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November 2009
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January 2010

Happy New Year!

2009 was a pretty good year... lots of wonderful things happened.  Going to Turkey, going to Disney with the family, a few trips to San Francisco and then going home for Christmas.  Not to mention lots of changes at work and starting my MBA.  It hasn't all been good... there have been a few rough spots of course, but the positives far outweigh the negatives and I'm very grateful for how blessed I've been this year.

So that said, I decided to do a new spin on resolutions this year.  "Resolutions" don't work for me, so I thought I'd come up with some goals to help me grow personally that are based on stretching the boundaries of my strengths.  There are also a few "get healthy" goals, but that's because I really need and want to get back there.  So I created an art journal page around that concept, using a tree to symbolize growth and the leaves as my goals.

2010 Goals 1

I cut the tree and leaves out of chipboard and then decoupaged phone book pages on top, spritzed with Glimmer Mist (plus my first homemade shimmery mist!) and then I added pastels, acrylic mica and gold leaf pen until it looked right.  The background is oil pastels with stamped and embossed doily stamps. 

2010 Goals 2 

2010 Goals 3
I've also seen some really fun posts counting down favorite layouts of the year.  I went back through the ones I've made this year and had so much fun looking at them again that I thought I'd follow along and post some favorite projects of my own :)

1.  Some traffic-blocking baboons near Cape Town (May 2007).

A Small Delay 

2.  The Great Wall of China (September 2008).

The Great Wall 

3.  A layout of the first time I got to hold my nephew Ben in July 2006.

Instantly Smitten 

4.  The Temple of Heaven in Beijing in September 2008.

Temple of Heaven

5.  Seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach in South Africa in May 2007.

Boulders Beach 

6.  The Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey last February

Fairy Chimneys
7.  Disney World with my family where I met Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh for the first time in person last May.


8.  Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh enjoying her wading pool (Summer 2009)

Water Baby 

9.  A sweet moment with Eraleigh and Rick (first half of 2009).

One Moment in Time

10.  One of my Banana Frog projects - Eraleigh playing in the first snow of the year (November 2009).

First Snow

I was going to stop at 10, but I couldn't post without my favorite art journal projects.

11.  My 3D papier mache collage thingy

Blog - Framed Collages

12.  And still probably my favorite project all year, my globe art journal page.

Art Journal - Carpe Diem 3 - Final Front

So that's it... I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

P.S. - I guess this means it's officially time to take down the Christmas blog design, huh?  Time to get to work on a new banner!

It's time for this year's "Christmas in Review" post...

Well, I'm back and caught up on sleep and already a little stir crazy from all the evil white stuff that's been falling steadily from the sky since my plane broke through the clouds on the way into Salt Lake yesterday.  Bleh.  The roads have been so bad I haven't been anywhere since I got home... we passed at least six accidents on the 20 minute shuttle ride from the airport, but tomorrow is supposed to clear up.  Here's hoping I can make it to the grocery store!

In the meantime, it's time for my extremely photo heavy update of my trip back home for the holidays (don't say I didn't warn you).  No scrapbooking yet... I think I'm still burned out from all of the last minute work to get those albums done before I left (and I forgot to mention that they LOVED them!)

So... I thought I'd just let the pictures do most of the talking.  And yes, most of them ARE of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh, but can you blame me?  She's really adorable.

Blog - Christmas 1 

See what I mean?  This was the morning after I flew in.  I tried to get lots of pictures that capture her personality and she's got a lot to capture!

Day 2, the 23rd... Erin and I went to Wegman's to shop for Christmas dinner and the goodies we needed for our Christmas Eve desserts.

Blog - Christmas 2

Erin and I baked while Eraleigh napped, but after dinner she helped me make my super awesome recipe for Mexican Wedding cakes.  She loves baking and had to sample each ingredient.  She LOVED the dough.  Can't say I blame her ;) (Trust me... she wasn't feeling tortured in this picture.  lol.)

Blog - Christmas 3

Christmas Eve... Mom got off work early and she, Erin, Eraleigh and I ran to Costco for a few last minute things and hot dogs for lunch.  It was cold so we tried to get Eraleigh to wear the hat I brought her with the flower I made and attached.  As you can see, she loved it.

Blog - Christmas 4

She was feeling a bit more chipper that evening.  I think the food had something to do with it.  For being 18 months old, she has quite a well developed sense of humor.  She's quite quick and clever and she loves to tease.  I don't know where she got THAT from (cough cough Nicole & Dad cough cough.)

Blog - Christmas 5

She also likes to eat.  She IS a Lafleur, after all.  "Whatcha got Uncle Brian?  You're gonna share that, right?"

Blog - Christmas 6

After dinner and our traditional viewing of "Miracle on 34th Street" we had family night by the tree, including singing carols.  And of course, we all wore our matching Christmas pajamas from mom.

Blog - Christmas 7 

Blog - Christmas 8
Christmas Day was wonderful.  Nicole and Brian came over and we had a great time opening presents.  The highlight was watching Eraleigh come down and see her gifts from Santa.

Blog - Christmas 15 

And lots of wonderful presents shared with the rest of the family as well.  Just a few...

Blog - Christmas 16

The book Grandpa is looking at is one I made for him on using the publishing tool - I was able to slurp 5 generations of his family tree that I've been working on along with all of the attached records and photos into a pretty sweet book.  He loved it and the whole family wanted a turn to look through it.  If you're interested, you can check it out here.

Getting ready for Christmas dinner... (we made all French food this year.  Yum!!!)

Blog - Christmas 9

And more Christmas cuteness over the next few days...

Blog - Christmas 10 

Blog - Christmas 17
And Sunday before church (it was our Christmas program since church was canceled the previous weekend from the 2 feet of snow).

Blog - Christmas 13

Blog - Christmas 14

Whew!  That's a lot of pictures.  It was wonderful to be home and spend time with the family... I can't wait to see them again at family reunion this year :)  The rest of the TONS of pictures I took are here.

One more batch...

I can't believe my stay at home is almost over :(  I need to figure out a way to come home more often.  In the meantime, here's the last batch of the layouts from Nicole's travel album.  I'll probably upload all of them to my "gift layouts" photo album when I get a chance.

Layout Collage 2
That is all... off to play with my little diva niece!

Taking it to the wire.

So I think I over-committed myself this holiday season.  I think next year I need to remember that school and the holidays on top of each other equal stress if I try to do too much.  This year I ended up dropping my Christmas journaling while I worked on other stuff that I really needed and wanted to do.  I'm planning on getting back to the journal and adding some more to it when I get back home. 

So, this album for Nicole was an idea I had months ago.  I had ordered the prints and had them sitting for a while, but with so much else going on, this project ended up happening at the last minute.  I did the entire 48-page album over the weekend, finishing up about 3am on the day I flew out to Virginia.  Never again!  But!  I love how it turned out.  Nicole and I have gone on a lot of trips together over the years, and for most of them I was the only one with the camera and also the official keeper of memorabilia.  A little birdie told me that Erin wasn't the only one that hoped for scrapbooks as gifts, so I decided to make Nicole an album of all of our trips together.  Whew!  That was bigger than I realized.  So, another two-part share.  This was an 8x8 album; here are the first bunch of my favorites from this one.

Layout Collage 1

Merry Christmas!

It's such a relief to be home and have all the stressful stuff behind me.  And... now that it's Christmas, I can finally share some of what I've been working on over the last several weeks!  I did two full scrapbooks as gifts this year.  One for my brother and sister-in-law, and one for my sister.  Since they were pretty big, I figured I'd spread the sharing out over a few days so the posts don't get too long.

So without further ado, scrapbook gift #1:  I did an album of all the pictures I could get my hands of of Rick and Erin's trip to Hawaii with my parents and Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh.  I just went through and picked out a bunch of my favorite layouts from the album, so here's the first batch. 

Layout Collage 1

Now it's play time... hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!  More layouts tomorrow...

I made it!

I finished my first semester of business school.  Yay!  My Marketing Management final was last night and we also turned in the paper for our big project which was HUGE!  The final turned out to be optional if you were willing to settle for a B in the class, but my team decided we had all worked too hard and done too well to this point to settle, so we all stayed and took it.  I think I did well, but we'll see.  After the final we all went out together for ice cream to celebrate the end of the semester.  Everyone else thought we were crazy... we were the only team that did something.  Despite the MANY hours we've spent together over the last few weeks, including 12-hour days, we still like each other enough to want to hang out!  Pretty good, I'd say. 

So tonight, I celebrated my freedom by doing a few more pages in my Christmas journal. 

Days 8-9

First is a page about my vision of Christmas and the things that I picture in my mind when I think about this time of year.

Day 8

Day 8 close-up

With this page I was just having fun trying a few things... I like how the holly turned out :)

And day nine is about my family's Christmas traditions (I added a medium sized foam stamped "9" after I took the pictures).

Day 9 

The Santa is actually something I made several years ago as a class sample when I was teaching Puttin' on the Glitz classes at Scrapbooks Plus in Virginia.  I'm glad I held onto it!  It made this a fast and fun page.

Day 9 close-up

I also have a few study group pictures to share.  We were all at my place Monday night putting the finishing touches on the paper portion of our project and my camera had been sitting on the kitchen counter, so Brent tried it out and took a few pictures of the group (I was sitting on the couch taking notes for the group).

Study group 1
And our "action shot" of the intense concentration:

Study group 2

We have Laura, Brent R in the blue shirt, Mike (aka Freddy) and Rick in the striped shirt.  And below... a close-up of Mike using my Martha Stewart magazine as a mouse pad.  lol.

Study group 3- Mike
We also had plenty of homemade hot chocolate and cookies to keep us going.  I'm just crossing my fingers that we did well... we put in a LOT of work on this project.

Can you believe Christmas is a week from today?  That's insane!  I can't wait :D

It's December 15th!

And I hear a resounding chorus of "duh!"  But seriously.  The 15th means... tonight is my last final!  Our project / paper is done and we're going out for a "we made it through our first semester" treat after we finish.  It also means that a week from today I'll be home!  Yay!  And of course, the 15th means that today is the second of my two December guest appearances on the Banana Frog Blog.  I had so much fun working with their awesome stamps... so I just want to give them a big "thank you!" for the opportunity.  You can see the post with the projects for this round here.

If you look closely, you'll see a little bit more embossed cardboard... letterpress-esque, even!  So I put together a quick tutorial on how I did it in case anyone is interested. 

Don't forget to click on over to see the layout where I used these!

My new favorite thing

I've been sick again all weekend... I don't know why.  Possibly tons of stress, lack of sleep and going in and out of freezing cold weather?  Maybe.  But I don't exactly have time to be sick so I'm knocking back the Robitussin and trying to get everything done anyway.  Today I spent about 5-6 hours working on the write-up for my team's marketing project... still plenty left to do.  I also made good progress on Banana Frog projects, made a cough syrup run and even started my laundry!  I decided while I was at it to stay up a bit longer and do a few things just for fun.

So this is my new favorite thing... I can thank Marah for helping me see the beauty in die cutting cardboard, but tonight I really played with it.  When I opened the drawer to pull out the plates for my Cuttlebug, I glanced at my embossing folders and thought to myself, "self, what would happen if you tried to emboss cardboard?"  As it turns out, embossed cardboard is SWEET.  I diecut a bunch of circles and embossed them and then tried inking and painting them.  I ended up making a whole bunch of them to make a wreath in my Christmas journal inspired by this cool one on the Maya Road blog.  I inserted it before day 4... where you can see some bleed through from Careless Copic Use on Day 5.  Oh well, adds character, right?

Day 4 with Wreath 

And a close-up, though it's still a little hard to see the effect of the embossing in the photo (the smallest circles are chipboard - I painted them, stamped on them and heat embossed):

Wreath Close-up

And now day 5... I did this earlier this week and just got around to taking pictures.  I was actually really glad to be so far behind when I did this one since I had just seen this awesome technique from Tim Holtz that seemed perfect for a page about advent calendars.

Day 5A
And the obligatory close-up... for my version I just used chipboard numbers and tin foil instead of grungeboard and metal tape.  I also used Copics instead of alcohol ink in those pens... pretty much the same thing, right?

Day 5A close-up 

That envelope in between the pages is from my company's holiday party - it has the schedule of events during the party so I added it in since that was also on the 5th.  Here's the view of the advent calendar I included... Nicole found this in the store and she and Brian mailed it to me - she thought it would be a fun way to remember when we had these as kids.  I love it!  I open my little door every day.

Day 5B 

I decided to skip day 6 - that day's prompt just didn't resonate with me... I didn't really have anything for it and decided that since I was so far behind I'd just skip it rather than doing an alternate prompt.  So here's day 7:

Day 7

So, um, yeah.  A lot of un-checked items.  lol.  I did die-cut the other 7 check marks since I absolutely intend to do everything on that list!  I also did some more diecut and embossed cardboard here.  For these, I brushed PanPastels over the raised areas for some subtle color.

And finally, as if there weren't already enough pictures in this post, one more fun thing I discovered with the cardboard tonight.  I decided that since I was embossing it, I should try letterpressing my cardboard with ink and an embossing folder.  It actually turned out kind of awesome!  It's like grunge letterpress... considering it's cardboard, that's probably appropriate... lol.  I can't wait to use this on something.

Letterpress Cardboard

Kind of hard to see the debossing in a photo, but it's cool!  The one in back is the first one I tried with gold ink.  That doesn's show up too well on this color, but it's shimmery if you look close :)  Okay.  done now.  Time for cough syrup and sleep.



Can I get a woohoo? Tickets to see Muse in SLC just went on sale 8 minutes ago and I scored some pretty good seats... I'm so glad Steph is moving to Utah - I have a concert buddy again! It's not even on a school night... I'm psyched. And dude... it's MUSE. Have I mentioned lately that Matt Bellamy is insanely talented? Because he is.

Peanut Envy

Today after work I headed over to Brent's house for another group session working on our Marketing project.  I probably haven't mentioned, but each of the teams came up with a name for themselves at the beginning of the year.  We have groups named "The Four-Eyed Five" and "Summit Rising" but we're "The Peanut Gallery."  It fits.  We also sit in the back row and occasionally make snarky comments to each other during class.  Given our name, it's probably not a stretch to imagine that we have a small reputation among our classmates so tonight when we were talking about other people in the class trying to milk us for what we've worked on for other projects, someone (I think it was Rick, and I wouldn't be surprised) said "they have peanut envy."  And then all six of us giggled like 10 year-olds.  So yeah.  Have I mentioned that I like my group?

Anyway, we decided that it set a bad precedent for the week if we pulled an all-nighter on Monday, so we set a hard stop of 10pm.  I'm sure the nights will get progressively longer... lol.  But after I navigated the iced over roads to get to the freeway and drive home (snow is the devil's rain!!!), I realized I had a little play time so I did another page for my Christmas Journal (I'm getting SOOOO behind!)  This is for journaling from 12/4 about my perfect Christmas 2009 (the bow is poofed up with it isn't on a scanner bed).

Day 4

I'm excited about day 5 and I wanted to do it tonight, but even with the extra time, I still managed to lose an hour somewhere.  Oh well!  I'll get to it eventually. For now, though, I need to get some sleep... busy day at work tomorrow and a final tomorrow night.

Today was Saturday?

You'd barely know it from my point of view... lol.  I met with my study group from 10am until about 8:20pm when I had to leave to go to my office holiday party.  Yup, 10+ hours!  They were still there working away when I left... and we still have a ton to do on our project.  While doing some Google searches today we found people who had earned master's degrees by doing this same thing as a thesis.  I'm sure theirs were a little more involved and we're doing it as a group, but still... kind of an indicator of how much work it is! We're making progress, though.

My office holiday party was pretty fun.  We had it at Costco this year and there were games, snacks (including a yummy crepe bar!) and a prize giveaway.  Lots of people were also shopping since the store was open to those of us at the party but I managed to refrain... anything I buy there would almost definitely be more than I could use!  Mostly I hung out with different friends from work, met spouses and enjoyed a break from work and studying.

So now, by once again staying up way too late to try and get my other projects done, I squeezed out the page for the Day 3 journaling for my Christmas Journal.  This is based on a prompt from Shimelle and centers on Christmas Cards so I decided to make a few small Christmas cards; the journaling is typed inside each one.  I made matching envelopes from vellum and a JudiKins envelope template and then stamped and colored the fronts, embellished and stuck 'em on!

Day 3

I've got a ton of homework that must get done tomorrow (today... Sunday... whatever!) but I hope I can really focus and get it done so I can make some progress on Christmas presents and maybe even do a little more on my journal :)  But first... sleep!

I can almost smell the weekend...

Some of my co-workers and I got into this stupid joke at work.  One of them had once made a comment about it smelling like Friday and of course we couldn't let that go.  So someone will come in and pretend to be sniffing the air and say something along the lines of "what's that smell?  It smells awful!"  And naturally we delight in sucking people in so they try and figure out what smells bad.  The answer, of course, is that it smells like Friday!  (Yes, we are all 12 years old.  lol) 

I'd say I'm ready for the weekend because it's been a VERY busy week, but the weekend includes an all-day-into-the-evening work session with my study group to work on our presentation / final paper for our Marketing Management class.  Oy.  It would probably go into the night as well, but my office Christmas party is Saturday night so I have an escape :) Sunday will probably be my relaxing day, but I also have to study for another final on Tuesday.  At least it's wrapping up!

In the meantime, I caught up on the pages to go with days 1 and 2 in my Christmas journal.  I also did a little Christmas art journal piece that I really like that I attached to the backside of my manifesto.  Here's the collage plus day 1:

Joy Collage and Day 1 

Day 1 is on an envelope and inside is the print-out of the post from my Banana Frog guest appearance on Tuesday :) (with Banana Frog stamps on the outside, of course!) 

And on the back of the envelope is day 2 - a prompt from Shimelle that I paired with a picture I took almost 2 years ago of what the snow looks like here on my street:

Day 2

And because you know I love me some close-ups, here are a few more of the collage so you can get a bit more detail.


Joy Collage - 3

k, I'm up even more too late than my usual too late (I had to come home and work after class and then ended up playing.  Smart of me, yes?) I'm hoping tomorrow I can spare an hour or so to drop by the American Crafts warehouse sale.  That's always fun, but we'll see what the day brings.

Because I am clearly crazy...

... I decided to over-commit myself again this month.  lol.  Last year I did a December Daily album and this year I thought I'd really like to do that again.  Only this time, I was intrigued by the idea of getting daily prompts and samples from Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class so I signed up.  My plan is to combine the prompts with the December Daily (when I have stuff) and maybe even a little art journaling to create a really unique record of this month.  So far (2 days... ha!) I'm managing to keep up on the journaling, but putting the pages together is probably going to have to happen when I can get to it... I have finals starting next week so I've got to keep my eye on the ball for now :)

Anyway, I did put together the first page with my journaling manifesto - I decided to make my album 8x12 this year, with odd sized pages/envelopes, etc... thrown in.  (The hat on this cute little guy actually extends above the top of the page.)


Pretty basic, but a good start for me!  I'm planning to wait and bind the whole thing together at the end this time (assuming it doesn't get crazy and I start losing pages or something.)  Last year I didn't guage how big it would end up well enough so doing it at the end should solve that.  Anyway, I'm up too late again so time to crash!

Happy December!

I can't believe it's December, but at the same time I'm really excited.  It means... I'm only two weeks from finishing my first semester of business school... I'm only three weeks from going home for the holidays and... it means that today is Banana Frog day! 

Banana Frog

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a guest designer for Banana Frog and had the pleasure of playing with some of their fantastic stamps.  The first of my two guest design posts is up on their blog today... So hop on over (pun intended... couldn't resist!) and check it out :)