Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"I feel..."

To say that I'm participating in Your Story Matters would be a gross overstatement.  However, the prompts are coming in and they make me want to scrap, to tell my story.  And maybe after the holidays, maybe during semester break I'll add it to the piles of stuff that I want to do.

But the first prompt came in a couple days ago around midnight and I read it before heading to bed.  "I feel..."  And I could barely sleep for thinking about the way "I feel."  I tried to sum up what I feel and I couldn't.  I feel happy. And excited.  And focused.  I feel hopeful, and excited, and blessed. I feel optimistic.  I feel loved, and I am oozing love back at my family.  It's weird, really, for me.  I'm not generally a "happy" person.  I consider myself a realist.  But all this good stuff is real, and there's nothing wrong with appreciating it.  And I am.  I am filled with wonder and amazement at my good fortune.

I started thinking about how to finish the sentence.  And I decided that I am 'over flowing" - over flowing with happiness and hopefulness and direction and love.  So then I thought about what that might look like.  An explosion? A rainbow of colors? Hearts (for love), stars (for the bright future), butterflies (for the change)? Yes.

That's probably not the best picture of me, but I like it.  It's mock irritation at my headset, which mooshes my ears and makes me cranky.  I wear them when I take my online classes.  The headset makes me cranky, but the classes make me happy. I thought it was a good place to start my excitement explosion.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clear out of nowhere.

So for the past couple of days I've been stewing on Christmas card design, and then today, clear out of nowhere, I decide that I wanted to try my hand at papercrafting a Christmas tree ornament.  Why not take that paper layering technique apply it to a Christmas shape and color scheme and add a whole for a ribbon?

Well, DUH!

And that's what I came up with. ☻

Did I mention that I did True Scrap this past weekend? It was really fantastic - and that really means something coming from me.  I don't spend money easily, and it's hard to 'wow' me with regard to scrapping education.  But the variety of classes, the caliber of the presentations, the amount of inspiration? AMAZING.

I mention this because the card I shared yesterday was fairly me-ish: that color palette, the circles, the "joy" title (that I've used several times before) are all very me.

This bird?  Maybe a little less me and a little more True Scrap inspired.  And that's a-ok.  Otherwise, woo-wee, that was a lot of money to stay in my own little box. ;)

But there was some serious distressing and Glimmer Mist flinging going on and it made me want to get in on the action.  That would be Nic Howard, Erin Bassett, Francine Cloudin and Jen McGuire all crowding my brain with messy goodness.

This back end that's curling up?  That's Nicole Magouirk's influence.  She's been doing this thing lately where instead of adhering things down nice and tidy and flat, she's letting some edges ride up in a little.  Love that.  The back side of the bird's tail has some white paper flakes that I didn't notice until I saw them huge on the photo.  That's been fixed. ;)

Oh.  That's juicy.

So I really dig the way this came out.  When the Ted and Molly came home I asked them if they'd want to give this ornament to their teachers as Christmas gifts and they both gave an enthusiastic yes. So after dinner I cut out pieces parts for 13 more.  Dang those middle schools with different teachers in every subject area. :P

Not sure about the glitter smears.  I'm not in love.  Molly says that it looks weird because it's just in the three spots.  Not sure that's going to make the final cut.  But I have a couple of days to decide since that's the very last step.  If you want to cast a vote one way or the other to shove me off the fence, I will happily listen to your opinions!

As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to look.  I love sharing and I hope something here spoke to you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The prototype

You know you're a crafting nerd when your working on your Christmas cards and while you're settling on what the final design will be you happily refer to it as the prototype.

I have only the faintest idea where this will end up, but I like the beginnings.  For whatever reason, I ♥♥♥ the Dr. Suess color schemes for Christmas - real red with a lime-yish green and even light blues.  I don't know if I associate those colors with watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas but that color scheme makes me happy.

Check it out:

Not exactly the best shot, but you get the inspiration hopefully.

Clearly this isn't "it".  Still just playing around with color choices, placement, dies...and the jury's still out on the baker's twine bow.  I'm not sold on it and while I can see myself stacking 7 layers of the word "Joy", tying that bow on every card might push me over the edge.

I have to shop for paper.  Wish I had come up with this a month ago, before Archivers had that big sale - I would have bought more of that light blue ledger paper.

Also contemplating this combo:

That background paper is from SEI, and while it's new-to-me, I don't know if I'll be able to still get it in any quantity.  Plus, I'm not sold on whether it's "blue" enough.  Maybe I need to break down and find some actual blue holiday themed paper? Crazy talk!

I'm positively giddy that I'm making cards this year.  I haven't made cards in literally ten years.  This year I'm starting early and keeping it realistic.  Eeeeeeee!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The light at the end of the tunnel...

I take two classes every semester, but this semester one class is online and one is on campus.  What's the big difference? The online class is only 8 weeks long, whereas the on-campus class is 16 weeks long.  Lest you think that the 8 week class is easier: no no no.  Let me repeat: NO! They cram 16 week's worth of material into 8 weeks, and that means multiple assignments a week, reading out the wazoo, and writing. God Almighty, I hate writing.  (at least academically)

But: HOORAY! Today was my last day of my online class.  I still have two assignments to turn in, due next Wednesday, but the big stuff is behind me.  And I simply could not be happier about this.

At any rate, tonight I had my headset on and I was watching the power point while sitting at my scrap table and something in my Making Memories desktop carousel caught my eye.  It was the enormous Sharpie marker I bought a while back, used once for its intended purpose and then forgotten about.  In online learning you're watching a power point, and usually it moves at a snail pace.  One of the things that I've found is that I need to have some mindless activity to do, because if my eyes aren't engaged on something mindless, they'll find something mind-full to focus on and take my brain with it.  I mentioned shopping at Hollo's Papercraft in a recent post. In a more recent trip to Hollo's I picked up what I think are dividers for an index card file box. They're super think, and frankly, I'm not fond of the color.  The stack I bought was about 3 and a half inches think and I think $ yeah, crazy huge quantity of something I'm "eh" about.

Enter the gigantic Sharpie marker:

So yeah.  It's not super black, but it's better than it was before. And I'm suddenly looking at this stack of dividers wondering how many that marker can color before dying.

So what will I do with this? I'm thinking I'll punch holes in them and use them as mini-pages in my RIT mini-book.

And yes, I WILL finish that project.  I've lost a lot of steam because of the forced school break I've been on, but I've invested too much money into this to abandon it.  That said, I am excited to get back to the table.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I am soooo green.

Look familiar?
(I'm all about recycle/reuse!)

This is actually my third version of this super hero boy.  But you know what?  Why do we need to reinvent the wheel?  Tonight I actually thought to save the Silhouette cuts as one, sized right file so that next time I don't reinvent the wheel I can do it even faster.  If I were really smart I'd just sit down and make 5 of these and file them away.  I think it's a really fun thank you card for guys.  

So maybe you're wondering why I needed to make a guy-friendly thank you card?  Yeah, I figured, but I'm going to write about it anyway. :P  

So today I was VERY excited to go to the eye doctor.  My right eye has been wonky and my near vision has been making me nuts.  I guess my excitement made me leave a little earlier than I needed to.  My eye doctor is in the next town over, and just after I got off the highway my car started to drive funny.  I decided to hobble through the intersection and pull into a gas station.  I parked, got out and heading around the back side of the car knowing already what I'd see: a flat tire.  Only it wasn't standard flat it was a FLAT flat.  I'm not going to lie. I did the girl thing: I called the boy.  Who basically said "You're going to have to change the tire."  Which is kinda funny, since up until he said it, it hadn't occurred to me that I would be doing the dirty work.  Prior to that I was thinking tow trucks and magic fairies. So I get off the phone and start digging through my trunk for my doughnut and my jack.  I set to work and made about every mistake possible, not the least of which was not pushing the jack far enough back.  So I'm cranking and cranking and cranking and basically the jack is just smooshing the fiberglass cosmetic underside of my car instead of actually lifting it up.  Eventually - but not before somehow ripping the skin off my ring finger and bleeding all over the place - I realized my error and started the crank it back down.  

A little aside:  Most of you don't know me on a day to day basis.  Here's a ditty for you: I dress like it's imperative that I'm ready for game of frisbee at any given time.  So here I am, short hair, polo shirt, knee shorts, and skater shoes.  And sitting there trying to change that tire my prevailing thought was "I wish I were wearing a dress."

Just as I had the jack cranked back down I hear a man say "Do you need any help?"  Turns out he and his twin brother were having lunch at the Burger King across the street.  He confessed that they had questioned each other about whether I was a man or a woman.  (Fair enough - they were inside and across five lanes of traffic and - well - it's not like I was wearing a dress.)

So the card is for Phillip (who did most of the work) and his brother Patrick.  Because I wanted to say: 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Gosh, I just don't have time to scrapbook..."

I don't know about any one else, but that is the one statement that grates my nerves more than any other when it comes to our hobby.  I would respect you more if you said, flat out "Really? Cutting and pasting stuff?  How fifth grade."  I guess because I chalk that statement up to the fact that everyone is allowed their opinion (and maybe, sadly, because I kind of agree.  But screw it.  Fifth grade was FUN.)  But saying that you don't have time for it sort of implies that I must be rolling in free time. I'm not.  We all chose how to "spend" our time, we "budget" it carefully the less we have.  We understand what a commodity time is.  If you wanted to go to the beach for a week and money was tight, you'd start spending less in other areas - if you save $20 a week by clipping coupons, you can put $20 towards your vacation fund.  Time is the same way - you carve out little niches of time from other activities.  Maybe you get up earlier.  Check. I'm doing that.  Maybe you watch less t.v.  Yup, doing that, too.  Maybe you try to use every "free" moment wisely? YES.  Becoming a master at that.

Today I took an hour of time that I probably would have spent dragging out a homework assignment and spent that hour scrapbooking.  Did I skimp on my homework? No.  I just decided to NOT check Facebook or email incessantly.

I hate to be all preachy about the time thing.  While I was doing the page I had this nagging voice in the back of my head saying "You don't have time to doing this!"  But it occurred to me that I did. I earned that time.  I deserved that time. Hell, I needed that time.

And fortunately, a hour working on a mini book goes a long way.

Two things:
1. Holy cow. Still in love with my new lens!
2. Not happy with the way the pictures printed out for this page. (The ones actually on the page) I don't know why, they were all bright and vibrant, but some reason the bottom two kept coming out super dingy.  I don't like it, but I'm moving on.

I dig the multiple layers of butterflies.  I've been using pop dots on previous pages, but it feels kinda flimsy, and on the smaller punches it's hard to get them positioned perfectly.  Not certain, however, about the twine and the banner pieces.  But it's all glued down, so we're moving on.  Nothing to see here, people. Keep it moving.

I have this running joke that there's always at least one typo/dropped word per anything I write.  I privately refer to it as my "Where's Waldo?"  As in, every page has one, see if you can find it. This time is no different. I missed half a word - "even" should read "evening". Whoops. Oh well.  Moving on.

So hey.  Here's a ditty for you.  That notebook paper is from Basic Grey.  If you do your journalling in Word you can go into "paragraph" and change the "Line spacing" to "Exactly" at "17 pt" and the text will be spaced perfectly to sit on the lines.

I'm tempted to assume that you know how to do the rest, but just in case:
Once you type up your journalling, you print it on regular printer paper.  Apply a little repositional   adhesive to the top line of text.  Hold the paper up to a light, position the lined paper so that the words "rest" on the lines and adhere the papers together.  Put the paper back into the printer in the right orientation so that when you hit "print" again (and you will), the text will print in the exact same spot...only this time, it'll go on the patterned paper that's now adhered to your original text.  Voila: you've now printed your journalling on lined paper and the text is nice and lined up.  :)  And of course you already know that you can use this same technique to print on tags, journalling spots, heck, you could even print on ribbon if you were so inclined.

Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate that you all are humoring me through this very long process.

Now, if you'll do me a favor: Journaling? Or journalling?  I'm thinking two Ls to keep the "a" short.  I wish they'd just give in and make it a word already!  Anyway, please let me know which way you think...I'm starting to go a little nuts on this one!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Manfriend!

I am not really a card maker.  Hell, I'm not really a card giver.  (Sad to say, but it's true.)  However, Kerig seems to think that they're a sign of his specialness.  So I humor him with one every so often.

Without further ado:


And a peek inside:

Sadly, this took me about 2 hours.  No lie.  How is that?  So I'm wondering: Does this happen to anyone else? I'm not saying I'm a speeding scrapbooker, but when I spend 2 hours on a scrapbooker on a page at least I feel like I've done something. This?  If I had know I was going to do this I could have whipped it together in 10 minutes rather than fretting over it for so long.  

But he said it was sweet.  And he actually peeked into the envelope to see if it was handmade or not, and that made me happy.

Happy Birthday, Kerig. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Circle Journal: The final chapter

I did it.  I bought Nikon's brand-spankin'-new 40mm micro-Nikkor lens.

Isn't she beautiful?

So with my index finger itching to play, the question became: What can I shoot?
A: My circle journal page from EONS ago.

Remember the Circle Journal project? We started passing around our books almost exactly two years ago.  I had the presence of mind to take pictures of my book, showing the cover, the sign in page and the welcome page.  But when it came time to make my first page on the theme I forgot to take a picture before passing it on.  So out it went and it didn't come back to me for a solid year and a half.  And I still forgot to take a picture of it.

Today I rectified that.

Yeah.  I guess I kinda got carried away there.  Who cares.  I love the way the colors pop and the way the lens made taking these pictures so much fun instead of so much frustration.  Very pleased with my purchase. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Squeezing it in.

I joked with Maggie tonight that it was going to take 6 years to finish this minibook.  Lordy, I hope that was just a joke.  I'm not going to whine about life getting in the way, but I am going to whine about my printer getting in the way.  I busted my patootie yesterday thinking that if I got all kinds of stuff done yesterday I could sneak in maybe 2 hours of scrapping during the day and another 3 hours at night.  And that sounds like oodles of time, but it's really nothing when you're as slow a scrapper as I am.  But I figured I could print (actually reprint) some photos, but I really had issues.  My laptop monitor desperately needs to be calibrated.  Everything I print comes out super dark.  I decided to switch to my desktop and try it from there.  What a nightmare.  First of all, I've got PhotoShop Elements 6 on that machine and PSE9 on the laptop.  It's funny how quickly you assimilate to later versions of software.  I really had to think about how to do it the old way.  Then when it came time to actually send it to print I found I had I hadn't installed the print drivers for my new(er) printer on my old(er) computer.  If I weren't so lazy I could find the CD, but that seemed like a lot of work since I have no clue where that CD might be, but I suspect in the printer box...down in the a weird closet that requires moving a sofa to get into.  So I decided to download the driver. THREE. HOURS. LATER. I was able to start printing...except at that point I had to get back to real life.

So yeah.  That's a glimpse into how "scrapping" went today. Bleh.  The unfun, chore-y side of scrapbooking.

I think that tomorrow is the big day.  The day when I plunk down cold hard cash for the 40mm.  Hopefully that'll help me stop bitching about the photo process. :P  Or maybe not.  I have pictures of the whole page, but I don't love them, so I'm just going to share two details:

Old meets new.  New BoBunny metal butterfly.  Very, very old little weird waxy clear balls.  They're not beads, they're not glass, they're not perfectly round.  They're weird, and aside from telling you what they're not, I really can't describe them.  And they could be interpreted as butterfly poo, but I'm thinking more of the trail of motion.  Work with me here.

Hmmm.  I need to master making the messy little roses from the Die-namic die I bought from SimonSaysStamp.  Mine aren't nearly as cute as the samples they show!  That's ok, it's gonna be crushed in 2 weeks anyway.  I love the teal and orange combo.

So yeah.  Got one page of the minibook done today - and by page I mean the left side. Doesn't seem like much, but I'm happy with it.  I'm sneaking it where I can.  And that makes me happy, too.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


So today was a monumental day in these parts.  Turns out things got ironed out which made approaching my scrap table doable.  And after a day of wrestling with school stuff I really needed to have a chance to play.

So here's what I came up with today:

It's funny how things happen in scrapbooking.  I only had the one photo that I wanted to use on this page. Later pages will have tons of photos and collages of photos, but for this one, I just wanted to highlight Maggie.  I also wanted to lay the basic groundwork on the journaling, which meant I needed a bigger space.  Boy, everything felt awkward, and I had already cut and mentally committed to the grunge argyle strip.  ("Mentally committed to"?  I'm keeping that!)  No matter where I placed my journaling block (or the rectangle of paper used to represent my journaling block - does anyone else do that?) it was awkward.  At first my block was horizontal, which meant that it had to be placed high or low on the page, or else it was going to completely cover the argyle strip.  Then I remembered that on my last trip to Hollo's I picked up these glassine envelops. I can't for the life of me remember if I had some purpose in mind for them, so if I can't remember then I think they're fair game.  I loved that adding them and slipping the journalin card into the pocket so seamlessly solved my problems.  The flow works, I'm not covering my argyle strip.  It's functional AND cool.  And I *think* I have enough envelops to get through the book, although at this point I don't feel like I have to use them on every page.

Some detail shots.  I am really frustrated by these.  I pulled out my point and shoot to take these shots only to find my battery was exhausted.  Well poop.  The one really nice thing about a point and shoot camera is built in macro capability.  But that's okay, I can deal - it's not like I don't have a shiny new D7000 to use!  So I pull that out and then kind of make faces at my camera bag.  Do I use my 105mm macro?  It has close focusing capabilities, but it's slow to focus, kinda hard to hand hold, and the working distance is about 5 miles.  At one point in time, I LVED that lens.  But that was on my film camera.  It's just not the same with digital.  Here's a secret: in the very near future, I am going to splurge and buy this 40mm Micro-Nikkor lens.  Hopefully it'll bring the joy back to macro photography.  The detail shots above aren't macro, just tightly cropped parts of much bigger pictures.  I suppose it doesn't really matter to others, but it kinda bugs me.  

What else am I frustrated with? Getting adhesive on those teeny-tiny butterflies!  Trying to figure out what ribbon-y type stuff to put in the metal word tag!  The way the green star looks - I should have stopped before dumping a third later of glitter on it.  

What do I like so far?  That I haven't used plain cardstock at all yet (Oh, except for the layers under the titles - but that doesn't count.) I like the way the page looks with the clear title pages on top (the way it will be when it's all done.)  I like the envelops and the vertical journaling - I think that's going to work out well.  I like that I'm using flowers and butterflies, and that it feels "authentic" - I feel like a poser using that word, but in the past, trying to use them felt forced.  But in this case they feel more natural.  I think the difference is that this time they really mean something to me - beauty and changes that are taking place.

So that's where I am today.  I probably won't have a chance to play again until next week. But it's nice to know it's there where I need it.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Emotional ties

I am not sunshine and light.  I am reality, cold and harsh.  It kind of sucks, and I'd change it if I could, but it seems that after 43 years I can say with a considerable amount of certainty: This is who I am.  So it's not like I sit around thinking "I think today I'll air my dirty laundry on my blog!"  However, I am going to be more open than maybe I would if I were one of those sunshine and unicorn types. Why? Because we all go through crappy times, and whether it's because of pride or discretion we don't typically talk about it, and the result is that every time we hit a hard patch, we feel more alone than we should.  We feel that we're up against something that no one else has to deal with. It makes us a little pity-party-ish.  Bring on the cupcakes.

I mentioned in the pig card post that we recently took a trip to RIT for Maggie to visit the campus. I'm sure you've put 2 and 2 together, but this mini-album is about that trip.  I took about 20 photos on my little Fuji Instax camera, and I have pictures that both Maggie and Kerig took during our visit.  One of the things that I was so excited about was how this was really a collaboration with all our efforts and all our points of view.  And it will be.

But scrapbooking is emotional.  When I was a mother of young children, sitting down at my scrap table after putting the kids to bed was therapeutic.  Looking at those sweet faces reminded me just how much I loved my kids.  Yes, chasing them, cleaning up after them, feeding them, bathing them, laundering their clothes was exhausting, but when you catch your breath you realize there's so much joy in there.   For the past 7 days Maggie and I have been butting heads.  She did something wrong and she did it willfully.  As a mother I can't look away and act like it's didn't happen.  There are plenty of worse things that kids can do. But until she's ready to have a mature discussion about what she did, accept some responsibility, express some regret and sincerely apologize, until then she's grounded.  It's really eating me up, because I know she knows better.  She thinks she's right, but she's not seeing the bigger picture.  At any rate, the point is this: It's slowed down my desire to work on this book.  I've kind of busied myself with the title pages, because I'm not really ready to tackle pictures and journaling.  And that's a real shame.  This is going to be a really fun project when it's all finished, I just hate that the process has been sullied.  Hopefully it's just temporary.

At any rate, this is a really crappy picture of a very potential-filled project.  I don't know what it is about mini-albums, but I my normally clean and cardstock-based style takes a backseat to a cluttered, funky and (hopefully) fun approach.

So that's what I've got to share today.  I promise that when this is all done I'll take decent photos so you can actually see it.  For now, I hope the glimpse works for you.

Can you believe August is done?  Hello September! I'm happy to see you! I brought #2 pencils to the party. ☻ I even have some cupcakes left over from my pity party...  ;)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Let me say this:


Translation: My project is on hold until I track down new blades.  And maybe the money to pay for them. ;)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pssst: Part 2

So I thought to myself, "Self, what if, instead of waiting until this is all done, what if you showed a little at a time?"  Now, it's not that I really think that you all (all, what? 2 of you?) are hanging on my every creation.  But I am intrigued by people's process, so what if someone else is?

And here's the thing.  I'm a painfully slow scrap usually.  But when it comes to mini-books, I don't care.  It's not a page.  It's a proooooject.  I don't even want to finish it too quickly, because then I'll be back to square one.  You know square one: What picture should I scrap? What story should I tell?  What papers/colors/fonts/die cuts will support that story.  Oh, I am not friends with square one.  Too many friggen decisions.  I already have to make decisions all day long, I don't want them assaulting me in my hobby.  That's why I'm in no rush.  The pictures - well, to be honest, they're not all picked yet, but I know basically what I'm using.  I know the story.  I know the papers and the colors.  Not every decision is made, but all the big ones are - now it's just floating along with lots of direction and playing.  This is the good stuff.

So this is what I did today.  Sprayed down six layers of "RIT" so that it has some nice beefy height to it.  Plus the little butterflies.  They're one of the reoccurring themes.  Why? Because my new scrap lady crush (Karen Grunberg) has shown me the way.  With two sons she uses them all the time and it totally works.  And in this case they make sense...but you'll have to take my word on that since I haven't really talked about what I'm doing.  ANYWAY,  I also did the funky 1970s style VW bus, because the other theme of the album is road trip.  Can't wait to see the headights once they dry.  ;)

But yeah.  I actually sat at my scrap table from 8 to midnight and that's all I got done.  Oh.  I also took in about 5 episodes of Pawn Stars. :P

I'm away again for the weekend, so I'm looking at Tuesday before I can play again.  If I make any progress I'll share again...

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I'm workin' on something.  Don't say anything to anyone though.  It's kind of a secret.  Only the two of us really know about this....I don't want to make a big deal about it or anything.

I'm not making any promises as to the timeline.  But check back in a coupla days. Or next week.

Hopefully by the 29th...since that's when I'm really back to the old grind.  In fact, just got my text books today.  I'm excited to be back in a math classroom, but I don't think I'm ready to let go of the freedom I've had this summer.  Yikes. I'm scared! At any rate, I'm trying to squeeze in as much fun - scrappy and otherwise - into these last days of summer.  Hope you are, too!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Little Pig, Little Pig...

So last weekend we - my daughter Maggie, Kerig and I - went to the Rochester Institute of Technology for their "College and Careers" event for high school seniors who are considering attending.  It was really an amazing experience to be able to see the campus, have Maggie participate in academic sessions geared toward helping her make a more educated decision about her future and see the school in action (sort of).  The facility is huge compared to what I'm used to, very modern, very eco-conscious, very forward thinking.  The tuition is an eye-opener, but you get the sense that it's an investment that will pay itself back sooner rather than later. God, I hope so!

We got there around noon.  We were able to check in, get Maggie's things settled in the dorm (since she got to stay over night there) and take a campus tour with her.  Then we were sent on our merry way while she started her campus visit in earnest.  We didn't see her again until we had a brief "Hey! How's it going??" at Gracie's the next day at lunch.

So "our merry way" consisted of checking in at a nearby hotel, showering off the sweat of walking for 4 hours in the hot sun and then heading over to Kerig's friends' house for an honest-to-goodness BBQ.  I've heard it said that people use the term BBQ wrong, subbing it in for "cook out" without respect for tradition, culture and actual recipes.  Nope.  This was a real BBQ, with the main course being Joann's award-winning ribs.  The evening was a great success.  Our hosts Joann and Adam were warm and friendly.  The food was fantastic.  I haven't laughed that many hours straight in eons.  Just a wonderful evening.

On the way back to the hotel Kerig told me I needed to make a card with a pig.  So here it is, a card with a pig.  I have to wonder how many cards with pigs there are floating around out there.  And yet, this time, it seems perfectly appropriate.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you're milking every bit of enjoyment you can from the Summer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

200 things: the final countdown

20. That I somehow managed to have a bonding moment with my kid while teaching basic plumbing tricks.
19. Americas Funniest Home Videos.  (I have laughed until cried countless times)
18. Gay Marriage finally starting to get somewhere.
17. They Might Be Giants.
16. Reveal light bulbs. (I know, sounds weird, but when you're trained to look at light, better light makes that much of a difference.)
15. Comments on my blog posts. (Fishing? Hell yes! *wink*)
14. Eating outside.
13. Crawling into bed after a long day.
12. Hugs and kisses goodnight.
11. My cutie-mccute-cute Android keychain. (Love the happy little green robot guy!)
10. Paperclipping Roundtable. (If you're not a listener, you should turn it on while you scrap - such great discussions)
9. My birthday.
8. QuicKutz. (Yep, that's not their name, but I'm keeping it old skool.)
7. Speedways loyalty program.
6. Reba.
5. Ian.
4. Maggie.
3. Ted.
2. Molly.
1. Kerig.

I saved the best for last. Thanks for popping in.  If you decide to do your own 200 things (or 300 or 45) please pop over and leave me a link.  I'd love to read what makes YOU happy.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

200 things: part 9

40. The word "penultimate". (It means second to last.  How cool is that?)
39. Getting lots of green lights on the way to work.
38. Getting a red light when I need to read or send a text.
37. Getting the whole text in before the light changes.
36. Baby's feet.
35. Dr. Suess books. (Yertle the Turtle? The Sneetches? So many life lessons for kids!)
34. The Peanuts.
33. Baker's twine.
32. The movie 1776.
31. Sarah Vowell talking about history.
30. Toy Story. (especially II)
29. Being in my groove. (Happens about 4 times a year. :P)
28. The Google machine.
27. Peanut butter straight out of the jar.
26. Peonies!
25. Watching planes land at Cleveland International.
24. Coloring.
23. My bed.
22. Carved pumpkins.
21. A-ha moments.

And so concludes this penultimate installment of 200 things.  Tomorrow is the big day.  Ok, not really.  It's just the last day. And then we'll find something new to talk about.  Maybe 200 things that piss me off. :P   Just kidding.  But don't think I couldn't do it. ;)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

200 things: part 8

Went out to dinner tonight with my manfriend, to one of our favorite local burger joints (so refreshing to have a favorite spot that isn't a chain) and we're talking about our days.  He's telling me a story and suddenly it occurs to me that his face looks funny.  Funny, but a familiar funny.  About three years ago he had a bout of bells palsy that left the left side of his face paralyzed for about 4 months.  It didn't hurt, per se, but the paralysis means that the affected eye doesn't close properly, which makes it hard to sleep and causes the eye to become very dry and uncomfortable.  He actually had to tape his eye shut  for a couple of weeks when it was at its worst.  There's also issues that crop up with eating, since it's hard to control the lips.  At any rate, sitting there trying to enjoy my burger, the implications washed over me.  It's already been a really rough year for him health wise, and this is so minor, and yet still such a pain in the ass.  The recurrence isn't a huge surprise - everyone I know that has dealt with bells palsy once has had to deal with twice.  But still.  Back off.  Find someone else, okay?

So here we are.  Day 8 of the 200 Things project, finding myself really needing this opportunity to focus on the happiness.

60. Brown Bag Burgers.
59. diet Pepsi, over crushed ice.
58. Today. (Not including the whole BP realization.)
57. Really good coupons.
56. Punches.  (I know I love my Silhouette, but damned if I'm not semi-addicted to buying craft punches.)
55. The Cuyahoga County Public Library system. (Amazing.  They have everything, the website ROCKS, there are DOZENS of branches...and free entertainment when money is tight?  Hell yes!)
54. January 7th. (The first day after the Christmas return period, when we can finally breath a sigh of relief.)
53. October.
52. June.
50. Laptops.  (Like portable joy!)
49. Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art.
48. Scarves.
47. Swinging. (Actual swings at the park. Get your mind out of the gutter.)
46. Photo walks.
45. Discovering new music.
44. An unexpected compliment that is believable.
43. My memories of living in Indiana.
42. NOT having a mother-in-law!
41. Having a vocabulary buddy. (Her eyes lit up when I used "lugubrious" in casual conversation...and that's how it started.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

200 things: part 7

I had about 7 things that popped into my head after I finished yesterday's entry, and now...  Oops.  Should've written them down.

80. Big Love.
79. Just about anything to do with polygamy and/or FLDS.
78. The Help. (If you haven't read it yet, now is the time.)
77. Funny typos. (I recently texted that I let a customer get a way with something because I was a "pullover".  Push, pull...same diff, right?)
76. (OMG, this is an instant bad mood lifter for me.  I will giggle until I turn red. Not pretty.)
75. Random interesting things I learn through work. (Today I talked to a guy who's taking part in the 48 Hour Film Festival here in Cleveland.  Really very cool.)
74. Banana snowballs with marshmallow topping. (apparently "snowballs" are really regional to Maryland.  I'd kill for a trip to The Original Snowball Stand in Woodstock, MD, where were used to go 3 or 4 times a month growing up.
73. While we're talking food, I'll admit that a real Philly Cheesesteak is my all time favorite food, and when I take that first bite I close my eyes and thank Jesus for cheese. And cheap meat products. And, apparently, grease. :P
72. Summer break. (You don't appreciate time until you hardly have any to yourself.)
71. Cable.
70. Talking in the dark.
69. 69?  Hee hee hee.
68. Have I mentioned IM yet??
67. Hard crabs. Picnic tables.  Bottles of beer on ice.  Old Bay seasoning.
66. Angry Birds.
65. Gray hair. (Ok, not on me, but there are people I know who rock the salt'n'peppa and it's hot.)
64. Gift cards.
63. Watching my kids play Dance Party on the Wii.
62. Printed pictures.
61. Back to school sales.

It's funny, but 20 things no longer seems like enough...I want to keep going.  But we're going to stretch out the goodness. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

200 things: part 6

I'm impressed with my sticktoitiveness on this.  But actually find myself mentally bookmarking things to put on the list throughout the day.

100. That I'm signed up for a my first math class in 21 years. So exciting!
99. That I've already come up with a hundred things that I love or make me smile. Yay me!
98. Movies that are made for kids, but have humor that goes over the kids' heads and right to mom and dad.  Awesome.
97. Echo Park.
96. Little letter stickers. (Even though I did say that I didn't like them.  I lied. Or changed my mind.  Or something.)
95. Thinking about my new camera. (That still hasn't arrived.  I'm so frustrated, but so very excited!)
94. Tim Gunn.
93. Easy A.
92. Footie socks. (How odd, and yet opening my sock drawer and seeing them all lined up waiting to make my feet cozy: aaaaah.)
91. Golden hour.
90. Right after a storm, when it's cooled down and the humidity lifts and the sun comes out.
89. Messenger bags.
88. Breakfast Hot Pockets. (And every time I think about them I sing Hooot Poooockets, a la Jim Gaffigan)
87. Christmas lights.
86. The white party/string lights in the screened-in porch.
85. Watching the snow fall. (But only if I don't have to drive in it.)
84. Funky silver jewelry. (This is headed my way.)
83. The library.
82. Snickerdoodles. (Even the name of them is fun.)
81. Watching the dog watch me as I spread peanut butter on her rawhide bone. (It's all just anticipation, but I like to think of it as love.)

Another easy-breezy installment of 200 things that make me happy.  Tune in next time.

p.s. Did you know that the correct spelling of "pouring" in the context of "pouring over pictures" is actually "poring"?  True story.  Too bad I didn't know that little factoid the week I signed up for Shimelle's blogging for scrapbookers class a year and a half ago...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

200 things: part 5

120. Sharpie markers. (The fine point ones, that are actually kind my handwriting with these.)
119. The smell of Pec 12. (It smells like artificial banana, only better.)
117. Friendship bracelets.
116. The Maryland flag.
115. Sex.  (Oh, hell, no one's actually reading this anyway)
114. Modern furniture.
113. Speaking of which, Crate and Barrel.
112. Legacy Village.
110. Lewis Black.
109. My sofa!!
108. Autumn leaves.
107. Woodwick candles.
106. Whip it!
105. Bagels and cream cheese.
104. Tide detergent.
103. The color orange.
102. Going to the pool.
101. Craig Ferguson.

It's funny how much easier these lists are after a happy day. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

200 things: part 4

140. Finding someone else who's read the same good book as you and actually wants to discuss it.  (Maybe I should join a book club?)
139. Crossing that nagging thing off the to-do list.
138. Getting that important email or phone call you were waiting for.
137. Getting that totally unimportant email that makes your day.
136. Freshly cut grass.
135. A new Scrapbooks, Etc in the mail.
134. Dinner with the whole family.
133. The sound of waves crashing. (especially at an honest-to-goodness beach.  The lake pales in comparison)
132. Air conditioning.
131. Baby Ruth bars.
130. Zooey Deschanel. (Is that creepy??)
129. Grey's Anatomy.
128. Solving math problems.
127. Watermelon.
126. Sleeping with the windows open.
124. Wristlet purses.
123. Winning the gas game.
122. Funky silver jewelry.
121. Graph paper.  (How nerdy is that?  And yet, every time I see it I get a little googly-eyed.)

I've really had a rough couple of days.  Nothing major, stupid stuff that's just added up and worn me down.  It's been kinda cool to make this is part of my day.  It's neat to focus on what brings a smile to my face.

Monday, July 25, 2011

200 things: part 3

160. Seeing bird's nests built into storefront signs.
159. Cozying up to another body whose skin is either warm or cool, depending upon what you need.
158. Red Bull.
157. The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  (they make me so grateful for my drama-free life)
156. This blog.  (Lest it sound conceited, it is it's own little walk down memory lane for me)
155. Being able to wear (long) shorts to work.  (I ♥ my casual work environment!)
154. My road to teaching.
153. School supplies.
152. My EVO phone.  (Nerdy, I know, but it keeps me entertained.)
151. The end of laundry day, when it's all folded and put away and drawers are bursting with fresh footies and t-shirts.
150. Puns and word play.
149. Angry Birds Rio.
148. Being able to check my account balance online. (Although, I'm not gonna lie, I'm usually grimacing and praying as it loads.)
147. Maggie's artwork.
146. My space heater.  (Man! That's hard to admit with the weather we've been having this last week!)
145. Scrapbooking.
144. Target.
143. Time alone.
142. Realizing that the headache is gone.
141. Finally figuring out where my numbering on this went askew!

I really needed this today.  It's funny how this just helped me pull out of a funk.  Yay for thinking about happy things. ☻

Sunday, July 24, 2011

200 things: part 2

179. Texting.
178. Fans on a hot day.  (but not hot days.)
177. 76ยบ and 20% humidity.
176. 92.3fm.
175. That first day that you realize that the trees are really all the way covered in leaves.
174. Reading a book at the pool, especially if you're lucky enough to score a lawn chair.
173. Ice.  (how did this not make it in the top 20?)
172. Reading blogs.
171. Facebook.
170. A really good photo, especially of someone I love that really captures what I see in them.
169. Colorful Melamine plates.  (I hope they never link Melamine to cancer, because I'll be a goner.)
168. BIC Roundstick pens
167. Tulips.  Pink and purple, especially.  (and odd that I would specifically list general that's my least favorite color, but in tulips, it's so beautiful.)
166. Laughing.
165. Thunderstorms.  (even though they scare me a little, too)
164. Watching Ted play baseball.
163. Bejeweled.
162. Cotton t-shirts.
161. Short hair.

(I realized after the fact that yesterday I did 21 things.  Boy, you can't stop me when I'm on a roll! :P  So today I'm "only" doing 19 to get myself back on track.  Yes. I'm a dork.)

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

200 things

I don't have anything to complain about.  Like so many, my needs are met and I'm fortunate beyond measure.  But sometimes it's easy to lose sight of that fortune and mire, instead, in the less-than-perfect aspect of life.

Enter: 200 things.  Things I'm grateful for.  Things I love.  Things that make me smile.  Things I couldn't live without.  Things that aren't even things.  (well, some, anyway)  I don't know that I can come up with 200 today.  How about twenty as a good start?

200. The internet.  (I love that there is so much interesting stuff out there and so many fun ways to waste time.)
199. Being a mother.  (Are my priorities askew? Possibly.  But the internet doesn't walk around outside in white socks or throw up.  nuff said)
198. My manfriend.  (Now I'm just running through the obligatory stuff. :P  No, seriously, he's a wonderful friend, funny and supportive and I'd argue that he's handsome, too)
197. Sausage.  (OMG.  Grateful for doesn't even begin to cover my appreciation for sausage)
196. Clean cotton sheets.
195. Sleeping past 8:30 on clean cotton sheets.
194. Documentaries.
193. A really meaty discussion.
192. Project Runway.
191. Secure Digital cards.  (No, I'm not making this up.)
190. Rolling Rock.  And now, Select 55.
189. Dinner out.
188. Closing time.
187. Shorts.
186. AvantGarde font.
185. Routine.
184. Watermelon.
183. My Silhouette (how did I not mention this sooner??)
182. Cuticurra soap. (It is, in fact, top 20 good)
181. Keen sneakers
180. Days off!

That's a good start.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer 2011 ♥ mini book

I think it's funny when people say "I carry a little notebook to write down my ideas so I won't forget them!"
Since my head, at any given time, is filled with thoughts like:
•How many people will be home for dinner tonight?
•Who has a game today, which uniform do they need, and is it clean?
•Have I had any vegetables or water today?
•Why are there Chewy bar wrappers in the wash? Why can't I teach them to empty their pockets?
And the like.  There's no room for ideas, much less the quantity or quality that would merit a dedicated notebook.  Oh, how I envy those who can look at freshly laundered Chewy bar wrappers and have an a-ha! moment.  I'm not one of them.

Soooo, you can only imagine how thrilled I am that I not only had an a-ha! moment but that I actually made it happen...even without the benefit of having written it down in a notebook.  Yay me!

A little back story:
I've been shooting a Nikon D300 for the last 3½ years and I've loved it, but in the last year or two I've been noticing these weird, oily looking spots appearing on pictures.  At first it was just one or two, and they weren't always there.  But as time went by the number of spots rose as did their size.  It got to the point that I couldn't ignore them or just quick-fix them in PhotoShop.  So I packed it up and sent it off for repair.  But repairs take forever, and it's summer.  So when I saw this cute little Fuji 7s that instantly spits out wallet size pictures, I decided that it could help me through the summer.

Not even a week into my new love affair with the Fuji Kerig and I went on a mini adventure that included a trip to Hollo's Paper in Brunswick.  Now, at the risk of offending the owners of Hollo's: this place is a dump.  However, it is the exact kind of dump that any papercrafter secretly enjoys.  It's like a giant garage sale of office and restaurant supplies, they have envelopes of all sizes and room full of the super inexpensive, good quality card stock in basic colors.  After my recent LOAD, I needed to restock my pile of white cardstock and $1.75 got me a stack that would have cost $15.99 at Archiver's: SCORE.  While there I came across these cute little coin envelopes (they may not be the exact same size), only sold individually for something crazy like 3¢ a piece.  Even I can afford 10 or 15 of those!  And it occurred to me that they were just the right size for the little wallet sized photos the Fuji makes.  Hmmm.  Wheels-a-turnin'!  I see a mini-book.  Another thing that caught my eye was a stack of old fashioned ledger paper.  I tried to find something like it to show you online, but apparently this has been sitting at Hollo's since roughly 1957 and they're the only ones who still have it.  At any rate: $1.50 for one hundred sheet? Yes, please!  Do I care if it's acid free?  Like I care if this shit holds up after I'm dead...   ;)  But maybe it is?  I would think that paper meant for accounting documents would be made to last.  Maybe.

After we went to Hollo's we headed to Fairlawn, where I got to shop at Archiver's.  As luck would have it, I am dating one of the few men who understands the notion of scrapbooking.  He's also very patient with me, because it's not like shopping for scrapbooking stuff is quick.  After probably an hour of hemming and hawing I headed to the register and we were on our way.

And the Fuji 7s + Hollo's envelopes and ledger paper + misc scrap supplies = Summer 2011 ♥ mini book.

See how perfectly sized these envelopes are to work with these photos?  Love it!  And the Fuji 7s has a little itty-bitty mirror on the ring around the lens, which is super wide - perfect for arms-length self portraits for two.  :)

Here is where I point out that the camera is not, by any means, perfect.  That is one very underexposed manfriend.  But the ice cream looks yummy, no?  ;)  Oh, and I'm going to roll my eyes at that flower every time I look at this page.  I had one that was green, blue and red plaid that really went with the colors, only I grabbed the wrong one.  Didn't notice my error until long after I had stuck it down with Magic Tape, and we all know that stuff doesn't just peel up for a quick change.  Oops.

Ok.  And this is where I confess that I was watching the mini-series "The Kennedys" on Netflix while I was doing this.  And I wasn't paying 100% attention to either.  Which is why the left page sports a little pocket. When I did the other side of this envelope (the picture of the ice cream), I didn't realize that I was adhering everything to an upside down envelope.  Oops.  So the pocket is two-fold: it serves to cover up my massive Oopsy! and it also holds this page's journaling.  Each page has a little note writen on that ledger paper I talked about tucked side the envelope.  That really doesn't work if it's going to fall out of the bottom every time it's picked up.  So yeah...major drop back and punt going on here.  And yet, if I didn't tell you my secret you'd just think I was shakin' things up a bit.  Maybe.

One of the interesting things that I found out about this camera is that it turns over-exposed parts of the picture black.  And that is SUPER weird, because standard film and digital just makes it white.  So my head is strategically placed in front of the sun, because the black circle that appeared for the sun in our first try was really disconcerting.

I think if I were to do this again, I would take more care in the whole placement for the rings.  I had to go through and cut a notch out so the envelopes can be opened. Doh.  Obviously attention to detail and thinking things all the way through are not my strong suits.  Oh well, live and learn.

And this is why the pockets need to be accessible. Each one contains some journaling, as well as extra pictures.  The ones that I used on the outside are all I need to tell the story, but at a $1 a pop, I'm not throwing the decent duds away. (The bad duds?  They get tossed.  But the others stayed)

I love the freedom of mini-books.  You pick some colors, you pick a shape, a theme and the rest is just barreling through and creative play.  I like that you can make things as fat as you want them because straining page protectors aren't an issue.  I love that journaling tucked in pockets can still be read without a major hoo-ha. I love that I can step away from my usual clean style and try something new.

And that's my visual supply list, minus the can of ancient American Craft plastic flowers I forgot to take out of my pocket for the picture.

I'm proud that:
•I had an idea and I actually made it happen.
•I used so much stuff from recent shopping trips.  with the exception of the envelopes, nothing was purchased with this (or for that matter, ANY) project in mind.
•I dug into my stash of old stuff and used things that I've had for years and years.

Thanks for stopping by.  If you read all of this: holy hell.  Sorry!  I hope you at least enjoyed the pictures!
☺ Caroline

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Earworms and other things I can't get out of my head

Seems like everybody's got a price tag
I wonder how they sleep at night
When the sale comes first and the truth comes second
So the lyrics that open the song drew me in and compelled me to look up the video just to see what she looks like.  The reason I'm sharing the video though is that in certain spots she flashes this smile that makes her look exactly like Cameron Diaz.

You can't hear this song without involuntarily reaching for the volume knob and simultaneously starting to  head bob. By the way, this blog post will be the most productive thing I do all day.  So I'm totally embracing the lazy philosophy today.

Dear sweet baby Jesus, please let me get over this obsession soon.  At any given point in time in the last three weeks, if I'm sitting with my laptop the answer to "Whatcha doin'?" is a sheepish "Pintrest."

But where else can I find:

The tricked out laundry room of my dreams?

Great ideas for posters in my (future) classroom?

A scraptable that makes my knees weak?

Photo inspiration that's beautiful AND doable?

4.  Friendship Bracelets
It's not that I set out to recreate the summer of my junior year...  Frankly, we're going to blame this one on Pintrest, too.  First, for me, Pintrest is all about collecting things you want to make or do or ways to decorate.  It's got my creative juices all cracked out.  And I'm spending the week at the manfriend's apartment, so my creative outlets are generally limited to digital stuff, but alas, my camera's in the shop and I'm totally in the mood to paper scrapbook, but digital scrapbooking really doesn't satisfy that itch.  So when I saw the super easy tutorial on creating friendship bracelets I decided that it was cheap, easy to haul the supplies up three flights of stairs and wouldn't create an enormous mess.  So for the last couple of days I've been cranking out these babies:

I made one for Molly, then tweaked the way I did it a little, made one for Maggie, tweaked it again, made one for me.  Then another one two for me.  Then more for Molly and Maggie.  I think I need to go back and buy red and grey and black floss and make one or two for Ted.  If I do them in his team's colors maybe he'll wear it and think it's "cool"...originally I thought he might think it was "girly" so I only bought girly colors.  Well, we'll see what he thinks and make him 2 or 3 if wants any.  In the meantime, they make me happy - the ones I'm wearing just make me feel beachy and tan and young.  None of that actually applies, but I like the mental lift it's giving.

I just mentioned that my camera is out for repair.  Because the woman in charge of our repair department hates me I probably won't get it back until sometime in January.  (I'm not lying about how much this woman feels about me, and I swear, my blood pressure is spiking as I think about how long I'll have to wait for my camera to come back because of it)  HOWEVER, in the meantime, I've been playing with this little beauty:

Isn't she pretty?  I just want to cover her with Hello Kitty stickers and keep her in my Hello Kitty purse.  

So you may or may not know that Polaroid stopped making film several years ago.  Having never really been a huge Polaroid lover this hasn't really affected me, except at work.  As the old saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.  Once Polaroid was "out of the picture" (ba da dum!) Fuji jumped in and saved the crappy-instant-picture day.  Breakfast with Santa and the Easter Bunny is back on!

But this isn't the Breakfast with Santa camera.  Oh no.  This is so much cooler than that.  (A)  Look how cute it is.  Do you see that? CUTE! and (B) It doesn't spit out ginormous ugly pictures.  It spits out adorable little 2ish by 3ish inch photos that are only moderately crappy.  So moderately crappy that this photo snob feels justified in calling them kitschily-imperfect.  I made that up.  Especially the variation on kitschy, but damn if it isn't an accurate representation of the what this camera does.     

I am upset to say the least that I have all these creative juices flowing AND it's summer and I have no camera.  But playing with this is salvaging my attitude.  And probably keeping me from marching downtown and telling Nancyanne what I think of her.  ;)

By the way, if you're interested, this is a GREAT offer.  The film is hard to find to say the least and you'll want to have a stash saved up, because once you start it's hard to stop pushing the shutter button on this thing.

So that's where I am and what I'm thinking about this lovely summer Sunday.  Later I'm grabbing Chipotle and taking it to the local beach park with my honey.  I ♥♥♥ summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Conversation starter

No doubt I live an odd life.  Without getting into details because it would take a long, long time to type out the entire explanation, I live in my ex-husband's house in a long-term temporary arrangement at his request.  It has to do with kids, travel, business, money, real estate markets bottoming out.  You know, the usual.  Everyone who hears the story thinks I'm a little nuts, but in time they realize that the arrangement is beneficial for everyone.

Well, almost everyone.  When this plan was presented to me, I somehow thought that my boyfriend would enjoy seeing less of me.  As a lifelong bachelor he's doesn't really "need" to see me every day.  He lives alone and is one of those people who rarely suffers from boredom.  I, on the other hand, went from a house with 4 kids to college with a roommate and dozens of other girls on the hall, to marriage with 4 kids coming in rapid succession.  Being by myself is a luxury in the small increments that it comes, but for long periods...I'm not proud it, and I'm not going to say I was lonely per se, but...I like a little bit of company.

As it turns out, my boyfriend has not been thrilled about the "space" this has created.
Learning this came as a bit of shock.

We've since had little conversations - actually more like passing comments - that when this arrangement comes to its conclusion, we'll live together.  Looking back on our conversations I have to admit that it's been assumption on my part - not something explicitly discussed, much less actually agreed upon.

One day in mid-May we went to the movies and on the way home I was pointing out different bungalows I liked along the way.  Parma is riddled with cute, tiny bungalows with small, quaint yards.  I think I told him that I liked the front porches and the idea of spending evenings sitting out there.  I may have mentioned that lawn maintenance isn't something I want to have to spend lots of time on.  He asked what made a bungalow a bungalow, and I think I stumbled through some general qualities.  That evening I did a Google search to show him more definitively what's so neat about a bungalow.  I found myself drooling over floor plans and I was thrown back in time to when I would pore over home plans the way other girls would dream about weddings.

Several days later we were given the prompt
Make a wish list layout today, or pick one goal or  and create a page about it.
Having gone back and peaked at one particular house plan a half dozen time in the course of those 3 or 4 days, I knew what list I wanted to make.  My wish list is about home.  And my future.  And the peace and contentment that I see there.

Again.  Not in love with the design.  The scale is off.  I like the colors, but the picture needs to be bigger, the tilt is gratuitous (isn't all scrapbooking bordering on gratuitous??) and it needs just a little extra punch.

But that's not the point of this post.  What I love about this layout is the fact that it started a conversation between my boyfriend and I.  I don't know if he knew that owning a home was anything that would interest me.  I have long put it out of my head as something that I could never afford, and since I couldn't afford it I wasn't going to "waste time" day dreaming about the possibility.

Coincidentally, a week or so after this layout was made one of our semi-regular customers was telling me a story about a Chinese exchange student staying at his home.  She asked him, if he didn't mind,  to tell her how much his house would cost.  He said it was hard to know, as they had purchased it in the late 1970s, and the real estate market is still highly unpredictable, but he would guess around $140,000.  I think my mouth may have dropped a bit.  I don't know what his house is like, but I know the area he lives in, and it's nice.  Older homes, mature trees, good schools...  I had expected more.  A lot more.  That night I started looking at real estate websites and was pleasantly surprised at what homes are now going for.  There are beautiful, established homes that really are priced at $130-$140K.

While I was looking at these houses I decided to show one to Kerig.  More "Hey, did you know you could get a house like this for this price??" than "Hey, let's buy a house!"  We were instant messaging at the time, so he was off doing his own thing and I was pretty much window shopping all evening, with little bits of conversation thrown in here and there.  At one point I was talking about something and he answered with something like "Pretty much anything that has to do with house decisions is going to be your call."  I was confused by the statement, and assumed initially that he meant "If you're going to buy a house, you should decide what you want and get it."  But that's not what he meant.  He meant that he wasn't the one who had big opinions and so he would defer to me.  He was telling me that I could pick.

This turned into a very cursory conversation about home ownership, mortgages, living arrangements, the future in general.  Its not that we haven't talked about the future in general, but we haven't started to get specific about it.  I'm not crediting my layout 100% for this conversation.  And certainly the fortuitous comment from my customer helped, but ultimately I will say this: It opened a door.  It allowed me to say what my dreams are.

Reflecting on my dreams and scrapbooking them?  Therapeutic.
The conversation that it helped start? Wonderful.