Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wow, I lose internet access for several days and look what happens while I'm off-line...Kerry of nominated me for the Kreative Blogger Award. Now how cool is that? Especially since I am quite the newbie blogger. THANKS KERRY!
Now there seems to be several expectations placed on this award, those being:
* Thank the sender for nominating you.
* Include a link to the person's blog who nominated you.
* Copy the logo onto your blog.
* List 7 interesting facts about yourself.
* Nominate 7 more Kreativ Bloggers
* List links on your website
* Leave a message on their blogs letting them know they've been nominated.

Who am I really? Have I done something interesting you might not already know about? Hmmm, let's see. Did you know...

1. My first paying job was scooping ice cream and designing party cakes for Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream parlor. I made a whopping $1.65/hour.

2. I parachuted out of a plane when I was just 18 years old. I came home for the weekend and did it without telling my parents til afterwards, because I didn't think they'd let me.

3. I was robbed at gunpoint TWICE when I worked as a cashier at Safeway when I was a college student.

4. I went to Egypt and climbed to the top of the pyramids when I was 20 years old.

5. I told my husband when I met him that if we chose to have children I'd have twins. Six years later we had twin boys born during a blue moon with snow falling.

6. In 35 years I've only owned 3 cars: a Ford Pinto (13 years), a Honda Civic (13 years) and now a Mazda MPV van (9 years and counting).

7. I once went to Bali for 21 days to assist with a seminar on only 4 days notice and I had to secure a passport in that time. I didn't even realize they spoke a different language until I did a crash course in Indonesian on the plane.

Enough tidbits about me, now for the fun part--nominating other bloggers! If I pick someone who has already been nominated please feel free not to repeat the steps. Blogging should be fun not a chore. I enthusiastically nominate:

1. Her Photoshop skills just leave me with my mouth open, and she is so helpful and fun.

2. Who can't help but be drawn to someone who adopts 4 kids at once and still manages to keep her sense of humor and finds time to scrap?

3. Kat is an avid scrapper and currently preparing her Christmas album which I'm just not organized enough to do yet, so I'm in awe of her.

4. Jane likes color on her layouts and is great about scrapping pages I never think to do like beautiful fall days.

5. Deanna is grandmother to 14! Her daily LO's document her grandkids days and you'll usually find a bird on her page---her signature mark.

6. Janelle along with Kerry just joined the new Creative Team at Two Peas in a Bucket Check out her awesome layouts in the digital gallery.

7. Jennifer Martakis, another main player at Two Peas in a Bucket, is flooding the market with great new templates and digi-scrap kits. This is one very creative and busy lady.

Now I'm off to let them know. Happy blogging everyone.

Gobble till ya Wobble

Did you eat too much on Thanksgiving? My mom fixed a big turkey with all the trimmings and the two salads which we always have as part of our Thanksgiving meal but never any other time of the year--orange jello with shredded carrots and pineapple and fruit salad in Cool whip. I love both of them and usually finish off the leftovers by the end of the evening...burp! Excuse me!

I decided to scrap a few miscellaneous photos from this year's holiday to highlight some of the special moments about Thanksgiving. Here is my list of 26 items that I'm thankful for this year.
1. My mom
2. My kids
3. A chance to be with family
4. Great food
5. My favorite fruit salad
6. Orange jello salad with carrots & pineapple
7. My mom welcomes guests for holidays
8. New friends
9. Teasing each other at the dinner table
10. Pumpkin pie afterwards
11. Kids watching movies in extra bedroom
12. Puppy dogs looking cute
13. Scouring Black Friday ads to wee hours of the morning
14. Staying up all night
15. Quiet time on the computer to scrap
16. Kids playing board games after dinner
17. Late night snacks on dinner leftovers
18. Not having to cook dinner myself
19. Eating all the mashed potatoes I want
20. Talking to family long distance on the phone
21. Special time with Mom washing dinner dishes
22. Walking the dog,seeing who has Christmas lights up already
23. Visiting with the neighbors
24. Mom babysitting boys so I can Christmas shop
25. Hanging with Mom all the next day watching old movies
26. Listening to books on tape to and from Mom's with my boys

Now to go see if there is any pumpkin pie left?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I love you VERRY much!

I didn't get picked for the team this time...but a lot of great talent did. Am I disappointed? Of course. I had already envisioned hanging the title 'CT for 2 peas" on my blog, but will it change how I scrap or how often? No. I scrap because I love it. It just means I wont' be adding more stash--well stash I'd otherwise have to purchase, to my collection and I'll have to keep refining my skills to continue to create my own digital elements. Nothing bad about that.

I'm practicing how to not take rejection personally. I know I have my own eclectic talent and I'm content with my artistic expression. It's sometimes hard to remember to give myself approval instead of looking for affirmation from the outside. But I appreciate praise, maybe too much, given my fine tuned co-dependency nature. This is just one more opportunity to accept let down gracefully. Besides how can I be sad when I am blessed with two little boys in my life who express their love daily through hugs, kisses, cuddles and occassionally cards?

I love this early attempt from Owen as he was learning to write. He may have a missplaced "r" but the sentiment is loud and clear. So how can I be sad for long when I have so much love in my life?

Anticipation making me wait! Today Two Peas in a Bucket is announcing their new creative team. I applied and now I wait, drumming my fingers on the desktop, refreshing the Digital Scrapbooking message board posts and checking my email. Will I be one of the chosen to showcase Two Peas designers' products? So many of my digi friends have applied. There are so many talented folks out there. I don't know how they will even decide between us. But if I don't make it, nothing has been lost. However I've gained a great deal just in applying. I was motivated to start this blog, thus learning yet another skill. I've been chatting with the other anxious digi-scrappers online and thus have broaden my field of virtual friends. You never can have too many friends even if they are virtual, right? And I've boosted my self-confidence simply by putting myself out there. It really isn't about whether I am selected, it's about feeling good enough to apply. Now don't misinterpret my words, I DO WANT TO BE SELECTED, but the hard part has already been done. Now back to waiting....waiting....waiting!

Christmas through a child's eyes

Everyone is talking about the holidays, especially Christmas, even though the turkey hasn't even been cooked for Thanksgiving yet. There are discussions about whether or not one will participate in the Black Friday sales and each store seems to open earlier than the next to try to outmanuver each other. Christmas is just coming too quickly. Heck I still haven't taken the Halloween costumes out of the back of the car yet. But in an effort to start fostering that Holiday mood, I remembered how much I liked Christmas as a kid. Now my own boys look forward to the holiday and let's not fool anyone, they like the presents. Looking back a few years, I found these drawings done by my son, Noah, when he was 6 year's old. I remember how he'd draw Santas, reindeer and Christmas trees with presents over and over in anticipation of the big day. After all Christmas is such a kid holiday. So here's a glimpse of Christmas through a child's eyes. It does have a magical quality to it, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Never go through life without goals

How often have you heard you can't get somewhere if you don't know where you're going? Yet I often stumble through my life without a clear vision of what I want to achieve. It doesn't mean I have to have it all figured out, a tight plan in place, but an idea of what I'm working towards would help. Sometimes finding where I am at now is the best starting place. I think other programs refer to this as denial. If you recognize where you are faltering you can take corrective action, but if you pretend you aren't falling you often fall flat on your face. So here's to clarity and setting goals, at least a direction in which to head.

I made this sports layout in response to the weekly digital challenge at Two Peas in a Bucket. Using a DVD cover as my inspiration, I decided to make a graphic page of one of the muddiest soccer games my boys played this season. I didn't have a photo of all the boys together, so I had to digitally piece together the team. This game was hilarious to watch as the boys tried to tiptoe through the mud until they realized there was no way around it. Life has its muddy patches too, and sometimes there isn't a good way around it. You just got to wade right on through.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The food looks good

By nature I'm not a graphic type artist. I like the look, but it seems whenever I start putting together a page, I go for the layered look. My pages often emulate a 3-D paper page although I've tried more and more "digital only" techniques in the last few months.

In this page, I was scraplifting an ad for the weekly challenge on the Pub Boards at Two Peas in a Bucket. I copied the ad fairly literally although I chose to keep my photos in color rather than convert them to black and white like the original ad. I like color and rarely scrap without it.

However the most unusual characteristic of this page is there are no photos of people. Although many people scrap for the artistic nature of it and create some of the most beautiful pages, I have a nagging belief that I want to have people be the center focus of my pages for when i look back or my children do, after they've become adults, they aren't going to care if I got that perfect shot of the rainbow, but they might want to see that fuzzy shot of their first time on roller skates. So this page won't stand alone. I'll be making an accompanying page showcasing some of the people action of the Halloween party as well. But I have to admit, the food looks good.

Scrapaholic with AADD
I sometimes am unsure as to whether I suffer from adult attention deficit disorder (AADD) or if I'm just chronically disorganized. I often start to clean up one room in my house only to put something away in another room and then start cleaning that room over and over. It's kind of like a repeating decimal. I keep hoping if I continue I'll eventually get it all done, but alas it never seems to happen. I'm at an unfair disadvantage though with two kids following behind me often messing up what I had cleaned.

Scrapbooking is a great hobby for someone who is easily distracted. I'm truly liking the freedom to scrap whatever picture grabs my fancy rather than being limited to scrapping in order. I tried that, but I found it hard to keep the creative juices flowing. Skipping around based on whatever inspires me for the moment (i.e. a scraplift of someone else, a particular color scheme, a photo that just begs to be scrapped, a on-line challenge,a phrase or transcription of a conversation, etc) keeps me in a creative space. However like my house, one of the downsides to this approach seems to be that I never have any year completely documented. However as my scrapbooking style has changed, I now have my pages interdispersed rather than sequential and I've mixed paper pages with digitally created pages so there isn't an obvious timeline of how my abilities have changed (hopefully for the better). I like that too. My pages are eclectic, just as I am.

Digi-materials include: paper by God's Design, photomask by Maracella, Photomask by Bouille, Chickenwire by Gunhild Storeide.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And then there's the family clown

Lately everytime I try to catch a candid photo of my sons, the moment they see the camera pointed their way, they start hamming it up. You'd never guess either of my sons considered themselves to be shy, but outside of their close friends and family, they are often quiet. But put them in their comfort zone and I swear, these kids need to be on the stage. At least they don't complain when I bring out the camera. But geesh it's hard to catch a "normal shot".

Frames by Gunhild Storeide. Photomask by Katie Pertiet of Designer Digitals.

Camera Shy

Who really likes having their picture taken? I don't. I never think I look good in my photos. It's kind of like listening to your own voice just doesn't sound like you. My mom is no exception. She hates being on the wrong side of a camera. Yet I want to have photos of her for my scrapbooks; for me, and for my boys to remember her always. She's a great mom and grandmother. I know our memories of our time together will always be in our hearts, but really, I want proof. So I occasionally hunt her down and wait til her defenses drop, or in this case, her hands and snap her picture. Aren't I just a pest?

Digi-products used: Delicacies Kit & Stitched Kit by HeatherT of Two Little Pixels, Wordart by Katie Pertiet of Designer Digitals.

Snowman or woman? How do you tell?

I was playing on the computer late at night when I heard the late news announce it was snowing just a mile or two from where I live. Brrr! Can you believe it? It snowed last night. It didn't stick but it snowed. So I decided to dig into my archive of unscrapped photos and find a snow photo.

First snow of 2001, I bundled up the kids, went outside and built a snowman. But a day or two later when he began to melt, he looked surprisingly like a exactly do you tell the gender of a snow (person)?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Growing Pains

I always wanted kids. I even knew, since I was small, that I would have twins. And I did. But due to life's circumstances, I waited a long time to have my children. Now I look upon my children and I see them growing up. I can't believe my boys are nearly 11 years old. Yet I don't feel like I'm getting any older, so how could that be? Time has gone by too quickly. Where did the time go?

One of my sons can't wait to be grown up. As a kid, I remember wanting to be grown up. Now as a grown up, I want to be a kid. They are getting so tall and so smart. I took on tutoring the Math Champs (advanced math training for competition) at their school this fall and I can honestly say, that despite the fact I've got several degrees, I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader. It is impressive the level of information and technological knowledge these young kids know. I only hope to help my boys hold on to their innocence and childhood as long as possible, while also appreciating just what fine young men they are becoming.

I am having growning pains. Being a mother is hard work. I don't want my kids to grow up. Knowing all your dedication, patience, guidance and worry will soon walk out the door to be tested in the real world is scary. I hope my children will cherish that their mom was such a hands-on involved mom even when my presence may have caused momentary embarrassment for them. I hope that they truly feel loved. Maybe the hundreds of scrapbook pages I've created for them will help them remember not only the events and people in their past, but also the overwhelming affection I feel for them everyday.

I feel so blessed to have my boys and am so proud of them


Friday, November 13, 2009

Outdoor School

I love when our schools go beyond the borders of their walls and take the children into the 'real' world to learn, for we are not separate from our environment and learning happens everywhere, every day. Isn't it wonderful when life's lessons can be gathered from the field, literally? Learning how interdependent we are with our environment is a crucial lesson to be taught early so this generation will continue the cause of protecting that which sustains us not only today but in the years ahead for many generations to come. Peace and serenity are so obvious when you are seated on a wooden foot bridge overlooking the stream running under. Even in the city, quiet places are available to commune with nature. I am so in awe of the beauty of the landscape in which I live and so happy my children get experiences on how to appreciate it through fieldtrips with their public school. This is my idea of a perfect example of a "teaching moment".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest we Forget

President Obama said, "We are a nation that endures because of the courage of those who defend it." Today was the day set aside to acknowledge those in active service to protect and defend our rights to have the freedom of choice, speech and religion among others. It is a time to reflect on those who served and perhaps were injured or died in the same pursuit in days gone by. My father lied about his age and entered the Marines when he was a boy of only 17. His brother also served in the service, and was captured and held as a prisoner of war for nearly 2 years, dropping to a mere 80 lbs on a 6 foot frame. He survived that ordeal. They didn't talk about their time in the service. It was a sacred time, but one with too much to digest. My kids' grandfather served in the Navy at 18, and when my sons interviewed him for a report last year, it was clear that he was grateful to be out of the Navy. My nephew chose to enlist in the Marines, and just missed being sent to IRAQ. Yet everyday men and women, some of them but mere children themselves, go off to war to face conditions hard to fathom from my warm living room. I am so grateful they are willing, for we are a nation with freedoms to be ourselves unlike any other. So here is my tribute to those who courageously stand up to the challenge to boldly face the enemy and prevail.

Materials used: Lest we Forget freebie kit from Kerry'd Away Designs

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall -- a prescription to restore serenity

Fall is in the air, well actually rain is around here and most of the leaves are now on the ground because of it. But I love the colors of fall with the range of greens, yellows, golds, oranges,reds and browns. It reminds me that during moments when life seems dismal, it can be colorful too. Even the passing thunder and lightning storms has a certain amount of electrical spark of their own. I'm just happy to be snug in my house when they rumble overhead.

Something about fall helps me focus on nature, not only its inherent beauty but on how fortunate I am to live in such a spectacular area of breathtaking landscapes, mountains, lakes, and oceans just minutes away. And with this picturesque environment comes the obligation to take care of it. My sons are studying the microinvertebrates found in our local streams and lakes as well as the diversity of creatures abound in our fields and forests along with the inevitable food chain (prey or preyed upon) between animals. I captured a few candid shots on our last trapse with Noah's class to our local ecological reserve. I especially enjoyed having the kids find a quiet space to sketch nature. What a beautiful place to walk to for a little meditation on a sunny afternoon. I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I feel that the hustle and bustle of life's demands start to impose on my serenity.

Creating community doesn't have to cost alot. My sons and I attended a free Halloween Hoedown at a local church. We had a wonderful meal, played some games, listened to live music and showed off our awesome costumes to everyone's delight. However Owen discovered that the logistics of trying to shoot down paper cups with a cork rifle while wearing a recycle bin costume is a bit tricky. Note to self: Might want to consider range of motion when designing Halloween costumes for next year.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rubber Chicken Races

Halloween has become a big holiday in the states, second only to Christmas. People decorate their houses, their yards, bake goodies, create costumes and host parties. I won't even mention "trick or treating"--well yes I will. The malls all host several hours of "free candy give-aways" as thousands of youngsters accumulate dressed as Disney characters, fuzzy animals, fantasy characters, even inanimate objects like my boys' costumes this year as yardwaste and recycle bins, along with the traditional scary costumes of witches, ghouls, ghosts, vampires, zombies and the like. Neighborhoods leave their front porch lights on to signal they are giving out candy. Some simply leave a bowl full on the porch with a sign saying, "take one and leave some". <

This year my boys went to a friend's party with other classmates. The mom made fabulous foods including "blood & guts bone shaped biscuits", "goobers on a stick (colored cheesewhiz on pretzels)", "mummy wraps (hotdogs wrapped in dough)", "vampire punch served in sketeton goblets" and "scabs (Dried cranberries)" along with chicken wings and fruit kabobs . The party games were equally creative. Bobbing for apples on a string, using chopsticks to take items out of jello, rubber chicken races and charades! It's fun to witness kids laughing while trying to run with a rubber chicken between their legs. Maybe that's what Halloween is really all about. It's a chance to be something different than your every day self; scary, silly, beautiful, ugly...doesn't matter, just a few hours of letting your imagination rule and letting your hair down (even if it is temporarily shiny royal blue) and laughing. I love Halloween! Now what to do with that 10 lbs of candy the boys dragged in....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Plastic Makes Perfect

I spent several hours over this weekend on this layout. It exemplifies my inner most need to be perfect. I wanted to practice some techniques I haven't done very much. I wanted to bend my photos. I wanted to extract the sax and Owen's arm to look like it was coming out of the frames. This took several different efforts before I settled on one, even though it isn't perfect. Nothing ever is...Perfection is an illusion, really. A goal which when pursued often results in procrastination rather than completion, at least in my case. I had a deadline albeit a self imposed one to finish this for National Digital Scrapbooking Day. So when I was reviewing some notes to self about ideas to scrap I ran across the story of Owen's speech challenges and how it always tickled me when he'd say "plastic' whenever he meant "practice". So with that story in mind, I went on a hunt for a photo of something Owen practices, in this case, his saxophone. He no longer mispronounces the word "practice" but for me, the adage "Plastic makes Perfect" will always be a special inside joke in our family. Don't tell him I told you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Relish those memories

Did you ever have something in your life, that the moment you see it, it brings back a flood of happy memories? Well the book, "The Pokey Little Puppy" does that for me. I found this little book at my grandma's house when I was about 4 years old and every week when my mom and I walked to town to pay bills in person, we'd visit grandma and wait for my dad to come pick us up after work. I read this book over and over; a simple story of a little michievious puppy who didn't always follow the rules but like to go out and explore his world. I loved this book. But what I love most, is it reminds me of my grandma. She was an amazing woman, fiesty and of this world. She raised 10 children, sometimes alone and worked when women generally didn't. She had red hair and a temper to go with it and she LOVED life. I cherished my visits with grandma and now every time I see a copy of "The Pokey Little Puppy" I think of her.

Going Green for Halloween

My boys have become very environmentally conscious recently so when designing Halloween costumes, we not only decided to use recycled materials to create them, but we created a recycle bin and a yardwaste bin as their costumes. Owen, following in his grandpa's footsteps who is an avid promoter of doing everything we can to slow down global warming, even wanted to make flyers to hand out to the homes where he trick or treated encouraging people to "drive less-walk more","take shorter showers and use less water", "sort your throw-aways into yardwaste, recycle, reuse, or thrash". He was only momentarily dissuaded when someone pointed out that he had to cut down trees to make the paper for his handouts. He made a quick comeback with suggesting we add at the bottom, "Please recycle this paper". Time got away with us however and ultimately we didn't create the handouts, but I think the costumes spoke plenty loud to deliver our message.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hugs make the world better

My second layout for the Two Peas Digi-morph was one of my son, Owen and me when he was just a baby. I've always liked this photo since we both seem so happy wrapped up in each other. I believe humans are a tactile species and without touch we swivel up. So find someone to hug today and make the world a happier place.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Life as a "Win-Win" challenge

Today the world series ended after 6 games with the New York Yankees becoming this year's champions! My son, Noah, is thrilled, being one of the few Yankee fans in our area. He wore all his Yankee memorabilia, hat & jersey and celebrated with eating pizza and watching the game at a friend's house. He proudly called his grandma to share his excitement for his team winning. Afterwards the boys played the Wii and as we were leaving I overheard my other son, Owen, proudly announce , "You just barely beat me that time which shows I'm getting so much better!" I like that attitude, not one of defeat but instead one of victory of his personal gain.

I like competition, friendly competition, where everyone has fun playing the game. I often participate in digital scrapbooking challenges from various websites to keep me learning new techniques, to scrap things I might not have thought to and to keep the creative juices flowing. I recently participated in a blind digi-morph challenge at Two Peas in a Bucket, where two teams were created. Both were given the same layout as a starting inspiration and then the first in line of each group scraplifted that layout, and passed on their version to the next without revealing the original layout and repeating for each person in the game like a relay race. At the end all the layouts are revealed and you can see what wonderful ideas people took and how the original layout morphed over time and designer. There are no losers, only winners and each person walks away with the idea of being challenged to do something a bit different than before. Wouldn't it be more fun if more of us approached life with the attitude of it being filled with these "win-win" challenges?

Here is my first layout done for Team A. This is a layout of my son, Owen and some 4th grade memories. I included his list of likes and dislikes he wrote for an assignment during the year. He is a good kid. He not only is smart intellectually but he has heart and always keeps the bigger picture in view. I can learn alot from this kid.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2005

I so love Halloween, yet this year's photos are still on the camera, so I decided to scrap some photos from 2005 of me and my twin boys trick or treating. Check out the sea captain, pirate and of course friendly witch.

I never thought I'd blog

I never thought I'd start a blog, never wanted to share my innermost thoughts publicly. But here I am. creating a blog. I needed one to apply to do something else I wanted to do. I wanted to apply to become a creative team member for a digital scrapbooking website. It requires I have a blog. So now I do. I will tread this ground tentatively until I figure out what to share and what better to keep personal. I will share my creative efforts as I try to catch up on scrapbooking over 20 GB of photos I've been collecting and in doing so will probably give you a peek of what my beliefs, fears, joys and values are. Like a jigsaw puzzle, you will be able to piece together a view of who I am and what I find to be important with each page I scrap. Welcome to my world. Check back often to see what I'm up to.