Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Mocha...on a scrapbook layout !

Hello everyone! 

I have another blog post, already!! ;-) 
Eventually I'll get up to those daily posts, or maybe not. I do plan on sharing a lot more often so thanks for stopping in! 

This layout is of Mocha. 

We rescued her in 2006. Michael found her online through a GSP rescue in Utah.
We had fostered a teeny dog (only 7 lbs) for a week in February 2006 when a neighbor had to go into a nursing home.
Ginny and Bebe didn't really get along well, so we found Bebe a good home with a friend of mine, her daughters, and their two dogs. Bebe was much happier in this home and became very close to their Golden Retriever, Goldie so it all worked out well. 

We did realize after that experience that we really wanted a second dog.
Michael was also interested in a German Shorthaired Pointer because of some dog rescues he had started following on Facebook.

Mocha (originally named Moe-Moe by the rescue) seemed like a perfect fit for us.
Michael thought she looked fairly small in the pics (around 40 lbs) which was good for us because Ginny was around 45 lbs and I didn't want two big dogs.

Mocha was very sickly though after she was rescued from wandering in the forest during winter. 
It took much longer to get her healthy than the rescue expected so she didn't arrive in Tucson, having been brought here safely in a car by Best Friend's Animal Society, until late March. 

She was also larger than expected. That was funny! It didn't matter though, of course we loved her from the minute we saw her.

It was rough timing though, because Michael went to India for 3 weeks in early April. 
Mocha had become immediately attached to him and then wondered where he had gone. She did get along great with Ginny and her presence also allowed Ginny to relax more when they were left alone. No more having to put Ginny in a crate when we left the house. 

The photo for this layout was taken in 2008 or 2009, probably 2009 by our friend Erin. 
It was before we got our third rescue, Bella and before Mocha had white hair on her face (which we think Bella caused LOL). 

Anyway, onto the layout. 

I made this using Glitz Design and Chic Tags, plus some American Crafts thickers (which were the last part to be added). Journaling is still a bit weird for me because I don't want to mess up the layout and sometimes I just want to say "cute" or "love this." I didn't put a date on this either. 

 Still awkward photos but I did take this in sunlight and love how the Glitz Design rhinestone sparkles! 

Here is a photo of Mocha taken recently. 


She looks a wee bit sad in this photo but was wondering why I was disturbing her circle turning as she tried to lay down, and was also having a bad day with lots of accidents. I was worried it might be diabetes but the vet thought maybe just an infection. She is all back to normal now. 

Tail wags and,



Monday, January 27, 2014

Scrapbook page without a title, how do you decide?

Hello everyone! 

These are not the best photos but I wanted to do a quick blog post of the most recent 12 x 12 layout I finished. It is using the new Heidi Swapp Hello Today collection. 

When I was working on the layout I only had stamps sets and the 12 x 12 paper pad. 
 
I also used Tim Holtz inks, which I love but I don't really love for this project. I want crisper stamped images, like when I used the Ranger ink.





Well I thought I would be showing the full layout but that photo really needs to be edited or retaken in much better light. 

My question really is...do you start a layout with the photo or a title in mind? 

My layouts sometimes have a title but I didn't start out with one in mind 
and now I don't know what title it should have. Hmm...



Thursday, January 23, 2014

My 2013 Project Life Adventure

Hello!!! 

Welcome to 2014 on this blog. I am only nearly a month late in getting to a 2014 post, 
but better late than never...right? ;-) 

This post is to recap my adventure with Becky Higgin's Project Life (and discuss plans for 2014). 2013 was the first year I scrapbooked using Project Life and I started at the very beginning of the year after subscribing to the Studio Calico monthly Project Life kit
I ADORE these kits every month - and I especially loved the first one. 

Let's start with what is going on currently, 
because it impacts the way I view my 2013 adventure: 

I have two wonderful online classes I am enrolled in to help with my 2014 Project Life Adventure and they have allowed me to look back on my 2013 PL journey through a very different perspective. 

First, I am enrolled in the Studio Calico Day by Day class. 
I was a bit behind on checking in with this class but read most of the downloads yesterday and discovered that struggling with the first year of Project Life is not unusual...
or anything to be too concerned about. 
In fact, I am even considering not "completing" my 2013 Project Life albums because of the statement the incompleteness of it says about me, over me trying to fill it in after the fact. 
Of course, there are still some experiences last year that I want documented, so when I go back and fill in those missing experiences/weeks, I will probably say that I did so in 2014 with a little notation on the title card. Or they may just be a traditional page mixed in with PL layouts.

Second, I won an IG giveaway from the immensely talented Deb Duty for a spot in the  
I have loved this class so far! 
I was surprised to receive the card set that went along with the class because I thought they were all sold out. The cards arrived in the second week of January and I have already used several of them in Weeks 1, 2, & 3 of 2014. 

Here is one of them in Week 1 of 2014: 

'begin with the end in mind'

It is a 20-week class and will finish after I am done with school, so it will be interesting to see how I document that with the influence of the lessons from this class and BH. 
She is an inspiration! 

Okay, now onto the recap of 2013 (all photos were taken today): 

I took a few online classes focused on Project Life in 2013, one I won and two I paid for (if I remember correctly). As amazing as those classes were - I really didn't benefit as much as I had hoped. I did take away advice that has helped me with all of my papercrafting though, and to feel a bit more relaxed about my creative pursuits. Project Life 2013 definitely didn't start out as relaxed. LOL 
Here is the title page though, one of my favorites. 


Here is my 2014 title page (which I love even more): 



When I started thinking about 2014 I decided I had been too fussy and that my 2013 layouts had been too overdone. I had tried too hard. Michael complained that I spent too much time on Project Life. When I looked through the albums this morning, I realized just how much I loved the layouts - fussy, overdone, and all or even when they were simple or had bad photos because it really was about the memories and not about perfect technique. 

The albums - 26 weeks to an album (that was original plan) and color-matched at least. ;-)

One of the inserts that I so enjoyed reminiscing over today about goodies and an amazing postcard I received from Kristin in Stockton. We met on IG but hopefully we will meet one day in person as well. Her care package arrived at exactly the time I needed a little bit of Stockton (was missing Auntie Flo who had recently passed)...and a glimpse of the amazing ocean on a postcard from her vacation to Hawaii. Thank you darling Kristin!

So many unfinished weekly layouts. Marked with post-its. Waiting for memories.

One of my very favorite rediscoveries. The dogs feature prominently in the layouts, of course. They really are my life. :-) But oh, how I love these photos of their big heads...and the photo of them out back, split in two. So "real life" because Ginny often is on her own, away from the other two. The For The Record card is a flip up and I enjoyed rereading the story. Made me smile. This layout is one of the simplest and the photo quality isn't great on any of the photos but when I look at it now, and I haven't looked at this one in months (it is from September 2013), I realize that it is perfect...perfectly me at least. It is my entire everyday - dogs, funny stories about silly games, beautiful weather, and lots of crafty goodness!

I was so happy to see this in a week that has little else in it. I thought I had forgotten to document Michael's promotion.  Such a perfect documentation.

The last title card I made for 2013. Making title cards was one of my favorite things about Project Life. Thinking about what the week "felt" like to me determined the title card, as much as any of my supplies. I did like to use newer craft goodies in each week's title card so I could remember that is when I got them, but that was not a rule. Also, there are still many weeks without title cards before Week 47 (which I continue to read as Week 41). 






Making sure each week has a title card at least is probably the only real goal I have for finishing up my 2013 Project Life albums.

I am doing well so far in 2014.
Behind, but relaxed about it. Learning and now realizing that even the most mundane memory I documented last year helps me to become a better me now.


What happened in 2013

2013 was a difficult year for me. 
Not in a major health-scare way, but in a constant, nagging way that I struggled with 
and that put me into a depression for many months. 
I battled consistent, but illusive health issues after a visit with Michael's mom in late March. Michael's mom has basal cell carcinoma, so for the first time her usual sun-loving activities were a no-go during the visit and even though it was enjoyable, it was poignant - as the weather was gorgeous!
About a week after her visit I started having severe fatigue, fever, and abdominal pain. I had been in good health prior to that...extending my yoga routine, at an ideal weight, and looking forward to my first bikini-wearing summer (blah, blah, blah). 
When I started feeling bad, I just took it for the flu or even major anxiety attacks - I thought I was having a difficult time processing my MIL's compromised health, her first solo visit since Michael's Grandma passed (her traveling companion and someone I was extremely close to), and from not discussing certain issues with her during the visit. 

I have coping mechanisms for my anxiety, but they weren't helping as much as I hoped.
The symptoms just kept persisting.
 I was gaining weight but it was more the excessive bloating that was an issue, and I was so, so tired. Some days I had to lay on the craftroom floor (where I spent most of my time) and would instantly fall asleep, because I just didn't have the energy to move to a different location.

 I didn't go to the doctor for seven weeks though. 
By the time I did go in early May, the diagnosis was severe depression 
and by then I was depressed. 
I argued with my doctor though because the initial physical symptoms had not been depression. I knew that but trying to treat them like they didn't require a doctor visit and watching my body change so drastically (so quickly) had really altered my mood. 

I had eventually discovered that my initial illness had been Hepatitis A. 
I never filled the prescription for the depression meds. Some days I wish I had, but meds are not my thing. My body doesn't handle them well, so I didn't want additional symptoms. I had lab tests, twice because a second set was needed for insurance purposes. I posted my highest blood pressure ever, which didn't do anything to relax me. lol 

I took a trip to Southern California in late May because I had made a commitment and because I wanted to see my best friend of 30 years and watch her eldest daughter graduate high school. It was a great visit.
 Otherwise though, back in Tucson I kept to myself. I had a hard time keeping up appearances in person for very long. I could smile for the camera though.

 I got out of bed every day for the dogs. My love for them pulled me through.
I still have anxiety, and need to be healthier - want to get back into shape and feel stronger - but I have overcome the depression.

It has been a great help to have social media during my depression. I didn't really talk about it but posting and interacting helped me stay accountable to the bigger world. I enjoyed interacting, sharing, and receiving so much - happy mail really does give pure moments of joy. I found that wanting to be creative helped keep the scales balanced.

I am fortunate for amazing online friends (especially Beth and Margaret), a supportive online community of fun people, loving family (even from long-distance), and a strong husband. 

Speaking of my strong husband, here is something else I will be open about. Only because not being open about it held me back in 2013. Held me back from accomplishing certain goals and couldn't help but add to the depression. 

My strong husband is compassionate, thoughtful, and the best kind of person. He is wonderful! 
He is also not on the same page as I am when it comes to adoption. 

Over the past seven years I have tried to get us on the same page about adoption (we have discussed it off and on for two decades). For one glorious moment a few years ago we were on the same page, even shared our adoption plans with family - but that moment was so fleeting one could even doubt it ever happened. That I have the memory of it happening made it harder to deal with the aftermath of 'our' plans disintegrating (meaning he changed his mind)...does that make sense?

Anyway, we have some issues. Every married couple does. 
Personal, private issues. Struggles and triumphs. Love and sometimes pain.

He is a good man though, and that is not something that will ever change.

2014 is a year for many major changes in my life though.
 All of which I hope to document through Project Life. 
I am happy to have this method of capturing moments and writing memories,
because sometimes we forget those little happenings that result in the biggest changes we can imagine.


I wish you all peace, love, happiness, and Happy Creating in 2014! 
~stephanie~