Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reviewing All Paid for Scrapbook Classes

It's definitely going to take a while to complete item number 39 (review all paid for scrapbook classes) on my 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 list! My first step was to make a list of the classes in my accounts at Big Picture Classes, Shimelle.com, JessicaSprague.com, Get It Scrapped, AliEdwards.com, and Craft with May. These lists include all the classes I've signed up for since I first discovered online classes in 2009 (including free classes offered at these sites over the past few years).

I actually kept up and completed the materials in quite a few of these classes, while I barely managed to check out the materials and create something here and there in other classes. There are even a few classes that I really haven't even looked at! My plan is to review the materials in each of these classes, save the various handouts and digital elements, and act on whatever inspires me as I go along. I am not taking time to review the message boards or galleries at this point, despite the fact that I know there's lots more inspiration in those areas.

Over the past few weeks, I've reviewed (and saved) the materials in several classes. I chose these few to start with because I knew they would be quick to review and/or because I had actually already completed the materials or project for the class. For example, I kept up with the materials and process throughout the BPC Reclaiming My Time workshop when it ran at the end of 2011. This class was great for helping me think through how I really wanted to spend my time, so a few weeks ago as I was preparing my 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 list, I read through all the handouts as well as the welcome and audio messages in the classroom. I saved the files I wanted to keep and marked that class completed and reviewed.

Two other BPC classes that I completed were the self-paced Permission To Live A Creative Life and the live run of Embrace Imperfection. I actually created a mini-album for both of these classes (which you can see here and here), so I simply scrolled through the materials and saved the handouts I wanted to keep for future reference before marking these classes done. I also took a few minutes to read through and enjoy the mini-albums that now hang in my craft room. It was FUN looking through these albums and reading my journaling from a few years ago.

There were several layout examples in the Embrace Imperfection handout. Two of the layouts really caught my eye, so I acted on that inspiration by scraplifting the designs to create two layouts for our 2014 album.

I really enjoyed adding lots of bits & pieces to this layout, and I was even inspired to use my sewing machine to stitch a border!

I  also re-read all the handouts and watched the videos in Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers and Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers classes. I enjoyed both of these classes and have a list of great ideas for blog posts in the coming months. The materials in these classes are filled with great ideas and tips for successful and FUN blogging. These classes are still available as self-paced classes, and although many of the links in the handouts are no longer found (because blogs have been deleted or moved to different domains), I highly recommend them for anyone looking for blogging tips and inspiration.

I'll be continuing my review of classes and sharing my progress and inspiration along the way. I'm excited that several of you have been inspired to join me in reviewing and/or completing classes.

Karen recently commented, "You've totally inspired me to go through and list every online class I haven't finished. I've avoided this because I know it's frighteningly long, but it needs to be done. I'm in the midst of three online classes as we speak. I'm caught up in two of them, and behind in one." And a few days later she shared that she "did make a list of all the online classes I want to finish. It was a sobering task!"

Cheri commented, "I can't begin to tell you how inspiring these posts have been. I have an excel spreadsheet in the works to list every online class, along with it's status (completed, in progress, not yet started), the skill set addressed, the web site, and once it is complete I intend to set priorities and start working my way through that list!"

Susanne commented, "I'm on board for going back and looking at all the scrap classes I've taken over the years - just the sketch ones could keep me busy for a year."

Who else will be joining us this fall as we review and complete some online classes?

Monday, September 1, 2014

August FUN Check-In & September Plans

August was a rather quiet, relaxing month around here after all our FUN traveling in July. I did a lot of reading, enjoyed some crafty time scrapbooking and cardmaking, and had tons of FUN blogging about the items on my 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 list.

Robbie and I watched preseason football games and finished up the final episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man. We also saw two movies: Lucy, which really wasn't nearly as good as the previews made it look; and Guardians of the Galaxy, which was a fantastically FUN superhero movie (check out this FUN review of the movie). Despite the summer temperatures, Robbie and I got out for a couple of walks this month and I continued my weekly sessions with a personal trainer and daily rides on the stationary bike.

I also enjoyed the birthday celebrations at Ellyn's Crafty Tuesdayseeing the Oscar de la Renta Five Decades of Style exhibit, lunches out with Robbie at the mall near his office, cropping with Mama and Michelle one Saturday, an afternoon relaxing and sketching at the park, catching up with Ellyn over lunch one Friday, and visiting with our great-niece and great-nephews on Skype.

Here's a look at my FUN August photo collage.

My FUN plans for September include:
1. Seeing a movie or two and watching the first regular season football games with Robbie.
2. Catching up in the Inspired Scrapbooking workshop and working through the new materials in the One Little Word class.
3. Attending the library book club meeting and celebrating the second anniversary of Crafty Tuesday.
4. Finishing the hunt for items on Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt list.
5. Scrapbooking more layouts for our 10th Anniversary Cruise album.

 Did you have a FUN August? What FUN things are you planning for September?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Musings - Two Languages

Item number 16 on Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt is a sign in a language other than English. I've already shared my find for this item (a sign that we found on our trip to Banff earlier this summer), however I just had to share another sign that I think works perfectly here, too.

This banner hangs near the front door of our home, and Robbie says it should actually count for TWO languages - Hebrew and Southern! The Hebrew word shalom means peace and is also used to convey hello and goodbye. Of course, y'all is a contraction of the words you and all. Being born and raised in the American South, I was surprised to learn that most of the rest of the world didn't use this wonderfully convenient contraction. In fact, I don't believe Robbie's ever used it despite the other Southern tendencies he's developing after being here in Texas for over 18 years.

Robbie bought this banner for me in the gift shop at an exhibit of Treasures From The Holy Land that was on tour here in Dallas the year we moved into our home. I love the juxtaposition of this Hebrew word that's used 200 times in the Bible with a word that's commonly believed to have originated right here in the United States - one nation under God.

Shalom Y'all!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Book Reviews

August was a good reading month for me! With temperatures in the high 90s most days, I've enjoyed spending time indoors and have devoured several books in the past few weeks.


Many of you know that Robbie and I enjoy watching professional football games, so with the football season gearing up here I chose Sidelined (which I received free in exchange for an honest review) as my latest book from Booklook Bloggers. This book is the story of Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts during the 2012 football season. Chuck Pagano was the new head coach for the Colts that year, and three games into the regular season, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and immediately admitted to the hospital to begin chemo treatments. He was able to keep in touch with the coaches and players through texts, emails, and phone calls during his treatment and recovery . . . and he was in full remission and on the sidelines coaching again for the last regular season game. He stresses that his priorities are faith, family and football - in that order. However, the book's primary focus is on football and the fantastic comeback season the Colts had, juxtaposed with Pagano's fight with cancer and the overwhelmingly strong support that resulted in the CHUCKSTRONG foundation which raised tons of money for cancer research. I enjoyed the book as it is well written and easy to read (I finished it in an afternoon) and would recommend it for those who enjoy football and/or stories about overcoming adversity.

After reading some of my book & movie reviews earlier this month, Cheri and Rinda both recommended Divergent as a book and/or movie I might enjoy. They were right! This book is the first in a trilogy and is similar to The The Hunger Games Trilogy because it's set in the future when a new form of society has developed. In this case, everyone is divided into five factions (Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite Dauntless) that each serve a specific purpose. Beatrice, the main character, must choose a faction now that she is sixteen-years-old. The test that everyone her age takes is supposed to reveal which faction they should be in, however her test is inconclusive making her a divergent. She must keep this secret as divergents are considered dangerous to the faction system. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am waiting for the remaining two books to come out in paperback. Robbie and I also watched and enjoyed the movie - it's a well done adaptation of the book, with a few changes for length and cinematic effect. I highly recommend the book and movie.

I was on the library waiting list for a while before I finally got a copy of  Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book has been on my to-read list since my sister mentioned that it was one of my niece Laurie's favorite books. This is a fantastic story of a 10-year-old boy with multiple face and head deformities who is entering school for the first time. Auggie is an intelligent boy who has a great sense of humor (especially about his deformities). Each section of the book is told from a different point of view and reveals how some kids can be so cruel (for example, by instigating a game called The Plague that spreads the rumor that if anyone touches Auggie they will get a disease like him), while others are compassionate and accepting (like Summer who befriends him on the first day of school by sitting with him at lunch when no one else wanted to be near him). Along with Auggie, there are quite a few memorable characters in the book - Jack, the boy who initially befriends him because the principal asked him to, but who eventually becomes a true friend; Olivia, Auggie's sister who has spent her life being understanding of the fact that her parents must give Auggie more attention and watching other people stare or be repulsed by Auggie's appearance; Justin - Olivia's boyfriend, who sees boys taunting Auggie and puts a stop to it without letting Auggie know about it; Miranda, Olivia's friend who has loved Auggie like a brother since he was a baby. The actions of Auggie's classmates during an overnight trip are a highlight of the book. I highly recommend this book for everyone!

I know it's been said that we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but it was the happy cover of The Cherry Cola Book Club that caught my eye as I was perusing the new books shelf at the library. A room with yellow walls, bookshelves, colorful chairs, and sunflowers totally made me smile . . . and then I noticed that it was a story about a library book club! I read this FUN easy-to-read book in one day and thoroughly enjoyed the story of how the librarian in a small town saved the public library from being struck from the town's budget despite the local politician's insistence that it served no purpose!

I first read The Artist's Way several years ago, but pulled it out again last week to re-read as I was thinking about trying to incorporate more inspirational outings into my schedule this fall. This book is designed to help artists of all kinds (writers, painters, directors, sculptors, etc) get unstuck or out of a creative rut. Two main tools are introduced at the beginning of the book - Morning Pages (three pages of stream of consciousness writing each day) and Artist Dates (what I refer to as inspirational outings). Each chapter also ends with suggestions for things to do or write about or think about or sometimes even things not to do! I definitely recommend this book if you haven't read it before.

Was August a good reading month for you?  Do you have any recommendations for books I should add to my to-read list for this fall?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Covered Bridge Stamp

I don't remember ever seeing Northwoods Rubber Stamps until we were wandering through a scrapbook store in Canada last month and both noticed a display of stamped images that had been colored or painted and then enhanced with glitter. The images were mostly scenery and wildlife, and I immediately wanted to do something similar. Robbie bought me a wonderful scenery stamp with a covered bridge on it, and last week I finally put it to use.

After stamping the image, I filled it in with colored pencils. I know lots of cards makers and stampers use alcohol markers or watercolor pens for these types of images, but I haven't yet invested in those things and am happy to play along with my colored pencils for now. Then I added green glitter for dimension and emphasis on the leaves.

Although my final result doesn't compare to the samples we saw, I'm very pleased with this first effort. I checked out Northwoods Rubber Stamps website and there are tons of great examples there along with some tips for coloring.

I already had plans for this first covered bridge image, so I set to work creating a layout with photos from our May trip to Pennsylvania. This layout will be the companion page to the digital layout I created about Cheri's covered bridge.

I can definitely see myself using this stamp for cards and art journaling, and I'll also be playing around with adding glitter and stickles to more images. Do you use scenery stamps? Have you added glitter to your colored images? Please share inn the comments how you use these stamps and any additional tips you have for adding dimension and interest to colored images.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I've Been Stamping & Coloring

It's been a while since I took time to color a stamped image, but I couldn't resist the cute Lily Rose stamp set that came with Issue 126 of Papercraft Inspirations magazine (which Robbie picked up for me earlier this summer). I stamped the Lily Rose image and filled it in with colored pencils, added a double mat, and used it to create a cute card.

I included the duck and sentiment stamp on the second image and used it on a card as well.

I was having so much FUN, I even stamped & colored on the envelope.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Zoom In/Zoom Out #7 - Along The Way

It's amazing the things you notice along the way when traveling, especially if you're on the lookout for items on a scavenger hunt list or that would make good zoom in/zoom out photos! I'm joining in with Helena today to share photos I snapped last month at a rest stop along the highway somewhere between here and Ohio.

The gardens around the restroom/concessions building were beautiful. This lavender crepe myrtle caught my eye, but as I looked closer . . .

this single blooming rose made me smile!

Do you find that these FUN memes make you more observant in your travels?