Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Craft Room - Progress

The hardest part of sorting, organizing, and moving all my stash into the new craft room is fighting the desire to create something right now! Piles of pretty paper and drawers of colorful embellishments are so FUN to look through! I'm a little over halfway through the move-in process, so I thought I'd stop and share a peek at the progress so far.

If you've been around this blog awhile, you'll recognize the  set-up of the right side of the room because it's basically the same as my main wall from the old craft room.

Here's a closer look at the Expedits. You can see that there are still empty spaces and drawers (on the left bookshelf) as I'm steadily working to get everything in place.

I've added some plastic drawers/containers underneath the table that will also hold supplies.

The opposite side of the room still looks a little bare. Robbie will be installing wall shelves this coming weekend, and I'll (finally!) be painting Grandma's old sewing table (red to match the Expedits). My project shelf is on the left and the printer's drawers are on the right above on old dresser that holds clear stamps, inks, and adhesives. (I'll be sharing peeks into the drawers and ideas for organization in future posts.)

The view looking into the room from the hallway shows the fantastic window that lets in lots of light and creates an open airy feel. The shelves on each side were actually closet storage units that we found at Target when Robbie first moved his toy room in here. They work perfect to hold drawers and bins.

Currently I'm working my way through all the piles of remaining items that need to be incorporated into the room. This morning one wall of the front room (where everything is haphazardly waiting to be moved) looked like this.

I'm taking a break because now it looks like this. :)

Next I'll be tackling the piles under the front room window!

I am so excited about this room and have to admit that I am having lots of FUN getting organized and finding a ton of INSPIRATION to scrap and create once everything is in place. (Well, actually I have done a little crafting this week - created some Christmas cards for an upcoming class and completed a few Bible journaling pages.)

Do you enjoy sorting and organizing? Does it leave you inspired to create?

Friday, September 16, 2016

New Craft Room - Project Shelf

The first piece of furniture I moved into my  new craft room was a three-shelf unit that wouldn't fit in Robbie's new collectible toy room. I knew I wanted a place to put current "work" projects, and these shelves fit the bill perfectly!

The top shelf holds a container for each of my upcoming card classes; each container works to hold the supplies, directions and kits I'll need to teach the class.

I used similar containers on the second shelf to hold photos, memorabilia and supplies for each of the three custom scrapbook-for-hire projects I'll be working on in the coming weeks.

The bottom shelf houses the supplies for my illustrated Bible journaling workshops. The large container holds small buckets and supplies (colored pencils, pens, water brushes, watercolors, etc) that I set out for students to use during my classes, along with the "placemats" (large sheets of construction paper), printer paper (for covering adjacent Bible pages) and paper towels they will need. The smaller container holds goody bags and items to fill them as well as door prizes that I've collected or had donated. That bucket on the right currently holds candy that I include in the goody bags. :)

Obviously the items on this shelf unit will rotate in and out often as I complete classes and plan/prepare new ones. I'll also be completing custom scrapbooks and (hopefully) beginning new ones on occasion. I use the Bible journaling supplies often and restock as needed.

I'm so excited to have this designated place to keep track of current "work" projects (which I really enjoy too much to consider "work"). Do you have a designated place for these types of projects - classes, design team assignments, etc?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Don't Judge This Book By Its Cover!

When I received my copy (free from B&H Publishers in exchange for an honest review) of Tony Merida's Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down, my first thoughts were: this is a much smaller book than I expected and they could have done a much better job with the cover! This thin hardback book is approximately 7" x 5" and has a distressed looking cover reminiscent of an old long-lost book you might find in someone's attic.

However, the message inside the book is powerful and thought-provoking.The author asks, "What if the path toward an extraordinary life is becoming more ordinary?" He then shares how ordinary people, doing ordinary things (like performing simple acts of service, showing neighborly love, offering hospitality, supporting or pursuing adoption), can make a huge impact in our world.

In the preface to the book, the author quotes Aristides reasons for the influence of Christianity in AD 125. Among other things, Aristides said that Christians "do not worship strange gods...go their way in all modesty and one another...deliver the orphan from him who treats him to him who has not, without boasting...fasts two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food." Wow, I wonder if someone were describing Christians today if he would use these same words.

Here are a few other points that stood out to me in this book:
*Christians should be indignant toward evil, yet compassionate toward its victims.
*Love involves action, not indifference. It involves compassion that leads to action.
*Evil will triumph when people do nothing.

This is a book I'll be keeping in my personal library to reread . . . despite its size and distressed looking cover!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Gratitude Journal - August

A few days ago I completed the August pages in my 2016 Gratitude Journal!

For the first page, I added my lists and journaling, then used some hearts from a cut-apart paper and a sheet of sunflower & seeds stickers as embellishments.

I included a photo I took on the first of the month as I'm documenting my not-so-successful attempt to lose weight and make healthier choices this year. Then I have a couple of photos and pieces of memorabilia from my trip to southeast Texas. The bottom left slot holds the envelope that held a $25 gift card that I won from the library for attending various events this summer!

The top row on the back of the pocket page holds photos reflecting my Bible journaling, preparations and teaching during August. The bottom row has photos of my new craft room and a paint chip with that lovely Forsythia Blossom color that now adorns the walls!

And finally I added matching embellishments to the calendar page where I recorded something I was grateful for each day of the month.

I know I say it every month, but I really am pleased with how this project is turning out! What were you grateful for in August?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hello September!

Can y'all believe we're already a week into September! I started the month out with a meet-up with Cheri and her mother and daughter. We had a great visit over lunch and a stroll through the Frisco Mercantile. Its always so much FUN to get together with friends!

Robbie and I left the next day for a long weekend trip that included flying to Ohio, driving through Pennsylvania, spending a couple of days in Buffalo, New York, visiting Niagara Falls, riding the Whirlpool Aero Car, and celebrating Robbie's brother's birthday.

This month is flying by already, so here's an update on my 2016 goals (MOVE, LEARN, TEACH, SCRAP, CLEAN).

MOVE - I did better on my exercise in August than I have the previous few months. I got in a workout more than half the days throughout the month, had a great check-up at my annual physical, and got in some additional activity painting my new craft room (photo below). My adventure for the month was a quick overnight trip to Southeast Texas to see three of my nieces perform in the local production of Mary Poppins.

I'm having a slow start to my exercise this month since we were out of town, but I'll be getting in lots of activity as I move my furniture and supplies into the new craft room!

LEARN - Despite the fact that I didn't keep up with the prompts each day, I enjoyed The 20 Project class and will be continuing to work through the remaining INSPIRATION at my own pace this month.

TEACH - I taught two sessions of Illustrated Bible Journaling at First Baptist Church in Blooming Grove, Texas, one Saturday last month. It was a FUN day, filled with lots of laughter, good food and tons of creativity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the welcoming friendly group of ladies who joined me!

This month I'll be teaching two card classes and an Intro to Bible Journaling workshop. (Check out all the details on my Upcoming Classes Page.) Here's a look at the cards I created for the card classes.

SCRAP- I created 17 layouts in August: ten traditional 12x12 layouts, six pocket page layouts, and one digital layout (below).

CLEAN - We moved the last few items out of the old toy room and spent a couple of days painting the walls Forsythia Blossom, so this month I'll be setting up  my new craft room in this happy space!

Did you accomplish your goals for August? What are your plans for September?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Book Reviews

As usual I've been reading an eclectic mix of books these past few months, and I'm sharing my thoughts on quite a few of them today.

Edie Wadsworth's memoir, All the Pretty Things, is scheduled to release on September 20, however I received a free digital version of the book as part of the launch team online book club that's reading and discussing the book this month. This is a very moving story about Edie growing up with an alcoholic father who she loved and her desire to make him proud. The poverty and family dynamics surrounding Edie's early life are tough stories, yet somehow she sees it all through rose-colored glasses, making this memoir easy to read despite the difficult situations. She looks back with a forgiving heart while also being honest about the hurt and disappointment that often resulted when her father didn't show up or showed up drunk at various times in her life. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy memoirs and true stories of individuals overcoming difficult situations.

I read and enjoyed the first book in the 5th Wave series earlier this year (check out my review here). The second book, The Infinite Sea, continues the story of Cassie and the other main characters from the first book. However, the focus of the story shifts between various characters and is somewhat difficult to follow. I did learn the back stories of Ringer and Poundcake, yet for over half the book I was left wondering if most of the others were even still alive. This book also left me wondering which characters to trust and somewhat confused about the nanotechnology and its part in the story. I did not enjoy this book as much as the first one, however it did end in a way that makes me want to read book three and find out more about the alien invasion and who is actually still human!

A few years ago I read (and reviewed here) Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, a great book with mystery and books and strange characters. Ajax Penumbra 1969 is a Kindle Single short story about how Ajax found the bookstore in the first place. It's a FUN read with a great scene as Ajax tries to find an old book in a sunken ship that's been somewhat uncovered by the new subway tunnel being built. The ship was once a bookstore!

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal is a novel about a girl named Eva, whose mother left when she was a few weeks old. Her father died shortly after and she was raised by her aunt and uncle. Her story is told from the perspectives of different people throughout her life as she grows up and becomes a renowned chef offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This is a good book, although some chapters have quite a bit of bad language. The ending was OK, but the main relationship issue (between Eva and her mother) was not resolved.

My friend Minetta loaned me her copy of  The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Vol. 1: 1889-1910. This thick volume begins when L.M. Montgomery was 14-years-old and concludes a couple of years after Anne of Green Gables was first published when she was 34-years-old. Because these are her personal journal entries, there are lots of little details that are left out and many individuals who come and go in her life. However, it was an extremely interesting read and she seemed to be a happy and carefree young girl and enjoyed a very busy social life as a young lady. Her descriptions of Prince Edward Island are lovely and the way she so vividly portrays Prince Edward Island in the Anne books is evident early on in her journals. I enjoyed reading about her Cavendish school years, her teacher training and the years she taught in several schools.

In her mid-20s, she became engaged and almost immediately regretted the decision. The tone of her journaling changes from this point and she begins to have episodes of depression and does lots of "groaning" to her journal, especially during the long winter months. She eventually breaks off the engagement, but then her Grandfather dies and she must live with her Grandmother in order for her Grandmother to stay in the family home. These years are difficult for her, yet she was still outwardly happy and jovial. She meets her future husband during this time and they become engaged with the understanding that she will stay with her Grandmother and the marriage may be several years away.

Beginning in her late teens, she began to have poems and stories published in magazines and was quite prolific during her 20s and early 30s. After Anne of Green Gables was published, she lamented to her journal that she could finally afford to enjoy a few of the finer things in life, yet she was trapped having to stay with her Grandmother who wouldn't allow her to provide any luxuries. Volume I ends with her writing the second Anne book, wondering what life will be like when her Grandmother is gone and she is married to a minister. I enjoyed reading this volume, despite the fact that it's a slow read and the later entries are filled with depressing days. It was so interesting to see her writing style improve and to read some of the early passages that show she drew on many of her own experiences for the story of Anne Shirley.

The library book club starts up again next month, and the first selection is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This is an excellent novel set in France during World War II. It's the story of two sisters who endure the hardships of war in very different ways. The book actually starts in modern day Oregon as one of the sisters looks back on her life, however it isn't until much later in the book when it's obvious which sister it is. I thoroughly enjoyed this page-turner and finished it in two days!

Gossamer Ghost is the 12th book in the Scrapbooking Mystery series by Laura Childs. I've read the first 11 books and picked this one up when I noticed it on the library shelves several weeks ago. It was OK, although the plot lines in this series are so similar that it was a little boring. It was also strange because the main character, Carmela Bertrand, was terribly frightened when she discovered a dead body . . . despite the fact that this is the 12th dead body she's found! As usual there were lots of suspects, however in this book Carmela does not figure out who the murderer is until that person pulls a gun on her and Ava near the end of the book.

Have you read any of these books? Are there any that you're adding to your list of books-to-read?