Who rescued whom?


We rescued our beloved Oliver from a busy highway in 2002. He was a tiny kitten and sorely needed our help. But ever since whisking him out of harm’s way and bringing him home to live with us, we are the ones who have needed him. He has made us more loving people and brought us such great joy. Apparently, Oliver Longfellow Daquila-Pardo, you have rescued us.

Product/technique notes

All the Bo Bunny “Star-Crossed” 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 designed the title and cut it with my Silhouette Cameo and hand stitched across the two pages to mimic the stitching and banners on the journaling card.

Note: I’m submitting this to the Paper Issues “Prints Charming Beautiful Papers” link party.

Paper Issues: My project was featured

Why we are vegetarians


For World Vegetarian Day I decided to sit down and document why my husband and I returned to a vegetarian lifestyle last October.

When I found out that today is World Vegetarian Day, I decided that the best way to recognize it would be to do a layout about why Matt and I have become vegetarians.

We actually tried a vegetarian lifestyle several years ago, but we didn’t do enough learning about how to do it well. We replaced way too many of our meat-centric meals with carbs because they’re so easy. But because of that we gained weight, which certainly didn’t improve our health, which was the original reason for starting the change in diet. So we eventually gave it up.

Then, last October, as Matt was getting more into running and losing weight, he began to read more and more about the benefits to an athlete of being vegetarian. So we decided to try again, but this time we did more homework and it’s been a much more satisfying change.

The rest of the reasons for being vegetarian apply to us as well. It started to become harder for us to be passionate animal rescuers and not question our continued willingness to eat meat. We also believe that it’s better for the environment not to allot so much of our land to raising cattle, etc.

There’s a ton of information out there that can convince you to give up meat if you’re interested, but my real reason for doing this layout was to document in our scrapbook album this part of our lives and why it’s important to us.

The journaling

Back when I first saw these bags from Chipotle Mexican Grill, I really wanted to recreate the look with the journaling on one of my layouts. Then, when I thought about doing this page, that idea came back to me. The organic feel of it seemed like the perfect fit for my “granola” message, so I hand-lettered my journaling in the same style.

The design of the Chipotle bag that I used as inspiration for my journaling on this layout

Product/technique notes: I found the amazing photo I used on my page on the Mercy for Animals blog. The patterned paper is from the BasicGrey Konnichiwa collection.

So special


These photos were taken during my father's 70th birthday weekend in 2003.

From the time we were little I can remember Aunt Mary Lou making a huge fuss over us. She loved to laugh at our sassy comments and make us feel brilliant. When Earl joined the family he spoke to us as adults, which every “brilliant” teenager craves. It takes special people to make others feel so special. These photos were taken during our weekend-long celebration of Dad’s 70th birthday in October 2003.

I created this layout using My Mind’s Eye patterned papers and a sketch from their blog.

My Mind's Eye sketch

Promises to keep

Twisted Sketches has revealed its latest sketch, #137, and the twist is “promise.” 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:


These random photos of my dad are from 1964, 1971, 1988 and 2003.

My father loved the English language and literature, which he studied in college so that he could teach. Although he did teach for a few years right out of college, he decided that after he and Mom married and had two children in quick succession, raising a new family on teachers’ salaries was just too difficult. So he found another career that could change their fortunes.

But Daddy was always my literature teacher. He loved to quote poetry and lines from plays. Some nights after dinner our family played a game where Phil and I would pull out the dictionary and try to find words that would stump him, but Dad’s vocabulary was exceptional, so it hardly ever happened.

My father instilled in me love for our language and awe in the effect good writing can have on our emotions, beliefs and dreams. It’s for this reason that I created this layout, and the line I used as the title comes from the following poem by Robert Frost, a favorite of Daddy’s:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Do you journal the tough memories?

If you have visited my site even just a few times, you’ve likely noticed my penchant for scrapping photos from my own childhood. I love to scan in older faded and scratched photos so I can rehab them in Photoshop and scrap them. In addition to being enjoyable for me, it also feels like it’s important to do. I don’t think I need to convince you, gentle reader, about why I say that. It’s one of the main reasons we engage in this hobby…to remember and record.

But for me there’s also a cool byproduct of doing this kind of page: I get to have charming little conversations with my mother and brother about these photos and their memories. Sometimes while I’m working with a set of photos, if I don’t know enough about it I call my mom or bro to ask them for more details. Other times I complete the layout and put it online, after which my family members bring it up to talk about the next time we’re on the phone together. It’s really nice.

Here’s where I get to the reason for the question in my title, “Do you journal the tough memories?” I pulled out a darling photo of Phil and me during the first week of fourth grade in 1976. We had just walked home from school with our arms full of heavy books, and Mom snapped this photo. On the back she wrote, “How studious! September 1976.”

Now I considered, while planning this layout, just journaling the surface details. Something like the description I gave above. But what this photo really reminds me of is a much darker memory. Although I generally loved school, fourth grade was very hard for me; I couldn’t wait for it to end. My difficult times stemmed directly from my homeroom teacher, a nun with a cruel sense of right and wrong.

As I was contemplating how to handle writing about this memory, I grabbed the phone and called Phil for his advice:

  • Do I tell the whole truth?
  • Do I name her?
  • Do I write this differently because I know I’ll be posting it online?

Here’s what we concluded: Tell as much of the truth as you feel comfortable with because people understand that not every memory is rosy. Most won’t be that shocked. And because this teacher was a Catholic nun of a certain age, she was not known in the world by her given name. She was part of a religious community where sisters usually took the name of a saint. Phil and I decided that because I would only be calling her by her religious name, there was no possibility that I could do her reputation (if she is still alive) any true damage.

So I wrote about my real experience on this layout.

Phil observed, “This is really different because you usually just write about happy little memories.” I thought about it then explained that for many of the early photos I have, I was really too young to have a detailed memory about the moment. So I write the facts I know and call it done. But when I look at this photo, rather than remembering much about the day or the moment the shot was taken, I have a very particular feeling associated with the whole school year. So that’s what I felt compelled to write. Phil agreed that’s what I should do.

I wonder, what do you do when you’re faced with this situation? Do you tell the truth of how the photo makes you feel? Or do you just record the happier facts and leave the dark parts in the past?


In September 1976 Phil and I were starting fourth grade and had just walked home with all our books.

An important note: I loved my other years at grade school. Most of the teachers were really wonderful.