Wednesday, 28 October 2009

December Daily 2009: Step Two

You now have a basket full of greens and reds and blues and browns and all the wonderful colours of the holidays. I am so glad there are some of you participating - even if it means just cheering me on! I can't wait to see what people come up with and I'm looking forward to sharing my finished product, too!! It is time to switch brains a bit, and move onto step two.

1. Put on some Christmas music (very quietly in the background)
2. Decide on the size and format of your album.

This is where the fun begins...and where your creativity comes in. There are so many options for mini-albums (one of the reasons I LOVE them so very much) - anything from square 6X6 post-bound protected pages to every page being a different size. There are quite a few blogs out there that showcase different ideas. Here are a few ideas, and you can also just type in mini album in google for loads of images...(and if you need help figuring out how one is made, I am the queen of 'lifitng', so I can probably help you figure out how it's done!)

I am planning on using different mediums for each page - including cardstock, envelopes, transparencies, chipboard and fabric, but because this is YOUR album and YOUR Christmas celebrations, do what works best for you. Keep in mind that keeping your photos 4X6 (and designing your album around that size) makes it ALOT easier to slap it in each day. Also - if you don't use your computer to journal, it is probably a good idea to have some space for journaling laid out so you just have to jot your thoughts about the picture/day.

Most importantly, have fun thinking about what you want this to look like. My experience has been that if I plan properly, the putting together of things is pretty much brainless (the old "measure twice-cut once" rule that Mike reminds me of so very often). That being said, I know no everyone's brains works the same way mine does :).

Check back for more steps in the December Daily process and remember to book off the weekend of the 6th for putting your album together.

On another note - here is a layout I put together for a class I am taking - it is the intro layout, and I was so happy to blow this picture up and use it (and yes, it is a bit vain, but you have to admit, I was a cute kid...)

Monday, 26 October 2009

December Daily 2009

Well, here we are, just under a week away from Halloween (please don't ask me about costumes...), and it is time to start thinking about Christmas and all the wonderful family traditions and decorations and food and baking and ambience that goes along with the season. What bettter way to remember all these family traditions that through a december daily? And I am inviting you to join me in starting this journey.

I have never made one (so you can't use that as your excuse!), but am taking my inspiration from ali edwards, and her plethora of ideas and motivation. This is a great place to start, if you are looking for alot more information or just some answers to your questions.

This is actually a very simple process; not very complicated, especially when it is broken down into a few easy steps. So, the first step is to gather your materials...what does this mean exactly?
1. Put on a Christmas CD
2. Find a box/basket
3. Find all your Christmas paper/Christmas ribbon/Christmas embellishments (are you getting the hint - anything Christmas that might work in a mini album) and put it in the box/basket. Don't worry about things matching to having too much or too little stuff; just throw it all in a box and we'll worry about that later.
4. Take a deep breath, and go have a cup of tea. :)

One of the key things to making this project work is having it done in advance so the only thing you have to worry about in December is enjoying the season and slapping on a picture with some journalling (all of 10 minutes each day). So, in order to get this album put together, I have set aside Friday evening, November 6 and all day Saturday, November 7 at a friend's social room in her condo building (lots of room for everyone to create). If anyone is interested in joining me, I would LOVE to share this journey with you (remember, this is my first time too!). This isn't a "class" or something that I would "lead" - just a space for idea sharing and encouraging and laughing together. Let me know if you are interested in joining me, and I will set a space aside for you.

And for those of you who live very far away, please come along on the journey - there is no reason you can't join in the fun. (why not open your home and get some friends together on the same weekend?)

I'm off to find a basket and get my Christmas supplies in it...that's not too overwhelming for the next few days is it?? Check back in a few days for the next step...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Halloween 'treats'

So, I'm one of those people that don't get too excited about halloween. I grew up in a family that more or less tolerated halloween than anything else, so it stands to reason that I'm not really sure what to do around halloween (other than dress up and eat candy). I also don't get excited about the 'cutesy' halloweed decorations that seem so popular. I can appreciate, however, some halloween decorations that are so amazingly beautiful that you can't help but stop and admire. One such display is at Urban Scrapbook (if you haven't been there, now would be a great time to go for a shopping trip - it is amazing eye candy!!), and of course there are some amazing blogs out there with some great photos as well. I found these ghastly wine bottle covers (and they are a free download!), and just had to share them...they are so awesome. Definitely on my to-do list this coming week with all those extra wine bottle kicking around...

Friday, 23 October 2009

Rosehip and Hops Wreath

I came across this beautiful wreath, and thought it would make a wonderful addition to my Christmas collection (don't worry - the decorations aren't up yet). I did a bit of research and realized that it is made of rosehip plants, which sounds quite exotic, but discovered that it is the fruit of the wild rose plant, which just happens to be the official flower of Alberta!! There are plenty around Edmonton, apparently, so I am off to go find some. If anyone from Edmonton knows where there is a nice cache, I would love that information! And I think I might plant some hops in my garden next year to use for this wreath - I have heard that they grow like crazy, and are quite stunning in the fall. Anyone know where I can find some hops?

I will have some December Daily info on Monday - hope to work on some things over the weekend, so check back on Monday!

Happy Friday...

Monday, 19 October 2009

December Daily

A few months ago, I wrote a bit about the December Daily. Someone I admire has been doing one for quite a few years now, and I am hoping to start the tradition for myself as well. What I am hoping this exercise will do is make me a bit more intentional about what I want for the holiday season for my family and I. Too often, I find this season is filled with all sorts of things that aren't really all that important - just obligations that I feel have to be done, etc. What I would like to see this year is our family following through on activities that focus on what Christmas really is about - spreading the love of JC throughout Edmonton, some of the fun stuff of Christmas and getting out and actually enjoying the snow with my kids (which, if you knows me at all, is going to be the biggest challenge of all - not the kids part, the snow part).

So....if you are interested (whether you are here in Edmonton or elsewhere) keep posted here - the next few posts will have tonnes of info about what you need and where you need to be in order to get this done. I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, we can take back the Christmas season from all the crazy consumerism and really, truly enjoy it this year.

Friday, 16 October 2009

For Today...October 16

Well, I wasn't planning on doing a blog post today, but sometimes a person has to just go with where they are being led. I was brought to this site this morning and had to participate. This seems like it might be a good monthly exercise to participate in, if only for the memories years from now ("oh, I remember that hoody", "wow, what was I thinking?") Anyways, here goes:

October 15, 2009
Outside my window... I see a frosty playhouse, piled high with summer toys that are no longer in use.

I am thinking... about what I need to accomplish/get done today and wondering how feasible it is.

I am thankful for... little boys, beautiful girls, a warm house, stories from my past that seem to be pouring out of me

From the kitchen... baking with pumpkin and cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves and lots of it.

I am wearing... my 'breathe' hoody and a pair of jeans.

I am creating... an album that will help my grandchildren know who I am.

I am going... to IKEA today to buy yet more organizing stuff (I am so into the decluttering right now)

I am reading... Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult and Open Hearts, Open Homes by Karen Mains

I am hoping... to get started on my December Daily (and get the courage to ask others to join the process)

I am hearing... Ephraim "reading" his library books on the couch in the living room and singing Jesus Loves Me (and the sound of my heart melting...)

Around the house... getting things organized and purged. It has been a month of piles and boxes and garbage bags and questioning and evaluating, but we are all making progress and it. feels. good.

One of my favorite things... my coffee cup first thing in the morning, hands down.

A few plans for the rest of the week... grocery shopping, corn mazing-ing, pumpkin picking, bathroom cleaning, story telling

A picture to share...

"Mommy, what kind of plant is that?"
"Those are chives, Aaralyn. I brought them in from outside."
~quiet pause~
"Aaralyn, it kind of looks like hair, don't you think?"
"Yes, mommy, it sure does. Maybe I should draw a face on the pot - then it will really look like hair"
And voila, our very own chive plant pet...

Have a wonderful, fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Imagine our surprise...

Mike and I run our household on a cash system, so we have a pretty good sense of where we are from week to week. Imagine our surprise then, when, after taking out our weekly cash, we discovered to be 700 million dollars in the hole!! I know times are rough, but this is crazy!!! (and don't worry - we did check, and it isn't legit).

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

So very thankful

The thanksgiving weekend has come and gone. It was a cold one this year, with below zero temperatures, which made the warm houses feel warmer and turkey dinners taste just that much better. One of the traditions that we have in our home is to reflect a bit on what we are thankful for. The girls are starting to get the concept, which is great, but mostly it is a really good exercise for me to do (and model). A number of years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and one of the exercises that I was introduced to during that time of my life was a gratitude journal. Each day I was instructed to write down 10 things that I was grateful for in my life. Often, because of the state of mind I was in, I wasn't able to find ten things (so I would just copy from the previous day). As the days and months progressed, however, I couldn't help but to find things that I was grateful for because, through this gratitude journal, I was training my brain to 'see' things differently. I found myself filling up pages at a time of what I was thankful for each day. This was such a powerful experience for me, I have tried to continue that particular exercise (with varying degrees of success!) It isn't an everyday occurrence- sometimes there is time for only once a month reflections, and sometimes it is more difficult than others. Whenever I engage in this sort of exercise, however, my world seems to come alive with blessings. Here's my list for this Thanksgiving (in no particular order):

my kids. my family. my home. church. health. my parents. Mike. my computer. good friends. beautiful things. fresh flowers. markers and crayons. food. coffee. vehicles. blogs. inspiring women. furnaces. the sunshine. sweaters. candles. chocolate. music. unconditional love. the dentist. freedom. wine. beer. pretty paper. the Bible. prayer. time with my kids. baby kisses. life. my camera. work. art. books.

...and the list could go on and on. Take the time to make a list for yourself and put it up somewhere where you will see it every day. Not only will it remind you of what you are thankful for, but it will teach your brain to see your world through different eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Happy birthdays and journeys

Here's to an amazing, sexy, passionate and all-around fabulous husband who just happened to turn 39 this past week. We celebrated with alot of cake, co-workers, family and a very beatiful dinner and evening out at the theatre. Did I mention that I love this guy like crazy? If you want to see a great 'sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-thriller' theater production, check this out...

I have embarked on a bit of journey this past week, thanks to this amazing scrapbooker and her amazing class. Basically, it is about telling stories in scrapbook form (whatever that looks like to you) with the emphasis on just the words and the photos. I am really looking forward to this process - already this first week has brought up quite a bit of baggage about my own ideas about scrapbooking, my own stories and my own history. (I spent a bit of time this weekend just crying over past sorrows...not surprised by the sorrow, just surprised at what the sorrow was about)

I love scrapbooking - the art of it (the fact that I can do it on the computer and my studio makes me so very happy!!), the therapy of it, the telling of the stories. It really is a good thing.