Thursday, January 31, 2013

WOYWW (On Thursday) #4 - OOPS

Yikes....things got a little crazy in my world the last few, life -you know the drill.  I am still going to post my WOYWW, even though I am fully aware that it is Thursday and really just hours shy of Friday.  In all fairness, this was how my work area looked on Wednesday morning as I took it right before I went to bed on Tuesday night.

Still working on my Chicago scrapbook, but am heading into the home stretch.  In the middle towards the top I finally got all the completed pages - 24 to be exact so far, into page protectors where they should be.  Directly to the left of that is the base of my Project Life cover page for the year.  And then, the project that has kind of derailed my scrapbooking this week.  A very sweet lady hired me to address invitations for her son's upcoming nuptials,  I have to have those completed by Monday.  At least rather than the overly tidy work space I was sporting last week, I am back to much more the status quo for me.  I am just itching to get back to scrapping, but a paying customer has to have top priority over what I want to do for fun.  If you are wondering about WOYWW (What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday), make sure you drop by Julia's little slice of the blog world Stamping Ground where she connects crafty people and their work desks all over the world.

Here are a few shots of one of the layouts I did this past weekend.  I loved doing this 2 page layout.  Millennium Park and Cloud Gate were at the top of my list of favorite things to see.  Cloud Gate, AKA "The Bean" was absolutely fascinating to me and I love all the pictures that my friends captured.
Left page
Right page

2 Page layout

Have a great weekend and hopefully by Monday night, I will be back to scrapping!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Bit of a Shift

I feel like since the beginning of the year I have needed to sit down and write this post.  As I am sure most of you have noticed, the focus of my blog has kind of shifted.  Not that I had a hard and fast theme before, but currently it is filled with a lot of scrapbooking / memory keeping.  If you follow these parts on a regular basis, you know that my "One Little Word" for 2013 is DOCUMENT.  I am taking it seriously ladies and by the end of the year there are going to be a lot less pictures piled  in a box and a lot more memories organized and documented in a easy to decipher format....hopefully close to chronologically.  As a result of this shift in focus for me, instead of completely abandoning my blog, there is going to be a lot more layout and Project Life posts.  I am not saying that I won't occasionally throw in a post or two regarding goings on around these parts that don't have to do with what I am working on at the time, but for the foreseeable future, my heart is focused on getting this one area of my life organized and under control.  It may sound strange, but I think it is going to bring me a great sense of accomplishment and peace.

I have considered the fact that this may cause me to lose some readers and I am prepared for that.....looking at scrapbook layouts and messy work desks may not be some of your cups of tea and if not, I sincerely hope that you enjoyed your time visiting.  I fully intend to continue to share the monthly posts from my awesome contributors.  I hope that you will check back sometime in the near future when I very well may have reverted back to my old ways.  For those of you that are planning on sticking it out with me, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Your daily comments mean the world to me and the ideas and inspiration you provide are invaluable.  

In the midst of all the scrapping I have been doing, a very sweet lady contacted me via my original business website that I have not done anything to since I got my Facebook page up.  After a brief phone conversation, she hired me to address her son's wedding invitations.  What a surprise that was and I am really excited to get those done for her.  After all this time, I never expected to get a phone call from my website.  So in addition to scrapping my heart out right now, I am also addressing wedding invitations!

I hope that you are all having a great week!  Since it is virtually impossible for me to complete a post without at least one photograph, I am going to leave you with a little something that is completely not related, but never ceases to bring a smile to my face......

Jesse Leos Photography

Friday, January 25, 2013

In Focus Friday w/ My Mind's Lens: January 2013 Edition

TGIF!  Today Kaeley is here to share her January edition of In Focus Friday.  She is showcasing her love of B&W photography.  I have to admit, I am a huge fan as well and she has some beautiful photographs to share!


This month, I am excited to share some of my favorite photography:


There is something about the contrasting colors that I just can't resist.  It seems to take any photo up a notch.  Here is a sampling of some of my recent favorites:


A lot of artists tend to have their niche - they take one area, whether it be photography, painting or sculpting, and then develop their own way to portray it.  If I could only shoot one type of photos, black and white would be it!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest Artist: CTMH

A few months ago as I was browsing blogs, like I regularly do. I found a post by Christina of See Christina Scrapbook.  She had been chosen to be a guest designer on Suzanne's blog Suzastampin's Creation Station. I of course hopped over to check out Christina's layouts.  I thought this was such a fun idea and signed up to participate as well.  I was thrilled when I was picked to be the Guest Artist for January.  Suzanne is a consultant for the scrapbook company Close To My Heart. At the end of December she ordered me their Avonlea on the go kit.  I had until the 15th of January to create the layout that was featured in the kit as well as other projects with  the leftover supplies from the kit ( I may or may not have been a few days late).

I will admit...I am not used to following a "pattern" per se so it was a bit of a challenge for me.  In addition to the required two page layout, I completed two additional two page layouts for the Chicago scrapbook that I am currently working on.  The kit contained quite a bit of green so it coordinated perfectly with the St, Patrick's Day pages I was working on.

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The next layout is from our trip to the T-Shirt Deli in Chicago.  Not only did I scrap photos, but also all kinds of little extras that came from the gift wrapping - so cute!

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The last one is from St. Patrick's Day and the GREEN Chicago River.  We missed the actual changing because I was in Walgreens buying band aids for my atrocious blisters - yep, I scrapped that detour as well! It is all part of the story....RIGHT????

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A huge thank you to Suzanne for showcasing my work!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


OK, so I may be on a roll.  It is Wednesday and time for WOYWW (What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday).  This is such a fun link up!  It is great to check out what other crafty bloggers have going on and these sweet ladies have helped me embrace my unorganized chaos....maybe I am not in the minority after all.  If you want to know what all the fuss is about, make sure to visit Julia over at The Stamping Ground....but be warned, it is addictive!

Look out, ladies!  It's a whole new week..and I have a whole new workdesk - sort of.  Actually, it is the same workdesk (AKA dining table), but there has been a bit of tidying up going on around here.  

I am not giving up my cluttered ways, but I needed a fresh start....dare I say the extent of my clutter was pushing me to the edge so I did something about it.  Now I am ready to dive head first back into my Chicago book.....the majority of the book that remains covers St. Patrick's Day and our marathon bar crawl so that is why there are loads of green embellishments hanging out on the left.....

And patiently waiting in the wings, taunting me from the left rear is my Olive Edition core pack of Project Life.

I was working on a project that I had to finish before I could start anything else, so PL had to temporarily be put on the back back burner.  Never fear...I have been taking photos and doing journaling entries practically every day.  So even though this is my first attempt at Project Life....I am not feeling overwhelmed at getting a bit of a slow start.  I am however, more excited than a pig in slop to get going on it.  It is definitely on the schedule for this weekend!  Happy Hump Day...and I hope that you enjoyed my out of the ordinary work area this week!  If you have a work area that you would like to share....make sure that you head over to Julia's and link up!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Third Thursday Scrapbook Stories: January Edition 2013

Katie is here is already time for Third Thursday Scrapbook Stories!  I have to tell you...I am loving everything about this layout.  I adore the grid design that she tried out, and you know me, I don't think that you can ever have too many pictures on a page.  I am wondering if I can follow her directions and get a title to work like that for me....hmmmm.


Hi everyone!

Happy third Thursday of January :)

Today I am sharing a grid layout. I am loving these layouts lately, and have been pinning them like crazy! (Here, here, here and here)

So, in keeping with my 2013 goal of "try new things", I decided to try it out.

I'm happy with my layout. I really love the title. I opened my image in Word, placed a box over the bottom 1/4 of the image, reduced it to 50% transparency, then typed in my words. I love how it came out!

But, I have a confession to make. I made, what I consider, a mistake here. My tiles are a little too far apart. But that is okay, because it is a learning experience! Next time, my tiles will be closer together.

Do you ever see things you'd like to change after you make a layout? Do you go back and change it, or do you accept it as it is and learn for next time?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WOYWW #2 - At Least For Me

I am back for my second WOYWW (What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday).  I have to tell you, I'm loving this link-up.  I had so many sweet crafty ladies drop by, and get this, they were supportive of my mess of a work area.  Uh, oh...maybe that just makes them enablers!?!?

Speaking of my mess, I didn't really think it could get much more cluttered and still be conducive to actually creating anything.  But, I have proved myself wrong.  HOLY CLUTTER!!!


I couldn't possibly tell you everything that is on this work area, but yes, that really is my dining room table.  As far as what is going on, I am working on pages for my Chicago Girl's Weekend from March of last year.  I am having so much fun and can't wait to share the whole thing once it is complete.

If you have a work desk, join in on the fun!  Link up with Julia at The Stamping Ground.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pay It Forward

I am sure that you guys have seen seems to be all over the blogosphere as well as Facebook.  I jumped on the bandwagon yesterday at sweet Crystal's blog, Mason's Mama.  I finally managed to be one of the first five commenters and I am pumped.  I love giving gifts and surprise ones....that much better!

Here are the details: The first 5 people to comment with their email will receive a surprise gift from me sometime during 2013.  There will likely be no warning, it will happen when the mood strikes me. We all deserve a little something special every now and then and I would love to PAY IT FORWARD and spread the love!

There is only one catch:  If you are among the first 5 to comment below, you must make the same offer on your blog or FB status (if you don't have a blog).  Let's keep it moving friends!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kristen Is the Bomb

TGIF!  Just dropping in for a quick little post today.  I went to check the mail last night and was giddy with excitement when I saw the envelope from the fabulous Kristen of  Little Laws Prints.  As you guys probably know, I am pretty pumped about my "One Little Word" for 2013.  I wanted something that would be a daily reminder, and oh yeah, most importantly I wanted it to be PURDY!!!!  I immediately thought of Kristen and girlfriend did not disappoint!  She is super sweet, super talented and lightening quick.   This is what she came up with:


I cannot wait to find a great frame to display my print...could be easier said than done though, because I am picturing something in one of those colors.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.
Color didn't come out so good in this photo, but I do think it is obvious that I am one happy lady!
If you are in the market for invitations, party accessories or custom prints, stop by Little Laws Prints.  Kristen will not disappoint and trust me, you will be glad you did!    To see more of her handy work, check out this post with goodies she did for a blogger event I co-hosted.  You're welcome!!!!

Not much planned for the weekend....hopefully getting a bunch of scrapping done, but we will see.  Have a great weekend and see you on the flip side!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My First WOYWW

Against my better judgement, I am linking up with Julia at The Stamping Ground for her weekly WOYWW (that translates into: What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - in case you were wondering).

I am not one of those uber organized scrappers like Becky at Fourth House on The Right, but I wish I was!  In fact, for whatever reason when I am elbow deep in creating something kinda awesome it looks a whole lot like this:

Holy crap!  Is there even a table under all that mess???  I keep telling myself that one day soon I am going to have my very own scrap room and pictures like this are going to be a thing of the past.  Then I have a reality check and realize that although my dining room table will be neat and clean (GIGANTIC plus), if you are brave enough to open the door to the scrap room, the desk will most likely look just like that picture!  The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?  Some things never change.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Scrapbook Layouts - Chicago 2012

In the spirit of keeping it real, I have to tell you guys that I am a bit nervous about posting these layouts.  In a nutshell, I am a pretty simple scrapper.  There tends to be a lot of pictures - super light on the embellishments.  Is this ok.....well, I always thought so.  I do believe that everyone has their own style and in my heart I know that is 100% true.  But over the last few months since I have really started getting excited about starting Project Life, I have started following some incredible blogs.  Some of the women are on design teams, some not, but their layouts absolutely BLOW. ME. AWAY. In all honesty, I am even a bit intimidated about Project Life, but I ordered my Olive Edition kit today...finally, and I am going to do my best to rock it like nobody's business - Katie, thank you for ALL of the inspiration!!!!

Before some of you go freaking out on me, I am totally proud of the scrapping that I do.  Trust me, if my apartment ever caught on fire, there is a four way tie for what I would grab first - kid (although he is big enough to help me grab things), cats, pictures and scrapbooks!

In addition to my minimalist approach to scrapping, photographing said scrapping falls dismally short.  I need serious help in this area.  Any helpful advice that you guys can send my way would be greatly appreciated.  I have a good point and shoot as well as a pretty great camera on my Android, but that is it.  I long for a fancy DSLR, but right now, it just isn't in the cards.

Maybe more than anything , I am worried about the presentation.  Although, for the most part I feel that I very much blog for myself when it comes to sharing things like scrapbook layouts or really anything crafty - presentation is a huge part of

Aside from this slightly whiny post....sorry about that.....I am having a blast with this scrapbook.  I am documenting a girl's weekend trip to Chicago last year with two of my dear friends, Megan and Jennifer.  Each layout that I do, brings back great memories of the trip.  This is the first trip scrapbook that I have done for myself and I am doing my best to do journaling on every page so that when I am 80 and my memory is shot I will have something to refer  Journaling is not one of my strong suits!

Billy Goat Tavern
Sprinkles and The Hard Rock Cafe
Navy Pier
Sky Deck @ Willis Tower
I would love to know what you think....the good, the bad and the ugly.  I am open to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, but if you can't say it in a nice way, I would prefer that you didn't say it at all.  Your mother did you teach you that....right?

Monday, January 7, 2013

First Mondays With Megan: January Edition

We have definitely jumped right into the new year!  It is once again time for First Mondays with Megan.  She is going to show you how to decorate your own canvas tote bag for travel or even for daily use back and forth to school or the office.   The designs and color choices are endless...if you decide to give it a try please comment here with a link, so that we can see what you have created.  You can also visit Megan at The House of Martinez.

DIY: Painted Canvas Tote Bags

This next weekend will be our first road trip in 2013 so I thought it would be fun to have a couple new tote bags to carry along with us. Here's a quick and easy way to turn plain canvas bags into something fun and full of color.

- Canvas tote bags (any size)
- Blue painters tape (any width)
- Acrylic craft paint
- Paintbrushes
- Paper bag




Triangles, stripes, chevron, or any geometric pattern is perfect for this project, the sky's the limit. These bags will definitely come in handy while we travel, carrying dog toys, towels, water, or toiletries. If you're feeling crafty this week or have plans to go out of town any time soon, this is a perfect DIY to accessorize your travels.

I hope that you will stop by tomorrow. I will be sharing a few of the layouts from my latest scrapbook - Chicago Girl's Weekend. I am having a lot of fun with it and my "One Little Word" for 2013 - DOCUMENT is off to a great start!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


If you have read my previous post, you know that for me 2013 is all about DOCUMENTing - whether that be scrapbooking,with particular focus on journaling, or Project Life which I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to get going on.

Possibly against my better judgement, because let's face it....I know me.  I have decided to delay actually starting my 2013 Project Life album.  Por Que?  Because I fell in love with the Olive Edition.  I have picked a close runner up, but my heart is TRULY set on the Olive Edition.  It was originally scheduled for late December, but got pushed back to January.  The latest estimates are saying the end of next week.  I am going to wait it out, bacause I am just in love!

So as not to fall completely behind and fail before I even get started, I am snapping pictures here and there throughout the day and last night, I stumbled upon the pure genius that is the website ohlife.  Each evening ohlife sends me an email prompt to document what went on during my day.  I can write a single sentence or I can write paragraphs.  No matter what path I chose, ohlife catalogs it in chronological order and it is all right there on their website for me to refer to anytime I like.  I had really planned to just jot notes down in a notebook or my planner each day....after all, I do much better with an actual planner that I have to write in rather than an electronic device to keep my on top of daily tasks.  I think for me, the huge draw to ohlife is that I won't have to keep up with random sheets of paper that I will invariably jot notes on AND the fact that they send me an email prompt each and every evening without fail to remind me to DOCUMENT what happened during my day - big or small.

I was in no way compensated for my plug of ohlife.  I just love what they do and thought I would share the site for anyone else that might want help organizing their thoughts for Project Life or whatever other type of journaling or memory keeping that you might enjoy.  For me, even though I am going to start out a bit behind this will be a huge help in getting me caught up and on the right track.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year....and One Little Word 2013

2013 snuck in without any hoopla.  Zach and I spent a quiet night at home, and watched a live streaming feed of the ball dropping in Times Square.

Jesse Leos Photography with a little editing by yours truly
I don't want to sound ungrateful or "Grinchy", but I am glad the holidays are just about behind us and things can get back to normal.  I am ready for a new year and all it has to offer.

I am not much for resolutions....let's face it, I am always striving to exercise more, eat better and lose some of that extra junk in my trunk.  As the year progresses I have times when I am rockin it like nobody's business and times when I fall off the wagon.  So yes, I have come to terms with the fact that at the ripe old young age of 44, I am still very much a work in progress.  I feel blessed that I have a job, a supportive and loving family, wonderful friends, and an amazing son.  Although I am pretty freaked out, I am looking forward to Zachary and I making a little move in the Spring and hopefully getting settled in a little rent house that we can call our own.  I am so over apartment living and would love to find someplace that we can settle in and make it feel like home through the rest of his school years....God willing.  Our current place requires 60 days notice, so we will be giving our formal notice the end of February and then praying that something comes along in the next eight weeks that works for us in a great location.  It is scary, but I also know that it is time.

I got a bit sidetracked, which isn't anything out of the ordinary for me.  Anyway, although I am not a big fan of resolutions per se, for 2013 I have chosen "One Little Word".  I heard about this through Ali Edwards' blog and was instantly intrigued.  What do you do with this one little word?
You live with it. You invite it into you life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities. - Ali Edwards
My one little word for 2013 is:

When I started scrapbooking about six years, I pretty much did it as gifts.  Seeing it in print, that sounds kind of strange.  I would say the majority of people start scrapping to preserve their own memories, but me being the people pleaser that I am, loved and still do love creating memories for others. Last month, I just about completed my first album that I am not wrapping up and passing on to someone else....and I have to say, it feels good!  I love scrapping for others, but sometimes I get pretty attached to what I do and it is hard to let it go...silly, I know.  With the new year comes a new goal (notice I did NOT say resolution).  My goal for 2013 is to DOCUMENT.  I am going to strive to complete 4 (yes, four) pretty big trip / event scrapbooks, all for me.  I got one started this weekend which is from a trip early last year, but the oldest dates back to Zach's 5th birthday, so needless to say I have a lot of ground to cover.  I am tired of having my pictures stuffed in a box - I want them organized, I want them to tell a story - our story!  I am definitely on a mission.  I am also going to start Project Life.  It is scrapbooking simplified, not only preserving life's major milestones but DOCUMENTing the everyday.  Trust me, the goal is lofty but I am excited and can't wait to see what I manage to document in 2013.  I am pretty sure that a lot more of my scrapping will be showing up on the blog and I hope that you all will enjoy following my journey.  Welcome 2013 and all that it has in store!
 On a side note, to the couple of people that I have talked to about creating scrapbooks for in the near future.....Pictures & Pens is still open for business.

I am excited to be linking up with Layla at The Lettered Cottage!

The Lettered Cottage