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March 30, 2008

the buckets are back!

That's right...Target has galvanized goodness in the Dollar Spot once again. The little buckets are similar to these and these. (Not exactly the same...but still oh-so galvanized and good.) So...get 'em while the gettin' is good!

March 26, 2008

celebrate Stacy

Did you know that it's the first ever Stacy Julian Appreciation Week? It's a chance to celebrate someone who has had a tremendous impact on the scrapbooking industry, and more importantly, on the lives of the people who make up or participate in that industry.

I for one, wouldn't be a scrapbooker today, were it not for Stacy and the empowering message of Simple Scrapbooks magazine and her book, Simple Scrapbooks. And...if I weren't a scrapbooker today...well, life on so many levels would be very different.

I wouldn't be as aware. I wouldn't notice the little things that happen in my life—those little things that make life so rich. I wouldn't take pictures of Easter Eggs in snow banks and I wouldn't take the time to write down the precious things my kid's say. I wouldn't have met Wendy and we wouldn't have collaborated to create this. Life...on so many levels would not be as rich were it not for scrapbooking.

So, what does my being a scrapbooker today have to do with Stacy? Well...I summed it up in the happy scrapper as follows:

I got bit by the scrapbook bug when my son was just a few months old. Looking back, I realize I had no idea what I was getting into – both in terms of motherhood and in terms of scrapbooking. I literally bit off more than I could chew. A perfectionist at heart, I loved the idea of getting all my photos organized and documenting all the details of each and every event in my tiny new baby’s life.

I plunged in head first, acquiring albums, sheet protectors, markers, a paper trimmer, photo splits, card-stock, rubber stamps, ink, punches, decorative scissors, die cuts and page toppers. But I didn’t stop there. I purchased an inventory of stickers for every possible event my child could ever encounter—from baking chocolate chip cookies to learning how to use the potty. (And I was buying these things before my sweet baby had teeth to eat cookies, let alone knowledge that a potty even existed.) I went so far as making my family wear matching outfits for Fourth of July fireworks photos. While it is not unheard of to match your family’s attire for a great photo op, I found that some events in my life simply needed to happen by chance, instead of being staged. My scrapbook supplies were dictating the way life should be, instead of providing a means for documenting and celebrating the way life truly was.

Somewhere between the 1000th diaper and my Xyron sticker maker purchase, I was overcome with exhaustion. I suddenly hated stickers (and dirty diapers) and I thought I’d lose my mind if I saw another un-scrapbooked photo. I felt like a failure when I’d look through scrapbook magazines and see other moms keeping it all together; some even had time to incorporate needlework on their pages. I thought hard before taking each picture, knowing I’d either have to DO something with it or add it to my backlog of photos and unrealistic expectations about what was possible and desirable in my life.

I’m here to tell you, some people handle all of this—babies, photos, scrapbooks, matching outfits, and keeping their life running smoothly—with style and grace. I, on the other hand, was completely blown away by the responsibilities of parenthood, let alone all the self-doubt brought on by my scrapbook hobby.

So I retreated to my comfort zone … the place I go when life gets out of control:  organizing. I bought more scrapbook supplies. I bought containers to organize my scrapbook supplies. I labeled the containers to identify my scrapbook supplies. And life was good.

My scrapbooks?  Not so good. Every day I got farther and farther behind. Every day, my backlog grew right along with my stress level. When my daughter arrived, my son was three months old (in his scrapbook). In real life: age two. But it didn’t stop there. By the time my son turned six, he was the ripe old age of one in his scrapbooks. My daughter … well let’s just say I had lots of really cute (and very organized) supplies and photos to create her albums, and not a single photo scrapbooked.

Bottom line, folks … I was really missing the point. This hobby was stressing me out. As soon as I started calculating how far behind I was (both in terms of boxes of un-scrapped photos and in terms of years), I became an unhappy scrapper. I needed a simpler solution. I needed a plan.

Two things happened to pull me out of the scrapbook chaos. First, my husband talked me into a digital camera. My photos were now safe, organized and perfectly happy stored electronically. I had no visual reminders of my growing backlog. And as they say, ignorance is bliss.

The second thing that happened was a magazine called Simple Scrapbooks. The concept of this magazine was revolutionary for me. I learned that it was OK to scrapbook only my most meaningful photos. I didn’t have to capture every single event (and non-event) of my children’s lives to pay tribute to them and their significance to me. And I didn’t have to put my photos into albums in chronological order—instead I could create theme scrapbooks and I was free to put some photos in traditional photo albums. I could even stray from 12 x 12 albums if I wanted to. This was a great start … a safety net for me … a chance to dive back in.

And dive back in I did. All I can say is thank you, Stacy, for making it not only possible but fun to scrapbook. Gone is the sense of obligation. Gone is the sense that scrapbooking can only be done one way and in one order. Thank you, Stacy.

I have to wonder how many scrapbookers on this planet Stacy has saved. I'm certain I'm not alone. Have you been inspired by Stacy? Has Stacy empowered you to scrapbook in way that is better for you, more fun, more doable, more something? If so, hop on over to the Simple Scrapbooks blog and share your story. There are all sorts of fun ways to participate in this week and say thanks to Stacy.

March 24, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white Easter...

...oh, wait, that wasn't a dream.

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I hope you and yours had a wonderful Holiday weekend! ;)

March 18, 2008

when organizing and scrapbooking collide

Sometimes it's hard to be both...an organizer and a scrapbooker...like when you come across products like these from October Afternoon. Seriously, these products are so stinkin' cute that the rational brain of the organizer goes by the wayside. Wendy had a bunch of these products in her space while we were taping...and it got almost funny. Every single time I would see something that was to-die-for-cute, I'd look at who made it, and it was (you guessed it) October Afternoon. Geesh...where did this company come from? (And how can I get my hands on some of it...or better yet all of it.) ;)

March 16, 2008

wish granted

Just a quick update on the Make-A-Wish project so many of you participated in earlier this year. The wish was granted a couple weekends ago and according to my contact it went wonderfully—in much part due to the generous contributions from all of you. Here’s a link to a press release about it.

Mountain View Girl's Wish for an Art Studio

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart to everyone who donated supplies. Because of your outpouring of support, the coordinator of this wish felt encouraged to pursue more donations from others in the craft communities. And the results made one girl very happy.

March 14, 2008

it's a wrap

So we're all done taping. It was seriously fun and energizing...working with Wendy on camera and getting ready before hand. I love our collaborative process and the energy that comes from doing something brand new. Chartering new waters. It's exhilarating.

Been spending a lot of time this week talking about scrapbooking organizing and inspiration. It's fun to bring those thoughts---all the thoughts that were right there on the surface while we were writing the book---back to the surface again. When I do...I start to see inspiration everywhere. I'm sitting in Starbucks right now and they have the coolest artwork that just makes me want to scrapbook. Darling, layered watercolor artwork. It's simply yummy.

It's one of those weeks---doing something brand new---that refreshes me. And while I realize it's impractical to suggest you go out and have video crew come to your home, I do want to share the value in doing something that is 1) new, 2) out of your comfort zone and 3) refreshes your sense of creativity. So here are some ideas for you. You could...

  • try a new restaurant or try a new dish at a standby favorite restaurant. (I'm one of those people who gets into a total comfort zone...same restaurant and same dish every time we go out for months and months on end. So this would be a good bit of advice for me to make...if I hadn't already stepped way out of my comfort zone this week.)
  • pick up some scrapbook supplies that stretch you creatively...if you use bold colors, try something softer and muted. If you use solids, try some patterned paper.
  • pick up a book that's on a topic you normally don't read. If you're a fiction junkie, go for something non-fiction. (Or vice versa.)
  • go on an inspiration scavenger hunt...look for cool  business cards, great packaging, brochures or junk mail, and then, go create something based on your finds.
  • expand your creative outlets...if you normally scrapbook chronologically, make a theme based mini album. If you only scrapbook, pull out your supplies and try a home decor project or go to a paint-your-own-pottery store or a beading cafe.
  • take a different route to somewhere you always go...and notice the new sights...the houses, the businesses, the trees.
  • try a new fizzy beverage...I'm drinking an Izzy right now, sparkling Clementine, and the bright packaging and vibrant yellow drink are making me seriously happy. (It's always the little things that make me truly happy.)

Take a little step out of your comfort zone (or a big one!) and see what creative energy surfaces for you. And when you do, please share. I can't wait to hear what you do to recharge your creative spirit. 

March 13, 2008

missing organizer found in Utah

So, in case you were wondering what happened to me, I haven't been buried under a snow drift. In fact, the snow has melted, so this latest MIA session cannot be blamed on the weather at all.

It's been a week like no other. Wendy and I are at it again. This time, we're creating a set of DVD's based on our book. So here's a quick recap of the week.

The day starts in make-up...

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Next, we make creative organizing projects in front of a camera crew, who (while we were in makeup) set up shop in our scrapbook spaces.

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Here's a shot of the two of us before the big video taping.

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So we finish up taping tomorrow and then, it's back home on Saturday.

OK...enough about me. Here's a nugget for you. I seem to always come up with a travel organizing tip whenever a fly and they're all the result of some sort of travel mishap. So here's the latest.

When making a connecting flight, the organized traveler checks the monitor in the airport in lieu of acting on the gate information announced by the flight attendant on the prior flight.

I always have to laugh at myself when I make a conscious effort to be "ultra organized" and it backfires. Like, this latest incident. I pull out my itinerary and a pen, and listen diligently to the flight attendant. I write down not just the gate I'll be flying out of (12D), but also the gate we're getting into (12C) and the gate where I pick up the tram (10C). I have thirty minutes to catch my flight...so I head right to the tram when I get off the plane. About fifteen minutes later, I arrive at gate 12D only to see that the people on that flight are going to Mexico. (I'm trying to get to Utah!) I check the monitor and see that my flight is actually flying out of Gate 10C...two gates from where I started. Long story short, I rode the entire tram system at the Dallas airport (full circle) only to arrive right back where I started from right AFTER my plane left. And the biggest irony? To get on the tram I walked right by a monitor...that would have told me the right gate info!

So there you have it...your travel tip of day. Oh, and here's a bonus one. Be sure to pack a good book...just in case. ;)

March 07, 2008

the trouble with snow days...

...is that they help you get really far behind with the rest of your life. (Or at least then you have that as an excuse.) But seriously, my kids were home for three of the five days this week! Three. Days. At. Home. (Extra days...like in addition to the regularly scheduled weekend days.) Yikes. So that's why I've been so...uh...MIA.

March 04, 2008

snow day + an organizing nugget

The weather here in my neck of the woods this winter has been weird, to say the least. Here's how it goes. First, we get this:

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Unseasonably warm weather. I snapped this photo of our thermometer on Sunday afternoon. I spent the afternoon sitting on my front porch in flop-flops going through old magazines. (More on that in a future post.) It was wonderful. And believe it or not, I was almost hot!

Fast forward 24 hours, to this:

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And then, 16 hours later, this:

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Snow! And as happy as I was wearing flip-flops on Sunday...I love snow. So I'm equally happy today. And I especially love to watch the snow build up on the little roof of this birdhouse. I can see this birdhouse from so many places in my home: my office, my seat at the dinner table, and even my master bedroom. I love that thing...especially when it's piled up with snow on the roof.

My Mom gave Jay and I this birdhouse for our fifth anniversary. I don't even think we hung it up right away...and now, there it is, keeping me company, literally all day long.

So...yes, in the midst of a random musing on the weather...there's a little organizing message here as well: surround yourself with things you love, those things that make you happy. And if they can remind you of someone you love in the process, all the better.

Often I see people hold onto things because they were given to them by someone they care about...and yet, those items are tucked away in a closet or box or deep in the basement. Bring the items that mean the most to you out of hiding. You don't have to keep every gift or item someone has given you. One really great gift can represent a lifetime of gifts and honor a special person in your life.

My Mom has given me many gifts over the years. And this birdhouse, even though when I got it, I was thinking "The wood anniversary? Really?" is a truly special gift. I love how as it has gotten older, the weather has aged the wood, fading it in spots, making it even more beautiful.

I haven't kept every gift my Mom has given me...and I don't need to. I have my birdhouse and it's with me all the time. When I work. When I eat every meal of the day. And when I look out the window of my bedroom. I notice it more on snowy days...and that makes me happy. I love watching the roof pile up with snow. And I love to watch it disappear over the next few days, as the snow melts away. The birdhouse, and the snow makes me think of Mom and makes me think of winters growing up in Michigan with lots and lots of snow.

What's your bird house? Is it out in the open where you can enjoy it every day? Or is it tucked away in a box or stuffed on a shelf in the closet? Today, especially if it's snowing where you are, would be a great day to dig out your bird house—that one special gift or item that honors a relationship with someone you love. Let me know if you take me up on this challenge. I'd love to hear about the treasures you unearth...or if you already have a "bird house" in your midst, tell me about that, too. I wonder if, by bringing the truly special gifts and items out of hiding, it will make it easier to let go of the things that come into your life that don't have as much meaning to you. I know that is the case for me.

OK...off to make some chicken noodle soup (from the can...I'm not THAT motivated) and then, get back to work. ;) Have a happy day!

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