Good bye.

Alas, a difficult decision has been made. This is my last post for Retrospect. Family, school and work have been my utmost priority as of the last several months leaving me little time for much creativity or scrapbooking other than quick Project Life pages. My Project Life albums have become my “blog” and my journal, but that pretty much entails slapping a photo into a pocket, scribbling some notes on a journal card, and done. Not much to show here, though it’s important enough for me to keep up with when I can (I’m generally 2+ weeks behind).

At some point in my life, although not any time very soon, I will be finished with school, my daughter will be busy doing her own thing, and when I’m not working my personal time can once again be my time, creative time. Or, at least I’ll have more interesting things to share and talk about.

This personal journey I am on right now is not an easy one, but it is a challenge I embrace with open arms, and down the road it will be one of the most rewarding accomplishments I will ever have achieved. I dared myself 6 months ago to go back to school and tackle that “windmill” to finish my education with a degree and a career in nursing. I still can’t believe I’m still here with the same drive and determination I had the day I registered for my first class those many months ago. I now have just two classes to go (after I finish the current one) and then my journey will really get revved up into higher gear (I hope!!!). This is a dream, and I thank anyone who followed this blog for letting me share a little bit of myself with you, and I hope you’ll understand my need to redirect my focus.

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I will be back again at another time; perhaps I’ll still be sharing my creative memories, or perhaps I’ll find a different venue…..or maybe I’ll just write and share about a little bit of everything. But…..

I will be back. Thank you, again, everyone!

Jennifer

Project Life Weeks 23-32.5

Hi, everyone! I’ve been back in the Project Life groove once again and having a great time getting “elbow deep” into my creativity, and making a complete mess of my bedroom!

IMG_0507Uh, as you can see, I’m not a very organized scrapper! But, I had a blast! I received a new kit in the mail just as I was going to get started catching up, and that added lots more fun and creative resources. My kit was the Kelly Purkey Aug/Sep kit from Simon Says Stamp, along with one of Kelly’s sticker packages, white washi tape (great for stamping on!), and some Hero Arts ink.

sssUsing these products along with Studio Calico’s Valley High and Roundabout PL kits (as well as other past kit tidbits) made catching up way easier than I could have imagined because my creative juices just kept on flowing with every new little pretty I put into my hands! So here are my weeks, and I warn you now, there are a lot of photos:

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This is the style album I’m using, by Amy Tan from American Crafts. Notice the blank window in the middle? I want to put the title in there, but for the life of me, can’t figure out a design I like! If anyone out there has any good ideas (I want to include the words “Project Life”, “2013”, and the album # because I end up needing 2 albums per year), please, please let me know!! Thanks!

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Too much star confetti on the title card, I know!

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On this page, above, I included this striped envelope on the bottom left to hold some special notes my daughter gave me, and the letter “N” is the initial of her first name. It was an older wood veneer letter from Pink Paisley, and I didn’t want to leave it plain, for some reason. I didn’t want to paint it, either (laziness), so I put washi tape on it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just adhered the tape straight across the letter in rows and used my craft knife and scissors to cut away the extra tape. It wasn’t easy getting the little corners, but sandpaper helps.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is where I ended. I was trying for a more color-coordinated look, like my mom’s pages. I may not always keep things that way, but it was fun to try. I just can’t prepare ahead like Mom, unfortunately; that’s a gift I just do not have. I guess I just never know what I am going to put into my pockets, and I’m a bit more of a spontaneous spirit, too.

Anyhoo, chemistry starts today, so I won’t be able to scrap or post as much as I would like, so please forgive me. Thanks for dropping by, and see you next time!

Jennifer

DIY Project Life Cards

Summer school is out. Whew! That was a rough semester. I do not recommend taking any class that may be even a little difficult during a summer semester….especially if you have not taken a college course in 20 years. Basket weaving or rollerblading 101, sure. Anatomy? Not unless you have no life, no family, no job and are a super-achiever. Anyway, I survived, I passed, and that’s done. Chemistry begins week after next, and in the mean time, I need to get caught up to my completely neglected scrapbook projects, namely Project Life. Fortunately, I did keep on taking photos here and there, and occasionally I would type a few notes into my “Day One” app on my phone, so I do have some scraps of things to remember my weeks by.

Wouldn’t you know that while I was doing homework and studying, I would sometimes eye my scrap table longingly and dream of the day I could get elbow deep into my craft supplies and create away…..but no, I didn’t let myself. Nose back to the grindstone (glad I did, that’s the only way I passed). Now, I am free to do as I please when I’m not at work, and I don’t want to do anything! I look at my lonely PL album, and walk away. I don’t know why. That is, until yesterday. I went for a little road trip with the kiddo and we visited Grandma. We shopped for back-to-school supplies, went to lunch, watched Bridesmaids (♥!), and played around in her studio. Looking at her Project Life album gave me a little nudge and motivated me to do something today, even if it’s just a little something. That’s the push I needed. Now I am having fun catching up, and when I do make more headway, I will post some pages here. But today, I wanted to share something special my mom gave to me:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMom made these from cards she had (the craft ones are made using a free download found on Pinterest by Elise Blaha Cripe). I love them because they were crafted by hand, and it reminded me that I can take a ‘so-so’ card from any kit I have and turn it into a ‘wow’ card using supplies I have on hand. Or, like Mom, use scraps to create your own cards. I love how she used what she had and made something brand new! I never think of it, to be honest. And this may not be your style, per se, but make your journaling/embellishment cards say “this is me!”. Take a little time to pull out some PL cards you may not be thrilled with, or have more than one of (or left-over paper scraps) and gather up some of your stash (it’s even better if you use things you’ve been hoarding), and give some cards a new life! Then when you want to add something quickly to your album, or just need to fill in some space (which I’m sure I will need to do as I catch up!) pull out one of your pre-embellished journal cards, jot down a few words, or not, and you’re set! How cool is that?

Thanks, Mom, you’re the best! See you next time!

Taking a break…see you in 5 weeks.

This week I started on a new and very exciting journey. For the first time in 20 years, I enrolled in a class at a local city college to work on my prerequisites for the nursing program. In all these years, I have been a)sitting on the fence about whether this was the right choice for me; b)filled with fear and the attitude that I could never do it; c)without the proper funding (and a student loan is out of the question!); d)unsure how I would juggle a baby daughter and full-time work; and finally, e)married to a man who didn’t want his wife spending time outside of work anywhere but home (he does have many good qualities, but he can be a bit old-fashioned). Excuses, excuses. Then recently, the stars aligned for me all at the perfect time, and I no longer have a husband holding me back, the baby daughter is a teenager who is a good girl and quite self-sufficient, financial aid and grant rules somehow changed so that I could actually qualify for paid tuition (so I don’t have to be dirt poor and on welfare), my schedule at work changed allowing me to work 12-hour shifts on weekends (read: 4 weekdays of free time to take classes), and most important of all, I have no fear or doubts of any kind. I have been feeling as if I’m spinning my wheels at my current job– don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and where I work, but I am hungry for a challenge, and I want to grow in healthcare. So one day just after I moved into my new apartment, I figured that since I’m already going through somewhat of a life overhaul, why settle for good enough? Moving was the catalyst for a new attitude, outlook, growth and improvement. So I dared myself to reach even higher. I wrote a note to myself and hung it on the wall. It said, “I dare you to go back to school and become an RN”. Quite honestly, as I hung it up, part of me said, “you’ll rip this off the wall and through it away as soon as you wake up and realize what a crazy idea this is. I didn’t. Instead, to my surprise, I felt motivated and excited! The next day I took myself to the college campus and signed up. There was a lot of work involved in filling out forms for financial aid, even standing in line at the IRS on April 15 (of all days!!!) to obtain the necessary information I needed to submit.  I jumped through hoops and fought bureaucratic red tape along the way, but I was determined and stayed focused. I must really want this badly. Weeks later as I was eligible to register for the classes I needed, I was wait listed. But then those last few stars lined up, and I was suddenly officially registered in an anatomy class. I literally jumped up and down in my room with excitement, and my poor daughter thought I’d gone off the deep end because she was finishing her 7th grade year, sick and tired of school, ready for summer break, and here I am acting like I’d won the biggest lottery ever because I get to go to school in the summer!

So here I am, at the end of my first week of anatomy class, feeling a tad overwhelmed, ambivalent about the outcome, and just plain brain-fried at the end of each day…..but exhilarated, hopeful and loving every minute of it!

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This is an 18-week class crammed into 6 weeks, so I will not have time for creating any scrapbook layouts, mini-albums, or scrapbook class projects for a while. Small price to pay, in my opinion, but no blog entries for the time being. One thing I am committing myself to is keeping up with Project Life. I am still trying to take pictures whenever I can, and quickly printing them out and sticking them into the page protector pockets. I journal in my Day One app on my phone or iPad, and when class is over, I will go back and finish everything. My goal is to continue to keep track of what is going on in our lives, and document my educational process. Next semester: Chemistry 3! I can’t wait! Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer

Having fun with my Portrait

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately; I’ve been very keen on using my Silhouette Portrait more than usual for the past week or so. Perhaps Pinterest has had something to do with it, or the fabulous scrapbook blogs I’ve been perusing lately. I once had the original Silhouette SD which I bought not long after it first came out, and during the time I had it, I used it quite a bit until the cutting blade wore out, and to my dismay I discovered that it is no longer available because that Silhouette had since become obsolete. This was not long after the Cameo came into the picture, and when it did, it seems to me that digital cutting exploded everywhere I looked in scrapbook land. In my wildest dreams I couldn’t afford a Cameo, but I really wanted to continue to cut out shapes digitally, so when the Portrait debuted– at a lower price, I jumped for the chance. I saved until I could get one, and then I used it only now and then….until I began to notice more and more digital templates designed especially for the Silhouette which are really nice. Not cutesy, I mean cool, trendy and many meant for Project Life as well as cards and layouts. So to cut to the chase, last weekend was my mother’s birthday, and I contemplated cutting out a nice image or two for a card and this time really noticed the fact that the newer Silhouettes really cut better, easier and faster than my old SD. I actually enjoyed the process so much, and became so curious as to what else it could do, that I started cutting shape after shape after shape, all night long! The Silhouette store really has some great templates by brands such as Echo Park, Hero Arts, Glitz, Jenni Bowlin, House of 3, Jillibean Soup and more. I was really impressed, and you can’t beat the price: $0.99 each! So, I went a little crazy, and decided that my mom needed some die-cuts for her scrapbooking stash, and this is what I made her:

sp 7If you are a fan of Studio Calico (like me) and have taken some of their classes, you may recognize some of the die cuts. It also helped that I know what kind of things my mom likes and would use, as well as colors that would make her happy. She has also found the love of her life and documents a lot about the two of them in her Project Life album. The stars above came in a Studio Calico class kit (Cut It Out) and to make things a little more “twinkly”, I embossed them with sparkly gold embossing powder. I didn’t have any gold or silver sparkly POW paper, or I would have used that instead.

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Stepdad is a big football fan, and Mom often puts game photos and stats in her PL album….and yes, he has a moustache! The whale is in honor of my late maternal grandfather. He would have been thrilled (he was a Marine and was known for his love of whales).

sp 2I’m so happy my mom has finally found her soul mate, and they do like to travel, so I thought the postal die-cuts would be appropriate for their next trip. And the nice thing about the Silhouette? All images can be resized, as seen in the photo frames; I couldn’t figure out what size would be best, so I gave several to choose from!

sp1And I couldn’t forget myself. Just yesterday and the day before I decided I wanted something new and fun, and I was lucky enough to find this awesome glitter paper that I had forgotten about; it came with the kit for Cut It Out, which I ended not having time to participate in. So glad I got the goodies for it, though!

So, if you’re tossing around the idea of investing in a die-cutting machine, I highly recommend the Silhouette Portrait, or even better, the Cameo. I still wish I could have gotten the Cameo only because it can accommodate 12×12″ size paper, and there are some really nice backgrounds I would love to cut for a layout. Now, here is my official disclaimer:  I am in no way affiliated with or being paid by the Silhouette company, nor do they even know I am writing this blog post. These are strictly personal opinions in which I express here on my blog. I suppose some people may say I just want to show off. I won’t deny it; I’m having fun and just want to share! I don’t claim to know everything about my Portrait, in fact I’m still learning things, but if you are reading this and have any questions, please feel free to contact me and if I don’t know the answer, I will certainly direct to you to some great tutorial videos which exist out there. Happy scrapping!

Jennifer

Project Life, weeks 18-21

I have been behind in my Project Life because I’ve been busy with work, a little bit lazy (I’ve been so tired lately!), and working very slowly on my pages. I’m trying to improve how my weekly pages turn out (remember, it’s part of my summer bucket list) and they seem to take me much longer to complete than before. It’s almost as if I’m creating a mini layout for each day! It would easy to continue as I have done before and type right onto my photos in Photoshop, or slap a journal tag on, scribble something out and call it a day. I don’t want to do that right now; I’ve been seeing some amazing pages on Pinterest, and I want to take the effort and spend some time being a little more creative. I’m trying new techniques and thinking outside the box for ideas and inspiration. That goes for my regular layouts as well, and I decided to complete one more of the challenges from Big Picture Classes’ Creative Crop since my brother sent me some awesome photos from a recent family get-together. I kind of piecemealed some ideas together: one of the challenges from BPC was to use new techniques and products that we normally don’t go for, and I also sort of incorporated Studio Calico‘s class lesson from their class Pop Off the Page. So, I put all my eggs into one basket and went for it, coming up with this layout:

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I got a little carried away with embellishing this layout above, but I was having so much fun, and experimenting at the same time, so I just let it be.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like to add extra page protectors to my weekly pages; sometimes I have too much for one page, but not enough for two pages. These are the products I use to add extra photos:

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These are wonderful; I was introduced to them by Ali Edwards in her One Little Word class. Can’t live without them, now!

protectorsAll of these page protectors, including the flip pockets are currently available at Amazon.com, and the link is here.

Sometimes I cut and sew my page protectors to suit my needs; I also may add washi tape and staples, I just use my imagination. May was a busy month for me with birthdays, National Hospital Week and Mothers’ Day, so I had extra photos and ephemera I wanted to include, so having these extra protectors has been indispensible and very practical. I highly recommend them. Unfortunately, however, on another note about Project Life products, I have just come to realize that my favorite binders (the black or white Signature Binders made specially for PL) are no longer available at this time. Bummer, because my binder is getting pretty full and bulky, and I need a new one. Call me finicky, but I like my binders to match for a single year.  If anyone hears of  these binders being available at another retailer (Scrapbook.com is also out), please let me know.

For now, enjoy documenting your unique life and have some fun with it. You will enjoy looking back on these books in the years to come!

Thanks for dropping by!

Jennifer

 

 

One Little Word, May

Finally caught up with my One Little Word assignment for May; Ali provided digital elements to use and the words she came up with were so appropriate for me, so I used them rather than my own (I think they would have turned out rather lame….). These cards are a great way to give me a pep talk when I need it and keep me focused on my word, STRIVE. I will strive to stick to these little words of wisdom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI believe this should apply to everyone. Having a bad day? Feel free to come back and visit and really think about these words. I know it’s hard to think positive when you don’t feel positive, but the more you try, the more you will succeed. One happy little thought can lead to many more. Think about it. Happiness to you, and thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer