Friday, January 28, 2011

Top Five on Friday - Photoshop Shortcuts

For today's top five list I thought I'd share five of my favorite, most-used Photoshop shortcuts. Although I've used Photoshop CS3 for close to four years, I constantly learn new things. It's a powerful piece of software, and while I've thought about upgrading, CS3 does everything I need and so much more! I feel like I've only recently started to get comfortable in it! So here's my top five shortcuts, in no particular order:

  1. CTRL-J (Duplicate layer). Very handy when clustering, repeating an element, building a title, and so forth. Much easier than dragging the same element onto the page multiple times!
  2. CTRL-ALT-G (Clip selected layer to layer below). This is particularly useful for templates, to clip photos or papers to the appropriate shape. 
  3. CTRL+/- (Zoom in/out) and CTRL-0 (Return to normal zoom). I use this shortcut all the time, to quickly zoom in and see how something looks at 100%, or zoom out to get "the big picture" (since unfortunately I don't have a lovely giant monitor!).
  4. SHIFT-CTRL-N (Create new layer). Helpful especially when working with brushes. If you don't create a new layer, the brush will just stamp down on whatever layer is currently highlighted (like your paper, or element, or photo), which means you can't adjust it. Create a new layer for your brush, then you can resize, recolor, and fiddle with it to your heart's content!
  5. CTRL-Z (Undo last action). Not much to say about this one - although it should probably be first in the list!! I'm pretty sure this is every scrapper's most used shortcut :). 
And because the blogging experts have decreed that no post is complete without a photo, I'll share my latest layout(s) with you - I suppose it's even an example of my top five, since I certainly used all those shortcuts! I rarely create double-pagers, but that was part of the challenge over at Oscrap's Designer Spotlight this week: to scrap a two-page layout where one or both pages used a patterned background paper. Often my best pages come from challenges, because they force me to step outside my little comfortable box. This is also my Log Your Memory Weekly Challenge #4 layout - this week's challenge was to scrap about a project. I took a more metaphorical approach, but I needed the scrap therapy of my topic!

Left side - Journaling reads: 1. Feed him every 3 hours, both sides. 2. Supplement with 1 oz formula at each feeding. 3. Suction his poor nose, even though he hates it. 4. Persist with the inhaler for breathing treatments. 5. Start solids and sippy. 6. Make sure he gets lots of tummy time and room to practice rolling over. 7. Take fenugreek and pump to increase my supply. 8. Love, play, pray, cuddle, kiss, sing, talk.

Right side - Journaling reads: Some days I feel like a terrible mother. Some days I don't know what to do for you, how to help. I hear you coughing and choking, snorting as you struggle to breathe smoothly, and my heart breaks. Is there anything I could've done differently? I know this is a pointless line of reasoning no matter what. It won't help you get better. Instead I need to focus on doing everything in my power now to help you heal, grow, develop, and blossom. I can snuggle you and soothe you, and give you what only a mother can: a mother's love. But most importantly, I can pray for you and trust that God holds your tiny body in His strong arms, and He can heal you. Yes, He'll probably use doctors, and it's my responsibility to get you to the right ones. But I know that in the end, your life and health is in God's hands. And baby, there's no safer, healthier place to be. I love you so much, Avyn! 6 months old, January 27, 2011

I'll be back a little later today with a huge special announcement from one of my favorite digiscrap stores - yep, big enough for me to post TWICE in one day!! Curious yet? Heehee...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Breathe in the sunshine, sweetie!

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed with everything that needs done that you don't know where to start? I do, frequently. I finally have a few minutes when the boys aren't screaming, the house is at least to an ignorable state, and I can focus on ... something. So I stare blankly at my computer screen with a rising sense of panic and desperation thinking of my extensive to-do list.
Just a few minutes ago I was in such a state and expressing (er, complaining) to my husband that I didn't know where to start. I had just asked him to open the shades because it's a beautiful day outside. He looks at me and says - "Breathe in the sunshine, sweetie!" (He followed that up with "Let it improve your mood!" but I probably deserved that one.)
Hmm... thanks, honey. I needed the reminder to take a minute, breathe, appreciate the beautiful day God has gifted us with, and calm down.
Bonus - I suddenly knew what to blog about! Check one item off my to-do list! I hope my little moment of enlightenment has inspired you to "breathe in the sunshine" today, especially if you are feeling especially stressed. :)
Oh, before I go - I scrapped last week's P365 photos yesterday, and I am SO PROUD to say that I am actually caught up (with the scrapping part lol)! I figure I better enjoy that while it lasts!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just playing around...

As you may have noticed I've been playing with the "look" of Life.Ink.Scraps, exercising my practically non-existent HTML muscles. I changed the background, added cute little doodley post dividers (huge pain in the butt), and even managed to adjust the size of the blog to fit within my background and fit the post dividers. Mostly, anyway. I'm sure I'm not done fiddling - I really want to design my own background, dividers, and especially a blog header. A cool header is at the top of my to-do list. I want everything customized and pretty, not just boring Blogspot-in-a-Box. Unfortunately, I don't have the HTML skills, which means hours poring over tutorials, screwing up, ranting and raving at the screen, scratching my head, trying and trying again.
But I'll get it. Eventually. Hey, I managed cute post dividers. It's all downhill from here, right?

I'll leave you all with the two P365 layouts I've completed so far. Yes, I know, there are days missing. I fell off the P365 wagon within two weeks. OH well I wasn't planning on winning any prizes, just documenting our daily lives a little better. I'm pretty sure there aren't Project 365 police out there hunting down offenders so until I'm notified otherwise, I will continue to call my little project "P365," even though it will likely be more along the lines of "P310" or "P278."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Scraps

I feel like I haven't scrapped a page in a long time, so I thought today's effort was worth a whole post all to itself!

I scrapped this page for Log Your Memory's Weekly Challenge #3 - Share a Dream. It's all about my lifelong habit of daydreaming. Plus, bonus, I used a honeymoon photo that had been sitting around waiting to be scrapped for three years!

I used the lovely Day Dreamer by Modern June kit and a template from the Layers of Paper pack by BerrySweet Designs

Friday, January 21, 2011

Top Five on Friday

Hey, look, I made it on Friday this week! May this be the start of a long and happy tradition :D!
I decided to go for a pretty random Top Five list today. These are all things that made me happy this week, and who can't use a smile once in a while?!

1. I rarely buy templates anymore, because I have so many already and there are many available for free. BUT somehow Studio Basic at Mscraps keeps suckin' me in! Her template packs are always fresh and different, and each one is unique. Plus, I like the pretty colors she uses to color her templates - gray is so boring! This week's new release is an absolute must-have for me. I am in LOVE with all the frames/borders!

2. The Sara Scoop Double Daily. I had never heard of before today, when I noticed that Sara had included my post about digiscrapping on a budget in her "paper" today - it's in the digiscrap section of her online newspaper. Thanks, Sara! I'm going to have to check out this online newspaper-creation thing, it looks fun!

3. I love organizational stuff. Doesn't mean I use it, but I love browsing the aisles at Office Depot or Bed, Bath & Beyond and ogling all the cool storage containers, caddies, file systems, and desk trays. This post on has some great organizational eye candy, plus some great ideas, too! Maybe I'll actually put a few into practice in my walk-in-closet-turned-home-office!

4. What's your guilty pleasure? Mine is Cityville/Farmville on Facebook - I can lose hours a week (maybe a day... ssshhh) on mindlessly growing my empires. Everyone needs a stress-reliever, right?!

5. My last favorite thing today has nothing to do with the online world, and everything to do with what's most important in life - my family!! My oldest turned 2 yesterday, and while we have a party planned in a few days, we celebrated a little yesterday and let him open a few presents. Daddy and I gave him a play kitchen, set of toy food, and a Thomas the Tank Engine bedding set. He was absolutely thrilled with all of it, and has played almost non-stop with his kitchen since yesterday evening! Bedtime was also pretty smooth since he can now "sleep with Thomas"!

If you have a few things that are inspiring you today or making you happy, I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Digiscrapping on a Budget

Are you feeling a little broke (or a lot broke) after the holidays? Bills piling up? How often does your hobby budget fall to the bottom of the list - or off the list all together?
I know for me, money for digital scrapbook supplies is way down on our family's priority list, and I often feel like I'm taking money away from something else we need when I spend it on a kit. Fortunately, I've found that digital scrapbooking is an easy hobby to enjoy on a minimal budget. It just takes a little extra time, effort, and strategy - and learning a few money-saving "tricks" helps too ;)!
Here are a few pointers I've learned over my three years of digi-scrapping to save money and still enjoy scrapping with high-quality, current designs. 

1. Shop sales.

Okay, this may seem obvious, but even if you would never be caught dead paying full price for a kit, not all sales are created equal. How do you know what's really a good sale for a particular designer or store? For example, some designers rarely if ever offer more than 30% off, while for another designer 30% may be an every-other-day event, and if you're patient you'll catch a 50% off sale from them. Knowing the difference is a matter of being familiar with the designer or store.
I can't emphasize enough the importance of signing up for newsletters (and this is important for pretty much all of my tips) - almost all designers and stores today use newsletters to announce sales/coupons/giveaways/special events, and occasionally this is the only place they'll announce it. If you've been following Designer A's newsletter for a few months and the best you ever see is 20% off new releases, you know it's time to stock up when she runs 35% off everything for her birthday. By the same token, if a designer regularly runs 40% off sales, you'll know you can hold off on buying that to-die-for kit until you really have the money.
Another way to keep up with your favorite designers is by following their blogs. I recommend using an RSS reader like Google Reader to easily follow and view a number of blogs - you can even create folders to organize your blogs (for example, you could have a folder called Scrapbook Graphics and put all of those designers' blogs under that folder).
Finally, just like regular brick-and-mortar retail, holidays and store/designer "anniversaries" are the best times to find great sales. Keep an eye out on those newsletters for when your favorite store/designer will celebrate their next anniversary. And if you don't already know about it, scrapbooking has two holidays of its very own - the first Saturday in May is {inter}National Scrapbooking Day, and Digital Scrapbooking Day, the first Saturday in November. These, of course, are the mother load of sales, giveaways, amazing freebies, and all sorts of fun chats, challenges, and general mayhem across the digital scrapbooking world!

2. Use coupons. 
Isn't that the coolest coupon ever?! I love Coca-Cola, coupons, and vintage, but all together - *swoon*!!!
Okay, back on track. I intentionally put "use coupons" after "shop sales," because to get the most bang for your buck, wait for a sale before using a coupon whenever you can. Now, coupons you pick up through newsletters and blogs may not coincide with sales - it's likely going to be one or the other. The best coupons (and the ones you will most likely be able to save to combine with a sale) are the ones you earn, and there are two main ways to earn coupons.
The most reliable way to earn a coupon is by participating in a store forum's challenges, especially the kind where everyone who enters gets a coupon (or a mini-kit, add-on, etc.). Sometimes designers host challenges on their blogs, as well. Of course, this is a perfect way to get in a little scrapping while you're saving money! Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Not to mention they're fun. :) The Daily Digi compiled this great list of places to find digital scrapbooking challenges.
If participating in challenges is a Type A personality's favorite way to get coupons, entering giveaways and scoring limited-use coupons from Facebook or Twitter is a free-spirit's preferred method! If you like to gamble, enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and have a little extra time on your hands, this game is for you. Follow designers on Twitter and Facebook and keep your eyes peeled - many post random coupons, links to giveaway contests, and sale notices. Enter all the giveaways you can find and odds are, eventually you'll win something. Keep your store wishlists current and the next time your favorite designer posts a big coupon on Twitter to the first five lucky shoppers, you'll be ready for action!
*warning: shameless plug ahead* If you'd like to follow me on Twitter, I frequently post/re-tweet my favorite designers and stores' giveaways, coupons, and sale announcements! In addition to me :D, I also recommend following @dailydigi, they re-tweet great stuff from all over, and see if your favorite store(s) are on Twitter. Stores are great to follow because you get a bunch of designers' sale announcements, coupons, etc. in one place. A few on my list: @oscraps, @scrapmatters, @thedigichick, @PolkaDotPlum, @littledrmrscrap, @Mscraps, @sbg_studiogirls.
My top tip when entering to win a new release or other goody - make sure you take advantage of all "extra entries" offered. Post to Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, post on your blog, shout out the car window, whatever the designer allows, then don't forget to log your efforts in separate comments, and check back to see of you've won! Some designers require that you e-mail them to claim a prize, a strategy I totally agree with because it keeps people coming back to your blog! ;) (Sneaky but hey, we do what we have to do to attract traffic, right?!)

3. Join a Creative Team. If you love a particular designer's or store's products, and have and use at least some of them already, watch out for their next CT call. Or dive off the deep end and send them an e-mail - you never know, maybe they just had another CT member quit! I'm certainly not an expert in creative teams, but what I do know is to make sure your style fits the designer's look, and it's best if you're already familiar with their stuff before applying to their team. If you've never heard of Designer ABC and own none of their products, applying to the team just to get free stuff probably won't earn you brownie points!
Don't let your lack of experience or expertise (real or perceived) stop you from applying, either. Great designers know the value of having a variety of styles and skill levels on their team. You may be just what they're looking for! If not, shrug it off, keep scrapping, get to know the designer and their stuff better, and re-apply next time. Never give up!
DigiShopTalk hosts a Call forum where designers and stores can post their calls, and in my experience this is the best, all-in-one place to find information and keep up-to-date on who's calling for what and when.

No discussion of digi-scrapping on a budget would be complete without mention of freebies, but I left this category until last on purpose. Ask most any seasoned digiscrapper how many of the countless gigs of freebies they've downloaded that they actually use, and the answer will likely be "very little." Don't get me wrong, freebies are wonderful to help you get started in the wide world of digital scrapbooking, and I sure appreciate the designers who work hard to create quality work to give away. Unfortunately, not all freebie designers put in the same amount of effort. Remember why you digi-scrap - if it's to preserve your family's memories, think about whether you want a blurry, badly-extracted, or otherwise second-class product on those pages your family will be admiring for years.
A cardinal rule of freebie-hunting is to never download anything just because it's free. Ask yourself, would I pay for this? Will I use it? If you can't imagine how you'll use that alpha or element on a page, or if you can honestly admit that even if you had the money, you wouldn't spend it on that kit, don't bother downloading it. It'll only clutter up valuable hard drive space.
Now for the disclaimer :)! Many top designers routinely offer freebies to their loyal customers on their blogs, newsletters, or through store/web site "designer spotlights." These freebies are generally the same quality as their other products, and often designed to coordinate with a full kit that's in the store. Sometimes designers will even give a full kit away as a thank-you to their fans! The cardinal rule still applies to these, of course, but I find I'm more likely to use these types of freebies. Another way to save money if you love a kit, but know you won't use it for more than one page, is to see if the designer has offered a free add-on. Pick up the freebie, make your page, and save your money for their next kit that may be more versatile for you.
One more thing - never forget to say thank-you! That designer may have spent several hours of their valuable time creating something to give away; the least they deserve is a sweet, grateful comment, right? Well, that and your loyalty to spend money at their store next time you have a bit of cash ;).

I know this has been a very long post, but stick with me just a little longer, okay? :) Being on a few creative teams has given me an interesting, informative glimpse "behind the scenes" of digital designing. I've seen the hours, love, thought and effort designers put into their designs. Many count on designing income to help support their families. Remember to be respectful and appreciative (nobody likes digital pirates! Johnny Depp, on the other hand...), always leave a thank-you comment when you download a freebie or use a coupon, and when you do have a little money to spend, give back to your favorite designers who so generously share freebies, coupons, and sales (in other words, their time and money)!

What are your best tips for saving money on digital scrapbooking goodies? Please share them in the comments - I'm sure everyone would love to hear them! Not to mention I'm always looking for ways to make my dollar stretch!

Monday, January 17, 2011


I've been mulling over the concept of "single-tasking" lately, as opposed to multi-tasking, ever since I read about this concept online. I'm an extremely distractable person, and tend to do about 10 things at once, especially online. I always have multiple browser tabs and programs open. I was diagnosed in college with ADD, and this is how I struggle with it - I have a hard time focusing. There are times as a mom of two little boys when this trait serves me well. Sometimes many things must be done at once. And kids, of course, throw off the whole equation. I'm certainly not recommending ignoring your children until you finish a layout/the dishes/sorting your sock drawer/processing e-mail. I can't count how many times I've had to stop writing this post and deal with the latest kid mini-crisis. The point is that when the crisis is dealt with, instead of getting distracted by something else that needs done, I re-focus on my original task.
Because more often than not, multi-tasking is an ineffective and ultimately slower way to get things done. Why?

  • It takes longer to do a task in little bits of time, because every time you go back to something, you have to mentally remember where you were at/what you were doing, re-gather supplies, pick up a tool, etc. These few extra seconds or minutes add up.
  • I risk forgetting something important, because my mind is trying to hold onto too many things at once. The more tasks and details I'm remembering and jumping between at once, the more likely I'll forget an important task or component.
  • Multi-tasking is complicated and often stressful, contributing to a chaotic life. Even if things get done, what's the cost to my sanity and my family?
If you're like me, the concept of single-tasking is so foreign that you may need some help knowing exactly how to start. This article on offers a great list of practical ideas on how NOT to multi-task, so I won't reinvent the wheel. My favorite tip is to stop, breathe deeply, and re-focus if I feel myself tempted to check e-mail, follow a link, pick-up the living room clutter, or anything else until I'm done with the task at hand. 

I think the key to single-tasking may be a bit surprising, because it's a favorite of multi-taskers as well: the to-do list. A to-do list is just a tool; how you use it is up to you! To-do lists help to empty your brain of all the stuff ricocheting around in there, and get it on paper. The difference with single-tasking is that once it's on the paper, organized, and prioritized, you forget about everything below your current task. Fold your paper up to right under your current task if you have to. Or use an online tool like NowDoThis, which will show you only one task at a time. The "all done!" message when you finish your list is remarkably satisfying. Remember - thinking about what you have to do next is another form of multi-tasking!
This is my screen capture with the NowDoThis web site running. As you can see, I'm not quite following my own advice - I have 8 tabs open! Whoops...

Living "in the moment" has become a sort of New Age-y catchphrase, a way for people to assert that they want to "experience life" and "appreciate the little things." Few people - myself included - truly understand how to achieve this in-the-moment-ness (yes, I just made up a word. I'm an English major, I'm allowed). I think that the art of single-tasking, focusing on one project or to-do until it's done, can bring me one step closer to appreciating life "in the moment," soaking it all in, and fully enjoying these all-too-fleeting days of young motherhood. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top Five for Friday...on Saturday

I like the blog-world idea of doing a "top five on Friday" list. But between taking Avyn back to the doctor and still being sick myself yesterday, the list in my head never made it to the computer. So I'm sharing my top five on Saturday!

Ever heard of Kaboodle? Although it's famous for more traditional shopping "finds" like shoes, purses, or make-up, I love using it for my digital scrapbooking dream wish lists. If I see something I like when browsing a shop or "new releases" newsletter, I will usually "Kaboodle it" and then, when I have a few dollars to spend, I shop my wish list first. I have extremely limited digiscrap funds, and this also helps prevent impulse purchases. Sometimes when I review my list later I'll realize that a particular kit, while beautiful, really doesn't fit my style, or that I already have a similar kit in my stash. By the same token, if I'm still madly in love with a kit a few days or weeks later, and know that I'll use it, I'll give in and treat myself!

Here's my top five on my Kaboodle wishlist right now:

"Sketchbook" by Three Paper Peonies
I can't wait to scan in some of Cai's drawings to use with this kit. That pencil is too cute! I'm buying this one as soon as I finish this post!

"Snap! The weekly shots" by Maya de Groot
I'm considering this set for my Project 365 photos. I like the variety of photo sizes.

"The Story of Us" by Vera Lim
I like the color palette of this kit, especially the blue. I think it would be pretty to do some layouts of Josh and I - I still have so many engagement/wedding/honeymoon stories to scrap!

"Holiday Cheer" by Cinzia Designs
Who doesn't have holiday photos still to scrap?! I love the fresh, bright colors and doodley elements, especially the banner. I am so obsessed with all things pennant and banner...

"Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey
My last pick isn't a kit, but I think it could make a world of difference in my blogging and my creativity in general. I'm definitely buying this one - Amazon has it on sale for just $6.82!

Do you have a "top 5" on your wish list? Thanks for being patient with me this week while I fell behind. I've got some exciting ideas in store for next week, including a post about "single-tasking" and one about tips for digi-scrapping on a budget. Until then - happy scrapping, and enjoy your weekend!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Introducing ... my bosses

Well I had planned on posting a fun list yesterday of my favorite new releases, and I had a blog post half-ready for today about single-tasking. Little did I know, "the bosses" planned a different agenda. So today, you get a family update! Never fear - I'll get back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow or Wednesday. Now, meet the bosses - here they are with mama, who is obediently performing her snuggle duties :).

Cai, my almost-2-year-old (I can only say that for a couple more weeks - yikes!), experienced his first stomach bug that had him throwing up several times yesterday evening. He appears fine today, except for decreased appetite. I am very glad - mommy doesn't handle vomit well.

Avyn, who will be six months on the 27th, is a bit more complicated. He's suffered from a persistent cough since around Thanksgiving, and constant congestion basically since birth. His pediatrician diagnosed stridor and reflux, but my "mother's intuition" kept insisting that something else is wrong. It's been affecting his eating and sleeping (which also happens to affect mommy's sleeping). So today I finally called the doctor, explained my concerns, and they got us in this morning. Well, the appointment was at 11 am, but we didn't get in until nearly 12:30 pm. Typical doctor's office. Our doctor agreed that something is up, and ordered food allergy testing, because his symptoms may fit with a food allergy (since I'm nursing, he gets everything I eat). She also discovered that he has huge tonsils, so we'll probably need to see an ENT specialist to deal with that. Finally, she prescribed an antibiotic since his cough and congestion have been worse the last few days with greenish mucus (sorry if that was TMI!). Poor little guy probably has a cold or infection on top of the chronic problems.

We should find out results from the allergy panel in 3-5 days. Although I want answers, I selfishly hope he doesn't have allergies because that would restrict my diet! Lactose intolerance runs in my husband's side of the family, too - I'm not sure I could go without milk! But if it isn't allergies, there may be a more serious issue, like with his tonsils and/or adenoids (which the doctor couldn't even see because the tonsils were so big). And I'm sure I could handle avoiding dairy for a while.

Do any of you, or your children, have to (or choose to) avoid milk products or other foods? Is it a huge pain in the butt, or do you just get used to it? Have you found any great-tasting "replacement" milk (or replacements for other foods)? Thanks for sharing!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Inspiration

As I'm figuring out how this blog will work, and what I'll post when, I know I want to have weekly inspiration posts - one post for showing off some of my recent layouts (and maybe others I find around digiland?) and one post for showcasing some of my favorite, drool-worthy new products from various designers. And probably this will happen on Saturday and Sunday. Sound good to you?
Okay, here we go with the first official layout inspiration post! Today it's just my own work, and I included a little bit about each layout or a technique that I used. Hope you can find some inspiration!

"Jordyn Angel" 
This one is for my niece's baby album. I love being able to scrap girly pages once in a while! Isn't Jordyn the cutest? I used Angel Hartline Design's Paper Wings collection, and enjoyed practicing my photo blending (the blend mode is Overlay at 100%). I love that Angel includes glitter styles in her collections - I love glitter, and the styles are so easy to use. I applied them with one click to my title - instant pizzazz! 

"December Day 25"
My plans for a daily December album didn't quite turn out as, well, planned. I hadn't planned on a last-minute 9-day trip to Michiana, or on moving the week of Christmas. Oh well, that's life! I made sure to scrap a page for Christmas day, though, and choose a template that had lots of picture spots and journaling space. I used Mscrap's Holly Jolly Christmas collab, Allison Pennington's Smitten, and Biograffiti's Itty Bitty Dates No. 1. Also, I edited all the photos with My Four Hen's Peace or Hope actions. I rarely use non-edited photos any more, and I almost always use actions - so easy!

"Random Moments 2010"
I like the simplicity of this template - it's an old Log Your Memory (LYM) freebie. This was my page for the LYM 2011 Weekly Challenge #1 - to make a list. Making "top" lists of anything totally stresses me out, though, so I decided to compile a completely random list. I went through my photo folders and grabbed a picture from each month, the first one that caught my eye. Turned them all black & white, added a few cute papers and embellies from Ange and Deca Designs' Revolution kit, and there's my list page! Oh, yes, and the month wordart brush on each photo is from Cinzia Loosemore's Dates and Days (not sure if they are available to buy anymore). One thing to remember when using brushes, create a new layer (Shift-Ctrl-N in PS) before stamping with your brush so you have the freedom to move, resize, recolor, etc.

I'll be back tomorrow sharing some of my favorite new products on the market, and hopefully posting my first Project 365 weekly layout!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Little Word 2011

I talked about my one little word for 2011 on the LifeInk blog already (and I encourage you to go read that post), but since then I've found a few more great resources for delving a little deeper into this amazingly powerful concept. Ali Edwards is teaching a class at Big Picture Classes on this topic, and it's only $36 for the year-long class!

I also stumbled across these gorgeous necklaces from Liz Lamoreux  on Etsy - how awesome would it be to wear your word around!? I'm thinking of mentioning this to my husband as a possible anniversary/V-day gift ;). She has brass teardrop, washer, and circle shapes available, with your word stamped in the metal, and your choice of chain length. So very cool.

Christine Kane published a worksheet titled "Your Word of the Year Discovery Tool" that walks you through selecting your word, then answering a series of questions/journaling prompts designed to get you clear and focused about why you selected this word and what kind of results you want from it this year. Well, the worksheet explains it better than I do!

So over the past few days, as I have time in between toddler meltdowns, diaper explosions, organizing the new apartment, cleaning, cooking, etc., I've worked through these questions. I'd like to share a few insights I gained into my word for 2011, "BELIEVE."

One question Christine asks is "In what ways do you already live/embody this word? I wrote that I already believe in God, I believe I have intrinsic worth as His child, and I believe He has a plan for me. I'm not sure, however, that I actually "embody" these statements. Another question asks what would be different in my life if I embraced and lived my word daily. If I lived out the word "believe," I think it would/will dramatically change my everyday living, my outlook on life, the way I respond to trials and struggles, and the way I think about myself and my purpose.
For example, if I believe that I am a talented, gifted, creative writer/editor/scrapbooker and actually live out that belief, how freeing that would be! Instead of battling insecurity and feeling that this article/blog post/scrapbook page isn't good enough, or that I have nothing original to contribute, I would be emotionally freed to simply create.
Another question she poses is "What old patterns, Default Settings, or beliefs have kept you from living this word until now?" As part of my answer, I wrote that I am full of "default beliefs" programmed into me since childhood at home and church. I believe these things, sure, but I've never internalized them for myself, so they are only a surface and superficial part of my life. One of my goals this year is to reexamine my basic beliefs, about God and about myself, and make them mine - not my parents' or my church's, but mine.
I certainly haven't covered every area of this 9-page worksheet. Many of my answers are too personal to share, but I hope I've inspired you to dig a little deeper into this "One Little Word" fad, and figure out your "why" and "how." For me, this year I will embrace my word "Believe" in two broad areas of my life: believe in myself, and believe in God. By first nailing down precisely what I believe, and then internalizing those beliefs on the soul-level, I believe that my life will radically change.

How about you? Have you taken the time to explore your word for 2011, your reasons for choosing that word, and what you hope to accomplish this year with that word? Did you learn anything? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome to Life.Ink.Scraps!

Welcome! If you've found me from LifeInk, the Wordpress blog I formerly coauthored with my dear, talented friends Ashley and Erin, then you know that we've decided to branch off into three separate blogs - and this is mine! Our blogs, like ourselves, will remain best friends, however, and for now you'll be able to see all three on LifeInk still, as we link our new blogs there. We felt that each of us was "growing into" our respective niches and needed more space to grow as different writers with different focuses. Although this blog is far from complete and is pretty rough around the edges, please hang in there with me while I learn about the Blogger platform and how to make things pretty :). I decided, instead of putting off starting until I had everything perfect, I'd better just start and we'll figure things out together as we go. When Ashley and Erin have their new blogs up, I will certainly link to them and encourage you to visit these awesome, creative ladies too!

Now, back to me :D. I landed on the name Life.Ink.Scraps. because I feel this name beautifully describes the three-pronged approach I'll be taking here. First, "Life" - if you don't want to occasionally hear about my toddler's funny antics, or my crazy mommy experiences, then you have my permission to gracefully bow out now.
My family - me, Cai, hubby Josh, and Avyn
My everyday, ordinary life will be a big part of my blog, obviously because my life affects everything I write and create, and being a mommy affects my life the most.
Second, "Ink" refers to writing, and it's kind of obvious. But beyond the "duh, this is a blog" writing aspect, I hope to also share poetry, bits of creative writing, and other sorts of "inspirational/challenging/devotional writing" posts as the muse strikes me.
Third, and this is perhaps the biggest reason I am writing this blog, is "Scraps." Digital (and a little paper) scrapbooking is a huge part of my life, my creative outlet, and a way for me to be "me" outside of being a mommy/wife/sister/daughter/editor/fill in the blank. I want to share my pages with you all, share cool products I've found, talk about fun events in the digiscrap community, and really just have fun and participate in this amazingly international, diverse creative community! I'm on several creative teams so you'll often see posts relating to those (more about that aspect in a future blog post), but this will never become a "hi, here's my layout, here's the product, go buy it, ok bye" type of blog. That even sounds boring to me!
Finally, these three areas obviously bleed into each other a lot. For example, most of my scrapping is about my life, and the same goes for my writing. I may write about scrapbooking and photography. And if you ever have a question or idea that you'd like to see me write about, please share! Leave a comment or send me an email, I'd love to hear from you.

I want this to be an interesting, fun, stimulating, conversation-starting, happenin' type of blog - I want to get to know you! There's so much information online about scrapbooking and memory keeping in general, more than I could ever find. I'd love to hear of a new designer or store you adore, a new product you can't live without, or a fun challenge/chat/game out there in digiland.

Thank you in advance for joining me on this journey through my life, writing, and scrapping! Oh, and if you have any tips on how to create a great Blogger blog, please leave a comment - I need your help!