Pixel Scrapper May Blog Train ~ Hello!

Another blog train, hurray! I haven’t felt inspired by the colors for Pixel Scrapper blog trains lately (which is for the best since I’m in a perpetual state of “swamped & in over my head” these days), but this month’s palette felt fun and bold and bright, just the thing to inspire some springtime designing.

I was heavily influenced this time around by my enduring love of my new(ish) Silhouette, which I continue to adore although I’ve had only a handful of chances to play with it since school started up again in January. Something about this palette and my beginning forays into print-and-cut just called out to me for flat, textureless hybrid-ready designs. Me! The Texture Queen! Who once wrote the sentence, “If papers look ‘flat’ in the preview, just like squares of digital pixels, I probably won’t download.” Just goes to show how things change!

That’s actually one of the fun things for me about scrapbooking. I’m not a trend-follower in general, or even exposed enough to popular culture that I know what most of the trends are. But scrapbooking (and digital designing) has been for me a novel experience of seeing other people’s designs, both commercial and personal, and having those influence my own tastes and ideas. Once I got the Silhouette and decided to do Project Life in paper form this year (SIGH, the update on that process is a post for another day) I started delving into the world of hybrid scrapping, and now bright colors with no texture look awesome to me!

Scrumptiously May 2014 Pixel Scrapper Blog Train Print & Cut Journal Card Freebies

Both the colors and the theme – Hello! – felt playful and cheerful, so I thought some lighthearted stickers and rubber elements (hello trend!) would be just the thing. I also have been wanting to do some interview-type pages in my Project Life album, where I ask the kids in my life to fill out cards about their interests and favorite things right now. I looked around and didn’t see what I wanted, which was fun journal-card sized cards on a variety of “All About Me” topics, so I decided to make my own. When I realized I was going to be using several designs from my new Miss Tiina Everyday card templates, which are okay for commercial use, I figured why not make my interview cards in blog train colors so I can share them with all of you!

Filling out the Arts & Crafts card

These cards were my first time doing print and cut with Project Life cards, and it was very satisfying to see my designs come to life in three dimensions! I used special fancy paper (Epson Premium Presentation Matte paper) and the print quality is beautiful, much nicer than I expected (the color is truer than it looks in the photo up above). The kids had been involved some with choosing the topics and weighing in on the designs, and so it was fun once the cards were printed to see how they interpreted the cards and filled them out.

FIlling out the Current Faves and Reading Lately cards

Without further ado, here’s what I have for you this month…

First up are those interview cards. I made these because I couldn’t find quite what I was looking for anywhere else. They’ll be great for “All About Me” pages about you, your kids, or anyone you want to commemorate in your pages. Some are open to interpretation (A “Celebrate” card for documenting favorite holidays; the kids decided to title the what-I’m-good-at card, “Talent Show!”). There are two cards with a spot for a QR code linked to a video, one for “My Signature Move” and one for “My Signature Phrase.” I made little videos of the kids doing their moves/saying their phrases and will paste the QR codes for the videos onto those cards. **For all you Silhouette owners out there, this card set comes with Silhouette studio files ready to print and cut!** There is also a printable PDF of all the cards, with both squared and rounded corners (digital folks get to round their own corners – I figure they’re likely getting clipped to a template). The versions that are for printing (PDF & Studio files) are sized to actually fit into Project Life page protectors, so they are slightly smaller than 3×4. And as a secret bonus, this pack of 25 cards also comes with 4 hybrid-ready papers, just for fun! Download is linked below preview (you only need to pick one of the two options).

Free Journal Cards (with Silhouette cut files!) from Scrumptiously for the PixelScrapper May 2014 Blog Train

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD INTERVIEW CARDS
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD INTERVIEW CARDS

Next up is an adorable set of rubber elements. They’re very thin rubber (I mean, they’re not any kind of rubber, they’re pixels, but you know what I mean) so that you can shadow them however you like, having them be more like puffy stickers or more like thicker pieces of rubber. I’ve really been enjoying this particular look lately, and used a fantastic style set by Mommyish to make these for you. Little rubber name tag just kills me for some reason! Download is linked below preview (you only need to pick one of the two options).

Free digital rubber elements from Scrumptiously for the PixelScrapper May 2014 Blog Train

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD RUBBERY BITS
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD RUBBERY BITS

Finally I have a sticker set for you, inspired by these cool digital/printable sticker sets by Amy Jaz, who is one of my favorite designers. I had so much fun with these – as I said above, for me the color palette just cries out for stickers! The stickers come as individual PNGs and also on a PDF or JPG printable sheet (just print it out on a sheet of label paper and you can cut out your own stickers), and I’ve included Silhouette studio print and cut files. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed right now? :) Download is linked below preview (you only need to pick one of the two options).

Free Digital and Printable Stickers (with Silhouette studio print and cut files!) from Scrumptiously for the PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD STICKERS
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD STICKERS

Don’t forget to keep hopping along on the rest of the blog train – there are over 40 contributors this time! You can find previews and links at this Pixel Scrapper thread.

One Little Word for 2014 ~ Grace

Wow, it feels so good to finally get a page done. Grad school and practicum are incessantly all-consuming this year. Which is a perfect segue to the word I chose for 2014, grace. There are so many meanings to the word, and they all resonate with me to one extent or another. The meaning that is foremost for me in choosing this word is the one I focused on in my layout below. I started 2014 scared and overwhelmed about how I would get through the coming year. Grace is the aid and support that comes from God, the Universe, the Divine Mystery. When I looked up definitions, I read that divine grace is “free and unmerited,” which at first seemed harsh to me. I continued reading and realized that “unmerited” doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the blessings of grace, it means that the whole question of deserving or not deserving is not part of the equation. There is nothing you can do to earn grace, no way you have to be in order to be worthy of it. How beautiful.

PS_3_18_OWL

Credits
Template: Nettio Designs ~ One Little Word Template
Unless otherwise specified, all papers and elements are from the OScraps ~ Time to ParTea collab
Buttons: Sheila Reid for Pixel Scrapper ~ Vintage Buttons
Just Jaimee Nov 2013 Storyteller Alpha stamps
Gold texture by aplantage on deviantart
Just Jaimee ~ Painted Newsprint
Nadine Pau – Lace Mix Brush
Design Fruit ~ Mellow Mess brushes
Shabby Princess – Happy Go Lucky Rickrack
Alamama’s Pressed Petals – Facebook Freebie lace
Fonts: Calamity Jane, Lobster, Bebas Neue

Pixel Scrapper January Blog Train ~ The Best Is Yet To Come

This month I made a bunch of designs for Project Life title pages and layouts about the new year. I had such a great time searching the web for inspiration, checking out people’s title pages and other annual-style layouts for 2013 and 2012. I’m a magpie of a designer – I find stuff that inspires me and replicate it. Sometimes it ends up very different, sometimes so similar it’s more of an “homage” than a “scraplift.” :) I want to give credit to all the creative minds whose designs dazzled and sparked me, so I’ve created a Pinterest board specifically to showcase people whose creations inspire mine. Go check it out – there’s some amazing unique stuff out there! My favorite inspiration for this round was this elegant, two-tone title page by Rachel Swartley. Just beautiful. I pretty much replicated the whole thing, for myself and for you guys, which was extra fun because I was translating a paper design into digital.

PixelScrapper Jan 2014 Blog Train Palette

This month’s blog train palette, with the theme “The Best Is Yet To Come”

Speaking of paper, I’m leaning towards doing my own Project Life album in paper form for 2014 (I’ll write more about that in an upcoming post), so I wanted to be mindful of hybrid scrappers as I designed for this month’s blog train. I sought counsel from the hybrid scrappers of the Pixel Scrapper community and got all kinds of great tips. For this time around, I made non-textured versions of all the papers and many of the cards and elements, for cleaner home printing. Some of the designs would have made great cut files, and I had high hopes of making SVGs, but I ran out of time. Since my sweetie surprised me (and I mean utterly bowled me over, since before he encountered it at Michael’s a few days ago he’d never heard of it) by buying us a Silhouette Cameo (I KNOW!!!) I am sure there are plenty of cut files in our future, so stay tuned…

Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train Title Card & Journal Card Freebies

On to the goodies! Most of what I made for you this month are journal cards of various types and sizes. I think the best way to preview journal cards is neatly laid out, rather than all bunched up and overlapping, so I went to town and made a ton of example layouts. I had a great time and it’s just awesome to have 5 layouts made by the second day of the new year, though I’ll probably redo them eventually since for these sample layouts I pulled pics quickly from wherever I could find them most easily. There’s a preview for the papers, and another one for the “extras.” The extras are a few things that didn’t make it into the layouts and the actual kit-versions of some of the cards that I stamped and wrote on in my layouts, so you can see what they actually look like.

Here’s a layout made with the cards inspired by Rachel Swartley’s elegant 2013 title page. The white cards come in both textured and non-textured versions. The kit version of the grey card with the frame is blank on the right side for you to add your own caption.

Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train Title Card & Journal Card Freebies

Next up is a colorful layout with some fun pieces. The quote card is from the Frank Sinatra song, “The Best Is Yet To Come.” The map card comes blank and eight glitter map pins are included so you can show where your grand 2014 adventure will be taking place (if you live in the US). The wooden numbers come in shadowed and unshadowed versions, and the “Hello” element comes in several colors and is large enough to fill a 4×6 spot but also looks great when shrunk down to fit a 3×4.

Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train Title Card & Journal Card Freebies

One thing I did last year that I’ll be doing again this year is to pick my “word” for 2014. One Little Word is a really cool tradition started by Ali Edwards (or popularized by her, seems likely people have been doing something like this for ages, setting intention, etc.). At the start of the year, you pick a word; that word serves as intention, guide, reminder, prayer – there are so many different ways it can manifest in your life throughout the year. On the Ali Edwards site you can find tons of people in the comments talking about their words and how and why they chose them, if you want to try it but need some inspiration. I haven’t picked my word yet for 2014, so I made a layout using my 2013 word, which was “Engage.” The OWL cards I’ve designed for you are quite simple (just cream cards with a word on them, and one blank); I think there’s more room this way to make your layout relate to your specific word. I particularly liked reflecting on the reasons I picked the word (the “because” card) and some of the things I was hoping for in choosing this word (the “invitation” card). There’s also a “goals” card if you have more specific goals in mind related to your One Little Word. (And bonus points to you if, upon seeing my word, you immediately thought of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise! :))

Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train One Little Word Journal Card Freebies

Here’s another title page layout, this one with some sparkle, another example of how the map card can be used, and a different variant of the grey frame-card. The butterfly is not included, sadly, that’s just something I used to gussy up my personal layout. I wish I knew how to make one for you, but that kind of illustration is beyond my ability right now.

Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train Title Card & Journal Card Freebies

A final title card layout, this one more photo-heavy. The “life documented” card is a 4×12 card spread across four photo pockets. I like this look, though I rarely do it. The photo cards are kraft PNGs with washi tape and space for your photos; the monograms I added myself afterwards, so you can use that space for anything you want. One title page I saw had autographs from every family member, which I think is a super cute idea! The cutout “Best is yet to come” card also comes in a clear PNG version so you can overlay it over anything you like.

Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train Title Card & Journal Card Freebies

Here’s the “Extras” preview with all the other goodies that didn’t make it into the example layouts. There’s a ledger paper with a great quote and space to list your goals, hopes, dreams, and wishes for the new year (the ledger paper also comes blank). There’s a fun typewriter 3×4 card that comes in four versions, “This is my/our/the story” and blank for whatever message you want. (I am disappointed sometimes that so many PL cards say things like “This is our story” and “The story of us” on them – I’m not married, I don’t have my own kids; my PL is about me and the many people I love, but it’s ultimately my story.) Other goodies in the extras preview include a sketchy title card, a shiny gold title card, a stamped “Let’s get started” 3×4 card, wooden “Hello” and “Hello 2014″ elements, a super sparkly scatter, and then the unadorned versions of some of the cards that show up in my example layouts. Not shown are a set of patterned 3×4 cards in scaled-down versions of the patterned papers you’ll see below, and nicely textured 3×4 cards in each of the palette colors, like the teal and blue cards in the middle row of the first layout I showed you.

Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train Title Card, Journal Card, & Freebies

You’ve been very patient. Here are your downloads. You only need to choose one of these two links. Everything is Personal Use only.
Direct Download Link (may not be available due to bandwidth limits)
DOWNLOAD JOURNAL CARDS & ELEMENTS
Mediafire Link
DOWNLOAD JOURNAL CARDS & ELEMENTS

Finally, here is the paper pack that goes with everything. I thought this was quite a feisty palette, so I included some super bold patterns. The ledger paper shown above is actually in this paper download, despite being in the preview for the journal cards and elements. There is an additional folder inside the download with hybrid (non-textured) versions of the papers.

Free printable papers | Scrumptiously PixelScrapper January 2014 Blog Train

Here are your downloads. You only need to choose one of these two links. Everything is Personal Use only.
Direct Download Link (may not be available due to bandwidth limits)
DOWNLOAD PAPERS
Mediafire Link
DOWNLOAD PAPERS

Okay, this is me signing off for the month of January! I’ll probably skip February and hopefully be back with more treats in March. If you use any of these designs to make your title page or any other creations, let me know! If you’re thinking about trying Project Life but are unsure or want support, leave a comment for me here; I’m considering starting a PL support group over on Pixel Scrapper and would love to have you on board if I do.

Speaking of Pixel Scrapper, don’t you want the rest of the incredible designs from this blog train? I bet you do! You can find all the previews and links right here in this Pixel Scrapper thread. Enjoy!

October Favorites

As Favorite #1 on this list says, I have taken a deliberate break from my Picture a Day and Video a Day projects. There is just so much going on in my life right now and I was finding it a chore on the days I did take pics/vids, and a source of guilt and regret on the days I didn’t.

I’m having lots of fun with these Nettio Designs Fave-o-Rites templates, and so my compromise is to make one of these for the month. As an added bit of fun, I’m using the current Pixel Scrapper blog train goodies to make my page. I’m not as smitten with this month’s page as I was with September’s, which seemed more vibrant and energetic (partly due to the palette) and just generally turned out more how I wanted it to. I also didn’t have a single picture of myself from October (though that allowed me to happily put in a pic of my best friend and her new baby). At any rate, it’s nice to have a record of the month in some form, so I’ll take it. :)

PS_10_favorites2

Credits:
Template: Nettio Designs ~ April Favorites
Washi template: Brooke Gazarek ~ Tape Templates
Fonts: Quattrocento, Andes
Paint splatters: Eva Kipler, Just Jaimee
All other materials from the November 2013 Pixel Scrapper Vintage Blog Train
Papers: Arizona Girl, Isa’s Place, Abloom, Scrumptiously, Sheila Reid, Sara Paschal, Bits O’Scrap, Brandi’s Creations
Elements: Arizona Girl button, Cajun Diva Scraps flowers, Catherine Olson doily, Little Big Designs flower spray, lace, Abloom ribbon, Sheila Reid butterfly, Lady Bug Designs flower, Brandi’s Creations charm, leaves
Glitters: Marisa Lerin
Speed Scraps supply tracker used in making credits

Pixel Scrapper November Blog Train ~ Vintage

Pixel Scrapper has increased our blog train timing from once every two months to once a month. Whoa! I barely have time to function these days, so I can tell that is going to be way too much for me. My blog already has become almost entirely blog train posts, I haven’t had any time to do my own scrapbooking since starting practicum. But this month I loved the theme (Vintage!) and the pretty palette, so I went for it anyways. But I will be so happy to sit out for the next one and see what fantastic goodies my fellow Pixel Scrappers come up with.

“Vintage” makes me think of fashion first and foremost. I used to be pretty into vintage clothing and had quite a fun collection (it helps that I live in one of the thrift store capitals of the country). Since getting sick I tend to want to be comfortable more than anything else, and a lot of my vintage clothes are fairly fragile and need to be worn with care (they’re not for lying around in bed, that’s for sure) so I rarely end up wearing vintage these days. But I had fun geeking out with some fashion design this month, and hopefully ended up with some things you’ll have fun playing with as well.

PSNov13_Scrumptiously_vintage_preview_all

The licensing for my contribution for this round is pretty confusing. This is in large part due to the fact that I cannot – for free or for money – find 12×12 book page images that are CU4CU. I LOVE the art journal look of using printed pages as backgrounds for papers, but the only ones I have been able to find have been limited to use for making PU materials. Because of this and other resources that I used what ended up happening is that even within packs some items are PU and some are CU. I explain it pretty thoroughly in the enclosed TOU and everything is well-marked, so hopefully it won’t be too tough to navigate. The way to simplify it would be, of course, to just make everything Personal Use Only. But I really want to pay forward the favor of all the fantastic folks who make CU freebies that I use in turn to make stuff for you guys, so this is the best I can do until I get so amazing in my Photoshop skills that I never use any outside resources ever. (Ha! That day will never come. I’m a magpie – I am happiest when combining bits and pieces from here and there.)

And hey, if anyone comes across some nice big high-quality digital book pages (they’re so rare in 300 dpi, which makes sense, since book pages tend to be a lot smaller than 12×12) that are ok for making CU products with, please let me know!

First up are a set of “paper transfers.” There’s this great technique I love in paper art journaling, called paper transfer or image transfer, where you get an image to transfer onto your page, so that it’s like collage, but there’s no separate layer; the image is just blended onto the page. The digital designs I’ve made will give you the same look on a digital page, and would be fun for heritage scrapping, art journaling, and and just generally adding a bit of fun retro or vintage atmosphere. I’m especially fond of the Christian Dior “New Look” design because it’s one of my favorite pieces of fashion history. After the war years when fabric shortages demanded scaled-down silhouettes, Dior designed the New Look to be a celebration of fabric extravagance, with plenty of pleats and wide hips and shoulders. Download is linked to below preview.

PSNov13_Scrumptiously_vintage_preview_transfer

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD PAPER TRANSFERS
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD PAPER TRANSFERS

Next up is a little minikit. Five patterned papers, two frames, two pieces of vintage fashion-related ephemera, and four stickers. I hate making previews for kits (I like it better when I can lay everything out super neatly) and these just looked so cluttered to me. I made two previews, and couldn’t choose which was the least annoying, and realized hey, it’s my blog, I can put up both! Download is linked to below previews. (The previews say PU only, but there are several pieces in this kit that are CU OK, and each item is labeled accordingly.)

PSNov13_Scrumptiously_vintage_preview_minikit

PSNov13_Scrumptiously_vintage_preview_minikit2

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD MINIKIT
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD MINIKIT

I really love making journal cards. Even more, perhaps, than I love downloading them! So for all my fellow JC-junkies out there, here’s a pretty collection of 12 journal cards to match the Vintage blog train, some with a fun little fashion flair. Download is linked below preview.

PSNov13_Scrumptiously_vintage_preview_jcs

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD JOURNAL CARDS
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD JOURNAL CARDS

I adore washi tape, but the thing about it is that it’s always so specific to the colors of a particular kit. In a giant kit like a blog train that’s not a big deal since you’ll probably get a ton of use out of the tape, but I tend to be drawn to washi in more neutral colors, and I have a particular penchant for washi with an ephemera theme. So here’s a big collection of tape, some in the kit colors, others with fashion references, and some in more neutral ephemera designs that will hopefully serve you well in many scrapping situations. Download is linked below preview.

PSNov13_Scrumptiously_vintage_preview_washi

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD WASHI TAPE
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD WASHI TAPE

Finally, who doesn’t love solids? These solids are wonderfully textured and have some nice heft to them, if you can say that about digital files. :) They’ll hopefully help you as a base for all the many marvelous parts of this blog train – somewhere around 40 contributions at last count! Download is linked below preview.

PSNov13_Scrumptiously_vintage_preview_solids

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD SOLID PAPERS
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD SOLID PAPERS

And of course now it’s time to hop back on the train and see what other wonderful delights await you! Previews for each portion and links for where to download can be found in this thread at the Pixel Scrapper forum.

Beautiful

Jodi of MCP Photography wrote a wonderful post a few days ago. The topic is “What happens when a photographer gets photographed,” and the post is a tender and honest exploration of how Jodi hated being in pictures because she didn’t like how she looked, then forced herself to be in them for the sake of her kids (so they’d actually have pics with their mom in them), and now finally has come around to a place where she’s been able to see what is beautiful about her.

I really appreciate this post. It’s such an incredibly vulnerable thing for a woman to say out loud (especially in front of other women) that she thinks she’s beautiful. It’s the opposite of that tradition we have as women where I put myself down and all my friends rush to reassure me that I am indeed attractive. We’ve been conditioned to pounce on people who think they look good (perhaps we pounce only in our heads if we’ve been raised to be polite) and tear them apart. “How dare she think she’s beautiful? She’s fatter/zittier/shorter/skinnier/hairier etc. than I am, and I’ve been pummeled by media until I think I’m not attractive. So where does she get off delusionally thinking she’s beautiful?” That’s what I’m worried is going on in other people’s heads when I say I think I’m beautiful – that it will actually prompt them to look for my flaws. But I keep on doggedly saying it, and then I tell them that I think they are beautiful, too, and that I want us all to reclaim the power that feeling confident in our looks can give us.

I have a few stories from my own history with this that I wanted to share.

The first is that never once when I was growing up did I hear my mom criticize how she looked. And it would never have even occurred to me that she might criticize how I looked – she never told me anything other than that I was beautiful to her. And now I’m a rarity among the women I know – I’ve never had an eating disorder, and I have pretty good self-esteem and body image, despite being definitively not the celebrity ideal. Now that I’m an adult my mom complains sometimes about the things she doesn’t like about her body and looks, but I am SO GRATEFUL that she somehow managed to keep from expressing that in front of me when I was young, and to keep this attitude from being instilled in me. I think that’s another important thing to think about when we avoid being in pictures – it’s not just that our kids won’t have pictures of us – we’re actually raising girls who will follow our model and grow up to be women who don’t feel good enough about themselves to be in pictures!

The second story is how I became beautiful. I remember one day in my early 20s saying to myself, “What would happen if I just decide I’m beautiful?” It felt very daring and transgressive, but I tried it out. The effect on people I was potentially interested in was fascinating – they found my unusual confidence attractive in itself. The effect on myself was even more fascinating – I saw so clearly that I was gaining NOTHING by disliking how I looked. Nothing by feeling like I needed improvement. It didn’t encourage me to exercise, or do anything else healthy. Feeling unhealthy might do that – but not liking how I looked wasn’t actually an aid in that department. Feeling beautiful, however, made a huge difference. I felt happier and more peaceful, it contributed to a general sense of self-esteem beyond my looks, and there was this big area of life I didn’t stress about as much anymore. I realized it doesn’t matter if I am conventionally attractive or if a stranger on the street would agree that I’m beautiful. I am beautiful to myself and to the people who love me – romantic, family, friends; the beauty they see in me is both part of why they love me and called forth by their love for me.

This whole worry about whether or not we are beautiful or pretty or attractive is so ingrained in us we never stop to question what PURPOSE it’s serving. Maybe to attract a mate, but I know so many people in secure, satisfying relationships who still don’t want to be in photographs or don’t like this or that about their appearance. The main purpose I can think of for worrying about this in our modern society is that this fear is what drives consumerism. I think it’s pretty well agreed upon that advertisers cultivate this feeling of lack in us so we’ll buy things to try to fix it or make up for it. Well, I reject that. I can’t actually remove from myself the desire to look certain ways (that would take a lobotomy or something, I think) but I can decide whether or not to feel beautiful right now, looking the way I do.

So my last story is that there was a final hold-out to my whole “I am beautiful” self-campaign. Circling back to the topic that started this piece, I’ll admit that even years after my whole transition to feeling beautiful I still hated photographs of myself. I tried to be all sneaky and get around this by bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t “photogenic.” Like, I look in the mirror and see beauty that just isn’t captured in a photo. And that may be true, but once again – WHO CARES? When I started my photo-a-day project four years ago I set a goal of trying to be in at least one picture every week. Suddenly I was constantly looking at pictures of myself. And yeah, I still delete my fair share of awkward shots. But something about just giving myself over to the reality that there were going to be pictures in my albums where I didn’t look perfect eventually helped me to widen my range of tolerance for seeing myself in photos. Maybe I don’t have to look pretty in every photo. I can also look goofy, or in motion, or sad, or even exhausted (because that’s the reality of my life a lot of the time). And then there are the shots where I’m incredibly happy with people I love and smiling so big and when I do that my chin does this weird thing and… And you know what? I have pictures of myself where I’m incredibly happy with people I love. When I look back, will I be sad to have so many awkward chin photos or grateful to have captured so many fun times?

There is power to be had in claiming our beauty. There is peace there, too, and a certain kind of freedom. And it doesn’t take a makeover or liposuction or plastic surgery to get us there, because we’ve already arrived; we just have to look around and notice where we are. So I invite you to join me in this experiment. Look in the mirror and let what you see there be beautiful. And then notice what, if anything, changes for you. What becomes absent from your life, what enters it? Without making any assumptions, really peer closely at this part of your life – is worrying about how you look helping you to accomplish things, be a better parent, a better partner, more the person you want to be? If it is, I’m surprised, but more power to you, you’ve found something that works to motivate you. And if it isn’t, maybe you can try letting it go. It’s not something that happens all at once, it takes dedication and frequently remembering to come back to those three little words, “I am beautiful.” But I can promise you that the rewards are totally worth the work. Imagine what the world would be like if we all felt okay about how we looked. It would be beautiful.

This topic always reminds me of the moving scene in Glee when Mercedes sings the Christina Aguilera song "Beautiful" at a cheerleading competition. (Although I do think it's messed up they didn't put her in a regular cheerleading uniform!)

This topic always reminds me of the moving scene in Glee when Mercedes sings the Christina Aguilera song “Beautiful” at a cheerleading competition. (Although I do think it’s messed up they didn’t put her in a regular cheerleading uniform!) I tried to find a video for you guys, but it’s all copyright-blocked, sorry!

September Favorites

I love scrapbook pages that are lists: top tens, favorite songs, best memories, etc. Nettio Designs makes layouts of her favorite things from each month, which she then turns into templates for sale. I’ve bought a couple but have never managed to finish one. She’s a paper lover and builds in spots for tons of different papers, which is awesome, but also means there are a lot of decisions to make and since I’m the queen of Analysis Paralysis, it takes me forever. But the abundance of papers and elements seemed like a perfect way to show off all the delicious designs from this month’s Pixel Scrapper blog train. What beautiful work everyone did; it was a pleasure to go through everything and pick out my supplies from the abundance of high-quality designs.

This month Pixel Scrapper is running a Layout-a-Day challenge. Because for some of us (me! me!) doing 31 layouts is a bit too much of a challenge, we were allowed to set our own goals. My goal is 8. I have no idea if I’ll meet it, but even if this one is the only one I do this month, I’ll feel pretty great about that! There’s something weird going on with me and memory keeping right now – I’ve stopped taking a picture of the day (and video of the day) for the first time in four years. I think maybe the fact that I never can find time lately to do anything with the pictures (like Project Life them) got me discouraged in some way it never has before. But at least I can look back on this past month and have this fun layout highlighting some of the best parts.

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Credits:
Template: Nettio Designs ~ May Favorites
Numbers: Mommyish ~ Wired Up Alpha
All other designs are from the Pixel Scrapper October Blog Train (follow link for previews & links to all parts of the train)
Papers: Craft Bliss, Digi Dewi, Holly Wood, isa.fabsplace.de, Nadia Slegers, Misplaced Mermaid, Playful Peanut,
Brandi’s Creations, Brooke Gazarek, Bits o Scrap, Sheila Reid, The Emily Files
Elements:
Arizona Girl chevrons
Craft Bliss ribbon
Digi Dewi leaves
Nadi Slegers frame
Abloom flower sticker
Playful Peanut chevron, confetti string
Studio Linda Renee stitches, lace
Timber Scraps paint scatter
Creations by Samantha ribbon
Dhariana flowers
The Emily Files flower
Mariscrap butterfly
Pics edited on iPhone with Over and PicTapGo apps

Pixel Scrapper October Blog Train ~ Thankful

You know that thing where you write a word over and over and at some point it starts to look like it’s spelled wrong, and then eventually it doesn’t even look like a word anymore? Well, my brain thinks “thankful” is just about the strangest collection of letters it has ever beheld! I’m looking forward to having a little distance so I can get back to appreciating the word, which does express, after all, one of my most beloved concepts.

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Blog train color palette

This month’s Pixel Scrapper blog train is quite dear to my heart for several reasons. For the first time, I proposed a potential color palette, and when we voted it was the one chosen, which was very exciting! I love the richness of the colors, and the way they evoke harvest and bounty without screaming “Thanksgiving.” We wanted to create a collection that honored the theme of the holiday while still being useful for everyone who doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m glad about that because thankfulness is so much bigger than a single holiday (not even getting into the issues with historical distortion and whitewashing that accompany our American Thanksgiving). Gratitude is such a core concept in my life. When I manage to connect to my sense of all that is right in my world, either through happenstance or through deliberate manifestation with mindfulness or prayer, I find my life is infinitely sweeter and less stressful. Right now I’m feeling grateful to have had the opportunity to make all these pretty things for you!

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I’m continuing my habit of breaking up my contribution into separate pieces. The advantages for me are that I like knowing you can take the things you want and not have a bunch of stuff you’re not interested in that you have to then remember to delete later (yes, journal card junkies, I’m looking at you!), and that doing it this way allows me to see what types of materials you like best (because I can track the number of downloads for each piece). A potential disadvantage I can see for people who do want everything is that then they have multiple folders, palettes, previews, and TOUs they’ll have to delete if they want everything all tidy and streamlined. If you have a strong feeling either way (all one big download or separated by type) let me know in the comments!

Up first are a set of papers, frames, and mists. There are four papers that would make good starting points for art journal pages and four frames that will add an arty touch to any page. All the materials I used are credited in the kit, but I have to give a special shout-out here to Cajoline Studios, who made and then generously gave away the gorgeous frame templates. They fit so perfectly with the sort of dreamy, swirly look I was going for here. The frames are actually quite a bit larger than they appear in the preview. I like to have things large and then shrink them down as needed, since you can’t ever upsize design materials. The five mists are pretty fun – they’re 12×12 overlays that will “stencil” a misted pattern onto whatever is below them. I used the diamond patterned mist to make one of the journal cards below – check it out!

PSOct13_scrumptiously_thankful_papers_preview
Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD PAPERS, FRAMES, & MISTS – PERSONAL USE ONLY
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD PAPERS, FRAMES, & MISTS – PERSONAL USE ONLY

Then there are two sets of journal cards; each set is a separate download. There are some fun simple cards with gratitude words on them, and an assortment of various more elaborate designs. I even threw in the flower I made for one of the journal cards (in a larger size, of course). I’m not much of an element-maker, but I figured since this one was already made I might as well add it to the mix. I’m sorry there’s not much in this month’s kit that’s okay for Commercial Use – I have too much fun playing with all my CU materials that are only for making PU stuff – the simple wordy journal cards are the only things that can be used for CU.

PSOct13_scrumptiously_thankful_jc_words_previewPSOct13_scrumptiously_thankful_jc_preview
Direct download links (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD WORDY JOURNAL CARDS – COMMERCIAL USE OK
DOWNLOAD THANKFUL JOURNAL CARDS – PERSONAL USE ONLY
Mediafire links:
DOWNLOAD WORDY JOURNAL CARDS – COMMERCIAL USE OK
DOWNLOAD THANKFUL JOURNAL CARDS – PERSONAL USE ONLY

Finally, I present to you my first-ever word art. I’m not really a word art person – I tend to make my own titles, quotes, etc. so I don’t find much use for premade ones. But the topic was so inspiring to me I thought I’d try my hand at bringing a few of my favorite gratitude quotes to life. I had fun with these; I like the Oprah Winfrey quote with its ransom-note-like lettering – it makes me imagine the person saying “thank you for that experience” through slightly gritted teeth! And the gorgeous wings evoke so much for me around this theme – the sense of being borne up by a power greater than myself, and the image of my own gratitude soaring out into the Universe. They’re not technically word art, more… “image worth a thousand words” art. :)

PSOct13_scrumptiously_thankful_wordart
Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD WORD ART – PERSONAL USE ONLY
Mediafire link:
DOWNLOAD WORD ART – PERSONAL USE ONLY

The blog train is huge this month! Over 30 contributors at last count – there’s sure to be something for everyone. You can find previews and links for the rest of the train at Pixel Scrapper.

So, please enjoy! I’ll be so delighted if anything I made can contribute to your expressions of gratitude and thankfulness. If you do end up making something using any of my designs, do let me know, I would love to see it!

Project Life ~ Week 29 ~ July 15-21

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Submitting this to this week’s Project Life Tuesday linkup at The Mom Creative.

Credits:
Kits: Project Life ~ Rain Kit, Splendid Fiins ~ The January Kit
Template: Project Life, modified as inspired by Kimberly Kalil
Apps used: Instagram, Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Over
Journal Card text added in PicMonkey
Date brushes: Erica Coombs ~ Office Space
Rosette: Captivated Visions ~ Celeste Kit
Staple: Marisa Lerin ~ Balkans Kit
Washi tape: Akizo Design ~ Is This Destiny? Kit
Bird graphic from PicMonkey
Sun: Seoul 2 Soul ~ Bright Days Ahead Mini Kit
Sunny Days Stamp: Designs by Lili ~ Summer Vacation Stamps
Banners: Sugary Fancy ~ Basic Banners
Heart stamp: HG Designs ~ Doodle Brushes
Brad: Jenn Barrette ~ Kinda Awesome Kit
Melamine texture: Pixeden ~ Wood Pattern Backgrounds
Photo overlay: Vegas Girl At Heart blog freebie
Flower graphic: Sissy Sparrows ~ The Painted Nest 13
Instagram card: CZ Design ~ 3×4 Photo Card
Arrows: Graphics Fuel
Fonts: Didact Gothic, Sue Ellen Francisco, Special Elite, Pea Sheila

Pixel Scrapper August Blog Train ~ At the Beach

Hey there, hope you’re having a good summer! Welcome to another edition of “What can I make for a blog train in a single day?” Of course I ended up spending a few more days finishing everything up and making the preview, but my life has been so slammed lately that it was do it in a strictly time-regimented way or not do it at all. The nice thing about designing for a blog train is I don’t have to worry about making a complete kit with one of everything – I’m making bits and pieces you can combine with all the other wonderful offerings from my fellow Pixel Scrappers. This time around our theme was “At the Beach,” with an interesting summery palette of blues, green, tan, and orange.

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PixelScrapper collective Pinterest board for blog train inspiration

Here’s what I made for you. In all, this bundle of joy is 5 papers, 2 full size (12 inch across) wave borders, 6 vintage souvenir cards (4 letterpress, 2 full color), 2 transparent graphic elements, 1 doily mat, 1 seashell frame in 4 colors.

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You only need to choose ONE of these download options:

Classy direct download link (may end up unavailable due to bandwidth overage):
DOWNLOAD AT THE BEACH – PERSONAL USE ONLY
Less pleasant Mediafire link that still gets the job done (If the page looks confusing, go for the big green button in the middle that says Download 74MB):
DOWNLOAD AT THE BEACH – PERSONAL USE ONLY

Because the papers got completely buried in the preview, and I always like to see what I’m getting when I’m deciding whether to download something, I decided to give you a quick preview of each paper. I’m a little all over the place with these, but I tried to keep things mostly pretty simple.

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Previews and links for all parts of the blog train can be found at this post on Pixel Scrapper. There are so many fun designs, in all kinds of styles, from classy to cute to vintage to art journal. Enjoy!

And as always, if you do end up making something using any of my designs, do let me know, I would love to see it!