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February 2012

Last day of work and December Daily: Day 26

Well, today was my last day at my job... I start the new one tomorrow. It was kind of bittersweet - I've really enjoyed working there and have come to really like all of the people I worked with. They had a nice little send-off for me today with treats and a fun card that the graphic designers made and everyone signed. Some of the girls also gave me a really cool hair clip with pretty flowers on it - I've been wearing it since... and Hope, who lived in Peru for 18 months while serving a mission for our church, shares my love for alfajores so she made some! They were yummy... I was even able to bring a few home with me. Eleanor also brought yummy cookies and Chrisi made oreo truffles. It was a total non-diet afternoon. lol.

 

Vivint Farewell Alfajores

 

And now on to my December Daily...

I'm getting close to being finished with this project... and getting a lot of photos edited at the same time! I was playing with camera settings while I was home for Christmas (probably not the best idea in retrospect) and as a result, some photos are better than others. But I'm pretty pleased with most of them, and I learned a lot about my camera!

Here's the spread for the 26th. I didn't want to do more than 2 pages, but I had lots of photos so I used a slide sheet that holds 20 small photos on this one. I even had enough room to include some cute little drawings by Eraleigh that I found inside of a present she "helped" wrap.

 

December Daily Day 26

 

And the photos from the day:

 

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Time to head off and get ready for bed... can't be late for the first day on the job!


Project Life Week 4

The month has certainly flown by, hasn't it? I can't believe tomorrow is the last day of January. Crazy!

But... another week means it's time for another PL post!

Project Life Blog Banner

Yup, getting fancy here on the blog :) Saw this idea on another blog and loved it, so I made my own little banner.

Here's this week's spread - a little different feel, and definitely not following the standard template.

Project Life 2012 Week 4

Another picture heavy week, but I'm pretty sure it will be quite different next week. But you never know :) The right side feels a bit unbalanced next to the left, but it's not bugging me enough to fix it.

Left side:

Project Life 2012 Week 4 left

I snapped a picture after it had snowed last weekend as I was walking into my building at work. It was just beautiful, the trees all frosted and the mountains covered with snow. I knew a lot of it would burn off so I had to get a picture.

Also, been listening to a lot of Depeche Mode lately and had a few thoughts about it I wanted to get down... and my healthy living update. More cooking (see recipe at the bottom) and some more cookbooks that I'm really excited about.

Right side:

Project Life 2012 Week 4 right

Of course, lots of space dedicated to the scrap attic organization... that took such a huge chunk of my time that I had to give it plenty of space. And I'm still totally thrilled with the results (and kind of wishing I was doing a traditional project life now! Maybe I'll switch and just print what I've done and put them in page protectors. We'll see... I wanted digital to avoid big albums.)

Also a few phone shots from a trip up to Sundance on Friday with my team at work for a farewell lunch at the Foundry Grill. We had the option of taking the afternoon to ski or going home after lunch, so I went home. It was lovely :)

Finally, more Bountiful Baskets love... a fun little moment at pickup on Saturday - the truck was 40 minutes late so the baskets weren't ready when we got there. I was going to volunteer, but they told they lady in front of me they already had too many, so I ended up chatting in line with a few ladies. I know I'm among fellow food / produce nerds when I hear this phrase: "I was really hoping we'd get brussels sprouts again. They were so good last week!" You won't hear me argue, but it's not something most people wish for. lol. Which is too bad... brussels sprouts are awesome! I made some this week with 0 calorie olive oil spray, sea salt and a little paremsan - roasted in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes and they were divine.

Speaking of cooking veggies, I made a cauliflower puree this week that was just fantastic.

Cauliflower Puree with Tortilla Soup

Here's the recipe:

Lemon Cilantro Cauliflower Puree

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
5 fingerling potatoes (or about 1 1/2C, chopped)

Steam for about 18 minutes until tender and then add:

1 C fat-free plain Greek yogurt (you can add more or less depending on the consistency you want)
1 tbsp mustard (I used whole grain, dijon would be really good)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (you could add a little zest too for extra zing)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
salt to taste (I use kosher, probably a few tsps)

Mix them all up - I used a stick blender but a blender or food processor would work too. It makes about 6 servings.

I've been eating it with leftover bean and chicken soup / chili / whatever you want to call it. It's fantastic... I feel like I've had a big plate of meat and potatoes, but the puree is only 1 pointsplus per serving! Can't beat it.

Next up? I think I'm going to try something with farro :)


December Daily: Days 24-25

Now that I've got my scrap attic back, I wasted no time getting back to work. I absolutely love working in here now! I was able to pull together the next two days in my December Daily pretty quickly (with lots of breaks for blog reading, Pinterest, and the NHL All Star weekend, of course) and I had a lot of fun doing things I probably wouldn't have in the old room, and doing little happy dances over how easy it was to get to everything.

So, here's Christmas Eve:

December Daily Day 24

And Christmas day:

December Daily Day 25


And since I haven't posted any Christmas pictures since I got home, here are the ones I used in these spreads (click on any of the thumbnails to see it big at the bottom) 

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And now, time for a little dinner and my Sunday night Food Network shows!


Finally. I can breathe!

Yup, you guessed it. The Great Craft Attic Transformation is complete! And with that comes a warning... long post and lots of pictures ahead!

Anyway, It took two full weeks of working hours every day... never less than 3, sometimes more than 8... but it's done. I'm so unbelievably happy with how it turned out. But it was a very painful process.I followed a lot of Julie's advice, and I'm so glad that she did her Organization Week when she did because it was immensely helpful to me and the timing was perfect. Taking everything out of the room was the smartest thing I could have done. It sucked, but it worked.

I swear, this is the first time EVER that I have gone through every single item in the room. Every sheet of paper, every brad and button, every alphabet and sticker sheet. Everything. And I was brutal. It wasn't just a matter of whether or not I still liked something, or even if I thought I might need it at some point in the future. I asked myself if I could realistically say that I would use each item. No keeping things for contingency... in order to come back into the room, I had to be able to honestly tell myself that I not only loved it and had ideas for using it, but that it was truly my style and would fit in my projects and I could be reasonably certain that it would get used at some point. I had to do it that way... let me remind you what it looked like 2 weeks ago:

 Craft Attic Before Organizing

 You can also look back at this post to get an idea of what it looked like a few years ago, before the extra piles started showing up in any free floor space on either side of my chair. I couldn't walk anywhere, everything was buried, and I was avoiding working on anything because I just didn't want to come up here. Makes having a scrap space kind of pointless, huh?

I've often expressed the fact that my superpower is fitting more stuff into a small space than you can possibly imagine, but there comes a point where it's ridiculous. One of my biggest takeaways from my trip to Peru was that I have too much. Of everything. There were a few experiences that made me really understand the reality of that, but one of the results was my decision to re-do this room and get rid of all the extra stuff. Don't get me wrong, I still have too much. But my guest room is now completely covered with boxes of things I need to sell or donate. And it's good stuff! But what's sitting in that room is probably more than most people have and it's just what I'm purging. Ugh. But, I'm moving on and doing it right from now on.(And trying not to think of the size of the project that will be moving all that stuff out of my house!)

So without further ado, welcome to the new scrap attic!

 New Scrap attic - looking in

Yeah, it's hard to see anything around my monster chair, but it's too hard to take it out for a photo. But even with that, you can see how different it is. The room looks so much bigger... and clean! and organized! With no crap spilling from everywhere! It's amazing. The biggest challenge (aside from sheer quantity of stuff, of course) is the shape of the room. It's not only a small room, but because it's an attic, about half of the space is covered by a sloping ceiling and I can only stand up under a very small part of it. I had to get creative.

Let's take a tour, shall we? I moved everything back in based on how I work and what I use most often, and I think it's going to be a great change. When you first come up the stairs on the left is my printer / diecutting / themed and in-process project station. As much as I'd love a table where I can keep my diecut machines set up and ready, it's just not gonna happen in this space. So I just work with it.

 New Scrap Attic - printer station

On the shelves are 12x12 Iris cases that I got on sale at Michael's, 2 for $8. I also bought a Cricut cartridge organizer for 40% off and took my cartridges and books out of their boxes. The Iris cases are for in-process projects like travel albums that I'm working on every now and then, and also seasonal / holiday themes that I've found I work with a lot. One of the things I realized about myself in this process was that part of the reason for my mess was that I wasn't organized to match the way I work. I would pull out Christmas stuff from 12 different places and put it in a basket to work on my December Daily, and then have to put it all back in January. So why not make a Christmas bin with papers and embellishments so that it's always ready? I also did one for Halloween and Valentine's / Weddings. Last on the bottom shelf is a basket of my chipboard shapes. And note... I even labeled everything!

Continuing to move into the room, we have the shelves above my computer station. Some stayed the same, some are quite different (the very top used to be piled with finished layouts and projects from classes I've taken over the years.)

 New Scrap Attic - computer shelf tour

My sewing machine is still up there... I wish I could put that on a table with my Cricut and Silhouette and stuff so I could use it more, but for now this will have to work.

Moving on to the back-left corner of the room... when I redid the setup, I decided not to have any of the shelves or anything go into the corner since it's harder to get to stuff that way. I lost space by doing it, but I made a semi-circle and curved away from the corners so I could easily get to everything (and no temptation to pile things in the space for the drawers to open). I love it. Good thing I got rid of so much stuff, though, since I lost the room for the giant bin-shelf thingy that I had been using.

 New Scrap Attic - back-left corner tour

This is where I can just turn around from my desk and grab flowers or Thickers. One thing I realized about myself is that I actually enjoy pawing through a basket of things to search for the perfect embellishment, as long as they're sorted and organized to some extent. So the flowers are sorted by color and then certain types of them are in baggies and stuff in the basket. (Yeah, there are a LOT of flowers. Mostly Prima... and believe it or not, I got rid of some! But I did say I have too much... lol.) I also have way more Thickers than any sane person needs, but this is after I cut out about 1/3 of them! That warehouse sale is evil. (And I can't wait for this year! lol.)

At the very bottom are open "drawers" of punches... squares, stars and 6-petal flowers. Remember those old Family Treasures punch sets from like 10 years ago? Still got 'em. And I use those, they're just much more accessible now. The rest is mostly diecutting stuff and then the tower of drawers is mostly for paints and mists and a few art supplies I use a lot (like modeling paste! yay!)

Next up...

 New Scrap Attic - Paper Cubes Tour

Something I finally admitted to myself is that I rarely use colored cardstock anymore, so having 12 bins of it was kind of pointless. So I cut down to 5-6 sheets each of the colors I really loved, and the rest will be sold. I also cut my patterned paper down by about half. I thought it would be harder to get rid of the paper since I get attached to it, but once I got into the rhythm, I was able to really plow through it and really narrow it down to stuff I'll use.

And I love having my punches displayed! My other border punches are in a bin on the shelf just to the left... they just don't stand up, but I love how easy they are to get to now. And they look pretty :)

In the right corner is where my shape punches are and the beginning of my stamp collection.

 New Scrap Attic - Stamp and Punch area

For the two binders of acrylic stamps, you can see how those are organized here. I didn't change the organization of the binders other than to add tabs to label the sections by theme so I can flip to them more quickly.

Next is immediately to the left of my desk, and this is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I knew I'd have to sacrifice space for other stuff to do it, but it worked out and I love it.

 New Scrap Attic - Left of Desk

I used another tiered pantry organizer to set out some of my favorite mounted stamps. Before, they were piled in a basket on the bottom shelf of my desk, and I hardly used them because it was too hard to get in there (stamps being harder to paw through than flowers... lol.) Now that they're out, I know I'll use them more. And I love how they look too. :)

Looking down in the cubes, I have all my Papertrey Ink stamps on the left because I use them a ton, and then adhesives and washi / decorative tapes... I use those a lot and I had them stored in 3 different places before. Doh. I also put the colors of cardstock that I use the most right there - kraft, white and black. And I didn't until this point realize exactly how much American Crafts white cardstock I have. I think I'm good for a while. (Shaking my head.)

Next up: my desk.

New Scrap Attic Desk Tour

The room is so small that I couldn't back up far enough so I had to take several pictures to get it all... oh well!

I moved my circle punches over to the desk because I use them a ton and I think this will really help.

I bought very little to redo the room - I mostly re-purposed stuff I was already using. But, I bought this stamp pad holder because I was sick of having my stamp pads stacked 3-6 deep in a drawer (again, stored in 3 different places. No... 4 places! Yikes.) I tested every one of them and then set aside the ones I haven't used in a long time to sell / donate.

One of the other things I bought was a tiered rotating caddy Harbor Freight for my desk (thank you Pinterest!) It was only $20 and helps free up a lot of surface space and still keep things really handy. I've been seeing people decorate them, but for now I'm just going to leave mine plain (it's black metal). It holds scissors and pens, glue dots and my tape runner, my pin cushion, my most-used stamp pads and mini alpha stamp sets... stuff like that.

And the last part of the room - to the right of the desk under the other sloped ceiling.

New Scrap Attic - right of desk

This is where I have all my embellishments, ribbon and lace, journaling books, etc... Again, I don't mind rummaging to find what I want, but some of the drawers are a little full so I hope this works. This is the one area of the room that I'm not 100% sure on, but I think it will be okay for now. Besides - if I start using stuff, the drawers will start to get emptier, right?

A few last views:

 New Scrap Attic - close-up views

Whew... that's it! Sorry I got so long-winded with this one. I guess the length of the blog post is commensurate with the amount of time the project took, huh? But it's done! And I can breathe! It feels so good just sitting in here drinking it in. Now I need to actually do some projects... finish up my December Daily, maybe? (It's not February yet Erin!)

And I'm off... I think I'll sleep well tonight. Play time tomorrow!


Project Life Week 3

Well, I've made it three weeks now, and given the state of my craft room, I'm really exited that I was able to force myself to step away from the reorganizing project to work on something else! This was kind of a big week for me as you can see below...

Project Life 2012 Week 3 Edited

I broke away from the standard template this week, and I like it. I also had a ton to share, so I needed to customize it a bit anyway.

On the left side is my big news:

Project Life 2012 Week 3 left edited

I accepted an offer with a company in Salt Lake and I'm starting my new job on February 1st. This was both a long time in coming and unexpected. I'm going to go work for a friend / former co-worker from Ancestry who's been working on recruiting me for the last few months. At first I wasn't all that interested, but we got to talking and it developed slowly although for a while, I didn't think anything would come of it. Last month things kind of jumped forward all of a sudden and then we got to the final stages of the process two weeks ago and then last week I got the verbal offer, followed by the official offer letter. I hadn't planned on jumping companies again so soon - I feel like a bit of a jerk for leaving after only 7 months, but this is the reason I went back for my MBA, and it's too good of an opportunity to pass up.

I'm going in at the director level, and I'm nervous and excited. Excited because it's a great company, great product, great people and an opportunity to really use my education and experience. Nervous because an offer this good has responsibilities and expectations to match. But I'm up for the challenge. The only thing I'm not sure I'm up for is the commute... lol. I'm not really driving any further distance-wise, but the traffic is much worse heading into the city. I'm sure I'll get used to it soon enough :) And the location right in the center of the city has a lot to recommend it. Should be fun!

Project Life 2012 Week 3 right

On the left side of the page, you can see the "before" and "during" collages of the Great Craft Attic Overhaul. It took almost a week just to get the room mostly cleaned out, and I'm slowly putting it back together. It gets overwhelming, but one of the things Julie said to do in her posts was to make a list of the top 10 supplies you use the most, followed by the second 10 most used. I added a 3rd, and I use it as a check-list to help me decide what to work on next when looking at all of this stuff spread everywhere makes me want to hide in a corner and cry for a while. (I can't even count the number of times the phrase "what was I thinking?!?!" has crossed my mind in the last week.)

I posted before pictures of the room last week... here are a few of what my upstairs looked like at one point in the last few days. I think it got slightly worse, but now it's starting to get a bit better. The piles are being swapped out for slightly smaller ones of things I'm going to sell or donate. That's another project I don't want to think about right now, however. Because it's going to be another big one. Sigh.

Craft Attic During Organizing

That one on the bottom right was after I finished taking stuff out. All the stuff still in there I organized in the room and then hauled out what I'm getting rid of (I cut down my paper by more than HALF!!!). I also rearranged the furniture and stuff. Going from corner to corner like above was one of the problems... I couldn't access some of that stuff so I've changed that. I lose a little room, but I gain a much more accessible and peaceful setup. It's going to be awesome if I ever finish! I didn't anticipate that it would take this long. I should have... but it's probably for the best that I didn't realize it until it was too late. lol.

Finally, Saturday night we had a little farewell party for my friend Brent who's moving his family to Japan for a 3-year assignment with the military. We all gathered at his parents' house in Provo for a potluck dinner, games, and lots of talking and laughing.

Roper's Going Away 1 1-21-12

Roper's Going Away 1 1-21-12

The food was delicious and the games were a blast (although I still don't know how I chose Chad's card in Apples to Apples ALL THREE TIMES that it was my turn to pick the winning red card. I swear it wasn't on purpose, but he apparently knows me better than I thought. lol.) The downside of the night was that it was quite snowy out, and a neighborhood teenager came to the door to let us know he had slid and accidentally hit Chad's car. That was a bummer, but everything was handled really well and the car was still totally driveable, so I think it will be okay in the end. Fortunately for those of us driving north, the snow stopped and the roads were pretty clear for the drive home.

Anyway... that was last week. This week I'm trying to get a bit more balance instead of all the 2am nights working in the craft room. I'm hoping to finish it up soon, though. I've been really inspired and the new space is going to be just fabulous... I can't wait to get it finished so I can make something!


Fun Sharing...

I just wanted to pop in with a quick video share. This is a recent fun video put together by our video team at work. It's been a treat to work with such a talented group of people! You'd never know we do all this stuff in-house. This was a fun project for the month:

 

In other news, my plans to finish my December Daily and then finish the Scrap Attic renovation were totally blown by my complete inability to stop part-way through the making of the Reorganization Disaster Area to work on something. I get a tad obsessive about projects like this, to which my lack of sleep this week can attest. I've taken a few pictures that I need to upload - now that I can finally get to my computer again, I'll try and get them up. It's not a pretty site. It looks like a crafting bomb went off in my upstairs... I think it's actually a fire hazard with the way my hallway and landing are barely navigable. lol.

But last night I finally got to the point of starting to move things back in again, although I'm still organizing as I go. I just don't have enough room to completely unload the room and spread things out so stuff like sorting all of the paper and re-arranging furniture is having to happen in a somewhat cramped fashion. But it's happening! The pile of things I'm going to sell or donate is growing exponentially. Pictures coming soon...


Catching Up... December Daily Day 23

I managed to get one step closer to being caught up... I didn't have a lot of time tonight, but I did get one more day done in my December Daily. I added a few pictures from my camera, a few instax shots, Rick and Erin's Christmas card and bits and pieces that I saved from receipts and stuff from shopping.

December Daily Day 23

This book is getting too thick for the rings! Good thing I'm almost done :)


Project Life Week 2

Woohoo! Am I on the ball this week or what? It's kind of my goal to do my weekly layout on Sunday afternoon... I'm sure I won't always be able to, but I got it done this afternoon. Here's my little summary from last week:

Project Life 2012 Week 2

Left side has Monday through Thursday:

Project Life 2012 Week 2 left - edited

(sorry for the blurring... just a little something I need to keep in the bag for now in case it doesn't pan out. I'll share soon if it all works out!)

And the right is Friday - Saturday, plus my "keeping healthy" weekly update:

Project Life 2012 Week 2 right

So that's this last week. Next up? I need to finish my December Daily. But I realized that the reason I keep putting it off is directly related to my next big project. And by big, I mean ENORMOUS. I finally decided that my tiny little craft room organization projects aren't really getting to the heart of the problem. I need a total rehaul on this room. Just as I decided this is what I needed to do, Julie posted her series of craft room organization posts this last week, which I read avidly. As much as it pains me, her advice on how to get started is exactly what I need to do. I need to empty the room out, start making piles, and just start over. Why? Because this is what it looks like right now:

Craft Attic Before Organizing

I know, right? How is it even possible that I've done as much as I have in this mess? I've already started pulling out things that I won't need to finish the book. My guest bedroom is going to be a disaster zone for a while. And my upstairs hallway... the landing... and who knows what else! But I can already breathe easier so I'm going to finish the book and then gut the rest of the room. But the computer will stay put, so I can keep up with my digital stuff while I work. I'll try and post progress reports as I go. I'm actually quite nerdily looking forward to all of the organizing in my near future. :)

TTYL!


December Daily: Day 18

*Note - I have no idea why Typepad published this at the top... I was just putting in the non-blurred photos. Usually it just updates. Weird. Maybe because I'm a beta tester? Anyway... just ignore and scroll down for the *real* new post.

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Today, as I wrote in my entry below, was the day I had circled on my mental calendar as the day I needed to get through before the stress would go away. Most everything on my list is now checked off (or it will be, once I go down and move the whites to the dryer... lol) and I just need to get through a few days of work, pack my suitcase, and make it out of bed for a 5am shuttle. I can't wait!

Since Shimelle's prompt for today was about Christmas dinner and we haven't 100% decided what it's going to be this year (we've started doing a different type of international cuisine each year. We've done French and Italian... this year we might do Irish - a tip of the hat to my upcoming trip to Ireland.) So I once again just included details of the day. The biggest one? I sang in church today. My voice teacher would be so proud... when we finished my lessons in August I promised I'd do it, and I did! I sang a duet with a lady in my ward - we did an arrangement of What Child is This? that was really quite beautiful. The arrangement, that is... I think I did okay. I sang the right words and hit the right notes, and for me, that was big. lol.

 December Daily Day 18 a

 I included my music and the program that listed our musical number.

 December Daily Day 18 b

I had an "if I get around to it" thing to make which I got around to making this weekend, so it will be showing up under the tree. I made calendars with pictures of the kids for everyone - the parents get calendars of their own kids, and the grandparents get calendars with both. They turned out really cute. I used a digital template from Paislee Press for the pages and covers, printed them in 5x7 at Costco and bound them with my bind-it-all. I also made a little cardstock stand so they can be put on desks.

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 I made this journaling page a 6x8 so I could attach it to the sheet music and see the music behind it. I like the effect. Because of that, the page itself is pretty simple.

December Daily Day 18 journaling

And a little pocket page where I put a printed copy of an email I got today from a guy I met in Peru. Not really Christmas related, but a pleasant surprise and a fun email that I want to remember.

December Daily Day 18 c

k. Time to take care of that laundry and get to bed before midnight for once!


Finished! Peru Scrapbook on the Road

My short list of projects to get done included photographing and posting my Peru Scrapbook on the Road. And today, I finally managed to get it done. I came back from getting my Bountiful Basket (really great stuff this week! Plus, a gallon of extra-virgin olive oil that I can't wait to try) and the light was pretty good so I pulled out my camera and took pictures. I apologize that some of them are a tad blurry... but I'm just too lazy to go back and re-do them. lol.

I didn't take pictures of all of the pages - it was over 3" thick! and a lot of it was writing... but I tried to get a good sampling of what the inside looked like when I had finished and added the 5x7's I got printed before Christmas.

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 1

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 2

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 3

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 4

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 5

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 5

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 5

And that's it! I love looking back through it. It really was a totally fabulous trip and it's fun to relive the memories. I really love doing these books... coming home with a finished scrapbook is just so lovely! Now I just need to do my photobook :)


Project Life Week 1

Well, check one thing off the list! I managed to finish my week 1 layout for Project Life. I really hope I can keep this up all year... I think it will get faster and easier the more I do it. Right now, I still have a hard time finding the digi stuff to use and deciding what goes where - just like paper, I guess. But I'm working on reorganizing my digi supplies so hopefully as I use them more I'll get this all figured out. But it's done! Last week actually had quite a bit going on - I think I'll have several weeks that are only one page, or maybe I'll skip a week here or there if it's really slow, but I hope not.

Anyway, here's this week's layout:

Project Life 2012 Week 1

I used the Project Life page templates on Jessicasprague.com. I have some of the journaling and filler cards too, but didn't use those this week (I got mostly Clementine). Everything else was just a mix of stuff that I bought for PL or already had... I shop mostly at oscraps.com, mscraps.com, designhousedigital.com and recently, the Lily Pad. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask and I can track down where I got something.

Left side:

Week 1-a

New Year's Day, Rick's birthday and the last night before I went home.

Week 1-b

My last day at home before an evening flight to Utah, and then getting everything ready to get healthy again. The fresh produce addict is back! I'm sure food and new recipes will show up a lot in my layouts as the year goes on... I think I'm also going to include snippets from my progress on Weight Watchers, now that I'm back strict on the plan.

I scanned in the ticket stub and the Costco receipt. I think I'll do that for pretty much everything (only drawback to digital? No hidden journaling. Oh well.) A benefit to scanning, the papers don't fade (especially heat sensitive papers) and I can chuck the originals now :)

k... I have an early morning tomorrow, so it's time to see how much of tonight's Biggest Loser I can watch before I crash.


Aubrey's 1st Year: Digi Layouts

*Warning... LOTS of digi layout images ahead! Also, extremely excessive cuteness. Just sayin'.

I had posted the Shutterfly previews of the two photobooks I made for Nicole and Erin for Christmas, but I also wanted to put up some of my favorite layouts. Since I did the one for Erin in a Shutterfly style, I don't have any actual layouts (kind of a drawback if you don't order an extra copy of the book... bleh) but I have lots of faves from Aubrey's album. It was a big book - over 50 pages (that's a lot of layouts for a beginning digi person!) and I narrowed it down some, but not tons. There were too many pages with priceless pictures of Aubrey's *many* comical facial expressions. She's really a trip.

Title page - I just used a collage making tool to do the #1:

Aubrey Title Page

First month:

Aubrey Month 1-1

Aubrey Month 1-2

One of the layouts for the second month:

Aubrey Month 2-1

Two from the third...

Aubrey Month 3-1

Aubrey Month 3-3

skipping to five:

Aubrey Month 5-1

Aubrey Month 5-2

one side of one spread from six:

Aubrey Month 6-2

One from the 7th month - I just couldn't resist the funny faces on this spread:

Aubrey Month 7-2

And a few from 8 (priceless expressions. I laughed until I cried at a few of these)

Aubrey Month 8-1

Aubrey Month 8 Aubrey Month 8-3

Skipping to the 10th month - I absolutely couldn't resist adding the conversation bubbles to this:

Aubrey Month 10

and 2 from month eleven:

Aubrey Month 11-1

Aubrey Month 11-3

And month twelve. The first one slays me. I just love that outfit.

Aubrey Month 12-1

Best. expressions. ever. Look closely at the right side:

Aubrey Month 12-2

And the last layout - a summary of the 1st birthday party:

Aubrey Month 12-3
I loved both of these books... so much fun to make! I don't know if I'll be able to do more in the future, but we'll see. It was really a stretch to get these done, printed and delieverd in time for Christmas... even without the procrastination!

Next up in my catching-up blog series:

- I finished my Peru scrapbook on the road - I need to take pictures and post. It's huge and I love it.

- Finish and post the rest of my December daily. It will happen. I swear.

- Post week 1 of Project Life. I've been planning and preparing to do it, but just couldn't bring myself to work on it last night. I've wanted to do this for a while and I'm excited that this seems to be *the* year of Project Life... hopefully the fact that everyone is doing it will help keep me motivated.


Catching Up... December Daily Days 21-22

I can't believe the new year is already a week old! It's a good thing keeping up with blogging wasn't a resolution. lol. But I'm back in Utah, unpacked and back in the swing of daily life and trying to catch up with a few things.

Before I left Virginia, Erin mentioned that she was looking forward to seeing the rest of my December Daily... sometime by the end of February. I think that was a challenge. So, tonight I caught up on days 21-22.

Day 21 - getting packed up and ready to head home for Christmas.

December Daily Day 21

I even managed to take a picture while I was packing!

Day 22: My flight back home and then a few photos from meeting the family at Bertucci's for dinner that night.

December Daily Day 22

The Bertucci's pictures are in a little American Crafts 4x6 page protector that's stapled to the larger one.

Blog - Bertucci's 12-22-11

Bertucci's has such delicious rolls... hot from the oven. Yum. Eraleigh was cute - she was a little shy seeing me again at first, but that ended quickly. She was absolutely in love with her Frosty t-shirt - I saw that quite a few times while I was home!

More on the Christmas holidays coming soon...

In the meantime, I'm back into my healthy eating and exercising. Isn't that what everyone does at the beginning of a new year? I had forgotten how much I love bringing home bags of fresh produce and how delicious a strawberry can be when you're really hungry. Since I'm back home and am going to be here for quite a while, it was time to stock up the fridge again and I've been snacking on berries and roasting veggies like a mad woman. So good.

Today, I did a little cooking after braving the snow to go to the grocery store (admittedly, the snow wasn't that bad. It's the kind I actually like - big, fluffy flakes that coat the trees and houses but not the roads!) I made a risotto-style dish that's half arborio rice and half bulgur wheat. It ends up being a little healthier and more filling that way. Then I packed it with fresh winter veggies, some spices and some fresh handmade chicken sausage from the butcher.

Blog - Kale, Squash and Chicken Sausage Risotto

I made it just like regular risotto - onions and garlic sauteed in 2 tbsp olive oil and then added the grains (1/2 cup each). I had cut and sauteed a big bunch of kale and about 1cup brussels sprouts beforehand (using 0 cal olive oil spray) as well as cooking up the chicken sausage (about 3/4 pound). After I added 1/2 C alchohol-free white wine (fewer calories) and starting to add the warm chicken broth (1 box), I threw in about 1 1/2 C of butternut squash, a few bay leaves and some ground thyme (seasoning with kosher salt and fresh pepper all the way through). Toward the end of the cooking I put in the greens and about 2oz of grated parmesan (the cabbage flavor takes over if you put it in too early). Before serving, I drizzled just a touch of agave nectar and sprinkled a bit more parmesan. The recipe serves 6 and it's only 8 points-plus on Weight Watchers... pretty good for a risotto! I meant to add tomatoes too since they go so well with kale... I'll probably slice up some camparis when I do the leftovers.

And, while I was at the store, they had gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and also some fresh, homemade mozarella (made earlier today) so I decided to get them along with fresh basil to make some caprese.

Blog - Heirloom Tomato Caprese

I just think heirlooms are so beautiful - I'd love to grow tons of them. Maybe if I ever have a garden.

Well, we have 9am church tomorrow and I'm teaching Sunday School, so I'm off. Later!