Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Blog INSPIRATION - Blog Every Day In May

After five plus years of blogging, I still enjoy writing and preparing posts, reading comments, and interacting with the many friends I've made through blogging. However, over the past few months I've struggled with finding the INSPIRATION to write and post as often as I would like. It seems fewer and fewer readers are commenting, and I sometimes wonder how many of you are still out there reading along. Of course, I've noticed that I don't comment as often as before either. When I'm traveling I often read blogs on my phone, but it's too cumbersome to comment.

As I've reflected on this recently, I realized that my lack of motivation to blog could also be that I've gotten in a rut with my posts. I really like to share my layouts and am doing a pretty good job of that as I continue to work toward completing our 2011 albums. (In fact, here's a two-page layout I created to showcase photos from Robbie's MBA graduation that year!)

I'm also doing great with my monthly INSPIRATION updates. However, I realized that I've not take time for the other posts that I also enjoy (and that others hopefully find interesting/ informative/entertaining!) - books reviews, organizing projects, glimpses of life around here, recipes I've tried, and things I'm learning. For example, did I tell y'all that I got to spend time with Cheri recently? She was in Texas to visit her mother, and we met up for lunch and a stroll through the Frisco Mercantile.

In an effort to get out of this rut, I'm joining in with Cate of life behind the purple door as she blogs every day in May. She's provided a list of prompts for each day and will also be hosting a daily link up. Most of the items on the list are things I already enjoy sharing (what I'm reading this week, foods we eat), however there are a few prompts that will challenge me to dig deeper to produce a post (the most important lesson my mother ever taught me, what would I do with a million dollars).

I still plan to share my INSPIRATION update and some of my crafty creations throughout the month, so I may even post more than once on some days. Of course, there's also the possibility that I'll miss a few days! But I'm looking forward to using Cate's prompts to blog along every day in May. Want to join us? Click HERE for all the details.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Musings - Illustrated Faith

When I was growing up, I never wrote in my Bible. It just wasn't something that occurred to me. As a young adult, I took notes during church . . . but always in a separate journal or on special notes pages. However, over the past 20+ years, I've embraced underlining and highlighting and writing in the margins of my Bible.

As I mentioned in my post last Sunday, this year I'm adding some creativity into my quiet time. One of the ways I'm doing this is through creative Bible journaling based on INSPIRATION from Shanna Noel's Illustrated Faith classes and website. I first saw this idea on the Internet last fall and learned more about it during Shanna's class in the Truth Scrap event in late January. I also recently reviewed all the materials in Shanna's first Illustrated Faith class on the new Big Picture Classes site .

I'm not really interested in following prompts for Bible journaling as I prefer to journal and/or make notations in my Bible based on lessons I'm learning, sermons I hear, or things I feel the Lord showing me during my quiet time. As I was once again reflecting on my favorite Bible verse (Jeremiah 29:11) in preparation for my class at Scrappin' Goodtime earlier this month, I took time for a little creative Bible journaling.

I have not purchased an actual journaling Bible designed with wider margins and lines for taking notes because I own a wide assortment of Bibles. I chose my New Inductive Study Bible for this exercise and plan to use it throughout the year as INSPIRATION leads me to journal creatively.

Do you write or journal in your Bible? What type of Bible do you use?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Inspired by Product Playground

The idea of a scrapbooking "product playground" sounds FUN, doesn't it? In fact, Product Playground is the name of one of the classes at the new Big Picture Classes - a monthly class taught by Jennifer Gallacher highlighting favorite products. The first class was all about using punches and 6x6 paper pads. I took INSPIRATION from the class video and list of techniques to create a connections layout.

The photos on my layout are from three different dates in 2011, each one showing my nieces or great-nephew enjoying the output of my scrapbooking hobby! I love seeing how much they enjoy looking at my scrapbooks, photo album scrapbooks, and completed layouts.

INSPIRATION on this layout
from the Product Playground class include: using a border punch, layering punches to create embellishments (scalloped circle flower & hearts), and creating a double pendant.

There are already two more Product Playground classes available on the BPC membership site, which I haven't had time to look at yet. I'm heading there now to check them out and see what other INSPIRATION I can find!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Inspired by Paige's Pages

My free month of membership at the new Big Picture Classes site ends in less than a week! I have to admit that I've found quite a bit of INSPIRATION there so far this month.

Along with the two pages I created using buttons, I've completed three additional layouts based on INSPIRATION in the Paige's Pages class. This first one was based on the lesson challenge to use circles on a layout. Paige's example used circles cut into fourths to create a large circle on the page, however I scraplifted this half page design by Jennifer Grace from the class gallery.

Paige's next sample also used multiple little pieces of paper (1/4" squares!) in her challenge to use quilts as INSPIRATION for a layout. Once again, I chose to use a little bit larger design and created a patchwork look around my photo collage.

Last week, when I created this layout, I was actually at my friend LeAnne's home for three days of scrapbooking! It's so much FUN scrapbooking with friends from online classes. After I adhered everything onto this page, I said, "Do you have one of those roller things Nic Howard uses?" She immediately pulled a pastry tool out of her scrapbooking tool tote, and I had to smile because she knew exactly what I wanted without any other explanation! So I created faux stitching lines around my layout. Thanks LeAnne for inviting me to visit and crop in your lovely home!

The final challenge in the Paige's Pages class was to create and use a die cut title. I don't use software with my Cricut, so I cut each letter individually. However, I did use Paige's ideas of combining different fonts and patterned papers for the words. I even used my sewing machine to stitch on this layout.

This layout recounts the story of how I somehow miscounted doilies that I was separating (or had help separating) for the ladies in my Valentines Card class, so, of course, I had to use doilies in each embellishment cluster!

Will I continue my membership at BPC once my free trial ends? That's the question I'm pondering this week as I'm sharing my creations based on the INSPIRATION I've enjoyed there so far. One of my biggest concerns is whether I'll actually have time to work through classes in the coming months as I have a several other things I'm working on: a scrapbook-for-hire 40+ page retirement album, a Pocket Page Scrapbooking & More class I'll be teaching at Scrappin' Goodtime in early June, my Top Five layouts each month (which reminds me I need to get started on my March layouts!), and my review of classes from the old BPC site! Decisions, decisions, decisions!?!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Musings - Worship Journal

I strive to spend quiet time with the Lord each day. In all honesty, when I look back at the end of each week, I often find that I've skipped that precious time once (or more!) and excuse myself because of the busy-ness of life. But that's just an excuse; the truth is that I have time every day to be alone with the Lord, but I choose to do other things instead.

At the beginning of the year, I once again committed to this time with the Lord. This year I'm adding some creativity into those quiet times in the forms of a Worship Journal, Bible Journaling, and merging art and faith in a way that helps me give honor to my Savior.

I chose a nice leather journal that's been in my stash for a couple of years to use as a Worship Journal, a place where I can record scriptures, lessons I'm learning, and sermon notes. I started by removing about a third of the pages from this bound journal. Then, using INSPIRATION from Stephanie Ackerman's Documented Faith journal, I put washi tape along the edge of every other page.

This is not necessarily a daily journal, rather it's one that I pick up during my quiet time to reinforce a scripture or message that I feel the Lord speaking to me through my Bible reading or a recent sermon or conversation.

I actually got artsy on the inside of the front cover during the Truth Scrap event at the end of January. I love the idea of this journal being a journey of faith.

I used some stamps to create a very basic title page (which I may add to at a later date).

On the following page, I printed and colored the Happy New Year Coloring Page from Stephanie Ackerman and added a scripture around the outside of the page.

On January 1, I created a page using the first Document Faith prompt.

I included a little personal journaling as well.

I originally thought I'd follow along with the prompts in the Document Faith journey throughout the year, however after completing this first page I am basically just doing my own thing and using this journal when INSPIRATION strikes. For example, here's a page I created after hearing a sermon in early March.

As you can see, this is not a fancy art journal filled with masterpieces. It's simply a place that I can play with colored pencils and markers and stamps and pens while I contemplate various scriptures and messages related to my faith. I'm truly enjoying this form of worship and feel that's is a wonderful addition to the time I spend with The Creator!

Do you have a quiet time practice? What types of activities do you include during that time?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Scrappin' Goodtime Design Team

My favorite parts of being a member of the Scrappin' Goodtime Design Team are getting to teach new classes . .

Hope & A Future Mixed Media Scripture Canvas Class April 10, 2015
. . . and create layouts using new products . . .

 Authentique's Classique: Beauty Collection
Bo Bunny's Heritage Collection
Authentique's Durable Collection

. . . and write blog posts . . .

. . . and interact on the Scrappin' Goodtime Facebook page . . . and visit the store . . . and stay at the retreat . . .

well, as you can guess, I pretty much like it all!

Are you (or have you been) on a design team? What's your favorite part of it?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Halloween 2014

It's always FUN to find a bright orange Shutterfly envelope (or in this case BOX) in the mail! I had a huge order of prints from all those photos I processed to finish up my 2014 digital workflow last month. As I was sorting through the photos, organizing them by event or story, I chose a couple to go ahead and scrap right away.

It's a fairly simple layout really, but it wasn't coming together like I wanted until I found that black netting in my stash. I'm not even sure where it came from, but I think it pulled everything together nicely. What do you think?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The New Big Picture Classes

At the end of March, I finally signed up for my free month of membership at the new Big Picture Classes site. This month I'm working through some of the classes, exploring the site, earning badges, posting projects, and checking things out to decide if I want to continue with a membership after my free trial.

I started in right away with a scrapbook class - Paige's Pages. This class offers four lessons, each with INSPIRATION and a challenge to use our supplies in a new way. The first lesson was all about using 20 of something on a page, and Paige Evans' layout used one small photo and 20 plus buttons to cover water-colored letters (LOVE) that filled a 12x12 page. At first I wasn't inspired to do a large word on the page, so instead create my title using buttons for this layout about my first year as a coach in the Finding Photo Freedom workshop.

It was FUN using buttons in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes!

A few days later, I was inspired to try Paige's approach with large letters covering most of the page. I printed my journaling for this layout from this blog post.

This time I also followed Paige's example and found small embellishments to add around various parts of each letter - so much FUN!

I'll be sharing more INSPIRATION from the new BPC classes as I continue to enjoy my free trial. Have you set up an account at BPC yet? What do you think of the new format?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Monochromatic Layouts

Last month I shared about the new Wall of Color at Scrappin' Goodtime. Above each section along the way, Susie is displaying monochromatic layouts created by the design team. I currently have three layouts on display.

Yellow (of course!)

Light Pink


These layouts are so much FUN to make, and that Wall of Color provides lots of INSPIRATION! I'm looking forward to my trip to the store next week and just might have to grab a few colorful products for more of these type of pages.

Have you created any monochromatic layouts lately? What's your favorite color?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

INSPIRATION - March Review & April Plans

March was a very busy month, filled with family & friends, doctor appointments (just routine check-ups for me & Robbie), the arrival of beautiful spring weather, road trips, and, of course, INSPIRATION.

(Due to all the busy-ness and being on the road most of the final two weeks of the month, I decided to mark everything as read in my blog reader and start fresh today! If you posted something you don't want me to miss, please leave a link in the comments or send me an email.)

March Review
1. February Top Five -  I completed all of my February Top Five layouts: (1) Doily Days, (2) Pile of Postcards Valentine Exchange, (3) Scrapbook Expo buttons, (4) Agents of SHIELD cards, and (5) Ice & Snow! And since I have a great start to our 2015 album, I also created a title page using a photo of us from early January.

2. Digital Workflow - I completed the processing and ordering of photos from 2014!! I now have a large pile of printed photos that still need to be put in storage binders along with bits and pieces of  memorabilia, but I'm thrilled to have this project completed. I did create one digital layout while I was working through the photos from our trip to Harry Potter World.

3. 2011 Chronological Albums - I only completed four layouts for our 2011 albums during March, however I've started putting together page kits for a crop later this month and hope to make a big dent in the remaining items on the list.

4. Truth Scrap - Unfortunately, I did not review any of the materials from Truth Scrap this month.

5. Spring Break Travel - I enjoyed my three-day get-away with a friend and two teenagers and came home with a half completed mini-album and a batch of photos to process. Robbie's brother and his family arrived from Ohio just in time for some beautiful spring weather and we had an absolutely fabulous week-long vacation that included trying new things (my first helicopter ride!), eating at my favorite restaurants (because we took a road trip to southeast Texas, my old stomping grounds), laughing, sight seeing, and meeting up with other family and friends. Before they headed home, I uploaded the photos from all our cameras and cell phones into one folder on my computer . . . all 1,325 of them!!

6.  READING FOR INSPIRATION - I enjoyed both of the books I chose to read this month. The Daniel Plan was great INSPIRATION for healthy living, focusing on five areas of a healthier life - faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends. Eat That Frog! was filled with ideas to get things done and reminders to concentrate on the most important items first.

I did find time for some other creative INSPIRATION in March also and completed 20 layouts and an altered clipboard along with publishing 16 blog posts.

For the month of April, I'll be exploring and acting on INSPIRATION in several ways:
1. March Top Five - I had a very difficult time choosing my top five stories/photos/events for March, but here they are: (1) I'm Delivering Sunshine, (2) Mineola Trip mini-album, (3) 3000-piece puzzle, (4) Huey UH1 ride, and (5) "I just saw a lemon."

2. Hope & A Future Class - I'll be teaching my latest class at Scrappin' Goodtime on the 10th. Click HERE for all the details!

3. BPC Membership - This past weekend I signed up for my free 30-day trial at the new Big Picture Classes site and am planning to use INSPIRATION from the variety of classes there. I've actually already started and created this layout based on the sketch for January in Aly Dosdall's Document 2015 class.

The class is designed with INSPIRATION for creating a monthly review layout, however I used the sketch to scrap another story from February of this year. Here's a closer look at the journaling.

4. Crop With LeAnne - I'll be traveling to the Houston area to visit and scrap with my friend LeAnne for three days this month. I've already started putting page kits together to work on then!

6.  READING FOR INSPIRATION - I'll be participating in Part II of the Laura Ingalls Wilder course at I thoroughly enjoyed Part I of the course this past fall (see my review HERE) and am looking forward to reading the remaining Little House books and learning more about the writing life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

What kind of INSPIRATION did you enjoy in March? What are your plans for exploring and acting on INSPIRATION in April?