Monday, January 15, 2018

(Non-Nuclear) Winter in Hawai'i

The birds chirp away, the blue skies abound, and the tradewinds blow gently -- all blessings, all signs that life as usual in Hawai'i continues.

It's wintertime here in the islands, which is, as you might imagine, is quite different from winter in most other places on the globe. A Hawai'i winter is the subject of my most recent page (completed before my mind was forced to grapple with the likelihood of a nuclear winter). 
I love the lightness and sweetness of this page.  It's how I want to remember January. 

You may have noticed that there is evidence of a cut file having been used to create this page. My first-gen Silhouette, now defunct, was finally replaced by a Cameo 3, a Christmas gift from my husband, who clearly knows my scrappy heart. 

The file was designed by Elsie Robinson, DT member at Hip Kit Club, and although I'm pretty sure it is supposed to look like festive confetti, it translates as "island snow" on this page, with the rainbow effect created by the white cardstock being placed over the colorful background paper designed by another DT member, Irit Landgraf. 

This page makes me happy -- it feels like home to me. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Onward -- Again

Yesterday at 8:07 a.m., I was woken by a high-pitched tone and this message on my phone:

I jolted up out of bed and scrambled with my family to -- 

to do what? 
I know I've read about this, but I can't remember anything right now. 
Why can't I remember? 
This: we only have minutes. 
Where are my jeans? 
Is this real? 
Oh, God, he really did it -- 
that last tweet about the nuclear button sent North Korea over the edge. 
Close the windows. 
Where are my jeans? 
Get the water bottles. 
Canned goods. 
Where are my jeans? 
Is there a shelter? Are we supposed to go somewhere? 
We only have minutes. 
Check the site. 
It's down. 
I can't find my jeans! 
Turn on the TV. 
Is this it? 
I'll just wear pants. 
Call Mom. 
I love you. 
Love you. 
Love you. 
What are the neighbors doing? Where are they going? 
The school isn't any safer. 
They left their dog outside. 
Can we bring dogs? I can't leave them. 
We can't leave. There's no time. 
At least we are together. 
Where do we go? 
Where are they going? 
Try the radio. 
Nothing? Still? 
What is happening? 
God be with us. 
At least we are together, at the end. 

Then, finally, on a local TV channel --
false alarm. 

Are you sure? 
How can you be sure? 
What is happening? 
Please, God. 
Why are the newscasters wearing suits and red dresses and so much makeup? 
Did they really stop to get dressed before going on air with this? 

38 minutes after the first message, the false alarm was confirmed. 
Operator error. 

And I went outside and stared at the sky and
thank you, God
thank you
thank you
thank you
for this day
for this life
thank you
thank you
thank -- 

and then the anger

because we all believed -- 
because it was real until it wasn't -- 
because we live in this world: 

And the neighbors returned home,
children still crying.
The child who left her dog behind asked me,
"Did you take your dogs?"
Don't worry, I told her,
I was watching out for yours. 

And throughout the day, I felt as if I was moving under water, 
every trivial act of living -- paying bills, hitting "like," deciding what to eat --  
suddenly heavy, weighted, 

and I returned to myself several times that day,
not realizing that I had just been sitting or standing, motionless, 
concentrating on the cadence of my breath. 

I slept fitfully, staring at the illuminated time on the clock, 
minutes that I would not have been present for,
and in my dreams, a sudden startling,
and in my waking, an unquiet mind. 

What are we supposed to do? 

Saturday, January 6, 2018


It's six days into 2018, and I'm both exhausted and exhilarated.

I've been deep-cleaning my scrapbooking area, which, over the course of two decades, has encroached upon our living room. It's insane how much STUFF one can acquire, how many billions of little die-cuts and accents can build up in drawers and trays, and how stubbornly I held on to items for years -- with "someday" in mind -- instead of using them.

Lesson learned: I'm going to move forward into 2018 with a cleaner, pared-down space, and I'm going to embrace a "use it or lose it" philosophy when it comes to my supplies. It's just so difficult to give up supplies that I love -- or that I know that I will love on some undetermined future project. I know that making more room for supplies isn't the answer, though. My scrapbooking space has encroached on nearly half of our living room!  Now that the cleaning is done, everything feels more open.

Even though it is a holiday "break" for me as a teacher, it has not really felt like one. Today was actually the first day of down-time since the break began. I think I've had something like twelve hours of sleep. In a few days' time, I'll be back to six hours a night (if I'm lucky). I'm not looking forward to that.

The time over the break was well spent, even though it has gone by so quickly. My family enjoyed the holidays together, my dogs and I immersed ourselves in some pack-building cuddling, my daughter got me hooked on Riverdale (weirdest piece of Archie comics fan work ever), and I experienced a giant boost in productivity and creativity.  I was also asked to join the Hip Kit Club team! Here's my first layout as a team member, using the December 2017 kits:
After a busy-busy-busy December, my mind is still a little cloudy, and there are still (as there will always ever be) items on my "To Do" list that need addressing. 

My word for the year is "onward," and the idea behind that is regardless of my mood or circumstances, I will embrace the spirit of moving forward hopefully. This means trying mindfully not to (1) procrastinate, (2) fixate on situations or deliberate on decisions to the point of inaction, and (3) hold on the past (for instance, in my scrap stash -- ha ha). 

Thanks for visiting today! 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Serious Destashing -- Want a Box?

After nearly two decades of scrapbooking -- which means after nearly two decades of hoarding STUFF -- I finally did some deep-cleaning.

I have a stack of about 300 sheets of paper and the equivalent of about five or six Priority Mail boxes full of STUFF.  A lot of it is never-used, unopened items, along with some packets full of die-cuts, labels, journaling cards, and wood veneer shapes. There are lots of stamps as well -- a few don't have packaging, but they are unused.

And I'd love to give everything a new home, so if you'd like to adopt a box for $20 (most of which covers the Priority Mail shipping), I will happily send a box your way. If you're not in the U.S., I can send one to you, but you'll need to cover any additional shipping costs.

It'll be first-come, first-served, until all of the boxes are gone (I'll update here when that happens). Just leave your email address in the comments (along with the number of boxes that you want) and I'll be in touch with details.

UPDATED, 12/6/18: All of the boxes have been spoken for! When I am done packing them, if there are any left, I will let you know. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Holiday Album? CHECK!

Today, I completed the last of my holiday album pages, until the album was bursting to full. 

Because I had to squeeze the last of the pages into the album,  the documentation halts at the 25th instead of the 31st. Apparently I didn't need to complete a page for every day in December -- if I had, I would have filled this thing halfway through. I really have much preferred to focus on highlights and observations instead. There's very little predictability to the process this way, and each page takes on a life of its own. 
Not only is the dachshund paper on the left is my favorite wrapping paper this year (or maybe ever), but it is also the only roll of wrapping paper that I purchased this year (from Anthropologie -- on sale). I used the last of it here, stitching loops over it (one of the perks of working with small pages). 
Messy (read "charming") stitching appears often in the album, such as over this hilarious card from Paper Issues, which I've been holding on to since November, precisely so that I could add it here. 
Although I spent last night working on pages, it wasn't until this morning that I realized what I had to do before I could say that I was done: paper collages. Lots of paper collages. This is the first of several that I made, using stitched-together scraps -- yet again, my hoarding of scraps is validated. 
Because Z was in Italy for the first part of the month, I documented two different December experiences. Her December kicks my December's butt. 
I also documented December from my dogs' point of view. 
As for the pages dedicated to our Christmas tree, I confess that we didn't make it very far past the lights stage this year. For the past two years, we've just put up lights and a handful of ornaments, and stopped there. Usually, my trees are covered in ornaments. Still, a tree is a tree, and the most important part of it is that amazing smell. 
The highlight of the month for me was finally having Z home. Everything instantly felt merrier with her there to celebrate with us. 
Within days of her return, we were going Christmas shopping and making cookies and fudge with Grandma. Z also tried pizza for the first time since last having it in Italy, and as you might imagine, she wasn't impressed. 

Then suddenly it was Christmas Eve -- which doubled as Thanksgiving for us -- and Christmas Day. 
One last page...
and DONE! 

Friday, December 29, 2017


Lately, I've been

...wearing Mickey Mouse bandaids on my fingertips, due to a potato-peeling mishap on Christmas morning. My sacrifice to bring a dish of potatoes au gratin into the world was worth it --
though we have had to resort to eating take-out over the past few days.

...waiting for my Christmas present -- a new Silhouette -- to arrive. Santa has been slacking on shipping this year, am I right? For some time now, I've been wanting to replace my now-defunct Silhouette, a relic from the age of yore. When my machine stopped cooperating with me, I thought it would be difficult to live a die-cut-free existence, but really, it wasn't that bad, though I will be happy to have the option of using die-cut titles again.

...scrapbooking relentlessly. It's good to be on break! I've been working on my holiday album as well as on lots of layouts, and I've also been drawing a lot of creative fuel from the prompts and project ideas over at Get It Scrapped. For instance, a recent feature on layouts inspired by gift-wrapping techniques had me -- a notorious gift-wrapping mangler -- actually feeling pretty good about dressing up my photos as "gifts" on the page.

I'm really excited about one of next month's Get It Scrapped features, which kicked my butt creatively, as it forced me to move beyond the usual grid approach that I've been using for years on my review layouts. Here's a peek:
It's also been a bittersweet month for me -- I've been stoked about being the December guest designer at Hip Kit Club, but I've also been dreading saying goodbye to the Elle's Studio team, now that 2017 is at an end.  Elle is wonderful, and I wish her and the members of the 2018 team all the best.

...reading one of the most slow-going books that I have ever encountered.
I'm over a hundred pages in, and I'm still waiting to be drawn in to this book, but it's not happening for me. It's dry, even when seemingly interesting events are occurring. The only reason that I haven't abandoned this book is that it is written -- or so the cover says -- by one of my favorite writers. I tore through all of her other books. Graceling swept me away. So why is this book not working for me?  It may have something to do with the lack of characterization. Even a hundred pages in, the characters (including the main character, Jane) feel like strangers, nebulous forms that vaguely inhabit the pages of the book. I can't visualize them. I don't find any of them -- with the exception of Jasper, a basset hound -- to be intriguing. This is difficult to admit, but in addition to reading this out of loyalty to the writer, I also read it to fall asleep at night.  Five pages or so, and I'm out.  Hopefully it will get better. If it doesn't, at least it functioned successfully as a literary lullaby.

...wearing jeans and sweaters daily. I love the weather at this time of year. The temperature has been fluctuating between the low 50s and the mid-70s, which is typical of a Hawaii "winter," and we've even had some stormy weather lately, though nothing like the real winter storms experienced elsewhere. Basically, it just rains and rains and rains, with some lightning thrown in for kicks, and the result is a slightly muddier, greener winter.  Pretty rough stuff.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday Album-in-Progress

Slowly but surely, my holiday album is coming together. I know, it's hard to believe, but the proof is in the pages that I recently put together using the Elle's Studio December kit and extras: 

More details can be found on the Elle's Studio blog

Thanks for stopping by!