Hello my name is artsy fartsy


These photos are from my freshman year in college (the 1985-86 school year). On a cold Saturday during winter quarter a little group of friends decided to dig up some fun for ourselves, so we went in search of photo opportunities. We were fortunate and found this building on the edge of campus that had some interesting recyclables and a wall mural. We made the most of it!

In my experience, there’s nothing like the fun you create for yourself.

L-R across the spread: 1) Jim Conlan; 2) my brother, Phil, and Micki McNiece Yackin; and 3) Jim Conlan, me and Micki

Product/technique notes

All the Echo Park “Anything Goes” products I used to create this layout came from the Back Porch Memories February kit (thank you to BPM for allowing me to be a part of their design team through March), and I followed this Rochelle Spears sketch.
Rochelle Spear's Back Porch Memories sketch 3

The Cleveland Flats


I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. And once I was old enough to start enjoying a nightlife with friends, it was the Flats in downtown Cleveland where we headed when we really wanted to party. Wikipedia says, “The Flats is a mixed-use industrial, entertainment, and increasingly residential area of Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The name reflects its low-lying topography on the banks of the Cuyahoga River.” It was rich with bars, restaurants and music venues.

When I recently came upon this photo of my mom and friends down in the Flats in the summer of 1990, I conducted a little Google search about the area to find out what it’s like now. I wanted to see how much the Flats had grown since I moved away. Much to my surprise, I read this: “The Flats’ heyday as an entertainment destination was short-lived. Three drowning deaths in one month in 2000, along with a city crackdown on fire and health code violations led to the closing of many bars. Patrons becoming scared off due to safety concerns led to a sharp decrease in business. While this was a boon for the redevelopment for the Warehouse District, the area just up the hill from the East Bank, it sent shock waves through the Flats’ redevelopment from which it has never fully recovered. Most of the East Bank has gone “dark” due to the number of businesses that have closed.”

Whoa. Not at all what I expected to read! I guess that’s what happens when you move away from an area and don’t really look back. Things happen without your knowing.

It’s too bad that things have changed so much in that area, but I still have great memories of time spent there. The peeps in my photo are: Mom, Mark Mathes, Hansel Moore, Phil (my baby bro) and Jenny Schwann.

Product/technique notes

All the Echo Park “Anything Goes” products I used to create this layout came from the Back Porch Memories February kit (thank you to BPM for allowing me to be a part of their design team through March). I followed this Rochelle Spears sketch and used a combination of Silhouette cut file and Thickers for my title.
Back Porch Memories sketch by Rochelle Spears

The key to great holiday decorating: The perfect centerpiece


For a three-legged cat, Jake certainly knows how to get where he wants to go. In this case, I guess he wanted to be in the middle of my fall decorations!

He really is the cutest pumpkin ever, isn’t he?

I decided to scrap this photo during the week of Thanksgiving because it reminds me of how thankful we are for our pets. They love to be with us. They’re such good companions. They make us laugh. And they keep us from focusing too much on ourselves.

They’re our babies, and I’m ever so grateful to have them in our lives.

Product/technique notes

Most of the products I used on this were from Echo Park’s “Reflections: Fall” collection, with the addition of a few pieces of paper from way back in the day. That butter-colored pumpkin paper is an oldie from Paper Salon. I followed the inspiration of this November sketch from Stuck Sketches:

Blogtoberfest sketch contest

I’m quite excited to announce my first sketch contest! I hope you’ll join me in some scrapping fun and that this sketch will inspire you to create a layout then come back to share it with me for the opportunity to win the prize shown below.

The sketch

This sketch is simple and celebratory, with room for one 4×6 photo (or two 4x3s) and a banner running down the side. If you make a layout based on this sketch, please link it up at the end of this post by October 31st and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a great prize that’s perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

My sample

My sample page is all about celebrating this fabulous photo of my dad as a boy. He’s showing off his muscles with his dad by his side. What a gem! I used papers from Echo Park and a banner from BasicGrey.


I followed this Constant Scrapper sketch to create a layout celebrating a wonderful black-and-white photo of my dad as a boy with his father.

The prize

Are you thinking about documenting your holiday fun this December? Well this prize package includes holiday-themed items to get your project going! Or you could use this kit to create your Christmas cards. Either way, it’s a fun, color-coordinated collection of yummy supplies.


This sketch contest prize package includes: 6x6 Hot Cocoa paper pad, glittered dimensional stars, rub-ons, page pockets, fabric labels, ribbon, Christmas phrases stamp, washi tape and a clear stamp set!

Enter the contest

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I welcome all to participate, no matter from where you hail. However, with international shipping rates what they are, an international winner will receive a gift card instead of the pictured prize package.

Old friends


That's Kerbey Lane Cafe in the background. We had just eaten brunch together.

Matt met Jeremy in 1998, when the two of them were the first full-time employees hired by the founders of a start-up called TManage. Jeremy lived in Austin, TX, where the three founders were basing their new company, and Matt and I still lived in Chapel Hill, NC. But it was a company focused on helping other companies roll out telework programs, so they were pretty OK with having Matt work remotely (and me too, soon after). For a while.

Matt and Jeremy worked together quite a lot in the early days. Matt was in charge of software development, and Jeremy was in charge of building out the IT infrastructure. So they became friends through this shared experience in the trenches.

The short version of the story is that eventually, as the company quickly grew, having Matt work from North Carolina became too difficult. He was always flying back and forth and started staying longer than he was home. So we finally moved to Austin. And then we became friends with Jeremy and his wife. The four of us had so many good times together, full of lots of laughing.

Fast forward maybe four years, and when it was time for us to leave TManage (it was acquired and we wanted to try something new), the three of us started a business together. That business is the one that Matt and I still own and run together.

Several years ago Jeremy and his family moved from Austin to be closer to family, and Jeremy has started his own company there. But they were recently in town and we all got together for brunch. This photo of the first two employees 16 years later makes me very happy because it reminds me of some really good times and big dreams.

Product/technique notes

Almost everything on this page is from Echo Park’s “This & That Charming” collection.