Thursday, October 31, 2013

jbs mercantile: november gallery reveal

this is an ever so slight early peek at what is coming with jbs mercantile in november.  the feathers are to die for.  they come in both digital cut-files and a stencil.  i will be playing with them lots.  LOTS.  they are that awesome.  here i cut the blue feather out with my cameo and stitched it to the page.  i then went back with the stencil, a paint brush, and tim holtz distress stain in weathered  wood.  i love this subtle effect.  a few sprinkles of heidi swapp color shine in gold lame and a tiny leaf cut from the exclusive paper designed by lisa dickinson.  it is my favorite paper of hers to date.  i may have swooned when it came out of the printer's box.  i know i will be begging for an extra sheet to hoard.  and speaking of tiny leaves, there is a new exclusive debuting in the kit this month.  wood veneer!  this month's version is the tiny leaf.  so cute!  it all goes on display tonight at midnight!

p.s. this page is about my forty pound loss.  i plan on printing the journaling off my blog and tuck it in the little brown pocket.

gratitude journal

i made this gratitude journal around this time last year with the intention of filling it in november with everything i was grateful for.  that apparently didn't happen, bummer, but how thankful and i that it's all ready to go this november?  very!  i just need to find that silver alpha and swap out the 2 for a 3.  score!  the pages are all started with lovely patterned paper bases and extra pretties.  i am ready to count my blessings this year.

how about you?  are you working on a gratitude journal?  have you done one before?  i'd love to hear about your experiences!

november goals

this is me, dorissander, on instagram this morning.  i posted "yesterday, a boy said i was rude, so i wore my witch tights today in his honor."  seriously, said boy will have a much better time in life when he learns the difference between a rude woman and one who is slightly stressed.  happy halloween, ya'll!

i noticed on a beautiful mess that elsie and emma are doing four simple goals again this fall.  i've decided to play along and choose four simple goals for the month of november.  here they are:

1. do the turkey trot
2. complete a 30 day gratitude journal (to help with my stress levels, ha!)
3. cook four soups off my pinterest food ideas board
4. record four more of my dad's black and white stories

nature journal: asian ladybugs

there is quite the party going on at jenni's house.  thousands upon thousands of these little ones crawling on her southern walls.  i know they are considered an infestation and i found out from a co-worker that this variety is actually an invasive species.  i can't help myself, though; i am charmed by these tiny creatures.  i was actually laughing out loud in pure delight as i photographed them.  each one was so beautifully perfect and unique.  nature is a miracle.

they are originally from asia and were brought to the united states in the 60's - 90's by the usda as a biological pest control for the agricultural industry.  like their native counterpart, the asian ladybug feeds mostly on crop destroying aphids.  unlike their cousins, however, these guys swarm in the fall, looking for cozy spots to overwinter.  they are perfectly dressed for their fall gathering in shades of red, orange, and golden yellow and the girls tend to have more spots than the boys.  isn't that just like a woman to go for a little extra accesorizing?  annoying, maybe.  cute, definitely.

for more information, read here:

haiku 1029

polka dot party
shiny halloween candy
dancing on the walls

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

masterful scrapbook design: summer girls

i'm chatting at masterful scrapbook design again today.  the discussion on tension will commence at 7 p.m. CST.  if you've never tried out an online class/magazine/podcast, this is the perfect opportunity.  the first ten days are absolutely free, and why not try out the best?

whine.  i'd start a countdown to summer, but i think the massive amount of days till then would just depress me more.  maybe i'll do a "so long, summer" page like jill sprott instead.  sigh.

imperfection on display: halloween mantel

i always have to look up mantel/mantle before i type it publicly.  the science me and the crafty me are always confused by the spelling.  i am imperfect that way.  i meant for my mantel to be a little more perfect before i put it on display here, but i am too lazy for perfection.  i couldn't find the motivation to get the fallen paper leaves back on the garland or to print more halloween pics from years past.  i had intended to put the last of the marigolds in the line of vintage white bottles, but i waited too long and the marigolds drooped.  despite my imperfections, though, i have enjoyed my october mantel immensely.  perhaps with a few modifications, it can become a perfect november mantel, but even if i don't perfect it, i know i will enjoy it.

this is my favorite part.  a photo that g drew last year.  i found it in the scrap room as i was tidying up and thought it would be delightful in my display.  i tacked it to the wall behind an empty frame and added one of g's plastic spiders to give it a little halloween creepiness.  so fun.  and such sweet memories.

Monday, October 28, 2013

scrappy shares: pom pom grass

a just for fun layout, because i felt like being creative with paper and bits.  a rarity these days.  i am charmed by the way this one turned out.  i always feel a little extra happy when i find a way to use my martha stewart snowflake punches on a non-winter layout.   that's a bonus, right?

the biggest snowflakes are overlaid with tiny flat pompoms cut from embroidery floss.  most of the random bits are leftovers from previous jbs mercantile kits.  you know the german foil beetles and vintage papers under the pictures came from jenni.  i love the way the wood veneer hand and gold beetles bring focus to the photos without distracting from them.  that is embellishing hard at work.

the title was a happy accident.  i adore the subway foam thickers and hope they never run out, but i was short on o's for this title.  normally, i would just use the zeros instead, but they were ovals and i wanted circles to fit with the pompom theme.  i ended up using the last 'o' from the set and mixing in a flat sticker 'o' from another set and then a flat sticker 'm' and the word 'grass' from yet another sticker set to balance it all out.  delightful.

and now i am thinking i need to mow the grass one more time this fall, so it doesn't look like this again come spring.  i guess that will require finding a new gas cap, since we seem to have lost the original.  hmmm . . .

Sunday, October 27, 2013

haiku 1021

frosted windowpanes
violently scraped away
by my denial

the weather has been in limbo here.  caught between late summer, fall, and early winter.  it's made me rather unmotivated to take pics for my october haiku challenge.  i finally decided to just write about how i really feel.  poppy talk is having a fall color challenge this week though, so maybe that will motivate me to take a few pretty pics.

fall campout 2013: we survived!

i am ever so grateful to report that we did not turn into popsicles over the weekend, even though the temperature dipped down to 27 degrees friday night.  brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 
this is us right before we headed out friday afternoon.  g and i obviously have different thoughts on camping attire.  when he caught me eyeballing his outfit, he quickly told me, "i've got this one mommy.  green, green, green, and a numeral."  this was after my having a discussion with him earlier in the week about only wearing two colors if he was sure they matched and that sticking with one color and a "neutral" was a safer choice.  hopefully, the campout stains will come out of his new birthday sweater.
i wore my flaming converse for extra warmth.  i think they helped.  they did not, however, motivate me to travel beyond the range of the campfire, so these are the only photos i have.  i did at one point pretend that i was going for a walk to take "fall" pics, but luckily i had forgotten my flash card.  whew!  what a relief.

i did go on the compass treasure hunt with our webelos since i was kinda in charge of this activity.  i used the last 19% charge on my cell phone to take these pics.  how cute is this one?

here they are posing for a group pic in front of "the throne of the blue waters."  hey.  if i'm going to be in charge of something, i'm going to have a little fun with it.  i gave creative names to all the map locations, for example, my car was "the japanese chariot of crimson" (i drive a red toyota corolla), the first holiday stop was at "the malevolent bale of the two witches" (what? i am an english teacher and feel that little boys should learn all the words for evil during the month of october), and the port-a-john (cub scout dads never refer to it as the port-a-potty) was "the throne of blue waters."  interestingly enough, i became warm enough on the hike to take off my coat, but that feeling didn't last long.

and now i have to unpack the car, set up air out and repack two tents, wash eight-ish loads of laudry, clean the house that didn't get cleaned before we left, photograph two more kits, and scrapbook a page.  whew!  what a weekend!

Friday, October 25, 2013

good blog reads

do you take selfies with your kitty while surfing?  ha!

a few good reads i've noticed this month:

what a super fun way to document summer travels

this looks to be a very inspiring film

another enjoyable one on family life and such

beautiful words, as always

vintage fashion (and more pink hair!)

scrapbook pages with a lovely, relaxed feel about them

masterful scrapbook design: ah summer

this is one of my favorites.  i love its quirky nature and all the stuff everywhere, but yet it still lets you zoom right in on the photo.  the photo taken this summer.  oh summer.  i'm sure i was wearing flip flops then.  i miss you summer.  i think this winter just might kill me.  i'm getting too old for this.

anyhoo.  we chatted about this layout last week at masterful scrapbook design.  and we'll be chatting again next tuesday, assuming i survive the campout this weekend.  send warm thoughts my way.  please.  and thank you.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

quality literature: the book thief

this is the last of the "summer" reads.  that is not to say that there won't be more book reviews up on the blog this fall.  indeed, i am hoping to finish another whilst sitting huddled by the campfire this weekend.  i am still quite bitten by the bookworm and am working this week to re-grow my stack of "to read" books.  any suggestions?
and now, i have saved the best for last.  "the book thief" is moving into my top ten list.  it is a literary masterpiece and a story that will stay with me always.  set during the holocaust, its premise is "death" writing a dissertation on humanity.  death here is not the "angel of death" nor the "grim reaper."  this death is more just your "average joe," but whose job is taking souls on from this life to whatever is next.  he appears human, but isn't quite.  his observations on humanity are piercing to say the least.  a friend who'd read it recently told me the ending would make me cry.  as i approached the end, i didn't really understand how it could as the author tells us the ending twice before we get there.  that seemed a bit anticlimatic, but then i got to the last page and was hit with gut-wrenching sobs.  i had to go outside, so my son wouldn't think something was tragically wrong.  it is just that death has nailed us with pinpoint accuracy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

project life: aunt theresa's visit

this spread is from aunt theresa's visit last may!  we went to the zoo (again) and fall creek falls (again) and took a walk to see the wildflowers at the high school.  we've made the executive decision that the next time she visits we will not go to the zoo.  we always have visiting the hermitage, president andrew jackson's home, on the list and never get to it.  next time we will nix the zoo, so we'll have time to see the old house.  sounds like a plan!

i am super excited to report that i have all my 2013 pictures printed through october 18th!  this includes project life pics AND ones i want to use for layouts.  wow!  that feels so good.  i'm also almost done printing my november and december 2012 pics.  shoot.  i'm in perfect shape to be a scrapping fool this weekend except for the cub scout camp out in which i will become a popsicle.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

quality literature: the help

this is the one i was after when i got side-tracked by the anne rice book.  i knew it was going to be a good one and that i would enjoy it immensely.  i meant to read it a long time ago, but i think i was somewhat offput by the suggestion on the cover that it might be as good as "to kill a mockingbird."  i just can't help it!  that is THE book for me and the thought of another coming close is both thrilling and unrealistic at the same time.  anyway.  this is a solid read.  if you like literature set in the civil rights time period, you'll definitely appreciate this one.

and now i think i need to return both of these to the high school library this week, so i can pick out some more historical fiction.  after all, i have another cub scout campout this weekend.  the forecast for friday night is currently at a balmy 25 degrees farenheit.  if you don't see me here next week, you'll know that i've become a popsicle.

Friday, October 18, 2013

masterful scrapbook design: scraplifting myself

do you ever scraplift yourself?  i know i'm sketch impaired, but i'm quite good at scraplifting myself.  it saves a lot of time getting started, that's for sure!  for this one, i scraplifted one of my all time favorite layouts.  this particular grid arrangement is just too good to only use once.  in fact, i think it should be used at least three times.  ha!
this layout was made for the grids and blocks issue of masterful scrapbook design.  it was created with the jbs mercantile june papercrafting kit (25% off) and artisan add-on (40% off).  girls!  if you were sitting in on my most recent "tension" session with debbie, this kit has the magical alphabet i was talking about!

and this is the layout that i scraplifted.  anytime you can get away with using a snowflake punch in july, it is something special, right?  :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

quality literature: the graveyard book


If you're looking for a fun Halloween read this month, check out Neil Gaiman's Newbery Award  winning "The Graveyard Book."  It is a captivating tale from page one and will keep you enthralled and delighted straight through to page 307.  Don't let the cover fool you; this novel is much more whimsical than it is creeptastic.  It is only slightly scary, so it's just fine for younger audience (or wimpy grown-ups like me) and the writing is top notch, so adults will be just as enthralled as the kids are.  The edition that I read included a copy of the author's Newbery acceptance speech.  It is worth the read as well.  I may have teared up a bit as I read it.  His view on the power and purpose of books is exactly my own.  Indeed, it is probably the rallying cry of book-lovers everywhere.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

jbs mercantile: october gallery updates

*** note: debbie and i are discussing the tension in our creative lives this morning at 10 a.m. CST.  join us!  signing up at masterful scrapbook design is free for the first ten days.  ;) *** 

well!  i think i might like scrapbooking again!  maybe you haven't noticed, but i haven't scrapbooked (other than project life pages) in four months.  woah.  i was beginning to worry that the urge was just gone, gone, gone.  seriously, i was worried.  i did manage to make a halloween page a couple weeks ago.  i liked it okay, but it didn't give me that creative thrill.  but this one.  oh yes.  i made it two nights ago and i feel so creatively invigorated.  happy sigh. 

then to make the feeling even better, my niece and i were talking about our kids and loose teeth and i had to flip through the scrapbooks for reference.  it was such a wonderful walk through memory lane.  it wasn't just the delight in having all those thoughts and memories recorded.  not just that.  i could remember the thrill of creating so many of those layouts.  really.  all my favorites i just remembered the actual act of creating them and how i felt in that moment.  such a good feeling.

so now i am wanting to dig around in my papers and inks and make something meaningful.  hooray for fall break and a scrappy playdate.  let's get scrapping!

this layout was created with the october jbs mercantile antiquarian and artisan kits.  i wasn't sure what to do with that pack of feathers, but i wanted to use them so i went flipping through my photo files for inspiration.  this set of photos gave it to me.  they are from a fall campout in which our cub scouts and siblings had an epic stick fight in the woods.  the journaling reads, "you think she's trouble now; wait till little sister is sixteen."  the double meaning behind the title really makes me giggle.

ahhhh.  don't you just love mr. moon (antiquarian) and the fabulous bold blue glitter alpha.  sparkle, shine, and happiness.

and here we have the last little insert for my october 2012 project life pages.  it's so neat to have an entire month from last year done and in the books. on to november!  one thing i have noticed since starting the 2012 project life album is that project life has rejuvenated my urge to take photos.  so far, i've looked through my october - november photos from last year and only used my digital camera once in three months.  what?!  and i didn't even use my phone camera all that much.  besides the four layouts i have for the month, i only had 3 more 12x12 pocket pages.  glad i'm taking the time to use those cameras again!

if you're interested in seeing the pages hidden behind the insert, you can see them here and here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

quality literature: the things they carried

i have rediscovered my inner bookworm and am devouring books these days.  it's been so satisfying.  i am fast coming to the end of my "to read" pile and will soon need to go on the hunt for more.

"the things they carried" is another novel that i scavenged from the high school book room.  the setting is the vietnam war.  this was a completely different perspective for me as i've mostly read stories from world war I and II.  i could see where the author was going with the opening pages, but didn't feel the connection. it wasn't until the third chapter that i finally understood where he was going and became involved in the story.  tim o'brien is a vietnam veteran whose writing weaves a series of disjointed moments into a cohesive commentary on the time.  he tells these stories in a distant, disconnected way because he is trying to make sense of where he was and what he did there.  his war memories are too intense to carry alone, so he shares them with those who will read them.

masterful scrapbook design: tension

tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. CST/11 a.m. ET i'll be chatting with debbie hodge over at masterful scrapbook design.  the topic is tension, but don't worry!  it won't be a tense discussion.  ha!  we're talking about using tension in the design process.  (you can get a glimpse into this type of tension by reading this get it scrapped! article).  truly, i don't know how debbie will ever top this one.  the seminar is intelligent and inspirational and my fellow teachers (anna aspnes, corrie jones, dina wakley, and emily pitts) are amazing.  this is the class that will take your creative process to the next level.  exciting news!  if you've never taken a seminar at masterful scrapbook design, you can sign up for free for 10 days!  no strings attached!  sign up today, listen in tomorrow, and see for yourself what i keep raving about!  :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

40 pounds

i've lost 40 pounds over the past year.  when i went back to school this fall, the weight loss was much more noticeable.  i've gotten asked many times over the last couple months how i did it.  i get the feeling that i'm being asked to share a secret that is more along the lines of magic or miracle.  the hard truth is that serious weight loss takes time, hard work, and discipline.  i haven't been sharing my weight loss journey here and don't plan to start regular healthy lifestyle postings.  i did want to share what finally worked for me though, in case it might help someone else.

1. more water/less coke - i am a coke drinker.  it's an addiction.  i don't even drink the diet version.  it's the real thing, baby.  i fully accept the dieting adage, "don't drink your calories."  the problem for me is that i can give up coke for two or three weeks, but not long term.  it's my best friend, my self-medication, my achille's heel.  i started my weight loss journey a year ago september.  obviously, the first thing i did was cut back drastically on my coke intake.  i managed to not drink any that first week.  only one a day the second week.  something like that the third week.  and then a little more.  and more as the year progressed.  i just can't give up coke.  the cut back at the beginning was good though in that i had a dramatic weight loss of 13 pounds in the first month.  this was a good jumpstart that helped motivate me. 

paired with the coke cutback was an increase in water consumption.  i might not be able to tell myself no to coke often enough, but i can tell myself that i have to drink water first.  i don't love water.  i just tell myself it's medicine and drink a bottle down before i have my coke.  there is no excuse for not drinking water.  it's critical to our well-being.  i drink it whether i like it or not.

2. a salad a day - the other main thing i did that first month was to eat a salad every day.  i had become disgusted with myself earlier that summer when i faced the fact that i do not eat vegetables.  this might be cute in an elementary school boy, but is absolutely ridiculous for a 40 year old woman.  after putting corn and potatoes in the grain category where they belong, i was left with green beans, sweet potatoes, and salads.  in july of last year i had challenged myself to eat a salad a day and was quite successful with it.  i found that i really like salads if they have meat or eggs on them.  i revisited this challenge in september and have made it part of my daily lifestyle.  eventually, i did get tired of eating salads every day.  now somedays i'll have tuna/sardines with carrot sticks and an apple.  sometimes i'll flake and have pb&j with the carrots and apple.  somedays i'll flake completely, but in general i've gotten very routine about it and i feel so much healthier for it.

3. get on the scale every day - i firmly believe that this has been the key to my success.  i got a new coworker a year and a half ago who quickly became one of my besties.  she mentioned weighing herself every day and i thought she was crazy.  i don't want that in my face every morning.  besides, i had always been told that weighing once a week is the thing to do.  not so, and these are the reasons why:  if you only weigh yourself once a week, you can become frustrated if you don't show the expected weight loss after a good week (when the weight loss might have shown up the next day) and on the flip side if you start out the week with several eating accidents you might decide to just blow it off and start over the next week.  this quickly becomes six weeks later.  oops!  weighing every day keeps me accountable.  it keeps me motivated.  it's shown me what food does to me.  i've learned to regulate not with paid programming or an app, but with this digital accountability each morning.  i would not have been able to make the lifestyle change that i have without this one little trick of weighing myself every day.  so simple and so effective.

4. buy cute clothes - i didn't wait till i lost all the weight to start buying cute clothes. buying a cute new sweater with sheep down the front made me feel cuter and feeling cuter made me feel more motivated to stick with it. no brainer. now i am able to buy cute clothes without thinking about their slimming effects or their ability to camouflage problem areas. cute clothes have become very motivating for me. i like buying and wearing cute clothes more than i do buying and eating food that will make me not be able to wear my cute new clothes.

5. control the carbs - i am not a believer in cutting a food category out of the diet.  i do, however, think that americans have been brainwashed by the food pyramid.  eating nine servings of grain every day doesn't really mean what we think it means.  cut the carbs.  i usually eat a whole grain cereal or cereal bar for breakfast.  sometimes i have hotcakes or lucky charms.  for lunch, i try my best to go without grains.  no sandwiches!  dinner is whatever i make.  i try to eat whole grains as much as possible.  i've switched to 100% whole wheat bread (nutrigrain 100% whole wheat has 50 calories a slice as opposed to the honey wheat that i used to eat which is at 70 calories a slice).  i consider corn and potatoes good for me in moderation.  i eat brown rice.  i don't especially care for whole grain pasta, but i don't eat pasta that often.  chips are a treat not a normal part of my lunch routine.  when i stop at the fast food window these days, nine times out of ten i am buying a salad instead of a burger and fries.  it's all about reprogramming the brain.  i do not need bread/chips/fries with every meal.

6. quality, not quantity - as the year progressed, i got to a point where i simply couldn't eat as much and i actually felt bad when i ate too much junk.  not only have i reprogrammed my mind, i've reprogrammed my whole system.  this is a very good thing.  now my body is helping me to be good.  when i do sneak some fries, i don't want a large, i only want a taste.  a half a small fry satisfies me.  i'm not even kidding.  i noticed about six months in that the urge to snack during the day was mostly gone, especially during the weekday when work kept me busy and in a routine.  another weight loss trend that doesn't work for me is the one that says, "eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner."  i can't do it.  once i start eating the tasty treats, i want to eat like that for the rest of the day.  i have to eat minimally for breakfast and lunch and hold dinner on the horizon as my treat for the day.  and if i feel a huge snacking urge building, i might even skip dinner and make a massive bowl of buttered popcorn.  not every day, just on an as needed basis.  ha.  another bit of advice, if it's not as delicious as you thought it was going to be then stop eating it.  don't finish that twinkie if it's not as fabulous as you expected.

7. move - exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle.  unfortunately, i have a track record of being able to diet or excise, but not both at the same time.  i thought i'd finally broken this trend as i went four months this spring/summer running, walking, or mowing three miles a day while sticking with my healthy eating routines.  september hit and the days got suddenly shorter and now i am struggling.  frustrations!  i'm thinking of signing up for the local turkey trot.  that might be motivating.  and cute new running shoes!  that might do the trick, yes?

and one last word on the weight loss.  i feel better about myself and i like people more.  i have become so much more outgoing once again.  all the hard work and self-denial was totally worth it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

florida photos: LOOK!

the kids in our family know who to come to when they find one of nature's treasures . . .

"look, mommy!  a hermit crab!"

"look, aunt doris!  a fish i caught with my bare hands!" (after the poor little blighter had escaped from the bait bucket on the pier above).

"look, mommy!  a baby anole!"  (a little fall baby, less than two inches long).

"look, mommy!  a baby tree frog!"  (another fall baby, a one incher).

"look, mommy!  i (finally) caught a fish!"  (not much worse than a man child after an unproductive fishing trip, let me tell you).

 "look, aunt doris!  we caught a gator!"  (do you see his little head to the left of that tree?  they did indeed snag it, but it got off right quick.  i estimate 2 feet.  the boys say it was more in the 3-4 foot range.  yep.  once again i take the prize for worst babysitter ever).

"look, mommy!  i caught a stingray!  he is even more dangerous than the sand shark i caught (when i was five) cuz he has a stinger!"  (good thing our friend howard was home to deal with it).

papa gets his fair share of "look!" interjections when he's around . . . "look, papa!  he is HUGE!"  (that's cousin ethan in his quarterback gear.  only 14ish and still growing like a weed).

baby riley also uses the "look!" interjection to her advantage . . . "look, gabriel!  if you play with me, i will give you a donut!"  (and now i must admit putting her up to it.  bad babysitter strikes again).

i think i must bring all my treasure here to share with you all.  "look, friends!  a (gratuitous) butterflies on flowers photo!"

"look, friends!"  have you ever seen so many tree frogs dining around a lit light bulb?  it's a veritable mosquito feeding frenzy!"

thanks, friends, for taking the time to enjoy all my show and tell episodes.  :)