Easter together


This is a special photo because all 12 cousins were together for it.

My dad was the middle of three children in his family, who always told him he was the thorn between two roses because he was flanked by sisters. This 1969 photo includes all 12 of Dad and his siblings’ children (Nana and Papa’s grandchildren). All of us together (mostly) posing for a photo on Easter morning. Phil and I, the youngest in the clan, are in the lower left corner. It actually looks like our older cousins are having to tether us to keep us in the photo!

I created this layout based on a scraplifting challenge at BasicGrey’s blog. In place of the hearts punched out of several patterns, I decided to create my background with a Martha Stewart All Over Punch. I punched several rows of designs out of brown cardstock before backing them with six different patterned papers from the BG Sweet Threads 6×6 pad. It creates a lovely quilt-like effect.

I’ll be honest: I wouldn’t recommend trying this technique on a layout about just any photo because it took so long to complete. But for this special photo I’m happy to have taken the time. In fact, keep a lookout for a post coming soon, where I’ll do a review of the Martha Stewart All Over Punch tool and offer some tips for using it.

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

I still get butterflies


A few selfies taken on our 12th anniversary in 2009

These are photos of us on our 12th anniversary in 2009, after we had returned from our celebratory dinner. I actually finished this simple layout months ago but forgot to photograph and post it. What I notice the most when looking at these pictures is how much less Matt weighs now than he did then! This was when he was at his highest weight, and he is now 23 pounds lighter. I’m very proud of him because he is working on losing this weight the slow, steady, healthy way. He’s exercising every day and has changed his diet drastically. No fads or get-thin-quick schemes here; just wise nutritional choices and lots of sweaty exercise. He says he wants to lose 20 more pounds, and I’m absolutely sure he will.

For this layout I used some older patterned papers from My Mind’s Eye, a few Martha Stewart punches and a Silhouette cut file for the title.

It’s a marshmallow world in the winter

Sketchabilities has revealed its latest sketch, #61! Be sure to head over to the site to grab the sketch, then create something and link it up!

Here’s my Design Team layout inspired by the sketch. This shot of my little brother, Phil, and me is in January 1977 when we took our sleds out into the front yard and played in the new-fallen snow. It was great growing up in the snow belt!


January in Ohio meant an opportunity to use our new Christmas sleds!

I used embossed cardstock by Bazzill for the background to give the feel of falling snow. Then I used all patterned papers from Cosmo Cricket. The silhouette of the children sledding is a Silhouette cut file, and the title is a cut file I created.

You know, I had a little trouble with that title. I had the layout all finished and photographed, and I was writing the email to send to Karan, who runs the Sketchabilities site. When I typed in the word “marshmellow,” as I have always spelled it (although, how many of us has to spell that word often?), Outlook told me I had it wrong. NOOOOO! I never knew it was supposed to be “marshmallow!” That meant I had to tear the title off my layout, create a new cut file, cut it out in two colors, add the title back to my layout and photograph it again. Ugh! So, please learn from my mistake. Check all the spellings in your titles before you finish your layout to save yourself lots of time and frustration.

And if anyone would like the Silhouette cut file I created for the title (with the corrected spelling!), please leave me a comment about that and I’ll email it to you. :)


Have you ever wondered why we say “Merry Christmas” to each other but don’t use the word “merry” in any other salutation throughout the year? You hear nary a “Merry birthday” or “Merry Valentine’s Day,” right? Well, I did a little online search for the history behind the popular Christmas greeting and found varying stories about when it all began. I’m sorry I can’t vouch for the correctness of its story either, but I’ve decided to share with you the description from Wikipedia:

“Merry,” derived from the Old English myrige, originally meant merely “pleasant and agreeable” rather than joyous or jolly.

Though Christmas has been observed since the 4th century AD, the first known usage of any Christmastime greeting dates back to 1565, when it appeared in The Hereford Municipal Manuscript: “And thus I comytt you to God, who send you a mery Christmas.” “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” (thus incorporating two greetings) was in an informal letter written by an English admiral in 1699. The same phrase is contained in the sixteenth century secular English carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” as well as the first commercial Christmas card, produced in England in 1843.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was also published in 1843, during the mid Victorian revival of the holiday. The word merry was then beginning to take on its current meaning of “jovial, cheerful, jolly and outgoing.” Merry Christmas in this new context figured prominently in “A Christmas Carol.” The cynical Ebenezer Scrooge rudely deflects the friendly greeting: “If I could work my will…every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding.” After the visit from the Ghosts of Christmas affects his transformation Scrooge exclaims, “I am as merry as a school-boy. A merry Christmas to everybody!” and heartily exchanges the wish to all he meets. Because of the instant popularity of “A Christmas Carol,” the Victorian era Christmas traditions it typifies and the term’s new meaning appearing in the book, Dickens’ tale popularized the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

I think it’s so cool that our saying “Merry Christmas” is bound up with Dickens’ famous story (which I’ve always loved)! Now that you know from whence it came, perhaps you will enjoy a little more heartily exchanging this greeting with all you meet during the season. :-)

Here is a layout I created with photos from Christmas 1972. It’s based on a sketch from the Sketch Support site and uses patterned papers from Webster’s Pages and Jillibean Soup.


How do you like my little cap to match my nightgown? I really loved that set!