Wednesday, February 29, 2012

~ OLW March 1st Blog Hop ~

Welcome my place!  It's One Little Word March Blog Hop time.  If you stopped here from  Becky's place, you have arrived at your destination (for now).  I hope you enjoy your visit!  I have experienced many interactions with my word this month and I am excited to be able to share them with all interested parties! There is a full list of blog hop participants located at the bottom of this post.

{balance} Just seven little letters strung together, who knew they could hold so much power!?  

{the prompt} This month Ali asked us to pick up the camera, rummage through magazines, explore Pinterest, or do anything else that might help us find visual representations of our one little word.  I was excited for this opportunity to use more photos with this project, since it's a little hobby of mine.  But, WOW, I really had to think about how to represent my word visually!  I had some help along the way, though. My word kept popping up all over the place!

{invite} I went back to last month's prompts, specifically the "invitation" part of the prompt, to focus and think about what my word looks like.  I thought about what it was that I really wanted to invite into my life as a result of this one little word.  In order to achieve balance in my personal and professional life, and between my personal and professional life, I invite harmony, calm and stability into my life.  I want to be present, in the moment, and focused on what really matters. I invite creativity into my life in all of it's forms.  Then, I took steps, sometimes baby ones, toward that balance, harmony, creativity, and stability.

{steps} So what are the steps I have taken to connect with my word, and fully welcome those previously invited things into my life?  Professionally I have begun to refocus the way I am doing my job.  Since I began my position more than three years ago, I have yet to bring my vision to life.  I've been doing some reading and online learning, as well as focused conversations with the professionals around me, all of which have been steps in the right direction.  I'm headed there; the right place to make a difference in the lives of the children around me.

"I know exactly where I'm heading, 
This is just a little stop I made on the way."

I know exactly what I need in my life to achieve balance personally; my journey is to figure out the how.  So what little changes have I made so far?

{family} Being present and appreciating my soul mate, my daughters and my granddaughter, which requires "powering down" once in a while (still work to do here)! Visiting my mother, father, sister and brother more often (but not quite enough, yet).
{health} Started jogging again (yeah me!) and I'm reading this book (heard about from Elise Blaha's blog) -- trying to put some of it into practice (just keep swimming, just keep swimming...)
{creativity and fun} Reading for enjoyment, working with photographs, scrapbooking (not enough!), blogging (not enough!), going to live music (got to see TWO this month here, and here -- woot)!

{a little help from my friends} I can't end this post without mentioning this: all this focus on my word has contamintated those around me.  :-)  I am certain there are people in my life that are sick of hearing my word cross my lips!  But also, there are some in my life that help me, and encourage me to connect with my word.  One of many is my friend and co-worker, Kendra.  When she saw that I was jogging again, she sent me a quote...and then another...connecting to jogging and my word.  I so appreciate that!  Even made it on the page.

{the prompt in action}  So here we go....

Initially, I had decided that I would probably *not* do the full page photo included in the prompt, mostly because I didn't have a good way to print a photo in the 8.5x11 size.  Then I decided that was a silly reason and went out and bought a new printer! Apparently, I'm all about trying new things this month!  I also wrote on a photo for the first time.  I tried a technique similar to one that Elise Blaha uses frequently in her work, specifically I've seen it pop up in her project life.  I put the photo in photoshop and added some of the text, leaving out a few key words.  Then I channelled my inner Elise and Ali and wrote directly on the photo.  Fun!  This photo was taken the day that I started jogging again.  I knew I would eventually do it, I just needed to get to the right place to do it. So, I started, but snapped a quick photo of my feet first.  :-)

february's whispers of balance
spending time with my extended family :: jogging:: 
watching B. sleep :: appreciating the moment :: 
noticing :: laughing :: doing :: drinking wine :: 'powering 
down' to listen :: taking photographs :: reading :: 
going to shows :: snuggling B. :: enjoying 

Here's a close up...

I used to jog, quite regularly for several years. And now, quite regularly for several years, I have NOT been jogging. :-) Calling what I did on this day 'jogging' is being very nice to myself. :-) I walked, I jogged a bit, but either way I started. I always listen to music when I jog, and this day I listened to The Jayhawks. But I couldn't help but think of this line from Bob Dylan's (the greatest poet/song writer of all time) Thunder on the Mountain : "Today's the day, gonna grab my trombone and blow".  This day was the day I grabbed it (also the quote on the bottom of the photo). You'll notice two other elements on my page this month that have a connection to jogging. 

Top row:
:: Date stamped on grey, Hambley overlay, and my olw on a tag
:: I used two pockets for one photo.  This photo was taken just before my father had surgery.  Part of the balance that I need to find in my life is very related to spending as much time as possible with my parents.  I still might write something on this photo, I haven't decided!

Middle row: 
:: I've been trying to take a healthily lunch to work, based on my new learning from the book that I am reading.  
:: My sweet B.  
:: My word keeps popping up in the professional reading that I have been doing!  Hello, balance!

Bottom row: 
:: A photo taken at one of the two shows we went to this month.  
:: This is a screen shot from my iPhone of my first "jog" (using the Nike app).  
:: A quote that my friend Kendra found for me.  Quote reads, " If you run, you are a runner.  It doesn't matter how fast or how far.  It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years.  There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get.  You just run."  ~ John Bingham

This was fun and didn't take nearly as long (or require as much decision making) as last month!  I am really enjoying this project and look forward to what March might bring!

{about the class} One little word is a class offered over at Big Picture Classes.  Ali Edwards sends out an email once a month with a prompt to help you focus and experience your word.  There is also an online community that welcomes you with open arms!  One little word class is open all year! It's not to late to join the fun!  

Thank you for visiting my little blog!  Next up is  Katrina!  If you'd like to start from the beginning, here's  Margie's place.  Happy March!

Monday, February 27, 2012

~ five things ~

1.  I wrote on my first photo.  Ali Edwards and Elise Blaha Cripe do it all the time, so I tried it.  It worked.  Here's a sneak peak:

2.  I am participating in a One Little Word Blog Hop on March 1st.  Please stop back to see where my word has taken me this month!

3.  I've been loving instagram lately!!

4.  I bought a new printer so that I can print photos in the sizes that I want (even those instagrams and hipstamatics from the iPhone).  I will still get most of my photos at Walgreens or Snapfish, but this will be nice when I need something a little different than a 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10 -- and I don't want to take the time to make it work in photoshop!

5.  I have a knack for not finishing things.  Part of the problem is that I see the world through orange colored glasses, which is sometimes a bit too optimistic.  ;-) I frequently bite off more than I can chew!  On flickr alone I've failed a 365, two color groups and, most recently, a December in Photos group!!  But I have officially completed something!  Good or bad, it's done!  I present to you, February's Alphabet Fun 2012:

Click on a title if you like to see a photo bigger.  :-) 1. ~ a is for apples ~, 2. ~ b is for breakfast ~, 3. ~ c is for contagious ~, 4. ~ d is for drinks ~, 5. ~ e is for enjoying the iPad with elmo ~, 6. ~ f is for fork ~, 7. ~ lime light ~, 8. ~ h is for hearts ~, 9. ~ i is for instrument ~, 10. ~ j is for jazz ~, 11. ~ k is for king of hearts ~, 12. ~ l is for living ~, 13. ~ b. my baby ~, 14. n is for no valentine, 15. ~ o is for operation ~, 16. ~ p is for pre-performance shot ~, 17. ~ quaternary quarters ~, 18. ~ red rose ~, 19. ~ sneakers ~, 20. ~ textual textures ~, 21. ~ unfinished ~, 22. ~ volume at eleven ~, 23. ~ white winter (with a little red) ~, 24. x is for x-treme biking, 25. ~ y is for yawn ~, 26. ~ zero ground clearance ~ #thehereios

Thursday, February 23, 2012

~ whispers of balance ~

I'm not sure I will use all of these photos for my OLW project this month, but these are a just a few ways that my word has whispered to (and sometimes yelled at) me lately.  I will post more about all of this on my blog for the March 1st OLW Blog Hop!

waiting for surgery
it just keeps popping up

asleep on the way to grandma and grandpa's

a few moments to stop and smell the roses
baby steps

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

~ a week in photos and words ~

c is for contagious
d is for drinks

e is for enjoying the iPad with elmo

f is for fork
Friday, I got a call from daycare...fever and complaining of an owie in her ear.  So I made an appointment, and after an hour and a half of various tests (none of which made her happy) we came home with nothing but a 102.9 fever and a diagnosis of virus.

Saturday evening, my older daughter watched B. while we went out for supper to celebrate with friends.  A close friend of mine turned 40 and her husband pulled off a surprise party. We almost didn't go because about a half hour before we left, B. vomited. I like this iPhone photo because the drink is the focus, but the party is still shown in the background.  We came home after just a couple of hours to a kiddo with a 103.5 fever! Scary!
lime light (g is for green)

h is for hearts
Sunday was a little better.  Still a fever, and stomach things, but times of "normal". I love this photo because1) B. set it up. She wanted the blankie on the floor (I helped) and then she set up the gorilla, and they played with the iPad.  2) The hair twirl.  She twirls our hair and her own, especially when tired, or sick.

Monday, I was home with B all day.  While still a bit pale and cranky, overall much better and no fever! Yay!  Continuing with the alphabet theme...I chose a for, macro style  for "macro monday".

Tuesday was my first night of class for this semester, so a quick shot of a lime for g is for green!

Wednesday I decided to try an idea that my older daughter, H. found on Pinterest! Fun shape bokeh.  H is for heart, of course! (and I had to get a bit of orange in there somewhere)

I've been thinking a lot about my word; balance. Sometimes I think I even see it in the distance, but mostly it hasn't found me yet.  :-)  I need to go to a show or two I think!  I miss music and spending time with C., just the two of us.  Since B. has been sick I have gotten to spend more time with her, which is nice (the time, not the sick, of course).  And I even had a minute or two to work on a layout (not quite finished, but will post soon).  So maybe balance isn't so far away after all. Notice I haven't mentioned any sort of exercise though!

One thing is for sure, I have not been spending enough time with my parents.  And even more important, B. hasn't been spending enough time with them.  It doesn't help that she has spent the last two weekends with a fever!

Over the last few weeks my father has had several procedures to remove cancerous and pre cancerous cells on his skin.  He worked outside most of his life, so it isn't surprising that it would be catching up with him at this point!  This most recent procedure required quite a bit of tissue to be removed from his nose (dead center, of course), enough to necessitate skin grafting.  This is something they will actually need to knock him out for and it makes me nervous!  He suffered a stroke nearly 15 years ago, and we do believe that there have quite likely been other mini strokes in recent years (there are signs).  Also since the kidney transplant, over four years ago, his health has deteriorated a bit due to the drugs that they have him on to keep him from rejecting my kidney.  AND he has diabetes.  So all of these health concerns are why I am a bit anxious about this upcoming event.  It will be weighing heavy on my mind over the next week!

In my near future:
1.  A show (or two).  I have several on my calendar and I'm ready to go!
2.  A night away with my soul mate.  C. and I have several ideas about how to make this happen.  It involves grandparent babysitters and reservations!
3.  Finish that layout!

And I leave you with a B. story that makes this literacy coach very happy.

B. brings me a pile of books and says, "Mommy, talk these with your mouth."  And that's what I'll focus my orange-colored-glasses-view on this week!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

~ january reflections ~

Wow.  I am in too many projects right now!!!  I'm not sure how I can find or maintain any sort of balance in my life with all this stuff going on!  Unfortunately, you can see it in my photos, which doesn't make any of it fun.  I should just embrace the fun that is creating and go with it, but I've been stressing over every. little. thing.  I'm sure it's because I am spreading myself too thin!

Speaking of which, the month of February brings "February's Alphabet Fun" over on flickr.  I'm doing it, of course.  Feb. 1 = a is for....  Feb. 2 = b is get the idea. I'm sure explore will not find me this month!

a is for apple
b is for breakfast
Both of these photos were also placed in the group We're Here!, and part of my 365. So three-fers, bonus. 

I've noticed that this 365 attempt is quite different than my first failed one; both good and bad differences.  I'm probably taking better photos overall.  Like before, I am thinking about it often and looking at life through that lens, so to speak.  I find myself, often, thinking, "Wow, that would be a great picture".  Or thinking about the lighting, the composition of what's going on around me -- can what's going on around me have composition?  I'm not sure how to word that!  I think you get the idea.  But a couple of differences:  I'm caring too much about it. I am completely stressed out about the fact that my last few uploads have been...not so hot.  Isn't that the silliest thing ever?  I know it, but I can't seem to get past it.  Also, I'm not taking nearly as many photos of my family.  The whole purpose of buying the camera and getting back into creating scrap book layouts was to take better photos to document our lives.  How did I stray!? 

I enjoyed the OLW blog hop!  As I'm looking around at all of the creative fun around me I'm wondering "How do these people do it??"!  And I haven't even started back to class yet!  Next, week I start a new graduate class, but it's OK because this time next year, I will be DONE (or close).  Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is a good thing, but I'm not sure how I to balance it all between now and then; family, work, photos, OLW, scrapping.  YIKES.

So, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed today.  "Really?" you say,  "I couldn't tell!"  On the upside, look at all of the orange in the photos above!  Whew!  Awesomeness!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

~ OLW blog hop ~

I'm so excited (and a bit nervous) to be participating in my first blog hop ever!  If you are visiting for the first time and you like what you see, please feel free to follow me by clicking over on the right!

As mentioned in previous posts, I am participating in a class over at Big Picture Classes called One Little Word with the fabulous Ali Edwards.  This is my first attempt at this class and I am enjoying pretty much everything about it.  I look forward to checking the gallery each day to see what my classmates have come up with.  This month, I have enjoyed the prompts and feel like they have helped me get to know my word, balance.  The one thing that has been difficult for me this round has been making decisions about the small stuff!  As I shared in my last post, I'm sweating the small stuff and I don't like it!!  :-) What I love most about this process though, is watching my word continue to pop up in my life everywhere!

But let's get to the photos and the process of putting it all together.  I'll start with the final product and if you are interested in the details keep reading.  Deal?

My word, balance.  The title page is a photograph that I took on January 1st, the same day I announced my One Little Word in this post, which also explains why/how I chose it (or it chose me) and how the necklace in the photo is related to my word.

January page with title page
January 2012

The decision making part of this was the most difficult.  Choosing the word was easy and picking out the album color wasn't at all a problem either, of course.  I saw a scrapbook layout online a while back that used a grey and orange color scheme and loved it.  I didn't pin it (I'm pretty sure I didn't even know about Pinterest at that time), so I couldn't find it again, but I remembered the colors and when this project came up I knew I wanted to use that palette.  But then....white or grey prompt cards?  type or handwrite? etc.  To illustrate the difficulties that I had early on, I give you this photograph...

These were all for one quotation card!  I love the quote, "Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving" by Albert Einstein.  This was the first card I worked on, and I decided if they were all going to take as long as this one, I was in trouble!  The real trouble was that I made six before I settled on this one...

I couldn't stop at just one quote!  I also chose a quote by Henri Matisse, "What I dream of is an art of balance".   I happen to love Matisse, so I was extra excited when I found it.  I purchased a digital print of a Matisse painting online and printed it for my page.  I chose this particular one because the people somehow remind me of my word -- and I like the colors.  There are three layers, the base layer (the grey card stock is a bit of BazzillBasics (canvas) smoky goodness).  The top layer is just the print, and I threw a bit of orange for good measure - a bit of an orange sandwich, if you will!  I used this EK Success edger punch for some added fun, and wrote the quote going up the side.  This one only took a couple of takes (headed in the right direction).

Probably my favorite card is the homemade chevron pattern, with the date.  Inspired by this post by Katie Scott, I decided to add some chevron fun.  First, I punched squares out of various paper.  Next, I cut the squares in half and, finally, glued into a chevron pattern!  Easy peasy!  (Now we're getting somewhere)

And then, my word, Balance, written over two cards.

For this I inked, cricuited (heh, new word) and sewed.

This awesome embossed card stock, BazzillBasics' Tin Roof, was the base of these two cards.  I cut them to fit and then I rounded the corners with my Creative Memories Corner Rounder.  I lightly inked the raised parts with orange (of course) Stampabilities pigment and then ran the edges across the ink pad, too.  I used the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge to cut out the letters on my Cricut.  I was able to use several patterned papers from my stash.  Finally, I got out my new(ish) sewing machine (read about my first adventure with that here) for a few, very imperfect finishing touches. 

I had several mistakes that actually worked, which is always nice if you have to have mistakes!  One is pictured below.

I had this great idea to use this awesome EK Success punch at the bottom of the thesaurus card (my first mistake was not spacing out the words to fill the card).  I completely forgot that this punch doesn't really create a border, it detaches completely from the original paper!  So I just stuck some patterned paper behind it, glued 'er down and called it a day.  

Overall, I'm please with the final product and it was fun!  I hope I didn't add too many boring details, but I happened to take a few photos while in the process and thought I'd share!

One more thing...looking for that self-portrait?  I have taken a few, but been quite unhappy with all.  So...I'll try again, soon.

Thanks for stopping by!  Next up, Tere!  

Melissa S            
Missus W            
Monica B            

Orange Gearle   <~~~~~ you are here!  :-)