Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Snap 5 - Handmade Cards

Once again this year I am striving to create and send handmade cards each month. In January, I completed four cards.

This graduation card was created for my niece Natashia's high school graduation. We traveled down to southeast Texas for her graduation party in early January, although it was bittersweet as there are many broken relationships within my family.

I created an envelope to go along with the card and included a cash gift after Natashia turned down the offer/gift of a trip to New York.


When I was visiting with Mama in the hospital the day before I headed out of town to scrap at my friend Amy's, I joked that I was just going to create some cards with my scraps because I had not had time to pull together any page kits for scrapbook layouts. Mama laughed and said I could create her a get well card . . . so I did. I sent this to her before I headed back home.

These two similar birthday cards were for my twin nieces as they celebrated their 11th birthday earlier this month.

Joining in today with Helena's meme - Snap - a visually linked set of between 2 and 4 images.  The set can be based on colour or shape or subject.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

FIT February

I'm so glad I decided to join in with Cathy Zielske's FIT 2016 workshop because it's giving me a way to track progress on my healthy living goals. On February 1, I weighed in and took my measurements again. I'm excited to report that I lost eight pounds in January and all my other numbers are down a little, too.

I attribute these changes to the effort I made to exercise daily and track my eating using the My Fitness Pal app. Robbie and I have also been striving to include more vegetables (and less calories) in our meals. While I didn't accomplish my goal of exercising every day, I am thrilled with the amount of exercise I was able to get in throughout the month. I'm tracking  the minutes I exercise each day on this page that Cheri created.

I used the digital materials from the workshop to create a page to add to my calendar/planner after I write in my exercise (30 minutes a day), activity (yard work) and adventure (visit local museum) goals for this month.

I'll add journaling to the back of the page with thoughts on my progress so far and an answer to Cathy's February question - what does caring look like to me. I like Cathy's reminder that we can't just care about the numbers, these are lifestyle changes that may or may not be reflected in the numbers. While I definitely want to lose a few more pounds, I care more about making choices that will help me feel better, have more energy, and be able to enjoy this wonderful life!

Have you made any healthy living changes this year?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Memorandum Monday - Fantastix

One of the techniques that I shared at the recent Demos & Devotionals Bible Journaling "crops" I hosted is how to use stencils and Gelatos to add words and illustrations in the margins or across a Bible or hymnal page.

I'm using a variety of Clear Scraps stencils like this one.

After taping the stencil down with a small piece of washi tape, I add a little Gelato inside the stencil and use a sponge dauber to rub the Gelato around.

The sponge daubers work fairly well, as you can see on these pages illustrated by a couple of the crop participants.

However, this weekend I sampled a new product (Fantastix Ink Applicators) for the first time. These small applicators are perfect for getting into the small spaces in these stencils! They come in a brush tip and a bullet tip. I'm excited to add some of these to my tools for Bible journaling and other stenciling projects!


Joining in today with Sian's Memorandum Monday meme sharing something NEW (something you did over the weekend FOR THE FIRST TIME or something you learned and DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE).

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hello February!

I can hardly believe we're a week into February and I'm just getting around to saying hello! It's a lovely sunshiny (although somewhat cold) day here in Texas. We're enjoying relaxing and looking forward to watching the SuperBowl this evening, despite the fact that neither of our teams came anywhere close to competing in it this year!

As I look back on January, I'm pretty happy with my progress on the five focus goals I chose for this year (MOVE, LEARN, TEACH, SCRAP, CLEAN). Here's a look at what I did (and did not) accomplish in January.

MOVE - My exercise goal was at least 30 minutes each day. I actually exercised 27 of the 31 days in January, which includes 10 days of an hour (or more) of exercise! I'm extremely pleased with myself for getting back to regular exercise and am setting the same goal for February. I realize that realistically I will miss a day here and there, but planning it in for each day helps me stay focused and forces me to make a conscious decision on those days when I really do need to skip for some reason or other.

I'm also pleased with my focus activity for January - getting all my weekly house cleaning done in a 2-hour period on Mondays. It's so nice to start the week with those chores out of the way! I also spent a couple of days doing yard work - raking up all the huge acorns that fell this year, changing out a sprinkler head (well, kinda, I ended up breaking the PVC pipe and Robbie had to fix it the following weekend), pulling up the dead bushes in the flower beds, trimming the crepe myrtles, adding some mulch to the beds, and attempting to mow (but the mower wouldn't run, so Robbie had to fix that, too). This month I want to spend several more days in the yard, mowing, weeding, edging, and adding more mulch to fill out the flower beds.

I had planned a trip to our local nature & science museum as my January monthly adventure, however the month slipped away before I got there. I'll surely have that adventure later this month!

LEARN - I read four books in January and learned quite a bit about Charles and Anne Lindbergh as well as ideas for living a Wholehearted Life. I'm enjoying Cathy Zielske's FIT 2016 workshop and will be sharing my February update in a future post. Debbie Hodge's Teach What You Do e-course began in mid-January, but I have not had much opportunity to work with the materials. This is the first run of that course and I knew going in that I was not quite ready to begin work on an e-course. However, by the time the course re-runs in April, I'm hoping to have made some progress toward getting my website set-up and have a free course ready to complete.

I have several books I'm reading this month, however I don't have specific plans for any classes . . . although if I can fit it in my schedule I want to try making a sun-catcher at this month's library DIY class.

TEACH - This is where much of my focus has been over the past several weeks!

First, I taught a free class on creating Vision Boards at our local library. There were 12 ladies at the class, and it was a lot of FUN helping them create vision boards, some for the very first time. They were actually doing some filming that day, so I just might show up in the promotional video about the library, too! Here's a digital layout I created about the class.

The final weekend of the month, I spent all day Saturday at Personal Scrapbook. I taught an Intro to Bible Journaling workshop in the morning, then hosted a 6-hour Demos & Devotionals Bible Journaling "crop" that afternoon. There were 17 beautiful women in attendance and we had a great time diving into God's Word and practicing new Bible Journaling techniques. The first Saturday of this month (yesterday!) I had the same schedule again, this time at Scrappin' Goodtime with 13 lovely ladies participating. So, I'm having a great time teaching, which is keeping me very busy!

This month I'll also be teaching a Bible Journaling technique class (Gesso, Gelatos & Genesis) at Personal Scrapbook as well as teaching two classes to introduce Bible Journaling to the ladies at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas. I'm so excited about the opportunities to teach and the doors that God is opening for me to share this FUN hobby with others! I illustrated this page in my Bible as I was studying and asking for guidance in my upcoming classes.

SCRAP - I created seven layouts in January, a few of which are the beginning of our 2016 chronological album! This month I'm hoping to add photos and memorabilia to the December 2015 mini-album I created last summer, scrapbook more stories and photos from our Spring Break vacation this past March, and create a photo book of our get-togethers with Robbie's brother and his family last year.

CLEAN - We were able to complete one (of the three) bookshelves we're building to house Robbie's trading card binders, however the other days we had to work on the shelves it was really too cold to spend all day in the garage. We'll hopefully make more progress on this project in February. I did not clean and declutter the laundry room, so will add that to this month's list, too.

However, I did work on simplifying and organizing my wardrobe (some more). I pulled out the few items that were still on the backward hangars from my Capsule Wardrobe Failure - those items (with the exception of a few dressy pieces) went in the donation bag that I dropped off last week. There were a few items that were stained that also went into the donation pile because our local community outreach takes those items and sells them to companies that recycle them . . . but don't worry, first I cut off the cute buttons and added them to my scrapbooking stash!

Did you accomplish your goals for January? What are your plans for February?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Round Up - Continuing the Conversation

I love getting comments here on my blog and often reply to individual questions or suggestion via email. However, I thought this year I would address and share some of the comments and my replies here at the end of the month.

In my Hello 2016 post, I shared my focus goals for this year. Barbara said...I like the idea of goals rather than resolutions. Yours sound doable and you seem to be starting off on the right track. I want to go through my whole house and do a major clean-out. One thing I've learned through the years and in my organizing business---the more space you have, the more stuff you keep!! I'm going to try to be ruthless---if I haven't used it in 5 years---it goes!!! Clothing is a different matter. If I haven't worn it in a year, it's gone!! Wish me luck. I how a daunting task ahead of me!! Good luck Barbara! I like your criteria for deciding what stays and what goes.

Ann said...Happy 2016. Great post. I actually chose the word Quiet this year as my word, not actually taking Ali's class but focusing on the areas in my life that needs some quiet. These areas are similar to your topics. I think my main focus is to just live and not worry so much what others are doing. I get caught up in HOW I should do things, instead of just doing it. My plan is to have no plan and HAVE FUN. Thanks for sharing. Love reading your blog and happy you are safe from all the crazy weather in Texas. I really like Ann's idea of just living and not worrying so much about how to do it, just get it done! That crazy Texas weather that she mentioned happened right after Christmas while we were still on our vacation in Tennessee. There were tornadoes in the Dallas area and quite a few homes were destroyed in one town east of Dallas. We learned that the tornado sirens went off several times in our town, however no tornadoes touched down here.

In response to my Sunday Musings - God Rested post, Ellyn said...Have you read Priscilla Shirer's Bible study, Breathe? About creating Sabbath.... I think you'd like it and it fits with what you shared here! I have not read that Bible study but have added it to my list of things to study/read this year!

After reading about my Breakfast Flatbread Pizza, Sue said...Looks delicious! I've been experimenting with overnight oatmeal in the Crock Pot. Smells great when you first wake up! Oh, waking up to the smell of oatmeal cooking is intriguing - I just might be trying this soon!

I am excited that Cheri, Alexa, Juliann, Alison, Karen and Cheryl are joining me in the FIT 2016 class and that Rinda, Jane, Sian, Susanne, Sandra, Beverly, and Missus Wookie will be cheering us on! It's so FUN to have a group of friends along for the journey and a whole cheering squad, too!

Missus Wookie left a this comment on my First Book Completion & 2016 Reading Challenges  post...I've read some steampunk - there is quite a bit of YA literature out there too if you'd like some suggestions. Of course, I replied "YES" and now I have a nice list of books to choose from for the Clogs, Cogs and Mechanisms Reading Challenge.

After reading about my new recipe successes, Sian said ... I'm intrigued by the dish you name as "Hoppin John": I wonder what the story behind that is? I looked up the etymology of the name "Hoppin' John"and discovered that the origin of the name is uncertain, however it is most likely an adaptation of the Haitian Creole term for black-eyed peas (pois pigeons). Other (more questionable) explanations might be the story that there was an old, hobbled man called Hoppin’ John who became known for selling peas and rice on the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, or the fact (or rumor) that slave children hopped around the table in eager anticipation of the dish.

Cheryl popped over to check out my new Bible Journaling Pinterest Boards and then said...Oh my! Coming back to say....would you like to organize MY Pinterest Boards for me?! LOL Thanks, Cheryl, but I'll stick to trying to keep my boards organized as I slowly add INSPIRATION to them! :)

I truly appreciate each of you who caught the most important snippet in my Memorandum Monday - Tidbits of Genius post! Karen said...I hope your mother is doing better.  Sandra said...Hope your mum is doing better and sending good vibes her way (and yours X). Sian said...I'll be thinking about you and your mum this week. Alison said...Sending good wishes for your mom. Jane said...sending good wishes to your mum. Alexa said...I am sorry to read the news about your Mum, Melissa, and hope there will be good support for you all. Susanne said...Said a little prayer for your Mom. MissusWookie said...Sorry to hear about your Mom - holding her in the light.

Mama is doing much better now that her blood pressure is under control and the build up of fluid has been released. She has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, which is incurable but can be managed with diligent monitoring. The day I spent at the hospital with her, I brought along a coloring book and snapped this photo.

I used one of the Starting Points I created a few weeks ago to showcase this photo and the story about Mama's diagnosis.

After the initial disappointment of the diagnosis, Mama is adjusting well to the medications and learning to monitor the symptoms that resulted in her having to be admitted to the hospital. In fact, she felt well enough that she joined me at the Demos & Devotionals Bible Journaling "crop" I hosted at Personal Scrapbook yesterday! (Daddy even bought her a new Bible so she can try out some illustrated journaling!) Thank you so much for the prayers and good wishes!

On that same post, Alexa said...I was a little horrified that you had to be fingerprinted, just to be able to continue working. I think there'd be a huge protests here. Yes, there is apparently a new law here that requires all educators to be fingerprinted in order to maintain our teaching certifications. When I considered that teaching job back in the fall, it must have triggered something in the system and I received notice that my certification would be inactive until I complied with the new law. I'm all up-to-date now and my credentials have been reactivated.

My review of The Gifts of Imperfection lead Missus Wookie to ask...Will you review next month's book as well? Yes, my plan is to try to read and join in all the discussions for the Simple Scrapper Book Club. I'll also be sharing lots of other books reviews throughout the year, too, of course!

Thanks for all your wonderful comments and questions!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Gifts of Imperfection

Some of you may recall that I first read Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection several years ago and shared a short review here on my blog. This month I re-read it because it was the January selection for the new Simple Scrapper Book Club.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book again and marked quite a few passages that I wanted to review and/or thought would be relevant to the book club discussion. As usual, Jennifer Wilson led a very organized discussion about the book in the Simple Scrapper chat room. The book club is designed "to share ideas at the intersection of intentional living and scrapbooking." Jennifer shared a quote from the book, followed by a question relating it to memory keeping, then a discussion followed. I really liked this format as we went through the six items, although I have to admit that I think we sometimes get a little too serious about the whole scrapbooking/memory keeping hobby.

My favorite question from the discussion was: "Is scrapbooking a gratitude practice for you?" While I've never thought about it like that, I do believe that scrapbooking is one way that I can express my gratitude for the events and stories and people in my life as I relive the memories I preserve on my layouts.

My first thought on relating this book to memory keeping was that the subtitle could be changed to: "Let your scrapbook pages reflect who you are, not who you think you're supposed to be!"

Here's a little review of some of the other things that I marked during this read through of the book:

The author mentions several times about how we need to "own our story" - this is a theme that keeps coming up for me lately as I'm currently slowly re-reading and contemplating the Own Your Life book by Sally Clarkson that I read (and reviewed HERE) last year. Brene Brown shares that "owning our stories and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do."

The book is based on research into how to live a Wholehearted Life, which requires us to understand ourselves and love ourselves and believe that we are worthy of love and belonging. This includes having the courage to let go of what others think, being authentic, and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. She also says that a "critically important component of wholehearted living is play!"

People who live a Wholehearted Life DIG deep, which means that they are (D) deliberate, (I) inspired, and (G) going or taking action. The Wholehearted Life requires courage (letting go of what others think), compassion (which includes setting boundaries and saying no), and connection (after first cultivating self acceptance).

Here are some of my favorite thought-provoking quotes from the book:

Both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices  that were bound to a belief in human interconnectedness and a power greater than us.

Comparison is all about conformity and competition.

If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing - it doesn't matter. As long as we're creating, we're cultivating meaning.

Most of us who are searching for spiritual connection spend too much time looking up at the sky and wondering why God lives so far away. God lives
within us, not above us. Sharing our gifts and talents with the world is the most powerful source of connection with God.

The author also shared quotes from others throughout the book - these are my two favorites:

Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you've never been hurt
and live like it's heaven on Earth. 
~Mark Twain
People are like stained-glass windows. 
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed
only if there is a light from within.
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Have you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snap 4 - Starting Points

After completing several layouts at my friend Amy's crop earlier this month, I decided to use some of the miscellaneous supplies I had with me to create starting points. Do you remember Shimelle's starting points? The idea is to create the background (or starting point) of a layout before choosing the story or photos for the completed layout. I used the first three ideas (here, here and here) that came up when I searched Shimelle's blog for starting points.

Here's a closer look at each one.

I'm hoping to find time this week to turn these starting points into completed layouts!

Joining in today with Helena's meme - Snap - a visually linked set of between 2 and 4 images.  The set can be based on colour or shape or subject.