Archives for January 2012

Shades of green

The February Sketches with a Twist sketch and design team sample layouts are now live on their site. I am very proud to have created the sketch and really in love with all the design team’s samples based on it!

Sketches With a Twist is a new blog that debuted just last month—a sketch challenge site where each comes with an extra requirement (for example, this month’s twist is to include something green on your layout or card).

Here is my design team layout based on the sketch. Please head to their blog to get the sketch and play along (there are two prizes available each month).


Matt and I have been making a concerted effort to be more green in our daily lives.

When I read that the twist was to use something green on our layout, I decided to dedicate a page to the efforts Matt and I have been making toward being “greener” in our daily lives. We have always been passionate about living in a way that is good to the environment—recycling, consuming responsibly, rescuing animals in need/danger. However, in 2011 we recommitted to doing more. We are now recycling everything that our city allows, we have become vegetarians (it’s hard to love and rescue animals and then be completely comfortable eating meat) and we finally bought a hybrid car. We had been planning to go hybrid once it was time to replace our older car (it’s funny, I was still driving the first car we bought together when we got married in 1997!), and we were fortunate to need a new one just as the Prius V (the larger version of the Prius) was being released. Happy timing for us because we love it.

Because I was going for an earthy/environmental feel on this one, I turned to the American Crafts City Park and Hello Sunshine lines. I like the result because it’s bright and earthy at the same time.


My brother, Phil, began his love for photography under the influence of our eighth-grade math teacher, Mr. Moore. As is still his style to this day, the eighth-grade Phil did many months of research (the old-fashioned, pre-Web kind of research) before finally purchasing his first SLR camera. He bought a Pentax ME Super from a company that advertised in the back of Popular Photography magazine, and it came with a 50mm lens and leather case for $234.50 (he remembered that detail when I told him I was working on this layout).

All these years later Phil is still in love with photography, and in fact he now uses it in his work as a documentary storyteller. He has always dazzled me with his knowledge of the mechanics behind it, of which I have remained mostly ignorant. Until very recently, I never even used the manual mode on my SLR. But now, because of his influence I am adjusting aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings and rarely leave manual mode! It’s so freeing, and the quality of my photos is fast improving.

The photo on this layout was taken by Phil’s friend and fellow photography enthusiast, Jim Hutchins, while they were out shooting together one fine day in October 2011. Phil still shoots Pentax, only he has upgraded his main camera from the original ME Super to a digital K-5. He also has a medium format film Pentax 645N, which he is carrying in this photo! Back to the old along with the new.


This layout is based on sketch #189 at

I am also entering this layout in the Creative Scrappers challenge for sketch #189.

Twinkle toes

Twisted Sketches has revealed its latest sketch, #135, and the twist is “sparkle.” Be sure to head over to the site to grab the sketch and see all the other design team members’ beautiful examples, then create something of your own and link it up!

Here is what I created using this great new sketch:


Matt is trying a style of running called barefoot running, and these are his new barefoot shoes.

Matt started running last spring. He has always wanted to be a runner, and now he’s really enjoying it (most of the time). When Matt gets into something, he really gets into it. He reads everything he can and becomes a bit of a home-grown expert on the topic.

In his effort to know more about running and how to do it safely (fully 80% of runners get injured each year!), he read the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. In addition to going into the history of running, etc., McDougall explains the concept of barefoot running. The idea, simply put, is that wearing traditional running shoes sets up the body for injury because it forces you to run heel first. Slamming your foot into the ground like a club causes high-impact stress on the ankle, heel, knee and back. Barefoot running (wearing minimalist shoes that just provide protection from the ground) forces you to run and walk as your foot was built to be used. It allows you to use all the muscles and bones in your foot to carry you along, taking advantage of the natural shock absorbers of your feet, calves and legs.

Having read that you can’t just put on a pair of minimalist shoes and start running, Matt is wearing his new FiveFingers around the house to allow his feet to adjust. I’m more of the walking type, but I think I may get a pair of these shoes for myself if they make a real difference for Matt. The more natural the better!

Friendship needs no words


This is a photo that just makes my heart smile.

I had flown home to North Carolina to spend a week of summer 2004 with my family. On this day Daddy was out in the front yard building a little brick border around a flower bed, and Mom and I were hanging out with him while he worked. We had Spenser out with us, and he was flitting about sniffing this and inspecting that. I was so fortunate that I had my camera on me for this shot when Spenser made his way over to Daddy and gave him a good long sniff. Dad sniffed back, and I caught their “kiss” forever.

Their friendship was extraordinary.


I have never bought into friggatriskaidekaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th. But for about two months now I believe I’ve been suffering from scrapatriskaidekaphobia!

Back in October I was on fire with my crafting. I was inspired and driven to be creative and then to blog about it. I blogged every day during October. Then in November I decided to give myself a little well-earned break. I slowed down my output (both crafting and blogging) a little. And then the holidays hit, and I did even less. I was involved in all the lovely Christmas activities that fill our free time in December and didn’t make much time for scrapping.

The thing is that in December I missed scrapping, but I didn’t fret about not doing it because I love Christmas time and all the extra to-do items that take the place of regular life. I knew I could get right back to it after enjoying the holidays. But after celebrating Christmas and the new year, my desire to scrap didn’t return. I hadn’t been in a scrapbook store since before Thanksgiving, and I had no interest in going into one. I looked at the door of my craft room with dread. I was starting to fear that it wouldn’t come back!

My poor blog sat neglected, and I was crestfallen about losing my mojo. I couldn’t seem to do anything about it, either. I tried going to my usual sources of inspiration…but nothing.

But today, on a day that many believe is so unlucky, I had a breakthrough! It was my brother’s doing, actually. It’s his birthday on Sunday, and even though his card is going to arrive late, I couldn’t let Phil celebrate his birthday without a homemade card from me. I just couldn’t. So I forced myself to go into my craft room, and I made this card. I’ve gotta tell you, it felt good!


I have created this card for my brother's birthday and am entering it into the Young Crafters Unite clean & simple challenge.

And here’s a close-up shot to better show the holographic paper I put behind the star cut-out.


I used some holographic paper that I've had in my stash forever. I thought tucking it behind the star cut-out would really make it pop,

I’m back, baby! Happy Friday the 13th to me!

I’m also entering my card into the Young Crafters Unite challenge #5 (clean and simple cards).
Young Crafters Unite! clean & simple challenge