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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday - My First Layout

Yup - here it is - my very first layout!


Isn't it amazing??????

(and yes, I'm being sarcastic!)

If you read my post here on practicing techniques before you scrap, this is what I came up with after several weeks of playing with pics of my nieces and nephews. I put this layout together in the summer of 2008, when sticker-sneeze and cutting photos into shapes were on their way out as popular techniques. I think I did a good job of using color, especially color blocking with solid papers. I like how I did the title. And, I like how I did less of the "sticker sneeze" and more grouping stickers into purposeful layouts.

My design, however, sucked! There is no clear focal point photo, no direction to lead the eye, and nothing visually anchoring the photos and embellishments to the page.

But, you know what? Scrapbooking is an ongoing learning experience. I've been doing this for six years now. Each layout I complete is a stepping stone to a better layout. And when I'm in my 80s and still scrapbooking, I'll still be learning and growing.

There is no finality to our hobby. Even the scrapbooking goddesses out there are still learning and growing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Ankle Saga

blurred for your comfort

Poor Alyssa has had the year from hell as far as her ankle is concerned!

She sprained the heck out of it during a soccer game in July, 2013. She wasn't able to walk on it without support & had to wear one of those big black walking boots for about 3 weeks. After that time, her doctor told her to just "keep walking on it" and it would eventually heal.

After that, she could walk OK, but her ankle never felt stable and she wasn't able to run like she used to. It certainly never returned to normal as her doctor had promised.

Throughout the spring of this year, Alyssa's ankle kept getting worse and worse and she began to have pain in other parts of her foot that weren't affected by the initial sprain. So, she went to a different doctor, who immediately prescribed physical therapy.

The therapist examined her ankle and said "there's no way that therapy is going to fix this." She had Alyssa's doctor order an MRI, which showed her outer ligaments stretched beyond repair.

It was surgery time!

Her procedure was done on Aug. 11. The doctor tightened up the ligaments, reattached them to her ankle bone, and then stitched her back up. She was put in a splint & told to stay off the ankle for 2 weeks.

Those first two weeks were totally miserable. Alyssa had problems with nausea, low appetite, and fatigue, not to mention a sense of total helplessness. She is one who isn't used to relying on other people to do stuff for her and it was making her mad! She would come up with these brilliant solutions to work around her crutches, like sticking a can of soda down her shirt to carry it to her room. I would ask if she wanted help and she'd say "no, I've got it!"


Two weeks after surgery, I took her in to get her splint off, stitches out, and to be fitted for a walking boot. She was then allowed to put weight on her ankle with the intent of being weaned off the crutches. That took her two days. And MAN, does she feel so much better not being reliant on other people.

Alyssa will still be in her boot for another 6 weeks or so. She can now stand for a few minutes unsupported without the boot, which thrills her but scares the crap out of me! Each day is getting a little bit better and better. She's just praying it doesn't snow before she can start wearing shoes again!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Zack's Vehicle Adventure




Zack is now a car owner!

Ever since he got his license last year, he's been on the hunt for his own car. It's been difficult, though, seeing as his work hours have been varied and he has his other household expenses to deal with. In order to get to work, he's been taking the bus, but if he had to work late, we'd have to go pick him up. His social life was totally dependent on his friends being able to provide transportation.

When taking Alyssa back to school after her ankle surgery, she mentioned that her boyfriend's dad was selling his old Jeep Cherokee. Its a 1999 vehicle with 180,000 miles on it, but she said it's in great condition, plus he was asking only $2750 for it! I texted Zack immediately - CALL THIS GUY!!!! That night, after I returned home, Zack was at our house doing his laundry. I gave him the phone number and had him call.

The next night, Zack and I, along with Zack's Grandpa, went to look at the vehicle. Seeing as its a 1999 vehicle, I figured it would be rather beat up. But, no, I was pleasantly surprised! This Jeep looked fantastic! The body is in great condition, the interior is spotless, and the engine purrs like a kitten! This was too great of a deal to pass up!

So, Zack is now the proud owner of a 1999 Jeep Cherokee. He's now putting together a winter survival kit (blankets, shovel, sand, etc) and learning what it takes to keep up a vehicle like this. He calls it "his project."

And we no longer have to go out at 10pm on weekend nights to pick Zack up from work!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beginning Back-To-Basics Scrapbooking: Practice Before You Cut & Glue

A much belated post in my Beginning Back-To-Basics series - I know!

This week, we're going to look at how you can practice scrapbooking techniques before you use your actual pictures.

Before I made my first bona-fide scrapbook page, I used school pictures of my nieces and nephews to practice techniques. Now, this isn't to say that pics of my in-laws' adorable children aren't important. Using school pictures (or Christmas card pictures, etc) is nice because all you have to focus on is just the photo & technique - no journaling, etc.

Here are some examples of my practice pages:




Genius works of art, aren't they?

But here's a few things I learned from these pages:

  1. I learned about colors & how to choose papers based on the colors in my photos.
  2. I learned about matting photos.
  3. I learned how to print text "mirror-image" on my computer and cut out letters with a craft knife.
So, this is my tip for you this week: use photos that you don't intend to scrap to make practice pages. You'll learn a lot, plus those pages will give you something to look back on and smile. 

Happy Scrapping!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Zumba Class 8/9 Track List

Here's the playlist I used in class this morning. Links to purchase music on iTunes are included for available songs.

Alena's 9Min-130Bpm WarmUp - DJ Baddmixx
Menea la Pera (Merengue) - BIP
Fuego (Cumbia) - Kumbia Kings
Grita Gol (Batucada) - Zumba Fitness
Salorien (Rumba Flamenca/Belly Dance) - Zumba Fitness
Del Puente Pa' Alla (Salsa) - Charlie Zaa
Rumba Buena (Batucada) - Zumba Fitness
Toma Reggaeton (Reggaeton) - Zumba Fitness
Boom (Merengue Electronico) - Grupo Treo
Blin Blin (Flamenco/Salsa) - Zumba Fitness
Fire - "Glee" Cast
Drops of Jupiter - Train

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beginning Back-To-Basics Scrapbooking: All You Need Is....

So you've got the itch to make pretty scrapbook layouts, but when you Google "scrapbooking," all these gorgeous, time-consuming, artistic layouts made with supplies & techniques you've never heard of pop up. It's enough to make you say "screw it!"

Believe me - I've been scrapping for 6 years, and I get those feelings too!

But then I remind myself - all you need to make pretty layouts is three items:


(1) Patterned paper and/or card stock; (2) photos; and (3) a pen for journaling.

That's it!

(I should add a 4th thing - you'll need some type of adhesive to make your photo stick down.)

I'm going to walk you through the process of how to make a layout using these 3 items, plus a few embellishments.

First, you need a photo.


I'm going to use just one photo for this layout. This is a selfie I took when I was substitute teaching in an art class. 

Look closely at your photo. What is the dominant color in your photo? Once you find your dominant color, select a piece of patterned paper or card stock in that color. In my photo, the dominant color is a greenish-blueish color, so I'm going to use that color as my background paper.

I found this paper from American Crafts Dear Lizzy "Daydreamer" line. It has that same greenish-blueish color in it, although it is a little bit lighter than the colors in my photo. That's OK. Even if it's lighter or darker, it is still the same color, so it works.


I decided to adhere my background patterned paper to a sheet of white card stock, just to give it a stronger foundation. I cut an inch off the side and off the top of the patterned paper, applied adhesive, and then mounted it in the center of the white card stock. It gives a nice half-inch border around the patterned paper.
















If you select a really busy pattern for your paper, you can always mat your photo. Just cut a piece of plain paper or card stock to be just slightly bigger than your photo and adhere your photo to it. That way, it will act as a buffer between your photo and the busy pattern of the paper.


The pattern in my paper isn't that overwhelming, so I decide to place my photo directly on it.


Next I add my journaling. If you use plain card stock instead of patterned paper (or if the pattern is very subtle), you can write your journaling directly there. Because the pattern I chose has a little more substance to it, I chose to use a separate journaling card.

Now, this can be anything! It can be a scrap piece of paper or card stock. It can be a pre-printed card with lines on it. It doesn't matter! The card I used is from Becky Higgins' Project Life line - it's just a plain basic 3x4 card with a grid pattern.


I wanted my card to be as far away from the left edge of the layout as my photo is from the right edge, so I cut off part of my card. I tucked it under the photo at a slight angle (just because I felt like being funky - watch out world!!!!) and wrote my journaling.


Now, your journaling doesn't have to be Pulitzer Prize-quality writing! Just tell your story! Start with the W's: who, what, where, when. Maybe add in some personal touches - how did you feel, etc.

You'll notice my writing isn't anything special, but it gets the point across. That's what matters!


Now, for the final touches: the title & other embellishments:


I usually only use one type of sticker for my titles, but I didn't have enough of the round type stickers to do my whole title. I had the blue stickers in my stash, so I added those to finish my title.

Letter stickers make titles very easy!















One way to make scrapping very easy is to buy your papers and embellishments from the same line. The round letter stickers and the puffy heart I used are all from the Dear Lizzy "Daydreamer" line, just like my patterned paper. That way, you don't have to worry if your things coordinate. The manufacturer already did that for you!

So here's the finished layout. It has the three necessities: paper, photo, journaling. A few embellishments make it pretty and help to tell the story.


And it wasn't hard to do!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Beginning Scrapbooking Series

A discussion has been occurring over on the Paperclipping forums (go check out this fabulous new community!) about things that may discourage people from beginning to scrapbook. One of the more popular theories is that today's styles in scrapbooking are very artsy and heavy on techniques. This can be overwhelming to people who are just starting out - the learning curve can be really high!

So I thought - what about a back to basics approach? Let's teach people the basics of scrapbooking - photos, paper, journaling, maybe a few embellishments. So, this summer, I'm going to be doing a series of blog posts about the basics of scrapbooking. How do you get started? What are the absolutely essential supplies & tools that are needed? How can you dabble in this fabulous hobby without taking out a second mortgage on your home?

If you know of anyone who could be helped by this series, please pass on my blog info!