Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Christmas Wish Came True

My one and only Christmas wish came true. I got a job! As many of you know, I've been unemployed nearly a year, so this was truly an amazing gift. I am beyond thrilled! I'm doing work I'm excited and passionate about, which makes it even more amazing. I'm still absorbing it all and I'm still a bit in shock actually. But I can't wait to get started.

I'm so ready to put 2011 behind me. It's been a difficult year worrying about money, worrying about my future, carrying a lot of humiliation and enduring a lot of rejection. I am so very thankful to my parents, my brother and my sister who kept me going, who reminded me I could do it, who edited countless cover letters, who provided comic relief, who listened to me cry and yell in frustration and anger, and so much more. I simply couldn't have done it without them.

There were also many friends, former colleagues and complete strangers that gave of their time, shared advice and provided counsel. I am in their debt.

I also want to be clear that it wasn't all doom and gloom. There were definitely wonderful times this year, like meeting Josh Ritter, being published for the first time, traveling to the North Shore, and seeing my brother and his family more than any other year in recent memory. Hey, that gives me an idea for a layout!

I learned a lot too and I'm sure as I have more time to reflect, I'll realize even more. I could write a novel on the dos and don'ts of navigating unemployment, but here are a few that came to mind.

I learned that tenacity and perseverance pays off.
I learned that so many people want to help, but don't always know how. I learned I needed to ask.
I learned that getting up everyday with a to do list in hand was essential.
I learned that listening to all the financial gurus about saving for a rainy day totally paid off.
I learned it was okay and good for my mental health to take time to have fun and treat myself every once in awhile to take out or a movie.
I learned that volunteering was critical for keeping perspective.
I learned there is so much more to what makes a person worthy and special than what they do for a living.

I feel like the world is full of opportunities again. I can start dreaming and planning and wishing again.  I'm already excited about a few things on the horizon. I'm also thinking about how I can pay forward all of the love and kindness I received. 2012 is going to be awesome.

Friday, December 16, 2011


loving this fun mail I received from my parents.

reading Crossed.

feeling relieved and happy.

working on making tags for my presents.

hoping the weather cooperates for holiday travel.

enjoying wrapping gifts and taking out all the decorations.

wishing I had more time to blog and create stuff....a.ka. December Daily.

thinking of new ideas for the blog in 2012.

making lots of lists.

expressing a lot of gratitude for my Christmas wish coming true.

celebrating one of two Christmases this weekend.

I first saw this currently type post on Tina Aszmus' blog

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Daily 5-11

I'm having a hard time keeping up with December Daily this year. Taking pictures has been a big fail this year too. But I'm still chugging along. Today, I have days 5-11 to share. You can see more of my December Daily here.

Day 5 | My Wish

For day 5, I wrote up my wish list for this Christmas. One of them has already come true! More on that tomorrow.

Day 6 | On This Day

For day 6, I decided to look back 10 years. I got out my journal from back then and wrote down a few notes of what was going on and made a copy of our family photo. Three of the kids weren't born yet, so it was really strange to look at that photo and not see them there! This was a fun thing to do. I'll have to remember it again next year.

Day 8 | The Best Day Of All

The journaling is on the right hand side, and since it was a bit more personal, I decided against posting it. But I enjoyed using a bunch of different letter stickers and two great Elle's Studio tags. The littlest ones are so small and adorable.

I'm still working on Days 7 and 9.

Day 10 | Top Ten Memories

For day 10, I thought it would be fun to write out the top 10 memories of 2011. Even though this was a difficult year, there was a lot of great stuff too. And I could have kept going past 10. It's good to take time to remember.

Day 11 

I realized I didn't put a title on this page. Oops. Today, I journaled a few sentences about seeing a good friend and her new baby girl. A good day.

So, there you go. I'm caught up. Sort of. It's not everything I want it to be, but I'm rolling with it. One family Christmas is coming up this weekend. I can't believe it's already here. Lots to do! Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a merry Monday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Is For Awesome

I'm getting this in just under the wire. When I saw this week's sketch on the Sketchy Thursdays blog, I knew right away that I wanted to blog about my day out with my niece. I started it last week and then life took over. I just finished it up tonight.

I liked all the places for photos and the large space for journaling. Worked perfectly to tell this story. I'm still really enjoying the Amy Tangerine collection and Elle's Studio tags. The rest is from various My Mind's Eye collections. Sorry for the dark photos! Winter and shorter days have arrived and are here to stay.

My plan is to share the next few pages of my December Daily on Friday. I hope you stop back.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1| I've had this photo on my mind ever since I saw the Dear Photograph site. The idea is to take a picture from the past in the present. It's not technically perfect, but I love it all the same. It's me on my bike holding my most favorite stuffed animal. My Mom and Grandma performed a lot of surgeries on that bear.

2| Thanksgiving flew by. We played a lot of 500 and Uno. The kids stayed in their jammies. My youngest niece "sold" us a lot of Pretty Ponies. We enjoyed amazing food. I made a brussels sprouts and bacon side dish. I think I'm on my own liking the brussels sprouts. Oh well. We celebrated my Dad's birthday. In addition to an apple cake, pumpkin pie, and brownies, my Mom made a chocolate birthday cake. We were not lacking for something sweet. Unfortunately, after we all went to our respective homes, we all got sick, except for my two nieces. Thankfully, it was short and sweet.

3| I finished The Hunger Games. Now, I'm reading Birthmarked. Another young adult series portraying a bleak future. We need books with some hope in it. Jeepers.

4| On Sunday night, I roasted some brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and chickpeas. I opened a beer and watched Family Stone. I love Sundays.

5| We got our first snow of December. Unfortunately, I had to drive in it. Not a fan. I prefer to admire it from inside a cozy blanket.

6| This weekend, I'm hauling out the holiday decorations. I love decorating this time of year. All the twinkle lights equals awesome.

7| I'm loving these twine letters that Tina made. I'm definitely adding them to my "try it" list.

8| I have completely fallen off the exercise bandwagon. I'm not sure what happened. I just stopped. I do walk to an internship, so I get my body moving a couple of times a week. Winter is always really difficult for me to stay moving. It's so easy to hibernate until Spring. Any advice to keep it interesting?

9| I'm working on December Daily this month, but I have quite a few other ideas brewing too. I've been thinking about how to include more pages about my parents, siblings and siblings-in-law. I decided to send them a set of questions on their birthday each year and then do a page with their answers. I think this will be a really neat series of pages. I have two sets of answers waiting for me. Now, I just need to find the time!

10| I have a big week ahead. If you could send good thoughts and prayers my way, I would so appreciate it. Thank you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Daily 1-4

Wow. I didn't mean to disappear for so long. The job hunt has heated up and while I'm so thankful for these opportunities, it's also a lot of hard work and very time consuming. Something had to give and that's usually the good ol' blog. But today I'm back with the first few days of my December Daily.

This is my fourth year making a December Daily. This has become a really enjoyable tradition for me every year. I enjoy the process and having an album documenting all the goodness of the season. You can read more about this project on Ali Edwards' blog. 

This year, I decided to make the same size album as last year. (You can find posts from last year's book here.) It's a little larger than 4x6. The front and back cover are cardboard. The inside pages are cut to 4x6 and I bind it all with two binder clips. This size book is really easy to make, which was a really important factor for me. I cut enough pages, so I could document one day using a two page layout.

Ali encourages people to get the base of the album all finished before the month arrives, so you're more likely to finish the project during this busy time. For me, I prefer to have the pages cut, but I don't add any embellishments until I'm ready to scrap that day. I've found that if the pages have too much already on them, it alters how I tell the story. So, I make it work for me and make the pages as I go.


As I said, the cover is just some cardboard. I covered it with a bunch of different washi tapes. Then I added the tag, twine, and a few stickers. I'm loving the tape.


For the opening page, I wrote my Christmas manifesto. I got this idea from Shimelle Laine. 

DAY 1 | A New Do

DAY 2 | A Day to Celebrate

DAY 3 | First Snow

DAY 4 | Crafty 

I'm using the Season's Greetings collection from Echo Park as the base pages for the book. I'm also using Elle's Studio Vintage Mix and Match Numbers for each day. I'm keeping simple. Just adding a title, a few tags, buttons, and stickers, etc. I'm most interested in the photos and the journaling.

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you're making a December Daily, I hope it's going well. To everyone: I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating this magical time of year.