Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Healthy Living Update

Overall, February was not a good month for me in my quest to live a healthier lifestyle. It just seemed like I couldn't get going with consistent exercise and healthy eating.

Here's my assessment of what happened:
*I did not exercise regularly - I only rode the exercise bike 9 times this past month. Most days I simply did not make the time to do it.
*I did not eat healthy meals and we ate out or ordered in quite a few times. Again this is a matter of making the time to prepare a healthy meal here at home.
*I ate way more than I should & drank way too many Coca-Colas. Some of this is the fault of those cute little Girl Scouts selling those delicious cookies (seriously, have you tried a Samoa lately?)!
*We also had a few stressors this month, not the least of which was Robbie's surgery. What is it about stress that makes me want to eat chocolate?
*And in all honesty, I did not feel well many days this month. I think I had a little virus at the beginning of the month and then quite a few days of excessive fatigue for no apparent reason. (I saw my doctor this week and it appears some of these issues are related to the fact that each year my body gets a little older! She's given me something to help alleviate some of the exhaustion and believes healthier eating & regular exercise will also help tremendously.)

On another note, I did read a good book this month on stretching.

Reading the book Stretching by Suzanne Martin was a good reminder that I need to be more diligent about stretching. I also realized that the exercise tapes I have include good stretching segments and the strength training routine I used last year does too. I am hoping to work both of these back into my schedule in March along with some rides on the stationary bike. The book also had a section reminding me that stretching is important for good posture and helps keep our muscles balanced and aligned properly.

I am determined to be back at the end of March with a much better report and maybe even a little weight loss celebration! The weather is turning warmer and we'll be turning our clocks forward soon to preserve some daylight time in the evenings. How did y'all do on your healthy living goals for February?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feb Pass the Book Recipient

The first recipient of The Artist Unique is . . .

Cheri who said... 

Looks like fun Melissa! I'd love to discover my "creative signature" as I seem to only mimic what I see and learn... so yes, I'd love to be in the drawing!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

LOM Community Weekly Challenges

One of the January LOM Community weekly challenges was to use memorabilia on a layout.I combined photos from the two Texas Rangers games we attended with memorabilia & journaling about the Rangers 2011 season to create this layout with 10 photos & 2 sheets of cardstock. I had the programs from these two games in my Memorabilia File Box (which was stuffed full). I keep programs there until I've scrapped an event because they provide lots of information (dates, opponent, etc). The programs are now displayed in an old magazine rack along with programs from other events, and I've created some breathing space in my Memorabilia File Box!
Last week's challenge in the LOM Community was to scrap photos from this year's Valentine's Day. I started with two photos and Sketch Support's One-Page Sketch #18 to document our day. I had to tweak the sketch a little since my large photo was oriented differently, but I really like how this is a happy layout despite the fact that we spent most of the day at the hospital. (And you just have to love a man who will let you post a photo of him in that stylish silver surgical cap!) [Robbie is doing very well after the surgery and was back at work this week.]

I enjoyed including lots of die cut, punched and metal heart embellishments on this page.

Here's a closer look at the handwritten journaling.

I'm enjoying re-focusing on these weekly challenges because they help me utilize the many different parts of my Library of Memories system. Have you been inspired by any challenges lately?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Enjoyment of Hobby Enhanced by Interaction with Others

A couple of weeks ago, Robbie & I were heading home from a sci-fi convention when he mentioned that he might join up with a model-making group. (He is an avid toy/trading card/model/vintage game collector.) He commented that he often does not get as much enjoyment out of his hobby as I do out of mine (scrapbooking!), and he thought it was probably because I had cultivated ways to have interaction with other scrapbookers through my online classes, blogs, and occasional crops with friends.

I had to totally agree – much of my enthusiasm and enjoyment of this hobby come from sharing ideas and completed layouts with others. Don't get me wrong, I've always scrapbooked and probably always will. The main reasons I scrap are for my own personal enjoyment and to preserve our memories. However, interaction with others who are participating in the same hobby definitely adds to my level of enjoyment.

So, today I want to say THANK YOU to each of you who read  and comment on my blog. You are part of the reason I find so much enjoyment in blogging and scrapbooking! 

Of course, there are additional perks to cultivating interaction with others via the Internet:

First is the tremendous amount of inspiration and the variety of ideas I gain from reading other blogs and seeing what y'all are creating.

And then there's the added bonus of occasionally finding an unexpected surprise package in my mailbox! This cute package arrived last week, just in time to keep me motivated in my healthy living goals this month. Thanks Alison!!

Of course, I also get to play around creating Mail Art to send out to my bloggy friends - like this little stack that went out yesterday.

And finally, there's the friendships that develop as we get to know one another, share our ideas, and meet regularly in the blogosphere!

What do you think - would you find as much enjoyment in your hobby if you had no interaction with others who enjoy the same hobby?

[BTW - There's still a little time to be in the draw for this month's Pass the Book - click here for all the details.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Photos I Love Album

In addition to the goal of creating 12 layouts each month in the Twelve workshop, Stacy Julian has provided another year-long project for us - a 2012 Photos I Love album. The idea is to choose one photo you love each month and create a layout to include in a black & white 12x12 album along with the answers to 20 questions (provided in the workshop) and blocks of journaling about each photo. I have (of course) adapted the project to suit my tastes and will be creating an 8x8 post bound album showcasing one photo each month.

For the title block on the front of my album, I used the back of the packaging from some Jenni Bowlin Bingo cards - you'll see shortly how I'm using the actual Bingo cards.

One of the pre-class assignments in this workshop was to take photos of the numbers one through twelve. I spent a day in December walking through the house snapping photos of numbers and came up with a very colorful collage. The title page of this album uses those photos. Rather than calling my album Photos I Love, I decided on A Glimpse Of 2012 (reminiscent of the i.scrap 8x8 album I created as an introspective look at 2010).

Here's where I found my numbers photos:
1 - the spine of the first Harry Potter book
2 - on the front of a box of old paper dolls
3 - the side of a boxed set of exercise VHS tapes
4 - the side of the Connect Four game
5 - the Speedracer Mach 5
6 - bottom number on a clock
7 - a barbell in my exercise room
8 - magic 8-ball game
9 - playing card
10 - side of a timer
11 - front cover of an old Superman comic book
12 - inside page of a Bible

Each month we are punching squares of the various papers we use in our layouts. I am using these squares to create a border around the 8x8 page, then matting my favorite photo from the month on black cardstock, adding a short sentence of journaling and a Jennie Bowlin Bingo card to complete the page. The yellow bling I've added to the Bingo card is the same item I used to track my January layouts on my Twelve checklist.

Journaling reads: Here I am at the beginning of the new year 2012, relaxed after returning from our 10th anniversary cruise, wearing my new cute red leather jacket, and ready for whatever the year ahead brings.

I'm excited to get this album set up and ready for the year. I've slipped the remaining Bingo cards in the page protectors for each month and already have a pile of scrap squares for my February layout. I'll be sharing my layouts as the year continues. Are you working on any year-long projects for 2012?

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Pass the Book - The Artist Unique

I must admit that some parts of The Artist Unique: Discovering Your Creative Signature Through Inspiration and Techniques by Carmen Torbus were a little intimidating for me. Along with the stories of 16 different artists, the book includes step-by-step instructions for 17 mixed-media techniques. Many of these techniques were new to me and utilized supplies I don't have in my current stash - items like polymer clay, molding paste, watercolors, crackle paste, gesso, and beeswax.

However, there were a few "simpler" techniques (using supplies I had on hand) that I did try out in my art journaling. (Fine Print - I cannot draw and do not consider myself an artist. I'm pretty sure there are 1st graders who could do a better job! But I did have lots of fun and that, to me, is most important.) The first technique was to simply "draw with your eyes closed" and involved drawing a simple shape on a piece of paper with your eyes closed, then looking to see if you could create a picture with that line. Here's what I drew:

I thought the space in the middle looked like a little pond, so I set to work coloring in my drawing. I love having lots of markers and crayons and pencil colors handy to work on projects like this.

After coloring in the blue water, I decided to try out some of my stamps for the "land" area.

It's hard to see, but I actually used two different sized flower stamps and two different shades of pink ink for the little flowers.

I then decided to create a little trading card using another of the "simpler" techniques in the book - stamping with bubble wrap. I used the next page in my art journal as a pad while I was inking these blank cards.

After adding the yellow background, I used brown ink and a piece of bubble wrap to stamp around the sides of the card. Then I used one of my new stamps from Rinda's stamp giveaway to add a sentiment to the center of the card.

I'm planning to send this card to a friend, so I also stamped and inked a Mail Art envelope while I had my supplies out.

I then cleaned everything up by completing the overflow page in my journal and adding a little quote.

So, there you have it, a few of my latest "artistic" creations. There are a couple more techniques I'm inspired to try - artsy envelopes & hand lettering - so I just may be back later this week with more inspiration from this book.

In all honestly I found this book fascinating and enjoyed seeing the pieces that the artists created. This book would be an inspiring read for anyone interested in mixed-media art and art journaling. I really like this quote from Bridgett Guerzon Mills:

I used to think that being an artist meant that one would have these creative visions just appear before her, waiting to be put on canvas. But I have learned that creating a painting is something a bit more organic. It comes through practice. It arrives by coming to the easel or table every day and just working.

If you'd like to be the first recipient of The Artist Unique, please leave a comment telling me about the last new technique you tried in your art (whether it was art journaling or a canvas or a scrapbook layout or whatever medium you're working with). I'll pick a winner this coming weekend, so be sure to check back then to see if this book is heading to you! [If you are new to Pass the Book, check out all the details for Pass the Book:Year Two here.]

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy 46th Anniversary Mama & Daddy

My parent's are celebrating 46 years of marriage today! On their anniversary last year, we took them out for the day & I recently scrapped the photos from that outing. I actually stated with Sketch Support's Two-Page Sketch #24 but ended up adding some extra photos as usual.

In an effort to use my stash this year, I cleaned up my room in early January and filled a basket with lots of fun supplies that had not yet been incorporated into my color bins. I have this basket on my craft table and am comitting to using at least one item out of it on each layout. The triangle border & all the pieces of this little embellishment cluster came from that basket.

I also enjoyed adding some memorabilia on this layout - our four tickets & titles cut from brochures.

Happy Anniversary Mama & Daddy
We Love Y'all

Friday, February 17, 2012

LOM Album Re-Organization

I originally set up my Library of Memories system two years ago and have truly enjoyed the freedom it has given me to scrap inspirationally (rather than chronologically). In fact, I shared a photo of my brand new LOM albums in my very first blog post in the spring of 2010. The LOM system allows me to store my layouts by topic rather than chronologically. (You can see the journey my layouts take before they reach these albums here.)

This past week I embarked on a re-organization of my LOM albums. Originally I had decided on six main categories for my LOM systems, however I found that I needed to tweak these a bit in order to more fully customize them to fit our lives and the way I scrapbook. I now have five main categories, some of which have expanded into multiple volumes due to the number of layouts I've created in the past few years (and the addition of some created before my system was set up!). Here's a look at the albums on our memory shelf.

As I was working on my re-organization, I set up new albums, updated the spine labels (I had used very thin string to tie the circle tags to the binder clips, so I updated that with thicker embroidery thread), and added section tabs to several albums.

My first category is Robbie & Melissa (this is the category Stacy Julian - creator of the LOM system - calls All About Us) and is represented by the black and white albums. I currently have three albums in this category. The first album houses layouts about me and Robbie since our marriage ten years ago. This album is divided into three sections - Together Forever, Robbie, Melissa. Rather than create section pages, I have opted to put divider tabs in the album to aid in navigation of my albums.

The two solid black albums house layouts about us prior to marriage. For now, these albums include layouts in ANY category that are stories/photos about the time period before we were married, however I may change this and integrate these layouts more fully into the system as these albums fill up and I continue to live with my system.

The three pink albums are my Family & Friends category. I originally had many layouts about our family (& especially my nieces & nephews) integrated into our other category albums, however I decided I wanted those albums to more fully reflect our story and have these family layouts grouped together. I ended up with three albums - one for Family & Friends and two for Nieces & Nephews. The first album has tabs with sections for Family layouts and Friends layouts.

Although they are still part of this category, I decided to change the name of the next two albums to Nieces & Nephews. The layouts in these two albums are in roughly chronological order, however it wouldn't be uncommon to find a layout with a story from 2007 after a layout with a story from 2010 next to a layout with photos spanning four years. I created a title and dedication page for the first album, and then just a title page for volume 2. (These match my original title & dedication pages - I pulled the sketch I created at the time, making it quick & easy to put these together.)

My third category is Days We Celebrate (the blue album), which has section tabs for anniversaries, birthdays, and various holidays.

You may have noticed that some holidays are missing, for example Valentine's Day and Halloween. This simply means that either we don't do much to celebrate that holiday or I haven't scrapped any layouts about it yet. The other huge omission is Christmas and that's because I decided to give this favorite of my holidays its own album and color. The red album houses Christmas layouts in roughly chronological order. Since this was a new album, I created a title page & dedication page for it also.

And because this album is practically full, I went ahead and created a title page for volume 2 so I'll be all ready when it's time to add a second Christmas album.

Our green album houses layouts for the Places We've Been category. Currently these layouts are also arranged in somewhat chronological order, however I'm pretty sure I will eventually go through and categorize these layouts into sections based on the type of place - Historical Site, Texas city, Places Around Town, etc. The album is not quite full, so I'm going to live with it a little longer before deciding on sections.

I do, however, have our Travels Abroad separated out into its own album (the dark maroon on the right of the 2nd shelf). We have traveled abroad three times together, and I have scrapped each trip with a different background paper to designate the sections in this album.

My final category is Things That Matter and incorporates many aspects of our everyday lives - home, vehicles, food/eating/ cooking, hobbies, etc. This album contains the most section tabs, and I'm looking forward to adding additional layouts throughout the course of the year as I have a huge list of ideas that I've created based on inspiration in the current Twelve workshop.

The best part of this re-organization process was the fact that I got to enjoy all my scrapbook pages as I reviewed what was in each album! These albums are one of the Essentials in the LOM system. I'll be reviewing/updating/reorganizing another essential, Category Drawers, over the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I had a great time earlier this month creating Valentine's Day cards. I decided it was time to look at the materials in the BPC Cooking Up Cards self-paced class that has been sitting in my account for several months. This class has four card "recipes" with examples of each from four different "chefs".

I used Kim Kesti's Signature Card "recipe" to create these first three cards. I have a box of blank cards, so I started with those and used a variety of paper scraps, heart brads, a CTMH sentiment stamp, and some very old stickers to finish them.

I pulled a tag and some die cut hearts (that I received in a swap over 3 years ago) from my stash for this next card. I even embellished the inside of the card & the envelope. So excited to be using up some old stash.

Robbie and I have never really had a traditional Valentine's Day celebration (I'm hoping to create a layout about that soon!) and today was no exception as Robbie had surgery to remove his gall bladder! (He is doing well; we're home already and he is resting.)

Did you do something special for Valentine's Day this year or do you have a yearly tradition to commerate this day each February?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Twelve Photos - February

Once again it is Dozen Day in the BPC Twelve workshop, and we received a new handout with 12 photo-taking opportunities. In my quest to take 12 photos based on the prompts each month on the 12th, I found today's prompts quite challenging. With the exception of #11 (waking up - which I staged first thing this morning after downloading the prompts), I simply walked around the house this afternoon and snapped photos. So, here for your enjoyment (or amusement) is my interpretation of the prompts.

1. Your Front Door - I'm sure most people would visualize the outside of their front door for this prompt, however since I am most often looking at it from the inside I decided to shoot it from there.

2. Time - This clock hangs over our mantle.

3. Holiday Decor - This was difficult since we don't really decorate for Valentine's Day and all the Christmas decorations have been safely stowed back in the attic. However, this carousel (which plays a Christmas tune when turned on) is displayed year round on the game shelf.

4. Dirty - Yikes, dirty dishes in the sick. I must have been scrapping all day and not gotten to these yet.

5. Someone's Occupation - A computer and ten-key always remind me of Robbie working hard in his position as CFO.

6. Paper - Two new paper pads I picked up at Big Lots yesterday.

7. A Pet - In my family we always had cats & dogs in the house when I was growing up. One year when Mama asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said, "A cat that doesn't shed!" Here's the pet I found under the tree that year, the only one in our home today.

8. A Favorite Blanket - If you've been reading my blog for very long, you'll know there are several quilters in my family. Therefore, I have substituted a photo of one of my favorite quilts as I don't have a blanket in sight.

9. A Favorite Book - I am currently re-reading one of my all-time favorite books, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I am starting a book club that will meet in my home each month to discuss a Christian book and this is our first selection.

10. Something You Won't Have In 5 Years - My Expedition will be 10 years old this summer and currently has 162,000+ miles. I'm hoping to replace it by the end of the year.

11. Waking Up - Even though this is a staged photo, I like it because it reminds me that when I was growing up Daddy always turned the light on in our room when it was time to get up for the day.

12. Money - A peek inside my coin cup.

Have you taken 12 fun photos this month? Why not grab your camera and snap a few right now!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Educationally Equally Yoked & A Completed Mini-Album

One of the categories of stories we are encouraged to scrap in the BPC Twelve workshop is Family Stories. Robbie and I have a relatively new story that we I have begun to tell fairly often, so I decided it was time to get that story down in print.

Journaling reads: I've often joked with Robbie that even though he is in reality much smarter than I am, I had earned one more degree than him, which at least gave the appearance that I was somewhat intelligent. However, when he began working towards his MBA, I knew the gig was up. I had completed my MBA five years earlier with all "A"s and one "B" (In Economics), and I was sure he would top that with all "A"s. I have to confess that it totally made my day when he also earned one "B" (in Economics!!), and now I often joke that we are truly and finally educationally equally yoked. (Even if he really is still smarter than me!)

I also finally completed the mini-album celebrating Robbie's graduation. I started with a chipboard album and covered the pages with patterned paper. (The album actually had pages that spelled out GRADE, I simply omitted the "E" and made it GRAD.) Then I did something brand new for me - I painted the edges of the pages with acrylic paint!

I added some smaller "pages" in the album comprised of photos adhered back-to-back and one of the announcements I created.

Here's a look through the album.

I had so much fun completing this layout and album! Have you scrapped any family stories or completed a mini-album project lately?