Thursday, May 14, 2015

Buehler? Buehler?


I was on the Paperclipping Rountable podcast yesterday and when it was time to say where we can be found I gave my blog address and made a crack about how you can hear crickets chirping here.  So I thought I'd pop in really quickly and say "Heyyyy!" So here goes:

Hey, girl!


The topic of the podcast was scrapbooking performances and concerts...with the possibility of scrapbooking sports, (which I feel way more qualified to talk about).  When I responded to the invitation I said that I'd scrapped a couple of my kids concerts, and a handful of professional performers.  I don't really consider myself an expert on the subject, but I can participate in a conversation on this more so than, oh, say "scrapping your travels through Europe."

I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite concert layouts.  These are all a couple of years old, and while trends have changed, I still think they hold their own.

This was from a Mike Doughty concert at the Beachland Ballroom, which isn't too far from where I live.  The hall is very small, and it's easy to get very close to the stage.  This layout is VERY simple, but it's very true to how I scrapbooked at the time.  The journaling is long and talks about my mentality leading up to the show - I was worn down and wanted nothing more than to bail on the evening. But I felt terrible about ditching my friends so I put on my big girl panties and went.  The journaling also talks about what a great time I had, and years later it's great to read this.  I very frequently dread social situations (the curse of the introvert), but very often I have a great time once I'm engaged.  It's a good, concrete reminder to just do it.

The circles are the simple geometrics that I often fall back on, but they're meant to evoke the idea of colored stage lights.  But I could see how I'm the only one who'd get that. :P

This is from a concert at the same venue, but this is They Might Be Giants.  A favorite band from my college years that grew up with me to the point of putting out a couple of children's CDs that my kids loved and listened to on repeat in the car.  My kids can't sing every word to "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" but when "The Alphabet of Nations"  or "C is for Conifers" comes on the backseat chorus breaks into song and they don't miss a beat.  That was true in 2006 and it's still true today.

Anyway, back to me.  I think that John Flansburgh is cute. And when I went to this concert I was sort of in a butt-pinching phase.  I wouldn't pinch random strangers, but my kids and some of my coworkers were all fair game.  The reaction to pinching the bottom of an unsuspecting person is highly addictive: they are surprised and you both get to laugh and share a moment of harmless naughtiness.  (I would never do this now.  My work environment then was filled with people that I truly loved and knew that I meant no harm or innuendo. It was a rare and safe place indeed.)  At any rate, after the concert the two singers of They Might Be Giants came into the crowd, shook hands, signed autographs and mingled with the audience.  When I found myself standing right behind John Flansburgh my friend dared me to give him a pinch.  In retrospect I really (REALLY) shouldn't have, but I did.  But he was such a good sport about it! We laughed and he posed for a picture with me and pretty much made my day/week/month.

The layout isn't theme-y or symbolic at all.  I wanted to call attention to what was happening in the middle picture, so I used a circle cut from cardstock and chose to carry that element through the rest of the page.

This was from the same concert but it's not about the performance, it's about me and my nature.  I mentioned that I'm fairly introverted and some times it hard for me to be in the middle of large crowds.  The venue of this concert is small, and I've been there enough times to have figured some thing out.  Like, underneath that light you get the full blast of a nearby speaker and a usually unobstructed view of the stage (albeit from the side).  When my friend took this picture I had just been talking to a nice "boy" (I mostly remember thinking that he was not my age, but it's not like he was an actual kid or anything) who tried to talk my into wading into the crowd.  I was nice, but told him that I was really content where I was and encouraged him to go ahead and enjoy the show in the crowd.

This layout was based on a sketch, and is probably not a design that I would have come up with on my own, but I think I like it even more because it's a stretch from where I would have gone with this photo.

Okay, so that's that! I really have to get back to studying for my exam.  If you're visiting from the Paperclipping Roundtable: WELCOME!  I hope to be more exciting and scrappy in the next two weeks when things settle down a little.  In the meantime, feel free to check out my videos on YouTube!

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Dear sweet neglected blog.  I still love you.  I'm sorry I'm putting you in the corner, but I'm supposed to be studying.  However, I thought I would feed you a short, arbitrary list of things that are making me happy lately.

1. Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion

I stink at remembering to put on lotion.  Plus, I hate the way it feels - all slimy and sticky and thick.  Consequently, I spend all winter itchy and ashy looking.  I saw this at Target and decided that it was worth a try.  It's so great!  I don't feel slimy and sticky because once you rinse it off you just feel moisturized and clean! Yay!

Only problem is, old habits die hard and I keep turning off the water without applying it.  Anyone home when I shower must wonder why I turn off the water and then immediately turn it back on again.

2. Tune-In Radio Pro app

No link for this one - search for it in the Play Store or iTunes.  I love it because I can listen to my local radio station on my phone, listen to playlists by genre (sort of like Pandora) or I can choose from an enormous list of podcasts.  My job is mindless.  Super, super mindless, and I have hours of time to listen to whatever I want.

Me? I'm a podcast junkie.  I want to hear stories, laugh, learn something, and feel engaged.  So what am I listening to?

  • The Nerdist - Although I don't 'get' comic books or sci-fi, this show is smart, funny and thought provoking.  More often than not I don't know who the guests are until I come home from work and Google them, but I still really enjoy listening!  If you want to try it out, try the episode with Kal Penn (from Harold and Kumar) or Lisa Kudrow (from Friends) or if you're way younger than me: Grace Helbig.
  • Comedy Bang Bang - None of these shows will get a G rating, but this one probably earns a R-rating on a consistent weekly basis.  A little raunchier, it features conversations with stand up comedians.  They're not doing their bits, but in the course of talking they riff off of each other and it can be hilarious. And raunchy.  So don't listen if you're easily offended.
  • Unfictional - Okay, so this one will get a PG-rating.  It's an NPR podcast that features true stores, usually 2 or 3 that revolve around a theme each week.  Some are funny, some are sad, some make you appreciate another person's point of view.  I like almost all of these shows, but I thought I am Montgomery Clift was especially interesting.
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour - The folks at NPR weigh in on pop culture.  Too highfalutin too talk about the Real Housewives, but down to talk about Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  It's clean, insightful and also gives me stuff to Google at the end of the day.  
  • (hangs head in shame) Watch What Crappens - Of all my guilty pleasures, Bravo is my guiltiest.  I don't even mention that I'm a RH junkie to people I know unless I get a strong vibe that they might also share my enthusiasm.  Otherwise, I'd just as soon you don't know that I have this weakness.  In my defense, I grow up in a very sheltered world and until my late 30s I just had no idea that everyone wasn't just like me and my family.  So this fly-on-the-wall vantage point into other worlds is fascinating to me.  (Yeah, yeah, I know.  It's not real reality. I know that watching a bunch of rich entitled people bicker isn't the same as taking a course in sociology.  I don't care.  It's mesmerizing to me.)  And these two guys from somewhere near Beverly Hills talk about the shows on Bravo.  They're not clean, I don't always agree with them, I don't always think they make sense, but they're goofy and talking to me in my guilty pleasure language.  So I'm hooked.  Shh.  Don't tell anyone. 

I'm studying for a 'big exam' (she said, casually and generically, hoping not to jinx herself), and I have lots of note taking to do.  I invested (wink, wink) in these medium point flair pens to make the process a little bit funner.  (Fortunately the test isn't spelling/vocabulary/grammar related.  And yes, I know it's "more fun" but funner is...well...funner.)  Anyway, the colors are really pretty, they're bolder than a ball point but not as fat as a Sharpie, and they don't bleed through the paper.  

This was an Amazon Deal-of-the-Day a while back and in a moment of weakness I clicked.  It's really fun!  You get adhesive backed rings that you stick to your phone around the phone's lens.  There's a magnet at the base of each of the three lenses, so when you're ready to use you just stick it to the metal ring.  So far the lenses stick nicely and I'm still on the original ring, but you do get a couple extra rings.  So far I've only used the macro lens, and it's been a blast.   

Okay, I'm not actually suggesting that anyone pay $10 for a bag of candy. Wowsers! 

Anyway, I picked this up at Target to put in the kids Easter baskets and as luck would have it, I bought one bag too many.  They're weird: bumpy, hard and sugary on the outside and more jelly bean-ish on the inside. Some are a little sour, others are more tart, they're all magically delicious.  This one is on the list mostly so I remember to get them again next year! Suddenly I'm strangely excited for next March.  

Not making the list, but close runners up:
This peach cobbler recipe (which is helping me use up an industrial sized can of peaches that we bought in a moment of Sam's Club insanity.)
Anything having to do with miniature Dachshunds, especially this and this.
And a couple of movies that might have flown under the radar: The Lunchbox and for the nerds among us, Kerig recommends: Jodorowsky's Dune (the greatest science fiction movie never made).

And with that, I'm hitting post without proofreading because it's waaaaay past my bedtime!  Later babies!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

March in Instagram

Last year I started doing monthly pages using nothing but a bunch of Instagram photos and liquid fun.  Or, patterned paper, cardstock and embellishments.  Either way...  

And then I stopped.  Because all good things must come to a grinding halt. :P

You know how some people are like "I just have so many ideas! I wish I had more time!" ??

Yeah. I don't say that. Ever.  I'm more likely to say "Hey, look at this tired old horse of an idea that I've already done.  Look! I recycled it!"  And then I'll sit back and act like I'm saving the planet or something.  

Well, hey! Look at this old horse of an idea that I've already done! Look! I recycled it!  Yay me!  :P

One of the things that I mention in the process video is that these layouts are a nice monthly overview, but as far as actual memory keeping go, they are totally, 100% inconsequential.  And it's funny, in that mindset, I have a lot of fun just throwing embellishments on the page without feeling like they each have to have some kind of relevance or deeper meaning.  So ultimately, these pages are a little more fun to scrapbook.  

Also, I'm clearly not killing myself to come up with a clever title.  Just sayin'.

I also mention in the video two liquid adhesive solutions.  The first are these bottles available at Amazon:

The picture makes it look like you're getting two different sized tips, but you're not.  Two bottles, same tiny tip on both.  I think I'd like to have a leeeetle bit fatter nozzle, but I'm still okay with the fine gauge that I have.  And it's so much better than the enormous hole in the Scotch Quick Dry bottle. 

The second thing I said that I'd link to is this video:

The lady in this video replaces her liquid adhesive tops with silicone baby bottle nipples.  The glue doesn't clog in the nipple because of the nature of the silicone.  Also, the tiny hole in the newborn nipples allows for a perfectly consistent, fine bead of glue.  

Also, when she says "...and grab my nipple....(pause) my baby bottle nipple"?  Priceless.

Okay, it is waaaay past m'bedtime!  Thank you for stopping by! I've loved having you!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The process video that wasn't...

I started doing process videos in the summer time, when I had some time off.  I enjoyed making them and got very encouraging comments from fellow scrapbookers, which of course, always feels great.  So I made some more. :)  (Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator, no??)

Then things got really hectic with tutoring and my crazy 2am shifts at work and I just didn't have any energy to scrapbook for a while.  Funny thing was, even though I hadn't put up a process video in a while, I was still getting subscribers and encouraging comments.  They really made me want to get back to scrapbooking, and I'm grateful for that motivation.  I made a video and coincidentally got invited on the Paperclipping Roundtable.  I felt like I was back in the swing of things.

So this week, powered by my recent "success", I made another layout and video....sort of.  It's one thing to record the process of making a layout.  It's a whole other thing to make those recordings into a video.  The video part involves wrestling the computer into submission, loading the clips, rotating them, speeding them up, connecting all the short clips into one coherent video and doing the voice over.  Loading the clips and making them into one video takes some time - roughly about 3 times as long as the final video.  The voice over only takes as long as the final video, assuming you get it done on the first take.  Normally I do two takes that I throw away before I settle in on the one I'm going to use.  Next, you save the movie - this takes at least a half hour.  Then, uploading to YouTube takes almost an hour.

Now...multiply all that time by 6, because that's how many flipping times I tried to do this video before finally giving up.  Every time I tried to save the video it would error out and I'd have to start again.

Finally it occurred to me that nothing that I do for free is worth this much effort. :P

Especially not this:

Okay, it's not that bad, but there's nothing about that says "This is so earth shatteringly good, you must spend the better part of your weekend trying to share it!!"  That said, I do like it.  I love the big blue/gray mat.  I sprayed blue and gray mists onto wax paper and then mushed my cardstock into it.  At first, I thought it came out a little overwhelming, but ultimately it conveys the storminess that I wanted it to.  Plus, I do like the way the white words pop off of it without it being too strong.

The other thing that I really ended up digging are the clouds:

They're from Ashley Horton's The Cut Shoppe on etsy.  They're adorable.  And affordable!  A buck 69 for three different styles of clouds.  I think they're super fresh!

One of the things that I'm not happy with about the layout is the lack of journaling. I suppose the long title sort of counts, but it doesn't really reveal what I'm talking about.

So, on the day that I took this photo, we were out and about running errands.  Mid-January, and the temperature had jumped into the 50s after a 2 week cold snap that had the temperatures dipping below zero.  Lake Erie (the white expanse on the right side of the photo) had started to freeze, and with the wind, the lake sloshed up  and formed icicles on a fence.  Only, the wind caused the icicles to bow to the east.

Kerig takes photos.  The kind of photos that I love: he captures light and texture and pattern in things that most people walk right past without giving a second thought to.  It's one of the things that I admire most in him.

So I have a picture of him, taking a picture of the sunset (not exactly a subject that others fail to notice), but I'm referencing  his photo of the icicles (and so many others, but on this day, that's the photo.)  Unfortunately, I can't link it, but if you're so inclined, his Instagram is kerigmt, and it was posted on January 17th.  There are two, and I like the one with the sunset best, but the other one shows have massive the icicles are, too.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Too long and boring for a Facebook post....

So burying it on my blog seems like the appropriate thing to do!  Warning: this has absolutely nothing to do with scrapbooking.

The interview process that I went through in December got me thinking about WHO I want to educate, as well as what problems and challenges different families face.  As I mentioned in my "soft underbelly" post, the school that I interviewed with was religious, and it was catering to students whose only other option were the failing public schools in the area.  Something like 70% of the students at the school met the federal guidelines for poverty. "But surely, since these parents care enough to seek out better schools, they'll take a more active role...?"  I'm not even certain I got the whole question out before they gave me a sheepish half smile and said, "They're not seeking us out.  WE'RE seeking them.  We literally knock on doors.  Make phone calls.  It actually takes a lot of convincing that there's a better way.  We meet a lot of resistance."

A couple of years ago I read a very enlightening book called "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" by Ruby K. Payne. It talks about the mindsets of different classes and how they approach just about everything from family to money, to discipline and authority and more.  And I think that a lot of us assume that many of these mindsets are a race thing, when in fact, these issues are far more universal within economic boundaries than just within any given race.

During the interview process, I thought about that book a lot.  Reading it had been eye opening.  So what else didn't I know?  Well, that's a classic conundrum, right?  But I did some spelunking around and decided to borrow a book from the library called Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life.  I managed to request the book-on-CD version, which is probably a good thing...when the CD version turned out to be FIFTEEN CDs, I looked at the paperback version: I just don't think I have the stick-to-it-tive-ness to power through 480 pages.  But with my short 20 minute commute, sure, I could listen to the book for...oh, you, 45 days. :P  Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I really have been listening for the better part of a month.

The book is an ethnographic study of 12 families: 4 middle class, 4 working class, and 4 poor families, both white and African American, and how they approach raising their children.  In the book, there is a lot of talk about "concerted cultivation" and "natural growth" and very clear divisions between the classes.  Concerted cultivation - and this is my very rough impression - seems to be the idea of embracing teachable moments, talking to develop language skills, negotiating rather than giving concise directives, and enrolling children in organized activities (sports teams, music lessons, religion classes, etc).  Whereas natural growth is a more relaxed approach: fewer activities, less adult-child interaction, more free-play time for children with extended family and neighborhood children.

It's interesting to listen to (or read, if you're so inclined) the similarities among the classes, regardless of race.  In the middle class, families were booked with activities: soccer, gymnastics, piano lessons, church activities and of course school.  Families often had multiple activities a day, meals were rarely spent with every family member at the kitchen table, and when issues arose at school, the middle class parents were quick to intervene and negotiate better outcomes for their children.  There were fewer differences between the working class and poor families, again, regardless of race.  In these families, children spent considerable amounts of time hanging out with cousins, playing with neighborhood kids, watching t.v.  Their parents would give concise directions, and would rarely get whining or back talk in return.  In the working class and poor families, children rarely complained of being bored, whereas in the middle class families children complained of boredom when they weren't fully booked with activities.  With regard to school, the working class and poor families seemed to regard educators as experts - on the same level and doctors - and rarely questioned their authority or pressed the schools to do what they wanted.  Even if their children had severe issues in school that weren't being adequately addressed, parents trusted that the schools and teachers were doing everything they could.

One detail that I've failed to mention is that the study focused on families with a 9 or 10 year old at one of two elementary schools at an undisclosed northeast city.  While the children were the focus of the study, the family was an integral part of each child's life.  The study was done in the mid-90s and the book was originally published in 2003.  I feel lucky to have only stumbled on the book now, because the 2nd edition had the added benefit of following up with the kids 10 years later.

In many regards, the middle class families seemed to be...well...exhausted.  Both parents worked full time, traveled, and the activities they enrolled their children in had them running in multiple directions on a daily basis.  Frequently, family events (birthday and graduation parties) were missed in favor of not missing sports tournaments.  By the same token, parents had deeper conversations with their children, asked probing questions, encouraged their children to interact confidently with the outside world, coached them to make eye contact and shake hands, and negotiate for what's in their best interest.

By contrast, the children of the working class and poor seemed energetic and imaginative, well behaved (in the sense that they followed directions without back talk) and were unspoiled, rarely asking for material things and truly appreciating what came their way.

At the end of the end of the study, it was clear that each family loved their children and wanted only the best for them.  Each set of parents was doing what they knew how to do and while it was clear that the middle class families knew how to negotiate with schools to get what they wanted for their children, it never seemed as though the working class and poor weren't doing their best.

Going into the 10 year follow up I had great hope that the children of the working class and poor would be doing well.  Their parents, after all, cared and loved them deeply, they weren't neglected, school wasn't de-emphasized, they were raised to know right from wrong...  I had no doubt that the middle class children would be fine, and for the most part they were.  There were minor setbacks (not getting into their first choice school, a less than perfect grade in an important class, broken hearts, etc), but for the most part they were right where I'd imagined they'd be: in good colleges working towards degrees, working during the summer at "better" jobs, including internships to help further their intended careers.  The working class and poor, on the other hand, had...harder lives.  Some went to community college for a semester or two, one dropped out but received a GED, they were in unions, some where married, a couple had children (at the time of the follow up, the kids were 19-21), and some had lost a number of friends to violence.

I realize that I've essentially written a book report, and maybe it looks like I miss my time in school, but ultimately, writing is a way to process my thoughts.  And this book was both interesting (sort of, I did find the author to be frequently redundant) and depressing.  The author gives her thoughts for 'fixing' the problems, but they lean toward socialistic.  While I know first hand how difficult life can be for the working class (for example, there is no room in my* budget to enroll my children in extracurricular activities, even thought I'm fully well aware of the benefits: working on a team, time management, learning to deal with disappointment, feeling comfortable in public settings, understanding rules and their consequences, etc), I also know that it's unrealistic to expect society to shoulder the bill for others.

It's also depressing because it further solidifies the adage that "the rich get richer".  Yes, the families studied were middle class (not rich), but they had the economic wherewithal to say yes to opportunities for their children, whether it be playing travel league sports, enrolling their children in summer school to boost knowledge (and confidence), sign their children up for SAT prep classes, and visit a number of colleges to help their children make informed decisions.  By contrast, because the working class and poor had not navigated the college course themselves, they lacked the knowledge to help their children in that regard.  They didn't see the need for SAT prep courses, didn't understand the college application and acceptance process, and some didn't really grasp the difference a GED and a high school diploma.

Ultimately, it seems that we are a product of our environments, and it is exceptionally difficult to break free from the place where we begin life.  Obviously, there is much work that needs to be done in our society to figure out a way to give equal footing to children of all classes.  I will have a lot to think about for a long time.

Every blog post needs a picture.  This one was taken inside the classroom where I did my student teaching.  Why a flag? Well, this is America, and we are problem solvers and don't run from difficult things.  This issue seems difficult, but it's totally worth our attention.

* There is no room in my budget for extracurricular activities for my children.  Thank goodness, my ex-husband is able and committed to providing these experiencing these important benefits for them.  And while I am "working class" currently, my middle class background allows me to provide other important benefits for my children.   

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello Beautiful

Back in October Molly cut off all her long hair into a punk pixie.  I don't know about the rest of the world, but this is not a common thing for 8th graders here in lovely Cleveland-ish Ohio.

I took the before and after shots the day of the haircut, and printed them out that same day, and started a layout the next day.  It's been 2½ months, so the details are fuzzy, but it was pretty atrocious, so I ditched the start of that layout and "started" fresh.  Startin fresh consisted of taking out a new sheet of white cardstock, putting the photos and the words "short" and "long" cut from the Silhouette on the cardstock and walking away.

I only meant to walk away until I had some more free time, but it ended up being longer than that.  I just didn't feel like scrapbooking.  I didn't have time, but more than that I didn't have any mojo.  And I sort of wanted to have mojo, but at the same time I was sort of okay with just focusing on other things for a while.  Well, the craziness of Christmas in retail seems to be over, and I have two weeks off from tutoring.  Yes, there was Christmas, and company, and other craziness, but finally, finally I had time and mojo.  Yay!

I decided to dump the original "the long and short of it" title and go with "hello Beautiful" instead.  I used a heart background from the Silhouette store, 2Peas flair and Bella Blvd paper.

LOL.  I just noticed that the glare on the flair makes it look like it says "hell Beautiful."  Oops.

Some details:

I sort of wish everyone flipping through my album saw this layout in harsh sunlight, just so those shadows would be there. :P

I was an assistant manager at Archiver's for about 16 months and (at least when I was there) rhinestones were pretty much mandatory on every layout.  Here, I'm just trying to correct a mistake, but every mistake is fixed even better with bling. Right?

The Theresa Collins letters end up looking okay, but I'm still not pleased with them. (Insert grumpy noise here)  And the messiness here is more due to the fact that I had to pry them up and shift them to right to make room for the picture.  If I weren't so lazy I'd run it through my sewing machine, because it doesn't exactly look permanent...but...yeah...that's so much work.  :P

So, I mentioned in the process video that I had a "thing" I need to work on that might keep me from scrapbooking for a while and hinted that I'd talk about here, so I feel obligated to address that.  If you visit my blog, you might have seen the last post about my interviewing for a teaching position recently.  I didn't get it, but the whole process reminded me that I do want to be a teacher.  I'm not certain what snapped in me when I finished my student teaching experience, but I basically dug in my heals and said (in so many words) "I'm not going to teach."  Which is pretty silly, since it's something that I've wanted and worked towards for a long time.  But no is the time for me to get serious.  That interview fell into my lap, and as a private school they were willing and able to take me without my having passed The Exam.  But that was a one time occurrence: schools will not contact me, and they won't even look twice at me without being fully certified.  So I really have to buckle down and take my exams.

There are two: one in my subject (7-12th grade math) and the other in pedagogy (the theories and methods of teaching).  I have every confidence that I will ace the math exam on my first try.  However, the pedagogy test is scary - I took those classes first and have had plenty of time to forget which theorists thought what.  I sort of half-heartedly started studying in October, Now I really need to hunker down and make a steady go it.

I hope to take the tests in late February or early March.  So in the meantime I'll be spending my spare time taking notes, making flash cards and quizzing myself.  Doesn't that sound like fun??

Today is New Years Day.  The first day of 2015!  I hope that we all (me included!) have a healthy, prosperous and creative year!  Thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wherein I expose the soft underbelly of failure

Every time I'm absent from here I come back and talk about how crazy and hectic things have been. Things haven't been crazy and hectic.  But I have 24 hours in the day, and none of them have involved scrapbooking for a long time and since that's the focus of this blog, I haven't written.  But ultimately, I scroll back through this blog and the snippets that aren't scrapbooking are the ones that I end up cherishing the most.

This fall has been interesting.  Working at the big T, and doing lots and lots of tutoring.  I love tutoring.  It keeps me sane, gives me purpose and hope, makes me feel like I'm giving a little back...and of course, Nissan Motors Acceptance Corporation just loves it when I make my payment on time, so there's that, too.  I love tutoring.  

And as much as I love tutoring, I've been strangely unmotivated to move on the teaching front. I have a hundred reasons why, but honestly, I don't know what's holding me back.  Unless it's the fear of failure.  

But a funny thing happened two weeks ago.  I got a phone call from the principal of a religious school in the area.  He was looking to replace a math teacher who was leaving at the Christmas break and he had gotten my name from the school where I did my education coursework.  Would I be interested?  Well, YES.  And then, "well...yes..."  You see, I had done some research and came to realize that the school was very urban in nature.  But I submitted a resume and wrote a cover letter and went for an interview.  The school was filled with students escaping the failing public schools in the area.  The students arrived in a state of behavioral and educational challenge.  They'd never been held accountable for homework.  They'd never been expected to sit quietly while the teacher spoke.  Many lacked the fundamentals.   Despite all of this, I found myself wanting something I had not wanted.

You see, if I were to tell the truth, I'd say that I want to teach honors students in public school.  I don't want to be in (the typical) private school setting, catering to children of the wealthy class.  They have so many advantages already, they don't get me and my passion for math, too.  But honors, because I want to share my passion and enthusiasm with students who want to be there.   The Ohio Department of Education (and many state education departments) have decided that students should have 4 years of math at the high school level, and I couldn't disagree more.  But they don't care what I think.  So classes are filled with students treading water - showing up and doing the bare minimum in a class that doesn't interest them and they don't see the value in.  I could write volumes on the subject, but the abbreviated version of my opinion is that students need to get to (and pass) Algebra II and should be allowed to go beyond that if they chose, but should not be forced.  Because honestly, no one is actually going to use properties of similar triangles to determine the height of a tree using the shadow length of the tree and a 6 foot man.  And the honors student won't do that in real life either, but they might actually think that it's cool that you can do that.  And they might want to take physics or engineering classes or just enjoy math for math's sake (like I do).  And I'd love to be there for them.

But I started thinking about these students whose only options were this school or the failing public schools that they were assigned to by geography and economy.  They deserved more than they were getting and I started thinking about The White Shadow, and Stand and Deliver and The Freedom Writers and teachers who made a difference and changed the course of children's lives because they were willing to be there and care enough to set limits, and expect, and persevere. 

And, honestly, I started thinking about how it was only 5 months, and if were too hard at least I'd have a great experience and a foot in the door.  I thought about not getting up at 2:45 in the morning (or 12:45 in the morning this month) and not being physically exhausted at the end of every work day. And weekends off. And Spring Break.  And a non-minimum wage paycheck.  And skirts. 

You see, there are never pat answers.  It was a combination of truly wanting to do good...and pure selfishness.  And I wanted it, but I was also afraid of it.  What if I stink?  What if I can't control a classroom full of students who know there's more of them than me? What if I can't teach the truly basic concepts that I would be asked to teach?  

So I wanted something that I was afraid of,  but maybe I didn't want it 100%.  And of course, it's not as though I pursued this.  They came to me.  So I was actively NOT working on becoming a teacher, but suddenly I wanted it.  There is a disconnect here and don't think I'm missing it.  

The long and short of it is: I was one of two people who made it to the final set of interviews and I did not get the position.  And I am saddened that I didn't get something that I didn't know I wanted, and yet sort of relieved because there were a million doubts about me, my abilities as a teacher, as a classroom manager, and as a person of God (because this is a religious school, and I don't know if my faith is the kind of faith that belongs in the front of the classroom in a religious school).  

And all of this would be a little easier to bear if I were operating on with sleep in my system.  But last night was a 3 hour kind of night and tonight will not be much better.  And instead of napping now, I'm trying to process the idea of being rejected from something that I wasn't even interested in 3 weeks ago.  

So today I will mourn the loss of something that didn't even exist last month and tonight I will sleep and tomorrow I will move on.  And maybe, after Christmas, I will think about becoming a teacher again.


Despite today's news and a profound exhaustion, I am filled with the Christmas spirit.  I hope that you are as well.

And to my Jewish readers: Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Scrap organization, 201! and a new blog partner

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego Caroline Davis?  Well, mostly  I'm (literally) working my buns off at the big red box.  But also, tutoring has taken off.  I was tutoring twice a week, and somehow this week I had 7 session booked.  Not enough to quit my day job, but enough to keep me hopping!  I truly enjoy tutoring (although nothing is without its bumps, right?), but I miss scrapbooking!

And I guess since I'm talking about tutoring, that's the perfect segue to mention my new blog partner.  I tutor through Wyzant.  Wyzant is a searchable database of qualified tutors for every subject under the sun, from Chinese to trumpet lessons.  It's different than finding a tutor through craigslist, because you have to actually pass tests in order to list subjects you want to tutor.  Not only that, many tutors (including myself) will go the extra step to have a background check done, which helps make meeting a stranger a little less scary.  You can also leave feedback and rate your tutor.  The more I work with them, the more I like the set up, the ease of use, the confidence with which you can arrange to get your child on track.  Because of that, I asked Wyzant if I could partner with them.  What that means is, if you need a tutor and you click through the ad on the top of the right side of the blog, I get a little piece of the pie.  Now, unlike the other ad on the page, which pays a couple of cents everytime you click, the Wyzant ad only pays if you actually need a tutor.  That said, if you need a tutor, I don't know of a better place to find one.

And if you are interested in becoming a tutor through Wyzant and have questions, I'd be happy to answer them.  I don't get any cut from recruiting new tutors, but so far it's been a great experience for me.

Topic 2:


As of today, my YouTube channel has 201 subscribers, which is pretty much blowing my mind.  I love making the videos, sharing my process and connecting with other scrapbookers, so this is just plain cool!

Topic 2a:

So in June of 2013 I wrote a post about how I organize my scraps.  I got some more questions about them and since I'm in video mode, I thought it might be easier to sort of show them in live action.  This is a short video - only a little over 6 minutes long.  Sadly, it's most of my hands.  Process videos are so much more engaging.  Oh well.

Okay, I'm having a super productive day, and it's off to make some chicken salad.  Yum!

Thanks for stopping by!

Edited to add:
I just got back from a tutoring session and my tutee gave me a pie.  So clicking through the Wyzant banner ad gets me a figurative piece of the pie, but tutoring gets me the WHOLE, LITERAL PIE. How cool is that??  :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hands, hovered over the keyboard...

waiting for the first line to come.  Alas, it does not.

So, maybe, instead, we'll just cut to the picture:

First, I have to say that this looks much better in real life.  The cardstock warped when I painted on the gold(ish) hexagons and the top left corner ends up looking dirty in the picture. :(  Wilna Furstenburg recently mentioned on the Paperclipping Roundtable that she uses watercolor paper because it's thicker than American Crafts cardstock and doesn't warp.  One of these days, I'm going to have to try some, because the warping gets on my nerves.  Although, here's the irony: it looks fine once I put it in the album, since the page protector is snug enough to keep it in check.  So the warping gets on my nerves because it doesn't photograph well...or show up on the blog well.  And since I am more likely to scroll through my blog than actually flip through my album, the warping bugs me. :P

And if you enjoy watching process videos, here's one for this layout:

And if you're not a process video watcher, I'll share some sad news from the video.  I think my Silhouette died this weekend. (insert, big crying frowny face, with big, fat tears of despair)  I tried cutting a word, and the software showed that it cut, but the machine didn't budge.  Thinking that maybe my cable was bad, I saved the design to an SD card and inserted it into the machine.  Normally you hit the pause button to enter the SD card menu but when I hit the pause button the menu would flash for a nano second and go back to the normal screen.  I'm simply beside myself that one of my most prized possessions has bit the dust.

I think that rather than sit here whining about it, I'm going to take advantage of the time difference between Ohio and Utah and call Silhouette's customer service and see if they can't talk me through the fix.  (IhopeIhopeIhopeIhope!)

Sorry I'm not more chatty.  Maybe next time.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Perfectly Clear

Just a quickie to say that the Perfectly Clear app that I chose as my pick of the week on this week's episode of the Paperclipping Roundtable is the FREE app of the day at the Amazon App store today (Thursday, September 25th).  So if you're an Android user, go getcha some...for FREE!

Perfectly Clear at the Amazon App Store

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rather Be...

Have you heard the song Rather Be by Clean Bandit?  It's one of my favorite songs at the moment.  It's not a ballad, but I do think it's a funky song that I might categorize (loosely) as a love song.  It's the inspiration for my latest scrapbook layout:

The really cool thing is, it's also part of a discussion that I had on the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast this week!  I was on with Noell and Izzy, and Wilna Furstenburg and May Flaum.  In the show we each deconstruct a recently made layout and talk about the process that went into it's making: inspiration, first steps, mistakes and recoveries, etc.  I'm always intrigued by how layouts come to life - how were the colors and papers decided upon? what are you thinking about the photo? which other scrapbook "artists" have inspired you? who makes those papers?  why did you do that thing in the corner??  Maybe it's because I scrapbook more for the fun of it than the actual memory keeping aspect, but I love finding out all that stuff.  So, if you're not a PRT listener (WHY AREN'T YOU A PRT LISTENER??) but you like process stuff, or me (☺) follow that link up there and have a listen.  And check out the layouts in the show post so you can see for yourself what we're each talking about.

And, if you have a care left to give, there's also a process video for the layout:

I could actually write more about the process, but it's been a loooong day and I can't quit yawning.  Must be bedtime!

Thank you for stopping by!  And hey, if you're here for the first time because of the Paperclipping Roundtable: WELCOME!  I'm really excited you're here!  Feel free to poke around.  There's a layout in nearly every post.  There's links to my Instagram (my name is Mathgrrrl there) as well as Pinterest and Twitter.  (Unless you're a Real Housewives junkie, the Twitter thing really isn't worth checking out.  Hey, we all have our guilty pleasures...I'm just dopey enough to tweet about mine. :P)

Monday, September 15, 2014

And the World's Slowest Scrapper Award goes to...

**drum roll please!**


I printed this pictures 9 days ago.  
8 days ago I cut the title and some embellishments.
7 days ago I set up my camera and gathered papers, embellishments and all the other *stuff* that I thought I'd need.  That was last Sunday night and I hoped that when I came home from work on Monday I'd have enough juice to play a little. 

I don't know what I was thinking, but I wasn't thinking "Hey, I tutor tomorrow after work."  Doh.  And you'd thinking "Tutoring. Whoopee do.  It's a whole hour."  True that.  But there's also showering involved, commuting, stopping at the grocery store afterward for dinner stuff...  It's exhausting. :P

So not Monday.
Or Tuesday.  
And Wednesday was another tutoring day.  Which means showering and all that stuff.  

(Please know that I shower every day.  Actually, twice a day on word days b/c I come a sweaty, gross mess.  I'm mostly just kidding about the showering, but it does seem to suck up a lot of my time these days.)

So Thursday I got up at 7 a.m. (showered) and then scrapbooked.  HALLELUJAH

And I made this:

Clearly, this is not a layout that should have taken so long, but alas...  I need more RockStar and less...I (just kidding)

If you're the kind of person who likes to watch another person scrapbook, then, boy, do I have a treat for you!

And because I said I have some detail shots, here they are:

This is Magic Scraps drizzled over Glossy Accents.  I think that maybe I was a little heavier-handed with the glue than I meant to be.  Note to self: you really need to wear your reading glasses when you do this stuff. :P

 If you ask an 11th grader what the quadratic equation, your answer is "?"  Most appropriate use of this embellishment.  It's just a picture of the windows in the school cafeteria, but...whatever. :P

It's a cement post in a parking lot, and someone had put a shiny red party hat on it.  Add some snow and a perfectly situated dark smudge and you get a exotic concrete bird.  

Okay, this was not an especially exciting post, but the men folk are itching to go grocery shopping.  Because there's food at the other end of that trip.

Catch you next time! Thank you for stopping by!

p.s. December's Instagram collage page is here and January's page can be seen here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Every New Beginning...

So this is (semi) new and exciting:

I went to the doctor for my first arm follow up in the beginning of August and asked him if I should be concerned that my left wrist hurts (especially when I go like "that") and he pressed, prodded, twisted and bent.  And sent me for an MRI.  Great. So last Thursday I had my MRI and today I went in for the results.  Turns out I have a "grade 2 sprain" (no surgery required, but torn ligaments) and a ganglion cyst that's just large enough and positioned in just the right way that it really hurts when I go like "this."  So, I'm splinted for the next two weeks all the time and the next month at work.  Because coworkers already think I'm a big baby...  Oh well.  Bigger ganglion cysts require surgery, but mine is small enough that he hopes immobilization and anti-inflammatory patches will bring it down and ease the pain.

That was some walk. :(

So, it's really weird typing with this thing on, so if you see odd typos...blame it on the splint. ;)

BUT, this is what I really wanted to share:

Maggie left for RIT last Saturday and the night before Kerig was generous enough to take us out to dinner.  (Thanks, Kerig! )  As we were headed out I had him take a picture of us together.  The next day I printed it out, and gathered a whole bunch of papers and embellishments, thinking I would scrapbook the next day.  Except I was tired, and frankly, a little too blue.  So the pile sat around for another week, and then I finally scrapped it.

And I even made a video:

And despite talking for 12 full minutes I still have stuff to say!  

  1. The title comes from a Semisonic song called "Closing Time."  I'm sure you've heard it, it starts "Closing time. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."  In it, there's a line that says "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  Which is both optimistic and bittersweet at the same time.  And heaven knows, when it comes to Maggie heading back to school, I am nothing if not "optimistic and bittersweet."  As I look at the picture of the two of us, I'm so excited for her! She's getting her first new apartment, she's headed into her junior year and she's learning SO much!  I know that her future is so bright!  But I also know this: the summer has ended for her and she's going away.  I'll be lucky if she comes home for Thanksgiving for a couple of days and a couple of weeks at Christmastime.  Next summer she'll most likely have an internship.  While it makes me sad that she probably won't come home at all, these internships are a big part of RIT's draw - they get these kids in the doors of major companies, getting them exposure, practical experience and connections within the industry they're persuing.  Optimistic. Bittersweet.  Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
  2. If you chose not to watch the video, you might assume that the layout has no journalling.  In fact, the entire back side of the layout talks about that stuff ^^, as well as all the stuff that Maggie accomplished this summer. 
  3. I'm not loving this layout.  The more I look at it, the less it bothers me, but it will never be a favorite  The big ampersand seems a little forced, and not in keeping with the way I usually do things.  It makes me a little uncomfortable, even.  And I really hate the way the title looks.  I love the idea of the title.  A lot.  But the actual execution leaves a lot to be desired.  I think I have a strong preference for titles that are cut from cardstock.  And the word "beginning" is just ridiculously long.  In order for it to be the right width, it ends up being shorter than I'd like.  I wanted to emphasize the word "beginning" but it just sort of ends up being blah and even a little hard to read.  
I wonder if anyone else feels this way: The more special the photo, the harder it is to do it justice in making the layout.  I just had higher hopes for this photo.  I think that just means that I need to hunt down a great square frame, so I can put this photo on display in my home.  

And send her a copy, too, so she doesn't forget her dear ol' mom.

I promise this wasn't all some schemed up pitch to lead into this, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I'm trying to raise money to buy her a computer that can handle the software she needs.  I've had a doozy of a summer, and you can read more about why I'm humbly asking for your help at my GoFundMe page.

As always, thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Process Video Set Up

Today I made a layout and video taped it.  I'll edit the video later - tomorrow and Tuesday as time permits.  But while I had everything set up I thought I'd snap a few pictures of my set up.

I've been watching process videos for better than a year now, I think they're fun and I gain so much from watching them.  Sometimes I'm inspired by the actual layout, but sometimes I see better ways of doing things, or organizing, or I get a glimpse into the decision process that goes into another's layout.  It made me want to share, too!  But I couldn't figure out the logistics, and there's very little information out there.  I was plagued with questions.

  • How do you get the camera perfectly parallel to the work surface?
  • Can you video tape upside down and flip the video right side up?
  • How do you deal with the lighting?
  • How do you add narration?
I have a feeling that a vast majority of process-video-makers use a tripod.  And I have a tripod, and it even has "shoulder" and "arm" that allow me to shoot straight down.  Perfect for shooting parallel to the work surface, only the thing weights a ton.  And while that's obviously an exaggeration, it is far too heavy for my work surface.  

Kerig has seen me watch these videos for a while now, and when I mentioned that I'd make them, too, if I could figure out the tripod issue, he started brainstorming about ways to get the job done. Cheap.   Free.  (This discussion took place when I was out of work with my broken arm. There was no way I could justify spending money on this.)  We talked for a while and we realized that we had the answer all along:

This is called a copy stand, and in the pre-digital dinosaur days, before all-in-one printers that cost less than a decent pair of shoes, if you wanted something copied, you had it photocopied.  Like, an actual photo.  A copy stand was used, it has marking on the platform to line up your artwork or documents, and then there's the post and arm.  There are two cranks that let you raise on lower the camera, and slide it along the arm to position the camera closer-to or further-from the post.  In its traditional set up, that arm would extend over the platform.

And that's how it was set up in my original process videos, but as you can see, the platform is an inch or so off the table.  The platform is plenty big enough for the actual layout, but it made it awkward to use the trimmer and set things down around the layout.  I asked Kerig if we could take the arm off and mount it backwards so I could just use my regular mat instead of the platform.  Turns out, you can!  

This isn't where I usually scrapbook (my usual desk is talked about here.) so when I get prepared to do one of these videos I try to anticipate everything I'll need.  Much of that gets piled on the platform so it's closer.  Handy, eh?

In the upper left hand photo, you can see the self healing mat that I use.  I used some yellow washi tape to mark off a square to corral my layout in.  I found out after the first video was done that I didn't know how easy it was to work out of frame.  With the tape down, I have a reminder that if I'm not working in the box, no one is seeing what I'm doing.  Has that been a magic cure all?  No! But I feel like I'm getting better. :)

I sold cameras for 12 years, and I know a little bit about photography, but what I know about video you can fit in a thimble. With room left over for a goldfish.  One of the things that I do know, though, is that you can't get your camera to close focus  if you've got the lens zoomed out at all.  Of course, knowing something and remembering it are two different things. It took me until the third video to realize it and lower the camera on the post instead of relying on the zoom to get it framed up the way I wanted.  

So that's my set up.  Copy stands can be found at B&H and Adorama new, and ebay both new and used.  I'd look on craigslist, and even put up an ISO post - a lot of old school photographers had them, and wouldn't necessarily think to list them.  

As for my other big concerns:

Can you flip the video? Yes, absolutely!  I'm just using Windows Live Movie Maker, and it came on my computer, but I'll bet it can be downloaded for free if you don't have it.  The program is pretty easy to figure out and once the clip is loaded into the software you can easy rotate it 90, 180, or 270 degrees.  It also easily allows you to speed up the video to 2,4, 8 times the speed and even allows you to slow it down.  If played back at regular speed, the sound ambient sound when you work is heard (so you can narrate while you work...or else it's going to pick up the t.v. and all the conversations happening.).  If you speed it up, no sound plays at all.

How do you add narration?  I use "Sound Recorder" which also came with my computer.  I had no idea what program I had, so I used the search box in the start menu and searched on "record" and it came up.  Once the video is all flipped and sped up I watch it once or twice so I know how it's going to go.  I have a Turtle Beach headset, the kind gamers use. (I'm not a gamer though... I needed them for online classes)  I start my recording software and then quickly start the video and record my narration.  I don't care about sound or noise when I'm making the video, but I'll set the furnace so I know it won't go on and turn off any fans and other noise makers.  And honestly, I don't usually get it where I want it to be the first time around.  Once I'm happy with the narration, I save it somewhere where I can find it, and in Windows Live Movie Maker I click "add music".  It prompts me to find the music I want to use, so I just find the narration I just saved.  

What about lighting? I don't really have any sage words of wisdom for this one.  My table is very tall, and there's a nearby ceiling fan with 3 60 watt bulbs and it seems to provide plenty of light, and my camera seems to do a great job of adjusting its white balance.  When I first turn the camera on, there's a yellow cast, but within a second or two it adjusts and my white is white. (yay!)   

So that's my set up!  By far the biggest hurdle was getting the camera mounted, and after that was solved, everything fell into place.  I am NOT an expert! Heck, I've only got 4 videos up.  But like I said, I had a hard time getting any answers, so I thought I'd share what I'd figured out so far.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  What I can answer, I will!  

Also: GoFundMe  ☺

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 22, 2014

An Update...

Hello friends of all kinds!  Happy to see you again!  I just wanted to do a quick update on the state of my GoFundMe campaign.  Things have been hectic around here lately.  Maggie left for school last Saturday, so of course there was a whirlwind of activity surrounding that.  I'm back to work full time and Kerig just went back to work at St. B's, serving and protecting a great group of kids.  So it feels like the campaign took a backseat.  But things are settling in finally and it needs a shot in the arm.

Firstly, there's been some behind-the-scenes work going on!  Today I was able to lower the goal to $1000!  Kerig generously gave me a lens to sell to put towards the fund.  Yay Kerig! So that gave a big boost!  I did a senior portrait session and put that towards my goal as well.  And I just got a twice a week tutoring job, so I'm putting that money towards this as well.  So we're rolling right along!

But we're still (as of today) $800 shy of where I'm hoping to be.

The Linkie Level
So I've added a reward level.  Now, not to brag, but this little blog does get a decent amount of traffic.  I mean, you're here, right? ;)  So that's one...  But seriously, in the last year I'm averaging about 2000 unique page views a month, and with the addition of process videos being posted, that seems to be on the rise. So I've decided to leverage that viewership towards my goal.  I'm not CathyZ or AliE, sure, and I'm not even sure how well blog advertising works, BUT:

For a one-time donation of $50 to my GoFundMe campaign  I will put up a Linkie on the sidebar of my blog and leave it there until December 31, 2015.  2015 - that's SIXTEEN months of link-back for a donation to what I think is a really excellent cause.  

Think about it.  Every time someone clicks thru from Pintrest to look at a Valentine project, an organizational idea, layout or even the occasional recipe, your Linkie will be right there.  Until the goal is reached the GoFundMe will be at the top, with the Linkies just under that.  Once the goal is reached the Linkies will be at the very top.  I don't anticipate dozens of $50 donations (although I do think that $50 for 16 months is a pretty sweet deal) but in the interest of fairness, any donations greater than $50 will be at the top.

My blog has never been a business for me, and as such I'm sure there are questions that I haven't thought of and kinks that might need to be worked out.  You can ask me in the comments or feel free to email me at cnd3167atyahoo.

And no post is ever complete without some kind of image.

charcoal piece by Maggie Davis
Maggie is now studying Industrial Design at RIT, so she's not doing the same kind of straight-up art that she did in high school.  (and I love her decision to stay with something that she loves, but having the sense to tweak it into something that she'll be able to support herself with...yay, for practicality!)  But in high school there was lots and lots of drawing.  She often gravitated to images of strong females.

This one is of my grandmother, from a photo taken in the 1930's.  And she was one strong woman.  She worked as a nurse, owned a farmette (and could therefore milk a cow and kill a chicken...and then fry it up in a pan), she was a mother of six, ran a boarding house during the depression, and in her retirement drove from Baltimore to San Francisco 3 times all by herself!

Maggie did a fantastic job of making an old, small, cracked and faded snapshot into a gorgeous piece of art that really captures the essence of who Grace Noble was.

Please consider a donation (of any size) to the GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a new computer and software to help Maggie take her skills to the next level.  Your generosity will help form another generation of strong women.

Monday, August 11, 2014

He ain't heavy...

Well, I just finished my first full week of work since the break, and I'm plum tuckered out!  But as it turns out, I can veg out, put my arm on ice and edit a process video.

...and drink a beer.  It's not really Saturday night if there's not a beer. ;)

I issued a challenge on the Paperclipping forums to be inspired by a song.  I may well be the only person who does it, but that's okay.  I like challenges.  I like a deadline and some parameters, so even if ends up just being a personal challenge, that's okay.

I took a picture of Ted and his (future, I suppose) step-brother last week.  It was picture day for the football team, and the parents were invited to take pictures on the field after the team picture was finished.  While I was thinking about where to position Ted, Ricky came out of no where and jumped into Ted's arms.  I managed to snap a coupe of pictures of the two of them before Ted put him down.

There's a process video here, if you're interest in the whole, big story.

The word "brother" is from the Silhouette store. "Heavy" is done in impact, and the grey letter stickers are from Kelly Purkey at

There was a fair amount of journaling for this picture, which is printed at 4x4.  The title is pretty big and longer that I usually do, which really limited my space.  So I used the Silhouette software to create print-and-cuts - my journaling (the print part) on tags (the cut part).  Normally I go the lazy route, where I cut tags, journal in Word and then try to tape the tag (or other shape) to a sheet of printer paper and hope it prints in the right place.  Oddly, the "lazy way" is probably a lot harder than doing it the print-n-cut way.

So that's pretty much that for the layout.  There's LOTS more that I ramble about in the video, but I've already been sort of redundant...


I wanted to prod you one more time to take a look at the "No Scrapbook Police" blog series that recently wrapped up.  The last post was made by our hostess, Cara Vincens.   Her beautiful post debunks the myth of being caught up.  Is there such a thing?  Not really, but she's got some good quotes to support her thoughts...AND a really cute baby.  Seriously, it's worth looking just for the little boy named Cederic.  So adorable.

♥♥♥   ♥♥♥   ♥♥♥   ♥♥♥   ♥♥♥

And lastly:

(circa 2008)

She hates this picture.  But hello?  Those braids?  Love.

Please check out the GoFundMe site and consider a small donation.  Or a big one.  I'm okay with either. ;)

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you're enjoying your summer!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Set it free, baby!

Hello scrappy friends!  Today is my BIG DAY in this amazing blog series:

I started scrapbooking in 1998 and back in the old days, the scrapbook police were pretty heavy handed.  Rules were everywhere and while no wrists were ever actually slapped, the threat was palpable.   

Things have definitely calmed down, but there still an underlying sense of “shoulds” that exist.  And they’re good guidelines, I suppose, but I’m here to say: This is a hobby, and you SHOULD do what makes you happy.  For me, that’s the only hard and fast “should” to live by.

Like so many of us, I got started when I had young children.  I had shoeboxes of photos and 2 children with a third on the way.  I saw a friend’s scrapbook and knew instantly that I wanted in!  I followed the rules vigilantly for a long time.  Everything was acid free.  I’m not even sure I know what lignin is anymore, but I know there isn’t any of that bad stuff in my earliest albums! I set out to record our history and document their every stage in their growing up years.

But something happened along the way: I started scrapping more for me than for them.

HUH?  Yup. I now scrapbook for me.  Because somewhere along the way I decided that I really enjoyed the process of scrapbooking.  I felt it was my responsibility to document those formative years, those things that they might forget otherwise.  But they’re older now.  Capable of keeping a journal, a blog, or *gasp* their very own scrapbooks.  Now that they’re older, I feel free to  do things differently:

I scrapbook the stories that I want to tell, and I don’t feel obligated to document every occasion.  For example: I rarely even take pictures on Christmas morning.  The scrapbooker in me says that I should, but I’d rather live that time uninterrupted. 

We're off to a great start, right?
Bear with gets better.

 I embrace my sense of humor, and while I try to keep it PG-13 (ish), I don’t edit myself too much. I want my personality to show, more than I want the world to think I’m perfect.

Sometimes I scrapbook the cruddy things in life. I don’t scrapbook every cruddy thing, mind you, but if I feel like I want or need to, I don’t shy away from it.  That said, I don’t always display these layouts.  More often than not, these layouts get slid between others in the page protectors.  For me, the creation of the layout is therapeutic, but I don’t necessarily want to revisit it.  Of course, not all cruddy things are so serious that you can’t have a little fun with it:

I use the products that *I* want to use.  There are some trends that I can’t wait to jump into, and others I’m happy to wave at as they pass by.    Also, if a page about my Mr. ends up with a little pink on it, well, so be it.

 I scrapbook about me, and I do so unapologetically.  Guess what? I matter, too!  And if there’s one thing I hope everyone reading takes away, it’s this point: YOU belong in your albums, too.  (Feel free to check out the explanation on this layout to get the full version of this philosophy)  If you’re used to scrapbooking about your family, this may feel awkward at first, but you probably wouldn’t hesitate to make a page about your children or your spouse…so why not you??

And if you're uncomfortable with this, think of it as gift to those you leave behind.  Image the period after you go, and your children or spouse or friends or siblings going through your albums.  Imagine how much those layouts about you will mean to them.  All those people you love and scrapbook about?? They love you, too.  

So that's my thinking.  I'd be lying if I said I don't take my family into consideration when I scrap.  I do.  But I do it for me.  This isn't a burden, it's a hobby, my therapy, my happy place.

Want some more scrapbook liberation??  Be sure to visit the other stops on the "Set Your Scrapbooking Free" express!

August 4 - Paige Evans
A Scrapbooking page SHOULD always have a story and lots of journaling

August 5 - Ashli Oliver
Scrapbook pages SHOULD be fast and simple to just get them done
August 6 - Jen Gallacher
Scrapbook pages SHOULD look perfect
August 7 - Melissa Shanhun
Digital scrapbook pages should look as much like a paper page as possible 
August 8 - Ashley Calder
Scrapbooking SHOULD be done *this* way  
August 9 - Caroline Davis
A Scrapbooker SHOULD scrapbook FOR her family
August 10 - Lisa Harris
Scrapbooking SHOULD be a legacy for the scrapbooker's family
August 11 - Connie Hanks
A scrapbooker SHOULD follow the trends and be aware of what others think of her pages
A Scrapbooker SHOULD scrapbook chronologically
August 13 - Nancy Gaines
Scrapbooking SHOULD be 12x12 traditional paper pages
August 14 - Cara Vincens
A scrapbooker SHOULD always be caught up

♥♥♥   ♥♥    ♥♥♥    ♥♥    ♥♥♥

You know what those hearts mean.  Time to talk about my daughter again! 

This is Maggie, her younger sister Molly and I after Maggie's graduation in 2012.  She's getting ready to head into her junior year at RIT (the Rochester Institute of Technology) where she's pursuing a BFA in industrial design.  

Maggie is laser focused on her goals.  She earned a $25,000 annual scholarship, has student loans and a grant to cover the massive $45,000 tuition.  She earned straight A's last year and worked two jobs on campus.  This summer she's been working full time to earn money to cover her gas and food.  She found an apartment off campus with some roommates to shave $3000 off the costs.  

But there's one tiny detail.  Maggie needs a new computer.  The work that she does is all on the Adobe Creative Suite - InDesign, Illustrator, PhotoShop, etc.  The computer she has now chokes on Word, let alone even PhotoShop Elements.  And here's the hitch: Mom (me) has had a rough year financially.  I'll let you poke around the blog for the story, it's all there.  And unfortunately I just can't make a new computer happen for her.  

So I'm asking you to consider donating a couple dollars to a GoFundMe account that I set up.  Under better circumstances, I wouldn't dream of asking for help.  But I am not in better circumstances.  And I hate that my situation might affect any of my children, much less the one who's at that critical moment in her life.  It's this education and her passion that will prevent her from ever being where I am now.    

"Many hands make light work."  (John Heywood)

Please consider.

Thank you!

And thank you for stopping by!  I hope you'll visit again soon, and feel free to check out my newly created YouTube channel.