Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!


If I am very very quiet, no one will notice I am in here all by myself.  Heck, who am I kidding?  I abandoned blogging over a year ago when I returned to work full time.  I used to love having stories to tell and photos to share about my life.

But then I took a new career path.  Instead of working 15 hours a week as a professor, I now work 50 hours a week at the same college.  What do I do?  Well, if it is summer time, I am the high school principal to students from 22 local high schools that take classes on one of our four campuses.  If it is the school year, I manage classes that let kids from those same schools earn both college and high school credit.  Dual credit classes, they are called.  

I love every crazy second of it.  My college serves a really diverse population including inner city kids from Aurora (second largest city in Ill) to small country high schools with less than 20 graduates a year.  In between are suburbs both comfortable and struggling.  Every day brings a new challenge and I have not had a single day of boredom.

This weekend I scrapped a little bit about my feelings as part of a challenge at Scrapbooking From The Inside Out.  The December kit (my first!) asked us to focus on Release.  I decided to let go of my mommy guilt--it definitely needed released!

Supplies:  Cardstock: American Crafts, Paper: American Crafts, Crate Paper, Alphabet: Lilly Bee, American Crafts, Font: Distressed Typewriter, Die Cuts: BasicGrey, Stickers: Jillibean Soup, Crate Paper, Other: stitching.

Journaling:  Something happens when you become a mom. You leave the hospital with a tiny bundle of joy and a kernel of mom guilt. Both will grow faster than you thought possible. The questions can plague you. Are you doing too much of this? Not enough of that? 

For me, the biggest question was should I return to work full time? When offered the perfect job--one that would challenge me using all of my education and experience--I hesitated. My kids were 9 and 12, not babies but not completely ready to go. 

Questions like "were they ready for me to be gone 50 hours a week?" and "what would I miss?" warred with the idea that it would be good for them to see me as a successful woman with value outside of the home.

I will be back.  I remembered that I really like sharing the twists and turns of my life.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It's our Anniversary!  We have spent six full years working together to inspire readers all over the world and we have loved every minute.  A few months ago, as I was doing some archiving, I counted up the number of published pretties in our storage.  At that point, we had published more than 10,000 gorgeous scrappy creations.


What an honor it is to be able to share our love of scrapbooking with others who share in the excitement that comes from snapping the perfect shot or finding an alphabet you adore or buying your daughter a shirt that perfectly matches the hue of a paper you have been hoarding.  We love our job!

We know that it is because of all of you that we have the pleasure of our magazine work.  It is all of you that submit, that share, that read, and that enjoy our issues that make it possible for us to do what we do!

So we have a present.  A great big scrappy present.

Inside is more than $100 worth of scrappy goodness.  I cannot show you it all yet since the final items are on the way to us this week (brand new Summer CHA releases!).  I can share that it includes pretties from Pink Paislee, Theresa Collins, Webster's Pages, Simple Stories, Jillibean Soup, American Crafts--to name just a few.

How do you win?  The luck of the randomizer.  How do you enter?  So glad you asked.  You may have up to five entries:

1.  Leave us a comment.
2.  Join as a follower and leave us another comment telling us so (if you are already a follower, tell us that. it counts!)
3.  Blog about us and comment with the link.
4.  Join our facebook followers--and comment about it. (if you are already a follower, post on our wall and then come back and comment about it).
5.  Tweet or facebook about our Anniversary and comment about it.

There you go!  5 chances to be richer in scrappy goodies.  We will stop counting new comments at midnight Sunday, Central time.  We will announce the winner on Monday!

Thank you for being a part of our magazine!  We appreciate you! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


On the first day of my new job as a program developer, my boss said "proactive" was the one thing he most desired in this role.  He really did not seem to care what I accomplished as long as something got done.  He described the many different programs that were in my portfolio and the areas that could be included.  Let's see if I can make sense of this.

It is my job to develop, coordinate, and manage programs for the college.  My main area is high school--anything from testing to summer school, but nothing vocational.  I also have anything related to computers--but only if it does not help train you for work as those classes belong to the workforce division.  And I get music--as long as it is not for credit since the regular music department handles those.  Music scared me the most since anyone who knows me understands that I am tone deaf and can barely play my ipod.  Next, I have anything that works directly with all of the credit areas on campus.  I also am to contribute to "big events" like guest speakers or performing arts shows.  And then there is the usual "maintain records and do anything else the boss asks" statement tossed in there.

Proactive, boss says.  Pick an area and go to it.  Wow.

I would definitely describe myself as active.  I have never shrunk away from life and get bored if I am doing the same thing over and over.  In high school, one of my first jobs was assembly line work for a florist.  Pick up a corsage, stick in ribbon, set it back on conveyor belt.  Let me tell you that conveyor belt work is NOT as much fun as Lucy and Ethel made it seem.  One weekend was enough to refocus my energy on getting a college scholarship.

I like to be busy.  For many years, my motto was "the more you do, the more you can do", so this proactive directive did not phase me.  Still, I had to wonder if my definition of proactive would match the one in my boss' head.

Six weeks later . . . I am so in love with my job.  I love having so many different avenues to pursue.  I have not been bored a single second.  And I have used every bit of knowledge from past jobs to be successful.  All of my high school teaching and administration work comes in really handy to create programs for the schools.  My work as a college prof for the last 8 years makes understanding the needs of the students easier and means I already know most of the "important" people on campus. 

My scrapping experience has REALLY come in handy.  Little did I know that learning design, developing my eye, and mastering photoshop would be so important.  My flyers and presentations are not the usual Office template variety.  And because I understand the feeling of receiving a hand made card, I started sending out thank you cards from my stash after each initial meeting with a new person.

This touch has made such a difference.  People are very happy to answer the phone when I call to set up follow up meetings and have been lovely about thanking me for brightening their day with a card.  Because many of the people are in and out of each other's offices, I have not been batch making them, but creating unique cards for each.  Right now, I need 8-10 each weekend which is much more cards than I usually whip out.  Especially since I have layout mojo going right now.

Here are a few from this weekend.  I was feeling a bit floral--perverse since the leaves are falling and the flowers fading.

Restoration was probably my all time fave Craft Paper line (so far!) which is saying something since they have always been a fave manu of mine.  I paired their goodies with some bold Thickers and a Pink Paislee bling brad.

A little more Crate with some October Afternoon minis.  I am loving these and using them like mad--they are just a smidge bigger than others and line up nicely.

More October Afternoon letters paired this time with a Pink Paislee die cut and some Theresa Collins bling.  I also used my goto scallop punch--definitely a super purchase.

I am so very grateful for my new job that I am having an easy time making card after card to express my thanks.  It is just marvelous to head into my office knowing that I can tackle a variety of challenges daily.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's July!

It's Time! The new issues are up and going out. I love fresh magazine inspiration!  Summer Issue of Magazine:

And the July issue of GingerScrapsStreet Magazine:

Head on over to the ScrapStreet blog for more!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Simply Summer

I have been on a quest to simplify this spring.  It seems that I spent a good bit of my thirties adding things to my life.  They were good things.  Valuable things.  Often even happy things.


There were an awful lot of things.  I became the girl who just could not say no.  Need a volunteer?  I was your girl.  Need help?  I can lift that, do that, organize that.  The thing is that I really do enjoy doing a little bit of everything so saying yes was never outside of my comfort zone.


Enjoying everything and trying to do everything did not work.  I ended up missing out on life.  My kids were growing and I was not fully present in their life or my own.  So it was time for a change.


I took a breath.  A really long breath.  I learned how to step away from the screen.  I stepped down from some committees telling myself it is time to give some other moms a go.  Those ones in their thirties look hungry for experiences.


After several months of removing, I can begin to add again.  To really relish the items that I add back in.  To enjoy.  To breathe.  To live.

I love capturing moments of my children on film.  In my business, I found I was taking photos primarily for assignments and with a specific need in mind.  I am rediscovering my love of photography.  And I am keeping the camera as a side note while the family fun takes center stage.

On Monday, I headed to the Morton Arboretum with my mother in law, sister in law, and all of the kids.  7 in total from age 1 to 11.  I took an assignment in mind inspired by a challenge at the blog Simple As That.  It was to take a photo of a simple moment this week.  LOVE!

As we wandered along a lake, the older five kids sneaked under a tree off the beaten path and found a big rock where they could sit and look at tadpoles and search for frogs.  I was across the way pushing the baby stroller when I glanced back to see this sweet summer moment.

I added just a simple title to make a postcard to send to my inlaws as a simple reminder of a wonderful day.

Would you like to see some more simply beautiful photos, click the logo and wander through.  These are some totally talented people!  Thanks to Rebecca for the inspiration.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sketching Crate

My desk is covered with gorgeous new Crate Paper products and I could not be happier!  I just adore them--every single collection.  Today, I decided to try the current Crate Sketch:

I flipped it on its side and worked it without flowers and using Portrait collection.  I have had these two wedding photos unscrapped for 13 years now!  This was the perfect moment to pull them out and play.  I wanted a pop of blue so I used a Copic marker to color the bling and the pearls.  I love the little pops!

Supplies: Paper, Die Cuts, Chipboard, Trim, Stickers, Buttons: Crate Paper, Alphabet: American Crafts, Font: Shannon, Bling: Kaisercraft, Marker: Copic, Other: thread.  Tools:  Sewing Machine: Brother, Punch: Fiskars.

Journaling:  Of all of our wedding pictures, these two remain my favorites.  They show our wedding party for their true selves.  A little bit of elegance hiding the screwballs that we love so much.  Above all, our wedding kicked off our life together with a celebration.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a super day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Hump Day--Freebie!

Howdy all!  How is your mid week treating you?  I am looking out the window watching the crazy Chicago weather.  We have had 70 degrees, rain, sleet, and snow all rolled into 3 days.  Insanity!

Last week I was on "spring" break (we midwestern college folks use that term very loosely) which usually amounts to spring cleaning week for me.  My kids have a different schedule and I am not the type to pull them out of school to race off to a tropical location--though it was tempting!

First up on my cleaning list was the mudroom.  Although (looks out window in disgust) we still get snow in March and even April, it wont be the heavy snow pants type.  I cleared out all of the serious winter gear and broke out the lighter jackets and rain gear.  As I was sorting, I noticed just how into hats my kids are.  We have winter hats, ball caps, cowboy hats, holiday hats, silly hats, stylish hats--the list goes on and on.

It is completely my fault.  See, when my daughter was born she was completely bald.  She could have doubled as Mr. Clean's love child.  And she stayed that way until after her SECOND birthday.  Just a little soft blond fuzz.  What is a mom to do?  Buy hats!

After looking at the collection, I was inspired to make a little mini kit to share.  Maybe I am not the only one that has a bunch of pictures of kids in happening hats. Hat's Off to all of you!

Downloads:  {papers}     {elements}  
Please understand that this kit is for you to download and enjoy.  As with all of our freebies, you may NOT upload them and post them in any other location.  I know it seems horrible that I have to type this, but our site is being pirated with each freebie we post.  Please download with respect.  Thanks.   
designed with love by beautiful dawn designs