Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10 Things I Love About Road Trips

1. Luggage - no weight limit and no fee for extra bags. I can pack as many suitcases, bags, ice chests and miscellaneous items as needed; the only limitation is the size of my vehicle!

2. Snacks - carry what we like and eat when we want.

3. Audio Books - entertainment for those long stretches of highway.

4. Eating Out - enjoying new restaurants that offer regional specialities.

5. Eating In - discovering that there's a delivery service that will deliver from almost any local restaurant. Not much beats good food delivered right to your hotel room after nine hours on the road.

6. Photos - anytime. We can pull over to the side of the road and take photos anytime.

7. Scenery - the changes in topography from state to state and country to country are fascinating.

8. "Interesting Places Just a Quarter Mile Off the Road" - this is one of our favorite phrases when driving anywhere. You just never know when there might be a unique store, vegetable stand, or historical site that warrants a visit along the way.

9. Laughter - truly is the best medicine! (Yes, it is possible to kiss and laugh at the same time if your cousin keeps you posing long enough before finally snapping the photo!)

10. Time Together - quality and quantity! Whether we are on the road, relaxing at the hotel or resort, sightseeing, shopping, or strolling along a scenic trail, we are enjoying our time together and creating memories (which will need to be scrapped when we return home, of course!).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Birthday Gifts

Since we will be traveling on my birthday this year, Robbie decided I should open the rest of my birthday gifts yesterday! I'd already opened a few of my pre-birthday gifts over the last two days. Robbie always gets such thoughtful gifts and this year was no exception.

Here's a little background about my first pre-birthday gift. Late one evening last week, I really wanted a cinnamon roll. It was one of those out-of-the-blue cravings, but neither of us really wanted to get out and it was too late to make homemade ones. We talked about some of our favorite cinnamon rolls and about the time Robbie made some gigantic ones when we lived in Lufkin. The craving passed, and I really hadn't thought much about it since then. But Robbie is one of those rare people who can turn something like this into another memory. Here's the first of my pre-birthday gifts this year:

Yes, two cans of cinnamon rolls, the real cinnabon kind. He even baked them for me for breakfast! YUM

Most of my other gifts revolved around my two favorite hobbies - scrapbooking and reading. I collect children's books, and this year Robbie got me the entire set of Little House on the Prairie books plus a biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder. He also replaced my old Scrabble dictionary with the new updated version.

And then there were quite a few new items to add to my scrapbooking tools and supplies - punches, rub-ons, stickers, stamps, papers, and brads. Robbie made a point of picking out dimensional stickers and swirly rub-ons and stamps because he's noticed how much I have enjoyed these two types of embellishments after taking the Dimensional Details workshop at You just have to love a man who pays that much attention to detail!

I love the way each of these gifts is so well thought out and is something I will enjoy. Thank you honey!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grandma, Norman Rockwell & Birthdays

Today would be Grandma's 82nd birthday. She's been gone over nine years now, and I still miss her. This past December I was reading an article in Smithsonian magazine about Norman Rockwell and it brought back memories of how much Grandma enjoyed his illustrations. I pulled out a few photos of Grandma and then gathered the Norman Rockwell books and calendars I inherited from her and created this simple layout.

When I was ten-years-old, our family moved in order to live closer to Grandma, and from then on Grandma and I celebrated our birthdays together. Our birthdays are four days apart, so we often began celebrating on her birthday and ended on mine. The year I turned 12, she took me on a three day trip, just the two of us. Earlier this year, I created a Photo Album Scrapbook to commemorate that trip.

Robbie and I met shortly after Grandma passed away, so she never knew him. I know she would have loved him, and she would have been especially pleased that he has carried on the tradition of celebrating my birthday for several days in honor of her birthday. Starting that first year we were married, Robbie began giving me pre-birthday gifts - one a day for four or so days leading up to my birthday. This year is no exception: Robbie ran a few errands the other day and later this pile of gifts appeared.

I've opened a few of these packages already and my next post will be about all the goodies I found inside.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Perspective Layout, Story Cards & Inspiration

During the LOM workshop earlier this year, I put together supplies to create Story Cards - index cards, punched tabs, pens, stapler. These supplies allow me to quickly and easily jot down an idea for a layout or story I want to scrap. I created a few Story Cards during the workshop, ideas for layouts that I wanted to create eventually. One of those cards I titled Perspective and listed four photos that I wanted to use. I then filed the card away in my Category Drawers.

This week as I scrolled back through the Inspiration Emails from the Dimensional Details workshop, I came across a layout that inspired me. I printed the email and pulled my Story Card along with the photos I had listed. I then flipped through my storage binders to see if there were any additional photos that would go along with this theme.

With these two items on my craft table, I began pulling supplies for a layout - kraft cardstock, patterned paper scraps, ribbon, buttons, etc. The result is this layout.

This is the first time I've actually created a layout based on an idea from one of my Story Cards. It is a great way to keep track of layout ideas and easy to pull when I have some time to create! I have a few layout ideas that I've scribbled down in a journal: I think today I will create Story Cards for those ideas and file them in my Category Drawers.

Monday, July 19, 2010

An American Life

Some of you may have noticed on the sidebar under the list of What I'm Reading Right Now that President Ronald Reagan's autobiography An American Life has been listed for quite a while. Today I finished it -- all 700+ pages! I have to admit that this is the first presidential autobiography I've ever read. Honestly, growing up, history was not my favorite subject and politics was never a topic of conversation in our home that I can recall. It has only been in recent years that I have discovered an interest in both. This year I'm also following my new resolve to read about subjects that interest me from other books I've read. Sarah Palin referenced President Reagan's autobiography and praised his politics numerous times in her recent book, Going Rogue, thus prompting me to put this book on my To-Read list.

I was 11-years-old and not interested in politics or news when Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. I do remember that time because I was home sick and watched the hostages that had been released arrive in Washington. Eight years later when George H. W. Bush became president, I remember thinking how weird it was to see a new president on TV because most of my growing up years it had been President Reagan. As I watched all the funeral ceremonies in 2004 when President Reagan passed away, I remember thinking that I truly didn't know much about him or his presidency.

Ok, back to the book. The book is exceptionally well-written and easy to follow despite the fact that it addresses numerous historical and political topics in depth. I found the book to be informative and inspiring and thoroughly enjoyed President Reagan's first person account of his life and his years in the White House.

The first section of the book follows President Reagan from birth through his first election as president in 1981. It also details how his economic and political views were formed. President Reagan grew up in Dixon, Illinois, where he states he observed "how the love and common sense of purpose that unites families is one of the most powerful glues on earth and that it can help them overcome the greatest of adversities. . . that hard work is an essential part of life . . . and that America was a place that offered unlimited opportunity to those who did work hard."

He attended college at Eureka College in Illinois, however because of the Great Depression he had a difficult time finding employment. He spent his first summer after college as a life guard, a job he had each summer throughout most of his high school and college years. Of his years at Eureka College, he said he would definitely go there again (or to another small college like it) because "at big universities, relatively few students get involved in extra-curricular activities" and that the "tremendous influence that participating in student activities can have during the years from adolescent to adulthood" is often undervalued.

Throughout the book, President Reagan discusses his faith in God and how prayer was a vital part of his life. In addition, early in life his mother taught him to pay tithes on any money he earned, and he faithfully gave this money to the church. At one point during the depression, after he had graduated from college and gotten his first position as a radio announcer, he learned that his brother had run out of money and was going to have to leave college before graduating. President Reagan went to the minister at his church and asked if the "Lord would consider it a tithe if I sent (my brother) the $10 a month instead of putting it in the collection plate?" The minister agreed that the Lord would be fine with it and his brother was able to remain at college.

President Reagan then spent several years as a radio announcer in which some assignments led him to California. He then followed his dream of becoming an actor, served our country in World War II as a liason officer, married Nancy Davis (his love and admiration of her are apparent throughout the book which he dedicated to her), was convinced to run for governor of California where he then served two terms, and eventually became our 40th president.

Growing up in a Democratic family, President Reagan began his voting life as a Democrat. Over the years as some of the original ideas that the Democratic Party was built on began to change, President Reagan realized that his views more closely aligned with the Republican party. Some of these views included the belief that "there probably isn't any undertaking on earth short of assuring the national security that can't be handled more efficiently by the forces of private enterprise than by the federal government," that the US had to negotiate with the Soviet Union from a position of military strength, that nuclear weapons should be eliminated, and that the government should be required by constitutional amendment to have a balanced budget. Unlike the first section of the book which is written chronologically, the years of his presidency are detailed in five sections based on the major issues during his presidency: the first year and domestic economic recovery from the recession; the Middle East, Lebanon, and Grenada; Iran-Contra; and Arms Control negotiations with the Soviet Union. These sections are a great history lesson and give insight into President Reagan's reasoning and thoughts on each of these major issues.

Reading this book has given me a much better understanding of the issues that surrounded President Reagan's presidency and the every day life of the president. It has also sparked my interest in reading other presidential autobiographies. In addition, this book reinforced my belief that the president needs our prayers every day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Non-Chronological Scrapbooking

Thought I would share a couple of layouts I completed this past week that show how I am truly scrapping non-chronologically. The memories that these two layouts preserve are 37 years apart!

 The first one showcases a photo and my handprint, both from 1973. The Library of Memories Community weekly challenge  was to "Browse your Memorabilia Notebook and select something to use on a layout. Locate appropriate photos and use bullet point journaling and lots of blue." I didn't use bullet point journaling because I think the poem is all the journaling needed for this layout.

This second layout features photos from the 4th of July, just two weeks ago. I was reading a recent edition of Creating Keepsakes magazine and saw a similar layout that inspired me. I only had these two photos from the 4th, and I knew this would be a nice layout to highlight them.

This past week I also received my printed photos for the second quarter of 2010. I slipped those into my Storage Binders and they are now ready for me to scrap whenever an inspiration comes along.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quilt Hanging

I love quilts! In fact, the color scheme of every bedroom in our home was picked based on the quilt on the bed - all of which Mama made. We have lap quilts on our chairs in the living room (made by my older sister) and a quilt in the car that we use for spontaneous picnics (made by my maternal grandmother and repaired last year by my sister) and even a couple of quilts we use as home decor.

I have a beautiful yellow quilt that my older sister made for me over ten years ago. I've had it hanging somewhere in each of my homes since then, always in a little bow-shaped quilt holder. I really enjoy having this quilt displayed, however I've always felt like this quilt holder did not really do justice to the quilt itself and have dreamed of fully displaying it. Of course, since this quilt will fit a full size bed, it would take up a large amount of wall space.

Fortunately, our home now has very high ceilings in the front room and I found the perfect wall space in the foyer. So, after three years here in our home, this week I finally picked up a rod and hooks, Robbie hauled out the 8-foot ladder which allowed him to just reach the ceiling, and we got the quilt hung up.

I can't believe I didn't do this a few years ago when the idea first occurred to me. I absolutely love the way it looks and am enjoying being able to see each of the quilt blocks. My favorite, of course, is the center square which has a small book in the center with a little worm on top - a bookworm my sister placed there in honor of my love of reading.

(Now I'm thinking I may need to change out that light fixture in the foyer so it doesn't obscure the view of the quilt!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Canadian Rockies Origami Mini-Album

Completed a quick and easy mini-album today using another origami album that my younger sister made. This one highlights some of the beautiful scenery photos we've taken on our anniversary trips to the Canadian Rockies.

I really like the look of this blue album with these snow-covered mountain photos. And I totally enjoy how easy these are to put together since the albums are pre-made. I do think that some day I'll have to get a lesson from my sister on how to make these cute little albums myself!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunflowers & Saturday

Those of you who have known me for more than, say two minutes or so, know that my favorite color is yellow. I personally think yellow is the happiest color in the rainbow! Just for fun, I created a layout today honoring my this sunshiny color. I scraplifted the idea for this layout from another class member (luv2create) in the Dimensional Details Workshop. She had posted a layout in the Pre-Class DD gallery back in March using yellows and grays to highlight a photo of her great-niece with a bunch of sunflowers. I loved the color scheme and used it and the pre-class assignment directions to inspire this layout.

Thinking about color, I am re-organizing my scrapbook supplies by color. I've had most of my supplies organized by type (brads, flowers, ribbon, eyelets, photo corners, lace, sticker letters, etc) and then by color within each category. However, I have been watching Stacy Julian's Scrap by Color videos showing how she organizes her supplies in bins by color. I've noticed that when I reach for a supply, brads for example, I am specifically looking not just for a brad, but for a RED brad (or whatever color). Then I'll pull some RED ribbon, etc. I'm about halfway through re-organizing my supplies and hope to post some photos and details for y'all sometime next week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Camp Scrap Layouts

Today is the beginning of the third week of the five-week Camp Scrap Workshop at There are five weekly emails with inspiration for a layout, plus occasional bonus emails with more inspiration. I have been scrapping away and thought I'd share some more of the layouts inspired by this class.

Each Wednesday's email is a journaling prompt. The first week's prompt was to create a layout about something that is happening in your life right now. I decided to scrap a page about my blogging since that is something that is a fairly new activity I am performing somewhat regularly. I really like the Bo Bunny striped paper on this layout.

The second prompt was to create a layout about someone you love. I'm sure it will be a surprise that I chose Robbie and decided to highlight something that he enjoys - photography. The photos in this layout are from 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2010. I love the idea of doing "connections layouts" - a concept from Stacy Julian's Library of Memories workshop which basically means using photos from different times and places to make connections about someone's personality or a place that you visit often or a color that you love, etc.

Those two layouts are 12x12 and will both go in our Activities We Enjoy album. These next layouts are all 8 1/2 x 11. This first layout was based on a design idea to use scraps of paper as a visual element.

This next layout was inspired by a sketch from the Camp Scrap teacher, May Flaum. I love these photos of Mama & Daddy signing papers on their new home. Robbie thought the title to this layout should have been FINALLY instead of SIGN HERE since it took Mama & Daddy months and months to find a new home!

This last layout is actually a Library of Memories Community weekly challenge. The challenge was to make a layout that included Red, White, and You.

I'm off now to work on some of the Camp Scrap Week 3 layouts!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why Do I Scrapbook?

At the beginning of the year I was continually asking myself this question - why do I scrapbook? At the end of last year, I was terribly down and questioning a lot of things in my life. Over the past several months, I've pondered these issues. For a while, I wondered if my scrapping was a waste of time - all this work would probably just be thrown away when I die and very few people come by to even see the pages now. (See, I told you it was a very down time in my life.) But as I've pondered this issue and many others over the last several months and laid them at the feet of Jesus, I have felt peace and joy again in my life.

So, the reason I scrapbook is to preserve the memories of our lives for myself and Robbie as well as for our families and those of the next generation who may just wonder what life was like for us. If all these pages are thrown out when I go on to be with my Savior, that is ok with me. But for now, I will enjoy creating these memory preservers. Because truly that is the main thing - I am having fun, being creative, completing projects, making a mess (and cleaning it up), learning new techniques, trying new ideas, and enjoying my life!

And twenty years from now when we celebrate Christmas, I'll look back at my 2007 Kick Off Christmas Brunch pages and remember how as I read "Room for a Little One," Daddy played donkey! And how we took a picture of the five of us (Daddy, Mama, Brenda, Me & Sandra) all standing in a row from youngest to oldest.

And thirty years from now when Robbie and I are celebrating over 38 years of marriage, I'll look back at the photo from our 5th anniversary trip to the Canadian Rockies and continue to thank God for bringing us together!

And forty years from now when I'm turning 80, I'll look back at my 40th birthday page and remember the wonderful day Robbie and I shared in London, England. And I'll remember the awe that I felt knowing that there are many who never have the opportunity to travel around the globe.

I am having so much fun processing photos, expressing my creativity making layouts, and capturing the fun stories of our lives. I guess the question really should be - why would I not scrapbook!?!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Scrapbook Pages with Memorabilia

I love it when I can include a piece of memorabilia on a scrapbook layout! As I've worked on sorting my photos these past several months, I've also been sorting my memorabilia. The memorabilia that I want to keep but not include in my scrapbooks goes into a storage box in my closet by year. The memorabilia that I want to include (or think I might want to include) on a layout goes into a small file box that sits on a shelf above my storage binders. When I organize photos in my storage binders, I place a sticky note with the photos to remind me that I have memorabilia in the file box. I love these reminders and have created several layouts recently where I've included memorabilia on the page.

On this layout showcasing photos from our 8th anniversary evening out, I've included the front of the playbill, our tickets to the show, and the restaurant name that I cut from a takeout menu. I also used one of the new techniques I learned in the Dimensional Details Workshop - I created my own transparencies! I used a swirl stamp and StazOn ink to stamp on transparencies, then fussy cut around the swirls and adhered them to the layout. I used a sketch by May Flaum, the teacher in a new workshop I'm taking at, Camp Scrap, for this layout.

I've had the idea for this next layout since I took my old scrapbook apart at the beginning of the year. I have quite a few Vacation Bible School certificates and bulletins from special church programs that I want to preserve. I created a pocket page to hold all the certificates and bulletins and then used a sketch by Becky Fleck that was included as a bonus in the Dimensional Details Workshop as the inspiration for the layout on the pocket.

This layout from a weekend crop I enjoyed with friends in the summer of 2008 also includes a couple of pieces of saved memorabilia - the card and ribbon are from the bouquet of flowers Robbie had delivered to the bed and breakfast where the crop was held. This layout was inspired by a sketch from Trina McClune that was also included as a bonus in the Dimensional Details workshop.

My favorite new technique from that workshop is creating embellishment clusters like the one at the bottom left of this layout. I am using items I've had in my stash for a while with new items and loving the way it all looks together. Of course, it takes a while to pick which items I want to us - I don't think it'll ever come naturally to me like it seems to for Nic Howard, teacher extraordinaire! But I am certainly having fun trying!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July - may your day be filled with sunshine, family, fun, laughter, great food, and fireworks!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ready for the Fourth of July

Decided to get a pedicure yesterday - now I'm all ready for the Fourth of July BBQ at Mama & Daddy's house tomorrow!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Highlights

Wow, it seems like the month of June flew by and here we are starting on the second half of 2010. Robbie spent most of June studying, writing papers, taking tests, and completing assignments for the two online master's level courses he is taking as he works toward completing his MBA degree. I attended a once-a-week Bible Study where we are working our way through Beth Moore's Stepping Up study of the Psalms of Ascents and volunteered one morning a week at our local food bank.

At the beginning of the month, we attended the Biblical Life Ministries BBQ fundraiser. We have met Kelly and Kathy Johnson several times over the past eight years when they have been in the states on furlough from their ministry in Kenya and we enjoyed hearing an update about their ministry. Our dear friends, Don & Becky, will be traveling to Kenya to minister alongside the Johnsons for three months this fall. It was a nice evening out with good barbeque and a time to visit with friends.

We also went to see the theatre production of It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman at the new Wyly Theatre in Dallas. It was a great show with fabulous sets, wonderful costumes, and special effects that allowed Superman to fly. The only drawback to the show for us was that Lois Lane was played by a black actress. Honestly, she did a wonderful job with the part, however it truly interfered with the "reality" of the show because Lois has always been white in the comic books (where she was "born") and the show is set in 1939 when it was not common for white men to pursue black women. After getting past the mental hurdle of seeing Lois look so different than our expectations, we both truly enjoyed the show.

One final highlight of June for me was a trip to see my nieces in their dance recital. Robbie's schedule was packed, so Mama traveled with me. Nichole met up with me and Mama for supper before the recital and patiently followed me around those one-way streets as I tried to find us a parking place near the theatre where the recital was held. The twins did fantastic in their tumbling routine and Natashia totally impressed me with how much her dancing has improved as she performed with her clogging, ballet, and jazz classes. It was also nice to see the father-daughter dances - the twins danced together with Michael and then a few numbers later Natashia had her dance with him. Brenda fixed a delicious meal for us Sunday afternoon before we headed home, and I even got a new recipe (salad-on-a-cracker) that I made for my Bible study group the next week.

Can't wait to see what highlights July has in store!