Inspired By/Blogger Challenge: patterns


Today’s post is a double whammy. I’m sharing another Inspired By project, but I’m also participating in something new.

A couple of other bloggers and I have teamed up to bring you Blogger Challenges. These are a monthly challenge that a group of us diverse bloggers will be participating in, and each month we will focus on something new. This month it’s patterns. Each of us will be sharing project in the theme of “patterns”. It could be  a home decor or DIY piece, or  crafting project, like mine. Be sure to  visit each of the participating blogs for lots of fun pattern inspiration! You will find each blogger’s challenge photo and blog link below. Special thanks to Chelsea from Pinterior Designer for asking me to participate in these challenges!

Now, for the Inspired By portion of the post.

The inspiration for my page comes from this image by Hello Lidy. Please go check out her blog. She’s an amazing graphic designer and DIY-er. It was a treat to browse her blog and take a look at everything. Thanks to Lidy for giving me permission to use her gorgeous mood board image!


I love so much about this mood board! I love the natural elements: the wood, the sheepskin and the antlers. I love the text elements: the large monogram, the written words and arrows, and the quote. I love the color scheme: the blacks, whites, and other neutrals, plus the tiny pop of green.Plus, what I really love is all the triangles. LOVE! I thought the triangle pattern would be fun to try out for this challenge.

I decided to use several of the mood board elements on my page. First off, the triangles were the base of my design. Then I took inspiration from the natural elements and the neutral colors to pick out patterned papers and other elements to accent my photos.

I went with a wood grain paper, a black and white hand written text paper, and a birch wood patterned paper. Then I added in some large, monogram type, letters for my title.


I also added some flair with a deer head image and a wood grain heart image. I loved how they seemed to fit in so well with the mood board image.


I also loved the hand written words that were added to the image. I decided to do that with my page as well. I love the end results. It adds a fun element to the page, I think.


I love the end results and it was a fun page to put together. Special thanks to Hello Lidy for the beautiful inspiration piece!

You can see my last Inspired By post here.

Go check out the other blogs taking part in the blogger challenge. I hope you’ll be inspired to try out a “pattern” project of your own! If so, I hope you’ll pop back in and sure it with me. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Grace Lee Cottage, Cute Kid, Ugly House, La Vita DiBella, Retro Ranch Renovation, Country Mouse Tales, Pinterior Designer, Sweet Paper Treats , Lemon Drop Life

Image Map

Image Map

Favorite Shirt


Last weekend I attended a weekend long scrapbook retreat. We scrapbooked for hours on end, ate lots of food (too much food), and laughed and chatted. I even got a little bit of sleep. My husband asked me what my favorite part of the weekend was, and I said it was the scrapbooking. Getting to devote an entire weekend to working on my albums and feeling like I got something accomplished was awesome. Plus, I made some new friends and got to know others better.

I know I said in an earlier post that I didn’t have any particular scrapbooking goals this year, that I just wanted to get a LOT done. But after this weekend I decided to set a goal for myself. It’s a HUGE goal and it will require me to work really hard on my albums. But I am determined to get caught up at some point, and in order to do that I will have to work hard at it. I’m going to try to set my weekends aside to scrapbook.

With that said, I was able to complete 33 pages this weekend. I could have done more, but I had some interruptions, but that was fine. I took my Silhouette machine along and was showing the other scrapbookers how to use it for their own pages. Lots of them were familiar with the Cricut, but not the Silhouette, so if was fun to show them something new. Next time I’m setting my goal higher than 33 pages.

Lots of the pages I completed were the pocket style pages. only a few were my typical 12″x12″. But I thought I’d share one of them where with you today.


This is my Chloe. The journaling reads: Your very favorite shirt ever had little ice cream cones all over it. You wore it all the time! When it finally got too small for you, I found this one as a replacement. You like this one too. You really seem to like your ice cream cone shirts .

I like to include pages like this every once in a while that show a little snippet of what my kids were like. Things they enjoyed, little quirks, etc. Instead of making one more page saying how beautiful I think she is, which I do. But she has lots of pages saying that already. I wanted to share a little more. I could have also said that these photos were taken in the front yard on a beautiful summer day while her brothers were playing football beside her. Or that I can’t believe how fast she’s growing, or how she looks so much like me. But I chose to focus on the shirt because, even though it’s not all that important, it’s still fun too look back and remember how she was obsessed with wearing her favorite ice cream cone shirt. How, from the time she was very little, she had opinions about what she liked to wear. It tells me something about her. And that’s all part of the memory keeping aspect for me.


 This weekend I only took my Studio Calico kits, my stack of 6″x6″ paper pads, and some other embellishments that I wanted to use. I packed light, but it was freeing to have a smaller selection to choose from.

The base paper and letter stickers are from my kit. The other patterned papers are from the Dear Lizzie Neapolitan 6″x6″ pad. The camera embellishment in from Maggie Holmes. The row of colorful hearts is from Glitz Designs. The chipboard heart is also Dear Lizzie, and the little heart pennant and brad is from My Mind’s Eye.

Thanks for stopping by today. It’s always a pleasure!


Photo Pocket Pages: Mixing pocket pages and 12″x12″ pages

Hey everyone!

As an update on my progress into my Operation Scrapbook mission, I thought I’d share a couple of the pages I completed at the crop the other weekend.

Several of you mentioned you have been thinking of mixing pocket pages and the traditional 12″x12″ pages in your books, so I thought maybe you’d enjoy seeing how I did mine.

Here is an example I did with the pocket page on the left and a traditional 12 x 12 on the right.


The photos are blurry for a a couple of reasons. #1. They’re older photos, taken before I got a nice camera. I edited them a little bit, but not much. #2 They are in the page protector which leaves a  bit of a glare. Sorry about that. There wasn’t much I could do about it.

I wanted to show some continuity between the right and the left because they are photos are from the same event. So I chose to use some of the same colors, design elements (like the slanted card stock) and patterned papers on both sides.

These pages are very simple. I did not add any embellishments to either side this time. I’m keeping most of my pocket pages fairly simple so I can get more done more quickly.

I’m already obsessed with the cute little pocket scrapbooking inserts that are out there to buy right now! I just started, but I already have a nice collection. How did that happen? I love the patterns and they often have great quotes and sayings on them, which means there is no other title needed. My favorites right now are from We R Memory Keepers and Project Life, but it seems every manufacturer has them these days. And, as an added bonus, those little inserts make really cute and quick cards!

It took me a while to get the hang of scrapbooking this way. But, I’ll get lots more practice this weekend. I’m heading to a weekend long scrapbook retreat and I, quite simply, cannot wait! I’m all stocked up on pocket pages. Just need to make sure I have tons of photos, plenty of adhesive, and nice comfy PJ’s. Oh, and chocolate and music :)

Operation Scrapbook is well under way!

Goody bag swap

IMG_5925Happy Monday!

On Saturday I spent the day at a crop with some scrapbooking friends of mine. It was a fun day of scrapbooking, food, laughs, and fun prizes. One of the highlights of the day was the goody bag swap one of the ladies arranged. We had 16 participants, so we each made 16 goody bags. 15 to swap, and 1 to give away. I had fun creating my goody bags for the swappers and I thought I’d just pop in and share mine with you today.

I packaged mine all up in these fun polka dot bags I purchased quite some time ago off of a flash sale website. I can’t remember which one. Maybe The Plaid Barn. I bought lots of these bags in various colors, just because I thought they were super cute and I figured I’d find a use for them eventually. They worked great for the swap. Perfect for stuffing all kinds of little bits and bobs into.

A little hand stamped tag and some twine dressed up the outside of the bag. I used a small clothes pin to clip them on.

Here’s a look at the contents:

IMG_5917I made some of the items myself, such as the tag with pins, the flower/leaf stamped tags, the little banners, the envelopes, and the heart die cut.

I lalso included a chipboard frame, a bag of buttons (snowflakes and pink ones), a Project Life pocket card, a tube of chap stick, some seam binding, a doily, some letterpress coasters, and a bag of Peppermint Oreo Cookie Bark. (Yum!!)


My favorite item in my swap was the tag with the pins. I sewed a patch of flower patterned fabric onto a tag and then a stitched a piece of patterned paper over that. Then I stuck my pins into it. It’s a fun way to give pins to keep them neatly in one place, and to keep them from poking anyone.


I also received lots of fun goodies from everyone else. Lots and lots of small scrapbooking items, yummy treats (like popcorn, chocolate, candy, pretzels, chocolate covered fruit, etc.), personal items (tissues, hair products, nail polish, etc.), handmade items (cards, a scrapbook layout), various other items like a candle, Christmas tree ornament, etc, etc, etc. It was fun to see what everyone came up with. Some people made themed swaps and others did not. There was lots of variety.

So, some thoughts on the photos pocket scrapbooking, now that I’ve gotten a start on mine:

I didn’t feel like I got a whole lot more photos scrapped this way, although it took me a while to find my groove, since it’s a new approach for me. I also tend to scrapbook a lot more slowly around others than I do on my own. I think I will get a lot faster as I go.

I did use a lot less product this way, since I didn’t have a whole page to fill. It’s a great way to use up small paper scraps and little embellishments that would tend to get lost on a larger layout. I like that about it. I have so many paper scraps to use, and this seems like a great way to use them up.

The end results take up a lot less space than it would if I would have scrapbooked all those photos the traditional way. And that’s a  definite plus, and one reason I went with the photo pocket pages in the first place.

It’s easier to combine photos from several different events this way instead of creating a separate page for each event. Sometimes I just have one photo from a particular event to scrapbook. It’s much easier to just add that one photo into a pocket layout than it would be to create an entire page with just that one. Again, a space (and time) saver.

I like experimenting with different pocket layouts. I’m using pocket page protectors from We R Memory Keepers and I bought several different layout options. I like mixing them up.

It was easy to create a whole page layout to put in along with my photo pocket pages. The only challenge is to make sure I have a whole page layout for the other side as well. It will require some thinking ahead and preplanning this way. But again, I think once I find my groove I will be OK. At this point I’m a little disorganized with my photos. I need to sit down and get myself organized and preplan a little more.

The down side? The photo pocket pages just aren’t as creatively fun to make or look at. I do think I will get more creative withy these as I go along though. There are some fun things you can do with the pockets. I didn’t feel as much satisfaction looking at my completed pages as I would have if I would have scrapbooked all of them the traditional way with  all kinds of fun techniques, etc. But the main thing is to get my photos into albums where my family can appreciate them. I don’t think they’ll really care whether the photos are in pockets or scrapbooked in some other format. I need to just get over it and remind myself that I still get to do regular pages sometimes. I do have plenty of great photos that I will still like to put on regular pages, so I think I’ll be OK in the long run.

In conclusion: I think I will like it. I think it will help me accomplish the goal of getting lots of photos done quickly and save space. My family can enjoy the photos even though they don’t all have their own page. Having to do an entire spread for each series of photos was a little overwhelming when I thought of all the pages I would have to do. I think I made the right choice.

I will share a couple of the pages I made later this week for this elf you who are also thinking of switching over to doing your scrapbooking this way.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope your week is a good one!


Operation Scrapbook



I have several goals for this year, and one of them is to make a dent in my backlog of unscrapbooked photos. In the last few years I’ve fallen further and further behind with my scrapbooks, and I’ve decided that this year I will break the trend. I regret letting myself get so far behind, because now I forget the details of the photos. I forget the stories and the context behind them. If I could do it over I would try harder to stay current with my photos.

Scrapbooking is important to me for several reasons, and I might write a separate post about that sometime.

I have years worth of photos to put into albums, so to make the job easier and to take up less space once they are all put into albums, I have decided to try photo pocket scrapbooking. I am not doing Project Life, although I most likely will be using some of the fabulous Project Life supplies out there, along with photo pocket scrapbooking supplies from various companies.  Photo pocket scrapbooking is so very popular right now, for good reason. It’s a fast and simple way to get your photos into albums where they can be looked at and enjoyed. I plan to insert my photo pocket pages into my albums right along with my typical 12″x12″ pages. It will give my albums some variety, and maybe a more eclectic feel, but that’s fine by me.

I will still be doing typical, full-page scrapbook pages too. Just not for all my photos. I plan to use my favorite photos to make the typical 12′ x 12″ spreads where I can still let my inner artist loose and play around with product and techniques a little more.

Tomorrow I plan to take the entire day to scrapbook with friends, and I will be working on my first photo pocket pages there. I typically work on traditional pages when I scrapbook with friends, so this will be a little different for me. I’m excited to get started.

Will I be sharing all my photo pocket pages here with you? No, probably not most of them. I think photo pocket pages can tend to be a little more boring for other people to look at since there aren’t as many artistic elements to share. I might share a few of my favorites every once in a while, but I probably will share more of my 12″x12″ pages here, just like I did in the past. With that said, I hope to have lots more 12″x12″ pages to share here this year with my aggressive scrapbooking goal.

I don’t have a tangible goal, like certain number of pages/albums/photos for the year or anything like that. I do hope to scrapbook weekly. If not a day during the week, then weekends at least can be my time to scrapbook.

Before I go, I thought I’d share some of my favorite photo scrapbooking pages that others have been doing.

This one is from the Harmonie blog, although I couldn’t find the original post. I love the simplicity of this one. I love that the photos are square. I love that the photos are the main focus. Plus, the photos are just so pretty.

Here’s another example of squares pockets. Only smaller ones. I love that some of the pockets don’t contain any photos or paper, but just a little embellishment. It really helps break it up and make it more interesting. You would need some really small photos for this, though. Maybe print out some photos in wallet size and then trim them down?

Here’s another very simple sample from Clouds Shadler. I adore the close-up of the log ends and I think it’s a brilliant way to add to the story of the photo. I need to remember to take more interesting shots like that.

Here’s a beautiful one from Janna Werner. You can also see here how the photo pocket pages can pair beautifully with a 12″x12″ page.

This one by Elise Blaha is stinking brilliant! I love it so much! Note to self. Don’t always crop photos so closely. Then I can use them better this way.

How about you? Are you lagging behind in the scrapbooking department as well? Care to join me in the goal to get more done in 2014? Let’s get those photos off of our computers and phones and get them where our loved ones can appreciate them. Who’s with me?


Practical Solutions for Paper Crafters- Volume 2



First off, I just wanted to say “thank you SO much” for your responses to my last post. I appreciate all the comments here on the blog and on my facebook page, as well as the emails, etc. Your messages and comments mean so much to me! Thank you!

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Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking Magazine has just recently released a beautiful, brand new special issue, called Practical Solutions for Paper Crafters Volume 2. The first volume of Practical Solutions for Paper Crafters is still one of my favorite special issues to date. i was happy to have some of my work in volume 1, so I was thrilled to be invited to create some projects for Volume 2 as well.

It’s jam-packed full of fun, and practical, ideas for your paper crafting. It’s got anything from using up your scraps, to organizing your space, to recycling and reusing your packaging, to DIY embellisments, and so much more!

I’m thrilled to have five projects published in this issue, and today I’m sharing my favorite one.

2014-01-05 2014-01-05 002 002You can find my travel journal in the Upcycled Packaging section of the magazine. That’s because I made this journal from an empty cereal box!

It was simple, really. I Cut a large rectangle from the side of a large cereal box to form the base of my cover pages. Once I covered them with pretty scrapbook paper you can no longer tell it once held cereal. Cool, huh?

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The inside pages are made from various patterned papers and vellum. I left all the pages blank so I could add photos, journaling, etc. when I’m ready to use it. The pages are bound together with baker’s twine.

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You can find this project on page 127 of Practical Solutions for Paper Crafters, all the way at the back of the magazine. But it makes an appearance in a couple other places in the magazine as well. I’ll let you pick up your own copy and see if you can find it for yourself!

The gals over at the Paper Crafts Connections blog have been introducing this magazine over the past week or so. You can check out the following posts on the blog for more peeks inside this issue.

Practical Solutions: Organization, Projects and More!

Practical Solutions: Upcycled Packaging

Practical Solutions: DIY Organization

In addition to my trvael journal above, you can also find more of my projects in the DIY stamping, DIY embellishments, and Bits and Pieces sections.

Be sure to pick up your own copy. I think you’ll love it.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


One Little Word 2014

Have you heard of the One Little Word idea? It was started several years ago by the one and only Ali Edwards. The idea is to choose one word to be your focus for the year ahead. One word that defines what you would like to do or who you’d like to become, how you’d like to change, etc. You can read more about it on Ali’s blog.

I always thought it was a fascinating concept. There was even a year or two I halfheartedly chose a word, but I never really dove into it. But I think it can be powerful.

This year I did choose a word for myself, after much thought. And yesterday I sat down and created this little piece that will hang in my craft space to remind me all year long.


So, what’s my One Little Word? I have chosen the word “Me”. Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking I’m somewhat of a narcissist for choosing the word “me”. Heaven knows we have too many people fixated on themselves already in our society. Why else would “selfie” be the word of the year for 2013? Although I admit I do tend to be rather selfish way too often, I hope I can explain a bit my reasoning behind the word I picked. This post could get a bit lengthy, and I apologize in advance. but I feel like I have to explain the story behind this word, so bear with me, if you will.

In order to really explain, I have to go back to this book:


I began reading this book about 2 months ago. With little time to read, I’d sneak in a few minutes here and there. I think it would be fairly safe to say that this book impacted my life more than any other book I have ever read, besides the Bible, of course. My copy is underlined in places, and many pages are  dog-eared, marking the spots I want to go back and reread again. I found this quote recently that really sums up what is at the heart of the message of this book:


Life is art. Yes. I love that!

The book talks about discovering the person that God had in mind when he created you and me. What is your art? What is mine? What is the thing that excites you? What are you passionate about? What did you enjoy doing as a child?

As I thought about it, I recalled that throughout my childhood I was always, always creating something. Drawings. Clothes for my little dolls, etc. etc. I love to create. It’s not just something I do. It’s part of who I am. I don’t believe it’s an accident. Or something I’ve just come by. I believe it’s a gift from the creative heart of God to me. It’s the area of my life where I feel the most connected to Him.


But while this book really spoke volumes to me in so many ways, it also brought some confusion. For a while, anyway. I know I love to create, and for several years now I’ve found my creative voice in my blog. This is the outlet I have chosen to release my art to the world. But what if there was something else God had in mind for me? What if pouring myself into this wasn’t part of His plan for me? What if I’m spending my time and energy on the wrong thing?

I mentioned in my last post that there was something besides just being busy that kept me from blogging over the past several weeks. Yes, I really didn’t have any time to blog, but one finds the time to do what one really wants to do, wouldn’t you agree? And the the thought that I might be spending time doing something that wasn’t what God had for me had me frozen. The longing and desire of my heart is to be right smack dab in the center of His will. And even though I prayed for clarity, for Him to show me which way to go, I wasn’t really getting any answers. God was being annoyingly silent.

And part of the reason for my confusion and my hesitancy to move forward was fear. You see, at the beginning of last year I was all set to move forward in a big way with this blog. I had ideas, dreams, plans. I was set to go, and excited about it. But then? My mom passed away and my world tuned upside down for a while. Things came to a grinding halt in regards to any more plans and dreams. They got stored away. Then life got hectic. I coordinated a wedding, the kids were winding down with lots of end of the year events, then came summer. And the summer is usually really full and busy for us, so I figured the fall would be a great time to focus again on my plans. Then fall came, and my dad had health issues that took lots of my time and energy, and most days I was emotionally spent. And my world tuned upside down again.


So you, see, It seemed like whenever I headed in the direction I thought I was supposed to go, God just shut the door in my face. Maybe now you can understand my confusion and hesitancy to believe that this was the place God wanted me to be. And I struggled and wrestled with these thoughts and feelings almost constantly over the past few weeks.

Then, you know, God just shows up sometimes. Usually it’s in a quiet whisper. And I’ve come to the place of really trying to stop and listen when I hear those quiet whispers. Eric and I and our boys were strolling through a local art gallery. As I walked and admired all the art swirling around me. That’s when I heard it. A question from deep down in my soul. “Brenda, what is it that makes you come alive?” And my answer was art. Art makes me come alive. The colors. The textures. The creative minds of others. It all inspires me and brings a level of excitement to my heart that nothing else does. The next quiet whisper I heard was “You should do what makes you come alive.” I feel it so much that it makes me cry just to write this. The whispers of God will do that to you. Because they go right to the heart of your very being. And that the God of the universe cares about this. About me. It’s too wonderful for me to comprehend.


So, how does that all tie into my One Little Word? Through my journey through this book, I’ve come to the realization that God has created me for a specific purpose. It may not be for something the world would deem grand and wonderful, but my life is meant to be lived as art. As an offering to Him. That He loves the ME He has created. I’ve spent many years of my life not really liking me. Wishing God had created me differently. I was too much this. Not enough that. I felt like my ideas and opinions were less important than others. Mostly because others usually can state their opinions more clearly than I can. Or say what they mean to say more loudly. Or can formulate their words in a more engaging manner.

Me? I’m quiet. I’m not a great conversationalist. I’m awkward sometimes. I don’t really know that much about many things.  I mess up a lot. But this book helped me to see that God wants me. In all my imperfections and things I wish were different about me. He wants me to offer up to Him all that I am. All that I am not. To live fully as myself . To wish He had created me differently is a slap in the face of the one who so lovingly imagined me into being. That’s not to say that I just accept the parts of me that are less than lovely. I believe there is always room for improvement. To chip away at the bad habits, the wrong attitudes. Those things are not me. They are the sin in me. We should never excuse and settle for the sin in our lives. God wants more for us than that. And here’s a secret. The more I give myself to God, the more “me” I become.

So this word is serving as a reminder to live a beautiful life. To find out who God really meant for ME to be. To live authentically as ME. To be boldly, unapologetically ME.


So, what does that mean for my blog? Well, truthfully, I’m not entirely sure. But it does mean that I’ll continue to be here. I feel like it’s right this time. But my focus has changed. Instead of doing things just for the sake of a blog and trying to make it bigger and better, more readers, more this, more that. My focus will be on Me. I know, that sounds awfully self -centered again. But I don’t want this place to become something I feel like I have to do. A performance. Something I must produce and show up for. I want this place to be the place where I share bits of myself. My art. What excites and interests me. I want this to be a place where God shows up, through me. That means if I’m not passionate about it, you won’t see it here. If I have to force it, it’s not going to happen. If I’m sharing it, it’s because I feel like I should. Will I always be talking about God here? No. Not always. But I can’t really live my art without giving credit to the one who gave me that art in the first place. So yeah, I’ll probably talk about Him from time to time. Probably more than I have in the past.

I hope I’ve been able to make sense through all my ramblings. These thoughts were hard to nail down and formulate into words. And there is probably so much more I could have said. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll just leave you with these few quotes that sum up what’s in my heart right now.

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And so, that’s it. That’s my One Little Word and the story behind it. Do you have a One Little Word? I’d love to hear your thoughts on One Little Word, or this blog post, in particular. I hope I have inspired you in some way to dig deeper and become more you than you have ever been. Care to share the journey with me?