Death and Taxes

 

As I was laying in bed and finishing Survivor last night (ohhh Malcom!), all I could think of was how my day felt like the phrase, death and taxes.

I’m not dying any time soon (or so I hope), but as I shared on social media yesterday, I had quite an episode when having some blood drawn for tests. I think I scared the poor nurse to death as she went to get me some water because I wasn’t feeling well and she came back to find me kneeling with my head on my hands on the floor, doing my best not to pass out. She was so sweet and kind as she grabbed a coke and then ran to the cafeteria for a piece of bacon and a couple potatoes. Weird that they don’t have juice on hand there.

Many factors came into play for that moment to happen. I couldn’t eat that morning for one of the blood tests and I am most likely anemic. Wrap all that up into the fact that needles are not my favorite thing and voila. You get me on the floor hoping to keep control of myself.

I actually haven’t been feeling well for a couple weeks due to ‘prolonged + excessive’ womanly issues for the past month. When you’re pretty much a clock-work kind of gal and all this happens, all you want to do is get things to stop. It got to the point where I actually made a womanly doctor’s appointment.

And you have to know, this girl never goes to the doctor. The last time I had a checkup was after the birth of my last child 22+ years ago. It takes a lot for me to even take pain medication. And with the exception of an occasional cold and a hernia, I’m a pretty healthy gal.

So for me to actually admit that I need an appointment is kind of a big deal. ;)

And luckily all the stars aligned for me so that I could do a real exam and not just a consult. I figured that if I didn’t get it done now then who knew when I would actually get in there again. It would probably be another 23 years.

Yeah. It’s like that.

So of course it involves blood work to make sure that every aspect of my body is fine. And again, I figured I might as well do the other set of blood work for cholesterol, diabetes…all the stuff outside the realm of the main womanly issues, like thyroid. If I’m gonna be there, I might as well do it all, right?

And that is where yesterday all comes into play. Taking four vials of blood from this already weak gal? I felt like death.

That kind of thing takes a lot out of a gal. The only problem was, it was time for the tax man that afternoon and I still had work to do. So I sat in my chair and just slowly chipped away at the figures. I managed to sneak in a little nap–in the chair–as I could see that I was pretty close. Figured I could wrap it up after a few winks. I was just so tired after the blood draw. And when you don’t feel well, all you want to do is sleep and hide yourself in the comfort of your bed.

I thought about canceling, but in the end I was just like, buck up kid…just get ‘er done.

I did have my daughter drive me there though as a precaution. (Dan was working.)

And for the first time in I don’t know how many years, we actually get a small (teeny tiny) refund! That is the silver lining to my business not being in business the last quarter. Not that I ever want to find myself there again, mind you. :)

The happiest of news followed by pjs and climbing into bed for the rest of the evening. More happiness. I’d been waiting all day.

So I’m wondering, am I the only that avoids going to the doctor? My husband and I both never go. I feel like if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But we’re both in our 50s now. I’m sure we should be more attentive to our health.

What do you do?

 

March 23rd, 2017|everyday|12 Comments

Keeping a Daily Journal

The way I keep a journal now as opposed to a teenager is like night and day. I don’t feel the need to go into detail with every bit of my day like I did as a teen. Oh the angst and drama of it all. ;)

For almost two years I have regularly written little snippets about each day in my ‘journal’. It is a little slice of who I am. My great grandfather and great grandmother did it and it is a true treasure and a ‘slice of life’ as to what they did each day, or what the weather was like, or you name it. That’s what I want to leave behind more than anything. I wish I would have done it sooner.

Today, we have Marcy showing us her daily writings. She has a system. She keeps it simple. She gets it done.

 

 

[ Stamps | Escape (adventurous spirit) / Time Again (weekdays) / Yesterday (one for the books) ]

 

I love this so much. When you take out the need for a bunch of fluff–not that there’s anything wrong with that :) –your mind is free to focus on what really matters: the words and a couple photos. It’s more a visual journal than a scrapbook in today’s modern use of the term.

Perfection.

March 21st, 2017|travelers notebook|0 Comments

Friday Freebie | Lucky Us

 

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Friday Freebie and with today being St. Patrick’s Day and all? Lucky us…it’s the perfect time for one!

Three sweet little 3×4 card choices. Use them as a card in Project Life or trim them square and add them to your planner or traveler’s notebook.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

March 17th, 2017|freebies|6 Comments

Photographing the Littles

Recently my dear friend Lisa Bearnson asked if I’d take pictures of her 11-month old niece, who hadn’t really had any ‘professional’ photos taken of her as of yet. Now, I am by no means a ‘professional’, but I can do okay. I know enough to get by, but in the photo world, I believe I’d still be considered an amateur. And it’s been years since I’ve photographed a child this age. Whew! It’s a workout!

So today, I thought I might share a few tips I used get some photos of this cutie.

 

Gotta keep up.

This is the biggest tip. These little tykes move fast! And you need to be ready in both might and mind…and by mind, I mean how you’re shooting. While I was in a lit area, it wasn’t lit enough to freeze the movements of this fast little one. I prefer just shooting in Aperture mode these days and let the camera do its own configuration of shutter speed and ISO. On my Fuji X-T10, I can set a minimum and maximum ISO so that the camera has a range with which to stay in. But in this case, I did set my ISO to 2000. I didn’t want to take any chances. Many cameras these days can have a higher ISO without getting grainy. Sweet.

Additionally, I set my Aperture to f/2.8. The lower the number with the f-stop, the faster your picture takes as well as it lets in more light. But with that comes a trade off. If you shoot wide open like that, you’ll get the nice blurry backgrounds, but then with an enclosed setting and fast-moving subject, you may end up focusing on an elbow rather than the eyes. At first I set my focus area to the full frame, which basically lets the camera pick what to focus on within that whole space.  But when I took this photo below, I needed to switch to a specific middle-range of focus points–one that I could move and pick the area. The first photos I’d taken kept focusing on her elbow, so I had to switch to a narrow focus area that I could move around and pick the area that I needed. Using that 2.8 and shooting this close doesn’t allow you much leeway with what comes into focus.

 

Get down on their level.

One thing you need to do, is go with their flow. If they get down on the floor, you get down with them. You can get some sweet shots like this above by laying on the floor with them. She was winding down with energy and having some fun just laying on the floor with me and watching me….while I watched her. ;)

 

Perfection is in the imperfection

Candid shots always have the best energy…the best personality. And no person can do this better than a young child. You have to expect the unexpected and just roll with it. You can’t get a one-year old to sit still for longer than two seconds.

You may not always get the perfect framing, but you can crop it later. Sometimes it’s better to stand back and allow the child the freedom of the frame instead of you worrying about getting a perfect ‘straight of the camera’ shot.

In this example above, there was much of the wood cabinets and much of the carpet because I’d taken it vertically. Cropping to a square eliminated many of the distractions so that we could focus just on that cute little stink.

 

Take 100 photos to get 10 good ones.

I probably took 150 photos in that one hour time frame and got maybe 15 photos that I think were really darling. Blurry. Moving. Out of frame. You name it. They are there.

 

I loved the previous photo as a full shot, but also thought it would be amazing to zoom in on her face and her little hand…and change it to black and white for just sweet simplicity of her expression and hand gesture. Tiny little things that you want to remember.

 

Photograph the ordinary.

It was time to eat. You don’t hold up a hungry baby for the sake of a photo. Lisa had propped her up on this brown+tan pillow. Since she was wearing a tan and pink sweater with a black+white polkadot bow, the colors worked better…when not in color. I love the textures and patterns in shades of grey. And again, using the focus points allowed me to get her face rather than the end of her bottle.

 

Take your time.

I think that you have to find the balance of moving quickly, but still taking your time. Get to know your camera’s main settings. Practice with them so you can be quicker at accessing them–know how to quickly change your focus points. You have a short window with a child. They’ll stay entertained only for so long before they want to move on to something else and you miss that ‘one shot’. Knowing what might work ahead of time will help, but then again, you still need to be able to go with the flow…and the munchkin…because…they are always on the go.  ;)

Editing.

I actually did very little editing on these photos. I mostly just lightened them. I like the naturalness of it all. I think the subject and conditions with which I was shooting warranted only a little lightening. The sparkle–catchlight–in her eyes is all her own.

If you guys have any additional pointers, please share them! I don’t expect to make photographing littles a regular gig…until I’m a grandma, that is. ;)

 

March 15th, 2017|photography|3 Comments

Moab. A Grand Adventure….In One Day.

A couple weeks ago I was getting quite stir crazy. Lots of gloomy weather about with hints of a spring day here and there. Just enough to get you excited only to be dashed with a blizzard the next day. And we’d already had a very gloomy January and February and this sun-deprived girl was getting a little anxious.

Dan and I had been talking of going to Moab, Utah (three hours from here) for some time. We’d celebrated our 29th anniversary last month and thought this would be a fun getaway. We were waiting for a warmer couple of days, watching the weather closely when….he got another job. He works in the tv/movie industry with set design and the nice days we were talking of going during that week had just been re-prioritized for work.

Ugh.

I was so disappointed.

Until…

I had this idea of doing a day trip and gathered Jordan + my BFF Kristy Banks (Kass and Lisa Bearnson couldn’t come so spontaneously) and we ventured early the next day down to Moab to hike around, eat some good food and talk talk talk.

Yes, we left before dawn. And as Kristy drove through the canyons along the way and the sun began to rise in our eyes, she jokingly said, “Oh! Is this what morning looks like? This is what sunrise looks like?”

We saw Balanced Rock, hiked  up around The Windows and Double Arch, did the small hike up to the second view point for Delicate Arch (which was still far away) and then my favorite–because it was rather a surprise–Sand Dune Arch. We’d actually planned on going over to Broken Arch and saw the trail for Sand Dune Arch first. It went between slabs of rock until you got into an open area and there was an arch forming in there. Even thought it seemed protected, the winds and the rain had begun to form this arch. I loved it!

It’s places like this that truly give you the  sense of how small you are in this big amazing world of ours.

 

Kristy’s hubs and his BFF thought we were crazy to do this! But the day was absolutely delightful! It didn’t even seem like we’d driven three hours. We talked the whole way and didn’t even have music on! It was a perfect day. Because it was the middle of the week and still early spring, it felt like we had much of the park to ourselves. The scenery was beautiful, the food at The Spoke was amazing, the conversations were plenty and all our souls were rejuvenated. Who could ask for a better day?

I believe our next day trip shall be to Capitol Reef. It’s a half hour closer. ;)

And now, rather than post a bunch of photos, I’ll leave you with a little video I made in iMovie on my phone of that day. Everything is better with music, eh? (Song: Raven+The Wolves by Rogue Valley from the Walter Mitty soundtrack….love.)

March 13th, 2017|travel|6 Comments

Send A Card Today

If there’s one thing that spring brings, it’s color and freshness. My mind and soul actually crave it. I mean, how can you blame a gal after a few months of dull and grey. You want those pops of color again–inside your home, what you’re wearing, outside everywhere you look…and even in your mailbox.

How lovely would it be to receive a card like one of these from Miss Nichol!

[ Designs | Borderlines #3.  Stamps | Fresh Air / For You ]

 

It’s like a lovely breeze just drifted through your home if you opened one of these!

Here’s what Nichol has to say:

Clean and simple cards are a snap with just a few sentiments, several ink colors, and die cut borders! I stamped the greetings on 3” x 5 1/2” wide strips of smooth white cardstock using black Ink and the MISTI stamp positioner tool (so I could stamp the same greetings one on top of another perfectly for a bold, black design)! Florals were stamped in an array of springtime colors all over the backgrounds and then each strip was adhered to a standard A2 sized card base and finished with die cut borders to compliment the design colors.

Wow!

Aren’t they simply gorgeous? And I adooore the little ‘bobbles’ on the first card! That touch of dimension is awesome! And I would never have thought to stamp that funky branch upside down as if they were hanging. gasp! 

And the colors? love.

These are truly amazing Nichol!

Be sure to check out Nichol’s video tutorial on her blog HERE.

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And now, this rounds out the amazing sharing during our Spring Fling week. Tomorrow is your last chance to save 40% on spring designs, like the scalloped border Nichol used here on her cards or the Fresh Air digital stamps. (Spend $5+ to save, use code SPRING at checkout.)

It’s been a wonderful week full of creativity from these amazing women that share their beautiful creations here.

I love them dearly.

March 11th, 2017|cards, stamps|0 Comments

A New Line: Travelers Notebook Themed Kits

As part of this fresh, new KBS direction– live. write. repeat.–I personally want to focus more on documenting simply and share those ideas with you. And part of that is creating components as part of a system to help you–and me–to do that.

A couple months ago you may have seen the ‘Instagram-minute’ video I shared on what I’m doing with my traveler’s notebook (and a little peek at this new kit). I’m actually going to do something a little more in-depth here soon, but one of the fun techniques I’m doing is binding my book with  a Midori rubber band rather than the staples.. It will allow me to change covers, add typewriting to a page, add a vellum or pocket page, all sorts of things. In other words…I will have flexibility.

Additionally, I love having bits and pieces of themed or coordinating items at my finger tips. I’m always reaching for the pre-printed and pre-cut ‘Little Word’ strips or a stamp or some washi. Simple, everyday items that make the process quick and effortless.

One more thing, you may have heard I’m a huge yellow rose fan. I don’t know why they strike my fancy so, but they do. I think it’s a childhood thing. I always loved the beautiful color of yellow on the miniature rose, but large bush on the farm. I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with that perfect paper and then I was like Duh. I can make it myself! (Sometimes I just have to be knocked in the head.)

So you take all that and wrap it up into a little neat bow and you get a brand new series of traveler’s notebook kits called A Traveler’s Pack, with this first theme being Splendid. It’s all the essentials you’ll need to document your journeys.

The kit comes with seven cover papers sized the same as Midori cover, which is 8.75 “x 8.25”. Of course you can size as needed. You can also use them as paper in the book as well as what they were intended for…covers.

This kit also has two sheets of a variety of printables. All easily trimmed by hand or paper trimmer. The numbers are .75″ so you can use it with that size circle punch. These files come in JPG and PDF files.

The theme is perfect for this time of year. Very home and outdoors related.

 

I took maybe ten minutes to trim out most of the items here. However, I did leave some items uncut. The reason being, I prefer to have something like a card of letters rather than all those itty bitty pieces. It doesn’t take much time to hand cut the pieces a little more when needed.

And if you look closely here, you can see the black rubber band I have that goes around the entire book for the binding.

 

 

I cut out a bag out of glassine paper using the all-new Paper Bag: Flat design that’s available in the store. There are two versions, a regular one like you see here and one that’s a little longer, that would house the decorative strips a little better.

The glassine I purchased HERE. Super cheap and fun to use!

The reason I like the glassine bag is that you can see immediately what’s in there. You can keep the themed kits in their own bag and use them as needed. Of course, if you fancy a different organizational system, that’s groovy too. You do what makes sense for you.

You can tuck this into a pocket or into the back of your album that you’re working on. Always available to you.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this new series of kits! I love the idea of changing covers throughout the year to match the season–if I want to, that is. I also love the idea selecting a few of those covers to work together for different subjects in my main book.

Lots of ideas and possibilities!

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For printing, I use an Epson Photo Stylus 1400 printer with Epson Premium Presentation Matte Paper. 

 

And to top it all off, you can save 40% on this brand new kit during our Spring Fling sale! You can find all the spring items HERE and use the code SPRING at checkout.

March 10th, 2017|printables, travelers notebook|5 Comments

Take Note

While fall seems to be the time to document what you are grateful for, spring is the perfect time to take note of the favorite things in your life. Everything is fresh and new. You want to freshen up your wardrobe with new spring clothes–I know it made me feel good the other day. ;) You buy new bins and tools to organize your home. You want to watch the new buds grow on your lilac tree.

Spring is a perfect time for documenting what’s new.

Take a look at what Marcy did with a favorite item of hers.

From Marcy:

Sometimes I just enjoy the smaller “mini book” type size for random things.  Things that aren’t recording our day… more just random thoughts and photos.

[ Supplies: One Fine Day (take note) and Side by Side (date) ]

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A photo, a bit of journaling, a label and a date.
Perfection. 

So your challenge today is to take stock of what is new in your life right now.
What are your favorites?

Keep it simple. Get it done.

March 9th, 2017|planners, stamps, travelers notebook|0 Comments

Spring. A Time of Change.

Before we get started with today’s loveliness, I just wanted to remind you of the Spring Fling sale going on right now. You can save 40% on THESE spring designs on orders of $5 or more by using the code:  SPRING.

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If there’s one thing that spring does, it’s change. Adding new growth to decade-old trees. Bulbs buried deep in the ground change and allow new life to come forth through the dirt. Grass turning from a matted brown mop to a luscious green carpet. It’s all about change. 

And that’s one thing we’ve seen in the scrapbooking world. Change.

Styles come and go. We get better at what we do. We evolve.

Sometimes I cringe at pages I made over the years. In my QVC days, I remember making 50 pages in one week. Yeah. You heard me. Fifty. There may be one or two in that bunch that I would like to change, but considering I have little time to document what I have currently, I don’t see that happening. But you never know…someday I might.

So I can completely understand that desire to want to redo something as Laura is sharing with us here today. Take a look at her wonderfully changed spread.

 

 

[ Designs | Bloom (easter + hunt) / Weathered Door [all] (egg) / Background Basics (circle background) / This & That: Spring (scalloped border) ]

And here’s the story behind it from Laura:

When Kerri asked us to focus on spring projects this month, I knew exactly what I wanted to create. Seeing as how my girls are older, it’s been years and years since we’ve colored eggs or had an Easter egg hunt. So I haven’t had any Easter photos to scrap in years as well. But what I do have is Easter layouts from my earlier days of scrapbooking that I’ve been wanting to re-do. While I have no intention of re-doing all of my earlier layouts, as I know they show the progression of my style, there are plenty of older layouts that really have no meaning or purpose to them. I pulled out an Easter layout from back in 1998, which was actually a three page layout (guess that was a thing back then ;)), and got to work on re-designing it.

Since my photos are from back in my film days, I had to work with what I had. Which meant lots of circle photos, some decorative cut corners, cut out corners, etc. I removed all of my photos from the previous pages, and cropped them as best I could, and worked most of them into a collage across the two page spread. I decided to keep a few of the circle photos as is, and work them into the design of the page.

I love to use white cardstock for my backgrounds, but I also love to add some texture and interest to them, so they’re not too plain. This is why I’m such a huge fan of using Kerri’s background cut files. It’s no secret that the circle backgrounds are my favorite, and I love to die cut them from white cardstock, to create my white-on-white backgrounds for my layouts.

For my title, I used a few handwritten words from Kerri’s Bloom kit, along with the alphas from the Weathered Door [all] kit. I die cut each handwritten word from patterned paper, as well as black cardstock, to layer together and give some dimension.

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Once again, this change involves morphing old into new. Just like spring. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Perhaps it would be a fun challenge even.

Beautiful page Laura! And I love the white on white circles too. ;)

March 8th, 2017|digital shapes, pages|1 Comment

The Birds Are Back!

One thing I’ve noticed the past few [warm] days is the significant change in the bird noise level. Yay! It’s a beautiful sound, is it not? A wonderful sign of spring.

And when more birds flew my way via Paige Evans, I was all a-flutter!

Like….mind….blown.

Take a look:

Tell us all about this Paige!

DESCRIPTION: Jane is OBSESSED with birds. Mostly pigeons. She called them “chickens” from about the age of 2-3.5. This love of fowl must be documented.

JOURNALING: You are fascinated with birds and love to chase pigeons in every city we visit. “1,2,3,4,5,6,7!” (inside joke ;) Maybe someday you can have a pet bird.

HOW TO: Die cut the birds from all different patterned papers. Die cut the entire Birds On A Wire (This+That Lucky) from white cardstock two times.

Adhere the patterned paper birds on the white cardstock birds then adhere the other white cardstock birds to the back of the first. Adhere the birds on a wire onto the B-side of Paper 21. Trace the birds on wires with a black pen.

Create a title split into 3 with the Oh My Heart Thickers and stitch them in place.

Layer a photo over a die cut, tuck a scalloped washi sticker under the right side, then stamp a trio of hearts in black on the bottom left corner.

Fussy cut three birds from Paper 03, add them next to the title, then place a chipboard bird sticker over the photo. Journal at the bottom to finish.

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What a perfect pair–the bird on a wire design with Paige’s Pink Paislee Oh My Heart paper line! Wow! I think these birds of a feather and should always flock together. ;)

If you ‘d like to see Paige wield her magic, check out her YouTube video HERE.

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Now I know there are many of you heading to the beach for spring break. Am I right? Perhaps this little design might help you document all those sunny moments. You can find it in the store HERE with the rest of the spring designs on sale through the week (see yesterday’s post for details).

March 7th, 2017|cuttables, pages|0 Comments