Baby It’s Cold Outside: Digital Page

Hello friends!  As I sit here in my office with the sun streaming through our winter thaw is fully under way.  The birds are chirping, the snow is melting and our walks home from getting Emma at school are getting slower and slower.  Yay for spring!!!

Today I want to share a two-page spread during our “deep freeze”. (you can click on the photo to get a bigger view)


The text along the picture set says “Emma is dropped off at school, it’s o* and I get to hang out with [this guy…] We came home, made warm drinks and cuddled on the couch.”  The photo on the left was our goody tray (Finn had hot chocolate and I had tea).  On the right is the result of messing around with my iPhone camera.  This boy does not like me taking pictures of him but if I flip the camera around and he can see himself on the phone he will ham it up.  Go figure.  I used Photoshop to play around with the look of the photos.  Even though I explored being a photographer in years past I’ll tell you the truth, I didn’t spend much time processing photos.  Part of my deal was to give all the photos to my clients so they could do with them what they pleased.  After a few weddings and senior portrait sessions I found the stress too much and moved into graphic design.  That being said I’m just now beginning to play with modifying photos beyond minor color corrections and anything I could do on “auto”.  I may have over done it but I like it.  This will be a lovely addition to our year book this year.  I can’t wait!

Products used-  Font: UglyQua.  Papers/Elements: Let It Snow Mini-Theme from Echo Park Paper, purchased from Jessica Sprague.

I will be posting more of my digital pages as I get them done.  Follow my blog via email, put me in your RSS feed or like my facebook page to make sure you don’t miss a post!

Life Documented

Hello friends!  Can you believe it is already halfway through March?  I can’t.  We had a little freak out moment when we realized how much we needed to get done before we could finish our taxes.  Arg!  But the biggest thing I am again reminded of is how blasted fast time goes.  It’s what I call the parental time warp.  The parental time warp is when every day seems to drag on and on and on with no end in sight all the while Christmas keeps appearing out of no where with a rapidity that could give you whiplash.

(you are nodding your head, aren’t you…)

So, how do we capture the moments that older and wiser mom’s/women/parents say you’ll want to capture forever?  I have no idea.  But I think I may be catching on to something.


I know, I know, the dreaded “S” word.  At least for some of you it’s the dreaded “s” word.  We see folks create beautiful and amazing pages for their families and get inspired just to get baffled when we finally get a moment to ourselves to put something on the page.  Enter writer’s/crafter’s block.  It happens to the best of us and it drives me nuts!  But here is the idea I’ve been coming around to.  Digital scrapbooking.  I’m serious, if you love the papers and hate the clutter of traditional scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking may be fore you.

I’ve been collecting free papers and kits for awhile now and have quite a collection but I don’t really use any of them.  Wanna know why?  I didn’t know what my style or purpose was.  And now I do.  I want to tell the story more than I want to make one picture look fancy.  I also don’t have a ton of extra money lying around to by paper and embellishments that I’ll only use once.  Honestly, that gives me more crafter’s block than anything.  Only having one of something.  I want to make sure that one thing is used well and not wasted.  Not so with digital scrapbooking.  You get a file.  You can use it over and over and over again.  It doesn’t get wrinkled or crushed because you needed the storage space so you shoved that extra pack in there.

So, I’ve been learning.  I’ve been experimenting.  And I want to share my results with you!  (lucky ducks)

I, by no means, feel like I’m an expert crafter in this area.  But exploring and growing as a crafter is what this blog is all about.  It’s the journey not the destination that is important.  My goal with my digital pages is to collect them through out the year and then put them into a professional book at the end of the year or time period I decide on.  I’ve found some great options over at but if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them!

With out further ado, here is the page I finished tonight…

And He Sleeps 11012013

Here is my sweet boy.  This is from inside my office looking out.  I was sort of trapped as he had just fallen asleep.  In this case I really did want to focus on the photo (most of my pages have lots and lots of photos in them).  I will likely go back and add more journaling but in my current sleepy state (it’s almost midnight and I get to volunteer in Emma’s class tomorrow) I’m happy something came together that I feel worthy enough to share.  I’m still getting used to my process and what I feel is important to convey.  Putting the date the photo was taken is a big deal to me so I put that very prominently on the page, nothing sneaky there.  And I’m learning how to use clipping masks in Photoshop more efficiently.  My files are big but I love how you can organize your page with layers in PS.  Today I’ve used papers and digital elements from the Hey Boy collection from Basic Grey purchased at Jessica Sprague.

So, how do you document life?

Social Media Prizes

Well, let me tell you the month of January has simply flown by.  I am headed full swing into the NW Flower & Garden show with Plantswoman Design Inc.  Tomorrow the crew heads into the Convention Center to start installation of the PWD display garden Terra Cadence: The Rhythm of the Earth.  It will be a sprint to finish on Monday but the PWD crew is experienced and efficient so, even though it can be stressful, they will knock it out of the park for sure.

Among the many items I’ve been working on for the garden show I get to put together a little prize for PWD’s social media followers.  As I talked with Susan we wanted to be able to have quite a few prizes available at minimal cost that supports the goals for the business in the coming year.  Enter Territorial Seed Company…  Susan has ordered seeds for her vegetable garden from Territorial for awhile now and we will be exploring more topics on growing food on her blog this coming year so it seemed like a perfect fit.  One of the great things about the Garden Show is the inspiration you can walk away with.  So, we looked for items that would provide inspiration to PWD followers and decided on lettuce pellets.  Yeah, I know, lettuce pellets doesn’t sound amazing but they are, they really are!  In each little bb sized pellet has a mix of lettuces (like the kind of mixes you find in a bag at your grocery store) that you can put in a pot or the ground and have a lovely spot of fresh lettuce for your dinner table.

Prize Pack suppliesHere’s what I did…  Because the show garden will have birch wood trees so when I saw these birch wood paper straws, from Garnish, I knew they would work perfectly for this project.  I cut them in half and loaded 3 seed pellets a piece into the straws and crimped the end with my finger.  Then I created a little postcard size information card with a message to our followers, contact info, and a web address to Territorial Seed Company for additional information on their seed treasure.  I used some washi tape I found at Paper Source to adhere the straw to the postcard.

Prize Pack finishedThe final result is fabulous!  So now when one of PWD’s loyal online followers say they follow PWD they will get one of these little prizes to enjoy this spring.  Are you headed to the show?  Hop online and like Plantswoman Design and you too can have one of these little treasures.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day

Hello friends!  It’s been a while since my last post, I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season.  As you may or may not know, I help manage a blog for the Koh-Varilla Guild here in Chicago.  The guild is a husband and wife team of amazing sculptors and it’s been such a privilege to work with them over the past four months or so.  While I was working on their post for MLK day I was so struck by one of their images I just had to share it with you (you can read their whole post HERE).

Dr King Monument 05

This image is part of a series of bas-relief panels that make up the pedestal that supports an 8ft sculpture of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. in his minister’s robes.  As I was editing their post I just had to stop and study this photo.  I’m struck by her presence in this situation (the original photo was taken by Flip Schulke during Dr. King’s funeral).  When I think through what I’ve learned about the Civil Rights Movement and the events surrounding that tumultuous time I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about Mrs. King and the role she had as Dr. King’s wife.  As a pastor’s wife myself I know what it’s like to share my husband with the congregation and I am learning how to support my husband when it starts to feel like the congregation gets the best parts of him and I get the “left overs”.  We are learning how to support each other when there is never enough time or energy to sit down and have a heart to heart conversation.  This takes a large amount of trust which we are learning to give to one another.  Having said all that my heart jumps into my throat and tears to my eyes when I think of being in Mrs. King’s place.  I’ve never had to share my husband with a movement bigger than a building campaign.  I can not even begin to imagine a situation in which I would find myself in her shoes.  So, as we observe Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. day, I remember and am thankful for the pastor’s wives who have stayed the course and gone before me.  For those who stood strong in the face of such adversity and those who are learning how to stand in such unimaginable circumstances.  The next time you see your pastor’s wife be sure to give her a hug, because the truth is she is likely doing a lot to support your church.  Even if she isn’t heading up a committee, sitting in the front row every time her husband preaches or at the church anytime the doors are open, there is a lot going on behind the scenes the general public doesn’t know about.

Sweet Adele is 4!

There’s this sweet girl I know and she just turned 4.  Her awesome momma threw her a spa party and darn it if it wasn’t the cutest thing ever.  Boys were not invited much to the chagrin of the numerous brothers represented by the attendees.  We soaked the girls feet and painted their nails.  Then they got to paint a picture frame and eat cake.  Pretty simple and LOTS of fun!


I had the pleasure of helping with the invitations.  We took to Pinterest and found some great spa themed ideas.  We chose a sleeping mask shape embellished with a butterfly (the birthday girl’s favorite).  Adele picked out the paper and colors and her momma and I put them together.

Adele03The date, time and address details were hidden under the butterfly’s wings.

Adele01We put the RSVP request on little jewelry tags by hand and tied them on.

Adele02I used my Cameo and the Silhouette Studio (designer edition) software to place every element.  To make attaching the butterfly to the rest of the invitation easier I put in some small circles on the butterfly and on the plain text layer of paper before cutting the shapes out which lined up perfectly later when assembling.  That way we didn’t need to try and hole punch or use a needle for threading the embroidery floss through.

Christmas is just around the corner (as if you needed the reminder).  It’s time to get crafty!  What are you working on for the Holidays?

Saying “sorry”

Sorry 02There comes a time in every person’s life when they need to apologize.  When you are 2 and 5 years old these apologies happen often and are frequently accompanied by parental instructions on how proper apologies happen.  “Look me/him/her in the eye”, “try not to mumble, dear”, “What are you sorry for?”, etc.  But when you are an adult the opportunities to apologize seem to be fewer.  I don’t think that the offenses that require apologies are fewer necessarily but as adults we have a choice to apologize or not to apologize.  And today, I choose to apologize… to my sister.

For weeks, maybe even months, I’ve been giving my sister a hard time regarding a task she and I have been working on.  She’s been telling me “it’s not as easy as you think it is” and “it’s not that simple” and I just blow it off and continue to pester her saying “just do it”, “it’s not that hard you just have to do it”, “I made you a template”.

Well,  I was wrong.

Things didn’t turn out as I had expected so I dove in to “fix” it.  Boy howdy did I have a hard time.  I expected to jump in, upload a few files and be done.  Just like that (insert finger snap).  But, after an hour I was beginning to loose my patience.  After 2 hours I gave up and started searching for an alternative solution.  I found a solution, called my sister and apologized.  We were able to laugh about it.  I got the requisite “I told you so” and I told her I would buy her a cup of coffee.  Since she is in Washington state and I in Illinois she gets the honor of a very public apology and this cup of coffee by mail.

Sorry 01

I was inspired by the cute gift certificates at Starbucks right now.  Since I can’t physically have coffee with my sister right now I was tickled to see these little cups that I could send to her.  I hope she enjoys it.  I know she’s forgiven me (she told me so) but sometimes it’s just nice to have a written reminder.

Treat Pocket Tutorial


Hello everyone! I hope your week is going well. Today I wanted to share a little tutorial on how to make these little treat pockets. You don’t have to have a fancy cutting machine to make these little cuties and just imagine the possibilities for every season, holiday or celebration.


Here’s what you need:
Adhesive (I used this tape gun by Scotch)
Fasteners (we used paper clips)
Stapler w/ staples
A treat to put inside!

Cut your paper to 5×6. You could use any size square so feel free to play around with it. This size fits two pieces of candy easily.

Put your adhesive along the edge of the longer side.
TreatPockets-tubeRoll your paper and secure ends to form a tube.
TreatPockets-stapledFlatten one side of your tube and staple. I tried to place the crease of the fold close to the seam to keep it out of the way.  You may also want to put the “flat” side of the staple on the side with out the seam to have a nice clean “pretty” side and have all the seams and bumpy staple parts on the back.

Trim off any excess paper.  You could also take a pair of decorative scissors and trim into a pretty/fun pattern.  I had some left over margin on the edge of my paper that I trimmed off.

TreatPockets-topFill the pocket with your treat or goodie and flatten the open side in the opposite direction than the bottom of the pocket.  You will form a sort of pyramid of sorts.  I folded down the top a bit and used a paper clip to fasten the flap down (we used ours for Emma’s class Halloween party and I wanted the kids to be able to get into them easily) but you could staple them again or use a small hole punch and tie off with baker’s twine or fold over and tape down with washi tape or a sticker.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  These make a great option for any class treat you may need to bring for your little ones and I’ll be making more for our advent calendar this year.

So, there you have it!  What do you think?  Send me pictures of your projects, I’d love to share them here on my blog!!!

Maybe He Speaks Spanish

A few weeks ago I was putting Emma to bed and we were chatting about school and family and life in general.  We started talking about an incident with Finn and suddenly she sprang up and said “Mom, I know!  Maybe Finn speaks Spanish and that’s why we can’t understand him!”  I can’t remember if I laughed out right or was able to hold it in but I assured her he wasn’t speaking Spanish.  This lead to an interesting conversation about our family and our heritage.  We have Scottish and Irish roots with some German and Native American Indian thrown in but I could sense that she was feeling sad because she didn’t have anything that made her “special” like her friends who could speak two languages.   Oh, goodness!  What do you tell this sweet girl who wants to be a princess and live in a castle…  I know, maybe that her ancestors may have been princesses (I don’t really think that’s quite the case which we talked about), lived in castles and talk like Shrek?  Umm, yes, I think that’ll do, Donkey, that’ll do…  In fact, I’ve heard clans on my side of the family were at odds with clans on Jeff’s side of the family.  Doesn’t that just beat all?


Fast forward to Emma’s class Halloween party.  I made her costume and could tell she felt fabulous in it.  When we got to school we put her costume on and away she and Finn went scurrying into the throng of 20 other kids.  We sang songs, shared treats, participated in a parade of sorts through the school halls, read stories and celebrated a birthday.  And then it happened…  One of the mom’s wanted Emma to sit next to her daughter because “she is so pretty”.  In the moment I helped get Emma’s attention to sit for a photo, etc.  But as the children sat eating their cupcakes and I reflected on what had occurred and it seemed odd to me.  Other such scenarios played in my mind as I thought through why my kids garner so much attention.  I know Emma is one of two “white” kids in her class.  I know we are in one of the most diverse communities in the nation.  And now this community is shaping and changing us in ways I would have never imagined.  Emma doesn’t miss much.  She sees and hears the differences between her and her classmates.


I don’t have a nice bow to put around what I’ve learned from these situations.  I’m struggling to put my finger on what to take to heart, what to stand up for and what to let roll off my back.  My mind is a muddle.  So, I’ll leave you to think and pray with me.  As we walk further and deeper into what and where God is calling us I pray for an open mind and open heart, for stamina to run this new race for which I feel ill-equipped, for wisdom when there are no words to explain and the peace that passes all understanding to prevail in our family.  Amen.

The Joy of a Finished Project

Hello friends!  Today I get to finally show off a website design I’ve been working on for the last couple of months.  We pretty much stripped the old site completely down and rebuilt from the ground up.

PWD Website before

PWD Website after

As I worked through the design process with Susan of Plantswoman Design we really had to establish the purpose of the website and goals for use.  The old site had lots of information but some of it wasn’t really helpful in describing what Susan does or letting her passion for great design and fabulous plants shine through.  It also took some convincing to leave the earthy color palette for the clean feel of the white/gray/blue/green but we made the jump and I feel like the site breaths well and will age well.  I love the consistent look from page to page and am loving weaving it through out the additional collateral we are working on.

I also enjoyed working with Lowell Sannes of Lowell Sannes Photography on the technical development of the site and the team photo shoot was hilarious at times.

I’d love you all to swing by and take a look.  Let me know what you think!

Fall Decor: Wall Letters

Fall has officially made it to Chicago. Or at least I think it has but only living here for a whopping month and a half I’m not really sure. It was 80 last week and now it barely hits 70. I think that counts right? Weather aside fall has hit our house. The other day I asked Emma if our house felt like home and she said no. I wasn’t too surprised due to the number of boxes still hiding in many corners but it did give me some insight into her world. She’s been struggling with being left at school and its been breaking my heart. So this inspired me to help Emma, and all of us really, feel more at home in our house. One of my projects were these fall letters. I used a cutting file by Lori Whitlock and cut everything out while Emma enjoyed some much coveted “office time” with me and finished putting them together through out the night. It wasn’t terribly difficult but they aren’t going to last a real long time either being made entirely of paper. I will try to store them and see what happens. In the meantime we will enjoy these letters every time we walk in our door. We are well on our way to feeling at home in our own house.
What helps you feel at home in your house?