Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday Projects: December Daily #2

So, my package of goodies from Elle's Studio arrived on Friday. I received the Christmas Countdown Pack, which includes some elements that need to be cut apart, including the numbers 1-31. I started out by cutting apart the numbers, the label sets, and the Holiday Greetings set. My plan had been to coordinate each day's supplies in page protectors. However, I couldn't find the box of 8x8 page protectors I swore I had just seen within the past...okay, the past two years. Anyway, what I DID find was a Christmas-patterned brag book album tucked away in my stash from about four or five years ago. I've been using that to organize each day's tags and embellishments, and it takes up just a fraction of the space the page protectors would.

I posted on a message board about how I was working on this project, and another childless scrapper asked what I'd be putting in the album. Really, how much is there to document about the holidays when you're an unemployed, childless newlywed 1500 miles from your family?

So I thought about it, and here's what I came up with so far:
  • Decorating our apartment
  • Finishing trimming the tree (we put it up, realized we need more ornaments, but haven't put them on the tree yet)
  • Downtown Newnan Cookie Exchange
  • Baby shower for a friend (not Christmas, but it's what I'm doing in December)
  • Wrapping presents
  • The red holiday Starbucks cups
  • Celebrating with my family in North Dakota
  • Celebrating with my husband's family in Minnesota
  • Visiting with other friends and family throughout the holidays -- including a friend who moved to Norway, got married, and had a baby all in the last 18 months.
  • Hopefully getting the chance to join my husband on one of trips for work and see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
  • Any baking I might do between now and Christmas
  • Spending our first New Year's Eve together -- ever. We've always been in different states!
  • Favorite ornaments documented on the more ho-hum days
See? There's plenty in your life to document. If you've been considering the December Daily project, I'd encourage you to tackle some of these same concepts in your album.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Delaying the Elsie Challenge...

I decided I'm going to being the Elsie Challenge on the first Friday in January. December is a crazy time to be working on a challenge like that, and with the December Daily, I know I'll be stretched too thin.

Instead, I think I'll be using Fridays for posts about my favorite things for awhile. This is my favorite time of the year, and because of that, I have a lot of favorites at this time of the year, too. From the Almond Crescent cookies only available from November through Christmas to the latest Hallmark Keepsake ornaments, it's a wonderful time of consumerism for me. :)

In other news, I got a Slice this week! Michael's ran them on sale for $90. I noticed they were sold out on Monday night already, so I ended up having to think about it. I realized getting a raincheck meant I could get it for that price later on, which would give me more time to save for it. Trevor had to run an errand at Target Wednesday morning, so I sent him to the Michael's nearby to get the raincheck...and he came home with the machine! They still had a few in the back, so he purchased one for me. Believe me when I say it felt like Christmas came early for me!

I'm not having the same sort of steep learning curve some users have complained about in reviews or on message boards. I do wish I had the spatula and the 12 inch glass cutting mat, but Christmas is coming, and I've been asked for gift ideas that will fit into my suitcase, so I think I can hold off on these purchases a little while longer.

I also realized that a coat of the adhesive will last for a few sheets of paper -- as long as the paper sticks down completely, you're good to go. I think the directions suggest that you must lay down adhesive on the mat, smooth on the paper, make your cut, wash the mat, lay down adhesive again, smooth down your next piece of paper, and then make your second cut. Obviously, if your adhesive isn't smooth on the mat, you'll have problems with the uneven surface, but it's not a big deal to rinse the mat, dry it, and smear on the adhesive (which dries in about 2 minutes).

Thanks to the clearance racks at Hobby Lobby as well as sales at Hobby Lobby and Michael's this week, I've been able to purchase the Fa La La card, the Animal Crackers card, the Noteworthy card, the Words and Expressions card, and the Holiday Words and Expressions card in addition to the included Basics 1 card. I definitely want to get the Spring card or the Mistletoe card because they have gorgeous fonts included, but I think I can wait patiently for another sale. I think Noteworthy might be my favorite card so far because it's so versatile -- lots of nice, elegant shapes that work well for page elements, journaling blocks, or pieces for stamping upon. I'm so excited to work on a full project using the Slice -- so far, I've just been playing with it.

Hope you're having a wonderful holiday weekend! I'll be working on my December Daily this weekend in order to get a few things prepared prior to Tuesday -- and December 1!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Projects: December Daily

The December Daily is an Ali Edwards concept centered around documenting the holidays one day at time through photos and journaling. It's meant to be a low-stress, simple album that gives you a place to keep your family's memories. I've followed her blog the past few years and loved the concept, but just didn't feel the need to do an album until this year.

After all, I'm in a very different place in my life right now. It's my first married Christmas. The process of planning a wedding and getting married made the importance of family grow a lot for me. I also now have double the family, so there are double the events to document in my album. I also have an apartment worth decorating for the holidays, so that adds another dimension to document as well.

And of course, there are far more opportunities for socializing as well. We know we will be seeing several friends over the month of December in various places, so it would be great to document that. We will be going to different holiday events in our area as well. There's just more happening in our lives this year than in the past.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to document my December. My first inclination was to do a digital album, uploading photos and digital papers into Picnik and creating square digital collages with the images. I had intended to simply print them as a book in Shutterfly after the holidays.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I'm not in a digital mood right now. I want to work hands-on with the papers, tags, photos, and other elements of the album. I suppose it might be Ali's influence, in part. She does more hands-on, touchable items in her album, and watching her assemble her albums year after year probably left a mark in my mind about how the albums should be done.

My materials are mainly going to be from Elle's Studio. I ordered the Countdown to Christmas package as well as some of the coordinating holiday papers. What I like about the paper pack is that it's a set of 4x4 inch papers. They will work well into the 8x8 grid scheme I am planning for my album. I also plan to pick up an assortment of Bazzil to use as the base sheets for the album as well (FYI -- Bazzill is 2 for $1 at Michael's this week!).

I haven't decided for sure what I'm going to do about the photos. I do have a good-quality home printer, but I hate to do large quantities of photos on it. I prefer using it for one or two photos when I'm working on a project and don't want to run to a store or wait to get prints from Shutterfly. What I might do is upload my photos to my Shutterfly account and print to the local Target store once a week or so. It works really well because I can pick up the photos without having to mess with the inevitably malfunctioning Kodak kiosks, they are ready when I get there, and I can take care of most of my other errands at the same time, too.

Of course, I just placed my order to Elle's Studio last night, so I will likely be a bit behind on my album, but that's okay. This is about low-stress methods of documenting the holidays, not freaking out about how behind I've gotten.

Working on a post in defense of the Twilight books for one of my Wednesday literature posts. I'm not sure when it will be ready to publish, but it's something I've been considering a lot lately as I've seen countless Facebook posts bashing the book and the movies. There are so many issues in the books that aren't immediately apparent -- including some interesting Christian and specifically Mormon undertones.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Short Hiatus

To my few readers:

I ended up getting called to sub on Monday and Tuesday, and this week has taken a turn for the crazier -- the school I taught in last year has advanced to the North Dakota State Football Championship game. It's tomorrow, in Fargo. I will be leaving here at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning to be at the game at 3 p.m. I'll be staying up there until at least Tuesday so I can take care of a few little bits of business (like getting some extra copies of our marriage certificate to work on the name change process -- even my student loan providers expect an official copy of the marriage license).

So, hopefully, next Wednesday, I can resume my regular posting schedule. Go Aggies!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Elsie Challenge Update!

Okay, I mentioned awhile back that I am going to scrap my way through Elsie Flanigan's 52 Scrapbook Challenges over the course of a year. My plan is to begin posting this Friday. If you're a scrapper, I invite you to play along with me.

On Fridays, I'll post my layout, and a description of the challenge. I'd strongly encourage you to track down a copy of the book, but it won't be necessary to join in the challenge. I'd like to offer some prizes, but I have exactly $0 to spend on them. I am sorting through my stash to find unopened packages of Thickers and other embellishments I can give away. I know I have some huge brads from Creative Imaginations somewhere. I actually won them in a giveaway from Jennifer Maguire's blog, so it would be a chance to share the love.

Tomorrow will be a link fest as I start posting about my December Daily album and products I'll be using for it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

11.7.09 Updates + A recipe

So, this week was pretty amazing. My husband was home with me Saturday night, Sunday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night. Do you know how rarely that happens for a pilot's wife? I think the last time we were in the same city six nights out of seven was when we were in Jamaica for our honeymoon in August.

We really had a lazy week. For the most part, we just spent a lot of time together. We watched the entire series of Harper's Island on our Roku, went to dinner at Yumi Asian Fusion, and just enjoyed being able to spend all that time together.

I did submit two job applications this week, so we'll see how it goes. They are both part-time positions that would not conflict with any substitute teaching I would be doing. However, those sub days will be few and far between for now, I'm afraid -- the county school district has canceled their next substitute training class and has not yet made plans to have another class. The letter I received finished by saying I should email updates to my application in July 2010! I am on the substitute list for one private school in the area, but it's on the small side, so I've only subbed one-half of a school day so far.

Luckily, the time off has given me a chance to work on honing some of my other skills. I've perfected a recipe for pumpkin spice pancakes.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Serves: Lynsey + Trevor

1 cup pancake mix, prepared as directed on box
1/3 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Add pumpkin and spices to prepared mix.
2. Make pancakes.
3. Enjoy

Note: Trevor and I aren't hearty eaters, so many couples would need to double this recipe. If you've got a family, I'd probably triple or quadrouple it.

Have a great weekend!