Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Healthy Living Update

As I look back on the past few weeks, I definitely see some improvements in my quest for a healthy lifestyle. I took time to exercise 3-5 times each week, mostly 30 minute rides on the stationary bike; however, I also added back in 1-2 sessions of strength training each week. My weight has remained the same, fluctuating a pound or two each week, which leaves me at a loss of 4 pounds since the beginning of the year. I had hoped to have a little more loss than that by the end of this first quarter of the year, but I feel good that I'm getting a handle on consistent exercise and haven't gained any additional weight (which was my pattern last year!). In April, I will be focusing on continuing consistent exercise and will begin tracking my food intake to help me better see where I need to make changes in my eating habits.

This month I also took time to review all the material in the BPC Move More, Eat Well workshop that started at the beginning of this year. I had hoped this workshop would provide motivation and camaraderie on my journey of healthy living changes.

The online classroom is updated at the beginning of each month, and Cathy Zielske presents a new theme with a video message and handout. January's emphasis was on recording our individual healthy living stories and choosing one thing to focus on for the month. February's material was all about time, looking for time stealers and solutions to help us in our goals to move more and eat well. The message for March was that change is hard but we can do it. Throughout the materials, Cathy continually stresses having a positive attitude and realistic outlook as we make changes, have setbacks, and refocus throughout this process. Overall this information is interesting to read on the first of each month and serves to reinforce many of the things I've learned and read over the past couple of years.

There is an ongoing project in the classroom also - creating an album to document the journey. There are a ton of downloads to help with this process, all of which come in psd, png & pdf formats. I have not been motivated to create an album for this class as I am documenting my journey here on my blog.

So, basically, the remainder of the month is all about the message boards. I have to admit that I normally enjoy the message boards in my online classes, and I read many of the boards and subscribed to the posts for a few weeks at the beginning of the year. However, what I discovered is that there are so many participants in this class at different levels of fitness and with so many different ideas about what is healthy that I felt keeping up with the boards was a waste of time. Honestly, there's probably some good stuff there, but I do not want to wade through the posts about how one participant's doctor told her it was healthy for her to only consume 800 calories a day (Seriously!) and about how another student is so discouraged because she can't lose that last 2 ounces to reach her goal weight while another still has over 100 pounds to to her goal weight and about how someone else's biggest achievement was getting out of the bed that day while the next post is from someone who just completed a Boot Camp class and then went for a 5 mile run before 9 am! And then there are the varied and contradictory recommendations for diets and supplements and workout DVDs and music and exercise gadgets.

This is a year-long workshop, so I'll continue to peruse the materials at the beginning of each month and glean what information and motivation I can from there, but otherwise I won't be spending much time in the classroom. Obviously this just wasn't what I needed right now in my journey to a healthier lifestyle, but I would be remiss not to mention that there are over 1200 students in that class and many of them are finding it truly informative and motivational.

How are y'all doing on your healthy living goals? Are any of you in the Move More, Eat Well workshop - please let me know what you think about it so far.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Reviews - Colors for Your Every Mood, Journey to the Well, Hound of the Baskervilles

Sharing reviews of a few books I've read recently - as always, an eclectic mix.

I first heard about Leatrice Eiseman's book Colors For Your Every Mood: Discover Your True Decorating Colors when Stacy Julian read some excerpts from it in one of the presentations in the BPC Twelve workshop as she discussed colors and personality. This book contains quite a bit of information on colors - history, uses, cultural differences, language/origin of word, best places to use in decorating, personality, color moods, personal associations with color. The book also contains great color photos of rooms using different colors schemes and moods. While it was interesting reading, I wouldn't recommend this unless you are truly interested in learning more about color and/or currently re-decorating your home. It amused me that for a book about color and how it affects our moods, the bright white glossy pages of the book caused lots of glare on the page!

Journey to the Well by Diana Wallis Taylor is a fictionalized account of the back story of the woman at the well from the book of John (4:1-45) in the Bible, where the only thing we learn about her is that she had five husbands & was then with someone who was not her husband. We discussed this book at a recent book club meeting and discovered that many of us have judged this woman based on our modern customs, assuming multiple divorces and an immoral lifestyle. However, five men would not have married her in that day and age if she had not been a woman of some character. The story begins with 13-year-old Marah, who has lost both parents and is now living with her aunt. She learns that her aunt has arranged for her marriage to an "old" man who "was almost twenty-five." Through the various misfortunes and tragedies of Marah's life, we see this young girl turn into a woman struggling to understand the right thing to do in a variety of circumstances. I truly enjoyed the story, and it has given me a more sympathetic look at the woman at the well and reminded me that I should not be so quick to judge others when I don't know the whole story (or even when I do!). I highly recommend this book.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels about Sherlock Holmes.This book was chosen as this year's book for our city-wide reading promotion, a program designed to encourage everyone here to read and discuss a book each year. I really couldn't remember if I had read this book before, however I seemed to have a feeling for what was going to happen next as I read. I like the way Doyle uses lots of foreshadowing, yet leaves out just enough information to keep you wondering what's going to happen next! Great read for the mystery-lovers and puzzle-solvers among us.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Pass the Book Recipient

Sabbath by Wayne Muller will soon be on its way to

who said . . .

I felt rested and renewed while I was on Little Gasparilla...was that just a week and a half ago?!

Beverly, I have your address and will get the book on its way to you! Thanks again to Cheri for providing this month's book!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Re-Working Dimensional Details Workshop

Last week I reviewed the pre-class materials in the 2010 Dimensional Details workshop and found inspiration for the two layouts I'm sharing today. This first one is based on the pre-class assignment, and I've actually used this design twice before (see those layouts here and here), but it was fun to put this patriotic layout together.

The title and journaling are the words of a song by Lee Greenwood: Proud to be an America, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand up, next to you, and defend her still today. 'Cause there ain't no doubt, I love this land, God Bless the USA.

This next layout is a scraplift of one of Nic Howard's layout in the pre-class presentation. This is a story about my Mama that I've wanted to record for a while. Last year when we were out shopping one day, I snapped these photos to go along with the story.

Journaling reads: I don’t’ remember when Mama first started eating double doozies (sometime after Central Mall opened in the mid-1980s), but it soon became a daily ritual for her to drive to the cookie store for a Diet Coke & Original Double Doozie. I remember before cell phones, I would call the Great American Cookie Company store at Central Mall and leave a message for the “cookie lady” to call me when she stopped by for her daily treat. Over the past 20+ years, the routine has occasionally changed (to a few times a week or an M&M Doozie), but it’s still one of Mama’s favorite activities. She’s been known to drive an hour (or more) round trip to get to the nearest mall, just to have her daily Double Doozie Cookie!

I enjoyed adding layers and using some scraps on these layouts and am hoping to look back over more of the Dimensional Details materials in the coming weeks. (BTW - this workshop will be running again at BPC beginning in July.) Have you reviewed any of the materials from previous classes lately? Does it inspire you to create new layouts with the same designs or do you work better with new class materials as inspiration?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2nd Blogiversary!

It's my TWO YEAR BLOGIVERSARY and today I'm celebrating the fact that I have not only been able to share bits & pieces of my life with each of you, but that I've also preserved memories and stories through that sharing. Each time I publish a post, I'm recording a little bit of what's happening in my life - whether it's showcasing my latest scrapbook layout or reviewing the books I've read or revealing new photos I've taken or discussing my latest organizing project or just simply chronicling the events of our latest adventure.

There really wasn't any particular reason that I picked this date to publish my first blog post, it was just a random day when I decided to give it a try. So, in celebration of my blogiversary today I am sharing two very random stories (with photos) that have been on my to-blog list.

Message in a Bottle - On our anniversary cruise this past December, Robbie decided it would be fun to throw out a message in a bottle just to see if anyone would find it and send us a note. I worried a little bit that throwing the corked bottle in the water might be considered polluting or might somehow be endangering some species of fish I'd never heard of, however the adventure and possibility of receiving a response from some obscure corner of the world won out.

We have not yet discovered a reply email in our inbox or lovely notecard in our mailbox in response to our message. So, we must assume that our bottle is still floating along on the waves (or sitting at the bottom of the ocean if the cork leaked!).

Nameless/Story-less Photos - On our recent outing to Canton Trade Days, I noticed tons of old photos for sale. These vintage photos were arranged in boxes by category, but contained no names, no dates, no locations, no stories, no recorded memories.

I'm so glad that I have a fun hobby that allows me to preserve the stories and memories that go along with my photos. In fact, I'll be sharing a few new layouts and stories in the next day or two!

Thanks for joining me today as I celebrate my 2nd Blogiversary. If you have a random story idea on your to-blog list, please tell me what it is and then get on over to your own blog and publish it - I'll be around to see what you're up to! :>)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March Pass the Book - Sabbath (Guest Blogger)

Can you believe it's time to pass the 8th book for Pass the Book:Year Two? This month I am excited to have a guest post by Cheri of Scrap Dreams. Cheri has graciously provided this month's book, so I'll let her tell you all about it.
Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller is, at its core, about the natural rhythm of life, the absolute necessity of rest, and the violence we inflict upon ourselves and those around us by always being “too busy” to truly rest and renew ourselves. It is a call to slow down and enjoy life instead of rushing through it.

“Sabbath” was on my reading list and was gifted to me by my daughter Becca for Christmas. It was one of many books I received for Christmas, but the first one I read. It is an easy read – the chapters are each short essays, complete on their own, but also building on the rest. Most of the chapters are only 3-5 pages long so this book is easy to read in short spurts and set back down, but what you read is a complete thought in itself. I finished (okay devoured) the entire book in less than a week. And I enjoyed it so much, that I wanted to share!

Although written primarily from a Judeo-Christian theology, “Sabbath” incorporates examples from many other religions and philosophies (Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu) and even from science and nature, showing that the biological need for rest and renewal is common throughout the world and the message is intended to reach a broad audience, regardless of personal beliefs. Each chapter ends with a suggested “Sabbath practice” that you can try or not, as your needs and desires dictate. I recommend this book for anyone who needs a reminder to slow down.

Cheri, thanks so much for providing this great book and sharing your thoughts about it here!

Cheri was kind enough to send the book on to me first, and I have enjoyed it tremendously. If you'd like to be in the draw to be the next recipient of this book, please leave a comment telling me when you last felt rested and renewed.

(Click here for all the details about Pass the Book:Year Two.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Storage Binder Re-Organization

Last week I spent time reviewing/organizing/purging and triaging the photos in my Storage Binders. This is the third component of my Library of Memories system that I wanted to review. (I recently completed the re-organization of my LOM Albums & Category Drawers.)

Storage Binders are simply photo albums that I use to store my printed photos in chronological order. These are photos that I know I want to scrap or use in a mini-album or project of some sort. When I have time to scrap or am inspired by a great sketch or want to scraplift a layout I see on a friend's blog or participate in a challenge, I simply flip through these Storage Binders to find photos to go along with the inspiration.

I started out with 10 Storage Binders - some of these were full, others were almost empty, and one was overflowing. I had 8 Storage Binders holding the photos I haven't scrapped from 2007 - 2012; I went through each of these binders, removing empty pages, triaging some photos into my newly re-organized Category Drawers, and combining binders together so they were all full. I ended up with 6 full binders for those 5+ years.

The overflowing binder held my childhood and family photos, but when I originally put the photos in I overfilled it. I went through and re-organized the photos, so I now have one binder with my childhood/growing-up photos and one binder with my family photos.

All of Robbie's childhood and family photos have been stored in a very high alcove (in cute boxes, of course) for the past five years. This weekend, we pulled down seven of those boxes and set to work sorting/purging/organizing. It was quite a job, but also a ton of fun seeing some of the old photos & memorabilia.

I started two Storage Binders for Robbie's photos - one for his childhood & one for his family. I'm really looking forward to completing some pages for his album of layouts from the time before we were married (which currently holds only TWO layouts!). We ended up with five partially filled boxes of photos & memorabilia that I do not plan to scrap at this time. As we find time, we'll continue to pull down boxes from the alcove and add to these organized & labeled boxes and the Storage Binders.

Here's a look at my shelf of Storage Binders - 11 photo albums filled with photos & memorabilia that I want to scrap.

That should keep me busy for a while, don't you think?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Clipboards & Cards

A quick post today to show y'all some clipboards I altered for my friends on the ladies' leadership team at our church. We call ourselves the Pearls Ministry Team.

I even whipped up a couple of cards with the scraps that were left over.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Category Drawer Re-Organization

After completing the re-organization of my Library of Memories albums last month, I began working on re-organizing another one of the essentials in my LOM system - Category Drawers. These drawers hold printed photos by categories, beginning with the five main categories in my system (Robbie & Melissa, Family & Friends, Days We Celebrate, Places We've Been, Things That Matter) and sub-categories and sections within each. Here's a look at my newly re-organized drawers.

The purpose of these Category Drawers is to take a small percentage of your best photos and store them out of chronological order. This system makes it easy to find a photo of a certain person or for a particular topic when I'm scrapping a story that doesn't really have a specific photo with it. However, the main purpose of this type of organization is to allow these photos to "age" and then thumb through and find "connections" among similar photos.

I wasn't really thinking about creating any connections layouts when I started working on these drawers; my main goal was to get them organized and set up sub-categories for the sections where I had just been putting photos behind the main tab. However, I was totally inspired by the connections I noticed and just had to stop and create two fun layouts.

As I was thumbing through the photos of me, I noticed several photos of me standing beside a horse. I laughed out loud when I realized I have almost the same expression on my face in each one, even though they were taken in three different years AND three different countries!

Journaling reads: It's obvious from these photos that I have never spent much time around horses, but I never miss a great photo op, whether it's right here in Texas or among the Canadian Rockies or on the streets of London, England.

For this next layout, I  had already started collecting some square punched photos of Robbie with his eyes closed, and as I was thumbing through the photos of him in the Category Drawers, I just had to pull out a few more to create this fun layout that really doesn't need any journaling to go along with the title.  (These photos were taken over a span of 8 years.)
I'm excited to have another one of my LOM essentials re-organized and am now moving on to re-organizing/ decluttering/purging/triaging the photos in my Storage Binders.

How about you, do you scrap photos from different years together? Have you found any connections in your photos lately?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cards from Recipes

One of my goals this year is to work through all the classes in my online accounts, so I used "recipes" from the BPC self-paced Cooking Up Cards class to create several cards last month.

I used Kim Kesti's recipe (the same ones I used on some of my Valentine's cards) and scraps from my Non-Traditional Valentine's Day layout to create these first three cards.

Betsy Veldman's recipe was the inspiration for this anniversary card for my parents.

And Teri Anderson's recipe was the inspiration for this last card.

These cards were fun to make and such a great way to use up some pieces from my scrap bin.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Twelve Photos - March

It's Dozen Day in the BPC Twelve workshop, so I've snapped photos today based on the class prompts. I had to make a few adjustments to the prompts in order to get them all in today, and I also had to use my fail safe plan for finding a photo to match any prompt - browsing through the Toy Room to see which of Robbie's collectibles could help me.

1. What You Drive - I used a photo of my Expedition in last month's photos, so I decided to try for a different perspective today.

2. Breakfast - I didn't check the prompts until almost mid-morning, so I'm sharing a photo of my lunch instead (leftover baked chicken & rice).

3. Something Green - So many choices for this one, but I decided it was Yoda's turn in the spotlight.

4. New - I'm not sure that I'm thrilled with it just yet, but today I got a brand new haircut (the 11 inches that are gone will soon be on their way to Locks of Love).

5. Hands - I really like how this shot turned out - how many hands do you see?

6. Faith - There were several choices for this abstract concept, but I finally settled on this display where all the truths of my faith can be found.

7. A School - The only kind of school I attend these days is online, so here's one of my favorite classrooms right now.

8. A Favorite Appliance - It's not the most glamorous appliance, but I am so thankful to have a good dishwasher. I just load it up, push a few buttons, and a little later I have nice clean dishes without the punishment of dishpan hands. (And if there's a large pot or pan that won't fit in the dishwasher, I leave it to soak in the sink. The next morning I find it all nice and clean sitting on the counter - Robbie rarely ever lets me wash them!)

9. Tuesday at 10:00 am - I changed this to Monday at 10 am since I want to get all my photos in on the 12th of the month. Look at the beautiful sunshine coming in through the windows this morning!

10. Pajamas - A little peek at my pajama shelf.

11. Family - We showcase favorite family photos in our front hallway.

12. Art - This beautiful painting was created especially for me by one of my former eighth grade students. It hangs on the door to my craft room.

I've been busy in my craft room lately and will be sharing some new layouts and my re-organized Category Drawers very soon!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ten on the Tenth - Canton Trade Days

Last weekend we spent a beautiful sunshiny day wandering around Canton Trade Days, the "world's larget flea market." I snapped photos of the variety of items for sale throughout the day and am sharing ten of my favorites with y'all today. I enjoyed playing around with two of Kim Klassen's textures (paper stained & paperstainedmusic) on these photos.

And here's one bonus photo because
you just never know who you might see at a flea market.

Check out Shimelle's blog for more Ten Things posts!