A New Direction

 Old pic with no relevance to this post, but I just wanted some sunshine :)

Weather changes. Jobs change. Interests change. Everything changes. Change can be good. Change can be bad. Change is ahead for me, again. Hopefully this is a good change.

After several months of debate back and forth, I've decided (with Brad's support, of course) to sign up to be a LuLaRoe consultant. I'm up to 50 pieces in my wardrobe, simply out of pure love for the product. As I've posted about before, I am obsessed with this clothing line. I've never had such a passion for the clothes I wear before. I pick out a piece of LuLaRoe (or two) to wear nearly every single day. And up until last night, I didn't have any purpose other than that the clothes make me feel good about myself. Given all of these feelings, I've thought hard about whether to be a consultant for several months. I've even had elaborate dreams about setting up my own business. My concerns have always been time and financial. However after lots of discussion with the woman who turned me on to these clothes, with friends and with family, this does make sense for me/us at this time. While this will be my business, it will include involvement from Brad (especially on the finance side), so we had to be in full agreement. Edited to add here - I'll still have my full time job too, so Brad will also need to be involved because this will take lots of time at night and on weekends.

I'm only just starting the setup process and will share more details as I have them, but if you are interested then I hope you'll follow me as I launch. And if not, I promise I won't be overwhelming the blog here with posts about LuLaRoe. (Most likely just a note on where to find me and a link in my sidebar). That's not the purpose of this blog.

Which brings me to the next change, and that involves me being honest here. I've always tried to be open and honest on this blog. I may not share every little thing that crosses my mind (because, let's face it, I've got anxiety problems that you all don't want to hear about routinely), but I do try to express how I feel as honestly as I can.

Last year my posting on this blog was lacking, big time. I kept thinking it was because I didn't have enough time. I'd been reading, so I didn't have time to craft. The issue wasn't time though. It was desire. When given the choice between crafting for the blog or reading...I chose reading. Because it made me happy.

This year I put up a blog schedule plan in hopes it would help me get back to regular crafting and blogging. For the most part I kept up with it...for 5 weeks. You'll note there was no digi page post yesterday. I sat in front of my Mac on Thursday night for two hours trying to find a digital template I wanted to use with a few older photos I thought would be nice to scrap. I tried so hard. The idea that I was "letting the blog down" was killing me. In the end it got late and I just gave up.

It's not that I don't want to craft. And it's not that I don't want to blog. I still LOVE making handmade cards. I love stamping and crafting. I love memory keeping. I love sharing my work here. I think what I don't love? Is feeling like I have to do it on a certain schedule, or because I have to post it on my blog to keep this blog active. That is NOT fun. I should post here because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. No other social platform out there makes me feel as tied down as this blog, and I am not sure why that is. I didn't start this blog 5 years ago for anything other than a place to write my thoughts about how much pregnancy sucks and share pictures of my new son with my friends. It evolved when I fell hardcore into Project Life and then I felt like I had to keep up with it.

I have said it before and will continue to say that I truly appreciate all the people who DO read this blog regularly and have stuck with me through a very inactive year last year. You guys are awesome and thank you for putting up with my crap.

But I need to take a step back. I'm not quitting the blog. I'm just not going to force myself to post anymore just to keep active. (You guys can subscribe via email or follow Facebook or Instagram if you want to be notified of posts). I am still making cards, I'm still working on my wedding album, and I'm still going to do my digital 2016 Project Life book. But I'm going to go back to posting when I want to share something with my friends and readers. The whole blog schedule thing is off the table. I admit defeat.

Right now...I'm REALLY into LLR. And life's too short to not be doing what you enjoy, even if what you enjoy is a phase that eventually changes into something else. Right now this is my new focus, so I'm embracing the changes that will come along with it while it's fun and enjoyable for me. When it isn't anymore, then there will always be something else. We should all be doing what we actually enjoy, not what we feel we should enjoy.

Again, thank you guys for being there and being awesome.

DIY Clip Storage Rack

My photo printer has chosen to be a jerk when I need to be printing photos for my wedding scrapbook, so instead of a memory keeping post, today you get an organizational one. I can't figure out why suddenly all my photos are printing with reddish hues. It could be the cheap, non-Epson ink I tossed in it last month (in fact, that's probably pretty likely) but I did do a print head check and the coloring there looks accurate. In any case, I'm...working on it.

So today I'm sharing the newest way I'm storing my embossing folders. I was thinking recently about getting one of those spinning round clip racks, so I could clip up my folders and see them easier. However, after looking at many photos of the round racks in use, I knew I could not handle the round setup. I wanted my folders in a nice straight line.

So then I was looking into some standing hand towel racks that I could put up on top of one of my surfaces. I don't have a place to install a tension rod in my room (and not sure that would stay up either), and I did not want to mount anything to the wall (as this room hopefully one day will not be my craft room but a guest bedroom when my room moves to the attic). I decided to wander around Target in search of a standing towel rack before trying to order one on Amazon. Let me save you the trouble: they didn't have any.

I was just about to head out of Target when I found this:

It's a hanging file rack from Nate Berkus and what was perfect about it was that it was just a long continuous metal rod, no shelves or edges or anything to get in the way of the clips I wanted to hang. And it was $12.99.

I also grabbed a pack of 50 tiny silver binder clips for just over $2. At home, I already had a whole jar of silver binder rings which I had purchased as a 100 pack on Amazon a few years ago.

When I got home last night I went to work, clipping all of my folders like this:

And here is the finished result:

I even hung my diffuser plates up. Now I can see all of my embossing folders, and my mind is at ease because they're in a pretty, straight line. This sits next to my Big Shot for easy access.

Life Update: Winter Is Here, Job Stuff

First of all, sorry for missing my Inspiration to Creation post yesterday, but I started getting a bit sick on Sunday and I ended up staying home in bed Monday, so I never ended up getting that post written.  Now, on to a (small) life update:

This picture is from this past weekend. Brad, Austin, and I visited the Ice Castles in Lincoln, NH. I am planning a scrapbook layout or two with these photos and will share more soon. This was an amazing winter exhibit. I definitely want to go back next year, at night, to see the ice all lit up. While we were so far up in NH, we took the time to drive over to Jackson and go ice skating at Nestlenook Farm. Brad and I had been there during a little romantic trip we had a few years ago, and it was fun to take Austin.

Austin has been doing really well with his skating lessons at our local ice rink, so we thought it would be fun to take him out skating outside of class. He did awesome!

I haven't been reading as much as last year, for sure, but I did finish my 4th book recently. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover. It was SO good. Very emotional, and totally made me cry. I definitely recommend this one!

We've been doing pretty well on our meal planning, though we have had a couple of evenings out to eat lately. We're doing terrible with our plans to eat healthy and exercise though. Stupid cold winter making you want to eat comfort foods and curl up in bed every night.

Work is...interesting. Our tiny company was purchased last year by a really big company, and as with a lot of acquisitions, people are starting to move on to other things. Because of someone leaving, I was able to be promoted! Yay! I've been with my company for over 9 years and as our department has dwindled from over a dozen people to just three, I've taken a lot of responsibilities I was not initially hired for on. It feels really good for all that hard work to be recognized. I am thankful for the promotion, even if I don't know yet what the future holds for me.

Not a whole lot else going on around here, much of the same old, same old. Sometimes that just feels nice. :)

DigiScrap Page: Special Delivery

The February BYOC is up at The Lilypad today, and there are so many fun pieces for Valentine's Day, like the Happy Mail collection from Amber LaBau:

You can grab the papers, elements, and pocket cards all individually, or, if you subscribe to Amber's newsletter, you can grab a 40% discount on the bundle!

I went outside of the Valentine's box though and used this collection on a baby page:

The "special delivery" card (slightly altered by me) just screamed "baby" to me. I thought these cards and elements worked great for a brand new baby page, and the blue matches the blue of the hospital sheets/scrubs perfectly. Plus, baby boy, blue. I just had to! :)

I scanned in the hospital bracelets from Austin's baby album and added them to my page. I love when I can include "real" elements on a digital page like that. I sometimes scan in my tickets and things for my Digital Project Life albums as well.

Check out all of the pieces of this month's BYOC now, while they're all 20% off!

Memory Keeping: Wedding Project Life Album Title Page

If you've been reading this blog for a few years, you may remember that I had started a Project Life style wedding album using the Olive Edition. Unfortunately I never really got very far on it. I actually only did the title page and one spread about details.

Then the Southern Weddings Edition came out and I fell in love with the colors and prompt cards. So I am starting again. This past weekend I worked on separating the prompt cards out (some of them Brad can fill out too), and creating my title page. I did steal one aspect from my old title page - that '2' from the Dear Lizzy 5th and Frolic line, doily piece and pink heart.

I added some Dear Lizzy Treasure thickers on the top left card with our wedding date, but other than that I kept this page simple, just photos and cards from the Southern Weddings kid. I had a couple of black and white photos that I wanted to include, so I converted two others to black and white in Photoshop Elements so that this page all coordinated. I don't plan to convert all my photos to black and white (even though that was my original plan with the Olive Edition version of this album), so I do expect that some layouts will have both color and black and white photos.

So there is the first page! I hope you guys like it. I'll share more layouts as I make progress. I have this album out on my table so I'm really hoping I can actually complete it this time!

Inspiration to Creation: Birthday Card

Today's card was inspired by a really neat pin that came across my Pinterest feed - DIY gold polka dotted gift wrap. You can read the tutorial here, over at Popsugar.

One of my close friends had a birthday this past weekend, and she adores polka dots. I could not resist trying a gold polka dot card. Instead of stamping gold paint though, I decided to do use gold heat embossing powder instead.

First, I took some white card stock and the Graduated Dots Mixables stencil from My Favorite Things, a sponge dauber, and Versamark, and carefully sponged random polka dots. I did a couple at a time, sprinkling Stampin' Up! gold embossing powder on them and heating them to emboss.

Once I had the white panel completed, I used the same gold powder and the Avery Elle Cake & Candles stamp set to emboss my sentiment on a sheet of plain vellum. My card base is Stampin' Up!'s Pool Party, so I cut another small strip of that, and then cut my vellum so it was narrower than the colored strip. I adhered the card stock strip to the white panel, then wrapped the vellum strip around the panel, before adhering the whole panel to the card base. I kept it flat, since I was going to mail the card, but you could also add foam adhesive or fun foam behind the panel for a bit of dimension.

I love how classic and gorgeous this card turned out. It was fairly easy to make, just a little time consuming for the sponging of the polka dots, but I can see this particular layout being used for multiple types of cards, with all kinds of colors or sentiments. There's just something about the gold and aqua though.

Adorables Valentines!

No digi page today, but I did use a digi product to make this project!

Amber LaBau released the most adorable (hehe) set of pocket cards this week:


These are sooooo sweet. And they're not just perfect on a layout, but they make great tags for Valentine's treats! Look what I did with them:

I printed these out with the super handy PDFs that come with the pocket cards, trimmed them, and punched a small hole.  I took some clear baggies, added in some of my new favorite Hershey Kisses, and tied the baggie to the card with a bit of red twine.

So simple and did I say cute?!

You can grab the Adorables Pocket Cards on sale today at The Lilypad. They coordinate with this month's Memory Pockets Monthly kit, Adore, too!

Memory Keeping: 2016 Project Life Jan 11 through Jan 17

More of January to share today.

I used the same mix of products as I did with page 1 (a 3x4 card from the new Project 52 2016 Project Life digital collection, A New Day Papers, labels from the January 2015 Memory Pockets Monthly collection, Folio and from the A New Day Elements). The template used is my own pocket template.

I included a photo of Tyrion sitting on Brad's lap, which is a constant occurrence. Tyrion has decided that Brad is his favorite person, so anytime Brad is at rest, Tyrion is on top of him. The only time T will cuddle up with me is if Brad is nowhere to be found. Traitor!

I also included a piece of Austin's recent artwork. He drew a dog wearing pajamas and I thought that was so cute and unique that it deserved a spot in the album. We went to Fire & Ice to celebrate a couple of family birthdays, so I added some photos and journaling from that day.  And I had to include a photo and note about finding a local Paper Source store with Shannon one evening.

Here's the full two page spread:

I think each spread in my album will look different, but there should be some repeating color schemes. I'm hoping to work in a bunch of cards from the Project 52 2016 edition throughout the book, but I also want to work with other kits and collections.

After a few weeks I'm still finding it a little difficult to get back into the swing of the regular documenting, but it is enjoyable to get these memories into an album even if it does take a little work to get there. Hopefully as the months go on I'll get a little faster at it, like I used to be.

Story Behind The Photo - Bob's Furniture Rant Edition

We were at Cracker Barrel on Friday night. Stopping for a cheap breakfast-for-dinner after an unexpected furniture shopping excursion. Brad and Austin enjoyed some games and coloring as we waited for our food.

You see, two months ago we put a deposit down on a new couch and chair from Bob's Furniture. Two weeks ago I called to pay it off and schedule delivery. And Friday I got a call that, whoops! They'd discontinued the set a month prior and weren't going to be able to deliver it to us this Thursday.

Um, what? So I had a deposit down, which, come to find out, is just a price guarantee and not an item guarantee (huh? how can you guarantee a price on an item without guaranteeing the actual item?). But anyway, CLEARLY there is an order in the system for the couch for us, but you discontinue it and a) not call us to make other arrangements, b) not realize you have a pending order for said couch, and c) don't even tell us this when we give you the rest of our money!

So I asked for a full refund (which has yet to appear on our credit card, but I'm assuming there's a standard 7-10 days for that to happen), and we went out shopping again Friday night.

We thankfully found an even more comfortable, still the same red, sleeper couch at Ashley Furniture, and got some cute patterned chairs to coordinate. It's going to be another four weeks before we can have them but the experience at Ashley was lovely, so here's hoping there are no more issues.

But Bob's? Yeah, I definitely won't buy anything from you guys, ever, considering how crappy the first experience turned out to be. Shame on you!

Inspiration to Creation: Congratulations Card

Today's card was inspired by one of my own cards I've made in the past - this thank you card.

I need a simple wedding card for some friends, and so I used the same papers (Pebbles Garden Party 6x6 paper pad), dies ( Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies), stamps, and inks (Heidi Swapp pink and Stampin' Up! Baja Breeze and Gumball Green), changing up the sentiment.

On the inside of the card is the only real change - I added an embossed sentiment (powder used is Stampendous Sterling Silver embossing powder) from the Avery Elle So Happy stamp set. The font coordinates perfectly with the one in the Avery Elle Oh Happy Day stamp set.

Such a sweet and simple wedding card. It was super simple to make but it just looks so pretty! Those handwritten sentiments are probably my favorite stamp sets that I own, especially when they're embossed.