Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Loving this Hobby

I can't believe how much joy and satisfaction I get out of this hobby. I am participating in challenges, attending crops left and right and even finding ways to include my 2 year old without having him damage some of my tools. This week, I created what is now one of my favorite layouts and entering into 2 challenges. Once Upon a Time (at left) is about my parents. This is a photo of their wedding day on June 27, 1970. The small photo is from my dad's retirement party in 2009. This June they will celebrate their 40th anniversary. I hope to be so lucky. I have 2 years down....38 to go :)

In this layout, I made my own paper using a mask, misting spray and distressing ink. I even used a little crackle paint on the tag and patterned paper. It was a lot of fun creating this layout. Check out more challenges and scrapping ideas at and

Monday, March 29, 2010

Scrapaway Weekend

Who knew?!? A weekend filled with ONLY scrapping? Well I went to my first ever scrapbook weekend in upstate NY and it was so much fun. The creativity flowing through everyone was so inspiring. Getting to know various women (and one man) from all over New York was a great experience. Everyone is just so different in fabulous ways. From a master puppeteer, to a Starbucks addict to someone who got engaged outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, the diversity of the people at the event was so awesome. It didn't hurt that we were in the Catskills looking down on the beautiful Hudson Valley. I can imagine how gorgeous that area must be during the fall when the leaves are changing color or in the summer when everything is in bloom or even the winter when the fresh snow falls - though it would be killer to drive up there during snow - and that hairpin turn!

I have to give a fat shout out and thank you to Tracey Kuzemczak of ukemamadesigns for putting all of this together and staying awake and patient with all of us. She brought ALL of her stuff so we wouldn't have to. I must also shout out and thank Ms. Karina, her p
artner in scrapbooking crime. The ideas were just flowing out of her and she helped me create my best layout of the weekend.

Individual Shout Outs:Jen -I LOVED the make and take.Crystal - You really need to publish a book of your cards and a how to section. You do beautiful work.
Deb - Your daughter is a lucky lady. Those wedding invitations are absolutely gorgeous.
Ellie - Thanks for letting me raid your stash of embossing powder. I promise to be better prepared next time.
Lesia and Anna - I'll take Ukranian History lessons from you ladies any day. I learned so much from you and I am grateful to know more about other cultures.
Christine, Kathleen and Sue - I want to sit next to you ladies again next time. I love all of the random thoughts that spewed (spelling?) out of Sue. And Christine and
Kathleen, you are what all mothers and daughters should be to one another.
Danielle - Can you bring Rice Krispies next time :) LOLDenise - You do a great boom boom pow.
Lisa - Thank you, Thank you for remembering me and my request for the Choo Choo stamp set. It was my best layout.
Jeannine - I'll expect you to be a cricut expert at the next crop and I LOVED the fireman layout. Loved it.

I'm sorry if I left you out. It just means that I'll be looking forward to getting to know you better at the next event. Be afraid. Be very afraid. :) You are all an inspirational group of women (and man) and I look forward to getting creative with you all in the future.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Latest Layouts: Elle's Studio Challenge to get 9 photos on a one-page layout

Latest Layouts: Challenge Entry for March Madness Offense Challenge

Chicago Chicago Chicago Part III

When I visited Chicago a couple of weeks ago I found a great scrapbook shop called Windy City Scrapbooking. I was so impressed by the look, design and SIZE of the store I left there wishing I could quit my job and open up a store front somewhere in NYC. If you go to Chicago, definitely check it out. It's located in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago not far from DePaul University. I can't believe I only spnt $50 in there.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chicago Chicago Part II

Reflection was the last thing I thought I would do in Chi-town. But this trip proved to be quite a learning experience professionally and personally. When I visit a place, the first thing I look for are museums and cultural events that will allow me to learn more about my new surroundings. The weather was too dreary for an architecture tour or a trip on the waters of the river. But those photos ops will be there next time. I visited the DuSable Museum, but absolutely no photography was allowed anywhere in the museum. So that inspiration remains in my heart and mind. The National Museum of Mexican History however proved to be small, but a gem. And it was free admission. Quite the find.

The pre-Colombian collection was not so impressive, but it was a good educational foundation for those who don't know anything about Mexican history, which I suppose is the point. And to be fair I recently visited Chichen Itza in the Yucatan and it doesn't seem that anything will ever compare.

One of thes special exhibits however is one that I know very well as a historian of Latin America and Latinas in the US. Rastros Cronicas: Women of Juarez is an exhibit chronicling the crimes against women in the factory town on the border of Mexico and the US. Here I was allowed to take as many photos as I wanted. I was truly inspired by the artists' interpretations. Flash wasn't allowed, but I got some good shots. This is a collage of the photos of that exhibit created in Picasa.

Chicago Part I

So I spent the entire week in Chicago last week, 75% business and 25% pleasure. My conference was awesome and my little word - REFLECTION - kept following me around. In my profession, we deal with young people every day asking them to REFLECT about their actions and think hard about the choices they make. I learned about some wonderful theories and techniques for helping students reach their greatest potential. God knows I've made a ton of mistakes and would love others to learn from them instead of repeat them. I shared best practices with people in my position around the country. And most compelling, was one of the week's keynote speakers. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Sr. Helen Prejean, the woman who is the subject of the film "Dead Man Walking," that starred Sean Penn and won Susan Sarandon and Oscar for best actress. Sr. Helen was truly inspiring. No matter what you may feel about the death penalty, she certainly makes you think about what it represents, how it is used, who is most affected by it and how to stop the death of innocents, which by the way is the title of her second book. I know this isn't the most scrap-tabulous conversation but I find myself inspired by another blogger, Pinky, whose blog is Dirty Scraps. Her banner reads, "Life is dirty. It's ok to scrap life as it is, as it was, as you see it. Be a dirty girl. Scrap the dirt!!! Some time reflection is dirty.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Little Word is following me

In an earlier post I discussed how I chose "Reflection" as my little word (see Ali Edwards blog). Well right now, I am at a professional Conference in Chicago and today's session was all about, guess....REFLECTION. The concept is part of theory called Positive Student Development which is developing out of the concept of Positive Psychology. The idea is to use characteristics of qualities like hope, curiosity and compassion to really help develop the whole person. Reflection is a big part of this. Journaling is also part of this.

I've never been a big Dear Diary type of girl. But have always wanted to be that girl who wrote about her day everyday. Well journalling on scrap pages and blogging is perfect for me. Today's presenter was also discussing mindfulness as part of the student development process. She basically said that on some level technology is a thief of mindfulness. And on some levels she is right. Someone can be yelling fire and the world will pass by with their white ear buds, oblivious to the smoke in their peripheral vision. But I would argue that balance is part of wellness and this balance is the underlying characteristic for human development. For me, technology as increase my mindfulness and my ability to reflect.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Elle's Studio Monthly Challenge

One of my favorite retailers is hosting a March Blog Challenge in honor of their 3rd birthday. Elle's Studio is challenging scrappers to get 9 photos on one page. This is one page of a 2 page layout but it has 9 photos on it. Just what the challenge ordered!

The title is "The New 25!" My cousins and I were celebrating my cousin's 40 something birthday. We visited her in her town and had dinner at one of her favorite local restaurants.

The top left is Happy Birthday embossed on the paper.

What did I use: All of the paper products including the 12x12 paper, the border, the strip and the Happy Birthday block are Stampinup.
The owl sheer is from Maya Road, blinged up with stickles.
The rub ons are 3 Birds.
The black swirls and butterflies are Prima.
The letters are American Craft Thickers.
The border punch is Martha Stewart.