Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1| I want to be back where this photo was taken. On my parent's patio. Enjoying a cold drink. Playing cards. Watching my nieces and nephew drenching themselves with the hose. I want more days like that.

2| I can't believe we welcome September this week. While I don't want to see summer go, I am craving soups and long sleeved shirts and cooler nights. It happens without even thinking about it. My body and mind are programmed for these changes whether I like it or not.

3| I saw Source Code and Something Borrowed. Not too impressed with either one, unfortunately. Source Code was really boring, which is surprising considering it was about stopping a terrorist attack. Something Borrowed was just the same ol', same ol', woman loves man, man loves woman, but they don't tell each other until the last minutes of the movie. You just want to bang their heads together. Wow, those were scathing. Sorry, if you enjoyed them. Just not my cup of tea.

4| The other day, I volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. A non-profit that uses volunteers to hand pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children and ships it to countries in need. I, along with 53 other volunteers packed over 18,000 meals to feed 50 children in Haiti for a year. Not too shabby for a couple of hours. Still a lot to do though. I'm already signed up for another shift.  

5| I'm starting to pay attention to the TV premieres. I'm looking forward to The Good Wife and Parenthood returning. A new show I might check out is New Girl on Fox. I'm a fan of Zooey Deschanel.

6| I know the end of summer is near when the State Fair starts. I'm heading there this week. I enjoy people watching and eating various fried foods. I won't be eating fried butter on a stick however.

7| I'm so jealous of people who have iphones and are using the Instagram app. I love the effect on the photos.

8| I didn't get a chance to make a blueberry crisp while at home. It's definitely on my list this week. Another to do brought on by the approaching fall season.

9| The Studio Calico design team knocked it out of the park this month. Everyone's galleries are really amazing. There's too many favorites to list here. Truly amazing work. Check it out here.

10| One of my passions is to advocate for more affordable housing and to eliminate homelessness and poverty. I attended a training the other night and among the list of resources they gave us, one was called Spent. It's an online activity that challenges you to survive for a month by making tough choices as a low-wage worker. I failed on day 17. Will it save the world? No. But maybe it will offer you some perspective. Or maybe it will be a reminder of the millions of those who struggle everyday, especially children and you'll want to do something about it. Like volunteer or donate to a non-profit. Or maybe you'll just hug your loved ones a little tighter. Try it out. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fun Run

Good Monday morning to you. After being away for a week, I spent this weekend catching up on cleaning and organizing the never ending piles of paper and grocery shopping and doing laundry. Really exciting, but it needed to be done. Feels good to be starting the week with a lot of the to do list crossed off. I also had some time to scrap, which also felt good.

I used the sketch up on the Elle's Studio blog to create this page. I don't often scrap vertically, like the sketch, so I rotated it 180 degrees and used three photos instead of one photo strip. But I used a bunch of scraps of paper like the sketch and of course Elle's Studio tags. My go to lately has been the Amy Tangerine collection and Elle's Studio tags. Can't get enough!

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stretch Your Sketches No. 10 (and more Amy Tangerine)

Last night, I had some time to whip up another page using Amy Tangerine goodies. Have I mentioned yet how much I love this collection?! Yes, I know I have. But it really is awesome. It makes creating so easy and fun. I also used the latest sketch from the Stretch Your Sketches challenge over on the Ella Publishing blog.

Here's the sketch.

And my page.

I stayed fairly close to the sketch, but changed the size and orientation of a couple of the photos. I cut a couple of half circles out of a few of the papers and used them to create a base for the photos and title to sit on. I also used a few of the stickers from the Good Times sticker book for the title, as well as the awesome Thickers. I added a few Elle's Studio tags and the journaling to balance it all out and called it done.

I've been enjoying using the Amy Tangerine papers as the base for my layout. I love the little people on this one. I usually use white cardstock, so it's been fun to change it up a bit.

Has anyone else been creating with Amy Tangerine? Link me up!

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spotlight on the City

Today is another post in my occasional Spotlight on the City series. You can read more about the series here.

I mentioned in a previous post that as part of a birthday wish of my Mom's, we visited several of the independent bookstores here in the metro area. We're lucky enough to have a number of thriving businesses.

We had the perfect day.
The weather was perfect.
The company was perfect.
Perusing the stacks was perfect.

Our first stop was Micawber's Books. This store was nestled in a quiet St. Paul neighborhood. The store had wood plank floors and living room style lamps hovering over comfortable leather chairs. The store smelled of books. It was fabulous. They had an excellent young adult section too.

Next up was Garrison Keillor's bookstore, Common Good Books. His store is a bit harder to find, as it's located in the basement of a larger building, but the subterranean nature adds to its charm. Even though it's in a basement there's great natural light shining on tunnels lined with books top to bottom.

All this perusing made us hungry, so we decided to stop for a bite to eat. We went across the street to the best outdoor patio in St. Paul; W. A. Frost. Delicious as always.

After getting recharged, we headed to Minneapolis and Birchbark Books. Owned by Minnesota author, Louise Erdrich, this store is also tucked away in a neighborhood and is an intimate space. Along with an eclectic selection of titles, it's also full of Native jewelry and artwork. The employees were especially helpful here. Sharing books they thought we might like after a bit of conversation. I wanted to cozy up with a cup of tea and stay awhile.

Last up, Once Upon A Crime. This stop was in a bit shadier part of Minneapolis, which fits nicely with the theme of the store; mysteries. Now, I'm not a fan. But my Mom and sister love a good mystery, so this was right up their alley. The store was also in a basement, but was darker and smaller than Garrison's. The windows were plastered with posters blocking out the light. Good pictures were not possible. To be quite honest, I won't be returning, but you should definitely check it out if you're a fan of the genre.

To top off the day, we stopped at Yum for cupcakes.

A perfectly sweet ending to a perfect day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

American Crafts & Amy Tangerine

I snatched up a few of the new products from the Amy Tangerine collection and was able to play a little bit. This collection is as cool as it looked online. The stitched and fabric papers are really fun. And of course, I love the Thickers. I am still looking forward to the washi tape and the mini album.

I saw this layout by Kelly Purkey, where she used confetti and knew I wanted to do this on a page too. I also love all the white space on her page. Genius.

I really love how it turned out. The stitched paper worked beautifully as the base for the page. I printed a couple of small photos, adhered the confetti, added a few stickers and the Thickers from the collection, a bit of journaling and I was done. Super simple. Simple equals awesome when time is tight. I can't wait for when I have time to play again.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Every year my family gets together for a week at my parent's house to celebrate what we've deemed Rick Fest. It's named after my brother who we lost to a car accident. It's our way of celebrating his life and our love for him and our love for each other. It's the best week of the year. And this year was no different.

Here are 10 highlights.

1| My niece and nephew performed a concert for us. They spent a lot of time practicing together and arranging the songs.  And they made programs too! I love their talent and creativity.

2| My brother loved running, so this year we had a Rick Fest Fun Run. We went to the high school track and ran a 400m and a 100m relay. What a blast!

3| Even though I always have the worst hands, I love playing 500.

4| Playing tennis, as always, makes me happy. I redeemed myself this year and won every game against my brother.

5| I enjoyed hearing about my nieces' and nephew's first fishing expedition. I loved the part about my niece's pink fishing pole reeling in the most fish.

6| Watching the cousins enjoy each other's company so much made me smile.

7| Seeing how excited my niece was to have a pony cake for her birthday was well worth tracking down the right cake pan.

8| I am most at peace when we're all sleeping under the same roof.

9| I loved receiving hugs for no reason.

10| I have the best family in the world. I am thankful for each of them everyday.

The time always goes by so, so quickly. I can't wait to be all together again.

I miss my brother terribly. I often feel him there with us during the week. Today would have been his 42nd birthday. I like to imagine him celebrating in heaven with my grandparents. Maybe playing a round or two of 500. Here's hoping he has a better hand. I love you Rick.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stretch Your Sketches No. 9

This week, life has been very complicated and very busy. A good complicated. A good busy. But I haven't been able to do a lot of blogging, which I'm bummed about. I am happy though to have found time to write a quick post with my layout for the Stretch Your Sketches Challenge on the Ella Publishing blog.

Here is the sketch:

And here is my take on the sketch:

I moved everything to the center. I used two photos to make up the one 4x6 on the right. But the journaling and the title match the sketch. I used a bunch of scraps from the Life is Good line from Echo Park. I also used a couple of Elle's Studio tags. I am totally hoarding these. They are so cool. The little banner was scraps too from the Lime Twist line from My Mind's Eye. I really enjoy using up little bits from here and there. It's very satisfying.

You can find my other layouts based on these sketches here.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Here's to a relaxing weekend!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1| I went to my first Twins game at Target Field. A couple of friends had tickets their parents couldn't use and they invited me to go. Such a fun treat to see them and to attend the game. The seats were fabulous, although to be honest, there wasn't a lot of watching the game, but a lot of catching up and eating. A beautiful evening. One I will always remember.

2| On Saturday, I spent the day with other Habitat for Humanity volunteers painting a two story house, from top to bottom. While it felt good on the inside, not so much on the outside. I totally overdid it. I spent all of Sunday recovering. A lot of sleeping, Advil and yoga.

3| Today I took a big bag of #5 plastics to Whole Foods. I love that Whole Foods recycles these types of plastics. My parents and even a few of their friends have joined me. Very cool. I'm slowly reducing my impact and it feels good. Whole Foods also recycles Brita water filters and wine corks. To learn more about how you can recycle #5s, go here.

4| I'm excited for cooler, less humid air.

5| Check out this short video called Move. Makes me want to jump on plane and go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Check out the other two videos too.

6| I finished Kristin Hannah's new book, Night Road. A book about a mother's love. A book about forgiveness and hope. A book about life after a great loss. I was drawn in instantly and became absorbed in the character's lives. I would add it to your read it list.

7| I've enjoyed seeing Ali Edwards' Week in the Life album come together. I have a lot of organizing to do, including choosing which photos to use, but I hope to start working on mine in the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed.

8| My family is having a book club discussion of The Help. We hope to also go to the movie together. I love that my family loves books. Actual books. The ones you hold in your hands. The ones that you smell and touch and experience. Is anyone else scared that bookstores will be something of the past 10 years from now? Or even sooner?

9| I have a lot of zucchini, so I will be making this for dinner tonight.

10| I saw Date Night again. There are very few movies where I'm doubled over in laughter, but I am when watching this movie. I am so thankful for laughter, for levity, for being silly, for letting go. Saves me more times than I can count.

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Favorite Quote

I didn't mean to be away for so long, but I was without Internet service for awhile this week. It's amazing how lost and off kilter I felt not being able to be connected. I finally went to a Starbucks to use their WiFi, so I could find out what the heck was going on in the world. Thankfully, I'm back in business.

Now onto the good stuff. When I saw this layout by Jenni Hufford when she was guest designer on the American Crafts blog, I knew I wanted to scraplift it. She rocked the Thickers. Such an amazing layout! I am a huge fan of Thickers, so this was right up my alley.

I found out that most of my Thickers were without the letter E, so I had to use some other alphabets. I like the combination of smaller and larger fonts. I reserved the Thickers for the more meaningful words.

I chose to use my favorite quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." I really loved how it turned out. It's now prominently displayed in a shadowbox in my living room. 

The paper is all Jillibean Soup. The other alphabet stickers are October Afternoon, Echo Park, Jenni Bowlin and Cosmo Cricket. The tags are Jillibean Soup, Canvas Home Basics and Elle's Studio.

Thanks Jenni for the inspiration! And as always, thanks so much for stopping by, especially during these busy summer days. I hope to back to regular blogging next week. Have a lovely weekend. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1| My friend gave me these flowers from her garden. They make me happy.

2| I signed up for ScrapFest. I wasn't planning to as my experience last year wasn't that great, but American Crafts has a class with Amy Tan's new line. I can't resist that.

3| I'm in full planning mode for the week my family spends together. Thinking up fun and new things for us to do together. I love this week. It's so good for my soul.

4| I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love. Fabulous film. Steve Carrell is a genius. He can do funny. He can do touching. He can do real. Will be adding it to my collection when it comes out.

5| I'm mourning that it's already August. I have so many things I still want to do before the weather changes again. Will need to sit down and make some serious plans.

6| On that note, a couple very thoughtful friends invited me to a Twins game. This was on my list of to dos this summer. This will be such a treat to go with them.

7| I finished Matched by Ally Condie. It's a book my niece is reading for her English class this fall. It's a fantastic book. I don't remember books being this good when I was her age. This book has stuck with me. I find myself thinking about it often. If you're looking for a fast moving, thought-provoking read, pick this book up. I warn you though, it's a series and the next book isn't out yet, so you'll be left hanging until then.

8| I enjoyed reading this blog post about How to talk to little girls. What Joanna says really rings true with me. I was nodding in agreement as I read it. I have three nieces and have thought about this often. I smiled too because talking about books is huge in our family. 

9| I've noticed the last three points have been about books. I told you they're huge in my family. My Mom requested for her birthday to go on an independent bookstore tour around the Twin Cities. We are blessed to have several very successful places here. We had such a fun day. Will be sharing soon in a Spotlight on the City post. 

10| This has been a tough year for me. I really hope and pray that pieces of my life start to fall into place soon. I've been working really hard and need some of that work to start paying off.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week In The Life/Saturday & Sunday

Walking to the farmer's market. (It's hard to see, but there's a poem in the sidewalk.)

Big fan of radishes.

At Pizzeria Lola. Delicious. And they had a photobooth!

Walker Art Museum/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

A cool refreshment.

A steamy, hazy day.

Steve Carrell is a genius.

Back to school shopping with my nieces. I picked up a notebook and Sharpie pens.

I'm so glad I decided to take on this project and that I stuck with it. There were definitely some harder days, but I'm thankful that I captured all of it through photos and journaling. There was a conversation on the Big Picture classes message board for Week In The Life that focused on how it can be difficult to really see your life. I resonated with this. To stop and notice how you spend your time can be eye opening and hard to swallow, especially if you're not spending your time in a way that makes you happy. I think while this can be difficult, it's also the point of the project. Yes, it's also fun to take pictures in interesting ways, but it's more to me than that. It's about being mindful. It's about living a life of purpose. Once you see it, you can make the choice to change it. There were a few things that I saw that I am not happy with. I am going to work really hard to try and integrate some changes. Thanks Ali for the idea and all the support and inspiration along the way.

Next up| Put it all together in an album. Still pondering how I'll do this. So many ideas sound good to me. A Smash book? A mini? An 8 1/2 x 11 album? I'm leaning toward a Smash book. I like the idea of something already put together and all I have to do is stick it on the page.

Thanks for going along on this journey with me.

Ten on Tuesday is back tomorrow. Happy August! Simply astonished it's already August.