05 March 2014

Healthy Mom, Happy Family: Cooking Day to Day

My life is insane these days.  We are averaging 5 evenings at a baseball practice or game.  It leaves our family divided, out during regular dinner time, and it leaves me trying to find a way to fit vegetables in on another pizza-bought-by-the-snack-host-family night.  It's not working well, but I am committed to changing it.

Changing it includes eating better, but it also includes not worrying about it as much.  Giving into my limitations is hard for me, as I am sure it is for many moms who think they should be able to be supermom with the organic, locally grown meals, the hand-made birthday parties, and the spotless houses cleaned without harsh chemicals.  But let's get real-- most of the time, we are balancing the needs of our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends.  We are working, volunteering and hosting the neighborhood coffee.  We are FULL, and very little of it is going to our health and happiness. 

So I am taking the bold stand in my life to say that I am going to be mediocre at feeding my family, at least while we get through baseball season.  Mediocre means that I am not going to actively try to avoid all the bad foods, but just add some vegetables on top.  That means not ONLY pizza and McDonalds, but perhaps a grilled chicken sandwich with a side of carrots and ranch dressing instead of nuggets and fries.  Or cheese pizza with a large salad on the side and some fruit for dessert. 

At this point, mediocre is a serious win.

Here are four things that I am trying:

1.  Cook my vegetables early in the day as part of my lunch prep instead of squeezing it in when the kids get home.  Not as tasty as freshly steamed, but more tasty than frozen and FAR more likely to get done than if I wait until the homework/chase-down-the-uniform/find the gloves part of the day.

2.  Cook a large batch of roast veggies to last for a week.  These can last and incorporate into basic quick foods my kids will eat like scrambled eggs, fajitas or pasta.  If you still have left over at the end of the week, you can drop them in the blender or food processor with some canned veggie broth and make a great roast veggie soup.  Making them is a little time consuming (chopping the veggies), but then just toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at about 425 for a half hour and you have several meals worth of veggies.

3.  Make soup to last for a week.  My favorite way to buy an already-roasted chicken from the grocery store.  Take the meat off the bones to eat one night and while you are eating, boil the bones and skin and whatever that awesome juice is in the bottom of the plastic box in a pot of water for about an hour.  Straining out the bones and other stuff is the only challenging part of this because you really need 2 soup pots to do it easily.  If you have a big enough pot, I have been known to put the entire chicken and strainer in the pot to boil it and just take the strainer out with hot pads to avoid this.  But it's up to you how messy you want to get!

I then add some salt and pepper to taste (sometimes a bullion cube if it needs more flavor), and throw in any veggies I have on hand.  When I don't have time to chop veggies, I sometimes get peppers, onions, celery, carrots, etc. already chopped at the grocery store when I buy the chicken OR I just put the stuff in whole and cut it up as I eat it.  The second way is more of a pain, but I've been known to do either of these things when time is cut short.

Cook the raw veggies for about a half hour or until your hardest veggie is soft (usually the root veggies or cabbage), and you have soup.  Great, homemade, REALLY healthy vegetable soup.  Here's my soup from last week:

You can see that I threw everything in there, from broccoli (not too much, as it's a powerful flavor) to zucchini to spinach.  It was so pretty I wanted to eat it every day.  If you are worried about it going bad, this soup freezes beautifully.  I separate mine into single portions and pull it out for lunch or as an add to dinner regularly.  Lots of veggies the easy and yummy way.

4.  Chop romaine and iceberg lettuce and bag it.  Some people have better feelings about pre-bagged lettuce, but inevitably I don't end up eating it because it has a funny aftertaste.  I really like lovely butter lettuce and leafy green salads, but for this, we are sticking with romaine and iceberg because they last longer and are still crunchy after several days.  There is nothing worse than a mealy salad to make you not eat one for two weeks, and I just can't seem to keep the softer lettuces for more than a couple of days.  It takes less than 15 minutes to chop off the tops and bottoms of the 3-5 heads of romaine and just slice them the short way.  I tend to add canned veggies to my salad (beets, artichoke hearts, etc.), so I don't chop more than the lettuce up front.  I can always take 2 minutes to cut up a cucumber or add a tomato when I go to eat it.

So that's my list for the next couple of months.  Mediocre and loving it!!

Do you have ways you incorporate veggies into your or your family's diet that is easy to pre-prep?  Let me know!!

04 March 2014

Cardmaking Monday: Studio Calico February Card Kits

Happy Cardmaking Monday on Tuesday... :-)  I have been sick with the flu and bronchitis and was at the doctor yesterday getting medicine, so no blog posting for me. 

The flu does not keep me out of my studio, though! But I did decide that this week I wouldn't worry about my stash-busting, try-something-from-my-studio quest and just focus on enjoying whatever little bits of energy I had to give to crafting.  So that brought me back to my monthly card kits, which have been tempting me on my desk for a couple of weeks now.

I showed you all card last week I made with this month's Studio Calico card kit that had the painted butterfly last week.  Here are three of the other cards that came from the kit!  I am really, really happy that I reinstated my kit subscription with them-- they seem to be getting better and better each month!  At some point, I will post about my views on the differences between the two kits to which I have been a subscriber.  Today, just a little art and inspiration!

This one is a basic one using two patterned papers, stamps, a punch and some sequins.  SO pretty!  I am trying to remember how much I like things I make with lots of white space.  It's just so hard when you love color and pattern as much as I do.  But a small amount of great color goes a long way, as you can see...

This one didn't photograph as well as I would like, but it is just soft and pretty and shows off the lovely palate in the main card kit this month.

This last one was made using mostly the add-on kit.  As a general rule, I try not to buy the add-ons because they seem to be much more expensive for what you get in them.  But I just LOVED the colors and the stamps (which I haven't even used yet for any of these!).  The stamps have balloons and great sentiments and they just make me think of a summer yard party!! I will try to make something out of them and post them sometime just for fun.  :-)

That's it for this week!  I will share my Simon Says Stamp March kit creations next week.  That kit is awesome too, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface so far!

Do you have card kits you love?  I'd love to hear about them if you do.....

Happy crafting!

24 February 2014

Cardmaking Monday: Painted Wood Veneer

Among the many things I collect in my studio, one of my favorite little things is wood veneer.  I regularly forget to use it, though.  I more often reach for enamel or sparkly bling instead because I just don't always want the brown on my cards.

So this week, I played with painting my wood veneer to see whether that seemed like a hassle or whether it made me happier to use the veneer.  Totally easy to do and it creates such a great different texture.  Loved it!

You may also notice that I had a week of butterflies... ;-)

 I used Adirondack paint daubers in white to cover the greeting.  It almost looks like a diecut in the pictures, but there is definitely more dimension in person.  The stamped butterfly and punched border are from Martha Stewart, and the papers are from my Studio Calico card kits, so I can't tell you who makes them.  (sorry about that!).  The veneer sentiment was also from one of my SC card kits, but from a while back.

This butterfly was so much fun to make!  A totally different concept as the focal point rather than as an added bit.  The butterfly is from My Minds Eye, and I have a bunch of them that I planned to use for one of my classes.  Now I am thinking I will keep them and make a series of butterfly cards!! 

I painted with Tim Holtz distress paints in Mowed Lawn, Iced Spruce and Tumbled China.  I pretty much just dabbed until I liked the effect.  These papers are from this month's SC card kit add on, as is the stamped sentiment.  The enamel dots are My Minds Eye and the border sticker is from Echo Park.

So my only problem now is that I am finding that I really enjoy too many of my supplies.  One of these weeks, I am sure I will find a dud!!  Until then...... Have a great week!

12 February 2014

Cardmaking Monday (whoops, Thursday!): Printed Chipboard

I have to admit that this week's cards were not an experiment.  I LOVE printed chipboard.  Love it, use it constantly and would have a hard time living with out in my cards.

This past week has been so busy with my sweetheart son's birthday celebrations that I haven't had the space to try a new technique or supply.    But I had a great time pulling out my newest collection from Pebbles and making some pretty things. 

I hope you you enjoy the long weekend commemorating some of our our great US Presidents!

11 February 2014

Healthy Mom, Happy Life: My Great Uncle Sleep

I have decided that sleep is like your weird Great Uncle who you only see once a year.  You KNOW you are supposed to love him and respect him and pay deference.  But at the end of the day, you really think you would be perfectly fine without him. 

Experts say sleep is critical to human beings' health and well being.  It makes us smarter, helps us lose weight, reduces our stress, gives us more energy...  And let's face it-- we are all just a bit nicer when we are well rested, and the world needs nicer.

My life has been a constant internal battle with my need for sleep versus other priorities.  I spent my most of my life convinced that sleep was for the weak.   I made no apologies for my all-nighters spent writing term papers or doing homework or staying up with the baby or working until 2am and returning to the office at 8am.  These were battle scars proving that I am living a full life, right?

In 2013, I began to recognize the truth of my need for sleep.  In October, I challenged myself to not just sleep more but to sleep differently.  Instead of staying up until all hours to write articles and emails, prep my classes, or make door decorations for my childrens' classes, I started going to bed earlier and getting up at 5:30am.  Until October, I only saw 5:30am if I had to catch a flight or had just not made it to bed the night before yet.  

And I fell in love.  With sleep.  With being rested.  With being sane and calm and clear.  I found out there is a reason we have that crazy uncle and that paying him his due deference would make my life so much better.

So this is what I have learned about me-- and maybe it's true for you too:

1.  I need at least 7 hours of sleep to function properly.  When I get less repeatedly, I believe that I am okay, but I am really not.  I become foggy, impatient, overwhelmed and fat.  Nothing good comes from less than 7 hours of sleep.

2.  I should not work at night.  I considered myself a night owl my whole life, and after 10pm, I still often get a sudden burst of energy.   I have learned that energy does not equate to competence or efficiency, though.  If you are like me, and you are constantly fighting against a too-long to do list, competence and efficiency are paramount to feeling good every day.

3.  I should not snooze my alarm.  This one took a while to figure out.  In my bleariness of early morning, I always am tempted to have 10 more minutes.  But what I have learned that it makes me MORE tired to snooze than to get up.  Getting out of bed takes about 2 minutes to get the groggy out.  Put in contacts and sneak out to my studio, turn on the lights and I am awake.  If I snooze the alarm, even after I wake up, my body is thinking it should still be sleeping.  It takes me a solid 10 or more minutes to get un-groggy and at least a half hour to stop being really angry at having to be awake at all.

4.  I need to play in the morning if at all possible.  This is also counter-intuitive.  I have always believed that you work before you play.  But in reality, playing in my art studio or doing some other fun, by myself activity, revs me up for my entire day.  Some people work out (and maybe that will be me someday!) or read or watch the morning news.  Making cards gets me in the mood to have an awesome day.  I am a better mom, a better wife and a smarter, more energized person if I begin my day with joyful activity.

So that's what I know. Are there any other rules that you abide by with sleep that help you live healthier and happier?

05 February 2014

February Art Challenge: Watercolor Painting

January's monthly art challenge was to use my stencils.  They were an easy start to the year, as they required very little stretch-- just some time to give to something I already pretty much knew how to do.

This month is different.  I am working with watercolors, and I have no idea what I am doing!!!!

I have loved watercolors since I had a Crayola set of 8 as a kid.  I was given a set of tubes of watercolor when I was in high school, but I never found time to use them.  I took a watercolor workshop this summer, so I had to purchase actual proper tubes of watercolor, good cotton paper, squirrel brushes, etc.  I made a significant investment based on my teacher's instructions, only to find that I didn't like the class (aka teacher) and didn't have a space in my studio to stretch out and test out my new toys.

So here is my first painting.  Not too bad for a first try from someone who doesn't know how to use watercolors or how to draw!!!  Reminded me of why I love the medium-- makes even the least of us look ok!

This month will be hard-- both in terms of the actual painting and the pre-painting work of creating space for this type of art.   I love the feel of watercolors and the fact that you can work quickly with them, but it seems to require much more planning than is my norm with art.  But that's what my monthly challenges are about-- to stretch and grow and figure out more about myself as an artist.  Wish me luck, and if you are a watercolor artist, please send me any tips so you don't have to look at awful work all month!!  :-)

03 February 2014

Cardmaking Monday-- Hand Stitching on Paper

Hello, everyone!

My apologies for disappearing last week.  Our household went down with illness, and I had to put on my mom superhero cape to try to take care of my little guys (while secretly wishing I could just go to sleep and feel better myself!)......

Back to cards... A few years ago, I taught a paper crafting class to elementary school children.  I made these die cut egg cards and got us some Sew Easy tools and all this embroidery floss so the kids could make decorate the eggs with different colored floss lines.  Apparently, unbeknownst to me, sewing is no longer part of the art preschool curriculum.  (Doesn't EVERYBODY sew some yarn on paper to make a little paper pillow??  Was that just my preschool?!)  Anyway, my kids had a very hard time doing it, the class was a disaster, and I ended up sewing about half of the kids' eggs for them. 

That was, as you can imagine, the last I have touched those Sew Easy needles and embroidery floss.

So embroidery floss and hand-stitching made its way onto my list of 52 cards this year.  Is it REALLY worth the time and effort??  Or should I donate those tools and make some room?  That was the question of the week.  :-)

I was absolutely certain I would want to throw in the towel on these things.  Too much time, not enough bang for your buck.  Too country for my tastes.

Until I made this very simple card and fell in love with it.

It definitely took more time to do this than to stitch with a sewing machine (or my personal favorite, which is to not stitch and make dashes to make it look like stitching!).  But holy cow does it have a big impact when I use it in my own way, in my own style.

I don't think its a tool I would use on a 12x12 layout, as it always is lost on me when other people do it.  But in small doses, when it can have a large visual impact, I absolutely love this.

So unfortunately for my shelves, they will have to keep another tool on hand because I have fallen in love-- FINALLY!!

27 January 2014

Cardmaking Monday: Brads & Flowers

I have been completely enthralled with Basic Grey's new Fresh Cut collection, so I have been straying from my commitment to focus on new materials.  (Doesn't a new paper collection count?!)  Anyway, but I did manage to make a couple of cards over the last two weeks for two of my particularly under-utilized supplies. 


I have BOXES of brads.  I love, love, love them, especially the pretty enamel ones with a metal rim.  I have collected them from MME, from Fancy Pants, from Basic Grey and anyone else who has pretty brads. 

Problem is that I don't regularly think through the placement of my brads before I glue down a piece of paper.  I was thinking this week, as I tried to incorporate them (meaning I had to think first, stick later--ack!), that I could probably get something strong and clip the brad part, leaving only the pretty top that I love... Let me know if you have done this and what cutting implement you have used.  I recently destroyed what I thought was some pretty sturdy kitchen shears trying to clip apart a thin die (whoops!).  Any advice is VERY welcome!!

For this one, I actually used the brad to adhere the die cut flower.  I cut these flowers back when I first got this die and LOVED them, but trying to get them to adhere is insanely difficult.  This was a great solution and let me also use this pretty paper ribbon from Maya Road that I have been wanting to really test out fully.  I really liked this card, and I found USE out of the brad, not just prettiness.


I likewise have boxes and jars and all sorts of craziness filled with fabric and paper flowers.  Most of them were purchased a long time ago, back when I first started crafting.  They aren't really my style, so I tend to not reach for them.  I am more likely to punch or die cut a paper flower (see above!).  But in the spirit of trying things again, I tried them on two cards, neither of which were my favorites.

Part of the reason I don't love this card is that it feels a little old lady to me.  I wanted to do a sappy Valentine card, so I definitely achieved it, but generally I like a cleaner style.  It's partly the style and partly the color, but this card reinforced the reason I don't use paper flowers often. 

**Ooh, notice the pretty brad!!  This is the kind I am thinking might be better if I clip the legs.**

This one was a compilation of that Fresh Cut collection I was telling you about.  I don't normally use so many patterns in one space, but I just had this desire to make some wavy, lines and see what would happen.  The flower in this case is far more in my style, and it gives a nice place to rest your eyes after the chaos of the pattern.  But I am still not loving it. 

So..... after my experiments, I have learned two things-- I need to figure out how to clip my brads and use them more regularly.  And I need to seriously purge the flowers.  I have far too large of a collection for how much I like using them, even with some favorite papers.


Are you purging yet this year?????

22 January 2014

January Art Project: Stencils

I am at the beginning of my monthly commitment to work on a new medium or tool to create some ART.  Not that making cards (my regular past time in my studio) isn't art, but I have a pretty set way of doing cards, I know what I like and don't like, and messiness isn't part of my style.  So I want to use some mediums that allow mess and lots and lots of bright colors and exploration of creativity at its core.

Stencils have become the rage in paper crafting and multi-media art.  I find myself collecting stencils-- have been doing it since before it was the rage, when Martha Stewart went onto HSN with her paints and showed how you don't have to be able to draw to decorate all sorts of home decor items with just stencils and paint.  Ah, the appeal of easy home decor!!

My goal this month is to start playing with stencils and different mediums with those stencils.  I started with (surprise, surprise) paint, and I have moved onto Martha's stucco paint medium (which is kind of like a modeling paste in texture and thickness), and finally I ventured into Distress Inks and a sponge. 

This project is a work in progress.  I tried to use a jelly plate to print the background only to find that, shockingly, with no pressure from the center of the canvas, it won't print fully!  So I ended up pulling the mixed paint from the jelli plate and rolling it onto the background, which still had enough variation to make me happy.

I stenciled the stars first (Heidi Swapp 6x6 stencil), using a yellow/brown mixture of basic craft acrylic paint.  Then I added the Martha Stewart stucco medium with a Martha stencil.  I want to get back to it and color the raised stencil parts and add some more, but I haven't gotten there yet.  My boys like it the way it is, so it's living displayed in its half-done format, waiting for a few minutes and some pretty orange and pink paint!!

These are from a project we did in Big Picture Class's Play! workshop last week.  I didn't have exactly the supplies at home that they used in the in person class in Anaheim, but I made due with what I had.  I used a Heidi Swapp 6x6 stencil for the stars with Tim Holtz's Broken China distress ink and a gold Colorbox pigment ink.  I used a Balzer Designs stencil with Squeezed Lemonade distress ink.  I started trying to use a stamp for the rays, but that didn't work.  So the yellow stamp isn't quite as distinct as it might have been had I started there, but I didn't want to lose the cool stars, so I pretty much just stenciled on top and hoped for the best.   The pictures don't show it terribly well, but there is a hint of glitter on the canvas-- a happy accident of not having an entirely clean workspace!!

Happy Crafting!


21 January 2014

Healthy Life, Happy Mom: One Stupid Thing Part 2

I know how to lose weight.  I have done it before.  It's a pretty basic endeavor-- eat less unhealthy food (and we all know what those are) and move more.  But as we all know, it is not easy, even if simple.  It takes time, it takes commitment, it takes education, it takes doing things that hurt and make us really uncomfortable.  Our efforts are frustrated by our other commitments, by our family's needs, by our friends' sabotage.

But mostly, it is hard because most of us truly don't believe we are worthy of it.  We have heard the story so many times in our head that this ONE STUPID THING trumps all else.  This thing makes us unworthy.

When our washing machine floods our houses for the 3rd time in six months (yes this happened to me), we feel stupid for not having gotten rid of the dumb machine after the first time it overflowed.  We pay the price of having to tear up flooring and throw out furniture that is too damaged and hassle for weeks and months with contractors and insurance companies.  We feel dumb, we pay the price, but we do NOT feel unworthy of fixing the problem.  We don't leave the warped wood floor and the mildewy chair and the smelly carpet because we feel that we were so very stupid to not have avoided the problem in the first place that we deserve living in a mess.  No, we clean up the mess and buy a new washing machine and learn from our mistakes.  Or, at least if we don't have the money to pay for all of the repairs, we do our best to fix it slowly over time, as we are able.  But we forgive ourselves.  We don't wallow in our stupidity and think that our mistake means that we are terrible people.  We are just people who make mistakes.

We, as women, have been sitting in the mildewy chair feeling ashamed of our mistakes for far too long.  We have continued to punish ourselves rather than fix the problem or at least release the guilt for far too long.  I have been sitting in the mildewy chair in a combination of guilt and shame, punishing myself for not having replaced the washer. 

One mistake (or three or a hundred!) doesn't require another.  I am beginning my 2014 with a resolution to get out of the chair (literally and figuratively!) and stop punishing myself for my mistakes. 

I am not on a quest to lose 40 pounds.  In fact, I have no particular weight loss goal in 2014.  What I want is to live a healthier life, a happier life.  I want, on a day to day basis, to be happy and feel beautiful, no matter what the scale says. 

So I am going to try a few things to see how they work towards the healthy happy life goal.  I welcome you to join me on my journey.....


P.S.  The pictures here were taken on my first morning walk.  I dropped the kids at school and went to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens and walked just for a half hour or so.  I wish I had had my camera, but my phone captured at least some of the wonder that came from just exploring.  Happy and Healthy... :-)

19 January 2014

Color Me Crafty Projects for Kids: Art Journal

Color Me Crafty was the name of the children's arts and crafts classes I have been teaching.  My kids range from ages 4-10, and they are AWESOME!  They are open to new things in a way that we adults are not.  They will grow and experiment and not care about the results, so long as they have fun doing it.  Being in their space and seeing through their eyes while they create has given me perhaps the greatest lesson I have ever learned about art. 

My classes focus on joyful play, rather than technique building.  Which is not to say that I don't care if the kids learn something-- I absolutely do want them to come away with some new  skills.  But my goal has always been to give my kids a love of using their creativity, an exposure to the many ways that they can do "art" and a reliable, repeatable method of expressing their emotions.

Weeks 1 & 2:  Mixed Media Journal: Necessity as the Mother of Invention

For any who have worked with children, you learn that some kids pick up things fast (or rush, depending on the child!) and some are more meticulous or need more instruction or help.  Balancing the needs of all 8 or 9 of my students was always difficult for me, with differences of sometimes 20 minutes getting projects completed.

Until I gave them all mixed media journals.

The simplicity and genius of the solution is hard to explain.  But at the end of the day, kids just really like to draw.  They need some prompting for ideas of what to draw, but ultimately, they love to tell stories with their drawings.  I used their journals as just that-- storytellers that also gave them practice at one of the hardest skills they will ever try to learn.

I gave them weekly prompts, taped into their journals, so even if they missed a week because the project had taken too long, they were able to go back and do that drawing another time.  The kids had colored pencils and sometimes were able to use markers or paints.

Kids are used to drawing on single sheets of paper.  None of my kids had ever had their own art journal.  They loved it so much that they asked, week after week, when they could take their journals home with them.  I had given them an outlet that was all theirs-- that wouldn't be thrown out, that they could use to write or draw or dream in, that they could show off to their families and friends.

In order to make the journal more special than a random notebook, though, it's important for kids to make it their own.  And so we come (finally) to our first kid project....

Collage and the Journal


spiral bound mixed media journal (8"x10" or smaller)
1 piece of 60lb or heavier card stock at least as big as the journal
4-6  6"x6" pieces of patterned paper
glue stick


  1. Lay the cardstock paper on a flat surface and place the notebook on the edge of the spiral rings so that the paper is overlapping the three non-bound sides of the notebook.
  2. Trace around the cover on three sides.
  3. Cut out the cardstock cover.

  4. Tear apart the patterned paper into smaller pieces.
  5. Glue the pieces in place on the cardstock.

Personalize the Journal


Collaged (and dry) journal cover
Mixed Media Journal (from above)
dark marker
photos (optional)
glue stick
clear contact paper


  1. Tear a piece of the mixed media paper from the journal.
  2. Create name or monogram in bubble letters.  If the child does not know how to make thick letters, have him or her write their name/initials and then literally draw a continuous bubble around the stick letters.
  3. Cut out letters.
  4. Erase pencil lines.
  5. Watercolor the letters, keeping in mind that it will be added to the collaged page.  Colors should be pleasing to the child when together.
  6. When dry, glue letters and/or photographs on top of the collage.
  7. Glue personalized collage onto the journal's cover. 
  8. Lay out book cover in top of contact paper (keeping backing on) as done when measuring the card stock.  
  9. Cut contact paper about an inch larger than the coveron all three sides.  
  10. Cut two corners at an angle. 
  11. Remove backing of the contact paper and line edge up with inside edge of journal (next to spirals) so that contact paper overlaps a small line of the cover.
  12. Fold the top and bottom over to cover the edge of the cover.
  13. Fold the remaining edge to create a clean cover.
And now it's time to draw and paint and create!

16 January 2014

Memory Keeping Week 3: Disaster Photos

So this week has been a huge bummer for memory keeping.  I was SO excited to get my photos back from December to be able to dig into my December Daily, only something went horribly wrong.  Out of 80 prints, only about 20 are usable.  They are blurry and smudgy and weirdly out of focus.  I have random duplicates.  And many are just poorly framed from a design perspective.

Many of them came from my phone.  As a person who almost never prints photos from my phone, I had no idea that the would turn out like this.  I have been so crushed that it has just stopped me in my tracks.

So I am at a bit of a quandary about what to do.  Here are the options as I see them:

1.  Reprint in smaller sizes and hope that the blur, etc., as unnoticeable in small size as it was on my phone.

2.  Try to crop, clarify, etc.  I know how to do this in a small way through iPhoto, but I kind of feel like it would really require Photoshop.  I am far from a Photoshop expert (i.e. I only know how to open the program), and at that, it is downloaded onto my laptop (i.e. my old computer). 

3.  Suck it up and salvage what I can by cropping, tossing or designing around the blur to get it done.

I am starting with #3 to see what I can salvage, but if anyone has suggestions about iPhone photo printing, I would be very happy to hear about it!

So, as you can see, I still don't have something in my little window on the front.  I will label it at some point, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't a quintessential picture to put in there before I did the cover.  Now, I am just hoping for some decent pictures... :-(

I chose the Project Life format to try something new.  This is my first real attempt at it (other than to throw my best friend's wedding photos into one with random cards, which wasn't my finest design work, let's just say...).  We will see how it goes...

For each day, I did a number journaling card.  I did the red chipboard hung on the twine.  They were all attached to Close To My Heart's holiday release paper.  I added a sticker to each bottom that was appropriate to the theme of that page.

So enjoy these and let me know if you have phone photo printing tips!!!

Healthy Mom, Happy Life: One Stupid Thing Part 1

When I decided to start a blog, I was a bit confused about why people blog certain things.  Sharing intimate details about your life is something I was raised to avoid.  Proper ladies didn't do that.  (Of course, the reason I know that "Proper ladies don't do that," is because that statement was regularly repeated to me when I was young and had a very loose tongue about personal and family details!)  But as I have become more of a blog reader and appreciator, I have come to particularly value women who are honest about their health, their weight and their body image.  About their struggles and their triumphs, about their journeys.  Their openness helps many of us feel like we are not alone.

Since my early twenties, I have struggled with my weight.  Since bearing my children, I have been carrying somewhere in the range of 40 extra pounds, about every two years losing 15 or so pounds and then gaining it back.

I live in the land of beautiful women in Miami.  One of my dear friends commented to me about a year ago that she felt like she had really let herself go now that she was up to almost 110lbs from her usual 98 lbs.  She is such a beautiful woman, and honestly, I think the last time I weighed 110lbs was when I was 10 years old, so I was shocked and a little offended by her statement.  It would take anorexia or a major health crisis for me to get to 110 lbs.

Because I love her, and I am a decent friend, instead of speaking my mind and saying she was being ridiculous, I assured her that she was gorgeous and that that extra 10 pounds was only noticeable to her.

And of course I took offense.

Don't we all believe that when someone points out their obviously non-existent flaws that they are in fact trying to obnoxiously point out our significant flaws?  I was certain she was commenting on my weight loss needs, not her own.

It took me a while after that conversation to realize that she was being honest and real and vulnerable to her good friend about her insecurity.   She was truly not commenting on me, she was confiding in me.  And it finally occurred to me that no matter how beautiful or thin or fashionable, we all feel the weight of our insecurities in our self-image.  To her, those 10 pounds were just as significant as my 40 are to me.  They made her feel bad about how she looked, made her feel like other people were looking at her or judging her.  Those 10 pounds, that should be of so little importance, nullified all of her other incredible qualities as a wife, mother, volunteer and friend because they drown out the positives in a sea of feeling unworthy.

I have experienced this.  I truly wish I was alone in this experience, but I am not.  In fact, I don't know a single woman who doesn't have some sort of insecurity about her body.  The experience of having my feelings about my body overwhelm my Ivy League education, the love of my children and husband and family and friends, my competence as a nonprofit leader, my creative talents, my kindness as a human being....  In my irrational heart and mind, this one, stupid thing overwhelms all of those incredible, positive things in my life-- in our lives.

I don't have an answer to the problem of body image outranking the other, far more important positive things.  But I am hoping that the catharsis and the reality check of writing my journey down will help shine light for me (and maybe for you?) on the problem of the One Stupid Thing.

14 January 2014

Cardmaking Mondays: Pre-Made Die Cuts & Buttons

Hello, friends!

Please forgive my absence, as I have been struggling with the technology and trying to take photos without good lighting.  I have figured out a way around it (hopefully!), but it has taken the time that would have gone into writing my blog posts over the last few days!  :-)

I am a cardmaker above all else.  I noticed recently that I reach for the same supplies each time it sit down.  Some call this a style, but I think mostly it's laziness for me.  I reach for the things that are WITHIN reach, as everything else sounds like a hassle.

My friend Karen Grunberg suggested that I  do 52 Tags to try out some new (or new to me these days!) tools and products, but honestly, tags just aren't my thing.  So bring on a year of cards!!

Week 1- Pre-Made Die-Cuts

This week, I began with pre-made die cuts.  I love them, I buy them constantly, and then I forget to use them!!  I am starting into the Valentine spirit, so here are some papers and a ruffle from Glitz, twine from Maya Road (love their twine!) and the die cut is from Dear Lizzy (Lucky Charm).  I added a little Pearlex to the die cut just to give it a little shimmer.  I didn't want to overwhelm it, but it just needed something shiny.  Heehee!

Week 2- Buttons

I never set out to own a huge jar of buttons.  Honestly, I am at least as likely to screen print a baby outfit and add a button to that as I am to add it to a card.  But in an effort to stashbust (and see what all the fuss is about), I wanted to get 3 buttons onto a card.  I failed, but I got 2 on, and I love the results.  Maybe there is something to this button thing after all....

 The buttons, enamel dots and chipboard are from My Minds Eye, the flowered paper is from Dear Lizzy (Polka Dot Party), the stripes are from Glitz.  The glitter tape is from Recollections.  The embossing folder is from Cuttlebug.

Thanks for checking in!  Hope those who went to CHA are home safely (or are getting ready to Play! with Big Picture Classes tomorrow!).