Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Goals

Hey everyone, I know it's been a long time since I've posted, but it's been a very crazy couple of months! I thought I would start out listing what my goals are for 2012. Now, I want to point out, these are not "resolutions" because we all know those don't last. Rather by calling them goals, it makes it seem more acheivable... this is what I want to accomplish in the next year.

1. Getting organized... or maybe more organized? It seems like I've always been trying to get organized. But here are my specific goals for getting organized:

Make sure everything has a place. If it has a place, it's easier to keep organized, right?

Simplify. Don't keep what I don't use. When making new purchases, it should be something that has multiple uses.

Go through my recipes and try them out! I have so many cookbooks, I need to start using them! My goal this year is to go through my magazines and try out the recipes I like so I can get rid of them. The ones we like will go into a scrapbook... I'm thinking of doing an annual family cookbook with recipes we like that we try each year, but we'll see how that goes first. 

I also need to create a household routine. It may seem obvious to most people, but that is a skill I never learned. My mother didn't like to clean, and my grandmother who was very neat never took a moment to teach me what she did. So this year I will be figuring out a daily/weekly/monthly routine that works for me.

I think if I can accomplish these goals, I will be ending the year feeling much more organized than when I started.

2. Scrapbooking goals: I'm so far behind in my scrapbooking that I really do need to make a few goals to get caught up.

Finish unfinished projects. I have several projects that I started but never finished... or got supplies for and everything together but never worked on it. If I focus on completing one project each month, I should be able to get caught up.

Participate in more challenges. I really am more motivated to do pages when I have a starting point.

Work on Collin's medical scrapbook. This has been the hardest project for me to start, and the biggest reason for my creative block. It has been a painful journey that isn't over yet, but it is an important part of our lives that I need to document. By getting this project down onto paper, it will open me back up to catching up on my scrapbooking.

Learn digital scrapbooking. I do have photoshop elements, but it has been so hard to learn to do anything in it. I recently got MyMemories digital software and have been playing around in it. It is sooo much easier to work in, and I think I'll be able to get a lot of projects done in it. I still love paper scrapping, but digital would make it quicker and easier to create books for gifts for friends and family.

Use up my stash. I have so much scrapbooking products I could probably go all year using what I have without buying anything new. In order to use up what I have, I've created the following plan: 1. Follow the Counterfeit Kit challenge blog to use my stash to make a new kit every month to use. 2. Focus each month on a specific paper manufacturer when not using my kit. 3. Focus each month on a specific type of embellishment to try to use up.

3. Other creative goals:

Improve my photography. This is a really important goal for me. I have found several websites that offer free photography classes that I intend to learn from. Once I've gone through those resources, if I feel my photography still needs some improvement I hope to be able to take a paid online class, or find an online community that I can get feedback from.

Learn to sew. Santa brought me a Singer sewing machine, and I fully intend to learn how to use it. If I get good enough, it could be another source for homemade Christmas gifts. I've seen so many wonderfully creative projects on the blogs that I would love to try myself, and now I can!

Finally, I need to clean up the blogs that I have in my feed. I spend so much of my spare time looking at blogs for inspiration that I never have much time left to create. Besides, most of the blogs either leave me wanting to buy more stuff that I won't use for a long time, or make me feel like I'm not good enough because my style is different from theirs. So I'm getting rid of any blog in my feed that doesn't meet one of my above goals.

If anyone wants to leave a comment, I'd love to know what other people's goals are for the next year!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On a Walk

Here's a layout that I made with a random kit I had... I'm really starting to like twine and I'm finding ways to use it in my layout, I love how I have it wrapped around the photo and mats like this!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Colors

This layout is created from and old fall Imaginisce line. I made this for the Birds of a Feather challenge to do a layout about a smell that gives you a nostalgic feeling. I love the smell of fall... wood burning fires and the smell of leaves as they change colors!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Leg Up

Pagemaps is having another sketch contest, using the sketch above. I used my September Counterfeit Kit for this layout.

Title: A Leg Up on the competition

"You loved to hold your leg up int he air after your surgery so you would know when the nurses came in to check on you. The nurses would laugh and come in to say hi because they saw your leg in the air every time they walked by."


I absolutely loved this paper from Scenic Route, so I kept my layout very simple to let the paper shine. This layout is created for the color challenge at Birds of a Feather - red, orange, yellow and green.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Tricks, Just Treats

Here's a cute halloween card from my October Counterfeit Kit with Bo Bunny goodness. I used the Card Challenge Tuesday sketch from the Bo Bunny blog...  totally adorable, don't you think? I may just give this to Liam's preschool teacher... I just need to think of a "treat" to go with it to thank her for all her patience, Liam's been having a hard year so far!

Haunted Forest

Here is the first card I made using my October Counterfeit Kit with Bo Bunny goodness. I used a card sketch from Pagemaps. I have to say this is the first time I've used a transparency and it wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I created this layout using the October sketch from Sweet Peach Crop Shop, using an old fall line from Imaginisce. I love fall, and most especially, I love apples! I was inspired to use these pictures for the October Photography challenge at Birds of a Feather - to take a photo of something you love about Autumn!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Here is my second layout from Studio Calico's Boardwalk kit. I made this for the sketch challenge at Birds of a Feather, and also for a layout challenge at Studio Calico - to use a banner on your layout.

Trick or Treat pull tab card

This is my first project from my October Counterfeit kit. I made this for a challenge at the Birds of a Feather birthday crop - to make an interactive card. I found a tutorial on how to make a pull tab card, so when you pull on the tab...

The spider climbs up like this!

October Counterfeit Kit

This month on the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog they are counterfeiting the September/October 2010 kits from Little Red Scrapbook. Since I've barely touched my September kit, I chose to counterfeit the smaller halloween themed kit. I have these gorgeous papers I won last year in a Bo Bunny challenge, so I decided to use these halloween papers. 

Just like in the LRS kit, I chose 6 12x12 patterned papers, 3-12x12 cardstock, black ribbon, and some coordinating embellishments.

 Most of the embellishments are Bo Bunny, but I threw in a few extra halloween themed embellishments I found in my stash.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Birthday/Newborn Collin

This layout is for challenge #10 at the Birds of a Feather birthday crop. The challenge was to use song lyrics on your layout from a selection of birthday songs. This layout is the first page in Collin's first year album that I am FINALLY starting - he had a rough first year and it's been difficult to sit down and get it started. The picture is from the day he was born, so I had to add Happy Birthday to you in the journalling!

One Wish

Challenge #9 at the Birds of a Feather birthday crop is to do a layout about one thing that you wish for. This was very emotional journalling for me to do - my wish would be that pediatric cancer didn't exist.  

White Legs on a Sandy Beach

Challenge #8 for the Birds of a Feather birthday crop is a monochromatic challenge based on the color of your birthstone.

October - Tourmaline - Tourmaline is a brilliant gemstone that ranges from pink to green

Okay, so it was a monochromatic challenge and I used pink AND green, but it's not very often that I use pink on a layout, and I couldn't resist using this paper from Basic Grey. I am also submitting this for a challenge on the Basic Grey blog to use patterned paper as the background of your layout.

Poppy's Hat

This layout is for challenge #6 at Birds of a Feather birthday crop. Using very complicated math based on my birth year and other factors, I had to create my layout with 3 photos, 6 patterned papers, 5 of one type of embellishment (buttons) and 7 words in my title.

Party Hat

Challenge #5 at the Birds of a Feather birthday crop is to create a party decoration or favor. I made this cute and simple party hat, but by the time I was ready to get a picture of it, my "model" had fallen asleep!

Quote from Liam today: "Mommy, this is the best birthday hat ever!"

Your Journey

Challenge #4 at Birds of a Feather is to create a layout about your journey through life. I did this layout about Collin's journey his first two years of life. I used the DCWV Playtime stack, and I used this month's sketch for the Stackaholic challenge at the DCWV blog.

What a Hoot

This layout is for challenge #3 at the Birds of a Feather birthday crop - the challenge is to use a banner on your layout. I used my September counterfeit kit for this layout. The banner is using the extra scalloped edge from the Sassafrass Lass paper.

Celebrate Me

Challenge #2 at Birds of a Feather is using a sketch and including journalling that states your goals and/or your achievements. I used my September counterfeit kit for this layout. I am also using this layout for a challenge at The Paper Variety - to include a forest friend on your project (note the owls on the background paper).

In Your Eyes

This is my first layout using the Studio Calico "Boardwalk" kit. I used a sketch from Studio Calico. I am also using this layout for a challenge at Birds of a Feather: to use one (1) embellishment or accessory on your page x (times) the age you most recently celebrated on your last birthday. I just turned 32 yesterday, so I used 32 squares.

Monday, September 19, 2011


The Simple Scrapper blog has a weekly journalling exercise, Celebrate Monday, with a prompt to jump start your journalling. I need to work more on journalling my journey, especially if I want to really get down those memories from the past year and a half. Collin is a part of my journey, and as hard as his stories may be, I need to start scrapping them. Hopefully if I can start by getting the journalling down, it will be easier for the page to come together.

This week's prompt is: The song that always takes me back is…

"Smile" by Nat King Cole

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

This song is both bittersweet and hopeful for me, but it helped me through the most difficult time a parent can go through. Collin needed brain surgery when he was 6 months old, and it took 3 weeks... 3 very loooong weeks.... for us to hear back on the results of the biopsy. During those 3 weeks my best friend Missa stayed with me in the hospital, making sure I ate and slept, keeping my mind sane. She would sing this song to Collin when he got cranky and he would calm down right away... and so would I. I still can't sing this song myself without getting emotional.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

my favorite picture

This is one of my favorite pictures of Collin... for many reasons. When you have a child with cancer, each picture becomes infinitely more precious. On this morning I took him to the park to get a "portrait" type picture of him. He no longer has the feeding tube in his nose - he has a button in his belly now that we can feed him through. I really need to do another photo session of him without the tube... maybe in a pumpkin patch. However, these types of photos are rare... most people would take for granted that it's easy to get pictures of their kid looking into the camera. But for a blind child, out of 279 pictures this is the only one where he looks like he's looking in the direction of the camera. Collin is the sweetest thing on earth, especially with everything he has to go through, full of charm and grace, and this picture shows it all.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mr Smee?

So I had a discussion with Liam about halloween costumes last weekend. Here's the background before I get to the story: Liam is obsessed with anything cars or trains... so I will take any opportunity to foster interest in anything else. Jake and the Neverland Pirates is a new show on Disney, and I was able to convince him to have a pirate themed birthday party when he turned 4 in June, which he still talks about. So, thinking early to get him thinking about costumes and liking my ideas, this conversation followed:

Me: Liam, since you had a pirate party for your birthday, do you want to dress up like a pirate for halloween?
Liam: Yes! I can be Jake from Jake andtheNeverlandPirates!
Daddy: What if we all dress up like pirates?
Liam: yeah, that's a good idea! Daddy, you can be Captain Hook!
Me: And who would I dress up as?
Liam: You can be Mr Smee!!!!!
Me: Mr Smee?!?!?! How about Tinkerbell?
Liam: No, Tinkerbell's not a pirate! She lives in Pixie Hollow, not Neverland!

(side note... maybe I should get him to watch the original Peter Pan before Halloween if I really want to dress like Tinkerbell. Then again, it's pretty cold here for Halloween so maybe Mr Smee is a better choice!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blog Your Heart (a challenge)

Stephanie Howell has a challenge on her blog today - a challenge to blog your heart. I don't always go into the deep end of things with my life... well... mostly because it can go pretty deep. But I have some deep stuff to share today.

Yesterday, my baby Collin turned 2. This picture was taken in the rooftop healing garden at Yale after his chemotherapy appointment. How many children need to get chemo on their birthday? I don't know... but I know if it wasn't for chemo, Collin wouldn't have made it to this birthday, and for that we are truly blessed.

He was diagnosed at 6 months with brain cancer - Pilomyxoid Astrocytoma (I dare you to google it, you won't find much). It's a rare brain cancer, and as such has not had much research - which means there is no definitive treatment plan which is known to work to "cure" this cancer. Collin will never be cured, he will always have this brain cancer in his head. The best we can hope for is shrinkage and stable. So far he seems to be doing well on his current treatment for the past year and a half, other kids with this diagnosis have had to go through several different regimens before finding one that works. His treatment plan currently is indefinitely - as long as it's still working and the cancer is still shrinking. I know one kid who's been in treatment for 5 years, and every time they stopped treatment it grew back quickly. This is the long hard road we are on.

We celebrated at home by having cupcakes. I had to hold Collin's hand while we sang happy birthday to make sure he didn't explore and touch the burning candles by mistake. Oh, I forgot to mention, he's blind from the surgery to try to remove the cancer.

We let him smash up the cupcake and play with the frosting. He even managed to get a couple little tastes of the frosting which made him gag... he developed a feeding aversion before he was diagnosed and he hasn't eaten anything by mouth since March 2010. But we feel grateful that he at least put his sticky frosting hand up to his mouth... that's a big thing for us.

Then his big brother Liam gave him a present (we'll be having two big parties this weekend so we're saving the other gifts for then). Collin had fun for a few minutes just playing with the bag before Chris helped him reach in to feel what was in the bag.

Meet Collin's newest favorite chewtoy... Captain Nummy Pants.

Happy Birthday Collin!!

Things I have learned about myself in these past 2 years:

1. I am so much stronger than I ever thought I could be. Other people tell me they would have become completely insane dealing with everything I have to do on a daily basis.When we found out he had cancer, I told myself that I would be strong in the moment because I needed to be. If I fell apart, Collin wouldn't get the good care he needed to get. I have to be strong for him. 

2. I decided scrapbooking would be my emotional outlet. When I'm ready to handle it, I'll print out all those pictures and scrap and cry. I've done a few layouts just touching on pieces of our journey, but I still fall apart when I try to look at the pictures from when he was in the hospital for 6 weeks for surgery.

3. I don't see a therapist, although I probably should. I keep tabs on how well I'm doing by how much I want to scrapbook and/or cook. I know I'm doing bad when I don't want to do either for more than a day or two and try to do something to get myself out of my funk. So far I haven't needed any meds to deal with life.

4. In situations like these, you really do find out who your true friends are. A lot of people have fallen off the map for me - including family. Sad, I know. But we've had several new friends pop up who've really become involved in our lives.

5. Because of his surgery, Collin is blind, and he had a stroke causing left-sided weakness. He's just learning to crawl and stand, but can't do either on his own yet. He has several therapy appointments a week and has come a long way since his surgery, but he still has a long way to go.

6. I have to keep myself from getting angry or thinking about what Collin would be doing if he didn't have cancer. It's a rare photo if I get one that looks like he's actually looking at the camera. He would be playing more with his brother. He would have a few words he could say, instead of just babbling. He'd be walking around and getting into trouble with his brother. He'd be eating solid food and hopefully enjoying it - he had quite an appetite before he started getting sick.

7. I have to remind myself to be blessed for what Collin is... a beautiful boy with a beautiful spirit. He loves music, he laughs at everything, he's always happy. Even after everything he has to go through, he's always happy. We could learn a lot from that boy... I already have.

Life is all about choices... even after everything you have to go through, you still have the choice to be happy. You may not be able to change anything, but you can accept it and choose to be okay with it, and be happy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

EP Card

This card was created for another challenge at The Paper Variety. This challenge is to do a project using at least 70% of your favorite paper company. I've been working with a lot of Echo Park this month, and the only thing not EP in this card is the white cardstock!

Thanks a Bunch

I created this card for the Case Study Challenge blog.

This is the beautiful inspiration card. My card is a very clean and simple version of it, but that's really more my style instead of piling on layer after layer.

Flower Card

I created this card using Echo Park papers and a yellow flower for a challenge at The Paper Variety. The challenge is to do a project that shows off your favorite embellishment - I'm always trying to add flowers where I can, and I think this card really shows off the flower!

Ice Cream Sandwich

I created this layout using Basic Grey paper from several different lines (don't ask me which ones, I really need to start writing this stuff down!!). I created this for The Paper Variety blog - the challenge is to use a favorite photo in your layout. I love these pictures of Liam eating ice cream sandwiches - mostly because this is the only time he ever ate one. We found out later that he was allergic to milk so he can't eat them anymore. I also used a sketch from the Basic Grey blog to create this layout.

Strawberry Brownie Pie

This layout was inspired by a few different projects together. The Paper Variety has a challenge this week to use stamps on your project - the strawberries and the title are both using stamps. At Kitchen Keepsakes, this month's challenge is to do a monochromatic dessert layout... okay, so I have a little green, but really, have you ever seen red strawberry leaves? Finally, over at My Unity Place, the scrapbooking challenge is to use only Itty Bitty stamps (the strawberries) and do a page in a size other than 12x12 - this one is 8 1/2 x11. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011


So last night I was playing with my August Counterfeit kit, trying to use up the leftovers, when inspiration hit.

This is the Tuesday Trigger from Moxie Fab World. Isn't this just fabulous! I saw that pillow, and looking at my sticker embellishments, immediately came up with this...

Supplies: white cardstock, stickers from For the Record, Echo Park.

September Counterfeit Kit

At the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog, this month's inspiration kit is the September 2010 kit from Sweet Peach Crop Shop.

I chose the Sweet kit, shown above. The papers are from Sassafrass Lass Indie Girl, so when I was looking through my stash, I pulled out the papers I had from their Life is Beautiful line. I wanted the paper ratio to be the same, so I added a few other papers from Crate Paper, Fancy Pants, and My Mind's Eye that I thought coordinated well. I also added 6 pieces of cardstock in different colors.

For the embelllishments, I went with a few papers filled with alphabets and a rub-on alphabet, I chose a Technique Tuesday calendar stamp, Hero Arts sewing stamp set to match the rub-on stitches in the inspiration kit, some chipboard journalling blocks that match, a few stamps that I'd like to try to use, some prima flowers, and some coordinating ribbon. 

I hope you like my counterfeit kit, and I look forward to using it this month!

For the Record

This is the last layout I did with my August Counterfeit kit... I used the Scrapbook Starting Point from Shimelle's blog.. I love those challenges! I haven't done the journalling yet, still trying to figure out what to say about these pictures...

Just Want to Say

I'm trying to use up the rest of my August Counterfeit kit since I don't have much left. I created this card using sketch #131 at Card Patterns blog. I was saving the bird since it was my favorite sticker and couldn't figure out what to do with it... I love that I can use this card for just about any occasion!

Monday, September 5, 2011

You Make Me Smile

I created this layout using Echo Park papers, and I used sketch 135 from The Scrappiest blog.


I created this layout with Echo Park paper (from my August Counterfeit Kit) using Sketch 250 from Pencillines.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Words to Live By

 Over at Big Picture Classes I decided to participate in this year's Big Idea Festival. This year's theme was Words To Live By. There were 12 teachers and each teacher selected a word to inspire us in this challenge. They provided 6x6 printables with the word and a space for journalling. This is what I came up with... 

Papers are from a My Mind's Eye paper stack, and stamps are from various brands.

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