Thursday, December 31, 2015

Go For It! Crate Paper can you hear me?

So I did something crazy.

but not really out of the ordinary for me.

I've done something like this before...

and it actually ended in the most fulfilling and exciting term of my career thus far...

I hit send on my submission for the Crate Paper design team yesterday. I spent several days working on special projects to submit. Took the best photographs that overcast Cleveland in winter can provide. Updated what I could in my galleries. Wrote an honest email about how I don't know if I'm good enough, or even what they are looking for... but that I would basically give my right arm be so incredibly honored to be considered.

The last time I took a leap like this was for American Crafts.

You can read about that total and utter shock of making it here... I submitted for three consecutive years before making it. (I know, just a drop in the bucket for some.. but still, it took persistence.) Even now I can't really believe I held a position on a design team for such a powerhouse scrapbooking company. (and one that I am totally obsessed with) The validation in my abilities will forever be with me as I pursue new opportunities.... it fuels me on.

If you've followed this blog at all you know what a complete (and proud!) scrapbook nerd I am. You know that I completely freaked every time an American Crafts box hit my door.. took pride in every single assignment. You also know that I am a Crate Paper die hard... in fact you're probably rolling your eyes right now because you've heard my gushing before... I big fat puffy HEART CRATE PAPER!

Just check out this post (about how I'd give my first born to be on the DT. where is that kid?)
and this one where you can see what I mean when I say, "scrapbook nerd," on full display.
this one where I have no shame in sharing the heart palpitations that Maggie Holmes caused by pinning one of my layouts made with the Boys Rule line...
that time I spent all of my money on Crate Paper supplies. (I basically have to take a loan out every time a Maggie Holmes or Valentine line is released by them.)
or this one... another geek out over new lines.
or this one.. about how I hoard Crate goodies for special projects.
or that time I went to CHA and drooled all over the CP products in person (sorry about that, btw. I couldn't help myself.)
nerding out again.

.... or if you need more proof that I am a Crate Paper fanatic just look at my galleries.. or come visit my studio and see how 1/3 of my supplies are CRATE! Dude, did I mention I love this brand? I've been following the Design Team since there became a design team and I always told myself.. if they ever have an open call I am all. over. that. So I did it. I put my work out there and I tried.

I don't know what the outcome will be (although I suspect that I don't have much of a chance.. I mean, have you SEEN the talent over there? or the amount of followers some of them have?! I'm pretty much a nobody!).. but that didn't keep me from trying. I will always be the girl who just goes for it. What do I have to lose? I feel like sometimes you just have to put it out there and see what happens... it could lead to the most rewarding and gratifying offer ever.. or it could just lead to some really pretty pages and, in my case, some fun Valentine decorations...

I want to start out 2016 with a "go for it" mentality. If you really want something, there's no other way to get it, right?!

SO. anyway... here are a couple of sneaks I have of the projects I submitted... I'll share the full ones soon.. cross all of your fingers and toes and make a wish on baby New Year for me!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December Daily 2015

Hey dudes. Here's my DD for this year, if you're into that kind of thing. If you're looking at this thinking, ain't nobody got time fo dat, it's ok! Apparently I do. Here's the thing though.. this is my fourth year doing this and every time it gets easier. I've figured out a process that works and keeps it from feeling like a chore. 

I'll give you a quick run down of how I do... sometime after Thanksgiving I start to gather my favorite Christmas supplies. Usually this is a fun start because I'm starting to get into the spirit. I figure out my album and page protectors (typically whatever I have on hand). Then I fill them up with base pages.. very basic. just patterned papers I think look nice together. Sometimes I make a title page which helps me establish the theme of the album.. Then I organize all of the supplies and put them aside in one area to be easily accessed. 

I find that filling in the weeks activities every Sunday works for me. Sure, it's a "daily" project but that doesn't mean I have to work on it that way. I try to remember to take a photo each day of whatever holiday-ish happenings are going on.. then on Sunday I edit them all quickly and print them out on my Canon Selphy. (read about that here if you like.)

Since I have page protectors and stuff picked out already I can easily choose which photos and what sizes to print them... I grab those organized supplies and fill in embellishments here and there. This is the fun part, in my opinion.

My advice would be to stay flexible. The reason I keep the base pages so basic is so I can move them around and switch things out easily once I have actual photos to fill in. I wonder if some scrappers make the pages and then take photos that will work with them? maybe. That's not really the way my brain or time works.. but hey, do what makes sense to you, right?

I like to think about layering, texture, color, and preservation of the actual memories while putting the pages together.

Another tip for making things easy: make a list. I have one of things I want to include but might not end up photographing.. such as our top 10 movie list. favorite holiday books. elf spottings. notes to Santa, etc. There will likely be a handful of days where you really didn't get your holiday on. (or maybe that's just me and my mostly empty social calendar.) You can use this list to fill in spots that were otherwise "blank".

. ...that being said. Who says you can't skip a day here and there? It's your album. If you were Grinching like a boss and didn't do a darn Christmas thing on the 15, 10, or 6th then just don't document. No biggie! Or go ahead and include how you wore a big fat invisible Grinch suit. I feel like people steer clear of this project because they think they have to include every little thing.. and the holidays aren't always shiny and fun for anyone everyone... but don't shy away and don't make it harder than it needs to be. Make what you want of it. (or maybe just keep pointing and laughing at those of us who put these together each year. totally understandable.)

I'm a fan of the see-through pages, as you can tell.

So that's it for now. You can find me working happily away like Santa's little elf later tonight to "catch up" with the last week. And for the record.. I have totally done a December Daily start to finish after the holidays were over. (wha? shock! awe! dramatics.) Yes, you can do that too.. and I would argue it might be even easier because you'll have all of your photos already... 

but a small warning: most of us are totally over the holidays once they are over, so it might not be as fun to be ho ho ho-ing your way through the pages while dieting your heart out in January. (don't say I didn't warn you.)
 (You'll be so mad at yourself for eating want to eat all of those cookies.)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Photos of Christmas' Past

Hey. Here's a couple more holiday pages... cuz I said I would share...

This ribbon is like, whoa. so pretty. (Yes, I just nerded out over ribbon. Hey, for some it's Star Wars, others it's scrapbook supplies. feel free to point and laugh.)

More Crate Paper old school Peppermint on this one. Letting the photo be the star.. but not too much. I threw some glitter letters in there because my oldests face was a smashed up that Christmas.. (silly boy moment of playing a game at school that made him pass out and crush 3 teeth and his face in the process. teenagers!) sepia can only hide so much... the group hug is so sweet I had to scrap it scabs and all. #reallife

I have some December Daily stuff prepped to share with you all soon. (Hopefully in December!) and I'm formulating a post about how my kids hate me in my head right now.. so that's something to look forward to as well. Happy holidayyyyyyyys.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Full of Joy

  1. feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness.
    "joyful music"
    synonyms:cheerfulhappyjollymerrysunnyjoyouslighthearted, in good spirits, bubblyexuberantebullientcheery, smiling, mirthfulradiant

See photo below:

This snapshot deserved a colorful, happy page. I like the way the photo is showcased and I still managed to include a ton of my favorite (holy moley I am so obsessed with Crate Paper and October Afternoon Christmas products.) papers and bits. 

I had a much different idea for a page going into creating this one. Over the course of scooting things this way and that I kind of just... happened. and I like it! It's a Christmas miracle, everyone! ;)

I'll be sharing more holiday pages throughout the week. Yay!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Round Here

Hi. I have so many things to share and to write about that I don't know where to start. So this is the post where I dump a bunch of things that are hanging around in my brain.. but really don't talk about anything. Maybe this will help me focus one thing at a time...

So 'round here lately...

This guy. He handed me my camera the other day and said, "take pick-tur me!!" Then proceeded to pose in about 50 different ways. This pacifier is his fav. (Yes, he's 3 and still uses pacies. Yes, one day I will take them away. No, I have no shame in this.) He's about 2 months past due for a haircut but freaks when we set foot in a Great Clips. The back of his head is uneven because we started a haircut and I pulled him out after 5 minutes of screaming. He's been toggling between pain in my butt & the cutest thing on planet Earth. I guess I'll keep him. Also, those eyebrows... amiright?! 

So ready for Christmas. She wore a Teen Titans Go shirt for Red & Green day... whatever you want, dude. She figured out that she can smuggle 2 toys and 2 tiny little charm bears in her backpack each day. (she calls it a book bag. I think that is just weird.) She loves school but hates homework and waking up for school. She can't be bothered for things like putting shoes on the right feet or wearing pants (though I mandate she do wear bottoms to school. you have to draw the line somewhere, folks. now that's just good parenting.)

These two may have a problem. They are addicted to the iPad. So this is my personal iPad... but the moment Dez wakes up in the morning he says, "where's MY pad?!" in a panic. He hasn't even peed yet and he wants to play games! Luckily they are mostly educational (ok, only some of them are really learning apps.. I just felt obligated to say that cuz I'm trying to front that I care about that sort of thing.. when really, I only kinda care. Keeping it real, ya'll) (Yes, she still sucks her thumb and is 5. No, I can not seem to stop her. Yes, I might have to cut her thumbs off.) I'd like to break this addiction but also Christmas Break and the kids having 2 solid weeks off is on the horizon so that probably won't happen... maybe after the holidays. We will have diet food and "lost" power cords.

Nakiah had an accidental solo at last nights concert. (Note that I did in fact remember to provide the appropriate clothing this year.. but in an odd turn of irony one of the choirs did all black thus his previous Johnny Cash like rebellion would have been nbd. What can I say, he is a trend setter.) How was it accidental? you ask. Wellllll. When the guy next to you doesn't actually play his instrument, but totally acts like he is (funny thing here: french horns require air).. and the clarinets that you're supposed to play with are all shy and quiet... barely audible. viola! solo! I asked him why he didn't tell me he was going to have a solo and he said, "I wasn't supposed to! You were supposed to barely hear me in the background during that part!" In uniform but still stealing the show.

I got tired of the chunky, dark expidit unit. It held a lot of stuff and kept it in sight to be used, which was great. But it felt so closed in in there. I never wanted to go in and work. Now I'm in here all day every day  whenever my kids are on the myPad. Still wanting to redo that wall. Twil be a nice new year project.

On the depression front! (haha, for some reason it cracked me up to put an exclamation point after that sentence.) I'm doing ok. Well, I would say slightly better than ok. (which if you have ever experienced this problem you know is quiet an accomplishment.) I had setbacks with Grandpas death and the anniversary of my friend Rages death along with two bigtome events being major failures. But overall I'm close to being myself again. I'm ok with where I am for now. and honestly I'm glad that I can feel sad and feel the impact of those negative things. The medication I'm on doesn't dull me or put me on some kind of unreasonable high.. (which I think is a common misconception and why a lot of people don't agree with medicating depression.) So I'm able to react in appropriate ways and also recover in a "normal" healthier way. I'm still sad, but it's not ruling my life.

Decorating ery nook and cranny for Christmas. I totally nerd out over this. I want Santa to walk in here and say, "Whoa ho ho. Overkill!"  I'm not like those crazy peeps on the Christmas Light Competition show (which I totally watch).. but honestly that's only because I don't have the funds to harness that kind of power. Otherwise, I would Griswold this house in a heartbeat. Don't worry thought.. I am doing my part by procrastinating on any and all gift shopping. The Christmas fever has to stop somewhere I guess.

This guy. What would I do without him? I can't even put into words how much I value and appreciate him as a husband... even though he leaves his socks wherever in the house he just happens to be when he takes them off.. and opens packages and leaves the wrappers sitting there... and.. j/k babe. I love your guts. I have to bust your chops once in awhile.. tis my duty as your wife.

I've been catching up on Project Life, doing December Daily (even though its' really hard when you're sad about something), making some Christmas pages.. eating too much junk food (sorry, body.).. painting my nails and then picking it off nervously the next day.. missing my family... watching xFiles before bed every night and then having the weirdest dreams... working on art for friends but then recognizing it makes me super uncomfortable to charge them for it. (I just want to throw it at them and say, "free!" and run away as fast as I can.).. that's about it. I'll see you again real soon.

Monday, December 7, 2015

So Long Grandpa, but not Goodbye

Losing my Grandpa weighs heavy on my heart. Because he's in South Dakota and I'm here in Ohio I just couldn't make the logistics of attending the funeral work. Honestly, it breaks my heart to not be around for things like that. It's hard enough missing out on all of the good stuff.. celebrations, holidays, simple gatherings...  but missing funerals just hurts. I want to hug my Dad. I want to spend time with my Aunts and Uncles and sit around and listen to their childhood stories and memories of a Father who loved them with his whole heart... I want to go into the home my grandparents spent most of their lives in and look at the photos and touch the things they owned.

I've lived long distance from extended family for a long time... my whole life, in fact. When I was younger we would visit my Grandma Cookie and Grandpa Rex for a whole week each summer. It was the best. Our Dad would drop us off and my sister and I would spend the entire time doing.. well, nothing really. There wasn't much to do in a town with a population of 62 (I could be embellishing. It might have been less than that.) But that didn't matter. We were with our Gram and Gramps, and that was all we needed. 

We got to know them well during these times because there we were, 2 little granddaughters, plunked into their world.. and not much changed for them except for a couple of more mouths to feed and someone for Grandma to yell at when we told her not to smoke. haha. Every day at 1 o'clock we'd sit quietly as to not interrupt her story, Young and the Restless. Grandpa would come home from work and sit in his favorite chair.... his toes poking through the holes in his socks (I swear the man didn't own a pair without holes.) propped up on a worn ottoman. 

He'd grab whatever copy of western novel was close by and read quietly for hours. I'll remember how worn and well used those books were. He had a small collection and would read them over and over until the pages curled and you could barely make out the title on the spine anymore. We got to live in their comfortable routines.. watch them interact.. we learned about living a happy yet simple life. We got to know them just as they were... I treasure that.

He showed me what it looked like to truly love your wife. completely. unconditionally. That a good man could love a woman for exactly who she was and who she wanted to be.. even if she was ornery. He just adored her. He valued her as a partner.

Grandpa cried at sappy commercials. Actually, anything even slightly touching. When we teased him about it he'd just wipe the tears away and smile... he made no attempt to hide his feelings. He embraced sentiment. If ever you wrote him a letter you'd get one right back. He was a little self conscious about his spelling and grammar but he'd write anyway. Scrawled out cursive covering the pages gracefully... him showing his appreciation that you took time to reach him.

He had such a soft, kind disposition. Grandpa Rex was the kind of guy who you could tell anything to... You could sit around for hours and talk about not much of anything really... he was just calm and content to be there spending time together... listening. nodding. smiling. giving you his undivided attention in such a relaxed appreciative way.

Those little details about him are sharp in my memory... but what I'll remember the most is his smile. This man always had a smile on his face... even as he grew older and lost his teeth. He smiled with his entire being... and he lit up when his kids and grandkids were around.

God I'm going to miss him.

When one of my uncles would get going on a story from the old days he would listen intently and then whoop loudly with laughter and slap his knee. I can still hear the joy. See the twinkle in his eye. He loved his family unconditionally and enjoyed being a part of our lives. He never complained about anything or said an ill word about anyone. 

When Grandpa hugged you you felt loved. He'd squeeze me with all of his might and grab my arm tightly just before I left after a visit... "I love you. You take care." You could see the sadness in his eyes as he waved goodbye from the porch.. but he'd tell you he was so happy you came. The good always outweighed the bad with Rex.

Thank you, Grandpa. Thank you for your love, your humor, your calm, easy going nature. I'll miss you terribly.. as always.. but even more sharply now that the option of visiting is gone. I know I'll see you and your smiling face again.. please give Grandma a hug for me and tell her I said hello. I know you're happy to be reunited with your partner. I'll think of you often and miss you always. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Paper Camellia: December Projects

So, here's the thing. My Grandpa passed away Monday night and I am really sad about it. I want to write my feelings down here, and I will. I just don't know where to start. 

So for now I'm going to share my Paper Camellia projects.. because I was supposed to post them on the 1st and just.. couldn't. I couldn't really do much of anything but cry and look through photos and research plane tickets to be honest. Anyway.. here are some nice pages.. even nicer, I think, after such a big reminder of why I treasure photos and this hobby itself...

If you want to purchase these kits here are the links.. I used the Main Scrapbook Kit and the Embellishment Add-on Kit. You should buy them while you can. Treat yo self. Also, hug your Grandpa and tell him you love him.