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)

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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.

Scrapbooking…

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 http://www.blurb.com but if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them!

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

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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?

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).

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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.

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.

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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.

Slipping…

I can feel it happening. That lurking unwanted cloud of depression is near and seemingly ready to pounce. Some folks would say this is the end of our “honeymoon” period after moving. The adrenaline is gone and we are left to survey what we’ve gotten ourselves into. The funny thing is I don’t want to go home. I just want to feel at home where I am. Our surroundings are becoming quickly familiar and we are learning the ropes here and it has been a very positive experience. But for the two outgoing introverts that we are our introvert side is starting to yearn for the comfort of personal familiarity.

I wept through church.

I’m so very tired.

But we press on.

Keep in mind this unexpected ton of bricks dropped on me yesterday morning and, after barely making it through church, my response later that afternoon was to create something. An underlying guilt I have carried for the last couple of weeks is my inability to get something together for my mom’s birthday. It was August 31st. I thought about sending her something that was very “Chicago”. Like the famous Chicago popcorn or chocolates from the local chocolate shop that is gaining fame. When I thought about her though the lyrics to David Crowder’s How He Loves Me song kept finding it’s way into my head. I don’t know if you’ve listened to those lyrics closely recently. If you haven’t look them up and read them. They are mind blowing. If they are true, and I believe them to be, we are loved by a truly merciful and gracious God. The lines that get stuck for me are these…

“He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the wind and weight of His mercy…”

Think on that visual for a moment. The God of the universe being jealous for you…

(That leaves me a bit breathless)

Being a tree in a hurricane…

We’ve all seen footage of hurricanes. I’ve been down to New Orleans and witnessed the aftermath of Katrina a couple years after she blew through. What an all consuming love that is. My mind and heart doesn’t know quite what to do with that. I’m privileged to journey with Him and figure it out.
So, what did I create…
(spoiler alert, mom. This will be in the mail to you tomorrow)

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I’ve been writing these words in my sketch book for weeks now trying to find the best treatment for them. Yesterday it came to me and this is the result. I will likely make another to put in my office. I need this reminder. In the midst of everything life throws at us I need to remember this crazy all consuming love that the God of the universe has for me. I need to rest and breath in His presence and peace. I need to believe His plan for me. I need to remember that he sees me. I am not invisible to Him nor are my problems, fears, emotions or personality. And with that I will charge into my week swallowing my doubts and fears and holding on to this simple truth.

“Oh, how He loves me, oh, how He loves me, how he loves me…”

We Have Moved!

Hello friends!  It’s been a loooong time and so much has changed in the last month.  Can you even believe it is September?

Dare I say it?  Four months until Christmas!!!!  Yay!!!  For all you crafty givers out there it is time to start planning and making gifts.  Yayayayaya!  (the Fall season into Christmas has long been my favorite season(s) of all)

But I digress…

I mentioned IMG_4222a lot has changed and it has.  We are officially moved and now residing in Chicago, IL.  We left in early August, made the 2,000 mile drive in nine days, had a pretty good time while we were at it and are now in the process of settling into our new home.  I will have lots to show you in the coming weeks especially around our new home.  It’s been a while since we’ve moved anywhere and the new creative promise of our new place makes me a little giddy.  Among the many positives we have experienced one of my personal favorites is that I actually have an office now.  No joke, a bonafide office.  Technically I share it with my student husband but as you crafters out their know “share an office space” isn’t really in our vocabulary…  Don’t get me wrong, we really do love sharing but craft supplies and their owner really do have a mind of their own.  As I unpacked yet another box of crafty goodness I mentioned to my dear husband that I didn’t know where I was going to put all of my fabric.  He simply looked at me and said “this isn’t really going to be “our” office, is it?”  Sigh…  I’m sorry dear, no it isn’t.  He’s been a good sport about it.  Now that I’m working from home permanently I do need the space and a door to keep little hands out of the goodies.

I am excited for the projects that come out of this little office.  I hope you stay tuned and join in the fun!