Welcome December!

Normally on the first of the month I’d have a kit build to share for the Counterfeit Kit Challenge design team. However, December is different over at CKC. In order to take the pressure off during a busy holiday month, the team offers a simpler bit of inspiration. This year we are doing a Crafty Kit Advent Calendar!

The adventure is this: each day there is a prompt offered on the blog to add just a single item to your supplies and by the end of the month you’ll have a complete crafty kit. Over in the Facebook community there is an accompanying image for further ideas & inspiration. So, during this busy time you can take just a 5 minute crafty break from daily life. Now, your kit could be holiday themed, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, I’ve decided my kit will not have anything to do with holidays. Instead, I’m going to build a kit of supplies for a weekly art journal to play in for 2022.

So far the only thing in my storage drawer for this kit is the traveler’s notebook that I plan on using for my art journal. I recently enjoyed a traveler’s notebook class that showed how to create a temporary cover for the notebook and I plan on covering it now and again as the mood inspires me.

While I know all the behind the scenes info into this advent kit build, I am really trying to play along in real time. I will find my item each day as the prompt goes public. I do know one thing for sure: my goal is to use mainly scraps and partial products for this kit. I think that will be a great way to clear out some items from overflowing bins and build a pile of supplies that are strictly for play.

If you want to follow what the other design team members and communitiy members are up to with this project, go ahead and join the Facebook community.

Until nextt time, I hope you have a safe and festive December!

Carpe Diem Planner

I’ve been using a Carpe Diem (A5 size) planner for a little over a year. I have not fallen in love with it.

I tried first to use it as a calendar planner, but I really prefer Google’s calendars where I can sync with and coordinate with my family’s calendars also.

I tried using it as a personal journal. I found the pressure to keep up with decorating it counterproductive to the emotional release journaling provides.

But I like the physical binder. I want to use it. So now I have repurposed it as my YouTube project binder. I’d been keeping lists of projects in a note taking app and that was actually not working well for me. Cross referencing projects with my calendar was annoying. Keeping one long list of to-do items wasn’t convenient for moving items around. And my individual check list for each video just took up too much note space. Yes I realize I may need a different digital solution but… why not try a physical product I already own first.

That being said, I was lacking a reproducible to-do checklist for my binder. So I made one. You can check out my YouTube video coming soon that includes this item (among others). I’ve made this checklist generic and am offering it for you to download if you are looking for something like this. I’ve got the Excel version and a .pdf version as well.

  1. PDF version
  2. XLS version


  1. Set all page margins to 0.75 inches.
  2. If you are using the XLS file, print “Sheet 1” only… as many copies as you like.
  3. If you are using the PDF file, print as many copies as you’d like.
  4. Trim the 8 1/2 inch width down to 8 5/16 inches.
  5. Turn sideway and cut sheet in half at 5 1/5 inches.
  6. Hole punch according to We R Memory Keepers Carpe Diem A5 size.

Scrapping the hard stuff

My son got infected with E. coli from contaminated food when he was 6 years old. He spent a month in the hospital, including almost a week in ICU due to complications from the infection. It is hard to think about it. It is even harder to type it down here in public. And for the last 6 years since he was released from the hospital I have been meaning to capture that story for his scrapbook.

I’ve had several difficulties in completing this task. In the beginning it was just to fresh and raw. After time passed, I then had the trouble of feeling like I wasn’t going to “get it right.” And while I was dragging my feet I had a computer crash and it looked like I lost the electronic journaling I had done during the experience. Luckily my husband had saved a “snap shot” of my hard drive and yesterday was the day I decided to look at that data and try to find my journaling. I cried a little when I realized that my searching was working and I finally recovered my notes!

What made me decide it was time to work on this? It has been a dozen factors. And the final push was this challenge from The Paper Variety.

I knew it was finally time. Having recovered my original notes from that trial made my determination that much more. I was going to capture this story before it got lost again! I ended up with 20 pages of journaling and decided this story had to be put into it’s own album. Due to the personal nature and the unpleasant details I thought a “mini” album that could be tucked away on a shelf was the right choice. I have for you just the cover of the album. All my details are stored away for just me and my family.

I really struggled with how to approach this project artistically. I knew all the “cutesy” medical products out there weren’t going to capture the emotions of that time. I decided to just get raw and messy and muddled and harsh because those were all the feelings we went through. I printed my journaling straight out on cardstock with  edits for spelling and a few for space. I printed all my photos straight out of iPhoto with no edits or adjustments. I almost always crop, reduce red eye or make other adjustments. Not for this project. I just wanted this to be true and complete. I’m so glad I bothered to take these photos while he was sick. Some people might think it morbid to take photos of a child hooked up to life support machines but for me it was, and still is, therapy.

I hope my sharing this very personal story will encourage you to get a difficult story scrapped.

This weeks busy work

Every year I think I am going to get it together way ahead of time and every year I don’t. I either just delay or come up with inspiring ideas at the last minute. This year it was a little of both… I delayed on my Christmas cards and came up with inspiring ideas for small gifts for friends at the last minute. So here is what I made this week.

First off, I finished off my Little Book of Thanks album that I had showed you the beginnings of. Just wanted to let you see how I finished the inside. I put a photo of each family member opposite their personal word of thanks. Then I went online and found a quote that in some way fit that persons personality and added it to the opposite page.

Next…Christmas cards! I desgined these on the Gypsy and had a bunch of fun doing it. It was also nice that I could just attend the Cricut when it needed loaded/unloaded. All the other work (cutting all those elements!) was done for me while I worked on other things. Because I used just cardstock and a little stickles these cards cost me less than $2 to make 14 lovely, handmade cards. (Yeah, I know it doesn’t take the cost of the tools into account but that is another story!)

Then…9 votive candle holders out of vellum. I scored some really cheap electric votive candles at Big Lots before Halloween and then sat staring at them deciding what to make. Then inspiration struck! I used alcohol ink to blend a background, stamped my favorite trees (from Stampin’ Up) on there with StazOn, added a date stamp and a snowflake cut on the Cricut. Elegant yet simple.

And Finally, these little cocoa treat pouches. Again, designed on the gypsy and left to cut elements out while I was working on 0ther things!

What I worked on this week…

This week I worked on my Book of Small Thanks. If I were more organized you would have had this idea BEFORE Thanksgiving. But I am who I am! I had this book in mind for about a month but had neither the time nor the supplies I needed until late last week. I rushed to throw it together (and it still isn’t done). I wanted a book where our family of 5 could keep track of the daily, ordinary things. I’m not talking about the big things either, like family, a warm home and food on the table. I am very aware everyday of those big things. I wanted this book to be a moment in time of the things that make us happy right now. It is never too late to make a book of thanks. It is an exercise that you can undertake any time. I hope my project inspires you to make one of your own.

Here is my cover before I did any embellishing to it. I made the whole book with chipboard covered in different papers from the Die Cuts With A View (DCWV) Autumn Stack. The alpha is Thickers (large) and some small letters from my stash.

I formatted the book with smaller inner pages. On the front of the small inner page I plan on putting a photo of each family member. You will notice that the next page is peeking from behind. On the next page is the journaling for each person for each day. I arranged it so that the journaling that shows will match the person in the photo on each and every page.

On the left hand side of the small page I plan on printing and cutting out quotes strips that have to do with thankfulness. I have yet to research what those quotes will be.

And when you turn the small page, the book opens up to see everyone’s thoughts of thanks for that day. I did one day for each weekday during the week of Thanksgiving.

Like I said before, it isn’t done yet. But I had a chance to give the cover some embellishing with leftover ribbons from my stash before typing up this post. Enjoy!

Online class

I’ve known about Big Picture Scrapbooking for a couple of years now. I took some classes last year and really enjoyed them. When I got their newsletter recently I saw a class that I just had to join. And I am making my kids do it with me. The class is called Everyday Adventures and it is based on the book How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. It is supposed to be exercises in seeing the extraordinary hidden in the ordinary. I’m curious to see where it leads us.

Our pre-class assignment was to make Goggles of Enhanced Perception. So here we are decked out in our goggles.

We created our own journals to record our findings for the 20 exercises throughout the class. The kids decorated small spiral bound notebooks. I made mine from scratch using brown cardstock, white & black markers and watercolor pencils from Stampin’ Up. The chipboard accents are from my stash, covered with white embossing powder and inked with alcohol ink (Tim Holtz).

And here is my Day 1 exploration. The assignment was to sit and make a list of 10 things you hadn’t previously noticed about the place when you first sat down. I sat in my doorway and did the assignment while watching my kids ride bikes. I decided to draw all my decorations instead of using the basic scrapbook supplies I thought I would use. I am not a skillful drawer but I think it turned out very pretty anyway. I may just keep up the hand drawn accents throughout the journal.

Blog challenge

Do you do blog challenges? I haven’t really done many since my scrap time is so limited and I have so many of my own ideas I want to work on. But every once in a while I find it fun to follow the plan of someone else.

I recently found Write.Click.Scrapbook blog and am loving it. They recently posted a mystery challenge to complete a project. While I didn’t play along with they mystery (I don’t like doing projects that may duplicate things I have done in the past), I followed the blog through the 5 part challenge and patiently waited for the reveal. Once revealed I decided to play along with a few adjustment to fit my needs. The project ended up being an A-Z mini album of “happy things”. I made my A-Z list and thought I would share it here. Once I complete the pages, I’ll upload a few snap shots of my completed work.

If you’d like to play along, please follow the links.

Creative Adventure: Part 1, Creative Adventure: Part 2, Creative Adventure: Part 3, Creative Adventure: Part 4 and Creative Adventure: Part 5.

So here is the list of things from A to Z that make me happy. It’s not polished but I will work on that!

a: animals
b: bathtub!
c: chocolate
d: droid
e: eggs (homegrown ones!)
f: Friday nights
g: gardening
h: husband
i: internet
j: jeans
k: kids
l: laptop
m: myth busters
n: netflix
p: photography
q: quiet
r: reading
s: scrapbooking
t: tredmill
u: universe (add Neil deGrasse Tyson quote)
v: visions (of my scrappy life)
w: weight(going down!)
x: xanthan gum
y: yesterday (stories & memories) or yard (kids to play, room for animal, lots garden space)
z: zzzz’s(aka sleep)