Friday, October 4, 2013

Are we smarter?

So I have to laugh at the whole "Smart Phone" phenomena.  Our phones do so much for us that we no longer remember simple things like phone numbers.  

This page is to document right now - 2013- where we are at in our society.  I love my I-Phone - but do I rely on it two much.  I wonder if my kids will laugh when they read this in 30 years.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Beauty from Ashes...

This is my first Layout for the LOAD in Vogue at ScrapHappy.  The month is dedicated to a Scrap Happy member who became ill and died quickly.  She was only 52 and so full of life and fun.  We will miss her wit, charm and her stories.

This photo is a chive that has gone wild. Is it now a week or a flower.  Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder and what one sees as a weed is another person's flower.  Alison's life and death are a reminder to live, laugh and love NOW. Much of the beauty we see comes from choosing our perspective.  A dirty face is a reminder of childhood play. A grandfather grabbing a grandmother's hand to hold...that is beautiful. A teenage child pulling in the drive safe and sound - a beautiful sight!

Where do you see beauty today?  It is there to be found if we look with new eyes.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Some days are golden...this was one of them.  A perfect day for the Pumpkin Parade in Morton...then a photo shoot with my lovely niece for her senior portraits.  I am loving the warm, golden light.  Her eyes really pop.

What are the "golden days" in your world?  The perfect days that include the people you love, good weather and special moments captured are so fun to capture with the lens.  October begins another LOAD.  I have such a busy life right now but I hope to get create a LayOut A Day. It is so good for my soul - even if I lose a little sleep. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wicked with a Bow

Not much scrap time in my world right now with the start of the new school year.  I have been shooting some pictures so scrapbook pictures are just around the corner.  This is the first photo my niece has revealed from her Senior Shoot.  I call this "Wicked with a Bow" - like it says on the back of her shirt.  Someone said it looks like this photo should be in a magazine.  What a compliment.

This month - I bit the bullet and bought a lens.  It ate all my Amazon points and then some - but WOW was it worth it.  It is going to cut my editing time in HALF or more. I can't wait to show you more - but Ciara gets decide when she goes "public". :)

I love that I have been blessed with the opportunity to shoot pictures of the people I love. I have so few from my childhood that I am crazy with my camera.  My guys suffer through it. I love them for it. I love a willing subject. Thanks Ciara!

Hope you are enjoying some fall fun.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Believe...

I have been a bit absent from my little blog...but I am hoping to get back to business.  Life has been so very full and after all...and I have had to remember that I photograph, scrapbook and blog because I love my family and have stories to tell. 

This is a photo from my annual photos shoot with my little neighbor Kallie - you have seen other pictures of her and her sister.  She just turned 3 and we have been talking for a month about "when Miss Valerie takes your picture." We did a mini session with just her. What fun - and she got to be the STAR and not the little sister. Her big sis will get her own special time, too. 

I love this shot.  Yes...I added the wings  - but the rest is her.  She has a touch of Pixie and I BELIEVE she has a litttle magic!  
What a cutie.  Adding some words and a bit of a scrappy feel was irresisitable.  Do you have a photo that cries out for you to "play".  Is it calling for added wings...a quote...or even a transfer to B&W?  Just a quick addition can really make the photo memorable.  

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anniversary Card 2013

26 Years...                                                                                           

I do my best to make all of my justify the investment I have in all of my supplies.  I am tempted and fall to an occasional Shoebox but for the most part...I stick to that commitment.  Then...our anniversary rolls around and I feel the angst of trying to figure out how to make a card that reflects how much I love my husband...and our life together.  He always gets me the best cards.

This year, I had a plan!  My LOAD/ScrapHappy friend, Kristie Sloan made a wedding card that has inspired my wedding cards for 2013.  Check out Kristie @  She is talented and so very, very nice!  Here is the link to her original post.  You will enjoy her work and creative spirit. 

Back on track...I love making that wedding card but I have to give it away every time I make it (for obvious reasons). :) I am usually in a hurry... and never even remember to snap a photo.  I decided to twist the concept from Wedding Dress and Tuxedo to a "night on the town" suit and dress.  Our Anniversary...though several weeks still being remembered as this card sits on the top of the piano. Randy even commented on the design when I gave it to him. It made my day!  

How did I make it? Pick a heart die that will allow you to fit two on the page. Cut 1 black, 1 white, 1 flesh tone (or another white and add flesh color with a marker or stamp pad) and 1 color of choice.  I can't get enough of this tropical blue. 

For HIS suit: Get ready for this...I used an embossing folder I picked up at Hobby Lobby that looks like a memo pad. I strategically placed it to create the pinstripe in the suit. Cut a slit down the center of the heart just enough to allow you to fold back each side to create his lapels. Attach the white heart behind it for the shirt.  I used the animal print ribbon to make his tie knotted up well for just the right look.  I could have used brads or stickers for buttons. Even a bow tie would work if you have a heart punch.

For HER dress: Emboss the dress with the pattern of your choice.  I usually use my swirls, polka-dots or a small flower print. (This cardstock had a bit of a metallic sheen- if it were matte I might have used Stickles to had some bling.)  Have I mentioned that I love my Sizzix/Big Shot! It is the best tool for embossing.  Fast, easy and fabulous! I couldn't resist the animal print belt from my ribbon stash.  The buckle on her dress is from strips of "diamond" self adhesive gemstones strips... the possibilities are unlimited but it was fast and easy to cut to size and stick. Simply layer the flesh tone heart behind the dress to create some cleavage...using marker or ink to create shadows in all the right places. :)  

The stamps are from Stephanie Barnard's The Stamps of Life.  Anniversary stamps are not anywhere in abundance- so I dug until I found combinations that work.  The Words2Color set did have the "Happy Anniversary" I was sure to use it.  I added black doodling to  the Anniversary greeting to spruce it up. 

The card still needed I bordered the bottom with a man's belt created from ...are you ready for this shocker....a Sizzix border die that is meant to be a dog collar.  It transformed perfectly to a man's belt.  NOTE: I had no good reason to purchase the dog collar die several years ago except the fact they were practically giving it way on clearance. It is one of those gems that I have used again and again when I "think outside the box".  A frivolous purchase becomes a "go-to" tool! A scrap of gold paper for the buckle.  Voila!  A finished card for the love of my life. I must confess...I was excited to give it to him. 

I hope you enjoyed this little card tutorial.  I would love to see what you create.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Frogmore Stew

Our children have had the privilege of growing up in a real neighborhood.  They kind where your neighbors call out to you by name and offer a hand when they see a need.  The 17 years have seen some changes but even those who leave the nest we call our home - they remain dear in our hearts.  "Village People" is how we refer to them.

Sharing a meal or a recipe is a time honored tradition. It bonds people together.  This is a favorite:

This recipe was shared from the second family to live in the house next door to ours. Stephanie and Blake  moved in when Kayla was 3 or 4... and they had just had their "Gotcha" Day when Grant was delivered to their family from Korea at about 6 months of age.  She was pregnant with the baby we would soon know as Addie Mae.  They were new and we knew in an instant they would love them...and they had tough shoes to fill- for we loved the previous owners, too.

We made a habit of shared left overs - we called "Must Goes" from the fridge.  This recipe is one they talked about "doing"  not making.  It got our curiosity up and once enjoyed - became a favorite for several of us.  It is all about the shock of dumping the food on the newspaper covered table and grabbing what you want from there that makes it more of an adventure than a meal.  We love it.

Blake and Stephanie have moved away - but the friendship remains...and the memories of our "Must Goes" and Frogmore meals.

This recipe layout  was created in my Memory Mixer program. Easy and a cute way to share.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chase's First Loft

This is the July 2013 Sketch for ScrapHappy I made my own.  It was a quick and easy way to get this season in our life scrapped as my oldest son begins his grown up life!  

This is the story of our loft hunting adventures. It is so exciting that he has found an urban setting with a "hometown" feel. The first neighbors he encountered were a man that grew up near Peoria but ended up in "the District" after living in California. He has been there five years and loves it.  The next encounter was a spunky little gal of 91, named Gabby.  She lives above one of the theaters. She was a hoot! On her way to breakfast and loving life. It is wild and crazy on weekend nights...and a cozy little neighborhood on weekend mornings. It seemed just right. 

Now, I have to breathe deep and prepare for my first bird to fly the nest.  I have such mixed emotions- but I will never take for granted the gift of his health, the blessing of his educational opportunities that he took full advantage of and the hand of God as he begins this next step in his life. Savoring the gifts and seeing his excitement. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's going to be a Wild Ride!

I adore this young couple and had the joy of taking their engagement photos.  This is the first one I finished...I couldn't resist.  This is rope swing hanging on an old cottonwood tree.  You can see the sweetness and joy in their faces. 

This was unplanned and just happened while they played.  It is...of course...the best shot of the night. What are the unplanned photos...activities...or happenings that capture that piece of your life you never want to forget?  

Photos can capture so much, if we let them.  Sometimes we worry about the perfect lighting (I am so guilty of this) that we miss the moments!  Look around...I am trying to use my phone camera a little more often...and click!   You never know what you might capture when you abandon the quest for perfection. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Salads and Fresh Dressings

This is a favorite salad for our family.  It says "holiday"....or "special occasion". It goes out to families needing a meal when ill and even church potlucks.  It is one of those "Signature Smith/Lindgren" dishes that no event would be complete without.  Jennifer makes me laugh when she asks if I am going to leave the "extra dressing" or take it home.  It is such a sincere form of flattery. I always double the dressing recipe so we can enjoy it later in the week. :) 

The Orange Pecan Salad is so pretty...but the "Groovy Green Dressing" is the recipe that is always in demand. Tangy and sweet - it brings the salad to life. My Sister-in-Law Jennifer and I have talked about a family recipe cookbook.  I think it is a great idea...we have to start somewhere.  

The bowl in the photo has special meaning for me, as it was  a gift from my dear friend Sharon and a reminder of the gift of her presence in my world. It is another part of the story. We all have components that make the table special for a holiday or celebration meal.  What are yours?  The dishes, the recipes, the making of the meal together...or eating out. We all have tales to be told!  I left out that this recipe was given to me by my dear friend Brenda more than 20 years ago.  I have shared it so many times that I no longer feel guilty calling it my recipe - but in my heart- it will always be "Brenda's Orange Pecan Salad". 

Tackle a favorite recipe as a scrapbook page. I would love to see it!

Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our Snake Charmer

My niece, Ciara, is the resident snake charmer and wrangler at her house.  They live in a lovely home next to a pheasant sanctuary.  My sister-in-law Jennifer adapted to farm life many years ago...but the move to this new house came with surprises...a plethora of snakes!  They love the long grasslands of the pheasant sanctuary.  My poor SIL hates them...the way I hate mice, so I understand her discomfort at them sunning themselves on her back patio when the days get warm. Snakes are my friend because they eat mice - an attitude I learned growing up on the farm.  

When Dad was alive- he used to pay her for each snake she caught and delivered to him.  I call it her "Snake Relocation Program". The snakes take care of mice and...double shudder...rats that sometimes hope to feast around the grain bins. I am so impressed by her take charge and take care of the problem attitude.  It is funny to see how her skills and determination have grown as she has developed a style.  I am simply amazed at her confidence and courage. She is a great example for her little sister and Kenzie sometimes  joins the hunt. 

Scrapbook question of the day:  What adventures can you have without leaving your porch, patio or front lawn?  Who exhibits acts of bravery in your world beyond what you would expect by outward appearances? My nieces can glitz and glam it up with the best of them - then throw up the pony tail and take on a snake! Perhaps you can conquer the toughest challenges in the laundry basket with great success. Maybe- you take on the rabbits who eat your landscaping and win.  What is your big adventure right at home?  I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Scrap your art out!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Farmer's Hat...

A farmer's hat is kind of his trademark.  It tells a great deal about him from the logo he sports on his hat.  What kind of tractor does he drive? Read the hat. What kind of seed does he plant? Check his hat! What pole barn does he build? It might be on the hat!  

Our dear Heather Dubarry over at has been challenging us with some Texas influenced prompts this week.  One prompt was "hats".  Sure, JR Ewing wore a cowboy hat and Dad liked them, too, but the good old "farmer's hat" is what he wore every day of his life and my brother still does.

What "hats" do you wear?  Literally or what roles do you play?  it is a great way to take a random picture and tell a story. My favorite hats have animal print or gems (my Jill gave me a bedazzled hat that is one of my best treasures.  I wear it on my bad hair days to feel glamorous in spite of my hair wars. Hey...I think I have another story to be told.  

I'd love to hear if you have a hat inspired story. Happy Scrapping!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

He said...She said

The prompt for this page at LOAD513 was CONFLICT! It ended up being one of my favorite pages from the month. We are not fighters in our house.  We are not raised voice people.  We are bull headed and stubborn at times...blame it on our German/ Swedish heritage...but when we draw a line in the sand or dig in our heals...we are hard to move.

Randy and I have a fun disagreement going about audio books.  I say I have "read" it - after I have listened.  He recently discovered the joy of reading and loves his Kindle. He refuses to accept that I have read a book unless I sit an hold it in my hands and read with  my eyes.  We have had hours of fun arguing this point!  I even posted it to Facebook and I won!  He says that is because they are my friends.  Most are his friends too- and he is not on Facebook.

Is there a fun conflict in your world to journal?  Maybe one that is not so fun but worth putting down. Grab a photo you like and tell a story that shares who you are and what matters.  Our big debate is unimportant- but it reflects the fun we have and the way we can agree to disagree. Love stretches and grows with differing opinions.   He has every right to be wrong about my audio books.  :)  Love that man!

Happy Scrapping.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Inspiration is everywhere!

June is  the month we have made most of our Florida trips.  It has been TOO long since we have seen family and played on the beach together.  Disney is always an added plus.  

Since creative arts are my passion- I am inspired by Disney's genius.  I borrow from their musical scores and quote their characters in my daily life and in my scrapbooks.  

I like the "wait and watch" approach they take at times when a new movie is released.  You never know what what phrase or character that the public will grab and make big.  You can guess..but who knew these seagulls would be a hit!
 Sometimes I find this truth crosses over into my scrapbooking...and even in the scriptures I read.  Sometime...something grabs you and you go with it!  The right place...the right time...the right words can make a difference in saying what you want to say.   

Look around you...listen...take in the colors, the melody and the words you hear.  Inspiration is everywhere!  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Spiffy in a Jiffy

The prompt for this layout was a challenge to use "alibi" - I decided to do a bit of a self portrait page to tell the story of my love affair with make-up.  Questions like where were you?  What were you doing?  Why were you there at the time?  Did anyone see you?  Oh yes...I love a mystery.  

The evidence of my need to sparkle and NOT shine is told in this layout.  For me- it is all about the eyes.  This is a story my grand kids will giggle at when I am "old". Ha!  I am fine with gaining years -but I don't have to give up a little glamour in my days. 

What little detail of your life needs to be shared?  Do you have a way of doing something or a top priority in getting ready every day? I love the "Everyday 365"  embellishment.  It is not really the big events but the little details in everyday that make our world.  I'd love to hear what you create. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Beach Motel...

The LOAD prompt for yesterday was "Psycho" like the Alfred Hitchcock movie.  I went with a scary hotel experience. :)  What a time we had!  I hadn't scrapped this initially...but then decided that it was a big part of the memory and the fun looking back. Keeping it real in our scrapbooks is good.  Life, love and family are good...but sometimes messy. Sweet...but it has it's moments.  It is the real life I want to capture. What "real life" moment have you scrapped?  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Life Lessons from the Ballroom...

The Ballroom is a room on the clue board and one of my assignments as a featured artist for Lain Ehmann's LOAD513 "Get a Clue".  I was so excited that I had pictures of us dancing at a wedding. The groom was the son of some of our dearest friends, Timm and DeAnn.

The pictures included on of Timm's parents.  A just weeks after the wedding - Timm's dad died suddenly.  He went to change clothes for church and was gone in an instant.  Wayne was friendly, loved by many and loved Karen, their two sons, daughter's in law and the grandchildren.  He seems strong, passionate and healthy...and then in an instant - he was gone! I was so glad I had  pictures to print for Karen and the boys. Wayne and Karen were smiling after completing their dance - being honored for their many years of marriage.

Marriage is such an adventure!
As for product...I used a Bohemian Spirit kit from Lasting impressions.  I also used a Halloween kit because the colors and embellishments were perfect!  I love using products "outside of the box" ways they were meant to be used in.  What products have you used 'out of context'?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Girls...on the runway

An impromptu runway walk with my nieces.  They found a great sale on special occasion dresses and cleaned up!  They are good to go for many occasions and they didn't spend very much.  They are so resourceful.  Good shoppers. They gave me a little runway show and I grabbed the camera.  Love this photos because it was just an ordinary Saturday in the summer. :) Grab the camera and shoot something ordinary.  See where it takes you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Modus Operandi

Today's theme is terminology.  What is my method of operating when it comes to scrapbooking?  This layout was more fun than I can put into words.  I enjoyed every minute of making it come together.  The chance to use my favorite villian- Ursula- was a bonus...and my SIL Jan made the page, too.

How do you bring a page together.  Your M. O. is a story worth telling.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday I spent the day back home with my Mom, Sister-in-Law Jennifer (and one of my best friends) and my nieces, Ciara and Kenzie. We shared an incredible morning at the Open Bible Mother's Day brunch.  The men served and it was so nice  to be waited on.  The program was a delight to the eye and the soul, the food was to be savored and the conversations priceless.  There is no time like the present to share special moments.  I love these women.

I have the best sister-in-laws on both sides of my family.  How did I get that blessed?  On the Smith side- they have loved my husband and taught him about women. The women the Smith men have given me as sisters are a collection of personalities and interests that add a richness to our world. I only wish our times together were more frequent and distance didn't separate us.   On the Lindgren side,  my mother's gentle ways are a tough act to follow.  She is truly one of the most loving, accepting humans on the planet. My Sister-in-Law Jennifer has loved my brother with all of her heart and raised some amazing young women in an age when so many struggle to find their way.  I am so grateful I have been able to be a present active part of their lives.  "Fairy Godmother" is one of my favorite titles I have ever earned.

If you are a child or fur matter beyond words to the ones who love you, depend on you, learn from you and find safe rest in your arms.  Savor this day.  You earn it...365 days a year!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Sweet Woolly Mammoth...

The prompt for today was "And Then There Were None"..I struggled with this until I came up with the idea to scrap about my fascination with the Woolly Mammoth.  I love elephants and the ancient mammoth are obviously their ancestors.  Such HUGE creatures - yet- if like the animals we know today they were most likely smart, family oriented and have long memories. Powerful beasts and gentle giants...all in one package.

This is simply for fun - but it tels of "texting" , of a scientific find and gives a glimpse into what I like and find interesting.  Perhaps that gives it value down the road.

I need to get to work on today's prompt.

Until next time-

Monday, May 6, 2013

Need or Greed

National Scrapbook Day was great.  I didn't get to spend the entire day scrapping...but I did make a page based on our LOAD513 prompt...based on the Clue Game...the prompt was "Motive: Greed". Now, no one wants to be thought greedy, but when you look in the mirror or the "Scrapcave" the paper collection is...well...this layout speaks for itself.  What's a girl to do?  I love paper. I hope your day was full of fun, family and something scrappy.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy National Scrapbook Day!

On this National Scrapbook Day - I am bringing out this Layout from LOAD213...we were to write a love letter to a prized possession. I have never posted it to my blog but today seemed right. How could I scrap without my pictures?
Today's prompt is "Greed".  This camera always makes me feel a bit spoiled.  It is more than I need so I try to protect it and use the bells and whistles to justify my having it.  It does take the best pictures.  

Memory...this quote from "The Wonder Years" is really priceless. My style is "Photo-Journalism".  I don't know if that is officially a style - but it is the best I can come up with.  I love to take photos at events but beyond a party or celebration - it is the relationships between the people.  The stories they share.  They laughter, the fun and the tears when sad days come.  These are the things that make us human.  It is in these relationships that we grow, become, dream, change directions and fully live the life God gave us.  I hope you capture a story today.

Friday, May 3, 2013 the kitchen

Love is the Kitchen.  Since the beginning of time, women have found a kinship working side by side in the kitchen.  I couldn't resist telling that story here.  Three generations...Mom and Aunt Helen...Jennifer and Me...and Ciara and Kenzie.  All ages...all abilities...side by side.  What a great memory we made on this Easter weekend.

The kitchen really is the heartbeat of a home.  We all find comfort, nourishment and companionship different than any other room in the house.  I am glad for the LOAD prompt..."in the Kitchen" to stir up this story.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Walker...gotta love him!

What is not to love about Walker?  He is so funny and full of life.  The LOAD513 "Get a Clue" based on the Clue game... prompt for today was "Dagger" or "Knife" so twisted it to work with these recent photos.  Using descriptions like "Slice of Life" and "a cut up" made me feel like I worked the prompt for day two of LOAD513. 

This layout is clean and not embellished...but it is DONE!  I didn't want to distract from the photos telling the story - so I kept is simple.  We have so much fun when we are together, but the time flies so I capture the memories in photos and keep them safe.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WHITE...the first "prompt" for LOAD513

 I am so excited, honored and humbled to be a featured artist for Lain Ehmann's LOAD513- Get a Clue. I still feel the need to do a "LayOut A Day"- even on the days I am today. 

We are using the "CLUE" game for inspiration and today was- "Mrs. White" - Mr. Boddy's long-time housekeeper and cook.  It is a COLOR prompt - WHITE is the theme.  I have included my feature page and the one more to keep my goal of one layout a day until May 31.

Both layouts tell of my love for WHITE! 

The "White Out" layout is part of my goal to do some scrapping about faith and my many blessings. The other is insight into my personality. Both were fun to capture.  

I have been asked about the Glitter Alphabet...Ettes and Co by Fayette is the designer.  Christmas Carols Alphabet in Silver. I purchased it from Memory  Mixer/Lasting Impressions...which I use for my digital pages. I use some PSE but Memory Mixer is so user friendly.  There are four glitter alphabets - pink, green, silver and red in the set. Fun stuff!

Hope your May 1st is a great one.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I wanna be like you!

Our friends Tonya and Ritchie have had Tyson for many years.  He is definitely an old dog...and a sweet one! Just recently, they decided to increase their family by four feet...and along came Maggie Jane.  She is one of thirteen puppies and a sweetie.  

I was thrilled to take some puppy pictures to treasure these memories for their family.  This photo embraces the way Maggie looks up to Tyson.  He is patient and good to his new little "sister". There are moments she brings out a little puppy in him and in a short time - they both need a nap.  

Our pets are precious and priceless. They add so much to our world. They love us when we are unlovable.  Trust us - even when we have failed them. They are full of personality and make us laugh...and give us a glimpse at unconditional love.  Are they worth the hassle?  We think so.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Oh Brothers....

This is a layout from LOAD213...I get so much done in a Lay Out A Day  month.  I can't wait for May.

About this layout...

I love the story of brothers sharing a dream come true.  I don't love the idea of them jumping out of an airplane - but the desires of their heart made their "Jump"  such fun gifts to give.  They love being together.  I wish we saw Randy's family more- but they are in such far away places. We do make the most of the times we share.  The laughter is easy and the fun never ends.

I felt like I "built" this layout more than created it.   I just kept finding things to add to the page that seemed to fit.

I love the smiles...the energy...the focus on the dream fulfilled.  You are NEVER going to see me jumping out of an airplane unless it is on fire.  They would both love to do it again. Jan and I just smile...and pray. :) What dream come true...or bucket list item do you have to scrap?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Get A Clue...

Come along with me for a  fantastic adventure with Lain Ehmann.  It is the May 2013 Layout  A Day event.  31 days...31 prompts to inspire you...and if we stay "true to form" 6000+ layouts to savor. It is a wonderful month of inspiration and the sisterhood of scrapping will make you smile, laugh and maybe even shed a tear. It is good for the soul. to sign up.  You might see some familiar faces..or feet. :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Everything Changes in a Heartbeat...

This is a page from LOAD213 with Lain Ehmann.  It was a quickie and I am not sure I loved it at the time - but the prompt was to make a "Quilt" of right this what I did.

I love the quote...and the colors...and the photos are some recent favorites...but the page was far from my usual style.

Then it happened. A week ago Friday... everything changed.  My phone rang and on the other end was the news that my Dad was gone.

Dad had worked a full morning on the farm...tinkering with a new planter...moving tractors...surveying our land and chatting with my brother about the spring work that is nearly upon us.  He even burned some road ditches - a favorite task- so that they would grow back new and green for the spring.

Dad had recently been at a farm sale with a good friend.  They were well into their seventies...but they loved that they still had work to do.  They determined that they wanted "to die with their boots on, but they would like to wear out a couple more pairs."  He nearly died with his boots on...but Mom made him take them off for the afternoon naps in their bedroom off the kitchen.  He went to sleep and woke up in glory.  We are all so shocked.  Our gratitude is that he had no suffering and had a smile on his face when Mom found him.

He was a character...a storyteller...a pain at times(he taught me to be honest)...a tender heart and a passionate believer - so he only has great days ahead.  We will have some rough ones. Suddenly...I love this layout.

Savor the sweetness of each new day.  I am so glad we had chatted just a few days before and ending our conversation in "I Love You's".


Friday, March 29, 2013

Reflections...Why I Scrapbook

I think this layout is full of Easter colors. It uses my border collage photo that includes some favorite photos.  It is why I scrapbook.  I love to take pictures, tell stories and play with paper and color.  It is my little refuge in any storm and reminds me of my blessings. 

I made it during LOAD 213 when instructed to make a page that reflects me.  
These are some of my favorite colors.  The people are my people.  The art work is colorful and whimsical...the way I like it. Including yourself on a page is hard of me.  I never really love photos of myself. Let's face it...I am never ever going to be skinny.  My family might want more of me than my writing - so I will try harder this year to get in some pictures...and then use those photos, anyway. 

My SIL Jennifer is a scrapper, too.  We have decided that we might color eggs this year - even if the kids don't join us! A chance to play with color is hard to pass up whether it is on paper or on an egg!  If we do...I will take pictures. Of course - if we get it all ready and start to play - I predict the teens, young adults and everyone else will join in the fun. 

Happy Easter!  Celebrate the reason for the season.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One of the Great Loves of my Life...

My  Grandpa...oh, how I loved that man.  He lived just three miles away from our home and his house was called "the homeplace". I suppose I need to scrap that some day.  A day with him meant gathering eggs from the hen house. Feeding calves in the barn. Warnings to be careful when the dangers that went along with farm life were close at hand. 

Some people preached to their children...he lived it.  We learned by watching him.  He treasured each one of us for our individual gifts and strengths. He relished the gift he had been given to work and live off the land.  He was a good neighbor...  a present father... a devoted grandfather... a loving husband ... a hard worker...a grateful man.  

I was fortunate to live with him a portion of my senior year to help with Grandpa &  my grandmother. Grandma had developed Alzheimer's- a fairly new diagnosis in 1982-83. My biological grandmother of lung cancer when I was two.  His second wife - Grandma Marge- was our grandmother for nearly all of my life...and it broke our hearts to see such a beautiful, gracious lady disappear before our eyes - one day at a time.  It broke his heart. In that brokeness - he found an even deeper relationship with God- and Grandpa became quite the prayer warrior.  Upon his death- I remember thinking that I would miss him and the knowledge he covered us in prayer every day.

These are about the only pictures I have of Grandpa and I am pulling out the old wedding photos again. Sometimes you have to use what you have...even if it isn't the perfect picture for the story.

I miss you Grandpa.  I thank you for your example.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Harley Days are nearly here again...

It is in the air...mild temperatures here in IL and I am feeling a Harley ride in the not too distant future. This layout is on one of those "traditions" that have come out of this hobby.  A day trip to JP Cycles in Iowa is like a trip to Archivers for me.  

I used the ScrapHappy March 2013 sketch...and stayed pretty true to the design.  I find that sketches get me moving and then my own creativity kicks in to finish the page.  This was pretty quick and I LOVE getting another layout done. Now off to savor my Saturday with my guys.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When I think of Home...

Today - my home is where my guys are, but there is also that place I come from and return to for a connection that is hard to put into words. This layout was a response to scrap  "something from your childhood".

It was fun to use this photo.  My "home place" looks so different now. The old barn and corn crib or gone- replaced by grain bins. The house is now white and bigger.  Still - some things stay the same.

The lane is long...very long...the trees i watered as a child are HUGE and line the drive. Many of the trees have been lost to lightening - bless those old, tall cottonwoods- but the sense of "this is where I came from" remains.

Growing up country was a blessing.  I learned the value of work and self-entertainment.  My siblings were my friends because they were all I had ( and cousins). We played in the "creek" or "crick" as we called it.  We dared not say, "I'm bored" or there was a job assigned.  We danced in the rain...made pottery from the clay in the creek...rescued animals...watched kittens being born...climbed anything we could figure out how to scale from barn rafters to trees. The memories of that season are priceless.

Where do you  come from?   That is a scrappy kind of thought. I'd love to see.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Home...My Valentine's Thoughts

This is my LOAD(LayOut a Day)14 - done on Valentine's Day...I am going to have 28 layouts before the end of February and it is SWEET to get that much done.  I have been using mostly digital- due to the time restraints in my day, but I see that as an opportunity to create with a new medium.  Home was the prompt.  I have another one of my childhood home I will post later - but this goes with it being still close to Valentine's Day.

I hope you had a day filled with Happy Hearts at Home.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

God's Glitter...

Winter...blah...dreary...not my favorite season. But in the midst of the short days and bone chilling cold - the occaisional ice storm reminds me that God made all seasons and each one has it's beauty.  

An ice storm... in spite of the dangers and power outages that come with a beautiful thing.  I had these photos and wanted to use them together.  "God's Glitter" seemed to be the appropriate title.  I fully intended to take a black and white Ansel Adams approach , the red paper and the colorful embellishments jumped on the page and seem right.  

Enjoy your Sunday.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Scent of a Winter....

As I said before...I am doing the February LayOut A Day (LOAD213) with Lain Ehmann, my S-I-L Jan and her friend (and now mine) Dani Taylor.  It is my second round at LOAD and I am loving it.  The deadline of one layout a there is no consequence if you don't get it done...but those who know me know...I want the "A" in the class!

This daily goal forces me to make this hobby, art and passion a priority.  I have so much in my stash that I need to use - and I want to grow my digital skills - so you will see both.

Five Senses Friday is my favorite day in a LOAD.  I get to use so many adjectives when I journal about any of the 5 senses that I am nearly giddy with excitement awaiting the prompt.  This Friday was SMELL.  Oh boy. That was an endless opportunity to elaborate on of me many scent driven quirks.  Puppy breath...clean laundry...fresh turned black soil...fresh cut alfalfa or grass...Harley exhaust (the motorcycle not the dog) and my nose that tunes into fragrances and perfumes like a blood hound.

Where did the prompt take me?  Well...since I worked and had a great evening with my family...when I hunkered down to create - it was about time as much as inspiration.  I had been thinking that winter in Illinois is slipping away - and although it is not my favorite has it's own sense of beauty and wonder.  I knew what I needed to grab to finish my LOAD Day 8. A winter photo was the perfect choice. The title "Scent of a Woman" from the movie...I believe Al Pacino is in it...could easily be twisted into "Scent of a Winter" and in less than an hour - I had a completed layout.  What a great way to end my day.

I hope you enjoy the finished page.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Practically Perfect in Every Day!

There is a "practically perfect in every day".  Lain's LOAD213-Day 2 prompt was to capture our perfect day. As I started pondering what that would be- I kept returning to the perfect parts of every day...or at least a good number of them.  

This was a layout that has captured my life- right now.  Keurig's are will be something else in a few years.  

Some things mentioned are timeless. It will be fun to see what changes and what stays the same. 

Savor the perfect part of your day today.  Superbowl fun is ahead and a birthday in the house. I need to take some pictures!  Have a fantastic day.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

She's a God Girl!

It is the first day of LOAD213 with Lain Ehmann.  I am taking this second journey with her to complete a LayOutADay!  My sweet Sister-in-Law Jan encouraged me to join her in May.  I got to know her co-worker Dani Taylor and Dani's mom, Toni.  I loved getting to know some of the scrapbook artists (like you Debbie P.) and so many other.  I have been inspired long beyond last May. 

Our first prompt - we get a new one every day- was Speechless.  Lain took away all words for the challenge.  Me without words.  The horror!  I love that she drives me outside the box. I knew I needed an amazing picture.  My guys send to run from the camera - so my LOAD may include many other people in my life.  We will see how the month evolves and what story needs to be told.  

Ciara took this self portrait - she showed me where and how she did it.  She surprised my  by how much she has absorbed in our photo shoots when she has been my model.  She gets that natural light is what we always chase... and she found it defused.  The nailed it.  This was the perfect photo for the "speechless" challenge. 

I had a privilege of attending Winter Jam in Peoria as a guest of Matthew West. A special person in my world inspired the song "One Last Christmas". I met Jamie Grace, TobyMac, and ran around with Matthew's sweet wife and his Dad.  It was a night I will never forget.  Jamie's song, "God Girl" fits this photo.  I was singing it as I completed this simple layout.  "I'm a GOD Girl, that's who I be...from the top of my head to the soles of my feet."  It is a great song- full of fun. I may add the words later - but I followed the directions.  I hope the photo says it all. 
Have a great day.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cousins: Christmas 2012

Cousins...that look like brothers and sisters. Their blue eyes...that have an ethnic look...outside of their very Swedish and German heritage (That is a scrapbook page i need to consider creating.) stand out in most photos.  They love being together . 

We worried that being opposite sexes, they would not be close.  We did our best to make sure they saw each other as often as life permitted.  When we are together- it almost always a huge slumber party...with very little sleep! We used to joke that "someone always ends up sick" due to the exhaustion that came trying to squeeze every minute out of our time together.  It was worth it- to see them now!  

They are now teens and young adults. They still savor the time together.  They still stay up later than they should - but I wouldn't change a thing.  

I wish the guys were able to spend more time with their Smith cousins...but they are stretched out from Michigan to Florida including Alaska and Hawaii. When they do get together - it is always a great time- but there is simply not enough time. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Unexpected Blessings...

Our dear friends, the Vastine Family, were home from Belgium for the holidays.  They spent most of the time with family in other place and their Morton time was very "appointment" heavy - leaving only a few spare moments for them to see the many people who love them here.  I thought that I might not have a chance to see them but God intervened and we had a delightful breakfast in their company at Cracker Barrel. What a sweet treat it was for Jill and I. 

Certainly...the unexpected blessings are the sweetest.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013: A Year of Gratitude

Happy New Year...can't believe 2013 is here! Savor the sweet moments and count the blessings...especially the small ones. Taking them for granted is where the seed of discontent takes root. Happiness is not something to be chased after and caught. It is a byproduct of a grateful heart. I hope to count a little blessing everyday...365 of them.Jan 1st - "new beginnings" is a reason to give thanks. that clean slate of a new year. 

Jan 2nd...a good furnace tops my list. Special thanks to my little brother and Robbie's crew from Clifton on that one...they made the trip to Morton when the locals had no time for us. I give thanks often for the gift of heat. As I always tell Matt to tell Robbie- "I love my Carrier".

Jan 3: Today I am grateful for the technology that allows me to keep up with my family and friends. Staying connected and reconnecting with the people that have been my companions on life's journey is priceless.