#ScrapRack

I tend to start thinking about organizing and cleaning up in the fall. Maybe it’s the start of school, the time that I used to start fresh. Last fall I signed up to take Tiffany’s Get Organized Challenge, after I bought myself a ScrapRack the previous Christmas. The Challenge was good. It made me think about how I scrapped, and forced me to evaluate how I stored all the goodies I’ve accumulated. This fall, I signed up for the challenge again. It has been good for me. I’m now on Week #5. The payoff? I’ve actually scrapped two nights this week. Just went in for an hour or so after work and created.

If you are a scrapbooker, I recommend the ScrapRack. It’s a great way to store your paper and embellishments so you can maximize your crafting time. An even bigger bonus: you’ll save money. Once you see what you have, and pull everything together, you will begin to purchase with intention.

Another bonus: you’ll begin to organize other parts of your life. I am a writer. Though usually scattered in my approach to writing, I’ve begun to focus my efforts. The book I am currently editing needed several major changes: (1) the insurance payout had to be denied, (2) the poison needed to be changed from melamine; (3) the heroine needed to be better defined, and (4) the passive voice needed to be cut. Instead of half-ass attacking all items in one massive pass, I am approaching it step by step.

How do you organize your hobby? Do you find that something that works with organization in one area of your life affects other areas?

Santa Suit Gift Card Holder

Santa Suit Gift Card Holder

Santa Suit Gift Card Holder

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of gift cards, but don’t like the giving part of them, so this year I tried to dress them up a bit. In this case, literally. 🙂 I was looking through my scraps and found this red piece of cardstock, already cut. As I held it up, it occurred to me that if I used it like a gate, the cuts would look like a neckline. I grabbed my handy dandy Martha Stewart score board and scored the sides so they would fold in neatly. I took a piece of scrap black cardstock and adhered it on the right side only, to look like a belt. I put one little magnet inside the red flap on the right, and another little magnet on the underside of the black cardstock.

Now, here’s a tip for working with magnets as closures. Pay attention to the polarity! The best way I’ve found is to go ahead and adhere your bottom magnet where you want it, then drop your second magnet on top. It will automatically flip and stick. Then put a glue dot or adhesive on the back of the second magnet and press your cardstock on top of that. If you follow this method, working in order from bottom to top, you will be assured that your clasp will line up and close correctly.

Finally, I added some snowflake Stickles and gold Stickles to add a little buckle and bling.

Oh – and the inside! I cut slits in the center of the red cardstock with an Xacto knife, using the envelope accessory of the Martha Stewart scoring board as a guide so that the cuts would be at a 45° angle. By cutting slits, I was able to insert the gift card into the slots so that it wouldn’t fall out.

Have you ever made a gift card holder? Please share your ideas – I’d love to hear about them!

Gift Card Holders

I love giving gift cards, but hate not giving a package to open, so this year I am trying to dress up my gift card holders a bit. One person on my list is getting a gift card to the movies. So, I looked around online and found a few ideas – a popcorn box, a movie clapper and a cute themed card and then I looked at my stash of goodies. And this is what I came up with:

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I started with a popcorn bag (we have a cool popcorn cart just outside our “media room”), then I folded it twice, so that the top of the bag was at the back and the “popcorn” illustration was on the front, like this:

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I used adhesive to glue it so it would stay together. Next I punched two small holes on the very back piece and put in a couple of large eyelets. I strung bits of Christmas string (the metallic stuff that you can use to decorate presents) through the eyelets and tied double knots on the back side. This allows you to hang the gift card holder on the tree. I opted to decorate the front with a single strip of Christmasy washi shape, inserted the gift card in the pocket and, TA-DA!, the gift card holder is ready to hang on the tree!

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Vacation: Gas Stop (2)

Gas Stop (2) - Atlanta Illinois

Gas Stop (2) – Atlanta Illinois

This is the 2nd page of a 2-page “Gas Stop” layout about our stop at Atlanta, Illinois on our first day of vacation. Of course, I’ve always heard of Route 66 and we’ve driven on parts of Route 66 before, but actually standing on this little stretch of road – this piece of American history – was pretty cool. The murals in the town were amazing. The Palm Grills Cafe mural was one of my favorites. Oh – and see the smiley face on the sign above? Watch for a post about it and a picture of it in an upcoming post!

Vacation: Gas Stop

Route 66: Atlanta IL

Route 66: Atlanta IL

We stopped for gas in Atlanta, Illinois, and stumbled upon a Route 66 gold mine! What a picturesque little town! Loved the Route 66 park with all the beautiful painted highway signs. My favorite, though, was the bullet-riddled sign. Of course, everything on this stretch of road is “Route 66” – including a local mechanic!

Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

The subject matter of this page is a few years old, but it still makes me smile. I started participating in National Novel Writing Month in 2004. I’ve won several times. The first couple of years, if you won, Lulu (a POD publisher) would print your book. They published Denim & Diamonds, which was my 2004 winner, and I released it to the public. As part of my NaNoWriMo responsibilities as a Municipal Liaison, I sent out press releases. In 2009, Megan Murphy, a local television reporter, contacted me and asked if she could do a story about our group. She brought a videographer to my house and they filmed my story in my scrap room! It was really, really exciting. I asked if she minded if I took pictures while they were filming and these are a couple of the shots I got. It was beyond exciting to have her here, talking to me about my writing. Even though the photos are not the best in terms of lighting, they tell a story.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been enjoying the CSI site (Color, Story, Inspiration), and when I saw the most recent case file, I knew exactly what photos I wanted to scrap. Take a look at the inspiration and you’ll see why I chose to do the layout above.

CSI: Case File 88

CSI: Case File 88

Life Planner

Day Planner Cover

Day Planner Cover

I mentioned on a layout last week that I am a planner. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I began planning – creating a schedule for each day. Never stuck with it, but I tried. The problem was that I tried to plan every single minute of the day – down to timing how long it took me to brush my teeth. In 1990, my boss sent me to a Franklin Covey class and so began my adult foray into planning. The thing I liked about the Franklin approach was the idea of a common planner, a single calendar to hold everything, personal and work related. I used a Franklin up until just a couple of years ago. Oh – one of my favorite things about the Franklin planner was getting my new refill and working through the goals section. It felt so good to start fresh each year, and to look back and see what I accomplished, then look forward and decide what else I wanted to accomplish. I haven’t done that since I stopped using a Franklin. The reason I stopped was that the way I approached my day doesn’t fit within the Franklin parameters, so I tried DayTimer, and D*I*Y planners.  By the way – I have to give a shout out to Douglas Johnston – his D*I*Y Planner site is amazing. Definitely check it out. Go. Right now. I’ll wait. <whistling> I used to use the Hipster planner for NaNoWriMo every year, and liked it so much I created Hipsters to give to all the folks in my group that came to our kickoff.

I finally created my own planner. Here’s what I found works for me, at this point in my life:

  • 5 things I NEED to get done today
  • Morning Routine (inspired by Flylady)
  • After Work Routine
  • How much water have I drunk?*
  • To Do List

My format is set up in blocks, with a visual representation of 8 water bottles so I can just X them off as I drink. I also included “Create” in my after work routine, to remind me that I need to make creativity a part of my daily routine. It is just as important as doing laundry and washing dishes! The planner prints two to a page, so I can print them out on plain 8 1/2 by 11 copy paper, then cut them in half. I use my Bind-It-All to spiral bind several pages together, then I insert them in a reusable cover (that’s it pictured above). If you’d like a copy of the daily planner in Word that you can adjust to fit your own life, feel free to send me a comment (below) and I’ll send you a copy.

*I have kidney problems, likely related to having lupus. I’ve had several kidney stones and have ended up in the hospital more times than I care to remember. The easiest way to keep from suffering another bout is to drink more water, but I don’t get thirsty, so having a visual reminder in front of me keeps me hydrated.

Wander: Our first night in Michigan

Stepdaughter and I wading at Long Beach

Stepdaughter and I wading at Long Beach

I tried something new recently – entering a scrapbook challenge. It was fun, and I enjoyed it enough to browse around the internet for other challenges. I came across one called CSI. Does that just scream “ME” or what? The idea is “Create Story Inspiration” and the site is all crime scene themed. It’s a brilliant concept – wish I’d thought of it myself! Ha! Anyway, the layout above is my first attempt – the photo is of Jodi and me looking for tiny little shells for her stepson. We had been up since 4:30 and driven 8 hours to get to the beach . . . tired, but happy!

This was the challenge inspiration from CSI:

CSI: Case File 87

CSI: Case File 87

This challenge was so good for me, because one of the inspiration words was Wander. I’m not good at wandering. I want to plan everything, but this past summer has been very stressful and this vacation was all about healing and relaxing and reconnecting with my stepdaughter, who is now an adult, married, with a stepchild of her own. I allowed myself to wander. And I found a new, adult relationship with her, which was unexpected and so much fun.

Robinett Home Theater

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Since our daughter moved out of the house a few months ago (and cleaned it out), her old room has become my hubby’s new man cave. That means the old man cave is going to be reclaimed as our new home theater! I’m pretty dog gone excited about that, even though we will probably never afford to do all the things I want to do in there. But I thought I’d get started with a sign. What did Kevin Costner say? If you build it, they will come. Maybe the same holds true here – if you put up a sign, it’ll happen. It’s worth a shot, right?

This is my first try at the sign and I think I’ll have to redo it. But this works for now. I took a sheet of poster board and folded it in half, then cut black cardstock on my Expression in the shape of the sign. I then cut red paper in the shape of the sign to make the “outline”. The wording was also cut on my Expression, and is adhered with pop dots (by the way – I’m out of pop dots now. How does that happen? It seems like I had packs and packs of them at one time. Perhaps I have a pop dot addiction . . . ). I have to say, if you use a Cricut or an Expression, investing in a Gypsy is a smart move. I used 3 layers to cut this sign, and it saved me a heck of a lot of paper. I think I’ll have to choose a different font for “home”. My hubby pointed out that it looks like homo and now that’s all I see when I look at the sign.

I wanted to run real lights around the edge of the sign, but that didn’t work out well. I tried hot gluing .22 shell casings (bet you never heard of that being done before, huh?) between the black and red layers to use as guides for the rope lights, but the rope lights were too heavy. Then I decided that I really want to run the rope lights around the casing of the pocket doors, so I just glued the red paper directly to the black. The look isn’t as dimensional as I had wanted, but I’m going to have to give it a little more thought to figure out how to actually light the sign.

In the foreground you can see one of our popcorn buckets. We have an actual popcorn cart, which sits just outside of the new Robinett Home Theater. It features a flavor bar with seasonings of all sorts. I have to admit, movie night at our house is pretty fun. :o) But I think we need a candy bar next. I’ve been picking up some movie candy when I go to Wal-Mart each week. Any ideas for how to display candy? Perhaps something retro . . .

Vacation 2013: Leaving Missouri

I had so much fun sharing my Star Trek album with you that I thought I’d share my vacation album as it evolves. This was an odd vacation year for us. We had thought it would be our last family vacation with the youngest kiddo, but she moved out a bit earlier than we had anticipated. So we thought it would just be the two of us, our first vacation as empty nesters. Then we were talking to the eldest kiddo and as it turned out, the week we were going was the week between summer classes and fall classes (she’s starting her last year in dental hygienist school), so we asked her to go and, to our delight, she said she would love to. So, we decided to head north for our favorite vacation destination – Michigan. Aunt C asked if she could go along, too, and plans were finalized. As you know, I am finding my way along this new path . . . and learning to let go and go with the flow is huge for me. I want to plan every detail. This trip wasn’t planned like that – it was all about relaxation, and just enjoying life.

Leaving Missouri

Leaving Missouri

Jo & Aunt C met at our house at an ungodly hour, and we set off (after getting coffee – me without coffee in the morning is not a pretty sight). This photo was our first woo-hoo moment, as we crossed the Mississippi River and left Missouri in the rear view mirror. I don’t usually do one photo layouts, but I thought this one turned out OK. And it works well as the first page in my album.

This page was a fun challenge for me. I ran across a brand new challenge blog called 1 2 3 Get Scrappy. It’s a neat idea – they post a tic-tac-toe board and you pick three things in a row to include in your layout. This month’s challenge offered something that caught my eye: red, free, and Thickers. I have some Subway Thickers and I wanted to use the wavy lines to represent the Mississippi River. After that, it was easy to put this layout together, using some papers from my stash (from a paper stack by Brenda Walton that I’ve had for at least a couple of years). In particular, I like the way the photo matting turned out. It was fun to do a challenge – I think I’ll have to try more in the future!