks... bear with  me!
I'm actually hanging out at the Cool Crops Scrapbooking Retreat this weekend and had a few moments to check-in on the ole' blog and thought I'd share with you a scrapbook page I made as one of my entries for Stampin' Up's annual Artisan Design Team.
Demonstrator selected for the team receive a box full of FREE goodies each month to play with. Fun, right? Just another perk of being an SU demo. Unfortunately, I didn't make the cut this year, but there is always next time.
The good news is that I can now share these samples with you as the winner announcement was made at convention. I'm a little behind in posting them, so most of the supplies on this layout are retired, but it can still be a great starting point for a page if you have one special photo you'd like to showcase.
This page features my Mom. I've had so many stories bouncing around in my head since losing her last year. So many things I want to be sure I remember for the rest of my life.
The journaling on the page reads:
There are thousands of little things that make me think of you each day: birds chirping in the early morning, the fragrant smell of lilacs, musty old antique stores and beautiful gardens, just to name a few. Your wisdom is often repeated in my mind just when I need a little shove in the right direction. You may be gone, but you'll remain in my heart forever.
I think scrapbooking can be really therapeutic when you are dealing with loss. And I really hope to do some more pages about my Mom and her influence. She was such an amazing woman and I never want to forget all the stories...
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Sep 7, 2013

Quick Tips for Stress-Free Handmade Holiday Cards

Hello and happy Saturday! The weather is absolutely beautiful today so after spending the morning in my stamp room working on some projects for the upcoming Cool Crops event, I'm headed to the beach!

But I wanted to stop by with some quick tips for making your own holiday cards this year -- but without the frantic last minute stress.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts:

1. Start early! Well, duh... that's why I'm posting this in September. Of course we all have good intentions of creating beautiful hand-stamped cards for our friends and loved ones, but as time slips by (because clearly September is too early to be thinking about this -- or is it??). Start now! Start with this:

2. Write a list of who you would like to send cards to. Once you get to the point of creating your cards (and hopefully ordering SU supplies), you'll need to know how many finished cards you'd like so you know how much paper and envelopes to order. And just think how great it would be if you created a nice little list with addresses and everything so when you get to the card-writing part, you can just snuggle up in a chair write your merry wishes and have all of the addresses at your fingertips. Easy Peasy!

3. Decide what style of card you would like. Do you want a whimsical card? Religious? Winter-y card (this is always great because if you do happen to get behind and send them late it can be a happy winter card instead!)? Another note: this Snowman set is perfect if you'd like a winter-themed card. Once you've decided the style(s) of card you like (I always make at least two designs because I get bored), then browse for some stamp sets that might do the trick.

4. Select the colors you'd like. Do you want classic red and green? Maybe some less traditional blue and silver (this paper would be perfect) or maybe you prefer a  more natural coloring with just a pop of red or a pop of green? Really... anything goes!

5. Set a "create" day on your calendar (or two). It so much less stress (and more exciting) to pick a day a few weeks or even a month out at this point when you plan to sit down and design your card(s). Then you know when you're going to do it and it's not looming in the back of your mind. (It's even better when you recruit a friend to stamp with you... and so much more fun!). Don't forget to order your supplies at least two weeks prior to your "create" date so you'll have everything ready.

6. Set a "produce" day. Once you've designed a card(s) you love. Now set a day to mass produce all of these cards. If you were quick on "create" day, you could even pre-cut all of the supplies you need to produce the end product and then when "produce" day comes you just sit down and assemble. Or you can save all the cutting and assembling for the same day or two new days in the future. Again, just make sure you put it in your calendar. Treat it like a dr.'s appointment or family obligation -- this is important to you. Make time for it.

7. Set a writing day. Last on the list is to find a day when you're going to cuddle up in that chair and write little notes to your family. (If you do a general family newsletter this will be a super quick day). I personally like to send a hand written note in each of my cards, but I am a little crazy (especially considering I send out over 200 usually! Hence why I need to start now!)

If you need any ideas the Stampin' Up Holiday Catalog is full of adorable samples. Check it out here. And feel free to shoot me any questions!

Have a great weekend... Until next time, I'll be By The Shore Stamping (or maybe at the beach)!

Sep 2, 2013

My First "Fix"

So I'm going to venture away from crafts a bit today... I had been seeing lots of "Stitch Fix" reviews in recent months and was so intrigued by all the reviews that I signed up!

If you're not familiar with Stitch Fix - it's a monthly (or anytime you want, really) subscription where you pay $20 for a stylist to pick out four pieces of clothing and one accessory for you and deliver them right to your door! How cool is that? What's even better is if you decide to keep anything in your box, the $20 stylist fee goes towards your purchase and if you buy everything in your box you get 25% off everything.

I can't tell you how excited I was when I received my first box. I mean seriously giddy.... like run off and hide it like a dog with a special bone! Well, except that I could wait to open it and see what was inside!

So.... here I will show you what I got in my first Stitch Fix box.

First let me apologize for the poor photo quality (I was using my Smart phone to take the photos) and for the toilet in the background! Gah. What can I say the only full length mirror in my house is in my bathroom!

Anyway, onto my first item. (I don't have the official brands and names of these items as I've already sent this stuff back -- my first "fix" was a month and a half ago!). I really liked this shirt a lot. The pattern was fun and flattering. Unfortunately, it was too tight in my upper arms so... it went back.

Next up was this brown and black dress. I wasn't a huge fan of the brown and black color combo. I just felt it was sort of drab. However, looking at it now I see it was rather flattering. But alas, I sent it back.

Next up was this fuschia top. I loved the color (something I so wouldn't have picked up myself), but it was a little big and box-y. So I just wasn't feeling fabulous in it. So I sent it back.

Here is the last article of clothing they sent me. This adorable "crisp cantalope" chevron printed top and beige cami is super fun. I thought it was flattering on me and loved that the color matched the new Stampin' Up color! (Ha! added bonus). I ended up keeping this one. While it is a little more than what I would normally spend on a shirt ($58)... I like that Stitch Fix is breaking me out of my style staples and making me try different things (I've actually had a second box since this one -- I'll post that review in a week or so). And it's so awesome to try things on in your own house with your own accessories, shoes and pieces.

Not to mention how insanely happy it makes me to see the Stitch Fix box on my doorstep. And then when you open the box and see all the pretty colors and patterns! Maybe it's the stamper in me, but it just makes me so excited! Weird, I know!

Ok... last item was my necklace. And can I just say that I saw this piece in someone else's review before I signed up and L.O.V.E.D it! I was so excited to see it in my box and kept it without even needing to try it on! It was just $28 and it's a great length. It falls perfectly and adds a little something special to classic shirts. Without further ado here it is:

Isn't it cute? I know... these pictures are horrible. I used my regular camera for my second box so hopefully they'll be a bit better. Although for my next one (which is coming in just 10 days! Did I mention you can schedule the day you want your fix to arrive?) I might have to enlist a friend to take photos!

If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, too, I'd love it if you used my referral code so I can get a $25 credit. (Who doesn't love free clothes, right?) It's so much fun and it really is some of the happiest mail I get! It's just so different and the clothes so far have been great quality and beautiful colors and patterns.

If you do sign up and you do reviews of your items, please send me the link! I love to read Stitch Fix reviews -- it's almost as fun as getting your own box of goodies -- well, not quite, but still a lot of fun!

Aug 24, 2013

Top Five Tuesday (on the weekend!): How to Find more Time for you Craft

The one thing I hear most often when I tell people that I like to scrapbook or make hand-stamped greeting cards is "Oh, I don't have time for that." You know what? I'm super busy, too. But when things are important to you, you make the time to do them. That's how I feel about stamping, crafting... and especially scrapbooking. This is about your legacy. This is your mark on the world. Scrapbooks will still be here long after we're gone and when you have kids, I think it's even more important to leave them the stories about your life and their heritage.

With all that said, I'm struggling to keep scrapbooking on the table these days (ha, ha -- no pun intended). Life is busy -- full-time job, an increase in custom orders, more classes and a very exciting scrapbooking retreat are all on my table, too, right now. So as I was heading home from a recent getaway (that's me parasailing in the photo above -- on the right), I brainstormed some ideas for how I would get some more scrapbooking time in... and I thought you might find some of these ideas helpful, too!
1. Get up/Stay up a little earlier. Let me be totally honest here right now. I. am. not. a. morning. person. Ever. My bed is ridiculously more comfortable in the morning, I swear, but I developed some of the photos from my recent trip and found some very unflattering photos of me. So, I made the commitment to start eating healthier and getting more exercise. So I've been getting up at 7:15 (a whole hour earlier than my normal waking time!) and exercising each morning before work. Because this was important to me, I made it happen. And after just a week, it's already becoming a routine. Now since, I'm already using this time for exercise, it won't be where I personally work in some scrapbooking time, but maybe this is something you can do for your scrapbooking/crafting.

2. Create a "To-Go" kit. One of the things that slows me down a lot when I'm scrapbooking is the journaling. So I'm putting together a little "kit" of items that I can have with me for those little pockets of time that crop up throughout the day (lunch break, waiting in a doctor's office, sitting in my beach chair, etc.) where I can write down some thoughts. In my kit I have some journaling markers, journaling tags, a small notebook, some white and vanilla cardstock (some cut in different shapes - circles, labels, etc.), a pen and a few "spark" photos. What I mean by "spark" photos is those pictures that really resonate with you -- each time you pick them up you think, "Oh, I can't wait to scrapbook that photo." That way when you're waiting for something or someone, you can pull out a photo and start jotting down some thoughts... why is this photo so special to you? What is the story behind it? Who is in the photo and why are they special to you? Just jot down all the thoughts that come to mind about this photo in your notebook -- everything. Just write without thinking. Then once you have that list you pick the story that is the one you most want to tell and write the actual journaling for the scrapbook page using your journaling tags or cardstock. Ta-Da. You have the journaling already done next time you sit down to scrapbook.

3. Create a photo system. Another thing that tends to take a lot of time when I actually sit down to scrapbook is photo selection. As you either upload your photos or print them, take the time then to analyze each of your photos. Which ones do you need to scrapbook? And which are just "filler" photos. Find the pictures that tell the story and put them in either a folder or box/drawer to scrapbook. I like to print my photos rather than have them all just digitally. When I go through them, I have photo drawers where I put the "must-scrap" photos by either event or person (sometimes both if I think I might want the photo in two different books -- say if I have a great photo of my husband then I may have that photo in a "to-scrap/vacation" file as well as a "to-scrap/hubby and me" file). I may put some of the "lesser," detail photos (what the street looked like, the food I ate etc.) in the file as well until I scrapbook the page -- that way I have it if I need to set a scene, but can then transfer it to my general photo albums (or sometimes even the trash ... gasp!) if it doesn't make the scrapbook page. I've adapted my photo system from the book Photo Freedom. I highly recommend this book. It's very helpful for getting organized to scrap.

4. Schedule "girl" time. There's nothing more motivating than scrapbooking or card-making with friends. We generally make the time to see our friends and family -- because it's important to us -- so why not schedule time to not only see friends, but also get caught up on scrapbooking or card-making at the same time (I'm having a Creative Escape in November that would be perfect for this!). I attended a crop in June and I had so much fun and actually started my wedding album (a task that has been on my to-do list for the past seven years!). Tasks don't get done if we don't plan to do them -- and sometimes that applies to things we want to do as much (and maybe even more so) than the items we have to do.

5. Set an appointment with yourself. When my Mom died last year I was so surprised to find the mountains of genealogy research she had done. I knew she was writing a family history and that she had done some work online to discover more about all of our relatives, but this woman had binders and binders and binders of stuff -- photos of gravesites, articles from old newspapers, copies of birth certificates and death certificates. My Mom worked full-time up until the year before she died. She loved to shop and spend time with friends. Her house was always spotless and yet, she still had time to do all this research and writing. I was in awe. She obviously made time with herself regularly to work on this project because it was important to her. So, even if it is not every week ... maybe even just once a month ... put a crafting project or task on your calendar as an appointment and DO. NOT. MOVE. IT. Treat it like a hair appointment or a job interview. These are things you don't normally move. You can just schedule it as a generic hour (even 30 minutes -- whatever time you can spare) and work on whatever crafting project inspires you or get specific. Write: 2 to 3 p.m. create 2 pages for my wedding album.

We so often make the time to vacuum the rug or sweep the floor, but honestly if you were to die tomorrow do you think your family would be comforted more by a clean rug or reading your thoughts from the day before?

So how do you make time to scrapbook?

Aug 23, 2013

Why Yes... I Have Scrapbook Pages!

I thought I would share with you some pages from my wedding album. Yes! I said wedding album... I'm only about seven years behind, but hey... I'm making progress. Scrapbook pages (that's unusual in and of itself) AND the big day. It felt really good to work with these photos. Great memories.
I must warn you, though, for reasons I can't really go into here I will only be able to show pictures featuring me not my wonderful hubby -- so please don't think I'm self-absorbed. It's really not my preference, but a necessity.

With that... on to the pages! I love the photo above... it's a picture of the hallway at the Provincetown Inn where we got married. The room pictured on the right of the photo is the room I stayed in the night before the wedding. The hall is the one my hall family paraded up the next morning to help me get ready (the photo was actually taken the morning of the wedding -- isn't the light in the hall awesome?

I digress... here is the full two-page spread detailing the whole venue:

Let's first start by telling you that I selected my new favorite paper (like ever!) is the Eastern Elegance Designer Series Paper from the Stampin' Up annual catalog. It is gorgeous! It features the new Coastal Cabana, Crushed Curry and Smoky Slate as the color combination. I thought it would be perfect for a beach wedding -- and I totally love how the pages I've done so far have come out.

With this page I wanted to capture the details of the day... while it seems so fresh in my memory now (even seven years later) -- I know at some point those memories may fade... or the actual venue may change or God forbid disappear.... so here I gathered all the general scene photos: the exterior of the building, the hall outside our banquet room, the banquet room and the beautiful little "boardwalk" I walked down to say I do... complete with the beach in the background.

I've mixed color and black and white photos in my album -- this page is all black and white, but some of the other feature color (you want to remember all the colors from the day, too!). I actually didn't do a lot of journaling on this page (gasp!) -- but really, these photos DO tell the story all alone.

I do have some other pages to share with you from my wedding album... including some fun interactive ones...  I have to spread them out, though, since I only have a handful and after creating 13 pages at a scrapbooking weekend in June -- I haven't been able to scrapbook again since! Time to put that on the calendar... in fact, my next Top Five Tuesday will discuss exactly that -- how to make time to scrapbook (mostly for my own good -- but I thought some of the ideas might help you, too!).

I hope you know how much I love when you comment -- and please don't hesitate to throw out a topic if you have a question about paper crafting in any way... sometimes it helps to have a starting point. The blank page can be scary you know!

Happy Stampin'!

Jul 26, 2013

Stampin' Up Convention 2013: Swaps!

Hello there again! I'm back with some more convention highlights. Today I thought I'd show you one of the swaps I made for convention. This one was a card I made for one of my recent card classes (I have card class on the last Tuesday of every month -- another one is coming up on Tuesday, July 30!)

I made 40 of this swap and used it for an organized swap with the Ronda Wade Creating Success team. The theme was to create a swap that was easy enough to demonstrate in a workshop setting, but still packs some "prettiness." I thought this one fit the bill... I love the new In Colors -- I used Pistachio Pudding, Coastal Cabana and Strawberry Slush on this one.

I also used the Flower Shop Stamp Set and matching punch. I love them!  Here is another photo of the swap -- a little closer up...

So tell me what is your favorite color from the New In Colors? For me it's Coastal Cabana -- hands down! :)

Did you know that I'm on Facebook? Be sure to look for me by searching for "By the Shore Stamping" or you can click here to go directly to my page. I'd love it if you "liked" me!

Jul 24, 2013

Stampin' Up! Convention 2013: Community Service Project.... & Stitch Fix!

Hello there! I'm back again with some more stories from convention 2013. Our theme for this year was "Be the Difference." I really love that Stampin' Up has always been so committed to making a difference so this theme was really nice. Especially considering we were asked to take part and a really sweet community service project while we were in Utah. This is a picture of the inside of one of the 2,000 birthday kits we put together for the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.
It's a super cute little kit designed to help the 10 or so patients each month that celebrate their birthday while in the hospital fighting for their life. They showed us a really sweet video with pictures of some of the kids and a video about the "Wishing Wall" Stampin' Up previously donated to the hospital. I don't think I got a picture of it, but it was a cute wall with two little kids (a boy and a girl) and a tree made up of all scallop circles. Each circle had a different wish written on it from either one of the children or their family members. It was sweet.
Anyway onto the project. Here is a picture of Anna and me as we were assembly our birthday banner...
I discovered that I wasn't so good at talking and working... I had to keep taking my banner apart and rethreading it since I kept bringing the ribbon up from the bottom and then it wasn't so pretty... but eventually I got it finished:
We packed up that banner, a cute little journal that Stampin' Up already had done, and a stamp, stampin' spots and a birthday cake poster and sealed them up with cute little stickers. Here is a picture of what was inside the kits that I took while we were waiting in line:

Super cute, right? Here is one last picture of me and Anna standing in front of the boxes and boxes of birthday kits all packaged up and ready for delivery...
It felt good to help out. I hope the little kiddos enjoy their kits! :)
Now onto something else at the moment that is quite a bit more selfish, but oh so fun! So have you heard of Stitch Fix? It is the coolest new thing and I signed up for it yesterday and now I am giddy with excitement anticipating my first "fix." It's basically having your own personal shopper who ships adorably cute and stylish gear right to your door as often as you'd like! You pay $20 for each shipment, but if you end up keeping anything in you Stitch Fix box, that $20 goes towards what you purchase. They send you like five or six items that you get to try on in the comfort of your own home. Fun! I plan to share what they send to me -- and maybe get some advice on what to keep. If it sounds fun feel free to use this link to register (it gives me a little referral credit), but even if you don't use that link you should go check it out... I was having dreams about my first box of goodies last night! Did I ever tell you that I first signed up as a Stampin' Up demo after I was dreaming about stamps and colors... I don't know, this sounds like a match to me! :)
I'll be back soon with details on my first box of goodies!!
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