Thursday, December 30, 2010

Project Life

One of my new years resolutions (definitely the biggest, and the only concrete one at this point) is to do something with all the pictures I take instead of leaving them in my computer. Forever.

Have you heard about Project Life? I had before today, but only in passing. I read quite a few blogs related to card-making and scrapbooking, but it's mostly designer pages for stamping and papercraft companies I like. Today, I stumbled across Becky Higgins website/blog and started reading about Project Life. Within about 5 minutes of reading, I was on Amazon ordering one. I got mine in Amber:

So why did I jump all over this so quickly?
1. It's really cute. That's often the motivation for my purchases.
2. I think it's an awesome solution for a problem I've been dealing with for quite some time.

Confession time: Though I say I'm a scrapbooker (I probably mention this to someone at least once a week)...I haven't made a scrapbook page in at least 3 years. Yup. I said it, it's in blogland for all to see. I'm ridiculous and apparently, a liar. But I really do consider myself a scrapbooker. I'm always buying supplies and albums, I take pictures all the time, and save memorabilia with the intention of putting everything together in one handy little book. It never happens.

Because I make cards and stationery and they're so immediately gratifying (as in, I get to see the final product within an hour or two of starting the project), I tend to slack off on my scrapbooking. Even one layout will take me that long, and one layout does not a scrapbook make.

Enter Project Life. It seems to me that this system of scrapbooking is laid out in such a way that I might actually...you know, make a scrapbook. Novel, right? It's all about putting your pictures out there, telling your story, and combining everything so those memories aren't lost with my good intentions to finish that super-embellished scrapbook.

As I told my friend Kathy this morning when I texted her in my Project Life-induced excitement...this isn't my style of scrapbooking at all. I tend to love things frilly and vintage and distressed and embellished to the extreme. That isn't changing because I purchased this kit. I've actually given myself permission to like both styles. Amazing, right?

Here's the thing...when (if) I have time to sit down and complete a traditional-for-me layout, then I'll do it. That will never go away, I hope. In the meantime, this system makes scrapbooking manageable for me in the moments where I don't have time or I don't feel inspired to make a full layout.

So, I can't wait to get this package in my hands. I'm planning to make it a 2011 project, which means I'll start January 1 (2 days from now) and go forward. I've done Project 365 (badly) before, and failed within the first 3 months because I've missed a picture or two. That obviously doesn't work for my life, so these won't be week in the life pictures or a picture a day or anything like that. I just want to capture our real lives, instead of waiting for big moments or vacations or something our nieces and nephews do. And I never want to say the phrase, "Oh, I'll take pictures of that when we have kids..." again. No more excuses from me.

I hope you all have thought about your resolutions and are making them attainable and planning steps to achieving them. It's really a fantastic feeling.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So Much To Think About

My mind is moving in a million directions right now. I can't seem to stay focused on anything, which will probably include this blog post. So, I'm giving in to it.

  • I met up with Mike's cousin Brent and his fiance Saranne last night to get some final details for their wedding invitations. I love the invitations they chose, so classy and perfect for their black & white damask wedding. I can't wait to get the materials and start making them.
  • I'm in heavy organization mode. Not that I'm doing any actual organization, I just want to plan it right now and then execute. I found these cute shelves at Ikea that I think I might invest in. The theory is that I could put my cookbooks on these and get them the heck off my kitchen counter, and have like 3 feet more counter space. Woo!

  • Mike & I have decided to move our bedroom from the second floor to the first floor. I think the first floor bedroom was always supposed to be the master bedroom, but there's no real way to tell since all the bedrooms are tiny with no redeeming qualities. The reason we moved upstairs in the first place is because our queen-sized box spring won't fit up the staircase, so we just made the downstairs room into the guest room. Well, I hate sleeping upstairs, so we're moving everything downstairs, and junking the guest bed. It was a hand-me-down and it has a chunk missing from the foot board where my beloved Karma (mom's doggie) decided to chew one night while she was bored. Instead, we're going to be getting some twin beds and using them in the guest room...and later, our kids can have them when they're ready. Here's some cute inspiration pics for that look.
  • From Country Living
  • I decided not to do the stenciling on the dining room wall like I planned. I will probably do it elsewhere at some point (like one wall of my craft room), but I want to go for a more rustic look in the dining room to tie the first floor together. I do hope to go pick out paint this weekend and get the room painted. I still need to figure out what the heck I'm doing for window treatments, so if anyone wants to tell me, that'd be great :)
  • I'm a lot more emotional this week than I've been in the past. It's kind of annoying to be honest. I'm not bottling things up at all, and let's face it, there are times that things really should be bottled up. I'm letting things really get to me that I have zero control over...my anxiety is definitely in overdrive.
  • Miss Molly tore one of her toenails last night and was obviously in pain. I was a mess. I have no idea how I'm ever going to deal with kids and their various injuries.
  • We have a new member of the family, Buster. He's an adorable baby calf (not so little, even though he's only a week or so old). I hope he gets along well with Scooter.
Okay, that's all the randomness I can spew for now. Happy Hump Day!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Dream

I've spent my entire life trying to figure out what I would be when I grew up. When I was very small, I thought I'd be a teacher. I liked teaching my brother and stuffed animals things. Why not? Over the course of elementary school & junior high, the topics I'd be teaching changed, but that's what I wanted to be. Then in high school, I decided I would do something in international studies. I could travel the world, speak all the languages I knew, and maybe even still teach if I wanted to. In college, I wanted to be a high school French or German teacher. Then I wanted to be a political science teacher. Then I just wanted to be a politician. And then a speech writer. And then a lobbyist. The next time I went to college, I thought I might work in Human Resources (and I do, a few hours a week.) Now, apparently, I think I might want to work in Marketing & Fundraising (where I spend most of my week). But the reality is that none of these are things I actually want to do as a career...I enjoy my job, don't get me wrong, and I think I'm okay at it, but this isn't my dream either.

I often find myself walking around a store, poking through someone's blog or on Google Images, scouring magazines...all with the thought, "If I had a store, I'd sell that..." (and enter the name of a really cute item here." I think you all know I spend my time in the fall attending craft shows, trying to sell the things I make. I love doing craft shows, but they're limited...I can only take so much with me and get it set up in the allotted time (and tear it back down later that day). I can't decorate a Christmas tree to show off how cute they would look with the felt garland I made to match. I can't set up a vignette on a piece of furniture to show how cute that book print wreath would look with my white dresser and black lamp with a burlap shade. I also have my Etsy store, but have found I'm terrible at keeping up with it, especially when there's nothing driving me to it. Empty Etsy? Eh, no big deal. I'll get something up there soon.

So, here's my dream.....I'd love to open a small store someday. A building would give me something to work toward...a full store. I could set up vignettes, properly display the things I make, feature local businesses or creations...it could be whatever I want it to be. Best of all, I could make it work to fit into my life, rather than having to fit my life around a job. It wouldn't have to be Monday-Friday, leaving my house before 6am and not getting home til almost 6pm. I could make my family a part of it (once I have children). I could be the stay-at-home mom I want to be (even if my definition of home expands to include a cozy playroom in the back of a store).

How's that for dreaming? :)

I don't know that this will ever happen, but it's something I want to dream about and work toward. Whether that's creating things that will eventually go in it or just figuring out a way to save all the money to make it happen in the meantime. And I figure that by saying it out loud (or writing it on a blog) then it makes me accountable to actually doing something about it, instead of making excuses or forgetting to make time for what I want.

So there you have it. My dream. What do you dream about?

Happy Holidays!

Our Christmas was absolutely awesome...such a great weekend. I hope you and your family had a lovely holiday as well!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Awesomeness

Need a last-minute gift? These gifts in a jar from Midwest Living are so awesome. I wish I'd found these a couple days ago! (The link has the finished recipes and free printable labels...how awesome is that?)

Happy stocking stuffing, office giving, or neighbor visiting...all without the stress!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I have a feeling that God is trying to teach me a very important lesson. And that He has been for the last year or so. I'm the type of person who loves to plan, pays way too much attention to tiny details, and thinks all of these things matter when it comes to celebrating a holiday. There's a plan, we better stick to it. I know this about myself, and though I know it's not necessarily the most important thing in the world, I have fun with it, so I don't mind going to the trouble.

Enter my lessons.

1. Last year, on Christmas eve, my plan was to make it home after celebrating with my side of the family. We left in a terrible blizzard, and though both of us said we should turn back and stay with my brother, we never did. About a mile away from our house, we got stuck in a snow drift, and decided to walk the rest of the way home. I won't go into details, but I can safely say that was the worst decision I was part of. At the end of it though, when I was slightly less traumatized, I realized that all that mattered was that Mike & I are an incredible team when we're up against a challenge. We support each other and encourage each other...we succeed together and fall apart together.

2. You read about my Thanksgiving weekend. Again, plans galore, and they all fell apart.

3. This year, it looks like it's going to be another bad snow on Christmas eve (not as bad as last year, thank goodness). I feel the panic attacks coming already about this. My Christmas eve dinner will most likely be cancelled. We probably won't make it to church. I may not get to see my family anywhere near Christmas this year. Yesterday, we found our that our foster nieces will be going home before Christmas. It feels like part of the family will be missing from our celebrations.

So what should I be learning from all of this? Perspective. Does it matter that I didn't get to go black Friday shopping as planned? No. Does it matter that we might not get to have Christmas on Christmas? No. Does it matter that I maybe didn't buy the perfect gift or get every decoration up or get my Christmas cards in the mail until today? No. The sentiment is still there. The reason we celebrate is still there. We are lucky we lived through last Christmas. I'm lucky that I'm in reasonably good health. We're lucky to have had our foster nieces in our family for as long as we did. We're lucky to be able to see our families on a regular basis.

I hate being a couple of days away from Christmas and being bummed, so I'm choosing to be thankful instead. I hope that whether your plans go perfectly, or everything falls apart, you choose to be thankful for what you have.  

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010


I work in the non-profit world (and always have), so I'm very aware of the kindness of people. I have a pretty good outlook on life and the openness of peoples' hearts when it comes to caring for others. It takes a lot to overwhelm me and shock me when it comes to generosity.

This is the view of my office from the door. Nothing but gifts, as far as the eye can see...only a path for me to get to my desk. I walked in to my office after a meeting one day, and it looked like this. Gifts coming from every part of town, from organizations and individuals...everyone having one thing in common: they love our residents and they want them to have a happy holiday season. What's even more amazing is that this isn't everything. This is maybe....MAYBE...half of what we have been given this year. We have around 140 residents living here, and every single one of them will have a gift bag under the tree full of things they put on their wish list...and each of those bags was donated by someone or a group of someones with huge hearts.

This is an amazing Christmas miracle :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


One of the pictures we decided not to use for our Christmas cards...

Geez, I love my Molly Monster. :) Happy 10 days til Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cards, Cards Everywhere

Holy wow, guess who hasn't posted in 2 weeks. Insane. I really didn't mean to, but I can't imagine a busier time than the first 2 weeks in December. Except maybe the 2nd two weeks. I could tell you what I've been up to, but it would just bore you...lots of projects and lots of things for work. Let's just say the 2 weeks have flown by.

Anyway, the reason for my post today: holiday cards. It's inevitable. Every year, my mailbox gets flooded with cards from December to January (or if you're on my Christmas card list, possibly you could be receiving a Christmas card on Valentine's Day). I don't know about you, but I love to see pictures of my family and friends, read those Christmas letters, check out the beautiful foiled cards, even display them as holiday accents.

So, how do you display your cards? I have a few different ways I've tried over the years, and a new one this year (I actually just got my first card this weekend, so I need to haul it out and take a picture.)

Here are some cute ideas I've found and saved:

(I think these are from Pottery Barn)

I have the one on the right (the tree-shaped one), so I'm guessing they're from Pottery Barn, but I can't remember where I found this picture. I love the way the tree looks when I first start getting cards, but once it's full, it's a little overwhelming. Plus, it always falls at least once a year as people are trying to read my cards :)

(From Country Living)

Loving this idea. Of course, I don't have a banister, but if you do, go for this one!

(From Pottery Barn)

Their current version. I'm loving the star shape, but not investing in another one of these.

(Pottery Barn)

Loving this one. I'll probably make my own version of this for next year, with chicken wire instead of the cable (I have the frame, just not the time.)

(Found on Room Remix)

I really like the branch trend anyway, but I think this is a fun twist on it. Not sure how steady it would be...

Just a few ideas for you. How do you display your cards? Any fun ideas??