Monday, February 28, 2011

Quotes Were Flying Tonight!

Tonight the boys were full of funny comments. From the time I picked up Robby, to our conversation once we picked up Joey about U.S. presidents, and all through dinner, they were unwittingly popping out  one-liners. I had to jot them down as soon as we got home.

R: I'm planning a surprise party for you. I'm going to invite your whole family and my whole family. (I find it interesting to think that my family and his family are different.)

J: We are getting smarter than you because we go to school and you go to work.

R: I prayed for you at school today Mommy because you gave me a haircut.

J: I prayed for you at school today too because... I like your hutch. (Interesting reason.)

R: Some day I will be the mayor and rule the whole city!

Coincidentally, on this day of prolific quotable quotes from the boys, Cathy Zielske had a post on her blog all about capturing quotes. I had read it earlier, and I'm sure that helped me be more in tune to their comments, so it may not entirely be a coincidence. But these are the kinds of quotes I so often want to capture. I think they are a sort of slice of life in miniature -- tiny little snippets of the boys' personalities and ponderings. I love the mini album Cathy shares in her post, and after tonight, I think I need to work on one of those myself.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Anticipating Spring

After all the snow days, gray skies, chilling winds and rain, this weekend we had two lovely days here in Connecticut. It was the kind of February weekend that reminds you that spring will eventually make its arrival, though there's no guarantee that its arrival won't be delayed by another snow day or two. Saturday morning we took advantage of the sunshine to let the boys ride their bikes at the beach. I took the opportunity to play with the Instagram app on my new iPhone.

Couldn't resist another trip to the beach in this beautiful weather.
When Sunday turned out to be equally sunny and even warmer, we headed to the beach again at the end of the day. This time we walked down to the water's edge so the boys could throw shells in. This didn't last long though, since my littlest one can't be near water without getting himself into it. It took him less than five minutes to walk right in, getting his shoes, socks and the bottom of his pants wet. I guess he may be anticipating spring with even a little more excitement.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Love Reading

I had several little notes for this journaling sitting around for probably 2 years or more, just waiting to be made into a page. With some motivation from Lisa Ottosson on Write.Click.Scrapbook. this week to get stories about myself into my albums, I sat down and wrote. I got my husband to take the photo of me with my 32-year-old book, and got the page finished. It felt good to tell this about myself, and I'd like to imagine that some day my sons will enjoy this insight into child-me.

[Yellow heart digital paper from "You Are Awesome" digital kit from Crystal Wilkerson. Fonts: Hobo Std, Bell Gothic Std and Century Schoolbook.]

Since my love of reading has continued all these years, there are probably several other stories I could tell about this obsession of mine -- my current favorite books, how I have re-read those childhood faves as an adult, looking forward to introducing my sons to the Harry Potter book series, my oldest son and I sharing a love of Peter Pan. Okay, so I could write a whole book about my love of books, and that's just books, there's birthday parties, family picnics, family traditions, sports I played and more that I could include. I think that just goes to show how much opportunity there is for telling more about ourselves in our scrapbook pages. There is so much I want to remember about each and every day with my family, but I realize that I want to tell something of my very own story in my albums too.

On a side note, I should really thank the ladies at Write.Click.Scrapbook for so much inspiration lately. I have been making more pages, more regularly, and a large part of that momentum has been due to the challenges and inspiration from Write.Click.Scrapbook this year.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

From Paper to Pixels

It seems lately I'm finding more inspiration, and making more time to turn that inspiration into scrapbook pages, than usual. So far, 2011 has been a very productive scrapbooking year (not such a productive keep-the-house-clean year, but the dishes can always wait).

This week, Rebecca Cooper hosted a Beginner Digi Week at Write.Click.Scrapbook with some added help (and free downloads!) from Creativity by Crystal. One of Rebecca's tips for getting started with digital scrapbooking is to use a paper layout for inspiration, something I'd never done. I had a story and photos in mind, and since they were 3 horizontal photos, I knew just the paper layout to copy.

I love how the three 4x6 photos works so well in a line, especially to show a sort of progression -- this was the progression of a typical day with my sons. 

The digital one I had in mind was the same idea -- the progression of a snow day at home.

[Digital supplies: kraft background: Creativity by Crystal's "You Are Awesome" kit; striped paper: Crystal's Free December Papers pack; flair buttons: Crystal's Free December Flair; fonts: Century Gothic, Impact Label and Cooper Black]

One of the great things about digital scrapbooking is that aside from never using up your supplies, there are so many great downloads available for free (thank you Crystal for these supplies!). Using free downloads really helps me decide what elements I'm more likely to use on my digital pages, so I can make better purchases -- like I think I love Crystal's happy colors and cute patterns, and probably need to go buy a paper pack today....

Check out more digital inspiration with Crystal's papers and templates in the Write.Click.Scrapbook. Flickr group.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Loving Valentine's Day Crafts

We crafted up a small storm of Valentine's Day projects this weekend -- class cards, teacher gifts, small tags for little surprises, and even some lunchbox love.

Thanks to a scanner and Photoshop, my kindergartener only had to write the message once. I set the scanned writing into a heart in Photoshop, added some digital papers (from a free Christmas pack from Creativity by Crystal) and borders, and printed. Robby and I had a "race" to see who could cut out the most hearts. Then we worked assembly-style with me making the holes and sliding in the pencils and him adding tape to the backside. A nice team effort.
Kindergarten Valentines

Next up -- these cute waterbottles came as a pack from Target. I made a quick tag in Photoshop (thank you Jessica Sprague for the scallop shape) and Robby wrote them out for his teachers.
Teacher Gifts

For Joey's preschool teachers, I made up wrappers for Hershey bars. I made some extras and signed them from both boys so we can give them out to friends, cousins, and my grandmother.
Teacher gifts

I used that scallop tag in a few sizes for some extra notes to use around the house tomorrow, including as little flags on straws for their breakfast beverages.
Happy Valentine's Day straws

For tomorrow's lunches, I cut out their sandwiches with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, added a napkin love note and a few Valentine sprinkles with their cut up strawberries. I like to think of them enjoying the little extra special touches tomorrow when they open their lunchboxes.

We also started and finished Robby's 100 days project, but since it uses a theme from a particular upcoming "green" holiday, we'll save that for another post.

Wishing you much sweetness for Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Embracing My Imperfect Layouts

I just started "Embrace Imperfection," a free class from Big Picture Classes with Karen Grunberg. It's all about getting rid of that voice in our heads telling us how to make "perfect" scrapbook pages, and just move on with making pages. Too often that voice prevents us from making pages that are true to our own style and story, or hinders us from making a page at all, because we are trying to do what we imagine is the "perfect page." While I fully believe there is no such thing as a perfect page, sometimes I can't help getting slowed down by that nagging voice.

Her thoughts and the comments on the class message boards got me thinking about what I like and don't like about my pages. I have a few layouts that I have made mistakes on or wish I'd done differently, or whatever. But the story is still there, and life's too short to worry about doing pages over. I also console myself with the thought that it's unlikely my two sons are going to look through the albums and ever consider my poor choices of patterned paper, messy handwriting (still neat enough to read), crooked edges, out-dated embellishments, or whatever gets into my head about why a page is not perfect.

So here are a few perfectly imperfect layouts that I love and should do more frequently....

April '09
April 09
I love the idea of the photo a day projects, though I'd never manage to keep up with a full 365 days. Instead, I have done a few month-long versions and I really enjoy them. This is one of my most favorite layouts in all my albums. I like the variety of photos/stories that are captured here -- the mundane like my cube at work and my teapot and mug; a trip to the zoo that didn't get scrapped any place else yet; early spring flowers in our yard; and the random interests of my sons at that time -- garden hoses, umbrellas and popsicles. This captured a number of stories that might not have been documented otherwise and also provided a stash of photos to inspire individual layouts of their own.

Love Note
love note
So many reasons to love this layout -- the sentiment of course and getting to use pink in the mass of boy-color pages. But as a layout, I like that it preserves a bit of everyday real life (aka the bits of paper that are collected all over my house). I like that I didn't include a photo and focused just on the note, and have started doing this more often with other bits of paper.

I like to write. Words come easily for me. I often have trouble keeping my journaling short. But sometimes a quote says it all, in far fewer words. I could write volumes on my love of books, but this quote from Anna Quindlen sums up my thoughts perfectly and more succinctly than I could. With these 2 photos, you get a snippet of the bookcases in our home and a sample of the titles. The best part: this layout took me about 30 minutes to make!

When I look through my albums,  I usually end up feeling pleased with my work. Sure there's still some nagging from that perpetual inner perfectionist, but seeing the stories, memories and photos all together puts the individual imperfect page into its proper perspective of the "big picture." And I'm looking forward to working on my next bit of imperfection.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Name in Print (sort of)

In the excitement of preparing for a little Super Bowl party, followed by my littlest guy getting sick, I'm just now getting around to posting this from Saturday.... I had a bit of fun seeing "my name in print" so to speak with a mention on Write.Click.Scrapbook. when I played along with Aly Dosdall's CHA-inspiration challenge. Here's my layout, inspired by the repeated shape designs Aly featured.

This was a fun (and fast) page to create, and got me to finally use one of my favorite photos from our trip to Disney World in 2009!

(papers from my scraps bin - Making Memories, My Mind's Eye, Bo Bunny and unknown; Thickers title letters)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lego + Star Wars = Obsessed Boys

Cleaning up during Wedneday's snow day, I thought about how life with two boys involves A LOT of Star Wars and Lego pieces (I step on them all the time and even found them in the laundry recently). Then I happened to come across this layout from Candice Palmer about her sons' interest in the very same topics and I knew I wanted to document this moment in the boys' childhood where everything is about Lego, Star Wars and Lego Star Wars.

I have some other layouts and projects that I'm eager to finish up, but need to switch gears this weekend to get ready for and then enjoy our Super Bowl Party!