I'm an auntie again!

Adorable-Nephew-Brayden joined us today... our own little Easter miracle :)

Brayden is here 2I can't wait until I have a chance to meet this little guy! Isn't he adorable? The perfect addition to a wonderful Easter. We're so glad to have him in our family.


What have I been up to?

I knew it had been a while since I last posted, but when I looked at the date I figured I'd better get something up here before so much time goes by that I don't want to try and get caught up!

First up, last month I went down to NYC to meet up with Angela and some of her friends for a trip to the Renegade Craft Fair. Super fun! Hot, though. We finished it up with some delicious Chinese food in Flushing. Yum.

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Next up, I'm still tangling... a few more of the projects I've worked on over the last few weeks.

Zentangle Colored Rays - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Leaves 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Leaves 1 - Gwen Lafleur
I was going to fill in all of the hexagons on that last one, but I liked the look and the vote on Instagram was unanimous to keep some spaces empty. So there it is!

I also went down to DC to see my family over the 4th. Many photos to edit... I'm feeling good that I got them off of my camera! We went to the pancake breakfast and parade at the church, played in the water at home, took Eraleigh to see Despicable Me 2 for her 5th birthday, grilled and had fireworks, a day at King's Dominion, and then just relaxing at my parents' house. It was a much needed break and so good to see everyone.

Sparklers
Then most recently, our Mixed Media Meet-up at the Papercraft Clubhouse was learning to use the Melting Pot. This was my favorite project - we took patterned tissue, stained it, and then dipped it in UTEE (ultra-thick embossing enamel) to make these really cool leaf embellishments. I need to make more!

Melt Art Project 1
Then this last week, I took a day off and Angela came up so we could go to ConnectiCon in Hartford. We felt a little old, and a bit out of place (I didn't really notice, though...) but we were there to see Brandon Sanderson (fellow BYU Alum! We were there at the same time, actually.) We got to meet him at his booth doing autographs and again that evening at a Q&A (we may have been in the front row. Nerds!) We also browsed the shopping floor and some of the different rooms to see what they had. Needless to say, the people watching was fabulous! We spent the entire day trying to guess who people were dressed up as. We didn't recognize very many costumes - lots of anime and game characters. But still fun.

Here's me with Brandon Sanderson - I got to wear a mist cloak too (goes with his Mistborn series of books, which is seriously brilliant.)

Wearing a Mistcloak - Meeting Brandon Sanderson
The day was lots of fun, and inspired me to finally read the last book in the Wheel of Time series, which Brandon finished writing. I just finished it today - I couldn't stop reading. It was excellent but at the same time, I'm finally glad to have reached the ending! 14 books, most over 800 pages. Good stuff. But now I can move on to read the rest of Brandon's books - several of which I already own and are sitting in that to-read pile. And since it's so hot lately, reading is about all I have the energy to do after work, so I'm starting to make a dent in said pile!

Anyway, that's what's been up... and now I'm off to bed!


The Calm Before the Storm

I've found something I don't like about living in Connecticut. Sitting here on an abnormally quiet Sunday evening, worrying... stressing... trying to stave off anxiety attacks over the coming hurricane. Most of the shoreline was evacuated today which is kind of scary. I'm far enough from the actual shore that I should be okay, but that's only a partial relief. I'm sitting here, constantly worrying over whether or not I took this seriously enough. Do I have enough water? Enough food? Should I have bought more batteries or a generator or something? I probably should have refreshed the stuff in my 72-hour kit. I'm high enough that I shouldn't have to worry about flooding, but there are only so many places where I can park my car, and none of them is particularly safe. I had to settle for not parking directly under the giant maple where I usually park, and hopefully out of the way of as many trees as possible. I pulled some loose branches out of the way and picked up some junk from around the yard and stowed it in the basement, but did I leave any other potential missiles sitting out overlooked? Should I have tried to put my trashcan in the basement?

I'm managing to worry about every.possible.thing. Twenty-seven times. each.

I have a blistering headache and my stomach is in knots. I'm a pretty independent person, but this is one time when being on my own really blows. But it will be okay. Although I've never been this close to the water before, it's not my first hurricane. Unfortunately the memory of the winds slamming into the house and making me afraid the windows were going to give way at any moment isn't helping. lol.

My attempt at blogging as a distraction? Fail. Heh.

Well, since I'm here anyway, and since I haven't been around for a while, I thought I'd share a few things from the last week or so while I still have power.

Last weekend, I hopped on the train late Friday afternoon for a quick trip down to New York City to meet Mom and Nicole. Nicole wanted to come up and see some shows as her birthday present, but we couldn't get a time that would work closer to the actual date, so we planned this as a last minute trip. I had a terrible time getting into the city, but finally made it, got to the hotel near Grand Central, and managed to catch a cab to Times Square in time to catch a little dinner.

The view from our hotel while I was waiting for a cab:

New York B-day trip 1

And then our birthday desserts at the restaurant after I finally found them...

New York B-day trip 2

New York B-day trip 3

As we walked through the square on the way to the theater, we had a little treat! The Naked Cowboy!

New York B-day trip 4
Mom wanted us to go in for a photo, but this was good enough for me!

Then, onto our show for the evening - we saw Mary Poppins, which was really quite wonderful.

New York B-day trip 5
After the show we walked a bit until we could catch a cab, then went back to the hotel and just crashed!

New York B-day trip 6
Saturday morning we slept in, then got up and called and managed to get tickets to Newsies. Woohoo! We also enjoyed the view of the Empire State Building from our room:

New York B-day trip 7
So since we didn't have to go stand in line at the half-price ticket booth, we went over to the restaurants at Grand Central and had lunch at Juniors. They had good reviews on my Foodspotting app, plus Rick swears their cheesecake is the best. I had a salad, but we shared a slice of cheesecake and it was indeed delicious.

Then, off to the theater for our matinee!

New York B-day trip 8
After the show, we went back and picked up mom's car and they dropped me at Grand Central before heading out to drive back home. While I was at the train station, I stopped in at the Apple store to see if I could get an appointment at the Genius bar to fix my iPod. Both my iPod and my Kindle crapped out while I was home in Virginia at the beginning of the month. I'd replaced the Kindle, and as it turned out, I had to replace the iPod too. But doing it at the Genius bar saved me a lot over buying a new one (and of course, it died after my Apple Care expired!) so I was all set and grabbed the train back to New Haven. It was a super fast trip, but it was fun - good to see mom and Nicole, and we saw two really awesome shows. I can't really say which I liked more - they were both outstanding!

In other news, I bought myself a new toy this last week. It wasn't intended to be a birthday present to myself, but it works out that way, which is probably going to be a good thing considering that my birthday will probaby be, quite literally, a wash out this year. (Ha!)

Happy birthday to me - new tv
I'd had my old 30" TV since... well, a long time. lol. Like 18 years! So I decided it was finally time to get a new one. Craig and Ryan went with me on Tuesday and we had lunch at Chipotle (Ryan's favorite) and then went to Costco to get the TV. I had narrowed it down to a few choices, and they helped me make the final decision, then we loaded this bad boy into Ryan's truck. After work Tuesday they all came over and brought it in and installed it while I made a thank-you dinner - braised short ribs and creamy parmesan-garlic polenta with yummy appetizers and stuff. It was delicious, and the TV is awesome. I'm absolutely loving it! Of course, I had to get a blu-ray to match... I feel like I'm finally out of the technology dark ages. It's lovely.

And today was Adorable-Niece-Aubrey's 2nd birthday. We had a terrible time getting my Skyped in for the party (interference from the storm killing the signal?) but finally I switched to FaceTime and that worked great... in time for me to see her devouring her cake and opening my present - I got her a hoppy ball thing that she can bounce on. She's still a little too short for it, but loves having someone set her on it and help her bounce. She had quite the birthday, and it was fun to see and chat with everyone.

Aubrey's 2nd birthday call
The kids always love seeing me on the video, and this time William got in on it too. They were all trying to give me kisses on the screen... so adorable. What did we do before technology got this advanced? I love how it makes it easier for our family to stay close no matter where we are.

Well, that's about it. Other than that, I've been doing laundry and cooking things to have that I can eat cold... trying to get as ready as I can for the storm. So now that I'm done with this, I think I'll go back to trying to keep myself from panicking. Hopefully everything will be okay and we'll all be safe and sound two days from now!


All moved in!

I've actually been moved in for a week, but things have been kind of busy so I just haven't had time to sit down and blog!

First of all, I love it here. Love it. I love my job, love my house, love the town, love the people. It's one of those times where it's so obvious that this was the right thing in the right place at the right time that it's kind of ridiculous. I'm very happy to be here, and thrilled to be working again. I've actually enjoyed it so much that I've been in the office BEFORE 9AM, every.single.day. And if you know me, you're probably still picking your jaw up off the floor.

My mom and dad have been here this weekend, and we've been having fun playing. I've been showing them around the town and trying out some of the great restaurants here in town. We did some shopping, I got a MUCH needed haircut, and we put some finishing touches on the house.

A few pictures from the last three weeks...

I completely forgot to take pictures of the moving truck after they got here, but it's pretty much the reverse of this:

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Then Sunday night after the movers left, I went over to Mindy and Darren's for a little farewell dinner with the Peanuts. It was great to see everyone again one last time before I took off. Not that we won't see each other again at some point!

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Monday I took another load of stuff to DI, turned in my equipment at Comcast, got some car snacks and gased up the car, and then Melody came over and saved my bacon by helping me get everything cleaned so I could turn in my apartment keys the next morning. Then that night I went to her house and we had some farewell snacks and fun with her family plus Tim and Dustin.

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And then Tuesday morning I was off! I drove by myself with a packed car and my iPod and GPS and I was off. I stopped in Kearney, Nebraska the first night and then just outside of Toledo, Ohio the second night. I got to Branford at about 5pm on Thursday evening and picked up my keys at the real estate agency and then got to the house and unloaded the car. At that point I was just exhausted and set up my air mattress and crashed.

I spent a few days picking up necessities and figuring out where things are, and doing a lot of reading.

The last time I posted were the pictures I took while I was waiting for the movers to get here on Sunday... they ended up coming late because of a morning job that took longer than planned and then bad traffic on 95. Then it took several hours to unload and they didn't finish until about 9pm, so I didn't really get started unpacking that night. And then Monday, I started my new job.

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Did I mention I love my new job? I do. I've been there two weeks now and it's been awesome. I have plenty to do, I'm getting looped in and up to speed and all that pretty fast, and the people are just great. Of course, the people are the main reason I turned down my other opportunities and took this one. And I'm excited that it's turning out even better than I had hoped.

I kept unpacking in the evenings after work, and then did a big push last weekend to get pretty close to finished. I did a few last things last Monday and then I was pretty much done!

IMG_0208(I hauled ALL of the boxes and paper down to the basement of the house on Tuesday, and it was quite a job. They won't last in the humidity here so I'm going to have to list them on Craig's List, but at least they're out of the house for now!)

A few of the rooms as I was finishing...

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(You see a lot of fans around because the house doesn't have A/C - which it really only needs about 2 months of the year. Next summer I might get a few window units or something. We'll see.)

And of course, the all important scrapbook room!

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This room is easily twice the size of my scrap attic, and I can't believe I fit it all in there! Of course, in here I have one entire wall that I can't use because it's full of closets (which hold the stuff from my guest room closet - the guest room here doesn't have one, as well as my coat closet). And I also tried to keep things from covering the windows, so it's more spread out instead of using vertical space. But I love it - the yellow walls and wood floors are awesome. And since the master bedroom didn't have cable hookups, I put the 2nd TV in here so I can watch the Food Network and hockey games while I work - I think this will work great!

So I had Wednesday night where I just relaxed and relished being done with the unpacking. Then Thursday night, we had a work Happy Hour at a place near our office where the eCommerce team headed for some after work drinks and snacks.

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I started with straight-up water on the rocks, but eventually switched to virgin frozen peach margharitas which were pretty tasty. We ordered apps (it was Mexican) and then desserts (it was also unhealthy). After a few hours there, a group of us broke off and went to a different bar close to the water (funny enough, it was the singles who stuck it out - everyone else went home to their families). So me, my boss Craig, our analyst Ryan, and Cassi who was down working in the office for a few days (she normally telecommutes from MA) went to the bar where I switched to Shirley Temples. Lots of grenadine... yum! Part of the fun with this group is that I've fallen in with some fellow foodies who also happen to be super fun to hang out with. I'm slowly being shown all the great places to eat with the promise of many more opportunities to sample the local cuisine and entertainment scene. I can't wait!

Friday my boss "made" us all leave early for the holiday weekend, so I went home to get the house picked up and to get some of the moving dust out of the way before my parents came. They got here for dinner and I took them to one of the places I've tried for dinner and we also drove along the water. We did more shopping, eating and sight seeing on Saturday, went to church at my new ward on Sunday, and today we did more shopping to get curtain rods and a few sets of drapes for the house. Because of the way the windows are here (old and slightly slanted plus not being allowed to drill into them) I had to get tension rods for all the windows. And with lots more windows, I needed more drapes. So we hit Target, Ikea and Walmart and got what I needed between those. Then my mom and I busted out the sewing machine and measuring tape and got to work.

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We hung everything up first to see what we needed to cut off, then I did the measuring and cutting and mom did the sewing. As she finished hemming, I got them ironed and hung.

And my dad, well he did this:

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(can't say I blame him!)

I've now got drapes up in all but two of the rooms - the front two rooms I'm waiting on until the contractor comes to replace the windows this week. Mostly because there's a wasps nest in one of the guest room windows, and I only want to move things once in the scrapbook room. But the other rooms look great! So now it's finally really feeling like home. Still a little weird / new, but it's a lot homier now. I love it and I can't wait to have people over! Next up: wide screen HD TV (WAY overdue... I'm still using the huge 30" Sony I bought in college!) and maybe a BBQ and some patio furniture for my porch. We could do some serious game-day partying here! But we'll see when I get to it... I have time :)

Whew! Well, there's my huge catch-up post. I'm going to try and do a little Project Life catch-up as well. I might not do all 4 weeks individually, but I'll pull something together to cover the last month. It's been crazy, but kind of awesome too. And now, I'm off to finish up a few things and then hit the sack so I can be up bright and early for work in the morning.

Later!


First birthday mini scrapbook

Yup... Adorable-Nephew-William turned one last month and there were so many cute pictures from his party that I decided to make a little mini album with them.

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I've had this album for a year or two... waiting for the perfect project. It's a Doodlebug 4x8 chipboard album and I love that the pages are white. I decided to leave them that way and make it clean and colorful.

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I used lots of different papers and tapes - I had a few sheets of an old KI Memories birthday line that I loved. I also thought those Basic Grey Woolies were fun with this - I used one for that big circle along with some Jolee's candle stickers.

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William is in a car and truck phase, so Rick and Erin made him this super cute construction cake with lots of trucks on it - it was the theme for his party and it turned out really fun!

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So to go with the construction / truck theme, I downloaded a few designs for my Cameo and used them througout the album. I love how they turned out!

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I wasn't there in person, but I was Skyped in for the party and it was fun to watch him open all of his gifts... William is such a cutie!

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His word lately is "wow!" and there were several during the party - especially for his little car ramp tower thingy that he loved.

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More trucks... I had to have a few for when he got his new truck push and ride!

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I really like the tall photos that I used in this book - it worked great! It also made the book pretty fast and easy to put together.

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I printed out all the photos and then went through and adhered them in the album. Then I went through again and added patterned paper around the photos. Because of the way I did it, I didn't have to lift up photos or anything (and on the few where the photos are on top, I just did the paper first and added the photos).

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Then I went through again and added the journaling (mostly taken from Erin's blog) and then added washi tape, stickers, and other little bits.

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This was a fun and fast project, and a great momento of William's first birthday. Hopefully someday he'll love looking through this :)


Back from Tahoe!

Okay, so I've actually been back a few days, just busy. There are big changes coming around here... it's going to be quite a challenge if things work out the way I think they will. Cryptic, I know. But hopefully I can share everything soon.

In the meantime, I just got back from my family reunion at Lake Tahoe. It was so fun to see everyone! I need to put photos into an album to share, but for now, here's my finished Scrapbook on the Road. I picked out 48 favorite pictures and had them printed as 5x7s and then used a coupon I had for Persnickety Prints and got a bunch of Instagram prints done (which I loved!)

Here's the cover - I used a Heidi Swapp memory album from a few years ago - the pages are 5x7 and it's a smallish 3-ring binder. I used a lot of the pages that came with it and added some of my own.

Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road Cover 1

And here are the inside pages... there are a lot (and I didn't even take pictures of all of the pages that are just photos or just journaling), so I'm using the thumbnail gallery below. Enjoy!

  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 1
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 2
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 3
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 4
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 5
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 6
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 7
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 9
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 10
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 11
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 12
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 13
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 14
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 15
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 16
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 17
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 18
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 19
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 20
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 21
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 22
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 23
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 24
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 25
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 26
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 27
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 28
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 29
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 30
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 31
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 32
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 33
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 34
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 35
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 36
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 37
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 38
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 39
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 40
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 41
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 42
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 43
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 41
Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 41

Now I've got to get caught up on my Project Life. Hopefully I can knock that out soon... I hate not being caught up! But, life comes first, and I've got a lot going on right now so we'll see. If I don't? No biggie, right?


Project Life & Clinton Kelly

Yup, this week had an unexpected bonus! It makes me really glad I started my Week in the Life project on Saturday... still plenty more to come about this weekend.

In the meantime, I came down with something funky late Thursday night - to the extent where I had to sleep with the big puke bowl next to my bed. You know the one... not used, but I was miserable all the same. I thought I was feeling better on Friday morning but I was sitting in a meeting just before 10am and it came back again as bad as ever. I stuck it out a few more hours, but my boss sent me home. I stopped at the store looking for diet ginger ale (which they didn't have... argh!) and chicken soup and saltines. I was pretty much out of it until late Friday night. Saturday I woke up around 4am suddenly feeling fine. Went back to sleep and barely got up in time to go volunteer at Bountiful Baskets (which I only did because I was better and I'm positive that I was sick from something I ate and not a bug).

Then I saw a text I'd missed from Melody inviting me to go to the City Creek Macy's to see Clinton Kelly. I had a ton of stuff I should have been doing, but hello. I love What Not to Wear so I decided to go make a day of it. We saw him and the fashion show and then I got to meet him and get his autograph in a copy of his book. We had a lovely little chat - he was delightful, and just as fun in person as on tv. After that we did some shopping - Sephora, the Loft... a very late lunch at Kneaders - an all around fun day during which I spent way too much money. lol.

Just a few photos - more will be coming when I do my week in the life spread for Saturday - I'm already behind!!!

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They took our bags and personal belongings before it was our turn and gave them back after, so no photos with him. But since I went before Melody I got my bag back in time to get a few photos of her and the kids.

IMG_1463And one of me so you know I really was there. lol.

IMG_1466Fortunately he couldn't see that I was wearing flip flops from where he was sitting. I know... total no-no. But my arthritis was bugging me so it was that or tennis shoes. Which would you pick? At least this way you could see my cute pedicure. lol.

There are more pictures, but I need to edit them for AWITL. Until then...

Project Life Blog Banner
Here's last week's spread:

Project Life 2012 Week 16
And the individual pages:

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Project-Life-2012-Week-16-R
I used mostly Paislee Press digi elements this week although the templates are Tiffany Tillman again and the cardstock is Gennifer Bursett.

Time to see how much more I can get done tonight...


Skype and Sketchbook 4

First, I have to say that I love technology. It was so fun to come home from work last night and get on Skype with my iPad so I could be there for my dad's birthday party 2000 miles away.

Dad's Birthday by Skype
It was fun to sing along and watch him blow out the candles and open presents, as well as see what everyone else was doing. Eraleigh kept trying to show me her belly, there were dance moves, and I got to see Aubrey pick up a big slice of cake like it was a sandwich and just scarf the sucker. It was lots of fun (Happy Birthday Dad!)

Second, this week I started another online class - Sketchbook 4 with Kelly Purkey over at Studio Calico. We got the first sketch on Monday and I started it, but yesterday morning I did something to tweak the arthritis in one of my knees and by the end of the day I could hardly walk so instead of scrapping, I spent the evening cuddled up to a heating pad while I watched shows on my DVR. But relaxing is good... and today it's much better than yesterday! I think it was the uno de gato that I put on it this morning - a salve I got from a shaman in the Amazon. lol. I swear it works!

Anyway, tonight I was able to finish the layout for sketch #1 - using a few cute photos of all the kids together.

Cousins - Sketchbook 4 Sketch 1
Everything is from the Studio Calico Story Hour kit and addons - I've pretty much demolished that kit, but I've really loved it... especially the stamps!

Cousins - Sketchbook 4 Sketch 1b
I stamped the journaling - this was to for an assignment from the Scrapbook Stamping workshop I'm still working on.

Cousins - Sketchbook 4 Sketch 1c
And that's it! The second sketch went up today and I can't wait to play with it. But for now, my knee might be feeling better but my head is killing me, so I'm calling it quits and going to get some Aleve and turn my heating pad back on!


Design Your Life

So I think I'm addicted to this online class thing. I'm afraid to count how many I'm currently enrolled in... a lot. But I'm loving it and getting lots of stuff done and learning a few things too. One thing that I've been looking for however, is something that can help me be happy with my layouts on a more consistent basis.

To that end, I had thought about signing up for Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life workshop when she was doing it live on Big Picture Scrapbooking, but it just wasn't a good time since I was still in school. But this last week I found out they had a self-paced version I could sign up for. So I did... right away! I've spent some time in the last few days doing the pre-work and then going through all the information and assignments in week one. And I have lots to share!

First, the title page layout that was part of the pre-work for the course. It's supposed to be "me" on a scrapbook page, using the grid background that Cathy gave us.

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I included some pictures of my favorite scrap subjects, then used a few of the techniques that I feel kind of show some of who I am as a scrapbooker (that just sounded totally cheesy, but I can't think of a better way to say it. lol.) But I like it - cheery and fun with plenty going on, but still kind of graphic.

IMG_1310Some fun pics of the kiddos, and a travel picture of me. And I LOVE that stamp - it's from the Stampin' Bella Lulu collection.

IMG_1311Believe it or not, I'm actually doing all of this in an album. It's crazy. But I think I'll have a sweet reference book when I'm done since I'm adding in the stuff she has us print out for chapter headings and stuff, and I'm inserting some of the pages from the handouts so I can refer back to them without opening the pdfs.

So pre-work done, I moved on to the first chapter. The starting point is all about symmetrical balance. For now at least, the layouts are all based on sketches from Cathy. I'm doing a little to make them more "me," but I'm sticking pretty close to it since the balance we're learning is in the foundation of the page - the size and location of the elements.

Here's the first layout I worked on:

IMG_1304I actually printed the photos on textured cardstock and I love the look. Part of me wanted to go crazy with the embellishments, but I exercised a little self-restraint for once. lol.

IMG_1306Obviously from when I was in Greece last year (I can't believe it was almost a year ago! Yikes... time is seriously flying.) The Parthenon was truly amazing and it seemed like a perfect subject to blow up in an enlargement that big.
IMG_1307I've decided that just looking at (and occasionally lovingly pulling them out to examine up close) my awesome collection of fancy brads is probably not a good idea. So I'm trying to start using them... there are quite a few in these layouts.

The second assignment for the chapter was a 2-page 8.5x11 spread.I decided to go back to Spain for this one.

IMG_1299Ah... Valor. Just thinking about the hot chocolate and churros is making me drool. Just a little.

IMG_1301All of us gathered around the table knocking back giant plates of churros... that was a somewhat frequent occurance during our stay in Madrid. Everything there was open really late, so we ended up there at night after whatever we had been doing that day. The first time was after the flamenco show, when I was starving because the paella was way too fishy for me to eat around the seafood. But I digress.

IMG_1302I used the Studio Calico Story Hour kit / add-ons plus a few brads and some Prima Say-it-in-Studs. This layout doubled for a challenge over on the Studio Calico community to make a layout from a kit plus at least two additional supplies from my stash. I'm digging it.

IMG_1303And now I'm suddenly really hungry.

Moving on...

The last layout for tonight was for the Real World Color assignment. Cathy put together a color palette based on a print ad for carpet - the colors were yellow, orange, brown, and blue. There was also a sketch to go with them. I took a bit more liberty with this sketch... it's mostly true to the original, but I nudged things around a bit.

Gabby GirlI'm still trying to figure out how Aubrey has already picked up that holding the phone with your shoulder move. She's not even 2! Cute, though. That first picture cracks me up.

Gabby girl meme(I did say I wouldn't be able to resist making more of those things... I just can't help it!)

IMG_1314This is another layout that doubles for a challenge over on Studio Calico. This time it was to make a layout with the oldest intact kit you have. This one was mostly still together... from the Summer Camp kit a while ago. The colors worked great with the color palette for the DYL assignment.

Oh, and that last picture is what happens when you take the phone away from Aubrey. lol.

IMG_1315Whew. That's a lot! But I'm thrilled with how much I was able to get done, and I feel like I learned a few things too.

And did I mention I have two more new classes starting tomorrow? Kelly Purkey's Sketchbook 4 and a class by Kerri Bradford on using the Silhouette Studio software. I think I'll learn some great stuff in that one to really use my Cameo to the fullest. It's possible that I've bitten off more than I can chew, but we'll see how it goes. My goal now is to not sign up for more classes until I finish a few! I think I can handle that :)


Because I couldn't resist...

I had to make a meme of this picture of Adorable-Niece-Aubrey.

Broken nail memeThere are some hysterical photos in the batch Brian just posted... some of them are just crying out to be captioned (I'm hoping Aubrey has a sense of humor about it when she gets older. Somehow I think she will.) If I can think of anything suitably witty, I'm going to have to do a few more. She cracks me up.

And a layout... I wanted to do something with these pictures of Eraleigh and William and I struggled a bit with getting this to pull together. I also spent about an hour pouring through all my paper - even in my purge bins, looking for a sheet that I could swear I had that was covered with iPods and stuff. (Probably not the best time management effort on my part.) Not that this paper from American Crafts didn't end up working just fine in the end.

IShareI downloaded the mp3 diecut from the Silhouette store to use in my Cameo - I saw something in a magazine that inspired me to use them as frames for the photos and I think I like the effect.

IShare Close-up 1I used my Crafter's Workshop 6x6 Wonky Circles template and some pigment ink to put the circles on the background - it just needed something and that ended up working perfectly. Of course, I thought of doing it after I had put down the journaling and iPod frames / photos. There are a few smudges of red ink here and there as a result of me not being willing to pull it all back up again to ink (I used my ruler to lay those suckers down in the first place... not doing that again!) Oh well!

IShare Close-up 2Then I just started scrounging around in my stash for stuff that would work. A lot of it ended up being older stuff - I always love when I can put all kinds of fun stuff together on my pages.

IShare Close-up 3Kind of a fun layout to pull together even though it fought me for a while. But I like it now... all is well :)

And with that... signing off here. It's been a long and exhausting week, and I'm super ready for Friday!


A layout!

I know, it's been forever... but I feel like I've totally found my groove again. I can now blame everything on what a disaster the scrap attic was. Yeah... that's it. lol.

Erin sent me these pictures a while ago and I knew I had to make a layout with them - they were just too awesome to not make a layout.

Super Dad and Wonder Girl

Super fun, right?

I had been dying to do something with hexagons and it seemed to fit here, so I got out my Quickutz cookie cutter hexagon dies and went to town with some scrap paper. I also used Smooch Spritz for the red splatters, and those old 7 Gypsies drip bottles for the greenish blue - anyone remember those? I've had them for years and finally used them.

Super Dad and Wonder Girl Close-up 1

Studio Calico star rubons... Thickers, of course... and a really old set of alphabet stamps that I re-discovered - by Rubber Stampede. They're kind of hard to work with, but I like the effect.

Super Dad and Wonder Girl Close-up 2

Washi tape and a Pink Paislee House of 3 ticket finished it off. I'm really liking it!

29 Days of Love Blog Header

And today's prompt was to do a page about someone you love who lives far away. I could have done a lot with this since almost ALL of my loved ones live far away, but I decided to do it about my mom who will LOVE this picture of her (said with all sarcasm. hi mom!)

29 Days of Love Days 6-7

And just today's page - the tag is a pull out with a little journaling on it.

29 Days of Love Day 7

k... off to fast forward through most of The Biggest Loser on my DVR. Does anyone else just not really like this season? I'm not feeling inspired, I'm feeling annoyed by all the conflict. I know it's about no excuses, but there's no excuse for it to be this bad! And yet still I watch. sigh.


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!


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!


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 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!


Merry Christmas & Photo Book Sharing

Well, I'm not sure what happened to the last week... between Christmas and spending time with the family and sleeping (which I've done a LOT of), time has just zipped right past! I brought everything with me so I could blog from home, but it never seemed to happen. But now that I'm starting to catch up on my sleep and get out of bed before noon, I'm getting back into the swing of things again.

First, my two big projects that I was super worried about finishing and getting shipped in time for Christmas. I made two photobooks - one for my SIL Erin, and one for my sister Nicole. For Erin, I made a book from June - November 2011 showcasing their family. It's not chronological, but it's all about special moments.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

I did that one using a style by Paislee Press - I'd never done that before and it was really cool!

The second book for Nicole was all digital scrapbook pages that I uploaded as images and made into a book. It's Aubrey's first year. I got to laughing so hard over some of these photos that I was nearly in tears - Aubrey makes some very funny faces and is a very funny little girl.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Shutterfly photo books offer a wide range of artful designs and embellishments to choose from.

When I get a chance, I'll post some of the images of my favorite spreads. This one took a while, but it was a lot of fun. Both albums were 8x8. I'm not sure if I'll continue to make them, but I'm glad I got to do these this year - they both loved their albums.

As you can see, I also decided not to bring the stuff with me to do my December Daily at home. Probably wise, and not just because my suitcase couldn't hold anymore. I've just been too tired and/or busy while I've been here, but I've been taking lots of pictures and gathering bits of memorabilia and getting everything organized to put together when I get home, so I'll finish the album when I get back and post the pictures then.

Hopefully I'll have a few minutes to start going through my photos and posting just a bit from Christmas. I've got some cute ones of the kids.

In the meantime, I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!


Just too funny...

Last night, mom was telling me about Nicole and Erin's Black Friday shopping adventures at Toys-R-Us. Apparently, Nicole had to call mom at midnight to come help her load up all her loot (to be fair, Nicole has a small car). Then today, Nicole sent us all a link to the Washington Post - I thought it was just an article about all the lines.

Even better.

Nicole's Black Friday at Toys-R-Us

Yup. That's Nicole with her cart full of goodies, heading out to the parking lot. I guess she saw people taking pictures but didn't know what it was for until afterwards. But they spelled her name right!

This is one of the big differences between my sister and I. There's no way on earth you could get me out of bed to wait in line forever in the freezing cold. I'd rather pay a few bucks more, order it on Amazon and get free 2-day shipping with Prime. lol. But, she did need most of this for Aubrey's bedroom in their new house... something she hasn't really had (she's bunking in the dining nook). So I say, props for scoring good deals on stuff you need to get anyway!

Mostly I just thought it was cool that Nicole was in the Washington Post :)


Procrastinating.

I have a lot of projects I *should* be working on right now, especially with my departure for Peru coming up so quickly. But what did I do tonight? Read half of a book, did a short round of strength training (despite lifting this morning at the gym) and then doing a layout. This one is full, 100% digital. It might be my first ever non-yearbook / photobook digital layout. But it was fun and fairly fast, and I really wanted to scrapbook these adorable pictures Erin posted of Eraleigh and William.

Moments in Between

Papers, journaling card, tape, phrase stamp and banners from Then and Now by Paislee Press and Three Paper Peonies. The frames are from Sweet Escape by Chen Yang Designs, the butterflies are a blendables kit by Kate Pertiet and the flowers are from an awesome free kit by Gina Cabrera called Digitally Smitten. The staples are from a Karla Dudley element kit. Oh - and the inked edges are an old Rhonna Farrer kit from Two Peas - the Roughed Up Toolkit.

This was fun - I got to work on getting back some of the creative juices without the pressure of doing something I have to do, which was nice. One of the best things about digital is how easy it is to just try things out and see how it works without ruining anything. I definitely love that, although there's a totally different satisfaction to the tangible stuff, so I'll be back to that soon.

And now, it's officially past my bed time. I'm exhausted, so off I go!


Our little pink princess

I scrapbooked! This is like twice in a month. I'm not sure what to do with myself. lol.

This picture of Aubrey is one that Nicole sent with my mom when they came out at graduation. Even though it's a little old - she doesn't look quite like this anymore  - I couldn't resist scrapping it. It's just so cute! Aubrey was 5 months old in this picture, so it was taken back in April. I just love her little dress - too adorable.

Aubrey 5 month princess

And a close-up of the roses without the glare from the head-on angle:

Aubrey 5 month princess close-up 1

I stamped the roses on kraft cardstock (they're from the Papertrey Ink year of roses collection) and then colored them with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons and a water brush. I love those because they're nice and opaque on darker cardstock - it gives it a really cool look without soaking into the paper like markers would have. Then I just used some stickles to finish it off. The painting curled the cardstock a bit, but I liked the look and the dimension so I left a lot of it and used some pop dots to hold it up in places. The patterned paper was all cut from paper in my scrap box and I added a few My Mind's Eye stickers and tags and some punched circles to carry over the pattern in her dress. That's it! Aside from the time it took to paint the stamped images, it came together pretty quickly and I love how it turned out.

And speaking of my sister, Nicole sent an email this evening with a pretty funny image.

Arby's Free Turnover

And really, you have to laugh, right? Because otherwise I might cry. That game on Saturday was brutal. Yikes.

I also ran the Dirty Dash up in Midway on Saturday with several friends from school. It was quite an experience... I'll post more details when I get the pictures that were taken. I didn't bother with any kind of camera because of the mud, but Todd's wife Lori got some, Todd video'd with a waterproof camera through a lot of it, and there were a few shots by photographers there - we'll see how much it costs and if there are any good ones. So that will come eventually.

Tonight I was at Melody's for a while - it was Samuel's 2nd birthday and he opened presents and we had cake. He was so cute opening all of his cars (he LOVES cars). They tried to give him a piece of birthday cake and he threw a total fit because he wanted to play with his new toys instead. It was pretty funny, actually. And I think Logan was as excited as Samuel was! It was fun to hang out and play and eat a little cake.

That's it for now... time to hit the sack!


A little scrappy fun

First, I have to give a big shout-out / thank you to Crate Paper. I was extremely fortunate to be a winner of their brand new Christmas collection, Peppermint. It's such a fun and versatile collection and now that I'm not in school, I'm really excited to try doing another December Daily / Journal Your Christmas. This will definitely be making a showing in that project! I got home from work the other night to find this box of goodies on my doorstep:

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They were really generous and I'm really excited to get in and use it. The embellishments are all super fun and I love the patterns of the paper, stickers and chipboard. So, thanks again Crate Paper!

And, I finally managed to finish a layout I've been working on here and there for the past few weeks. It feels a bit off to me, but I'm just happy I actually did something! This is my first layout of William.

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Mostly I just wanted to get myself back scrapbooking again, so I tried to keep from spending too much time worrying about what supplies I was using and all that. I pulled from my scrap bin, jars of stuff just sitting there, a package of chipboard letters that was handy and a few sheets of paper that I bought recently that were still sitting out. You'd think it would come together faster, huh? lol.

A few close-ups:

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I've had that copper thingy forever. It's an old K&Co piece. I got some inspiration from Keisha Campbell on the tags - they're manilla tags that I stamped and then cut out. I added part of a Tim Holtz journaling tag and some Jenni Bowlin chipboard stars with Stickles.

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Here, another old embellishment - this was a Foofala swirly thing... kind of like an iron-on. More stars, the other half of the journaling ticket and then a date stamp and ticket die from Papertrey.

It was fun to do something again - I need to do more. I've been super tired lately, though... not sure what the deal is. It's been a bit long for me to still claim I'm recovering from school, after all.

Neil-l-andersen-large Speaking of school, last night we had the chance to go to a special EMBA fireside at the Marriott School where Elder Neil L. Andersen from the Quorum of the Twelve came to speak to us and Elder Steven J. Lund came with him. He was totally casual - just chatted and joked and instead of giving a prepared talk, he took questions from the audience and he and Elder Lund answered them. They talked about everything from finding balance in your life and how to determine if our program was a success to how to become more Christ-like. I got to sit in the front row (because I'm a nerd, remember) and when it was over and they shook hands with the others on the stand, Elder Andersen walked right up to me to shake hands. It was such a treat and a pleasure to hear and learn from him in such a small group - there were maybe 200 people there, and it's very rare to hear from an apostle in a group that small, so I feel quite blessed. It's a great additional perk of doing the EMBA program at BYU to do these types of things. Plus, I got to see quite a few of my friends from class - always fun.

Anyway, that's it for now! Hopefully I'll get some more scrapping done soon.


Myrtle Beach - Scrapbook on the Road

Whew... last post for now! I realized about a week before leaving that I would like to do another SOTR for Myrtle Beach. I happened to pick up a Teresa Collins travel mini album kit with a coupon at Archivers - I thought I might use it for Peru, but it seemed a better fit for this trip since it's a 3-ring album and won't fit as much.

I had a lot of fun playing with the cover - I painted it with Claudine Helmuth paints and then inked the edges. I used Prima stencils with modeling paste for the swirls and then decorated them with Stickles and ink after they were dry. For the sand at the bottom, I had a grainy texture paste that's meant to be mixed with acrylics - it really worked perfectly!

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The large chipboard letters are old ones from Making Memories. The Sept. 2011 are just letter stickers from Basic Grey, and the butterfly is Maya Road. I glued them all down before I started painting and then just painted over all of it and added some Prima jewels to the butterfly when it was dry. I really love how it came out.

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I kept up the journaling and putting little Instax prints, postcards, business cards and other stuff into the album as I went, so when I got home it was pretty much done. I uploaded a bunch of my favorite photos and had them printed at Costco - I get lustre finish with the white border, glue them back to back and just punch holes and put them in. I did about 40 prints, so 20 pages. It filled the book just perfectly.

Here are most of the inside pages - you can see that most of the pictures in my blog posts are the same ones I got printed. I still need to go through the rest of them and delete the bad ones. I took a ton! But with little kids, it's the only way to get a good shot :)

SOTR Inside Pages 1

The album came with 3 divider pages - some I left plain and one I covered with beach paper. Since I wanted to do a divider for each day, I cut off the tabs and then made three more divider pages with kraft cardstock and put KI Memories sticker tabs on all 6 of them. On 2 of the kraft pages I had a lot of fun stamping. That mendhi stamp from Papertrey Ink has to be my new favorite.

The map of the Grand Strand folds out - I tore it out of a tourist guide that we got free at the resort.

SOTR Inside Pages 2

It was a pretty relaxing trip. We didn't do tons of stuff - mostly hung out, ate, swam and hung out some more. So there are a lot more pictures in this one than writing and memorabilia. But I love how it turned out.

SOTR Inside Pages 3

Whew. That's it for now! I have a mostly-done scrapbook layout in my attic that's just waiting for finishing touches before I post it. Hopefully I'll get to that before another 2-3 weeks go by. But, I'm still trying to finish my class yearbook. I'm totally procrastinating. I only have 2 events left to do, but the one that's next on my list requires that I go through lots of photos, do lots of editing (which I loath) and create a LOT of pages. Sigh. It's going to be a sweet book when it's done, though... and I've collected a lot of digital awesomeness to use in future photo books. Anyway... off I go!


Myrtle Beach Part 3

Last trip update post! (I also have a Scrapbook on the Road that I'll share separately).

Wednesday was a totally lazy day. We all slept in and just played. Mom and I found a nail salon - I got a pedicure and she got a manicure. We tracked down a local scrapbook store and got a few goodies for Nicole and Erin to make scrapbooks of the trip - we put them together that night so that all they need is photos, journaling and maybe a few other details. For dinner that night, I made a veggie risotto with turkey sausage that everyone loved. It was quite good if I do say so myself.

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Doesn't Nicole look thrilled to be scrapbooking?

Thursday was my last day - we spent the morning at the pool again and then went to the poolside grill and ordered burgers and fries. We ate under the umbrellas at the tables around the pool just soaking up the sun and the sea breeze.

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I took off around 4:30 to get to the airport and catch my flight to Atlanta and then on to SLC. I wish I had stayed longer (the rest of the family left on Saturday morning) but I'm glad I had the chance to go. It was wonderful to go see everyone and spend time with the little kids.


Myrtle Beach Part 2

More from my trip to the beach! I have to admit, the number of photos I took dropped each day. I really got lazy on this trip. It was wonderful.

Monday we hit the pools at the resort. They had a lazy river and fun wading pools and stuff for the kids - we had a great time playing there.

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We ended up having a bit of a water fight in the wading pool. Mostly Rick and I, although Nicole got into it a bit and Eraleigh delighted in throwing buckets of water at everyone. Note how she's sneaking up behind Nicole in this shot. Pretty funny kid.

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One of my favorite shots of the whole trip - this was from Tuesday morning while Aubrey and I were playing. She's so funny with that little stuffed pig.

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On Tuesday we went back to Broadway on the Beach to Wonder Works. We all went in and played - lots of fun interactive displays and activities - most of them had some kind of scientific aspect that you were supposed to learn.

Tuesday Collage 1

Tuesday Collage 2

And Eraleigh's favorite part:

Astronaut 2

And because I can't resist, Aubrey the Astronaut:

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They had a high ropes course up in the ceiling where you attached yourself in and climbed all over the beams and the ropes suspended up above - Rick and Brian did it. The rest of us stayed firmly on the ground. I'm too scared of heights to do that most of the time.

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After we left Wonder Works, we went into a few of the shops that were right there. We made it through two before it was time to go back for dinner. lol. One was a fun accessory shop where we looked at jewelry (okay, and bought some too) and the other was a gourmet shop that sold nothing but olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I was in heaven. I'll definitely be ordering more from their website - it was so fun to go around sampling them all. The oils were good, but the vinegars were so delicious you could practically drink them.

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I got two white balsamics - one that was a Sicilian Lemon and another that was peach. I also got a French Roasted Walnut Oil. Next on my list: the pear cranberry white balsamic (the store is called Devo).

okay... enough for one post. The last of the trip photos are coming up in a few.


Myrtle Beach Part 1

Last week I got to go to Myrtle Beach, SC to meet up with my family. My parents exchanged a few weeks of their time share to get us two condos as the Plantation Resort in Surfside Beach, just a few miles from Myrtle Beach.

Rick and Erin, Nicole and Brian and the kids all stayed in one unit, I stayed with my parents in another. It was a really nice resort - fun pools and entertainment for the kids, close to the beach and lots of shopping and restaurants and only 10 miles from the airport (I flew in through Atlanta... Delta killed my suitcase, but it was a free ticket and that suitcase had gotten me its money's worth, so I guess I can't complain too much).

Just a few photos... on the first day after I got there, I went to the upstairs unit to see everyone (they all drove down and beat me there) and Eraleigh and I had a few races sliding down the stairs. I have a fading rugburn on my leg as a result. But I won.

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And on Sunday, we had some salon time. My mom brought some little curlers for the girls. Eraleigh called them curlies and loved them - as long as she was putting them in someone else's hair or building towers out of them. Aubrey was just chill.

Saturday Collage 2

Saturday Collage

I got to meet William for the first time - he's just adorable.

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And it was fun to see how much Aubrey has changed since I saw her at Christmas. She's just a little chunk of cute. She even has a dimple.

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On Sunday, we were taking it easy and staying out of the water, so we went into Myrtle Beach to just walk along the boardwalk and then we ended up over at Broadway at the Beach where we rode the carousel and hunted down some frozen lemonade.

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Myrtle Beach

MB Boardwalk

Sunday Collage 1

It was fun to play with the kids and hang out together. And I enjoyed the weather - it was hot, but I loved the humidity. It was balmy in the evening with a breeze off of the ocean all the time. Lovely.

More coming...


It's official...

... I'm an MBA! Friday was graduation and Mom and Dad flew in on Wednesday morning and then stayed through the weekend. I took off work and we just ran and played the whole time. We saw lots of movies, ate out, shopped, and just chatted and enjoyed seeing each other and celebrating.

Friday we arrived bright and early at the Marriott Center (7am) for my college convocation. They went to their seats and I went down to check in, get my seating assignment and see everyone. We were all down in the tunnel for about 45 minutes before the ceremony just talking and generally being excited. I didn't have a camera with me, but a few people did so there are a few shots on Facebook. Then it was time and we went in. This was really fun because before, I wasn't with people I knew. Our class sat together so it was awesome to be there with people who have become great friends over the last two years. I sat between Karthi and Tom L. in the ceremony which was surprisingly short! Benefit of a small convocation in August. My mom had my camera and got a few shots during the ceremony. Here are a few shots after I walked across the podium as I was shaking hands and picking up my diploma case.

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And this is after we all sat down again and Dean Cornia was talking about our college and had us stand up and thank the friends and family in the audience who had helped make it possible for us to be there.

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Then one of me after graduation outside of the Marriott Center:

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After graduation, we went over to the Tanner Building for a reception that was held for our class. After stopping briefly in the college reception in the lobby, we went up to the 4th floor. For the first part, mom and I waited in line for food and everyone was just walking around talking and taking pictures. Then we got plates and met dad where he had snagged a table and Chad and his family ended up coming and sitting with us.

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And then, of course, we couldn't leave the reception without taking pictures with the Peanut Gallery. The Peanuts:

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Back, left-to-right: Mike, Brent, Chad, Clayton

Front, left-to-right: Me, Rick, Laura, Mindy and Darren. We were missing Roper who's deployed in Virginia right now. It wasn't the same without him :(

And then, Peanuts being a little crazy (because we're never crazy. lol.)

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And of course, the original Peanuts - my first year group:

Leaving a space for Roper (we need to Photoshop him in here):

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And just us:

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Then more group shots - we just grabbed everyone nearby for this one: IMG_7101

Brent, Me, Laura, Mike (aka Freddie), Chad, Jen, Mary, Melinda, Mike, Todd and child, Mindy, Darren and Scott.

And then Brent decided that he had to have a "Say Anything" pose.

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We might have to watch that during an upcoming Peanut movie night. Just sayin'.

And I had to have a picture of my parents, who by this point were more than ready to leave and change clothes. lol.

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So after that, we dropped off my cap and gown at the alumni building. That was kind of sad - I only had them for a day, but it really marked that it was all over. I guess that's a good thing, but at the same time it's like saying goodbye to one of the best times in my life. But then I remember that now that we're done, I get to keep my friends and skip out on all the homework! So bonus.

After that we went to La Jolla Groves for a little graduation lunch (the reception had fruit and veggie trays and some cookies - good, but not a meal. lol.) Then we just played all day again.

So that's it! My official graduation portraits have already been ordered and the diploma is in the mail. So now I get to focus on using all the things I've learned. And paying for it. lol.

 


Welcome William!

Just a super quick post... I'm excited that Adorable-Nephew-William has finally come to join the family! He was born yesterday morning (June 30th) and mom and baby are doing great. He's totally adorable in every way and I can't wait until I get the chance to meet him in person.

The introduction photo I got in a text from Rick yesterday:

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And big sister being totally adorable:

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This weekend I'm going to dive into making my class yearbook, but I think I might have to take a little time out to scrapbook. Too much cuteness!


Just Smashing

This is how you know I was bored last week. lol. I have cooking and scrapbooking in this post!

First, the food. Crazy as it may sound, I watch cooking shows on my DVR in the mornings while I'm lifting weights (it's iPod for the cardio, of course.) Lately I've been into Chuck's Day Off from the Cooking Channel. This week I watched an episode featuring a tasty looking risotto and I already had most of the stuff on hand to make it, so I picked up the other two ingredients and whipped up a batch. Yum! Of course, I don't do shrimp so I skipped that part and threw in a few sliced Aidell's chicken apple sausages instead. Also, the store by me didn't have kefalotyri cheese (there's a shock) so I picked up machengo instead and it worked great. This was really good - I'll probably make it again some time.

Chuck's Lemon Spinach Risotto

Next up... a scrapbook layout! The first one I've done since before my trip (I've been home 6 weeks. holy cow!) and funny enough, it's not a trip layout. I haven't been in the mood to even begin to try and tackle that one so I did some cute pictures of Adorable-Niece-Aubrey. They're from March since Nicole hasn't posted anything more recent (ahem. lol.)

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Isn't she just precious? And a close-up:

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And finally, if you follow the scrapbooking industry at all, it's almost impossible to have NOT heard of Smash books from EK Success / K&Co. I loved the concept when it was released and then after really getting into this kind of scrapbooking with my scrapbook on the road, I've enjoyed having something where I can easily get memories and inspiration down without the stress of trying to put it together in a formal layout. I'm getting lots of little memories and tidbits recorded that normally wouldn't have made it onto a layout, as well as pulling together things that I just like or that inspire me. So here's a peek into the smashing I've been doing.

Smash 1

Smash 2

Smash 3

Smash 4

Smash 5

And a few spreads that are still incomplete...

Smash 6

Smash 7

K. That's it for tonight... I have to go hit the sack so I can get up early tomorrow. I can't be late for my first day on the new job!

Later.


Adios to iPad envy.

That's right. After a year of wanting an iPad of my very own, I finally caved. I had been waiting until I had saved up enough money (seeing as how the first time I saved up my computer died and I had to replace it instead), and also waiting for the 2nd generation to come out. And it did. And I had the money in savings. And I have this fantastic trip coming up where an iPad would be pretty sweet to have along. So I ordered one, patiently waited over a month, and then today it finally came.

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I almost reverently took it out of the shipping package and carefully removed the plastic from that perfect little white box. It was an emotional moment. Okay, not really. But still.

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I got it all set up and registered and as soon as I was done with work, I set to downloading apps. I've got all of the ones I knew I wanted as well as some cool little travel apps for the cities I'll be visiting. I downloaded a few movies that have been on my to-buy list so I'll have them for plane rides and started making a list of some that I might want to download as rentals. I was almost giddy over the fun of it all.

I *heart* my iPad. Seriously.

And since everyone always asks as soon as they find out I ordered one, I got the 64GB 3G with the black leather smart cover. I also picked up the digital camera adapter kit so that I can upload photos and blog them during my trip (because I also purchased an international data plan set to start the morning we land in Madrid. Because I'm nerdy like that.)

Anyway. I'm a happy little camper tonight. It's totally helping off-set my annoyance over having picked up a cold because I wasn't getting enough sleep (that's one of the problems with insomnia. Just sayin'.) Hopefully copious amounts of vitamin C and sleep will remedy the rest of it.

Did I mention that I love my iPad? Because I do.

Okay, moving on. Speaking of insomnia, I had a particularly bad night this last week where I just could NOT sleep and finally got up to do something productive. Nicole recently had a fun little photo shoot of Adorable-Niece-Aubrey, so I printed off a few of the photos to make a layout. This was a fun one to do. And Bree looks so much like Nicole in some of these...

5 Months Cute

Is she not seriously adorable?

Close-up of some of the scrappy stuff:

5 Months Cute Close-up

As fun as it was to do a layout, I'm hoping I've seen the last of my insomnia for a while. This has been a particularly bad and unusually long stretch and it sucks.

So now... I've got some work stuff to do at midnight (switching out some marketing banners on our homepage) and then I've got to hit the sack. So it's time to get ready for bed... and maybe play with my iPad some more. Just a little. :)


Feeling oddly proud.

Because I did this:

Worn out treadmill belt

I completely wore out the belt of my treadmill.  The repair guy came today and replaced it for me and when I saw the backside of the old belt I was surprised it hadn't completely come apart while I was using it and super lucky I didn't hurt myself!  The duct tape did the job just long enough, I guess, but that sucker was totally frayed on the back.  I had ordered the replacement part and thought I would put it in myself until I saw the instructions... then I called Sears.  lol.  I'm pretty handy, but watching the guy replace it confirmed that I made the right decision - it took him an hour and he had to pretty much take apart the entire thing.  I'm looking forward to working out in the morning without worrying about stepping in that hole!

And now... drumroll please... I did a layout!  I know.  I haven't scrapbooked since before Christmas.  I'm not sure I've got my mojo back (let alone the time), but I've had insomnia this week so I worked on it a bit in between other things in the middle of the night.  This is from the first time I met Adorable-Niece-Aubrey back in October at the hospital in Virginia.

Hey There

And a little close-up:

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Hopefully it doesn't take another six weeks before the next layout.  lol.

Of course, even without the scrapping mojo, I've still been cooking!  I've made some really delicious stuff in the last month.  However, since I haven't posted anything in forever, I figured posting all the recipes at once would probably be a bad idea.  So here's a little collage of the yumminess.

January 2011 Cooking

From top-left down to bottom-right, we have my not-quite-world-famous Tex-Mex Chicken Soup which I can never get enough of.  Next, a fantastic olive tapenade that I made and took for the little snack buffet we had before our class discussion of Man's Search for Meaning last week.  It's made with kalamata and black olives, pistachios, garlic, lemon juice and a touch of olive oil.  Next, from the Lebanese cookbook I got for Christmas, stuffed squash along with some Muhamarra and endive lettuce (the recipe for that was from Ellie Krieger's book, The Food you Crave which is fabulous.)  Next, because I couldn't bring myself to throw out the insides of the squash, I made a soup with it.  It's pumpkin, squash and potato mixed with cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper, honey and some greek yogurt.  Toasted pepitas on top and it was fabulous!  Then, another from The Food you Crave - a corn-crusted roasted ratatouille tart.  There's one word for that one.  Yum.  I'll be making that again.  Finally, this weekend I went back to Claudia Roden's Arabesque for a Moroccan recipe - chicken with dates.  It doesn't look like much, but it's in a caramalized onion sauce made with ginger, cinnamon, saffron and honey and there are some little dates stuffed with blanched almonds.  It was fantastic (and yes, I ate the onions.  Go me!)

Whew!  And since I'm already talking about food, I have to bring up a few things that I'm totally addicted to.

Medjool Dates Medjool dates.  I could eat them like candy.  In fact, I kind of do.  They're insanely good and I can get them in big packages at Costco.  Bonus!  Sometimes I stuff them with a light cheese, honey and chopped pistachios.  But I could just eat these all day long.

Justin's Maple Almond Butter Justin's Maple Almond Butter.  I love almond butter in general, but this stuff is sooooo good.  The sweetness from the maple is insane.  I have a very hard controlling myself enough to remember that it's 3 points per tablespoon.  It's expensive, but worth every penny - especially if you just eat a little at a time.

 Market Pantry Whip ToppingFinally, believe it or not, I'm addicted to the Target version of fat free cool whip (it has to be FF, not light).  I think it has way better flavor than actual Cool Whip brand.  I could eat an entire container in one sitting if I didn't watch myself.  It's my little trick for feeling like I'm indulging myself.  I may or may not occasionally mix a few tablespoons of this with a tablespoon of almond butter.  Just sayin.'  Reduced fat graham crackers may also come into play.

Okay, that's it for now.  I've got a full day tomorrow and I'm going to try and get to bed early to make up for some of the insomnia.

P.S.  I found out that my school trip includes a stop in Marrakesh!  I'm super excited.  It wasn't on the original list, but it looks like that's our first city.  Marrakesh has been on my top 3 list of places I want to visit for years.  For the rest, we're all keeping a close eye on the Egypt situation to see if we need to change plans.  For now we're not, but we'll see what happens.  I hope it all works out... I'm really looking forward to seeing the pyramids! Crossing my fingers.