Month: August 2014

Some pictures from our Trip to the North Shore last year.  I used the New Release from Southern Serenity Designs by Amber Morrison, My Life Project: March. The kit is Off The Path by Sweet Digi Scraps and both are available at The Digi Chick.

New Release from Tami Miller Designs, “Yolo”, available in her Pickle Berry Pop store. The Template is from Playtime by Southern Serenity Designs. 

Book Review: Ansible 15715, By: Stant Litore

I give this short story four out of five stars for capturing my imagination and pinning it in a box where I couldn’t help but dwell on it’s ideas and hypotheses’.

This was a short story and in all its briefness you get to be terrified, mystified, thought provoked, and completely unsettled. If you like subjecting yourself to the “what if”, worst-case scenario, this is how the world shall end kind of thing than you will EAT THIS UP. I know I did, and to be able to arrive at this state in less than two hours speaks volumes to the talent of the writer. This is a thought provoking work that will give your mind plenty to contemplate. I’ve been vacillating between the ideals of an Islamic female transitioning across space and time to land in a human males body, to the idea that creatures would force a race of being’s into a state of hyper fear in order to feed off of them. How horrifically grotesque, thank you Mr. Litore.

Boor Review: The Time Travelers Wife, By:  Audrey Niffenegger

I rated this book four out of Five stars for ingenuity, and thinking about the plot when I wasn’t reading the book.

One of my very best friends loaned me this book ages ago, but it has been lingering on my nightstand forever. I think having seen the film already, I felt less inclined to read the book. It became the perfect summer read for me. I took it with me on a long family road trip. 

What I enjoyed about the book:
1) The characters. I didn’t encounter any character in the book that I did not find interesting or easy to like. They were all layered, complicated, endearing, and flawed.
2) The prose. It’s rare to encounter a modern book with well-balanced artistic prose that do not make the work come across as trying to hard or transform the work into self indulgent, poetic, silliness. The prose worked in this book. I loved the descriptions of Clare at work as an artist. I felt like I was sitting beside Clare watching her create. The author’s descriptions of winter were genuine. You are brought into each moment with the characters using descriptions of weather, food, and clothing.
3) The ingenuity. Sure time travel in a book is not new, but the authors take on it was different. The rules around how the characters could or could not control time travel, and how this impacted Henry’s outlook and his life, was fun and inventive.

What I did not like about the book:
1) Character voices. The book is written in first person point of view. The reader moves back and forth between Clare and Henry. There were times when I was not sure who the narrator was because Henry and Clare use the same voice. They describe things the same way. There were times I just could not imagine a man talking the way Henry did. Maybe I live a sheltered life, but I have never heard a woman refer to her own vagina as her cunt. Not a word I expected cute little catholic Clare to use.
2) Consistent use of prose. The author has the ability to eloquently describe things, however when it is time to get down and dirty she looses her flare. Talking about sex, a brutal death, or miscarriage-the language transforms into fifth grade fluency. Henry sounded like he took pleasure in telling Clare about his mother’s death. Like he was trying to shock her. He relates it in a brutal and grotesque way I found strange for someone talking about the death of someone dear to them. Clare’s descriptions of her miscarriages are not medically accurate. This surprised me considering the author consulted librarians and paper makers in her research for the book. Each and every sex scene (if and when sex is ever described) is anxiously mentioned. I found this strange considering Henry was supposed to be a cad before he meets Clare. Shouldn’t his point of view revel in sex with rich descriptions? Nope, Henry can describe the texture of a book better than his wifes skin, and he sounds like virgin catholic girl Clare whenever he talks about sex.
3) The author telling and not showing Henry’s former bad boy self. I kept wondering about Ingrid and her relevance in the book. I think her presence was intended to highlight Henry’s womanizing bad boy history. I never once believed Henry had this former persona, but the scenes with Ingrid do not achieve this. I wanted physical proof, but after awhile it becomes one of those, “because the author says so” kind of things.

The plot of the book is close to what you will or maybe have already seen in the film. For the most part the book is a relaxing and interesting read.

My friend Melanie is really quite amazing in her ability to see a project she wants to do, and then do it. Not only can she take the step from plan to action, her mind can tweak things in a way that makes them uniquely hers. She got the idea to do this frame from pintrest. The original idea was a 3×5 frame made from recycled old wood. Melanie’s brain right away took it to: “I’m going to do the same thing, but make it 4×6 because nobody prints 3×5, and then I’m going to use paint sticks.” Melanie has tons of paint sticks. Not because she thieves them. Nope, my friend is the master of, “I don’t like that, I’m going to paint it.” She collects and plays with household paint mediums like I collect ink pads. This woman has paint sticks littering her craft area like I have paper scraps littering mine.

Here’s what we used:

Supply List:

  • Wood frame base
  • 6 Paint Sticks (we liked the Home Depot ones she had over the Wal Mart, they were thicker and had a better grain.)
  • Glue gun & glue sticks
  • Dremel
  • 3 paint brushes
  • Sanding device
  • Wood Stain (we used 2 shades of grey)
  • Home Decor Wax paint (We used a dark brown.)
  • Modge Podge (Used is an antique cream)
  • Scrapbook Paper (Pictured above is K&Co)
  1. Prepare your work area. This project gets messy with wood dust, stain, and glue. Cut or break paint sticks. Each stick should yield one long piece for the top or bottom and one small piece for the side. The Dremel can help with getting exact cuts. Once you have all the pieces cut, distress the edges with the Dremel. 
  2. Hot glue distressed pieces to wood frame.
  3. Stain pieces with lightest stain first. Wipe off excess stain and add contrasting darker color stain being sure to stain the distressed areas and edges. Let stain dry.
  4. Add wax paint, once again focus coverage to the distressed area. Let the paint dry. Cover the frame with Modge lodge and add cover with scrapbook paper. 
  5. Tear paper away from the edge of the frame. Sand edges of the frame and across the top to desired distressed appearance. 
  6. You can ink or use the wax paint on the distressed areas of the paper. Let dry and then Modge Podge the entire top of the frame again. When it dries it is done. 

Book Review: Naked In Death, By: J.D. Robb

I gave this book three out of five stars. While I did not connect with this book, it still stands alone as a detective novel with interesting science fiction elements.
I had really high expectations given the length of the In Death series. I think my expectations are a big factor in my disappointment. I kept waiting to find the hook that has grabbed so many devoted fans. I never found it and that made me sad.
What I liked:
1) It’s set in the future. I loved all the futuristic and science fiction components. It made the settings fun and interesting.
2) The character of Lieutenant Dallas’s best friend. The scenes with Dallas and her best friend were some of the only times Dallas transformed into a character and not the detective caricature we see through most of the book. 
3) The accurate depictions of police methods. It’s set in the future, so who knows if its real or not, but I like that Robb incorporated the mundane as well as the interesting aspects of police work.

What I didn’t like:
1) The romance. I didn’t feel the romance between Eve and Roarke at all. The set up was fun, but how they came together was a boring given, and the rest was just bad decisions and unrealistic. None of it meshes well with the strong character Robb has tried to present as Eve. The Roarke/Eve scenes are awkward and lumped together with strained dialog and forced action.
2) The protagonist. I really wanted to like Lieutenant Eve Dallas. I wanted to see a smart, respectable detective, who makes good decisions, and has an even grasp on life. You know the kind of character I mean, like most male protagonists in detective novels. I was disappointed again because I can’t relate to Dallas. She is a closed off, unstable, non-relatable, job-aholic. When she is doing her job she is a female detective caricature. A beautiful, brilliant, and oh-so-smart she is able to connect the dots before anyone else. She’s the best so she gets the hard cases, and she knows this about herself. However she “can’t remember” or better said-won’t deal with the first eight years of her life. She has to take drugs to sleep through the night, and she has nothing else in her life outside of her job. But she’s “strong” because she can ignore these things and press on for the greater good. 
3) The crime plot. You can deduce the killer within the first interviews Dallas conducts (first 100 pages). Going forward it became really obvious because these are some of the only interviews we read, making the ending easy to deduce. Knowing the ending made the book boring, as I had to get through another 200 pages to find the ending. Are those 200 pages interesting? Not so much.

If I had found the romance more compelling, maybe the book would have been more interesting, and maybe I would have finished it faster. I had no enthusiasm whenever I picked this book up. It became a chore, something I had to finish, and not a book I found pleasure reading.

In 2008 I learned a method of scrapbooking called Assembly Line Scrapbooking (ASLB). I thought the method was insane when I first heard about it. Women were taking thier Club Scrap monthly kits and using the whole thing on scrapbook layouts. This part I was envious of, the part that blew my mind, when I learned they made a bunch of layouts without pictures on them. Why on earth would someone do this? Isn’t the whole idea to make a layout specific to your pictures? How were they making layouts without photos? Club Scrap thought the idea was so great they started to make instructions for each kit. They were now encouraging this reverse scrapbooking idea? I thought my dear friends at Club Scrap had lost their minds.

Then Club Scrap came out with a kit I absolutely hated when I opened it. The kit was called Wheel & Sprocket. It was a bike themed kit full of grape purple, bright red, and lime green paper. I was so ambivalent about the kit I figured I might as well use my free instructions and try this ALSB thing. I can honestly say I’ve matched pictures to every single one of those layouts. They did it, they converted me. I buy kits and make layouts without a clue as to what pictures will eventually land on them. I like this method for several reasons:

1) I use more of what I buy. It feels so good to use my stash. Before ALSB I made an average of 2 layouts per kit. I now average 18-22 layouts a kit.

2) I feel more free to be creative. Instead of being focused on the pictures, I’m focused on a kit, collection, or theme. I tend to use more of the embellishments in a kit. I’m better at no longer hoarding a special embellishment for “just the right layout”. I also play with media I might not otherwise use if I was thinking about a certain picture. Doing ALSB has helped me create layouts I love.

3) By scrapping with kits instead of buying random materials, I’ve learned to work with colors and media I don’t naturally gravitate towards. The colors I like don’t always work with the pictures I take. I also get more layouts for my money when I scrapbook an entire kit.

4) It saves me time. On average I can ALSB an entire kit in 3-4 hours. Some kits I can have done in less than 2 hours. 18-22 layouts in 4 hours is better than my Digital scrapbook average of one layout an hour.

5) I make more completed layouts. In 2009 I was pregnant, working full time, and had two children under 4. In one six week span I completed 175 paper scrapbook layouts. There is no way I could have created that many layouts without using ALSB.

I keep all of my ALSB layouts in page protectors and stored in 12×12 project bins. This past weekend I hosted a scrapbooking retreat. I brought my bins of ALSB pages and my bins of photos. My goal was to empty a bin’s worth of ALSB layouts, and fill it back up with completed layouts. I did it.

Here is my favorite layout from the weekend. I love this one, because the ALSB page is older and very plain. It was one I was getting worried about never finding picture for, because it was so plain. Two pages like this:  Pretty plain right? Well here’s the above layout finished:And here’s the other page:

If you would like to check out some free printable ALSB instructions head over to Club Scrap’s inspiration library HERE.

I’ve been poked on Facebook with friends asking, “Where have you been?” I think my head has finally stopped spinning after an incredible and crazy month of July. My husband and I packed up our four kids and took a camping road trip out to Yellowstone National Park. The week before we left was as crazy and insane as the actual trip. The trip was amazing, and overall it went better than I imagined. The biggest surprise of the trip was getting my Manuscript re-read back from my editor. I was told to expect an additional two week delay to the already several month timeline. It was a shock to see it land in my email while we were in the Black Hills, SD. Needless to say, my manuscript became my main focus when we did get home. So there was an unanticipated time lapse in returning my life to a normal routine.

*Anyway* Let me share one of the fun things I did on the road. I took a medium Close To My Heart storage box and filled it with a Crush Book, some Project Life cards, Washi Tape, My tube of Ranger Distress Markers, Glue Dots, and an Old Creative Memories Trimmer. I tucked this box of fun among our camping gear and used it journaling about our road trip. I used post cards, pamphlets, and stickers I found in gift shops or stores along our way.

Here are a few samples of pages I made:      

This was a fun way to journal our trip. I’m happy to be home, and even happier to settling back into life as usual.