Project Life

Happy Pi Day

And, that’s enough math for today.  Or any day, for that matter.  At least on this blog.  I know somewhere in the world it’s changing the future, but not here.  Now pie is a different story, but not today’s story.  We’re on diets in this neck of the woods.  Forget that almost all of the below photos involve eating, that’s diet wine there!


Anyway, I’m just moving right along through 2016.  2015 you say?

I say, look at these completed layouts!

Both of these layouts are 80% Currently Core Kit, 10% Ali Edwards kit for her Project Life Class, and 10% miscellaney – stuff leftover from Studio Calico kits, stickers, labels I cut with my teeny tiny die cutting machine.

And, speaking of Studio Calico, they’re having a huge sale on old kits today – $10 instead of the normal subscription fee (around $26/mo).   Get thee to Studio Calico and spend a multiple of $3.14 – there were go – some math!

With the PL’ing out of the way for the weekend, I was  left to ponder what to do next.  As I mentioned in the last post, I seem to be off the knit.  I was writing an email to my friend Mindy (shout out!), and I remembered, like a bell went off, that I had actually watched the entirety of Danita’s Art Doll class, and after all the anticipation of taking it, and the excitement of snatching it on sale, I went off the dolls, and never made one.  That had to be corrected.  So, I got the doll making supplies out, and got to sewing.


And then stuffing.  I had a heck of a time with the neck.



My that little head took a lot of stuffing!


As you can see, I’m making two – so that when I mess up the first one, I’ll have the second one ready to go.  And, honestly – I’m good with that.  I’ve long ago gotten over the idea, at least with art, that I’m going to immediately get it right the first time.  It all takes practice.  I’ve always been a quick study, and I used to have a nearly photographic memory, so school, and tests, and my job – I’m not going to say I didn’t have to work at things, but I think I started out with less of a learning curve, and I had a shorter road to travel to get to a place of satisfaction.  Art is really hard for me, and I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve accepted that – that I have to draw, erase, draw again, paint over, throw out, start over, whatever it takes.  There’s no rush.  I have no customers, no critics, no deadlines.  What’s the rush?  To post a photo on the blog?   And, at the end of the process, when I call something done, it doesn’t mean that it’s good, it just means that I’m good with it, and that’s all that matters.

So, that’s about as far as I got when Joe came home from his Sunday all day overtime shift, so it was time to have dinner, and watch some t.v.

What to do, what to do, can’t just sit and watch t.v! And, I’m off the knit . . . well, the doll thing worked out, how about some crochet?

Yes, it’s time to revisit ol’ languishing Sophie:



Olive apparently approves, and has staked her claim!

So, hopefully tonight, I’ll finish stuffing the dolls, and perhaps get to gessoing.  And, if I don’t get to the gesso, tomorrow is another day!

Basic CMYK

Playing with the We R Memory Keepers Fuse Tool

As I mentioned on Friday, I got suckered by a half price offer – an offer, apparently, I couldn’t refuse, and even though in my head, I’m walking back the tools, the products, the photos, I bought the We R Memory Keepers Fuse Tool.   For those of you who have never seen this product, the fuse tool is like a wood burner but for plastic – the tip melts the plastic, creating a seal, and ta da – your own pockets, shaker cards, and whatever else your heart dreams of in plastic.  It comes with this flimsy stand, the cattle prod looking thing, a ruler and two tips – a sealer and a cutter.  The cutter apparently seals and cuts at the same time, and I suppose it’s good for cutting out shapes, or pocket tops, but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.

So, here’s the new guy, all plugged in and ready to go.  The instructions say to let it heat up a good ten minutes, so while I waited, I mulled what I was going to make. Because, the truth is, I don’t really need any custom pockets, or shaker cards, or anything else – but I have it, so I’m going to use it.

Because I don’t do any traditional scrapbooking, or cardmarking, or anything for which I’d need a sequin, I don’t really have anything to fill a shaker pocket – hadn’t thought of that.  Luckily, I do have this sequin die that I bought a few years ago from Papertrey Ink when I had grandiose dreams of making my own snow globe, shaker card holiday cards.  Didn’t happen.  So, I finally took the die out of the package, and made some sequins.  This die actually fits in the itty bitty machine I talked about on Friday, real name Diamond Press, available only at HSN until June, I think.  I also think itty bitty machine is a better name, but what would I know.


Sequins made, I put them in a pocket with some acrylic stars and a camera, probably from a Studio Calico kit that I could never figure out what to do with since I don’t make shaker cards, and voila, a shaker pocket!


As you can see, my seal line isn’t so straight, and it’s a little gloppy.  Basically, you run the tool, which has a roller tip, against the ruler.  Naturally, I went too fast, and went a little rogue, but it worked – it’s sealed.  Unfortunately, once it was done, I didn’t really have any use for it, and I found that one of the other pockets was defective.  No matter, I cut it open, and reused the acrylic embellishments.

Not having any need for any shaker pockets in my current PL week, I went back and found this pre-Fuse insert I made for my parent’s 50th Anniversary Party, because I couldn’t just be done with one pocket that I ended up destroying.


Definitely sloppy enough to justify a redo.  So, I took a 12 x 12 page, and laid out my candy bar wrapper, and found it was wider than the invitation.  So, I made little pockets on each side to fill with sequins.  Oh yeah, I don’t have any sequins, so I again endeavored to make my own.  This time, I used cards from a frankly crappy Heidi Swapp gold foil filled PL Value Kit, and went to town with my sequin die –


Glad to use that gold foil for something.  I’m also a sucker for a Michael’s clearance bin sale.


Yep, so much better than the original, washi tape engineered original insert.  As you can see above, I did miss a little spot with the roller tip right above the word anniversary on the chocolate bar wrapper, but after I took the photo I spotted it, and fixed it.  One thing I learned is that if you can use the ruler that came with the kit, you should.  While it’s short, and doesn’t stretch across a 12 x 12 page, it is heavy, and does a good job of pressing down whatever is inside your pocket, ensuring that you have plastic pressed to plastic – because if there’s even a little air in between, and the pages aren’t touching, you aren’t going to be able to melt them together.

Here’s a closer look at the seal –


And, here it is in the album:


Had I been thinking, instead of just gleefully melting full steam ahead, I would have thought of the other side of the insert.  The invitation has a nice pattern on the other side, so that’s ok, but the other side of the candy bar is upside down – I probably would have cut the wrapper, and turned the other side around, but eh, whatever.

Feeling like a super fuse expert, I then went back to April 2014, and made this insert for my niece’s birth announcement:


Now, even though my 2014 album is finished through July, I hadn’t included this back in April because my sister-in-law sent them out probably in June, and I was long done with April.  But, I had it saved in a box of stuff anyway, so now seemed like a good time to make an insert – I have a new tool to play with dammit!  So, again, I started with a 12 x 12 page protector.  I fused along the side of the invite first, cut off the excess, filled the bottom with stuff, and then fused a line across.  The first time I made this pocket – yep, first time fail – I made the line way too high – and I thought, no matter, so the top shaker will be narrower, no biggie.  But, the problem was that I hadn’t really put enough stuff in the pocket, and it turned out really top heavy.  So, I tried to poke a hole in the bottom of the pocket with a craft knife, so that I could shove some more stuff in, but I ripped the whole thing open and had to start again.  Oh well.

And, if you’re wondering where I got all of those sequins and baby like die cuts, when I just finished saying I don’t really have anything like that in my stash – well, those little “goodies” came in the birth announcement.  And, since I didn’t know they were loose, just shoved in the bottom of the envelope, when I pulled out the announcement – Bam! They went flying in my face, on the hall table, on the floor, everywhere.  WHO DOES THAT!!!!!  It’s not a party in an envelope – it’s a mess in my foyer! Cardmaking friends – please never do that.  It was such a mess.  I was finding random sequins in my foyer for months.  Shaker cards, cardmaking friends, not loose in the envelope.  I know none of you do that, anyway.  Because no one would do that, except for  . . .


Anyway, after playing with the Fuse for a few hours, here are my thoughts:

  • I can see myself using this tool a lot for inserts, and very infrequently for making actually shaker pockets on the Design A page.  Since I try to keep up, week to week, I don’t think I want to commit to how the pocket will be used in the next week – what if I NEED that space!
  • While I am trying to be more selective with my photos, I will definitely use this tool for making pocket flaps to add more photos, or perhaps to add an interactive element to hide journaling, or something like that.
  • As for the tool itself – it’s easy peasy to use – plug it in and it’s ready to go in about 10 minutes.   Forget about the stand though, and get yourself a ceramic mug, then you don’t have to worry about it flopping around and burning yourself.  And, instead of a glass mat to protect your surface, I have a ceramic tile that I bought at Home Deport for about $5 when I was going through a soldering phase.  Works great!

So, if you’re thinking about buying this product – don’t pay full price.  I don’t think it’s necessarily worth $30 – I paid $15 plus shipping.   Use a Michael’s coupon, or get the bundle at HSN – for $15 over the retail price, you get a ton of stuff – plastic sleeves for waterfall pages, the extra fancy tips, fusible paper!  This clearance price is a steal, and I wish I had seen it first.  Drat.  And, even though I bought the itty bitty machine on HSN (I am a total sucker for the show stopper on Craft Day!), I don’t work for HSN or anything like that – no monetizing on this blog with ye ol’ 11 subscribers.  I just think it’s a good deal, and I’m always happy to enable -er share!

And, I guess if I ever get tired of making pockets with it, I could always use it instead of my foodsaver machine.  Happy melting everyone!

Basic CMYK






Project Life Redux

Yesterday, I referred to ye ol’ blog as a patiently waiting home for my stories. I’ve been thinking about stories a lot lately, the who, what, where, when, why and how of them, because I’m just finishing up Ali Edwards’ class, Storytelling with Project Life. Ali’s basic philosophy is fill your pockets, create homes for your stories, tell your stories. Simple, right?

But, what about when your stories are hard, like your father died, your parent/child roles are reversing, your niece has reached teenage, dark and grumpy years? I can’t really blame hard times on my Project Life stalling out – I blame that on excess, but I’ll get to that in a second – but I can blame it for my lack of motivation for starting it up again – who wants to slog through those “good times” again? But, surprisingly enough, Joe was really insistent that I resume documenting our lives, and finding homes, in his mind, for our photographs, and in turn, their stories.

So, at the end of last year, I signed up for Ali’s class, and started going back through my two completed albums, and the half started year, to see what worked, what didn’t, what went wrong. This turned out to be the first week of the class, as well, so I already had a bit of a head start. I found some interesting things. First, having a gazillion photographs and trying to use them all was a real stumbling block for me. I look back on some of my digital layouts, where I had full control over the number and size of pockets, and I’m overwhelmed – why did I use so my photos? Would it have been so terrible to just pick the best one? For instance, at my niece’s birthday party a few years ago, I took a series of photos with Danielle and my parents, and used a collage in a 4 x 6 pocket. The photos are pretty tiny, and two of them are just eh photos – why didn’t I just pick the best one? I look at the mini photo of Danielle and my Dad, and wish it were bigger, wish my hard drive hadn’t crashed, and I could just redo it. The one perfect photo is completely diminished the collage. And, to really put an exclamation point on the idea that too many photos is too many, the last full spread I did in my half complete album was our week long beach vacation, which is spread out over four pages! Too much. Step one, simplify my photo process.

Next, I compared the completed digital album to the completed paper album. There were things about both I liked, but the bottom line was I liked the simplicity of Design A of the Becky Higgin’s line of Project Life products, and I liked the physical process of putting things into pockets. However, on the other hand, I liked the look of typed journal cards so much better than my own handwriting. So, if I liked the paper based version better, what was the problem? Stuff, that was the problem – too much stuff, the need to use all of the tools and products I had purchased. And, it was really a pain in the neck to use my Silhouette. We have no room on the desk in the computer room, and the machine lives in its box. When I want to use it, I have to take it out of the box, hook it up, etc. and there really isn’t a very good space for it even when it’s in action. And, what did I really need it for anyway? When I look back at the pages that had Silhouette cut embellishments, that at the time I thought were just brilliant, I don’t even like them. It had all become just too complicated. And, I think the final straw was the Letterpress platform for my Evolution machine. What was I thinking? I was thinking it would be fun – but it so wasn’t – messy, messy, messy, and zero fun, and not such great results. Big fat fail.

And for whatever reason, at that point, I just wasn’t able to walk it back – wasn’t able to trim back the photos, abandon the embellishments and the machinery. I guess Ali gave me permission to do that – put the card in the pocket, tell you story, call it done, and whatever else is icing.

And, that’s what I did.

But . . . everyone has to have some product, right? So, I pretty much put away all of my previous core kits, and in the first few weeks of the year, I tried a hybrid thing, with The Lilypad’s Monthly Pocket kit, and typing my journal cards. I quickly abandoned that — not simple enough, and I was guzzling printer ink, and I bought One Little Bird’s new Project Life Core Kit, Currently , and for the most part, that’s what I’m using. Here and there, I’ve got an old Studio Calico card from my kit club days, and I do like MAMBI stickers, and photo overlays, and I’ve learned to live with my handwriting. Oh, and I buy this teeny die cutting machine from HSN.

Cute, right? And, it’s so much easier than hauling out the Silhouette – and it’s really all that I need – labels, arrows, tags.  It sits right next to me on my work space, I put the little dies in a small plastic folder, crank the handle, and done!  And, so everything kind of matches, for paper I use journal cards from the Core Kit.  There are so many doubles, its so not a waste.

So, here’s where I am – caught up!  Well, at least as far as this year is concerned.  I am planning on going back and filling in – I suppose, but I’m keeping current, and I think that’s a big thing.

This first month or so, like I said, I was experimenting with a hybrid system, but it was a hassle.  And, I know at this point, if it becomes a hassle, I’ll quit.  Better to simplify than have nothing.

As you can see, things started to go bad the third week, with the car accident, anniversary of my father’s death, etc.  Oh, and look at poor Olive with her hood – she was chasing her ball and ran into the door of the t.v cabinet, cutting herself right under her eye.    But, strangely, writing my way through it was a good thing – I think it would be harder to go back and revisit this period rather than just living in the moment, and moving forward.

And by February, my hybrid experiment was over.  The above two weeks are the Currently core kit, some stamps, some tags I cut with the itty bitty die cut machine, and a few stickers.  Easy peasy.

And, ta da – just like that, I’m current!  This last week I used the kit that Ali Edward’s put together for the class – journal cards, chipboard stars, wood veneer labels, some tags and frames.

It’s all very scrappy, and it’s working for me. And, it’s done. I’m not making art, I’m just making a record.

And speaking of records, Ali talks about putting longer stories in Project Life, and she creates 8 x 12 inserts, mostly using her photo/story templates. For me, there’s some journaling, some longer stories that I don’t need other people reading when they’re flipping through my books. So, what I do is put a card behind the photo. The original Project Life core kits came with these tabbed cards, they were 4 x 6, scored so you could fold them in thirds, and tabbed on top. I’ve run out of them, and I can’t seem to find them anywhere, from any product company. So, I’m just cutting tabs with my itty bitty machine, taping them to the top of a 4 x 6 card, and slipping them in behind the photo.  You can see on in the upper right corner behind the photo of Joe and I.


And for my next trick – the fuse tool! Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be walking it back, but it was on SALE. I mean a really good SALE. But, when I got it, the sale wasn’t as nearly as good as the bundle that’s on HSN now. If I had any local scrappy friends, I would total give them the one I bought, and buy the bundle, but unfortunately, I have no scrappy friends. The paper is fusible people! How cool is that!
Anyway, I’ll let you know how my fuse experiment goes. I can’t imagine using it very often. Every once in awhile I like to add a flap to card, and I guess I could experiment with some shaker pockets. We’ll see.

Have a great weekend!

Basic CMYK

Caught Up!

One and done! may18 This spread for me was a first – I had it almost done, and I ditched the whole layout – completely started over – well, sort of, not completely.  I’ve described my process before – I print my photos, I lay them out generally how I think I want them, and then I start picking out photo mats and cards, then I embelish.  So, I didn’t ditch any of the photos, I just ditched the cards I picked – even the Silhouette cards I cut, and recut them in different colors.  Since Azure is my most recent kit, I tried to use it – but the colors just didn’t work for a kids’ dance recital – I really wanted pink and pastels.  So, I used my mini kit, Cut & Paste, that I bought awhile ago from Joann’s for like $5.00.  This is the first layout using just Cut & Paste – I’ve used a card here and there before, but I think it’s pretty girly – but just right for the ballet. Lately, the big question in the Facebook forums has been, how do “you” – meaning the pocket scrapping community – pick your photos when you have a gazillion from which to choose.  And let me tell ya – I had a gazillion dancing photos, even though I was in a completely dark theater, and the stage was only lit by a red light.  Here are some of the one’s I didn’t use – hairflip dancing2blog dancing5 dancing6blog dancing7blog
dancing10blog dancing9blog dancing11blog I love them all – and there were even more, but you can’t use them all.  Well, you could I guess, but I didn’t want to.  Just because I didn’t use them, doesn’t mean I don’t have them. Probably if Danielle were my kid, and not my niece, I would have made a 2 page spread, or possibly added a minibook like this.  I’m thinking I might get a collage frame, and add them to our bookshelf photo collection. So, how did I choose? may18left may18rightwithinsert Well, the one I blew up, which is in a 5 x 8, and the program is stuck in the other side, I chose because she really just looks so happy –  the joy of dance, right? On the first page, I picked the two family photos because my mother, when she looks through my stuff, takes note of when she is included, and when she is not, so its easier just to include, and that’s fine – my parents certainly were part of the memory creating of the day. And, I also picked those photos because they’re in color.  This scrapbook album has certainly not been a very arty process, and while I mix in black and white – I just didn’t think that it would fit with the album if I had done an entire page in black and white.  So, I printed the little 3 x 4’s, because I liked them – unlike the color photos, she looks so young, and she looks like she’s concentrating on getting her twirl right. And then, I was pretty much out of room, unless I wanted to go into insert territory – but since Carter’s birthday was the same day, and I knew I wanted to give sort of equal time to the two families, I just said enough. I could have ditched the card I cut using my Silhouette (the dancer, with the Heidi Swapp epoxy sticker on top) – but I wanted to get the journaling in, too, and the event is totally documenting – the posed photos before the dance, the dance itself, the program, and then the one photo on the right side back at the house after the performance.  I got it all, and said done. may18rightwith2dinsert   may18rightwith2dinsertback   And, how did I get the Carter birthday photos in there – since I was at Danielle’s dance recital?  Joe and Joey went to Carter’s bday, and I sent Joe with my little Canon. Unfortunately, he’s so used to shooting photos with his phone, he didn’t attempt to focus a lot of them (that push the button halfway down until you hear the beep thing), and the photos I used were the only ones that were salvageable – not that he took a lot.  But, he did good.  I can’t complain.  It’s in there. There are two things of note on the right hand side.  The first is the top photo of the Goldstein selfie – that’s the new collage formation in the Beautiful Mess app – a 4 x 4 square and a 2 x 4 rectangle.  For whatever reason, my local Walgreens does not give me the option of printing a 4 x 4 square – only 2 x 2 and 8 x 8 – unless I print directly from Instagram, which them lets me print the 4 x 4.  So, this collage is a nice way to get it done.  The 2 x 4 came in handy a bit too – the photo of the yarn was printed with the photo of the lilacs.  So, it’s a nice way to get another size photo in there, and print my square photos without having to post them on Instagram. The second thing is the YAY card – this was made with the Red Stamp app – a card making app that either sends your cards, like in the real mail with real postage, or posts them to social media.  I tried it out – it’s kind of nice – but I think you’d run through the designs pretty quickly. And that’s it!  Totally current – ta da!

Epic Pocket Scrap Catch Up

When last we spoke – oh so long ago – I was getting ready for trial, the weather was ick, and I was caught up with my pocket scrapping project.

And now, the trial is over, and we basically lost – in record time. Holy moley it was the quickest homicide I’ve ever tried.  We picked on Monday, opened Tuesday, the DA put the whole case in on Tuesday, closed and got a verdict on Wednesday.  My client was convicted of two counts of third degree, rather than first degree, so that’s sort of a win – but a hollow one because two convictions of third degree murder in Pennsylvania is an automatic life sentence anyway.  And, after the trial was mercifully over, I unplugged for a bit, and reveled in doing basically nothing.  That client really drained me, unlike any other client in the history of clients, but that’s the job.  And, I’m now recovered.

The weather is no longer ick, but it’s not quite what I’d want it to be for Memorial Day.  Yesterday, after our office let out early, I did come home, plop my chair in the middle of our ]lawn, cracked a beer, and finished reading The Rosie Project (loved it!), but today is pretty cloudy – and it’s rained every evening, foiling my attempts at grilling.

And, my pocket scrapping is still caught up!  I shall show you.  When last I left off, Passover was in the books.  Now, for Ramos Easter –




The cards are all Studio Calico, the stickers Me and My Big Ideas, and the photo overlay is Becky HIggins.  I just love that photo of Joey helping Bryenna off of the trampoline. It reminds me that he won’t be a brat teenager forever, and that there is still kindness in him.


So the first 1/2 of this page is actually an insert.  On the top photo is a Teresa Collins epoxy sticker, the Easter card is from somewhere on Pinterest, and the stickers, once again MAMBI.


And there’s the insert flipped over.  More Studio Calico cards, MAMBI stickers, yadda yadda. Note from Joe on a We R Memory Keepers card – that’s one way to get him to contribute to the project, yeah?  I have intentions of having him fill out prompted cards, but that hasn’t happened yet – waiting for just the right moment to stick the pen in his hand.  Just in case you were curious, Birds of Satan is a side project of a few of the Foo Fighters.  And, you can see I’m really lovin that pizza – I kept Passover pretty good this year – no cheats.  I had matzah coming out of me ears, but as always, it did come to an end.

Onward – next week – the week of April 27 and the high holy day of knitters – the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!

Apr27spreadPassover – half an insert.  Easter – also half an insert.  Sheep and Wool – a whole page dammit!  I love my sheep photos.


This was the first week I used my Azure core kit from my HSN purchase.  When I first opened the box, I loved loved loved it.  Now, I’m just eh with it.  For this week’s spread, that I’m not posting today, and am still working on, I tried to use it, but the colors were just too adult, too subdued for what I was trying to do.  And, that’s why I think I’d never be happy using one core kit for the whole year.

So, as you can see I included my quick trial – the press showed up, I don’t know why.  So, I cut the headline out, and the rest of the article is tucked behind the photo.  In order to get truly ready for the trial, of course I needed a new handbag.  So, mom and I went to the Coach outlet the Sunday before – I love my new bag, but of course, I forgot to photograph it.  I also got 2 suits at Jones New York – neither of which were trial wearable – one was seersucker – way too early, and one had to have the pants shortened.  But, since the trial went so quickly, I really didn’t have to worry about clothes.

And how cute is Lemon with her toy that’s a mini-Lemon?  So sweet.

Besides Azure, the two filler cards are Studio Calico, the date washi tape is October Afternoon, and the stickers are MAMBI.


And our yearly pilgrimage to Maryland Sheep and Wool!  It’s funny, but I really didn’t take that many photos this year – it’s my fifth or sixth year there, and I feel like I take the same photos every year – yarn, spinners, sheep, alpacas, fried twinkies, sheep dogs.  This year, I missed the sheep dog trials, so no dogs, and I only really took sheep.  But, that’s ok – maybe I’ll be more into documenting more than livestock next year.  The top card is this year’s program, and entrance button.  The rest of the cards are from Studio Calico’s Bluegrass Farm kit.



And the back of the insert – the ice cream cone card is actually a 3 x 4 card from Studio Calico that I stuck on a 4 x 6, added the enjoy sticker, and the photo.

april27righttThis side is a combination of miscellaneous die cuts, Studio Calico and Azure.  See that smolder shawl there?  FINISHED!!!!  Four years, and endless i-cord later, done.  Just in time for summer.  Great timing, I know, but it’s such a relief to be done.  If you can’t tell from the photo, it’s just gigantic.  Gi-Gan-TIC.  It’ll be snuggly at my desk at work next winter.


Oopsy, forgot to date this spread, but it would be the week of Mother’s Day – again, a half insert, full inserts for sheep only.  This is Studio Calico’s May Kit, Camelot, except for the Mother’s Day card, another Pinterest download.


I love those little wood veneer banners that came with this kit – I used one on the photo of us in our new glasses, and again on the second half of the spread –


I really liked the cards in this months kit as well, and I was sorry to use up my favs so quickly.  As you can see there’s some pink polka dot washi over the photo of my mom and Danielle, because I created my own photo flip!


You can buy Photo Flips, but I needed one now, and I didn’t have time to wait for an online order – must keep up!  Anyway, I had Danielle interview my Mom for Mother’s Day, and that’s that bottom card.  And, I sewed on the Bertucci’s card, because that’s where we went to lunch.


And the back of the insert.  Since Lemon had figured pretty prominently the last few weeks, I decided to give Olive some face time.  Our forever puppy, stuck at 12 lbs.

And finally, at least for today – the week of May 11.


This is mostly Azure.  And, I did get out my Portrait – I cut the Bath Time word art which I made on my ipad, and I cut the camera frame – I think it’s Lori Whitlock.


And then the baseball insert –


If you can’t tell – I actually sewed around the baseball on the Take Me Out to the Ballgame card.  I found a baseball on Pinterest, printed it out, with the opacity lowered so that it really was just a faint outline, punched some holes, and stitched.  Not perfect, but it’s just a baseball.  It’s all good.

And now you may be asking yourself- what is up with those glasses?


That’s a sad story my friends.  I got my new glasses, and I just knew they weren’t right.  I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong with them, but they were wrong nonetheless.  So, when we went back to the store to pick up my sunglasses, the optician studied my lenses and the frames, and came to the conclusion that the frames were too small for my prescription –  that there wasn’t enough width for the bifocal.  Oh no! yelled my vanity!  I love this little pink frames.  So, the optician went to work with his mystery tools in the back, and I started trying on larger glasses.  Obviously, I’m not in need of the grandma glasses yet, but . . . someday.  Uch!  Luckily, thankfully, the optician was able to stretch the bridge of the glasses, giving me some more room, and there was so much improvement.  But next year when it’s new glasses time . . . maybe I’ll wait a few years until the next pair . .


And for my last trick – another washi tape photo flip.  It works, it’s good.

So, I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend.  I finished two books -The Rosie Project – thumbs up, and We Were Liars, which is supposed to be this summer’s hot book – meh, another twist book.  Quick read though.

Not sure what I’ll start tomorrow, but I know we have X-Men on the agenda.


Just in Time!

New baby on the way – as I type!  And, my little baby quilt is finished just in time!


I used Kate & Birdie’s Storybook fabric, easy peasy charm squares.  I pieced all of my half square triangles, sewed the top half, and took a break.  In the meantime, Joe decided to use his super duper Maxextractor carpet steamer.  So, he picked up the rows of my quilt, and put them over my chairs, and then cleaned the carpet.  Something went awry when I put them back down – oh well – now it’s a modern baby quilt – not quite centered –



The baby will never know.  Anyway, it’s ready to be gifted once Baby Ramos makes his/her appearance.

And, being an oh-so-productive week, I am still current with my pocket scrapping project.

Yep, more spreads to show you –


Left –

plspreadmar30apr5leftThis is a combination of my new Azure core kit, that I got on HSN when it was on sale with the photo overlays, page dividers and a 12 x 12 paper pack and a mixture of Studio Calico stuff.  On this siide, I have the Studio Calico “Not My Day” vellum overlay over the title card, since we were both pretty much sick all week.  You can’t tell from the photo, but “Clean House,” is with the cork alpha’s that came in the SC  Bluegrass Farm kit.  Since I used the two “e’s” that came with the alpha sheet, and the one “a” I’m now pretty much done with that alpha – which is why I would never buy that kind of mini alpha myself, but it’s nice to get it in a kit. At least I did manage to spell one card at least.  I cut the “Feed the Birds” with my Silhouette, the word art bubble over Lemon was also cut from some digital kit with the Portrait also.

Right –


On this page, the wood veneer Hello Sunshine is from Studio Calico, I think last month’s kit. The bicycle is Amy Tangerine, I don’t remember from where.  The HIm & Her card is also SC, and the SICK alpha letters are the last of last month’s alpha.  The “eek” badge came in Bluegrass Farm, as did the bits of washi tape.  The Everyday Card I think is SC, but I’m not sure.

Also, on both pages, there are black clear stickers from Me and My Big Ideas – I LOVE these, and they were out of them when I went to Michael’s with my super coupon the other day.  Drat!  Hopefully, they’ll restock them.

And now double birthday week, so I needed to add an insert –



Left side –


Yeah, I finally got to use up some more of my first month of Studio Calico – I have very little of that kit left, and that makes me happy.  The title card, the birthday cake, and the Love This card are all from my first sub. kit – I think Sugar Rush.  The numbered card is from a pack of We R Memory keeper cards I got for $2 at Target.  The “Yummy” badge is from Bluegrass Farm, and again, those black vellum stickers – from MAMBI.

The back of the insert is the thank you card I got from my niece for her birthday present, and our Captain America tickets.

Left –



Let’s see – there’s a Becky Higgins photo overlay on the photo with Lemon and I.  Next row – SC sample card from Lemon Lush that came with Sugar Rush, the wood Veneer from Office Hours, a wooden arrow from Sugar Rush, the card is from my Target bargain.  And, at the bottom, the “my everything” vellum thingy slipped – I’m not sure how to attach it.  I think that’s from SC Blue Note kit, which I got for $10 when I signed up for their class Stitched.  The labels I think were from Just Jaimee, but I can’t remember.  I usually take my Portrait out once a week, cut lots of stuff, and then throw everything into a box – so I’m not the best creditor when it comes to bits and bobs.

And, finally, Passover is in the books –



Passover was a challenge – the only Passover elements I could find on line were these digital stamps, so I made my own cards with some of Lynne-Marie’s backgrounds.  I paired this with my new core kit, Midnight, that I snagged with my Michael’s 50% off coupon, and I think it turned out ok.

How about that hand – uch!  That’s what she doesn’t when I try to take a photo of her and she knows I’m taking it – or she makes a goofy face, like the photo above.  With a bit of begging, she’ll pose – there’s actually a posed version of the goofy shot, but I ended up liking the goofy one better – it’s more her.

So, that’s it – today I’ll do Easter with the Ramos’s and wait for word on the new baby!

Happy Holidays!

Little Box of Happiness

So, there’s nothing like being called the devil by a client only to come home to a little box of happy!

studiocalicoboxDevil, me?  If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be getting this sweet little box in the mail.

There’s a lot of chitter chatter online among PLer’s about whether to subscribe to a monthly kit, and if so, which one, or in some cases, how many.  I went with Studio Calico because, well, I’m not really sure other than all the cool kids were doing it.  I did read this chart, and watch the videos – thank you Scrapmaster! and for me, it came down to Studio Calico or Gossamer Blue, and I just went with SC because, well, just because.  But, if you get wrapped up in any of the Facebook conversations about which kit, you’ll never pick – Studio Calico is awesome! Studio Calico sucks!  I love GB!  Are you kidding, GB is terrible!  This one is too expensive, this one doesn’t have good customer service, this one has too many embelishments, this one has too many cards, this one’s cards are getting too flimsy . . . everyone has their own opinion.  If you’re interested in subbing, I would just go to the company’s website, look at the current kit, look at their past kits, and just pull the trigger on one or none, or maybe more if you have the money.

Here’s a list of possibilities for you:

So, this was what was in my little box of happy, called Bluegrass Farm, this month:


And a better look:

contentsofbox2So, let’s talk money for a second.  The SC kit is $19.99 + shipping, coming to $25.49.  This little pile right here – those Paislee Press stamps alone are going to cost you between $8-$12 (just a guess, but pretty much what fancy stamps cost at Michaels without a coupon). There are two rolls of washi – thin, but two rolls – probably $3.50.  Those alpha cork stickers – probably $2.  And then there’s the other little stuff – the two badges/flairs, the ampersand clip, the sheet of label stickers, the stars, a 4 x 6 photo overlay and the red shipping label (well, I don’t know what that’s about but it’s in there).  So, before you even get to the cards, and estimating the stamps at the low end of the spectrum – you’ve got at least $15.00 of stuff.   Is it stuff that I would necessarily put in my cart if you gave me a gift card and sent me to Michaels?  Probably not – but that’s why I love it!  Someone else picked it for me, and it makes me happy happy happy.  There were some rumblings that this month’s kit was “skimpy” but you get what you pay for – and if I pay $19.99 I expect to get $19.99 worth of stuff, not $25 worth of stuff, and honestly, I think that if you add it all up, you are probably getting $25 worth of stuff some months, maybe even this month.  I don’t really think about it until I read something negative about it – and I think, hey, this little box made me so happy! go pick on one of the more expensive kits.

Anyway, now the cards –

contentsofboxcardscontentsofboxcards2This kit comes with 30 double sided cards – so a little less than 1/3 of a Becky HIggins mini-kit, which comes with 100 cards.  A minikit goes for $14.99, so a third would be about $5.00 – and there you go – you’ve now gotten to the $19.99.  This month the cards were designed by Amy Tangerine, Dear Lizzy and Maggie Holmes.  Names are familiar?  Why yes they are because they design for the Becky Higgins brand.  So, it’s not surprising that some cards might also be found in another Dear Lizzy or Maggie Holmes kit – and no one else should be surprised either (a big complaint this month was that cards were dupes if you had the other ktis) because Becky Higgins works with Studio Calico, and this is a Project Life brand kit.

Dupes shmoops.  This is so totally worth it for the smile it puts on my face when I open the box every month.

Now, true devotees of Studio Calico get sucked into the rest of Project Life monthly bruhaha.  SC creates the monthly kit, and then – there are add-ons.  Not just a little roll of washi, or another set of stamps – but stand alone kits, that cost more than the basic monthly kit.  These addons are released for presale to subscribers at an annointed time – and bam! They are gone within minutes.  It’s a slaughter – folks jam the site right at midnight, fill their carts without even looking what they’ve put in them, and in the few minutes they have with their cart, they decide if they’re going to throw anything back for those who got there at 12:05.  This is craziness.  It’s just paper products.  So, I don’t even look at the addons – if I wanted another kit, I would just subscribe to another club. The addons go way beyond my needs – I just need my little box of happy once a month, and I’m good.

And, since this kit is pretty down home, and farmy, I’ll probably use it for knitter’s high holy day, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival – first week in May people!

More little boxes of happy, sigh.



I’ve Got Nothing . . .

Except Project Life pages.

This is not what I intended when I moved my blog – that I would pop in once a week (or once a month, sheesh), and just post my scrapbook pages.  But, that’s all of I’ve got for you today.  I need to get to the bottom of this ASAP.

But, in the meantime, here they are:

Week of March 9 –



mar9p1No, Joe really isn’t trying to murder me with an iron, he’s just goofing around.  He definitely watches too many movies, plays too many video games.  He wasn’t even mad when I broke his iron (yep, his iron – he does the ironing in this household) – I guess because he knew I would get him a super duper new one.  And, it is super duper – it’s the Rowenta Steamforce – vertical steam, steam motion, variable steam – it’s all about the steam.  And then, in the bottom corner we have a shot of our t.v. – and yes, we’re on it.  Its the new camera for the Playstation 4, and I think the game that comes with it is called Playroom.  Playroom spits out bots from your controller, and you can interact with them – well, to a certain extent – you can swat them around, scoop them up, etc.  I’m sure the kiddos will love them when they come to visit.  As far as supplies go, I think this is mostly the March Studio Calico kit – I like that so many of The Lilypad designers design for Studio Calico – so it’s not a stretch from the digital supplies I had been using.

mar9p2And don’t be fooled by the 66 degrees card.  Yeah, we had one warm day, maybe two, and we were able to take the Camaro out, but it snowed again the next week.  Again, this is the Kraft core kit, stuff from Studio Calico, and stuff I cut out with my Portrait.

Week of March 16 –


mar16p1I just had to throw that potato chip bag in there. Joe thinks we’ve gained weight this winter because we haven’t exercised, and I bring him treats.  I think it might be perhaps eating Chicken and Waffle flavored chips at 2 in the morning.  But, what do I know?  I’m not eating at 2 a.m., and I’m still a pudge wudge.  And, Joe’s partner did buy me a bag of the chips after he heard I was intrigued – they’re actually pretty good – they kind of taste like french toast, not waffles, but that’s ok.  The Cheesy Frenchbread version is much better.

mar16p2And yes, we did go for Mexican with my parents on St. Patrick’s Day, not for Guiness and fish and chips.  Now that I’m not single and I don’t drink like a fiend, St. Patrick’s Day really has fallen off my calendar.  If it weren’t my boss’s birthday, it would probably pass me by completely.  Anyway, we met my parents for dinner because the cabinet place we went to was around the corner from them, so it was a convenient meet up.  We of course were talking kitchen, which prompted my dad to go into a reverie about their home, etc., and I recounted his much recounted stories on a journal card tucked behind their photo.  I find that since I started tucking away journal cards, my stories are getting longer, and more detailed.  Next thing you know, I’ll get a typewriter and my stories will get even longer.

And, speaking of typewriters, and handwriting, and stuff.  I saw a tutorial online where someone used the sketch pen function of the Silhouette to journal on their cards.  I thought about it for like a minute, and opted against it.  The biggest time saver of switching from digital to hybrid has been the handwriting of the journal cards instead of doing them on the computer.  I write my story and boom, it’s done.  There’s no formatting it to fit the card, no time spent thinking about fonts, and no editing of the final story.  I used to spend a good 10-20 minutes on a journal card – getting it just right.  And now – five minutes tops, depending on whether its a brief 3 x 4 card, or one of the cards I’m privately tucking away.  So, my handwriting isn’t the prettiest – oh well.  I just have to rely on the photos, the cards, and the doodads to pretty it up.

Last week –


mar23p1Here’s something a bit different – instead of using a core kit, or Studio Calico, I used my bargain find from Peachy Cheap – for $9.99 I got October Morning’s 9 to 5 paper kit – an 8 x 8 paper pad, a package of journal cards, a package of diecuts of stars and journal spots, a roll of washi tape, and another package of I think labels.  The brown polka dot cards are I think from 5th and Frolic, and the stickers are from Snap.  Some of the doo dads are from Just Jaimee’s April Storyteller kit that I cut with the Portrait, and I think there’s a Studio Calico thingy here and there – like the Emily Merritt flair on the title card.

Joe was very pleased when he took the photo of me in my PL mess – he thought it was just like Bryenna’s mess.  But, my mess was temporary – once I was finished – all back in the box.  Bryenna’s – I’m not so sure.  It looked like more than several days of hard playing in her tiny room.  But, the analogy made him happy.

And, speaking of happy – this actually wasn’t such a happy week, and I that’s one of the reasons why I used the 9 to 5 kit this week – the secretary on the phone was a good way to show we had been to our lawyers this week, without it being too much of a drag on the face of it.  We had a custody hearing about my stepson the next day, and the journaling about that is on a card tucked away behind the This is Us photo.

mar23p2So, there’s kind of a private scrapbook going on, and a public one.  The journal card that I wrote about my Continuing Legal Ed class continues on the back, where I talk about specifics about a client’s case – I would never write that stuff on the blog, privilege and what not.

And, that’s about it.  I’ve made some mail art, and forgotten to photograph it.   I’ve been practicing my calligraphy, and I’ve done some knitting – even finished something, but didn’t feel like taking out the DSLR.  I bought some charm squares to make a baby quilt – which is my plan for the rest of the afternoon until Joe gets up.  Since I’ve been in class since Thursday, I decided to take today off – I was totally bitter about losing my entire weekend.  So, hopefully, I’ll have something else to post about other than scrapbooking – because now that I’ve ditched the digital – it really takes up so little of my time – this weeks layout took maybe an hour on Saturday, and another hour last night.

The underlying problem seems to be the actual act of blogging – the taking the decent photos and actually get them into a blog post.  I’ll have to think on that one – what I can do to make that more streamlined.

Off to think and sew.






Project Life v. Pocket Scrapping

I wish I could say I’ve been super duper productive, and that’s why I haven’t touched the blog in over 10 days, but I haven’t.  I was sort of busy at work, and I was sort of busy knitting.  A lot of sortas, but whatever.  I have kept up with my pocket scrapping –

feb23spreadUnfortunately, I have still not found the magic spot in my house to take my photos.  This clearly isn’t it.  I think when the weather gets better, I’m going to try to shoot them on my driveway in the shade.  Anyway, as you can see, we had a morning visitor a few weeks ago.  Mr. Fox was looking pretty haggard, suffering in this unusually bleak season.  But, as bad as I felt for him, I felt worse for the poor little rabbit he chose for breakfast.  The bunnies have definitely taken a hit around our house – when we moved in, we were infested with bunnies – now . . . enough said I guess.  But, it was very nice of Mr. Fox to pose for me, even after I had nudged the window open to slide my lens outside – he definitely heard it, and definitely saw me.  He looked at me quizzically before he ran off.  I think he was saying, “do you want to be next?”  I definitely kept my eye on little Olive when I let her out shortly after.

And, the next week –



As you can see, we have a whole lot of nothing going on – anyone who shies away from this project because they think they can’t fill a full week of pockets is mistaken.  There’s not one thing on this page that I won’t be happy to remember, and, what you can’t see is, I’ve started tucking journaling cards behind photos, not necessarily because I don’t want them read on the blog (because frankly, with my handwriting, I doubt anyone could read them anyway), but because I have longer stories to tell, just of every day life.  For instance, behind the photo of the soup, you can see a little tab sticking up – that’s one of the bifold 4 x 6 cards that comes in the Project Life core kits.  The front card with the photo, talks about how on Fridays, I treat myself to the soup at the Thai takeout place that opened across the street from our office.  The tab card is about why I treated myself – I did a pretty emotionally draining sentencing that morning, and I wrote a little about my client’s case, how I felt about things, and tucked it away.  And, behind one of the pictures of me and my friend Melissa, I wrote about our history of watching the Oscars together, and how we did on our polls, etc.  So, I’m trying to maximize my space with my storytelling options.

And, you’ll notice I referred to my project as not Project Life, but pocket scrapping, and that’s not because I did the Pocket Source blog hop, and wanted to keep it general.  It’s because since Thursday, I’ve been watching Becky Higgins on CreativeLive.  CreativeLive is awesome – I’ve been on their mailing list for a long time, but I didn’t realize that everyday, they have replays going of their old shows (in the past, mostly photography and the business of photography, but they’re branching out into the craft market as well).  The deal with CreativeLive is that if you can catch the class while it’s airing – and they’re usually 3 day classes, although they do have shorter one day affairs, it’s free, but if you miss it, you can buy the class.  I had no idea that they’re constantly replaying their content, for free.  Becky Higgins did a three day workshop on Project Life awhile back, and since the 3 days were Thurs, Fri and Saturday, there was no way I was taking off work to watch it, so I forgot about it.  Since Thursday, they’ve been replaying the seminar in a loop – so I’ve caught ten minutes here, twenty minutes there.  I’ve seen a lot of the first and third days, but I’m having a hard time catching day 2.  In any event, after watching Becky, I realized that I am not exactly doing the Becky HIggins’ method of Project Life.

I do embrace a lot of what she says – keep it simple and cultivate a good life and then record it – in other words, spending time making the life you want is more important than recording the life you have – make the memories, use your precious time to spend with your family, and being that better person, and then worry about recording it in the most simple way possible.  But, beyond the philosophy, her method of filling the pockets really undercuts creativity.

She only prints 4 x 6.  No 3 x 4’s in the pockets.  She batch processes – meaning, she’ll take all of her photographs at one time, put them in the pockets – for several weeks, even months – and then she’ll go back and slip in the 3 x 4 journal cards.  Her project is really an annotated photo album.  And I want mine to be more,  During the seminar, she keeps saying that’s ok . . . but. . .  and then pushes her no embelishment, 4 x 6 agenda.  She’s so committed to this no embelishment theory that I’m really surprised that she entered into a partnership with Studio Calico, a subscription kit that definitely includes embelishments (although, I would say that it is embelishment light and journal card heavy compared to some other kit clubs).

Don’t get me wrong – her philosophy has made this project manageable for so many people, and the more people telling stories, to me, creates a more thoughtful community in general. But, I like my doo dads, doing one week at a time, spending a couple of hours on just one week, having different size photos to create interest on the page – all of that stuff that made me want to go hybrid. I never did traditional scrapbooking – until I discovered digiscrapping, and I’m not so sure I want to keep up with that – because I never understood all of that decoration around a photo – I did understand the need to tell a story though, and with these pockets, I’ve found a method I really like, and I get.  The decoration on my pages – arrows, word art, that kind of stuff – generally has something to do with the story I’m trying to tell.

So that’s my ramblings for today.  This aftenroon, I’m taking my trial partner’s son’s engagement photos.  I’m pretty nervous about it since I haven’t spent much quality time with my DSLR in awhile.  I should have watched the photo videos on CreativeLive instead of Becky.  Oh well.


Cute Little Boxes!

Ha ha ha – I got another day off, and we hardly got any snow!  Boondoggle!

We were supposed to get 6-10 inches, so court’s closed for today sometime yesterday afternoon, when a snow emergency was declared in Philly.  Ha ha ha, we only got maybe 2″. Joe says the roads in Philly are a mess, and that rush hour, when it was still snowing was bad, but really – there’s hardly an emergency here.  Oh well!  I’m not complaining, I’m just giggling.

Anyway, I don’t know if you noticed from my last post – my quickly accumulated stash needs a bit of organizing.  So, now that I’m the Silhouette master, I went to the Silhouette store, and downloaded 2 projects with the $10 card that came with the Portrait – both projects were .99 cents.  First, I made the little magazine holders for 3 x 4 cards



magboxes2Totally cute, and it took all of five minutes to make, but not quite right – I wanted something I could flip through – cards at my fingertips.  So, I tried my hand at a more work intensive project (the magazine holders are so easy peasy – the box is only 2 pieces, and then the covering mats if you want them).  It’s not hard, it just has more pieces that have to be cut. This is Lori’s 3d vertical journaling card storage box, and she has a youtube video how to put it together here:





Perfect for my 1/3 set of Fifth and Frolic that I got through my Facebook trade.

I’m not the best gluer, and my messiness was compounded by only having a glue stick instead of a nice squirt craft clue, or sturdy double sided tape – so I did some washi decorating to hide my not so neat edges.  But it works, and it’s pretty sturdy.  I don’t have any really thick cardstock, or what Silhouette calls “chipboard” which isn’t really chipboard but more like thin cardboard, so I cut my boxes out of file folders (which is the same setting on the Silhouette as Silhouette brand chipboard – see, not really chipboard), and then I covered them with patterned paper.  The inside is not so cute – the manilla file folder is pretty blah.  I think if I were to make another one, I would use a patterned file folder.

So, that was my snowday craft project.  Now I’ll move on to my next project – sitting in front of the t.v.