Around here.... Part 2

Here we are in New Orleans!

Here we are in New Orleans!

Hello again -

Because I have been failing miserably at blogging AND at social media, we didn't even mention something super fun that happened just a couple weeks ago.  Gina came down for a visit!!  It was totally unplanned - by that I mean I said , "Hey Gina, we need a visit" and she came back with..."okay, I'm coming down on April 7th."  LOL

We did lots of wandering around my area during her visit and did a quick 26 hour trip to New Orleans to stomp around the French Quarter.  I'm looking forward to making some fun projects about the quick trip. 

She flew in on a Friday and I picked her up at the airport and what did we decide to do that day?  Well, first we went to Zaxby's because that's one of Gina's requirements.  LOL But then we drove over to Foley to a... scrapbooking store!  Haha.  We just can't help ourselves.  It one of our rituals.  I have Michael's and JoAnn and Hobby Lobby down here and she has them up there but every time we get together we have to go to them all.  It's like I suddenly have permission to buy stuff because I'm "on vacation".  There's no logic behind it but really, any excuse to buy crafting supplies, am I right?  (We even went to a Joann in Maine last summer on our road trip.  It was the saddest tiniest little JoAnn.)  Anyway, we went to Gigi's Scrapbooking in Foley, Alabama and bought stuff.  Then came back to Pensacola and went to JoAnn and Hobby Lobby (bought more stuff). 

Saturday we made a visit to Pensacola Beach to the boardwalk and shopped a little and then had cupcakes and milk shakes for dinner.  For real. 

 

Then Sunday morning we drove over to New Orleans.  We had crepes in the Garden District at DeVille's and they were sooooooo good.  I want one now.  We went to the Lafayette Cemetery #1 before heading down toward the French Quarter.  We had dinner in the French Quarter and stayed at the Double Tree on Canal and then on Monday just wandered. 

We had our Cafe Au Lait and Beignets at Café Du Monde, which were fabulous, then just roamed and shopped and went to the Voodoo Museum and the Museum of Death which was both creepy and fascinating.  There were parts I couldn't or wouldn't look at but other things that were interesting.  We finally got our Red Beans and Rice that afternoon.  (I really need to stop talking about the food).  Then went back to the hotel to pick up the car and head home.  Quick, fun trip and lots of great photos to document our 26 hours of adventure.

Tuesday is movie day.  Gee loves Gina because she pets him non stop while she's here.

Tuesday is movie day.  Gee loves Gina because she pets him non stop while she's here.

Tuesday we literally just laid around and watched movies all day.  I think the only time I left the house was to pick up food for dinner.  LOL I force feed Gina movies when we are together.  It's another ritual.  :)

Anyway, neither one of us documented a single moment of the trip on Instagram, which was a shame but it is what it is.  LOL 

I'm looking forward to making fun project with the photos.

This happened on my way home from dropping Gina off at the airport.  But I'm glad it didn't happen while she was here. 

Around here... Part 1

A picture of "the move" before things got messy.  Very messy.

A picture of "the move" before things got messy.  Very messy.

Hello friends -

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted on here.  It hasn't been intentional, sometimes life just happens for too many days and weeks and months in a row. 

So many things have changed around for me personally and I'm very excited about the future and a little crazy in the present.  I feel like I've been in a constant desire for "reset/fresh start" for months without success.  One reason is because I've been in "wait" mode for what feels like forever with regard to my home and financial situation. 

I've been living on a rather tight budget for quite a while and to help get out of that frustrating spot, I'm actually changing my living situation.  I've been renting for a while and the place was in the right location and the perfect size for me and McGee and while it was not expensive, when added to a ridiculously high car payment (my own fault) I was living pretty tight.  But it was old and had some super duper flaws as well.

I talked it over with my parents and they helped me get a loan and after looking at a few different options, we have decided to build me a little house on the back of their property.  It's going to be small (750 sq ft) but fresh and new and cute.  Plus it will be close to them which was one of my priorities.   It will also have a flaw or two (only satellite internet - sigh), but I think overall it will be great and I'm excited.

In the meantime, however, that means I'm living in one of the bedrooms at my parents house.  I have way too much stuff for one room and even though I rented a storage unit, I brought way too much with me and it's crowded and a mess.  I'm going to have to do better and take more to storage or I'll go crazy.  I also have a very tiny crafting space so my projects are going to have to take up less space, make less mess and require less supplies.  This is something I'm going to have to work at because currently, I'm failing.  But this is only 6 months (I keep telling myself that) and I can handle it for that long. 

I'm planning to start a personal blog still on this site where I want to document what's happening with the house project.  All of the crafting will still be on this main blog, but I wanted to have a place I could talk about the house and my self improvement efforts as well as my newly diagnosed struggle with "diabeetus."  (I always call it that.  I can't help myself.  Sorry.)  You'll be able to find this blog in the sites main navigation as soon as the first post is up.

I have more to talk about with regard to what's been going on around here but I'm going to break the posts into pieces.  Thanks for sticking with us through the dry spell and I'm looking forward to getting back to the fun around here.

Shellie

Gina: A Piece of Advice from Wentworth

I'm sure all of you know who Wentworth Miller is and if you don't, let me share a reminder....

(Picture from a daily dose of wentworth tumblr (http://dailywentworth.tumblr.com/

(Picture from a daily dose of wentworth tumblr (http://dailywentworth.tumblr.com/

Ahhh, Michael Scofield, I can't wait to see you again.

Or if you don't remember him from there, maybe this image is more familiar to you....

Also taken from the website: http://dailywentworth.tumblr.com/

Also taken from the website: http://dailywentworth.tumblr.com/

Either way, I'm sure you are aware that he has shared his personal struggles with mental health publicly.  One way in which he acts as a support for others is on his Facebook page.  He routinely posts about Self Care and during the month of February it has been a daily Self Care moment.

On Monday or Tuesday of last week he posted about a technique he uses called "One Lane."  This technique is used while driving and basically it means what it says.  He stays in one lane while going from point A to point B regardless of how the traffic is moving in that lane.  He said that it was maddening at first, but then it allowed him to relax, be in the moment and to just enjoy the drive.

I was on my way to the airport last Tuesday and remembered his post.  I'm a horrible driver.  Let me rephrase, I drive perfectly well, but I'm an impatient driver which means that normally while driving my jaw is clenched, a litany of curse words are filtering through my brain and sometimes pouring out of my mouth.  So, in think of Wentworth's post, I decided that I would stay in the lane I was in and just let everything go.  

It worked.  After the first few minutes, I calmed down and just enjoyed the drive....then I realized I was so busy just being in the moment and enjoying the drive that I drove right past my exit.  Thanks, a lot, Wentworth.  

Luckily, there are two pretty direct ways to get to BWI from my house.  I realized that I missed the first exit in enough time that I was able to take the second exit.  The second way is normally slower, which is why I don't take it.  By some stroke of luck, on this day, the normal way I go was blocked due to a multi-car accident.  If I had taken that way, I would have missed my plane.  

Funny, huh?

 

Gina: Getting Ready for the New Year

That title may have a few of you shaking your heads and I can't say I blame you, but bear with me and I'll explain everything.

Last week, I made the decision that I would no longer start my new year on January 1.  You see, that date falls directly in the middle of the worst season of my year...winter.  I think when your psychiatrist says that you're a poster child for Seasonal Affective Disorder - you should probably listen to what that means.

Seasonal Affective Disorder knocks me on my ass during the winter months and to plop this all consuming need to make major New Year type changes to my life at that time, well, that's a recipe for disaster and the definition of failure.  So, last week, I decided no more.  I would turn my calendar to June 1 and I would begin my new year.

Now, I didn't plan to just sit around and not try to make some kind of positive changes in my life before that very arbitrary day in June, but it was a way for me to care for myself, to relieve the guilt of not meeting those resolutions and the feelings of failure. 

My mind was set.

Until I talked to Shellie yesterday.  You see, Shellie and I have, on more than one occasion, discussed that fact that we share a brain.  Now, we're different in many ways, of course; but, there are times when she will tell me over text message that she's beginning to work on something and I'll be in the middle of that very thing myself, or vice versa.  There are also times that I will be typing a reply to her and then have to stop because what I was going to say was exactly what she had just typed.  You get the idea - shared brain.

When I mentioned that I was going to start my new year in June, she replied that I should make it March 1st, the reason being that it is the start of Daylight Savings time; therefore, there will be more light and it will effectively cure this winter issue that ails me.  I thought about that for a minute and decided, like always, "Damn, she's right."  I can track my mood pretty much like clock work around how much light is in my life.  I always said that from November to March was like living through hell.  And this is the exact reason why.

Shellie also mentioned that if we start (because now it's a joint venture) on March 12 (when Daylight Savings time starts), then we would have several months to prepare for "only four months of darkness."  A new phrase was added to our vernacular.  Only Four - that time of the year from November through February that are the hardest months for us due to the lack of light.  Looking at it that way, we can get through "Only Four."

On March 12 - my new year will begin.  I'm working on how best to plan in the new year, writing out the goals I want to achieve in the new year, and generally getting ready for that new year to start.  I'm looking forward to the light and this time of resetting and rejuvenation.

Are you guys affected with the change in light?  How do you overcome it?  I'd love any suggestions you might have.

For now, I'm off to get some work done.  I need to put in my eight hours so I can move the two feet from my work office to my craft room.

Talk to you soon.

Peace and happiness for your day.  Gina

Shellie: Adventure 2016 - Memories of Maine - 12x12 ROUND layout using new interactive Viewfinder cut file set

I will be honest and admit that when I cut out this latest file, I had absolutely no idea what project I was going to use it for.  I cut it out and and I was so excited about the file and the idea and then I was like.... but what am I going to use it for?  I knew I needed and wanted a project to showcase the new cut file for the shop but how to choose what to use in it?

I seriously considered using photos from our trip to Disney last year and I think I will still make one using those images.  But there are SOOOO many images to choose from that the task just felt daunting.  I remembered I had already started narrowing down some photos that I want to use on a mini book about our most recent Road Trip to Maine so I knew that folder would only have a few (relatively speaking - when compared to 3000 originals)and I decided to go there.  As I progressed through my photo selections I ended up deciding to use only pictures of us.  Either selfie's (we always take the selfie stick with us!) or shots we took of each other. 

There is one picture that doesn't have our faces, only my feet, but technically I am in the picture.  :)  Plus I just really wanted to use it.  The name of our trip written in the sand was kind of a subtitle for the project in my mind. 

Above is the finished project.  It is not attached to a background paper and because of the way the file works, there really isn't a "top".  I used the photo template (I originally made it to make my life easier while working on this project and decided I had to include it in with the cut file!) to print my photos and then I cut them out with scissors.  Using the silhouette just seemed a bit like overkill for just cutting out the pictures so I cut them out, decided in what order I wanted them and just taped those suckers on the back of the template using washi tape. 

Next I placed the journaling template onto my background piece and used a bit of washi to hold it in place. (Washi is handy stuff but I often use it for something other than what it was meant for - you too right?)  Then I did my journaling - just write then spin, write then spin until I had each photo documented.  Finally I simply removed the template and I'm left with all of my journaling in perfect alignment.

template2.jpg

Next I took the top "spinner" and placed it on top.  There are tiny center holes in both the front and back pieces that you can use to put your brad into so that they line up perfectly.  I attached the piece and tested it out - I had to see how it worked and it worked beautifully!

spinner.jpg

Finally I did my embellishing.  Not too much because with so many images, too many embellishments could make it look a little crazy I think.  But I used these number wood veneers that I think came in a December Daily kit and the adventure wood veneer from Heidi Swapp.  I decided to add the little tab as a handle of sorts to make the spinning easier and I love how it turned out. 

There are a few other nautical themed die cuts/stickers that came from a Just Jaimee digital planner sticker kit for August that I bought from the Lily-Pad online store and printed and cut with my silhouette of course.  That's it.  By the time I was finished, this had become a project I loved instead of just one I made to showcase the cut file. 

I'm already planning that second one using Disney pictures - I can picture it in my head and can't wait. 

I hope you enjoy using the file as much as I did.  You can purchase it here on our web site in the shop, or if you prefer, in our etsy store

Keep crafting!

Shellie

Shop Update! New cut file for interactive "Viewfinder" project to showcase multiple images!

I'm so excited to share the newest updates to the shop this week.

First up is a new cut file that I've had in my head for literally more than a year.  Maybe even 2.  I finally got around to finishing it up this week.  This is an interactive Viewfinder that holds 12 photos and has hidden journaling for all 12 - only revealing one story at a time.

This would be a great project to showcase highlights from a special event or vacation - maybe your twelve favorite shots of the summer or highlights from your cruise. 

The cut files comes with the back piece that holds the images and journaling - I'm calling it the Viewfinder frame.  A template for writing out your journaling in just the right spot and a top "spinning" center piece that fits over the journaling in the center allowing only one photo's journaling to be revealed at a time.  You could attach this to a background 12 x 12 sheet of paper, or leave it free like I did.  I also included a template for use with Photoshop that allows you to place your images on a single page and use the masks on the page to get your photos to the perfect size.  You can then cut these files out and place them on the back of the viewfinder frame. 

Files come in .SVG, .DXF, .PNG and .JPEG format.

I used the cut file to showcase pictures of Gina and I on our trip to Maine this past July.  Check out my next post to see my project and this cut file in action.

This cut file can be found both in the online shop on this web site or in our etsy shop.  If you use it, please share your work with us.  We'd love to see how you used the file for your own memory keeping project.

I hope you enjoy using these files as much as I did. 

Keep creating!

Shellie

Shellie: My favorite childhood Easter photo - 12x12 Layout

I actually made this layout on the Easter holiday weekend this year.  I recorded a video of it which I wanted to be my first ever youtube video but haven't gotten my act together with the editing of that video so this layout has been sitting unposted since then.  Shame on me.

I wanted to do a paper layout and double-clicked on my Photos file on my computer and just hanging out in the folder was a scan of this image.  This is me and two of my cousins from Easter at my Uncle's house about a billion years ago.  (Okay, probably like 37?)  I'm not positive how old I actually am in this picture but I'd guess between 2 and 4.  That's me on the right with the bowl cut.  That big basket in front of me was my Easter basket my entire life until I think it finally just disintegrated from old age. 

I'm not sure why exactly, but this has always been one of my favorite photos from my childhood.  I just love it.  So I decided it was the perfect time to scrap it since it was Easter weekend and all. 

I started by fussy cutting a bunch of those butterflies.  I generally enjoy fussy cutting so it wasn't an annoyance to me.  The rest of the page, being fairly simple, didn't take a long time to come together.  I think the most time consuming part was deciding where to place each individual sequin so they looked random.  Irony, right?  Haha.  The small square frame and "favorite" script word are both by Heidi Swapp and the sequins and flair came in a Scraptastic kit once upon a time and have been in my stash.

I still want to try to get the video up for this project and if I do, I'll add it in to this post.

I've found lately that the idea of scrapping old photos from my childhood actually quite appeals to me so I will likely be doing more of it.  Those are the memories I want to keep. 

Thanks for stopping in to visit.  I believe that Gina scrap-lifted this idea and should be posting her interpretation of this layout soon.

See you soon.

Shellie

Gina: Smile, 12x12 Layout

The flowers that I used on this layout came out of a fabric scrap bag that I purchased at a yard sale.  Obviously, someone had cut them out of a pair of pajamas or another type of clothing.  I wasn't sure at first what I was going to do with them.  In fact, I wasn't sure I was even going to keep them, but then I had an idea - I could use them on a scrapbook page.  I didn't intend to use all of them, but once I started putting them down, they just screamed at me to keep adhering them.  And between you and me, I always listen to my scrapbook supplies.  HA!

This photo is of my niece's school photo for last year.  I just love those chubby little cheeks and that sweet grin.  As you can see, I totally ignored the fact that there was blue in the picture.  I wanted to use these flowers and they dictated that I use pink and yellow, so I went with it.  The blue is a complimentary color, so it works.  

I used a Martha Stewart punch around the edges, but it didn't turn out quite like I had planned.  I failed to realize before I punched it that the punch made strips and not borders.  Oops.  So, I changed my design a bit to make that work.  There's a chipboard from Blue Fern Studios that I embossed with yellow embossing powder.  The smile and yellow leaves chipboard are from an Amy Tangerine collection.  The letters and the gems used for the center of the flowers are from skybluepink.com

Hope you like this one as much as I do and if you'd like to see it come together, the video is below.

Thanks for visiting.  I'll see you next time.

Gina

 

 

Gina: Marrying You, 12x12 Layout

Stew and I have been married for 9 years...I, maybe, have scrapbooked 9 photos from our wedding.  I have a color scheme chosen, I have all of the necessary supplies, and then some, but it seems like I never make scrapping about this a priority.  Other pretty things catch my interest, but when I saw this picture of our wedding cake in a pile of photos I've printed previously, I felt like it was time to, at least, get this one in the book.

Stew and I married in Vegas - no elopement or anything like that, every one knew we were going and most of them watched on the internet, but it was just something we decided to do.  As part of the wedding package at the chapel where we were married, we were given a small wedding cake.  It's darling, isn't it?  I can't tell you how it tastes, though.  We never got around to eating it.  Through the whirlwind that was our time in Vegas, we were over tired and without having a way to bring it home, it remained in our hotel room as we left.  At least I got a picture of it.

The color scheme for my wedding album is black, red, silver and gray.  No red on this particular layout, but I definitely am loving the black and white tones of this one.  I used some super old Prima flowers and some even older Making Memories brads as my main embellishments.  I matted the pattern paper on a piece of gray cardstock.  My intention with the pearls was to mirror the pearls that are part of the floral chandeliers that are on the pattern paper.  That didn't quite work out the way I wanted, so I let go of that idea and just draped them from the top left corner leading to the photo.  

I cut the title with my silhouette on black cardstock.  I just entered the text I wanted, lined my letters up, grouped them and then cut it.  There's a bit of an issue with the grammar in the title, but I'm doing my best to let it go.  It didn't feel right to say "Marrying you was..." and "Being married to you is" felt more like present day, than referencing our wedding - so I went with this title even with the bit of grammar faux pas.  As you can see, I'm not having an easy time letting this go.

The letters in the title looked a little flat to me after pasting them on the page, so I went in with some silver paint and highlighted portions of the letters and also used this paint on the leaves of some of the flowers and no wedding layout can be complete without some sparkle, so I took some clear glimmer mist and painted it over some flowers to give them some shine.

This one is now in the album....one down, I don't want to think of the number of wedding pictures to go....

Hope you enjoyed and as always if you want to see this layout come together, the link to the video is down below.

Hope you're well.  Much peace and well wishes, Gina

Gina: I Can See Clearly Now, 12x12 Layout

Can I just share with you how happy I am when I open my email and see a message from Shellie that includes our latest cut file?  I mean, I know they're coming.  We do discuss and plan this stuff ahead of time, but to actually receive it, to watch it cut on the Silhouette, to know that this little business of ours is coming to fruition, well, it's all so damn exciting to me.

This file is no exception.  As soon as I cut it out, I knew exactly what photo I was going to use and exactly what my title was going to be.  In the not to distant past, I found myself in a bit of a depressive funk that I couldn't seem to shake.  There were things going on that contributed to this, but honestly, at the end of the day, depression is just something that I live with.  Sometimes I do well to control it; other times, it takes me down until I can't see a way up.  This last episode was one of the worst I've been through in years, but in the last few months through working with my psychiatrist and my therapist, the awesome support of Stew and Shellie and my family - everything is back under control.

One night, Stew came home from work and he told me that I had to go outside and see the sun.  It had rained all day so the fact that there was sun out at all surprised me.  When I looked outside, the storm clouds were receding and just these small slivers of sunlight were tapping on the top of the trees.  I swear to you I had a Bob Ross moment thinking about those happy little trees.  The leaves that were once curled in due to the rain now opening up to soak up the rays. 

It kind of made me feel like what I had been going through.  The sun was finally shining again.  I grabbed my camera and took more pictures of this than I would like to admit and I knew that I would use the photo on a layout to talk about this journey that I'm on.

I've actually made this layout twice.  The first one was ruined when I knocked over a bottle of water, but, all things happen for a reason.  I'm much happier with this one.

I took some simple kitchen aluminum foil and scrunched it up to give it some texture and then I had fun adding color to it using alcohol inks.  I'm sure there's a ton I need to learn about alcohol inks, but they've been sitting my stash for awhile and I wanted to use them.  I love how this background turned out and will definitely be doing this again.

After that, I adhered the umbrellas, but thought that the white diecut got lost, so I colored it yellow using a large Pitt pen.  I liked that better.  Then, it dawned on me that most umbrellas are not transparent, so the background poking through really didn't make a lot of sense.  I pulled out some acrylic paint and painted the panels of the umbrellas.  I really like how the paint picked up some of the tint from the alcohol ink underneath which gave it a pink hue instead of just the flat white.

The picture cluster is pretty small and the embellishments minimal because: 1. There is a lot going on in the background of this layout and 2. I wanted the title to be the focus of this page.

The journaling will go on a separate page because it's personal and long.

I very much enjoyed using this cut file and hope that you will head over to the store and pick it up for your own use.  If you use it, we'd love to see how you use it, so please share.

Until next time, peace and well wishes, Gina