My Take Twelve February layout

Back in December when Ella Publishing was promoting their Take Twelve project, I decided to participate. I don’t do a Project Life album, so I thought this might be a good alternative. You take photos on the 12th of each month in 2012, and then do a layout with the 12 best.

There’s a Take Twelve layout challenge hosted by Ella Publishing each month, but I didn’t get mine done in time for the deadline. I seem to be taking baby steps on this project. I completely missed taking the photos on January 12th, so the fact that I took my photos on February 12th and created a layout is a big improvement. Maybe in March I’ll be able to finish my layout in time to enter the contest!


I'm a little late getting into the Take Twelve challenge with Ella Publishing, but I only missed January, so no worries.

Here is the journaling that explains my 12 photos:
Sunday, February 12, 2012:
We went to 11:30 Mass and then stayed to have breakfast tacos made by the Men’s Club. When we left church we were met with an icy rain, which always makes us giddy because it’s so rare in Texas. We took a photo of the progress that’s being made on construction of our new church before heading to the gym for a vigorous workout. Then we ran some errands—to HEB for a few groceries and to Redbox to return our movie from the night before (Conan—not too good). By the time we returned home, it was snowing lightly! I had to grab a shot of the snow in Matt’s hair. We spent the rest of the day doing housework and laundry before making a simple dinner and settling in front of the fire (with Oliver in his favorite spot) to watch the next installment of Downton Abbey (so good). Our nightly feral visitor, Wilson, showed up for a healthy meal before heading off to find a warm place to hole up for the night. It was just a normal, lovely Sunday spent together.

I used some older American Crafts papers that have a Valentine’s Day theme to them and followed two-page sketch #20 from the Sketch Support site.

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal

My husband doesn’t care about clothes…at all. If he ruled the world people would all wear clean but wrinkled shorts and t-shirts to everything. Fortunately, we live in low-key Austin, Texas, where “business casual” doesn’t mean very much, and a majority of people do wear shorts everywhere.

Matt and I own a technology company, which means occasionally we get swag from companies like Microsoft and Cisco, among others. For years Matt has been wearing those hideous t-shirts (no offense intended to the big tech companies, but they really are garish) around the house. However, when he goes out that front door, he makes sure he’s wearing one of his “special” shirts. Even though he doesn’t care a jot about good clothes, he does want to maintain a certain image in the world. And I would describe that image as “geek chick.”

He carefully selects his t-shirts from various online purveyors of fine geek clothing. In his closet are shirts with:

  • A Shakespearean quote spelled out as a mathematical equation (think “To be or not to be”)
  • The falling sperm whale from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with the thought bubble, “I wonder if it will be friends with me?”
  • The symbol Pi written in 4493 digits of Pi
  • My all-time favorite is the one he’s wearing in the large photo on the layout below. It’s inspired by the TV series Firefly and features two dinosaurs with a speech bubble between them that reads, “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal.”

This illustrates yet another reason I love scrapbooking: memorializing the personality traits, quirks, habits and personal preferences of those we love. Whether it’s our 40-something husband’s corny t-shirt tastes or our 13-year-old daughter’s short-lived Bieber fever, it’s worth remembering. And celebrating. These are the little things that add up to make people lovable to us, and that’s a great layout topic in my book.


Be You captures my husband's love of corny t-shirts.

Note: Matt does not wear these t-shirts to work, even though he would dearly love to! 😉

Six ways to combat a common crafting conundrum: How do you fight the post-holiday blahs?

Are you like me? When a holiday is just around the corner, you feel like buying the newest seasonal products and scrapping your heart out? Note that this means we get the desire to scrap memories before they’ve actually been made. 😛 But once we’ve celebrated the holiday we feel less like working with those products, right?


I do believe it’s the scrapbook companies’ fault! 😉 I mean, they put untold effort into promoting seasonal products before the holiday—by showing off gorgeous design-team examples, hosting giveaways and blasting us with contests. And we fall in line and get completely carried away by the excitement of it all.

Yet once the holiday has come and gone and we’re armed with the photos and memories from the event, we’re also experiencing the post-holiday blahs…and we’ve sort of lost that lovin’ feeling. Not to mention the fact that the online world has now moved on…usually to focus on the next holiday!

So, what are we crafters to do? Well, I’ve put together a list of six ways to combat this common craft conundrum (say that as fast as you can):

Things to do before the holiday

  1. Scrap past years’ photos. Most of us have at least a few photos from past holidays. Harness your pre-holiday mojo by getting out those older photos and pairing them with your new products.
  2. Make holiday-themed home decor items. If you make decorations for your home with just-released hoiday products you’ll satisfy the itch to create as well as get to display them right away.
  3. Create premade pages. While you’re feeling motivated (before the big day), make pages that are complete except for the photos. That way you can choose and print the needed number of photos right after the holiday, pop them on the page and add the journaling. Done and done!

Strategies to try after the holiday

  1. Put yourself back in the mood. Media has a strong effect on our moods, so why not use it? Fire up “Elf” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” if you want to work on Christmas photos. Put on “Independence Day” or listen to some John Philip Sousa if you want to get into the patriotic mood again. Then craft the night away!
  2. Get a holiday crafting buddy. In the weeks leading up to the holiday when you’re really excited about all the seasonal hoopla, make an appointment on your calendar to crop with some friends, and then scrap those photos. Make this appointment for as soon after the holiday as possible. Get your crafting buddies to agree to a theme-specific crop. You can all agree that you will only work on holiday projects so that you can keep each other motivated.
  3. Host a holiday scrap night for one. Even if you’re just going to scrap at home, make an appointment on your calendar to do it. Make this appointment for as soon after the holiday as possible. Pull out all your special products and put them in a prominent spot in your crafting space to keep you fired up. And then keep that appointment. If you’ve planned ahead for it, you are more likely to look forward to it and be in the right mood when the time comes.

Yes, I took a little of my own advice. A few weeks ago I rode the patriotic wave and pulled out this July 4th photo from 1992. Then I put together the layout below, following tip #1 under the before-holiday list above. I had fun doing it because I wasn’t yet blah about red, white and blue.


This is just a simple layout about my family celebrating the 4th of July together in 1992.

If you have any other strategies for dealing with the problem of fading crafty enthusiasm after a holiday, please share it in the comments. I would love to add to this list.

And to the scrapbooking companies out there, would it kill you to give us a little bit of post-holiday inspirado?

PageMaps’ My Little Shoebox sketch contest

Every once in a while I run across a sketch that really makes me yearn to pull together some photos and products and get scrapping. This PageMaps sketch had that effect on me when I saw it on their blog. It’s their June contest sketch, and I knew I wanted to play along.


PageMaps June 2011 sketch for contest

A few of the reasons I like this sketch so much and can see using it again are that it features four photos (so you can really tell a story with them), calls for a few nice pops of patterned paper and still leaves a good amount of white space for the eyes to rest a bit while looking at it. It accomplishes a lot in a 12×12 canvas!

This is the layout I created based on the sketch. The photos are from Memorial Day weekend, just a few weeks ago. When Matt and I started talking about the kinds of things we could do during the holiday weekend, Matt suggested, “We could drive to Fredericksburg for the day so you can go to that scrapbook store you like.”


Here is my entry for the PageMaps June 2011 sketch contest.

Now if that’s not proof of love, I don’t know what is. :-)

You cannot win if you do not play

For a long time I’ve been a lurker online. I read blogs and shook my head, laughing at the funny things other crafters said. But I didn’t comment. I read product reviews and agreed or disagreed with the analysis. But I didn’t drop the reviewer a line about my opinion. I learned about scrapbook and card challenges and toyed with the idea of participating. But I didn’t send in my layouts for consideration.

However, with the start of this blog I decided that had to change. I had to stop lurking and start speaking up. And I admit that’s challenging for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned to my husband, Matt, at his computer and told him what I thought of things I had read online. And after patiently (usually) listening to my diatribe, he would often say, “You should be blogging this stuff. Or at the very least you should comment on that person’s post.” At the mention of sharing my thoughts publicly I usually just turned back to my computer to read more of what others had written.

When it comes to the challenges and contests I really just haven’t thought I could compete with all the talent out there in the world. There are so many amazing layouts being posted every single day! But that was just a lame excuse for not having to expose myself to critique—or worse, to ridicule.

So I’ve ended that by starting to throw my hat into the ring every so often. It has been so motivating and much more fun than I expected it to be! I’ve even won a few times. Yay! But even more than the winning, I’m enjoying knowing that others are looking at my art. I just hadn’t realized how much that was missing from my process. I’m accustomed to finishing a layout, showing Matt for his approval, and then putting it in the appropriate album. Sort of a letdown, you know?

Well, last night I took the next step in this journey of making my crafting process more public and social. I submitted my work for consideration for a design team. Gulp.

The assignment was fun because it involved working with sketches, which I really love anyway. I liked the sketches, and I’m proud of my resulting layouts. So I feel like I won even if I’m not chosen for the team. Here are my submissions:



Sunset cruise

Sunset cruise