Sunday, May 31, 2020

Scrapbooking | 2012 - The Second Half

I've excited to announce that our 2012 chronological albums are complete! It's been FUN adding the final photos, memorabilia and stories to complete these albums. 

In August, my sister and twin nieces were here for a short visit. I'd already completed a layout about enjoying that year's photo scavenger hunt with the twins, so I created a two-page layout to showcase the other activities we got in during their quick visit.

In September, I hosted the 2nd Unofficial BPC Texas Get-Together and had lots of photos and notes and memorabilia for another two-page layout.

There were several layouts from the October God Is Calling You Retreat, including this one about the writing and preparations for that event.

There were also quite a few layouts featuring our Staycation in November. I had to order a new cord for the Cricut I haven't used in a few years, so now I can cut title letters again! For the page below, I combined die cut letters and small letter stickers for the title.

The Cowboys/Browns game was such a FUN day that I ended up creating four layouts, each with a 12x12 and a 6x12 page. 

In December, I'd spent a day (previously scrapped) creating color mini-albums with three of my nieces, so I added a page with the family dinner and activities from that evening.

Now that 2012 is in the books, I'm looking forward to reviewing the remaining photos, memorabilia and stories to add to our 2013 albums!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Scrapbooking | Me* Right Now Mini-Album

One of the projects Stacy Julian encouraged us to do earlier this year in the 20in20 class is a mini-album focused on ourselves. She shared several options and ideas, and I finally took the plunge and created an album about me right now.

I used one of the 4x4 Story Starter Albums from the Story by Stacy line and added a strip of colorful washi tape and a title block to the cover.

I continued the washi tape on the inside front cover & included one of the quote cards that came with the Story Starter kit.

For each of the interior pages, I chose a favorite photo and stamped the two-word journaling prompt that came from the i.scrap workshop back in 2011. (You can listen to me reading my i.scrap introspective journaling HERE and see my album pages HERE.) This smaller format was perfect for a look at what's happening in my life right now.

The final page includes another photo and the date this project was completed.

This was a FUN project! In preparation I read back through my i.scrap album from ten years ago and thoroughly enjoyed seeing how things have changed (and in some instances stayed the same). Now I have another album to look back on in future years!

Have you recorded information about you right now?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Scrapbooking | The Problem with the Fair

We don't attend the Texas State Fair every year, but it's always a lot of FUN when we do! And therein lies the problem ... we end up with quite a few photos and stories, all of which I want to add to our scrapbooks. So, there's just no way to get everything on one layout!

For our day in 2012, I ended up with six layouts. The schedule of events booklet cover provided the title block for my first layout, which was inspired by a January 2020 PageMap and showcases photos of Big Tex (of course).

I used another January PageMap for a layout with three photos featuring the 216-foot tall Texas Star Ferris Wheel.

You'll notice the same blue cardstock background on all the fair pages, including this one with a grid of square photos.

One of my favorite parts of a day at the fair is enjoying some cotton candy, and these two FUN photos needed a layout of their own (inspired by a February 2020 PageMap).

As with most other outings, a day at the fair requires some sort of bag or tote to carry all the things we'll need (sunscreen, water) and the things we'll buy. You can see from the photo below that my friend Lynda and I let our hubbies carry all the bags (and boxes, too, in this case).

And one final layout showcases photos of our friends and the thank you note we received after our FUN day together.

I'm so excited to have these photos and stories scrapped ... even if I couldn't get them all one one page!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Scrapbooking | The Beaches of Normandy Short Story Album

I never dreamed I'd have the opportunity to visit the beaches of Normandy in northern France; however, a couple of years ago, I traveled with Robbie on a week-long business trip to Paris. We booked an all-day private tour of the beaches of Normandy for the following Saturday. Robbie had an exhausting week and was not feeling well, but we decided to make the best of it and go ahead with the prepaid tour. It was an amazing excursion!

When Stacy Julian encouraged us to choose a group of photos for a "short story album" project in the 20in20 Class, I decided it was time to get some of the photos from our day trip off the computer and into a scrapbook! Fortunately, I was able to get a batch of photos printed at our local Walgreens.

I found a white 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 3-ring binder album in my craft closet (where it's been for a very long time), so I was able to cut some 8 1/2 x 11 brown cardstock from my stash in half to create the page bases. I then chose a variety of patterned papers and embellishments in blues, red, greens and browns. Stacy actually recommended pulling all black & white embellishments, but I knew I would be happier with more colorful items. I pulled quite a bit more than I used, but this made it easy to keep working on the album and not get sidetracked looking for something to complete a page.

The idea is to complete this entire project in a short period of time. There were two 2-hour Facebook live sessions where Stacy shared her process and put together her own album while those of us in the class worked along. (I actually completed my project in one 4-hour session ... because once I got going, I was having too much FUN to stop!)

The genius of the process Stacy shared is that it allows pages to be assembled quickly by adding photos (which were cropped and piled by size first) and patterned papers to the bases. Here's a look at my pile of pages with photos and patterned papers.

I ended up with twice the number of pages of Stacy's typical 20-page short story album. The 42 pages in my album are roughly divided into three sections. The main color scheme is browns/tans, and I included small red stars and embellishments throughout.

The first section showcases photos from Arromanches and Gold Beach. When our tour guide discovered that Robbie is a collector, he took us down a few side roads to a military store with lots of relics from the war. These pages include blue accent papers and embellishments.

The second section showcases photos from the American Cemetery and features green embellishments. I learned that this section of land was actually ceded to the United States after the war and is now a U.S. territory within France. The cemetery contains the graves of nearly 9,400 war dead (including both of President Roosevelt's sons), most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landing and ensuing operations.

The third section showcases photos from Pointe du Hoc and features brown accents and embellishments. This is where the US Army Rangers landed on Omaha Beach, and the ground is pockmarked with holes from the Allied Forces naval cannon fire. We were able to enter some of the German bunkers and view the gun emplacements. We also discovered that the Battleship Texas (which we toured in Houston a couple of years ago) was part of the armada on D-Day.

I created the title page with one of my favorite photos from Gold Beach, where I was amazed to discover the abundance of large abandoned military artifacts in the water and on the beach. This page features all the colors used throughout the album, effectively tying it together!

Have you noticed the lack of journaling on these pages? The "short story" journaling was the next step in this process. I typed up my story and added it behind my title page.

And, finally, I covered my album and added a title block. I am so thrilled to have this project complete and in a small format that will be easy to take with us to share with family (when we're able to travel and visit again!).

Here's a really quick video I shot to share the project in our class Facebook group. Enjoy!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Scrapbooking | Repetition

During Stacy Julian's Quarantine Scrapbooking class on the Close to My Heart Facebook page on interNational Scrapbook Day, she mentioned spring flowers and how "the blossoms don't know" there's a pandemic going on! I knew that was going to be the title for a layout about our rose bushes that had more blossoms this year than ever! My layout is based on a Cathy Zielske sketch in Week Two (Repetition) of the 2017 Design Your Life 2.0 class that I'm completing/re-working this year. I love the way this turned out with all those repeating flowers!

I used Cathy's digital template to showcase photos from last summer when my niece and I had a quick meetup with my great-nephew & great-niece (her nephew & niece). I've always tried to be a great aunt, even before I became a Great-Aunt; and I love seeing my niece be an aunt to these cuties, so the repeating hearts work perfect for my theme of Aunt Time!

The other digital template for week two included two photo blocks and a triangle of butterflies. I added additional layers to the butterflies as well as a border on my layout about our 18th anniversary this past December.

I used that same format for a paper layout, although you can see below that I modified it somewhat. I added three clusters around the photos, repeating the colors and recipe theme. This layout is actually about the reconciliation with some family members back in 2012, so I added a "recipe for reconciliation" and Robbie added additional details on the journaling card later. The photos are from the restaurant where we met up for a meal after the initial relationship healing conversation. (God is so good!)

As you can see, I'm continuing to fill in gaps in our 2012 album, while also keeping current with our 2020 album, and getting a good start on our 2019 album!

Now I've completed Week Two of the DYL 2.0 workshop ... on to Week Three!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Book Review | The Wands of Harry Potter

If you've been around my blog for a while, you already know that Robbie and I are fans of the Harry Potter books and movies

Last year, Robbie picked up a new book for our collection - Harry Potter: The Wand Collection

If you're a fan, you know that each witch and wizard in Harry Potter world has a unique wand. This 12x6 book is "a visual guide to these magical wands, their makers, and the characters who mastered them. Profiles of each wand feature stunning new photography of the original props, wand statistics, insights from the cast and crew, and other filmmaking secrets from the Warner Bros. archive."

I recently read through this book and was amazed at all the detail and work that went in to crafting the wands for the Harry Potter movies.

Since Robbie is an avid collector of toys and movie memorabilia, we (of course) have a couple of replica wands in our collection. Our first acquisition was Harry's wand, purchased over ten years ago at Hamleys in London. This is the wand that chose Harry at Ollivanders shop in book one.

We picked up Lucius Malfoy's wand/walking stick at Borgin & Burkes in Knockturn Alley in Harry Potter World at Universal Studios - Florida when we visited there in 2014. 

I enjoyed learning little bits & pieces of trivia about the wand making process in this book! It's a great addition to any Harry Potter collection.

Are you a fan of the Harry Potter books and movies?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Scrapbooking | April 2020 By The Numbers

This year, as I process each month's photos, I'm creating a digital layout featuring six photos and journaling "by the numbers." I'm using a digital template and various papers from my stash. My plan is to include a photo of me and Robbie and a photo of my mantel display as the top line of photos each month.

Here's how the numbers add up for April.

* 4 custom made-with-love face masks received from Brenda.
* 1 Risen Savior celebrated on Easter.
* 30 more days of Nationwide Social Distancing.
* 22 days Robbie worked from home.
* 3,000-piece puzzle completed.
* 29 Doubletree chocolate chip cookies baked by Robbie.
* 1 peach cobbler cake baked by Melissa.
* 17 1st round NFL draft picks watched during live video conferencing draft.
* 13 movies watched: 5th Wave, God Bless the Broken Road, The Day After, Kit Kittredge, Family Flight, The Angry Red Planet, The Passion of the Christ, The Lady in the Van, 1917, Ice Station Zebra, Draft Day, The Green Berets, and Finding Forrester.
* 26 layouts completed, 5 art journal pages created, 2 Bible pages illustrated, 1 card made, 2 mini-albums completed start to finish, 21 blog posts published.

On Good Friday, we watched The Passion of the Christ movie on Amazon Prime. We first saw this movie, which depicts the twelve hours of Christ's life before his death on the cross, when it was released in theaters in 2004. It's a powerful movie, but not for the faint of heart because Jesus suffered terribly throughout that day as He prepared to give His life to wash away our sins.

We watched Draft Day on the day of the first round of the NFL draft, which was broadcast live via video conferencing this year as everyone was under social distancing guidelines. The movie is an excellent introduction to how the draft works as it follows the fictional general manager of the Cleveland Browns (played by Kevin Costner) leading up to the first pick on draft day. The characters are great, the plot moves along quickly, and the ending is very nice!

I found The Lady in the Van on Amazon Prime after seeing a snippet about this movie in a book I was reading. I was intrigued, and when I looked it up and discovered that Dame Maggie Smith plays the  main character, a vagrant women living in a van in a writer's driveway in London, I knew we had to watch it. It was a good movie, based on a true story. It was also FUN to see several other Harry Potter actors in the show!

We watched God Bless the Broken Road on Netflix after searching for Christian movies. It turned out to be a good show about a lady whose husband had been killed while serving in the military. Her struggles to cope with the loss, raise her daughter alone, and deal with financial difficulties are intertwined with the story of a race car driver who arrives in town to get coaching after a series of loses.

The sci-fi movies we watched in April varied quite a bit. The 5th Wave was released in 2016 and is a good adaptation of the book of the same name. We both enjoyed the book and the movie! The Day After released in 1983 and depicts the nuclear bombing of America by the Soviets. The movie is set in Lawrence, Kansas, and follows several individuals through the day of the bombing and the aftermath. Honestly, this made for TV movie is a downer and has a terrible ending. Ice Station Zebra  (more suspense than sci-fi) also involved the Russians. This movie follows "an American nuclear submarine captain in a deadly race against the Soviets to find a downed satellite beneath the polar ice cap." The plot moves along very slowly (possibly frozen under the ice cap), but it has a satisfying ending. The Angry Red Planet is an older movie, released in 1959, following the crew of a rocket that lands on Mars. They are attacked by strange creatures and then receive a warning as they return to Earth. This low-budget film features "CineMagic" which gave the scenes on Mars a cartoonish look.

We are both fans of war movies, so we ordered a copy of the movie 1917 that we missed when it released last year. This excellent World War I movie follows two young British soldiers as they race across enemy territory to deliver a  message that will stop a doomed attack. The cinematography of this movie was amazing -  Robbie noticed it immediately, many of the scenes look like one very long continuous shot. We learned this was actually the case when we watched some of the extras that came with the bluray we purchased. John Wayne actually produced and starred in the other war movie we watched, The Green Berets, which depicts rugged battle action during the Vietnam War. This film came out in 1968, in the midst of the war, as an attempt to shine a more positive perspective on the war effort.

We re-watched a couple of favorites as well: Kit Kittredge is the story of American Girl character Kit Kittredge, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, during the Great Depression. It is a beautiful, family-friendly, feel-good movie that I highly recommend for everyone. Finding Forrester is set in the Bronx in modern times and follows Jamal Wallace, a sixteen-year-old who gets a scholarship to a Manhattan prep school because of his test scores and ability to play basketball. "He soon befriends the reclusive writer, William Forrester. The friendship leads William to overcome his reclusiveness and Jamal to overcome his racial prejudices and pursue his true dream - writing." This is another one I highly recommend.

And, finally, Family Flight was a new-to-me movie; however, Robbie remembers watching it when it premiered on ABC in 1972 (when he was almost 8-years-old). It's an enjoyable movie about a bitterly divided family who has to work together when their holiday plane crash-lands in the California wilderness. 

As you can see, it was a very creative month for me with lots of evenings watching movies with my sweetheart! How did the number add up for you in April?

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Mantels | May 2020

My goal this year is to design a new mantel display each month in a way that will remind us of bits and pieces of our wonderful life...and share those stories here on the blog.

May's display has a photography theme and features black and light blues with a few pops of red.

I began this display by lining up our collection of old cameras. Some of these cameras belonged to Robbie's family, others are ones that Robbie or I have used, and one was gifted to us by my nephew "to add to our collection." The second one from the left is an Argus 35mm that belonged to Robbie's Grandy; it's exactly like the one that Colin Creevey used in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I paired these cameras with a collection of photos of Robbie and myself out and about using a camera. 

The color scheme actually came from the old tripod that belonged to Robbie's dad, which I placed beside the tripod Robbie purchased, along with his new camera, when he graduated from high school.

The small tripod holding our first digital camera is one we picked up several years ago because it's easy to pack and take on our travels.

Of course, I had to add in a couple of scrapbooks! The black and white one showcases photos and memorabilia from my 12th birthday, the year Grandma gave me that Polaroid camera next to it!

And our displays are not complete without a book (The Beginner's Photography Guide) and something from the toy collection (View Master reels).

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Art Journaling | The Love of the Lord Never Ceases

In these times when things are changing from week to week (or day to day even), it's so comforting to remember and cling to the one thing that never fails - the love of the Lord!

This is another example of a page where I journaled my thoughts and cares and praises, then used art journaling techniques to cover up that journaling with a positive reminder of God's love! 

(The Elizabeth Craft outline stickers are great images and so FUN to watercolor!)

Friday, May 1, 2020

Baking | DoubleTree Cookies

When we travel, we typically stay in Hotels by Hilton, which include DoubleTree. Have you ever stayed at a DoubleTree?

Upon arrival, you are offered a nice warm cookie ... and you are welcome to request another one anytime during your stay. They are delicious and a welcome treat when returning from sightseeing or visiting family and friends.

I was delighted when they recently released the recipe! I was even more delighted when Robbie decided to make a batch while we are here at home and unable to travel.

The first bite of these cookies reminded me of our week in London, and those four days in Amsterdam, and that overnight stay in El Paso, and .... well, you get the picture!

This is definitely a "keeper recipe" that we'll be using again. I took time to create a 6x6 recipe card for our favorite dessert recipe book!

Have you baked any cookies lately? Are you tempted to try this recipe?