Wednesday, September 30, 2020

20in20| Project Completions 21-30

As the third quarter of 2020 comes to a close, I'm excited to report that I've completed another TEN scrapbooking projects using Stacy Julian's definition of a project: "An activity that has a beginning and an end. It ends when the purpose has been achieved." My projects fall into three categories based on time/effort requirement: Quick, Moderate, or Intensive. (You can check out my first twenty completions HERE and HERE.)

Quick Project Completions

1. Summer Mantel Display + stories about items posted on blog.

2. American by Birth and a Christian by the Grace of God sign & hearts repaired, painted & rehung on patio.

3. Family One-Page Layout kits created for sale at Personal Scrapbook. (There are still a few of these kits available. Call the store at 972.351.8717 to reserve your kit for pickup or shipping. Or you can now shop online HERE.)

4. September Mantel Display + stories about items posted on blog.

Moderate Project Completions

5. April 2020 photos & memorabilia processed and all stories scrapbooked.

6. May 2020 photos & memorabilia processed and all stories scrapbooked.

7. June 2020 photos & memorabilia processed and all stories scrapbooked.

8. July 2020 photos & memorabilia processed and all stories scrapbooked.

9. 2015 Blog Book formatted, printed and bound. At the end of each year, I like to save my blog posts to a Word document and format it for printing. I then have it bound at our local office supply store. I've (obviously) not kept up with this each year, but now I have six books on the shelf! (I'm hoping to have several more of these complete before the end of the year.)

10. Family Genealogy Chart Layout completed. One of the months in the 20in20 class focused on genealogy and Stacy shared a chart she created and ordered from I Chart You. Honestly, I'm not into genealogy all that much, so I decided to create my own simple chart (using my Martha Stewart Circle Cutter) going out three generations. 

Obviously I've more than accomplished the 20in20 class goal of completing 20 projects in 2020. So far, my category totals for these first 30 projects are: 17 Quick, 12 Moderate, 1 Intensive. 

Actually, I've just completed a second Intensive project that I'll be sharing about soon; and I have another Intensive project over half completed. At this rate, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to share another list of ten project completions before the end of the year!

How are your projects adding up for the year?

Monday, September 28, 2020

Scrapbooking | House Rules During a Pandemic

It's hard to believe that we are into the seventh month of this global pandemic! Some of the things we do now seem almost "normal" after six plus months of staying at home. 

I recently created a list of the new "rules" for life here at home, our house rules during a pandemic. I combined them with several random bits & pieces I had lying on my craft table to create a grid style layout.

On the top left is a promotional trading card Robbie received in the mail. On the top right is a 3x4 card my sister sent me in a pack of scrapbooking goodies. The "Miss Your Face" is the front of a card I received in the mail from a friend, and the photo shows one of my favorite places to relax on the patio. 

What bits & pieces have you added to your scrapbook this year to represent the pandemic and the new "rules" we're following during this unprecedented year?

Friday, September 25, 2020

Scrapbooking | July 2020 Scrapped

In addition to our month in numbers layout, I created three layouts for July of this year.

The first one documents our Sunday drive (and the need to get out of the house for a bit during this crazy year). The format was inspired by one of the sketches in Week Four of Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life 2.0 class; however, I added the small grid of four photos to represent our photo scavenger hunt finds.

The next page showcases photos from the weekend visit from my nephew and his family. I began this  page with a digital template (again from Week Four of Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life 2.0 class), which I altered to include more photos.

Next is a FUN page with memorabilia (wrapping paper pieces &  oversized card) and photos from my birthday at home.

I have to admit that it feels great to get July scrapped. Looking back on previous years' albums, I've discovered that I tend to start out strong, scrapping our photos and stories for the first few months of the year, then taper off ... which is why I have several years of incomplete albums that I'm still working on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Scrapbooking | Family Portrait

The newest layout kit I created for our local scrapbook store features a variety of patterned papers.

It also includes an array of die cut and punched flowers to be layered together.

And a die cut title.

The final layout has space for one 5"x7" or two 5"x3.75" photos.

And works perfectly with an older family portrait of my family. Yes, that's me with the glasses! My sisters and I are all wearing dresses made by Mama.

This Family Page Layout Kit is available at Personal Scrapbook in Allen, Texas, while supplies last. Call the store at 972.351.8717 to reserve your kit for pickup or shipping. Or you can now shop online HERE.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Books Reviews | From A Different Perspective

Several of the books I've read recently are written from a somewhat different viewpoint.

For example, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is written from the perspective of one of Satan's demons as he coaches his nephew Wormwood on how to influence his assigned human so that the individual does not become a Christian. It's an extremely well-written book, but it does take a little effort to keep things straight, remembering that Screwtape's advice is counter to God's Word. This was my second time to read this classic. Here's what I had to say about it after my first reading in 2013.

Each chapter is a letter from the Demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, who is assigned to a human and is working to keep him from becoming a Christian. I really enjoyed it and think it must have taken quite a talent to write it all from this "backward" viewpoint - with the Devil as the Father and God as the Enemy. It was convicting in places because I see myself doing the things the demons are trying to get the "patients" to do - like thinking of myself during prayer instead of focusing on God. Here's a quote that illustrates one suggestion for keeping the patient's focus off God - You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the 'best' people, the 'right' food, the 'important' books. About halfway through the book, I began to tire of the opposite viewpoint and having to focus on the fact that it was "backwards thinking." Even C. S. Lewis said that he "never wrote with less enjoyment" because "the strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp." 

The Christ Clone Trilogy by James BeauSeigner has a similar feel, although the story is written much differently. This is a series I would only recommend to serious readers with a fairly good understanding of Biblical views and history. (There is a spoiler in the following review; however, it's the one thing that could cause confusion and lead readers to believe views contrary to scripture.)

A blurb from the book begins: Two nuclear wars. Three asteroids. Demonic madness that kills one third of the world’s population. Into this, a savior will rise, cloned from Christ. It’s not fiction. It’s prophecy.

The story begins as human cells are found on the shroud of Turin, which is considered the burial cloth that Jesus was wrapped in after he was crucified. The cells are used to clone a child, Christopher Goodman, who eventually comes to live with the journalist Decker Hawthorne after a worldwide catastrophic event kills his family. Decker mentors and supports Christopher as he grows up and eventually becomes Secretary-General of the United Nations. Most of the story is told from Decker's perspective as he follows Christopher's life and teachings.

As it turns out, the human cells came from the heel of Christ...the heel that was prophesied to crush Satan...and Christopher is actually the anti-Christ. So, in reality, his teachings are skewed and his actions are designed to thwart Christ's teachings during the tribulation period. I recognized early on that he was the anti-Christ; however, it is possible for a reader unfamiliar with scripture to continue to believe his teachings and skewed logic well into the series. (Remember the Bible teaches that false teachers are subtle and will be disguised - wolves in sheep's clothing.)

I found this three book series very slow and frustrating to read; however, I kept reading because I wanted to know if somehow Decker finally realizes the truth. In that respect, it is a spell binder until the end. Robbie originally read these books many years ago when we picked them up at a Christian bookstore. He read through the first two books again after I finished the series, but decided it wasn't worth the required time to read the final one. These books went in the sell back box and are no longer taking up space on our shelves.

Blood of Heaven by Bill Myers has a storyline somewhat similar to The Christ Clone Trilogy; however, there's not the element of trying to sway someone away from Christianity. Instead it is a well-written and fast paced novel that reads easily and has a sad but satisfying ending. This one is definitely a keeper that I'll read again. Here's a look at my review from the first time I read this book six years ago.

Blood of Heaven is one of the Christian fiction books in our collection that I had not read before. This is an intriguing story involving a death row prisoner who is chosen for a genetics experiment, the GOD gene created with DNA taken from blood adhered to a piece of the crown of thorns (which was somehow preserved in candle wax that had melted then solidified around it), a young greedy scientist who deviously alters the DNA, and a police officer's widow and her son. I thought this was a great read with a satisfying, although sad, ending. (I didn't realize until I pulled the book out to read that it was part of a trilogy.)

Have you read these or similar books? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Scrapbooking | Layouts with Memorabilia Only

 As I began working on completing our 2013 chronological albums, I wanted to document three activities that kept me busy the first half of the year. I didn't really have photos for them; however, I had plenty of memorabilia.

First, I taught at a local private school that spring semester. I actually have quite a bit of memorabilia from that semester; however, I plan to use most of it in a teaching themed album at some point. So, I only chose a few pieces to include in this yearly album - the sticker from my ID badge, a snapshot of the schedule for the room where my classes were held, and the envelope that came with the flowers Robbie sent for my first day of teaching. (If you haven't heard the story of my flowers, you can read about them HERE.) A few school themed bits & pieces and a block (well, a bell) of journaling completed this simple 8x8 layout.

That January I also taught/led an all-day ladies retreat for a local church. This event marked one of the first times I led an event at a church that was not my home church. (I had originally written and presented the God Is Calling You material for this retreat at my church in the fall of 2012.)

For my layout, I included the tri-fold brochure the church had prepared, my name tag, a snapshot of the group activity I constructed using a photo of the church, a copy of the check (as this was also the first time I was paid for speaking/teaching at a ladies' event), and a piece of the thank you note from the ladies ministry.

I actually slit the page protector so the brochure could be opened.

I also spent that spring coaching in Stacy Julian's Finding Photo Freedom classroom on the old Big Picture Classes website. I used two of Stacy's favorites for the background - green and a gingham pattern. I included the letter I received from Stacy at the beginning of the three-month workshop, a screen shot of her blog on the first day of class, a postcard with one of her quotes, and her signature off another card on this page.

I'm very pleased with the way these three layouts help tell the story of my activities during the spring of 2013! Have you created any layouts with just memorabilia lately?

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Scrapbooking | July 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. I'm a little later than usual with my July page, but, as they say, better late than never, right.

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. However, I kept the yellow and red arrangement up for several months and instead used a photo of the space above our memories shelf unit on this layout. I change out the layouts in these six frames throughout the year and had patriotic pages displayed during July.

Here's how the numbers add up for July.

* 21  days Robbie worked from home plus 1 sick day.
* 1 Sunday drive out to Mama & Daddy’s & 22 items found for the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt.
* 2-night visit from Trey, Christina, Mariah & Adalynne (& 1 hug from Aubrey on her way home).
* 2 new-to-us games played  - Villianous & Menara.
* $72.59 for planter sent with well wishes for Mom & James on their marriage.
* 51st birthday celebrated!
* 1 Lego kit assembled by Robbie.
* 5-hour roundtrip drive to pick up Paige in Bullard.
* 4 movies watched: Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Despicable Me 3, Where the Heart Is.
* 20 layouts + 6 kits completed, 4 cards made, 9 canvases napkinized (with Mariah), 2 mini canvases painted, 6 Bible pages illustrated, 1 blog book formatted, 12 blog posts published.

We watched all three of the Despicable Me movies during July, mainly because I was ready for something light and FUN after all the tough news and civil unrest in May & June. We also watched Where the Heart Is, which is based on this book and portrays the story of a teenager who ended up having her baby inside the WalMart where she was living after being abandoned by her boyfriend. There are some tough themes (abandonment, single parenting, abuse, death), but overall this is a feel-good movie that we enjoyed watching with one of my 15-year-old nieces (who liked it a lot as well).

How did the numbers add up for you in July?

Friday, September 4, 2020

Mantels | September 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. 

I've been wanting to try a monochromatic display, so September's mantel features numerous shades of green.

As always, I've included a stack of books that represent our eclectic reading habits. I'm sure Kermit is perched up there thinking, "So many books, so little time." The colored pencils are in Robbie's Grandy's glass candy jar, and (of course), the various figures are from Robbie's collectibles.

The other end of the mantel holds a vase that Robbie had when we married. I'm sure it came from Pier 1 Imports as he enjoyed shopping there for decor items. The white wicker basket originally held my Easter gifts from Robbie in 2010. Once I had the display set up, I though the green candle on the far right needed a little more color to help balance everything, so I added some ribbons and flowers from my scrapbooking stash to brighten it up.

I like to include a photo of us in each display. This month's photo is on the front of  a photo book, and I've scattered a few mini-albums around it. The square one on the left holds the lessons I recorded during Shimelle's Learn Something New Every Day class in 2010. This year I'm re-reading the class prompts and enjoying the additional links (to a song, some words, and an interesting human) that Shimelle is including with each day's email.

I like the way this green display reminds me of fresh new beginnings, whether it's the start of school for many (in whatever form that takes this year) or heading into fall and cooler temperatures (hopefully) later this month or simply remembering to look for the little lessons in our everyday life. Happy September Y'all!