Category Archives: inspiration

Style Review aka S.H.O LOAD blog hop

Welcome blog-hoppers to the land of random posts, and too long videos!


Sorry. I’ve been staring at iMovie all evening, and I think it’s made me a bit loopy.

If you’re blog-hopping, you should have just come from Alison C.’s blog. If you’re starting here, don’t forget to check out everyone else’s blogs.

Kelli P.
Alison D.
Cathy H.
Heather H.
Alison C.
Heather D.  (wait that’s me, you’re already here!) (Welcome!)

Danielle H.

I’m not going to tell you how to prepare. I’ve already done that. Most of you are old hands at LOAD by now anyway. You’ve all found your way to LOAD in one way or another, and found a very welcoming community. You’ve figured out how to make it work for you, and why you keep coming back to this fun and rewarding challenge.

You’ve got this challenge mastered.

That’s wonderful.

There’s more though. Have you gone back and looked at how LOAD has changed you? Or, perhaps to be more specific, how LOAD has changed your scrapbooking? I thought it might be interesting, and put together this slide show of most of my stuff. It’s not everything, not by a long shot, but it is a significant chunk. It’s interesting to see the evolution from my very simple first page, through Cathy Zielske’s Design Your Life and Everyone Can Write a Little classes, and Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories class, to my first of many LOAD challenges.

They’re all in there. Please forgive the length and the endlessly repeating piano loop. It was either that or banjos. That’s what I had to work with in iMovie.

You may want to go visit Danielle H. first, and then come back to watch this. The piano may put you to sleep.

Big Ideas

One of the things I love about scrapbooking is that it’s not really about the paper. It’s not even about the photos or the stories. In many ways it’s a philosophy, at least it is for me.

Scrapbooking is a way for me to think about the here and now as, not perfect, but just right. It’s a way for me to appreciate and save the little pieces of life that matter. The hugs and hands held, the silly stories and the stories that make you cry.

I have known from a very young age that life is impermanent and imperfect. Every hug could be the last one, every day is vastly different from the day before, and from what I thought it might be or even could be.

Maybe that’s why I love the way Lain Ehmann and Stacy Julian and Cathy Zielske teach scrapbooking. And the lesson from Amy Sorenson in this year’s Big Idea Festival at Big Picture Classes is another one of those perfect, deep reasons that empowers and drives my creativity.

Amy talked about how we’re always looking for that happily ever after moment: that moment when everything is perfect, or everything is done, or every piece is in place in order to begin some new project.

The thing is, there is no happily ever after. There’s no point in time that’s perfect or just right. There’s only right now, and that cliff right over there that you need to jump off of to get started and do. If you never try something, you will never fail, but you will also never succeed. And if you don’t look around, take the plunge, do the uncomfortable scary thing, the only thing you’ll have to look back on are regrets.

What’s more important? A life filled with safety and sameness, or one filled with challenges and love? It’s so easy to live the first. I aspire and try for the second. I don’t always succeed, but that’s good. At least I am trying.

And every once in a while, my scrapbooker’s eye catches messages from the world around me that remind me how wonderful and precious every moment is.

Just a quick share…

I am in the process of going through my photos from this past summer and fall, finally. I have an old version of photoshop elements (3!) that I was using, and it has been dying a slow and painful death. But that may be the junk computer I’m using. At any rate, I treated myself to the latest version of photoshop elements yesterday, and have spent today getting it installed, and starting to go thru the past 6 month’s worth of photos. (gotta archive them, before something bad happens to them…) (cos it will. I’ve already lost a total of a year’s worth of photos due to computer issues since I got my first digital camera Christmas 2001.)

As I have been going through my photos, this one leapt out at me. Not because of the wonderful interaction between Simon and Jonathan, but because of the imp filling the bottom of the frame.

Made me laugh out loud when I noticed him. How about you?

The cat was away! The mice played!

I must be in an odd mood. I’m rearranging things all over the house. It may be I’ve still got the misplaced hope that if I’m organized enough everything will be magically clean.

My kitchen has been driving me crazy for months now. The floor was impossible to keep clean. Getting down on my hands and knees to scrub it was only good for a couple of days, and I’m not the kind of person to do that for such little reward. More and more tiles were breaking up and cracking and coming free from the floor altogether. And in the door way of the little half bath, it was positively scary. One day the tile in the doorway came loose, and I picked it up. The wood underneath was sawdust. My thought process went something like, “Oh shit! Termites? Carpenter ants? Rotting floor boards from leaky pipes? What could it be? And is it just here, or does it affect more of my kitchen? Aghhhhh!”

My husband, however, never seemed willing to discuss doing anything about it, other than an occasional meander through the vinyl tile section at Home Depot.

My opportunity for action came this past weekend, when a friend of my husband’s offered to meet him at Las Vegas. Mentally rubbing my hands together gleefully, I formulated a plan, with help from my wonderful co-conspirator, Mom. We decided to do the floor, and paint the cabinets and walls while we were at it. I had decided on a color for the walls much earlier, but had not painted because the rest of the kitchen was in such bad shape.

Here’s a before picture, so you get an idea of the ugly blandness of my kitchen. While it’s not completely hideous, it comes pretty close.

So the first two days my husband was gone, I worked on scrubbing my kitchen and emptying out all the stuff. We have a lot of stuff. I only had the mornings to work, because I had to work in the evenings. I also finished getting as many supplies as I thought we’d need. Sunday was spent pulling up the old vinyl tile and scrubbing the floor as much as we could, as well as taking down the wall paper border. Monday we put the first coat of paint on, repaired the insect damaged floor, and lay down tile in the middle of the floor, leaving one corner, and the edges. Tuesday we put the second coat of paint on, and shuffled appliances so we could finish the last corner. We started putting things away after dinner, and were still not completely done when my husband got home at 11:30. We had enough done so that it looked finished, however.

And his reaction? A very tired “Wow.”

I was hoping for at least an exclamation point.

Making Space

I entered a contest at Creating Keepsakes for the Scrapbooker of the Year. (They announced finalists today, and no, I did not get a call.) One of the things they wanted was an essay about my ideal day, real or imagined. It was an interesting prompt, and got me thinking about how I could make my life more ideal.
Two things have been bothering me a little, and the essay got me thinking about how I could change them. The first is the inability to share space with my husband while I do crafty stuff or while he’s on the computer. I wanted to be able to say “hey check this out” without dropping everything and running through 2/3 of the house, and I wanted to be able to chat about interesting articles or lurk over his shoulder without having to sit in the most uncomfortable chair in the house, in the smallest room of the house.
I also was sick and tired of every single toy in the house making it’s way to the living room and staying there.
After much thought, and the fortuitous arrival of a second computer, I came up with a plan. I moved my craft supplies into the sunroom/sitting room part of my bedroom. I drew up floor plans and elevations, and debated it for days with anyone who would listen. Then I started moving things. (With some help from my husband and the kids.) This past Sunday I finally moved the last things out of the front bedroom, and into the sunroom. I’m not completely organized yet, but I have lots of work space, and the second computer has a home.
Additionally, the kids now have a play room! The train table and the various toys that were taking over my house have been, for the most part, relegated to the newly christened playroom, and I have a more serene living space downstairs. Once a few more items are attended to I’ll post pictures so you can see the effort we put into making the house more ideal for all of us.