Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Well worth 2 minutes and 33 seconds

I saw this video last year, and just watched it again - such a timely reminder:

No matter what your beliefs, I'm sure you can agree the message is quite powerful.

I was reminded again today at how short our lives truly are. This morning, I learned that a guy I knew from Toastmasters, Justin Key, passed away Monday from complications related to H1N1. He was 26 years old: funny, healthy, charming. Although I wouldn't necessarily classify him as a friend, I realized today how much he touched my life. Hearing of his adventures traveling, salsa dancing, and living life - he was the type of charismatic person who impacted all around him. My friend Jon mentioned Justin was the one that you just knew was going places - one day we'd call him President Key, Ambassador Key or Senator Key. Sadly that day won't come: his life here was too short - but he certainly lived his life to the fullest.

Rest in Peace, Justin.
(picture taken from Justin's Memorial Facebook page)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good Grief: Preserve Handwriting

Yes, it's time for a new challenge at Good Grief! This challenge was an easier one for me: to document and preserve handwriting.

Without further ado:
{1 of a Kind}
Journaling: Kath’s handwriting is truly one of a kind. Beyond her fun scrawl, the words she wrote were filled from her heart. Envelopes were filled with doodles – a bright ray of sunshine in a stack of bills. Her last card is my favorite, though. Hardly legible, it took several tries … but it says it all: “I love you Jenny”.

Journaling: These are it – the last bits of her handwriting on cards I received before she passed away. I love seeing her even script – it brings back so many memories. The best touch? Her closing: always ‘Lovingly’. (Hidden on tag): When she was admitted to Overlake back in 2000, one of the first things I did was look for cards from her. I sat on my closet floor, crying, just wanting to see her handwriting, hoping the cards wouldn’t end.

Over the next couple days, you will see a closer look at the layouts, as well as learn the story behind each one. Please let me know if you join us in this challenge!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good Grief: Favorite Foods

It's that time again at Good Grief! This challenge was to "list her favorite foods". I chose to take a different twist on this challenge, and focus on a couple of favorite food-related memories.

Most Favorite Cake Ever

Journaling: This was a birthday I will never forget. For the first time in days, Kath was able to leave the house. We went to Dad & Peg’s for a tiny celebration. She wanted to get me a cake with bugs – and that’s what I had! She endured pain to join the party – I felt the love. Having her was my greatest gift.

Family Tradition

Journaling: Several years ago, Grandma started making her soup on Christmas Eve. We never needed an entire, huge meal … and all the grandkids were too excited to eat (since presents were after.) Split pea soup became our tradition. Grandma kept notes of just how much we needed, year after year, so we always had just enough. Grandma’s Split Pea Soup – a favorite family tradition.

As a reminder, a closer look at my layouts, along with the stories behind them, will be posted in a couple of days over at Good Grief.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Send Love Today

This morning I saw a post on Write.Click.Scrapbook that immediately caught my eye.

Send Love Today is "an organization whose goal is to create hope and happiness for people suffering with any type of brain cancer and their families. Volunteers sign up to do one of two things: 1) send out a certain number of cards per week to an assigned patient (aka: friend) or 2) make cards at their leisure which they send to Send Love Today who distributes them to friends as needed."

This is a charity I can certainly support! A couple years ago, I posted a request on scrapbooking message board Two Peas in a Bucket to send cards to Katherine to brighten her days. I was overwhelmed with many cards; here are just a few:

And the response was just what I was hoping for:

In 2009, one of my resolutions was to send more cards, especially one "just because." {You may have been a lucky recipient! :)} I thought this charity is perfect - I can spread joy AND send more cards!! I just signed up and I'm looking forward to sending cards to someone in need of some cheer.

As a side note, over the past two years, I have tried to volunteer with a different organization each month. (2009 was a bit more sporadic, hoping I get back in 2010!) If you know of any charities looking for help, please let me know. I'm always interested in helping a new organization, and learning about different charities.

Monday, November 9, 2009

So many challenges...

Yesterday I didn't have anything major planned, so ended up participating in a few online scrap challenges. I had a blast - it's good to push outside my comfort zone every now and then!

We had an online crop over at Good Grief yesterday. I posted three challenges: an advice challenge, a cardstock & story challenge, and a re-challenge challenge. The last two are layout challenges, so I'll pick random winners next Sunday (which will hopefully give me time to complete the challenges myself!) I was able to do 2 layouts for other challenges though.

This challenge was to document a trip taken with a lost loved one - I scrapped a picture of Kath & I from the cruise I went on with my family in February:

Journaling reads: I want to remember this moment forever. The cruise was so perfect: laughing, smiling, making memories and trying to forget about cancer. The timing couldn't have been better - we celebrated life before we would lose Katherine a mere 4 months later. I cherish these memories.

This challenge was to use only chipboard & cardstock ... it was HARD! That's what challenges are for, right? I was inspired by Tania Willis with the tone-on-tone cardstock.

Journaling: This is my family... with marriage, divorce, non-blood relations, untraditional relationships ... but lots of love.

I also completed 3 layouts for another group of challenges - this was just a group of scrappers emailing each other different challenges.

The first challenge was to only use scraps and products within reach. This is Andrea and me at a local scrap retreat.

Journaling reads: So much fun hanging with this girl. She inspires me, makes me laugh, _and_ knows the importance of self-portraits!

Next was to use a fun color combo ... I'm loving gray & orange right now! Earlier this year I went to a trivia fundraiser with a few friends in Seattle - this picture was from that night.

The last one I did was to use white as a background ... another tough one! When I was in CA last year, Christina and I went to Sprinkles ... YUM!

Thanks for looking ... hoping I get the chance to do some more challenges this week!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good Grief: Document a Game

It's time for a new challenge at Good Grief! This challenge was a bit light-hearted, a nice change from the tear-invoking layouts! We were to document a game we had played.

First up, my layout for Katherine:

She Likes...

Journaling: (on envelope) She likes: puppies but not dogs, books but not magazines, giggles but not smiles, jogging but not walking, butterflies but not ladybugs, Halloween but not Christmas...

(on tag, in envelope) Kath introduced us to this fun game without telling us how to play. We just had to listen & guess what was next. If we were correct, we played along until everyone ‘got it.’ The game would start randomly, as someone else thought of more things that ‘she liked’...

Can you figure out the game??

And my layout for my Grandma:

Wheel of Fortune
Journaling: A favorite memory I have is watching Wheel of Fortune with Grandma. We’d try to guess the puzzles, as Grandpa sat in his chair, reading with his pipe. Not quite sure why this memory sticks out, but it’s one I’ll cherish from my childhood, especially now that she’s gone.

I apologize for the lack of picture quality - I recently got a new laptop, and my Photoshop Elements isn't cooperating. I had to be creative for photo editing (I used Picnik) but it looks like I sized the layouts too small!

Please link me to your layouts if you play along - I love to see how everyone interprets the different challenges!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Making Memories

Scrapbooking manufacturer Making Memories recently requested stories from those impacted by breast cancer, in honor of October being breast cancer awareness month.

I'm honored that my story is posted today!

I like to tell my friends and family "we're making memories" and I'm touched that Making Memories allowed me to share my story.

On a related note, my sweet friend Andrea Ancich recently used Making Memories' slice and Think Pink slice card to create a layout of us at the 2008 3 Day, as well as some cards for her design contribution at Lasting Memories. Aren't they beautiful?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good Grief: Have a Conversation

It's that time again ... a new challenge is up at Good Grief! This challenge was a bit difficult for me - we documented what a conversation with our loved one would be like. I just jotted down some thoughts of what I would say if I were to talk to either Kath or my Grandma.


Journaling reads: Note to Self: I wonder all the time what Kath would do. I’m more understanding & sympathetic… I give money to the homeless, I’m present. She continues to make me a better person. I miss her so much.


Journaling: A few questions: What is it like? Beautiful & light? Have you seen your relatives & friends who have passed? Did you give Michael a hug for me? Are there just spirits, or does everyone look like they do on Earth? Do you realize how often I think of you? I see a butterfly float by and smile … almost like you’re checking in with me. I hope heaven is as magical as I imagine it to be … and you’ll be waiting.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Scrapbooking Extravaganza!!!

I was out of town this weekend at a camp out on the peninsula, for a weekend of scrapping, laughing, snacking, and hanging out with some of my fave girls! Friday was a *crazy* day at work (meetings from 7:30-4:30, straight!) so right after work I headed out. It was fabulous to spend the weekend with the craftiest girls I know - it's always too long between our visits. :)

We did something different this time around, and completed 3 Round Robin challenges. The short of it: you start with your own picture and background paper, and every 5 minutes, you pass it on to the next person to embellish the layout. After 10-12 people work on the layout, it comes back to you! I love these challenges... so much fun to see how everyone interprets your picture, tries new techniques, and how the layouts change since you worked on them. I LOVE how my layouts turned out (although I can't take credit - since I all did was pick out the background paper and the pictures!):

I also worked on my layouts for the next Good Grief challenge, some cards, layouts made from page kits, as well as a couple layouts just because. (The Good Grief layouts will be posted on the 15th.) Here are a couple of the other layouts I did:

And here are my ATCs for the favorite drink ATC swap at Scrap in Style:

Such a fun weekend ... we already have started planning our next one - and I can't wait!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Forever a student

I always have enjoyed learning, and even now that I'm done with my education, I still like to learn. I've taken a couple online crafty classes recently ... fun because I end up with a beautiful project AND I don't have to think at all! :)

Last month I took Shimelle's Learn Something New Every Day class, and although I haven't made the mini book yet, I did journal something I learned each day throughout the September. I'll get to the mini eventually!

Right now I'm taking a class by Christina Clouse called Bits and Pieces. I love Christina's style, so quickly registered when she listed the class for sale. The album is cute so far (just have the foundation of the album done!) I bought the kit that corresponds with the class so it's super simple to follow along and do exactly what she does! Sure, we have creative flexibility to 'make it ours' ... I just like to follow directions and not have to think too much. If it worked for her, why mess with it?! :P I'll show the mini book once I'm done ... also, it's not too late to join if you're interested.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good Grief: Ask A Child

Time for another challenge at Good Grief! This challenge was to ask a child about your loved one. Since I don't have any children in my life that I could talk to about my aunt or Grandma, I thought I'd journal to myself as a child. My layouts for this challenge:

Did You Know?
Journaling (on tag): Did you know? She would change your life more than you could ever imagine? She was more than an aunt, but an inspiration? You would later cherish these times, wondering what you two were thinking? You would wish you could spend just one more day with her?

This layout didn't include anywhere I could put journaling. So I'm going to be including the story of this picture on the back of the layout: This picture of my Grandma and me represents a day where one of my very first memories happened. We were taking a ferry to visit my granparents' good friends, the Becks. I remember sitting on Isabelle Beck’s countertop as she painted my toenails ... and years later, I still referred to her as the lady who painted my toenails. At only 27 months old, I don’t remember many details of the day, or the ferry ride, but I love this picture, knowing that one of my first memories at that time was later documented.

Thanks for looking - and be sure to link up your layouts if you play along. I'd love to see them!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good Grief: Favorite Photo

I was late in posting my layouts for the last challenge at Good Grief. I skipped a week - and actually did the challenge that was to launch on 10/1 instead of the 9/15 one. So I'm just catching up! This challenge was to use a favorite photo. Here are my layouts for this challenge.

Journaling: Just looking at this picture cracks me up! Kath was always so funny. I remember laughing until I could hardly breathe as a child - she's always been hilarious. Here she is, impersonating George Washington at her birthday talent show. We laughed so hard cherishing these fun memories together.

I want to be loved like that
Journaling: I love this picture of Grandma & Grandpa a little kiss, caught on film. Married for 57 years, he still called her Princess. He worked hard out of the home, and she worked raising 3 daughters. Im sure it wasnt always perfect, but their love withstood the hard times, and the love showed with nicknames and little kisses after nearly 60 years.

You can click on the layouts to see them better, or read 'my story' behind the layouts on the site.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Grief: Spill It

It's time for another challenge at Good Grief!

This challenge was to Spill It ... just write what you feel. I again did two layouts. I'm really enjoying these challenges; I hope you are too!

My layouts will be shown in greater detail later this week, but I thought I'd post them here with the journaling.

This Moment

Journaling: I will never, ever forget this moment. I had walked 60 miles, and was exhausted, mentally and physically. I wasn’t sure she’d be there. It was hot, she was in the middle of radiation treatment and was two days away from her mastectomy. I would understand of course. But then I saw her, my motivation and inspiration, & the tears flowed. The emotions were raw. She was there to celebrate me, as I honored her. We took this picture, both of us in pain but celebrating the moment. I will continue to fight for her until I’m no longer able. And I know she’ll be there, cheering me on.

The Place to Go
I love having a place to go, a place to talk to you. Some times I just need to talk to you … I stopped by to tell you about my life – what was good, what scared me. I told you I met someone, and I was falling in love. I still hear your voice, calling me Jenny. I go here to remember you, to recall the memories we’ve shared. Wearing your apron, taking ‘orders’ for dinner – watching Wheel of Fortune – eating raisins out of the box. I miss you, and I hope you know how much I love you. You brought our family together. I find an old card, signed ‘Lovingly, Grandma’ and I ache for you. I knew I would lose you eventually – but I still wasn’t ready. I wished you were at my wedding & would be a great grandma. I see a butterfly float by, and it’s you, giving me a sign. Just when I needed it. Just like you used to do. I love you, Grandma. Lovingly, Jenny

I'll be honest, quite a few tears fell while I worked on these layouts. It was a comforting, therapeutic cry, though... just writing from the heart.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Good Grief

I'm honored to be part of a new scrapbooking challenge blog, Good Grief. The purpose is to document the losses we’ve experienced, cherish memories, and honor our loved ones we've lost.

We’ll be posting our layouts twice a month (on the 1st and 15th), based on different challenges. The first challenge is to ‘use song lyrics’. Over the next couple days you’ll get a closer look at our layouts and a chance to dig deeper to our stories.

I hope you can stop by, take a look, and join us - already, one challenge in, I've found this to be quite therapeutic in my healing process.

My layouts (click to to get a closer look):

Thursday, August 13, 2009

29 Day Giving Challenge

I saw this quote today and it spoke to me - so I posted it on my Facebook earlier:

"That best portion of a good man's life; His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." --William Wordsworth

Seeing this reminded me, it was time to take another 29 Day Giving Challenge. I've tried it a couple other times, and while I don't think I've done the full 29 days yet, it's always been a rewarding experience. After all - don't we get more out of giving than receiving?

You never know whose life you're going to touch ... or who is going to touch you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

45 Questions

I was cleaning out my starred items on Google Reader and found a cute quiz on the Splendid Miss M's blog. Since I rarely blog (I know, I need to work on that) figured this would be good enough.

1. What kind of SOAP is in your bathtub right now? Victoria's Secret body wash (hate bar soap!)

2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? Nope

3. What would you change about your living room? Make it bigger? Honestly, this is the room I spend the most time in, and I don't mind it too much!

4. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? Dirty

5. What is in your fridge? Beer, Wine, Condiments, Pellegrino, maybe some old milk. I don't cook at home much (and don't like leftovers!)

6. White or wheat bread? Wheat

7. What is on top of your refrigerator? A couple vases that didn't fit in the cabinet

8. What color or design is on your shower curtain? Green and blue plaid in my guest bathroom, glass door in the master

9. How many plants are in your home? Seven. Not all of them are alive right now though.

10. Is your bed made right now? Yes - I have to have it made!

11. Comet or Soft Scrub? I'm going to go with Comet. Don't use it often though. Prefer my spray cleaner.

12. Is your closet organized? Yes, but it's full. I need to do some purging. And let's not talk about my guest closet.

13. Can you describe your flashlight? A yellow one with my name on the bottom from when I lived at ZTA.

14. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Glass.

15. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? No.

16. If you have a garage, is it cluttered? No garage.

17. Curtains or blinds? Blinds in every room - I still need to take Mom up on her offer to make me living room curtains though!

18. How many pillows do you sleep with? Four. There are two more, but I throw them off before I get in to bed.

19. Do you sleep with any lights on at night? No, although I fall asleep with the TV on.

20. How often do you vacuum? Not nearly as often as I should!

21. Standard toothbrush or electric? Electric!

22. What color is your toothbrush? Cream.

23. Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? Yes, it even says Welcome!

24. What is in your oven right now? Nothing.

25. Is there anything under your bed? All of my holiday decorations (none of which I use besides Halloween and Christmas) and my ski stuff.

26. Chore you hate doing the most? Putting away laundry.

27. What retro items are in your home? My Grandma's stand mixer (yes, even though I've never used it).

28. Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? Yes, my second bedroom. Supposedly my scrap room ... in reality, my crap room.

29. How many mirrors are in your home? Four - one in each bedroom and one in each bath.

30. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? No. Or if I do, I don't remember where I put it.

31. What color are your walls? Mostly the boring cream color my condo came with. One wall is painted a wine color, and another is a light tan.

32. Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? Kitchen knives?

33. What does your home smell like right now? Plug-ins - I have a couple around my home.

34. Favorite candle scent? I like Cucumber Melon - generally like fruity scents best.

35. What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? I think there are a few jars in there ... no idea how long they've been there. Probably since I moved in 6 years ago. I'll say dill though.

36. What color is your favorite Bible? I have one bible, sure it can be my favorite, it's black.

37. Ever been on your roof? Nope, and I don't want to!

38. Do you own a stereo? Yes, just one.

39. How many TVs do you have? Two - one in my bedroom and one in the living room.

40. How many house phones? Three - each bedroom and the kitchen. No one ever calls on it other than telemarketers though!

41. Do you have a housekeeper? She's typing this.

42. What style do you decorate in? I don't think I really have a 'style' - maybe simplistic/homey?

43. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? Mostly solids.

44. Is there a smoke detector in your home? Yes, and a couple CO2 detectors, as well.

45. In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you'd grab if you only could make one quick trip? My laptop, my purse, some scrapbooks

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For Today

Ali Edwards recently posted a fun little 'survey' that I thought I could do ... you know, to be ambitious and make this my 2nd post for 2009!

June 24, 2009

Outside my window... the sun is shining - I'm SO glad it's back!

I am thinking... of everything I need to do tonight (laundry, packing, print pictures, etc.) before going in to work early tomorrow.

I am thankful for... little reminders of Katherine I experience - yesterday I gave a homeless man $5 since it's totally something she would've done. I constantly ask myself 'What would Katherine do...' and end up with a smile.

From the kitchen... of Starbucks :) I'm eating a yogurt parfait and Iced Caramel Macchiato - yum!

I am wearing... jeans, light brown v-neck and blue tank.

I am creating... a yearbook album for all my SISters to sign this weekend. It's nothing fancy, I can always embellish later, right??

I am going... to Tennessee TOMORROW! I'm headed to SISiversary and can't wait to meet new friends, hang out with old friends, laugh, take pictures, make memories and scrap! I have some KICK ASS roomies (Andrea, Pam, Tracy, Aimee, Erin & Steph - yes, there will be 7 of us!) that I can't wait to hang with.

I am reading... The Darling by Russell Banks (on tape during my drives) and The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro - Laurie Notaro is hilarious!!!

I am hoping... I can limit what I bring to still be productive and not ridiculously overpacked. I'm a notorious overpacker - argh.

I am hearing... Pandora - I have a Sugarland station that rocks!

Around the house... I have suitcases out ready to be packed (and it's not even 3am the day I leave, so unusual!) and tons of scrap stuff ready to be organized and packed.

One of my favorite things... emails and texts saying 'I'm thinking of you...' :)

A few plans for the rest of the week... go to Old Navy during lunch for some more tanks (it's going to be in the 90s (!!) in TN), stop at Lasting Memories on my way home tonight to pick up a Tiny Fastener, work tomorrow until 1ish, then off to Nashville!

See, that wasn't too difficult, was it?? I actually made some Mini Moos for SISiversary and included my blog address on them ... which means I really should post more! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Testing, Testing... 123... Testing

Just thought I'd test to see if my password still works around here and pop in. :) My friend Andrea reminded me recently of the power of journaling - whether via blog, in "official" journals, or just a piece of paper, it's so therapeutic to get your thoughts down. So many times I've started journaling, but haven't consistently journaled through the years. Maybe that's why I struggle with journaling beyond just the facts in my layouts? Aw well, one step at a time... :)

Nothing too glamorous to report now, life is busy, as always! It's just the way we balance* all those tasks and priorities as to how they fall, right??

I recently ordered a letterpress print with a quote by Stephen Covey:

the main thing
is to keep
the main thing
the main thing

So true, no? So often I get worked up on the 'extras' - what I anticipate will happen, the emotion, the fluff... and I'm distracted on not what the REAL issue is. I'm considering using this quote for the ATC Quote Swap at SIS. I love checking out everyone's favorite quotes - it's interesting to see what each person chooses not only as their quote, but decorative-style, too.

*appropriate use of my 2009 word!