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A few things Halloween

Yesterday we had a Halloween party for Ethan and Simon’s friends. Fifteen kids running around, and no one was hurt! I count that as a success, don’t you? Of course I need a shovel to clean up their rooms, but that’s not too bad, considering the downstairs is STILL clean. Woohoo!

We served mozzarella eyeballs, veggies and dip, fruit salad, and breadsnakes with marinara sauce. Oh, and monster cupcakes.
Blurry monster cupcakes! What can I say? I was in a hurry.

I think they came out fairly well considering this was our first time playing with fondant. Simon cranked out the cupcakes. Mom and I were rather slow. Mom and Simon also made the bread stick snakes, which, I was told, were very tasty.
My favorite decoration was this rug.
There’s something about standing on a goofy rug that makes doing dishes and cleaning up so much easier.

A Little Creative Goodness

Wow. Apparently August was really busy, since I was not at all here. Just a quick little share tonight.

I’ve been trying to get my house organized and picked up so that it’s easier for me to stay on top of things. I keep thinking a new organizing method or tool will help me be a better house keeper. It hasn’t worked yet, but I’m still trying!

At any rate, Simon’s craft table was becoming a huge black hole of paper and craft supplies that kept getting bigger and threatening to take over the rest of the living room. So I took advantage of the back to school sales and bought two storage carts (in my new favorite color-orange!) and put a piece of plywood we had lying around on top. Then I got out my years old bottle of perfect paper adhesive, and had Simon pick out some patterned papers (not cardstock.) To protect the surface and to make it easier to clean, I then covered it with clear contact paper aka shelf liner. What do you think?

Some fun things going on:

Not only is there a scrapbook social at the Joann’s at Northway mall the third Tuesday of each month, where you get to spend a fun evening with me, but there’s also some fun things going on in the blog world as well. If you look on the right side of the page, you’ll notice I’ve added two blinkies. One is for Ella Publishing’s Most Influential Scrapbooker Awards, where they celebrate 9 scrapbookers who make a difference in the world of scrapbooking every day this week. And they’re giving away fun prizes, so be sure to check them out. Also, Big Picture Scrapbooking is running a 13 day workshop in August with 13 teachers doing 3 projects. That’s thirty-nine pages or projects! For free! If you haven’t tried any of their classes yet, this is the time to check them out.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you can join in the fun!

LOM as attitude adjuster.

I love my photo organizational system that I have set up based on the process Stacy Julian teaches in Library of Memories at Big Picture Scrapbooking. LOM, as SJ’s students call it, can be a life changing experience, especially for those caught in the trap of thinking that scrapbooking MUST be chronological. Luckily for me, I never thought scrapbooking had to be told in a time based manner. I approached it as an opportunity for story telling, but finding the pictures I wanted to use was time consuming. Enter SJ’s very well thought out and road-tested organizational system. I had read about it in Photo Freedom, and caught glimpses of how it was used in The Big Picture (two of Stacy Julian’s books), as well as in articles and the overall philosophy behind Simple Scrapbooks magazine. This was the key I needed to get more stories told more efficiently.

So, my process as it stands right now goes something like this:
Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Upload to my computer. (I mostly use a digi camera, and occasionally a disposable that I have a cd made of when I develop it.) I use photoshop elements (3.0!) to tag my most scrappable photos with a quarterly tag (ie first quarter for jan-mar, etc.), then I upload those highlights to Shutterfly. When Shutterfly has a free shipping event, I have my highlights printed, and then place them in three ring photo binders that I got at Target. I got 12, and that covers just about all the photos I have. Most people could stop right there, and be set for their scrapbooking life, but then, most of their stories would be event or time-based, as opposed to this wonderful connections idea that SJ talks about.

To get to this connections place, photos have to be taken out of their chronological order and allowed to mingle with photos from other times and places. To do this, I have category drawers (photo boxes actually) separated into themes. For example, one box is for pictures all about us, my immediate family. This is separated into further categories like Ethan personality, Ethan highlights (where I stash a picture or two from significant events during the year), all together, for pictures of all of us, or brothers, for pictures of just my two boys together. How does this work? Well let me give you an example:

My husband had just left for a trip, and I was on kid duty for a long and busy weekend. They had been particularly squirrelly and I had been particularly grumpy, so bedtime was a huge relief. To try to get myself out of the bad mood, I decided to try to scrapbook, and started going through my category drawers. Behind the brothers tab in my all about us category drawer I found these two photos of the boys about two years apart that perfectly described their personalities, their relationship, and just why that evening had been so hard to deal with. A scrapbook page was born.

reasons 2

Now what’s interesting about this is that I recorded a current moment in time, with pictures from three and five years ago. These pictures have nothing to do with what actually happened that day, but everything to do with how that day felt. I would have never been able to find these pictures, let alone put them together on this page, with this subject matter, without LOM.

This is why I love Library of Memories.

Bonus? A big laugh, and a resultant attitude adjustment.

***edited***

Stacy Julian’s offering a new version of her Library of Memories class, and it starts tomorrow! Run, don’t walk, to take this class!

300 x 250

(affiliate link)

 

I ♥ kids books.

There was a book fair at my kids’ school this week, and I couldn’t resist getting some stuff. There are some things I have problems saying no to in my life. Books are one of them.
I have read three books aimed at pre-teen/YA readers this week and enjoyed them all.

The first I read I bought simply because the title called me. I mean, how can you resist a book called Whales on Stilts?And the cover artwork totally reminded me of old Tom Swift books I read as a kid in middle school. Which was the point. It’s a laugh-out-loud take on the breathless storytelling of kids’ books from the 50s and 60s. I had so much fun reading it, Ethan kept asking me why I was laughing.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the 39 clues series:
It’s written by the same gentleman who wrote the Percy Jackson series, and if you haven’t read that yet, what are you waiting for? Each book in the series is by a different author, so I’m curious as to how they hold together. We’ll be reading the rest of these over the summer. They are fun, action packed, and smart, although Ethan was having a little trouble getting into the story, since it begins with a funeral. It picks up quickly after that.

And today, I just finished a book by Marie Rutkoski called the Cabinet of Wonders. Also very good. I think this was my favorite of the three, although there are some positively lyrical passages in Whales on Stilts. (I know! Who’d have thunk?) This is set in an alternative Europe, where magic works, and the main character has a pet mechanical spider. Which if you knew me, you would say, “How can you like a story with a spider character in it? You freak if you think you see one!” To which I reply, “Spiders are fascinating creatures, as long as I know there’s no way they can crawl on me.” Shiver. Any hoo, simply well done story.

I think I need to read more kid’s books.

Starting a project

I have been meaning to create a scrapbook specifically for the beginning scrapbook class I teach for a while. A LONG while. But the idea of putting pages in a book that my family wouldn’t think to look at bugged me.
I use Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories approach to photo and page storage, and while I love sharing my albums with my students, I didn’t always have what I wanted to show when I wanted to show it.

Enter this past May’s Layout A Day challenge. The theme was scrap your style, and Lain Ehmann created prompts designed to help you figure out what you liked and didn’t like to do and look at on your scrapbook pages. One of her prompts was “Why do you scrapbook?”
LOAD May 2010 Day 26 While I created a simple digital page about the subject, I really didn’t feel like I had completely answered the question. There are so many reasons I scrapbook. A simple list just doesn’t cut it for me.
So I’ve got these two thoughts brewing in the back of my mind when I decide to start making a list about the things I want to have in a sample album.  And then I get it:

I can make an album that showcases all sorts of techniques with the theme being why I scrapbook. And then it gets better (I think) I can make a page about a reason, and then on the other side of the two page spread I can have a sample page that shows how I document that reason in my everyday albums. This excites me so much!

So here’s my first page:
reasons why 1 There are some things I could have done to tighten up the page from a design stand point. But I’ve demonstrated a monochromatic scheme, used a quote as a title, hand made my own embellishment (yes I made the flower! Thank you Cheryl!), mixed patterns, cropped and matted. Well, there are a lot of things I can use this as a sample for during the class, including what not to do as well. Next time, I’ve got to remember to stand up while moving things around, so I can SEE what’s working, and what’s not. Mythbusters, while a blast to watch can be distracting while completing a page.

I’ll post more pages from the album as I go. This is going to be FUN.

Wednesday Ramblings

Just a few random thoughts for the day:
1. Man my cats are shedding like mad. Petting them creates a hair cloud. No wonder I have dust bunnies that look like they could walk and talk all by themselves.
2. Tomorrow is the International Festival at TOAST. I’m bringing supplies for kids to make a scrapbook page about themselves. Scrapbooking is international, right?
3. Watched Australia last night. Hugh Jackman is hot. What makes him even hotter is that he reminds me of my hubby. Not that my husband is drop dead gorgeous, but there are certain things he does in all his films that just call to mind things Jonathan does. Have I mentioned I like my husband? (Love is important, but like is just as important to a marriage.)
4. I wish my mother-in-law’s house would just clean itself. Oh, and mine too, while I’m at it.
5. I’m still working on losing weight. January and February were good months. I stuck pretty closely to the medifast diet and lost around 20 pounds. March was good for a few more pounds, but the dieting will was, shall we say, lacking? April and May I just didn’t bother, but I’m back on track now, and am working on introducing some exercise as well. First goal, and this is a very simple one, is to get 10,000 steps in a day. Once I’m doing that EVERY day, I’ll start adding some strength training exercises as well.
6. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I wonder if I’ll have that answered before I die. And yes, I am morbid.

Ethan fully explained

As you may recall from introductory physics, a body at rest tends to stay at rest…

ethan at rest

And a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

ethan in motion

Any questions?