Crafting / Scrapbooking / Stampin’ Up!

Creature Comforts

Stampin' Up! Scrapbook Page

As the weather turns cold in the Pacific Northwest, I am missing the summer time but embracing the coziness of the autumn weather. On this Sunday morning, I woke up before the rest of the house and settled in for some of my creature comforts – a cup of tea, a warm fire in the fireplace, the stillness of the house before anyone else is awake, and some crafting.

Since the theme of our blog hop this month is “creature comforts”, I thought I would scrapbook a photo of this little guy.

This page was inspired by slide deck in the Creative Calling class I attended, taught by Chase Jarvis. I took some Basic Gray cardstock and used a brayer to paint some white craft ink on the paper. I layered a bit of Daffodil Yellow paper behind the photo, and a heart from the Modern Heart stamp set using the white craft ink.

Stampin' Up! Scrapbook Page

I don’t make as much time for scrapbooking as I did years ago, but even doing just one scrapbook page is enough for me to feel like I’ve accomplished something. I love keeping things simple and using the 6×8 scrapbook size makes it easy to finish a page before the kids wake up!

Check out the rest of the blog hop team’s take on “creature comforts” this month:

Anna Pickering

Gemma Pidcock

Elizabeth Richards (you are here)

Jennyfer Schütz

Leonie Stuart


Creating Your Life

Book Review – Creative Calling

Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life

Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life by Chase Jarvis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“A good life is designed. Created. And this book is about living a better life through creativity.”
– Chase Jarvis

Even since I went back to work after being a stay at home mom and I started struggling with making time for my creative interests, I have been searching for a book that both inspires me to pursue my creativity AND has practical and realistic advice for how to do it. THIS is that book.

Creative Calling not only inspires the reader to pursue their life’s calling, it actually provides valuable tactical principles that are applicable to everyone who wants to create a better life, no matter who they are and what challenges are holding them back.

What is creativity? According to Chase Jarvis, it’s not just art in the traditional sense. Creativity is combining things in a new way and putting these ideas out into the world. Creativity is not just photography and pottery; it’s problem solving, starting a business, social activism, and building a family. Everyone is born creative, and everyone has the opportunity to exercise their creativity in their day to day lives.

Our ability to choose to exercise our innate creativity is a theme woven throughout Creative Calling. Our agency – our ability to make decisions to help us along our creative path – is a key concept that we are encouraged to put into practice in small ways every day. It’s through the use of agency in building small daily creative habits that over time, leads us to living our authentic and most creative lives.

This book encourages us to Start Now. Do not wait until the “right time” to start on creating your best life. Chase walks you through how to make small steps along your creative path, no matter what season of life you are in and how messy it is. There truly will be no “right time” to start, so just start now. Even if it’s just starting a habit of 5 minutes a day on the creative pursuit that brings you joy. “The more creative you are day to day, the better you’ll become at building the life you want.”

“Do what you can with what you have today” is a big theme throughout Creative Calling.
Don’t have a lot of free time to spend on a creative hobby? That’s ok. Friends and family not yet supportive of your creative path? That’s ok. Don’t have the best equipment for your podcast? That’s ok. We are encouraged over and over again to just start with what you have. Chase walks you through tactical ideas for setting up systems that will help you as you pursue your creative path; ideas that can serve as inspiration for anyone, no matter how many constraints you think you are operating with.

Creative Calling manages to provide both wholehearted inspiration AND very practical guidance that that anyone can put to use. If you have been struggling on your creative path but want to pursue a better life, this book is absolutely for you.





View all my reviews

Creating Your Life

What If?

There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be
– Willy Wonka

My 6 year old loves the show “Wild Kratts”. Apparently the brothers that host this animal show had a show back in the 90’s but I missed seeing these guys in their younger years. Now, as middle aged hosts, they start out the show in live action and then transition into a cartoon fantasy format for the remainder of the show. To transition from real life to fantasy, they loudly proclaim to the young viewer:

WHAT IF?

Those two words are the keys to our imagination.

Motherhood is breeding ground for a scarcity mindset. We start out our parenting journey with deprivation. We are thrust into a world of sleep deprivation and around the clock hyper-responsiveness to a helpless baby who needs an adult. For many reasons, this sleep deprivation and responsiveness falls to mothers in the early months, and often transitions into permanent inequality in the home when it comes to child care and housework. Housing costs and child care costs and death and divorce and all the things that add up to the extreme messiness of life ends up convincing us that we can never have what we want; that there will never be enough money, time or energy to live our good lives.

But what if it didn’t have to be this way?

What if not only could we climb our way out of being overwhelmed, but we could actually live our good lives now? Not when we have a nanny and housekeeper, not when we have our bills paid off, not when we have total equality in the house, not when we have a the perfect supportive village around us, not when the floors are mopped, but NOW?


Creating Your Life

A few tips for life as a busy mom

5 second rule.  This is from Mel Robbins who has a ton of videos on youtube.  Idea is that the moment you think of a goal or something you want to/need to do, your brain will start to talk you out of doing it.  You have 5 seconds before your brain starts trying to talk you out of doing what you need to do.  So the moment you think of what you need to do, you say “5-4-3-2-1” then do it before your brain talks you out of it.  She has really good talks about how no one is ever motivated to do the crap that they don’t want to do; you have to find other systems to get you to do this stuff.  She also talks about the power of starting your day in the right way.

Wake up when the alarm goes off.  Hitting the snooze button repeatedly is counterproductive and starts the day off on a downward spiral because 1) quality of sleep while the alarm is repeatedly going off over and over again is poor and 2) its demoralizing to think “I’ll get up in 10 minutes” and then just hit the snooze button over and over again.  It’s like starting the day off by failing at your very first goal.  If your first goal of the day is to get up when the alarm goes off, sticking to that goal starts your day off with a feeling of success.  There are lots of ways to help get up with the alarm goes off (Mel Robbins 5 second rule; placing the alarm far enough away from where you sleep that you can’t mindlessly hit the snooze button while laying in bed.) 

Make your bed.  Doesn’t need to be perfect, just something that looks somewhat decent.  Starts  your day off with accomplishing another goal, and helps your room look good all day.  Also provides a nice looking spot to turn to at the end of the day. 

Time alone in the morning – try getting up 30 minutes before everyone else gets up (if not 30 min, try even 15 minutes.  Or try longer. Whatever you want to try.)  Have some quiet time alone doing whatever you want – journal, drink a cup of coffee, read, listen to a podcast, clean, make a list of your daily or weekly goals, use the time to take small actions on goals etc.  Try it for a few weeks and see if this works for you.  If you try it and it doesn’t work for you, try this same idea but at night after the kids are asleep. 

Don’t feel guilty.  Feeling any guilt for being a working mother is bullshit, plain and simple.   Being a working mom shows your kids how to be a mom who can support herself and her family and this is a crucial thing for your kids to learn. 

Be very, very selective in what things you say Yes to, and don’t feel guilt for the things you say No to. Think about what sorts of things in your life you could maybe take off your plate, even if it takes time to get it off your plate.  For example, if you are stressed and overwhelmed, don’t get a big pet like a dog, and don’t feel guilty for telling your kids no.  For me this means never volunteering in my kids class at school, just as an example.

Writing down goals – often there is something powerful about physically writing down your goals and actual paper journals or day planners (even if just a basic 50 cent notebook) can help.  Write down your goals, break them down into smaller action items.  Also, physically writing down and doing a brain dump of every task that you have on your plate can be a helpful exercise to declutter your mind.

Time blocking. Work on one thing at a time.   If you have a day job, don’t try to work on your side job at the same time that you are at work (with the exception of lunch and other breaks at work – these blocks of time can be useful for working on other projects.) 

Uncategorized

Getting Stuff Done

“Only the disciplined are truly free. The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions.”


“The successful person has formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do. Successful people don’t like doing them either, necessarily. But their dislike is subordinated by the strength of their purpose.”

Stephen R. Covey


When reading current personal and business success books or watching videos of speakers, I often think that almost every “new” idea was covered in some way by the late Stephen Covey.

Mel Robbins is an amazing modern author and speaker who has popularized the idea of the 5 Second rule, aka “5-4-3-2-1”. This came out of her writing and speaking about the idea that “motivation is garbage”. That if you wait until you “feel” like doing that thing that you know you NEED to do to be successful…

“You are never going to feel like it.”

Mel Robbins

If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.

Mel Robbins

Every day there are things that we KNOW we need to get done, but just aren’t motivated to do them. We don’t FEEL like doing them. So they sit undone, and we don’t move forward.

We need to stop waiting until we are motivated to do these things. The motivation will never come.

“We have an idea and instead of saying it, we stop and we hesitate. Just in that micro moment, it sends a stress signal that wakes your brain up,” Robbins said.

When it comes to reaching for your dreams, your brain is not your friend. Your brain evolved to keep you safe – which was great thousands of years ago, but now it just serves to prevent you from trying new things.

“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.”

Mel Robbins

“You can truly trace every single problem or complaint in your life to silence and hesitation. Those are decisions.”

This is where her 5 second rule comes into play. When you know you need to do something, count down – 54321- and do it.

Cards / Crafting / Creating Your Life / Stampin’ Up! / Uncategorized

Sneak Peek

PDX Paperie



PDX Paperie

I love all the new ink colors from Stampin’ Up!, but these two – Pretty Peacock and Rococo Rose are my favorite. I used them this morning in the hour before my kids woke up to finish a thank you card, using a mix of current stamps and a flower from a set from the upcoming catalog. One of my goals this year is to send more thank you cards, and not just the perfunctory “thank you for the birthday gift” type. Expressing gratitude can be so much more.

Journalist A.J. Jacobs recently wrote ‘Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey’, a book about his quest to thank everyone involved in the process that led to his morning cup of coffee. This resulted in A.J. traveling the world, thanking a thousand people, all of whom played a part in that cup of coffee! In his description of the idea of the book, he said that now that his quest was completed,

“I’ve been pestering my friends to go on these Trails of Gratitude themselves.

It doesn’t have to be coffee. It could be anything: a light bulb, a pair of socks, your toothpaste. And you don’t have to spend six months travelling around the world. It could just be a small gesture, like looking a cashier in the eye.

Or sending a note to the designer of a logo you love.

Mostly, it’s a mindset. It’s about refusing to take things for granted.”

A different approach to expressing gratitude is explained by Seth Godin. In an interview with Tim Ferriss, Seth ended the discussion by with the advice “Send someone a thank-you note tomorrow.” This apparently resulted in many listeners sending him a thank you note (myself included) which he later explained was not his point at all. In this interview, Seth elaborates that he said “send someone a thank-you note, because it is really uncomfortable. It leads to a connection that opens a door that most people are afraid to walk through…if you write to your peer, if you write to your sister who you have never once said thank-you to, that is hard. That is scary. That is what I am looking for. Juiciness.”

Whichever approach you take – sending someone a quick thank you note because you appreciate the small contribution they have made to your life, or expressing gratitude to someone in a way that requires great vulnerability and courage, there is no better time to start than now.

One thing I am grateful for is the community of crafters who provide me with support and inspiration, including my partners on this blog hop. Check out how they are using the new colors in Stampin’ Up!

Anna Pickering

Jenny Schütz

Leonie Stuart

And thank YOU for checking out our blog hop!

Cards / Crafting / Stampin’ Up!

Happy Valentine’s Day

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? Well, my daughter’s class Valentine’s aren’t quite ready yet, but at least I have the cards for all the grown-ups ready!

Some of my favorite Stampin’ Up! stamp sets in my craft closet are Valentine’s Day themed. Now that I have my craft stash de-cluttered KonMari style, it is much easier for me to find the things I love and pull them out to re-use them.  So, for Valentine’s Day this year I grabbed one of my favorite older stamps (“You + Me”) and combined it with some stamps and ink colors from this years catalog.  I used Flirty Flamingo and Lovely Lipstick ink pads along with classic colors like Real Red, Night of Navy and Calypso Coral.

I love this little bird stamp from the current Occasions catalog, and the “watercolor” stamp from the current Annual Catalog is going to be one of my favorite stamps for years and years to come.

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

These border stamps at the bottom of the card are from the Bloom by Bloom stamp set; I stamped them in Calypso Coral, Real Red, Flirty Flamingo and Black.

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

What do I do if I don’t have any card stock in a particular color? In this case, I didn’t have Flirty Flamingo card stock on hand, so I used a rubber brayer to ink up a piece of white paper with ink from the inkpad and created my own.  I love the uneven texture that was the result; almost like a watercolor effect.

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

Here I used some Twinkle Twinkle designer series paper along with the Night of Navy ink for the stamp.  I used some brayered Flirty Flamingo paper as well.

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

PDX Paperie [Stampin' Up!]

Do you have any favorite items in your craft stash that you return to time and time again?  Hopefully this inspires you to dust off some of your favorite things and put them to use again!

Now hop on over to the rest of the Valentine’s Day blog hop:

Anna Pickering

Jenny Schütz

Leonie Stuart

Elizabeth Richards (you are here)

Gemma Pidcock

 

Click on the items below to purchase from my online store:

Product List

Cards / Crafting / Stampin’ Up! / Uncategorized

January Blues Blog Hop

 

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

Like many people, I have spend the last few weeks coping with post-Christmas January blues by “KonMari’ing” my home.  I’ve actually been a Marie Kondo fan for a few years, but since her TV show was released I have been intensely focused on tidying the home we have lived in for the last year and a half.

First step: clothes.  Done.  What the consignment store didn’t take is waiting to be shipped off to thredup.  I had done a major clothes purge a few years ago, but I was able to reduce even more over the last few weeks.

Next: papers.  Done already, mostly.  Last year I was so overwhelmed with boxes of papers that I decided to absolutely discard everything except the bare essentials of birth certificates, deeds, etc.  The mental shift to discard everything was the only way I could effectively deal with boxes and boxes of papers.

So then, on to my next step: tidy my CRAFT SUPPLIES!!! WHOO HOO! On to the fun stuff.  I reduced my craft supplies to only what I truly love,.  Once I then had fewer items, I was able to reorganize the remaining items in a closet where  I have easy access to each product.  No more making messes just to go through box after box looking for what I want.

It was easy for me to forget about my favorite craft supplies when they were buried in with so many other items, but now that things are tidy, I can focus on what things I love.

  • Watercolor.  Watercoloring is one of my absolute favorite techniques and I really want to spend more time doing it.  I pulled out some shimmery white card stock and watercolored blue ink all over, then punched out the blue butterfly.

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

I also used watercolor to create the small blue square that is the background layer for the small bird stamp.  It’s very subtle, but instead of using blue card stock (I don’t have any of this balmy blue card stock on hand) I water colored the blue ink on white card stock to DIY my own, then cut out the square.

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

 

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

  • Vellum.  On this card, I layered a sheet of vellum over the patterned card stock and heat embossed the hearts (from an older stamp set) with white embossing powder.   I love vellum SO much!

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

  • Alphabet stamps.  I love this stamp set SO much!  I use it for so many things.  It’s one of those sets that I know I will keep for years and years.
  • Tiny accent stamps.   I often use little stamps like these hearts to add a bit of accent.

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

  • Small stamps, to allow for lots of white space on a card.  I love this little bird stamp from the new Valentine’s Day set.  It’s so cute, and allows for a small stamp to be placed on a card with room for a sentiment but still lots of white space on the card.
  • Blend markers.  I didn’t use my markers very much on these cards – just a tiny hint of marker to color the heart that the bird is carrying.  But these markers are one of absolute favorite products ever! When I started Stampin’ Up! about 4 years ago, I shook my head at the idea of coloring in stamps with markers; I thought it would be way too time consuming.  But my mind soon changed and I learned how much fun it is to color.  And these Blender pens are the best; I love how smoothly the color flows on to the paper.

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

  • Washi tape.  A hint of accent with some washi tape is a great added embellishment.  The tiny strip of washi tape on this card is from a fabulous set of black and white washi tapes in this year’s catalog.
  • Textured paper.  This little square colored background behind the bird is watercolor paper that I watercolored with Poppy Parade ink, cut out into a square and added even more texture with the textured embossing folder.  I adore the texturing embossing folder that is in this year’s catalog; it adds a bit of contrast to smooth card stock.

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

  • Heat embossing.  This is one of my favorite techniques.  It’s so much fun to turn the heat embossing tool on and heat up the powder embossing and watch it melt into the final product.  Here I combined vellum with the heat embossing and placed it over a blue butterfly background to give it a hint of color peeking through.

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

Stampin' Up! PDXpaperie

 

Ultimately, my approach to cards and crafting is the same as my approach to tidying: keep things simple.  Surrounding yourself with only the things you love is the best way to chase the blues away all year ’round, not just in January!

Now, check out the rest of our blog hop team!

Gemma Pidcock

Anna Pickering

Leonie Stuart

 

Cards / Crafting / Stampin’ Up!

Happy Holidays

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

For this month’s blog hop I thought I would take  some stamp sets that aren’t holiday themed and combine them with some Christmas sets.

One stamp set that I will be using for years to come is the Love What  You Do set with this amazing “watercolor” background stamp.  I used it here along with the sentiment stamp and stars from the Hearts Come Home holiday stamp set.  Of course, I had to try it in different colors.

Here it is in Garden Green and Real Red inks. I used the Subtle Dynamic Textured Impressions embossing folder on many of these cards, including this one, to give a big of extra texture to the paper.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

Mint Macaron.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

And Old Olive.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

I didn’t use any holiday stamps here – I used the Labeler Alphabet stamp set to stamp “NOEL” and used my brayer to sponge on some Mint Macaron ink.  I used the Petals and More thinlits to cut out the flower embellishment on my Big Shot die-cutter.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

For this card, I used the sentiment stamp from Hearts Come Home, and then just circle punched out an opening on the top layer with my 2 inch circle punch.  I put a bit of Designer Series Paper (from the Twinkle Twinkle set of papers) underneath the top layer and hand drew the ornament hanger above the ornament. This is a fun way to use up some scraps of your favorite patterned papers.  You could of course just punch out the circle and place it on top but I liked a different layered look.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

This is my take on a simple and modern card.  I used Crumb Cake cardstock, the Labeler Alphabet set again and the “tree” is actually an upside down ice cream cone from the Broadway Birthday stamp set!

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

Then the same card in Garden Green and Real Red on Whisper White cardstock.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holiday

I also grabbed some retired items from the last few years.  The “happy” embossing folder was perfect to combine with the letter stamps.  I found the quickest way to get the different colored letter stamps was to stamp the word “holidays” three times- once in each color – then I cut out each letter separately and combined them on the card.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holidays

This wreath stamp was not a holiday stamp, but I drew on some “berries” with a marker and added a retired holiday stamp.  This card was my inspiration.

Stampin' Up! Christmas Holiday
Garden Green, Real Red ink colors

Thanks for looking at all my Christmas cards and make sure to check out the rest of the posts in this month’s hop!  Next up is Kelly.

 

Cards / Crafting / Stampin’ Up!

Crafty Halloween

 

 

Stampin' Up!

Welcome to our Halloween themed blog hop!

I took my Paper Pumpkin kit from last month and used the stamps to make some more treat bags and jars.  The stamp sets from the Paper Pumpkin kits are always my favorite part of the kit because you can use them for so many different things.

This was the kit before I unwrapped it all.

 

Stampin' Up!

Stampin' Up!

I used the “Spooky” stamp and the bat stamp to stamp on these punched out circles.  I used the 2 inch circle punch and the starburst punch to create a layered look.

 

Stampin' Up!

Simple supplies: the circle punches, my Grapefruit Grove stamp pad, and the little gray stamp pad that came with the September Paper Pumpkin kit:

 

Stampin' Up!

And here are a few of the final products.

 

Stampin' Up!

I love using mason jars to use for treat gifts.  I just punched a tiny hole in the sentiment circle and tied it around the mason jar with some black string.

 

Stampin' Up!

Hope you enjoyed seeing how you can use just a few items to create a simple gift.  Make sure to check out the other creations in this Halloween Blog Hop.

Next up is:

Gemma Pidcock

And here is the list of everyone in this month’s hop!

Elizabeth Richards (you are here)

Anna Pickering

Gemma Pidcock