Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reveal Day at Elle's Studio

Elle's Studio is starting the new year off with a new kit...
and some new shop items...
not to mention a new team with some new projects to share, like this one, inspired by a new arrival. 
Be sure to head over to Elle's Studio to check out the full release! 
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Monday, January 2, 2017

Announcing...

the Elle's Studio 2017 Design Team!
I'm so happy to be a part of the team, and I'm honored to be in wonderfully crafty company:


As I close the book on the old year and head into the new one, I have two last 2016 layouts that I created using Elle's Studio. 

The first one came about a few days after the election, while I was still processing the results and searching for hope. (Two months later, I'm still doing that.) Instead of focusing on hopelessness and giving in to my fears, I concentrated on what I CAN do, moving forward -- especially as a teacher.  

So I grabbed a smiley pre-election teacher selfie, some Elle's Studio stars and stripes, and created a page to document my post-election teacher resolutions. 
Scrap therapy: it's real. 

The second layout I created about a week ago, to document my family's Christmas. More details can be found on the Elle's Studio blog. 
It was a Griswoldian holiday, but in my experience, every holiday seems to end up that way!

I'm excited to enter 2017 as a member of a team that encourages creative expression and that recognizes the importance of telling our stories, come what may. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Catching Up

Although I had hoped to complete a holiday album this year, it is now December 23, and I have yet to begin.  I know, I know -- shame, shame.

I've been creating holiday albums for years now, and over the past few weeks, as the album increasingly became an unlikely prospect with each passing day, I just couldn't get started. Mostly I just wouldn't get started.

I wasn't experiencing some kind of creative block -- I was, in fact, experiencing December.

This month is insane, especially for teachers who are trying to finish a semester and grade stacks of essay exams, who put off appointments until breaks, who really just want to sit on their butts and watch their annual LOTR marathon without needing to worry about getting ANYTHING done -- especially a holiday album.

Scrappy me tried to put up a fight: "You always make an album, Jill. It's tradition! What kind of December would it be if it went undocumented?"

A pretty restful one, it turns out.

The holiday album is a tradition, and though I am dealing with some guilt because I'm departing from that, the whole process was starting to feel redundant. The line between documenting Christmas and staging Christmas was becoming too blurry.

Yesterday, in the midst of watching The Two Towers (priorities!), I officially decided to forgo the holiday album and to devote my creative energies toward finishing a project that I've been trying to stick to all year: my month-in review layouts.

It felt amazing to just do my own thing.

December will be documented -- just in a different way.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December at Elle's Studio

It's December 10: time for the monthly kit reveal and launch of new products at Elle's Studio! Highlights include the Malia lower-case stamp set (oh, how I love that font!) and the Dated stamp set.

The December kit includes lots of merry tidbits, just in time for the holidays.

The "holidays" don't just have to refer to Christmas and New Year's, by the way. I used pieces of the kit along with some other Elle's Studio goodies on a Thanksgiving layout.
This month, Elle's Studio is also having a special "Celebrate the Season" sale with 25 items for $2 or less.  Sweet deal! 
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Friday, December 9, 2016

Lately-ing

Lately, I've been...

...watching Gilmore Girls (for the first time).  I just started season four. I don't know how I could possibly watch ads for the show for years on end without actually ever watching the show. It's addictive. I see my daughter and myself so clearly in the characters of Lorelai and Rory. I've been trying so hard to avoid spoilers from the recent Netflix four-episode "season," but I've read a few (namely those about Rory being a disappointment). Still, I've decided to withhold judgment until I watch the entire show.

...rereading (for at least the tenth time) The Joy Luck Club with the students in my "Women and Literature" course.  Apparently I have mothers and daughters on the brain lately.  Each time I read the book I connect even more deeply with it. I never tire of returning to it -- I always discover something that I overlooked during previous readings or come to embrace a new way of thinking as my students share their interpretations and perspectives.

...reading (just for me) Erika Johansen's The Fate of the Tearling. I really enjoyed the previous two books, and I'm curious to see where this volume takes the story. 

...putting off my holiday album preparations. I was determined to create a December sort-of-daily album, and have been compiling supplies and photos here and there. If the album ever comes into existence, it'll be housed in this mint Instax album that I got from Studio Calico: 
It's now December 9th, and I have nothing to show for it yet.  I'm a sad case. The first weeks of December are anything but magical and inspiring for teachers who are focused on trying to maintains a semblance of sanity at the end of the semester.  Hopefully I can put something together during the upcoming holiday break. 

...enjoying the rainy season. It's as close as we'll get to snow around these parts, so I'll take it.

...sitting in traffic. A lot. A lot a lot. I'm really good at it. 

...learning to make pie. I made my first-ever pecan pie for Thanksgiving and had leftovers with ice cream for breakfast (and lunch and second lunch) for two days afterward. It was ahhh-mazing. I used Ree Drummond/the Pioneer Woman's version (from her cookbook -- though I used one and a half cups of chopped pecans instead of one cup). My daughter turned her nose up at the nuts and wouldn't even try a slice, but I didn't bother giving the usual parental lecture about trying new things, because of one important reason: more pie for ME! 
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tension Breaker

Scrap therapy -- oh, did I need some.
So I treated myself to some. 
The journaling isn't visible -- sorry! It's on the yellow card peeking out from behind the photo. 

The page documents my husband's 40th birthday surprise: a Lego Millennium Falcon. We could have gone with the whole "over the hill" approach, but instead, my daughter and I decided to honor the forever-young boy within.  
I pulled together lots of tidbits on this layout, using pieces from Ali E.'s story kits, past Studio Calico and Elle's Studio kits, some October Afternoon chipboard pieces, and more. The patterned papers are from a variety of sources, including Studio Tekturek (love, love, love that blue paper), JBS, and SC. The background paper (from SC) reminds me of the circles on Lego pieces. 

It felt good to make a "just because" page, especially one that allowed me to let go and be silly. I've been way too serious lately, and needed to loosen up.  Thank goodness for this crafty outlet. :) 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Way Through

This week:
there are no words.

No, that's not right --
There are so many words,
word upon word upon word --
some are swallowed,
some are cried out,
some are chanted,
some are posted,
some are deleted,
some are released in anger,
some are held back in fear,
some are sung in elegy,
some are whispered in prayer,
some thank Jesus,
some ask him for guidance,
some ask, "What's next?"
some challenge the answer,
some say sorry,
some say anything but.

And even though I keep forming all sorts of words with my mouth and my fingers and my mind,
I can't seem to find the right ones. But I'll keep trying.