Tuesday, November 16, 2010

...with much Gratitude

Shortly after my last blog post in September I went through something that changed me forever. I had a routine outpatient surgery that left me with an undetected internal bleed and by the time the doctors in the ER found it I had lost over half of my blood volume. It was a very close call and I tear up every time I think about my husband and mother sitting in the O R waiting room all night praying I would make it and trying to prepare themselves for a different outcome.
When I woke up after the surgery I was in so much pain yet I was grateful for the pain because it meant that I had survived. I like to think I was a grateful person before all of this happened but now I am grateful in a whole new way. If I could go back in time and change the outcome of the first surgery and never go through this whole ordeal I wouldn't change a thing. I have learned so much through this experience. So, it is with much gratitude that I move forward in my life taking with me the things I learned.

For my first blog entry since the surgeries I decided to share this Gratitude Journal I designed for ScrapbooksPlus. The idea behind it came from a friend. She has a gratitude journal and each year at Thanksgiving she records what her family is thankful for from that year. I decided that when my kids were old enough we would start the same tradition.
I started with the Graphic 45 ~ Staple Collection ~ Envelope Album and Teresa Collins ~ Giving Thanks Collection of papers and embellishments. I added some Prima flowers on the cover along with some Tim Holtz Tissue Tape. I also added a Metal Glitter Charm from The Girls Paperie and glued two tiny magnets on the back to use as my closure system.

In the center of the lightest color flower I attached a Making Memories Metal Sayings embellishment so the magnet on the back of the Metal Glitter Charm had something to cling to. The tags from the Giving Thanks Collection are double sided so when you open the book the back of the "Gratitude Journal" tag shows the same design. The same is true for the "Count your Blessing" tag below.

I chose this album because of the envelope pages. I could have simply decorated the cover of a notebook or journal but how much fun is it really to look at empty pages. I wanted a journal that I could display. The envelope pages gave me the ability to have pages to decorate and a place to keep those blank pages. As the years go by we will fill them up

I made these pages for the journaling. They slip easily inside the pocket pages and I could even add two or three to each pocket just in case we are really grateful. I cut them out of cardstock and stamped them using Antique Linen ~ Distress Ink and a music note clear stamp. I then used the Distress Ink to create the halo effect around the edge of the cards. Finally I added the titles to the top using the transparency sheet from the Giving Thanks Collection. I cut them out and glued them each to a journaling page using Zip Dry.

I used more embellishments, tags and papers from the Giving Thanks Collection as well as other items I had in my stash to decorate the rest of the album.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bitter Sweet School Days

Today was a really big day in our home. Today was the first day of 2nd grade for Aubrey and the first day of Kindergarten for Cullen. To be honest I have been dreading this day for years. Every time I would think about what it would be like to send both Aubrey and Cullen off to school for the first time I would feel my heart sink. Now that this day has finally come I am more at peace with it than I thought I would be. I am so excited for Aubrey and Cullen to start this school year. They are both so excited to learn new things and meet new friends that I cannot help but be excited for them.
Cullen going to school is a big change in my life. For nearly 8 years I have been a stay at home mom and revolved my schedule around taking care of these little people and now I will be sending them off to school for 6 1/2 hours a day. I'll still have plenty of work to do but since I won't have all of the little interruptions I hope to carve out a little time to play catch up!
I have so many projects I just haven't had the time to do. I am excited to get to work and knock some old things off of my to do list. First order of business is to get some work done on the kids' school days albums. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful I have so many things left undone. After all I was busy with other things that were simply more important! These pictures of them getting on the bus make me think of a quote:
"Where you are going it is not down on any map; true places never are."
~Herman Melville

Sad for me but so happy for them!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scrapbook Journaling Tip

As scrapbookers we are constantly advised to use our own handwriting to journal. I think it is important to use your own handwriting sometimes but I am here to shake things up a bit in the world of journaling. While it is important to have an archive of our own handwriting I also believe that there is a time and place for everything. I think that even more important than following the rules is to think outside of the box. In order to keep our journaling fresh and interesting I think we need to change it up from layout to layout. For this particular page I had a certain story to tell and I wanted to tell it on this journaling box from Bo Bunny's Note Worthy Party Notes because it was incorporated into the design of the layout. The layout is busy and all over the place so I wanted to use bold typeface to anchor the journaling on the layout. The whimsy of my own penmanship would have been too busy and not bold enough to draw attention so I needed to type out my journaling and I needed it to fit a very specific space. In order to do that I first typed out my story and then I played around with the margins to get the type to fit in approximately the area I needed. Then I printed it out on a piece of printer paper. I placed my jounaling block over the writing on the paper and held it up to the light to see how the words would fit on the block. I made a few changes and printed the new version. Again I checked it against the light to make sure I had made the correct changes. It was perfect! I put some adhesive on the journaling block and placed it on the printed paper lining it up with the lettering. Then I printed the same document again. Once it was printed I removed the journaling block from the paper and added it to my layout. I was able to achieve the effect that I wanted with this simple trick. I believe journaling is just as important as the photos we use in making our scrapbooks. Together they tell our story. As Joanna Slan said in a class I took from her recently "They say a picture is worth 1000 words but have you ever gone to your lawyer to sign a picture." When you begin a new layout before you stick anything down you should decide what you are going to say. And remember to change it up using quotes, lyrics, your own penmanship, a new font, hide it or display it. Whatever you do make sure you journal it because if you don't your story will be lost. If I help one person get out of a journaling rut with this blog post then it was time well spent. Check back... I'll be posting more ideas about journaling.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Make It Your Own

When I can't find just the right embellishment for a layout I make my own. On this layout I made the transparent butterfly using the Tattered Angels butterfly stamp from the In Flight collection. I inked the butterfly with StazOn ink and stamped it onto transparency paper and then cut it out. I adhered only the center of the butterfly onto the page using glossy accents. I bent the wings up gently to create a little movement and depth on the page. The swirly stamps below the butterfly on my layout are from a stamp that came in the same set. I stamped the entire design on the corner and then I wanted to stamp just the middle swirl just above it. Here is how I did it. First I took masking tape and taped off the part of the stamp I didn't want. Then I inked the stamp. I quickly removed the masking tape and stamped the design on my project. Since the masking tape picked up the ink for the parts of the design I didn't want on my layout I end up with the one swirl that I did want.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Here is a great little embellishment I made using my Silhouette die cutting machine. I chose several different flowers from my library of images. I set up my template with four different flowers, two of each different flower. I made them all in different sizes ranging from 3 3/4 inches to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Once they were cut out I spread them out on my craft mat and sprayed them with water then crumpled them. I unfolded them and laid them out on my craft mat to let them begin to dry. I hit them with my heat gun until they were crisp and the wonderful texture from the folds was set into each flower. I stacked them and put a brad through the center to hold them together. This flower so easy and inexpensive to make {well, besides the cost of the Silhouette of coarse} and it was the perfect embellishment for this page. I saved the template on ROBO Master and plan to make another one of these little beauties soon. This time I think I'll use a couple different patterned papers and see how it turns out. If you want to know how to use different papers on the same die cut pattern on the Silhouette check out my blog post SUMMER.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


{Disclaimer: I would like to acknowledge and apologize for the blurry photo of the title "Summer." The layout is currently on display at ScrapbooksPlus so I was unable to re-shoot the photo of the title for this post. Once I get the layout back I will replace this photo with a photo that is in focus. Now back to the regularly scheduled program.}

Now there may very well be a way that you can cut each part of a Silhouette pattern out separately but I don't know what it is. One of these days I'll have to sit down and watch the tutorials they have but until then I figured out a quick little trick of my own.Silhouette has several patterns that include different pieces to be layered that would look great cut out of different papers but when you go to cut them out they are all cut together on the same paper. I wanted to cut each layer of this title out of a different paper. In order to know exactly where to put my different patterned papers I cut it out of printer paper first and then used that as a template to line up each of the papers I wanted to use. I knew exactly how big each paper needed to be and exactly where to place it. Once I had everything in place on the cutting mat I checked it against my template again and then cut out the pattern. I had the three different layers I wanted without having to waste any of my pattern paper.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I have been thinking about journaling a lot lately. Many scrapbooker struggle with this part of the process. We all get so inspired by the papers and products out there in the stores but often get stuck on what to say about the subject of our layout. I hope this post gives you a little inspiration when you get stuck.

Here is a layout I designed for ScrapbooksPlus using the June Design Team kit. The journaling for this layout is a bit more personal and I prefer to use hidden journaling on pages like that. The library book pocket on the right side of the layout is where I hid my journaling.

When I was done journaling that sweet hand written letter to my son about his first day of preschool I folded it up and put it in the pocket and then I journaled again. Yep! That's right... you can journal more than once on a layout. It worked especially well for this layout since the main journaling is hidden. The casual observer does not have to read the hidden journaling. She can just read the quote on the upper left hand corner instead and get the idea of what this layout is about.

Quotes are a great way to journal when you can't find just the right words. Often times you'll find that someone else did find just the right words to describe what you are trying to say. So the quote I used is one of my favorite quotes. It is from the movie Hope Floats. At the end of the movie Sandra Bullocks character says "Beginnings are usually scary and ending are usually sad but its everything in between that makes it all worth living."
So where do I find the best quotes for scrapbooking? This one came from one of my favorite movies. I watched it repeatedly in my early 20's. I practically had it memorized so when I was journaling about this day it just popped in my head. There are also some good websites with quotes especially for scrapbooking. Click here for one of my favorites. The quotes are divided into themes so you can easily find something that works for your layout. I also keep a notebook of quotes and whenever I hear a great quote I right it down. I picked one from my quote journal to share. I once watched an interview with Rev Joseph "Run" Simmons and he said "I really thought that the hard part would be in raising you, but the real hard part is letting you go." I slipped that great quote right in my quote journal and now I'll be ready when my 7 year old goes off to college... or at least I'll be ready to scrapbook it. The best part about my quote journal is that the quotes in it are all word that moved me, made me feel something. Every time I read through a few of the pages in it I get inspired.

I hope this has inspired you to journal on you layouts. After all a picture may be worth 1000 words but which words? No one will know unless you write them down.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sneak Peak

So... ScrapbooksPlus does this really cool thing each week. On Wednesdays {which is also coupon day} they have a layout featured in the store that has been designed by one of the talented members of the SBP team. The papers, etc., that you will need to complete this 2 page layout are available in the store for purchase. The best part about this is that there is a FREE embellishment as well as instructions included with the purchase of the papers to complete the project. Since the instructions are included you can just stop in, grab the papers {they are all together right by the door} and get you FREE element and instructions and be on your way. There is no need to stay to use the crop room and complete the project... although you can! This Wednesday I just happen to be the designer of the layout... so you get a sneak peak which is only cheating a little bit;)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SBP Design Team~May's page map

I loved the page map one of the designers on my design team came up with for this month's assignment. I loved it so much I didn't want to stray far from the original. Now that I look at it though I wish I had gone ahead and added a place for more journaling. The journaling that I did do doesn't really explain what happened.

I was taking the Karen Russell Photographer's Workshop at the time and chose my son to be my subject for that week's assignment. Instead of taking all pictures from the same position she and other photographers say to change your perspective by climbing up high, getting down low and walking around your subject to see just what other point of view you can capture. In an effort to change my POV during this shoot I got down on the ground to photograph my son. I guess he wasn't used to this because he came over to me and laid down in front of me on the ground and started looking at me through the camera he made with his hand. I got some of the sweetest pictures as he looked at me through his "camera," then looked at me with a sweet little sideways glance and then finally sat there picking the grass with his head resting in his hand out of boredom. I guess he thought I was doing something really fun there laying on my tummy in our yard but in the end discovered it must just be one of those weird things grownups think is fun but really isn't.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!!
Mine started off on the wrong foot. I got up early this morning for a bike ride followed by a run. About 15 minutes before I was going to meet my friends I was pumping up my tire and got a hole in the tube, ugh! Well... I ran to my one friend's house and she didn't know how to change the tire so I waited for the other girls and they didn't know either. They are all Iron Girls and have never changed a tire and I am new to this and have now had my second flat. I was starting to think that maybe cycling just isn't my thing.
We all made our way back to my house and gathered in my garage and the four of us Mamas started our Mother's Day learning how to change a tire. It took us about 15 minutes. After that it was smooth sailing, or actually smooth biking then running... no sailing. We were able to get 13 miles in on the bike and another 2 miles on a run. Then I went back out for another 3.1 by myself. Now I'm spending a little quality time in my studio listening to music... These Are The Days by the 10,000 Maniacs.I get a lot of emails about my studio. I have gotten a few questions in the past month about this cabinet in the corner, the one all the way to the right. I picked it up at Ikea. Originally I bought it for our Living Room/Dining Room in our first town house. When we moved into our current home that cabinet and the kitchen island from our first house ended up {quite on purpose} in my studio.
I love this cabinet. It has two large drawers in the bottom. I have one full of all of the school days things from embellishments to lettering to photos. The other drawer has all of the Christmas album things in it. That way when I want to work on my Christmas album I have everything in the same spot. I can just pull out what I need and when I need to work on another project I can just slip everything back into the drawer. Since both my Christmas album and my school days albums are my two ongoing themed projects it works really well to keep everything together.
I keep my printer and my silhouette tucked away in the cabinet, each on it's own shelf. It is so nice having them right at my finger tips. And since they are in a cabinet they are protected from dust. On the other shelves I store my acrylic stamp binders, my xyrons and refills, modge podge, deco file folders, and page protectors. I also use the space on top to hold my magazines and a couple of storage boxes. I love this cabinet because it really utilizes the space in my studio. It is actually a fairly small room but I have 10 foot ceilings so there is plenty of space going up the wall that I miss out on because I don't have cabinets. If I was absolutely sure I would always have my studio on the main level in my home I would look into installing cabinets or at least putting in some good shelving around the top of the walls. But every once in a while I think about one day moving it down to the basement where my kids toys are. Its a giant room with great lighting and 2 huge closets... oh the fun I could have if I would just switch these rooms.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Long Time No Blog

So I managed to make it through all of April without updating my blog. Time seems to be flying by faster than ever. The other day I was trying to figure out why I have been so busy!?! Then it hit me, I am starting 10 new things at once. I am becoming a swimmer and a cyclist in an effort to diversify my workouts so that I will be able to run even when I'm an old lady. I recently got a Silhouette die cut machine and have been very busy trying to learn to use it. And I am trying to find a good anatomy class I can take while I'm waiting for my Pilates certification courses to begin in the Fall. Starting all these new things at once has taken up so much of my time that my blog went unwritten. Well, I'm back! And even though I have not been blogging I have been designing lots of new layouts. Here are a few of my favorites.

The story behind this one is that I went into Aubrey's room and found these Iron Men sitting on the chaise {one in a mini skirt} so I had to take a photo. As it turns out Aubrey wanted to play dollhouse and Cullen would only play if they used Iron Man instead of Aubrey's dolls. They compromised:)
This layout was fun. I used a script stamp to alter the solid colored background paper and the photo mat was made by soaking the salmon color paper in water and then crinkling it and drying it with my heat gun. I love the effect. The little journaling card is tucked behind the photo. It says:
The two of you are so active... its no wonder that my favorite time of day is when you are ASLEEP

The journaling on this one is really sweet. I love the photos of my little boy with all those CURLS!

I swore I would always remember what a little devil you were at 2 years old. I promised myself that I would not forget the panic and worry you caused me. I used to say that the two little curls on either side of your forehead were there to cover your horns. I vowed I would always remember how difficult you were... but I look at these photos of you and I cannot recall why I would have ever thought those thing about you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Run like a Girl

I finally got to run the Shamrock Marathon for my birthday this year. I trained for it two years ago as a way to celebrate my 30th birthday but ended up getting injured a month before the race. I had some trouble along the way this time too. My left leg was giving me trouble from my hip to my knee to my foot... but with plenty of visits to the chiropractor and some smart and efficient training runs and cross training I made it to the race ready to run!
Here I am with Aubrey heading to the start. It was only a five minute walk from my hotel and the race didn't start until 8:00 am. As a DC runner I am used to getting up at 4:00 am on race days in order to get to the city in plenty of time for the race leaving extra time to deal with the crowds. It was nice to sleep in until 6am and have plenty of time to get ready.

There I am off to take a spot with the other runners and wait for the race to start. I made that bib for my back. It said "MEGAN running 26.2 for my 32nd birthday." I am so glad I made it. Several people wished me a happy birthday along the way. By the end of the marathon I really needed that support. It was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday!

I stopped to take some pictures with the kids. The one on the left is us right before the marathon began and the one on the right was taken a few minutes after I finished the marathon. I have to say I think I actually held up better than the kids.

My marathon started out really well. I felt great. The weather was beautiful {the only type of weather I hadn't trained in.} I was well rested and ready to go. My pace was good maybe a little fast but it didn't feel challenging. Since they didn't coral us according to pace I ended up pretty far back among the racers, so far back that I was behind several people that were participating in the Marathon as walkers. I caught up to the 4 hour pacer around mile eight {wasn't trying to, just did} and finished the first half right at 2 hours. Throughout the second half of the marathon there was a local radio station that had several DJ's set up along the way playing music for us. They even played "Don't Stop Believing" which is our family's song. The kids call it "Don't Stop Believe It" and when the DJ played it I teared up a bit thinking about my family and how happy I would be to see them at the finish. I kept running and running maintaining an 8:30 pace for quite some time. I felt great like I was hardly exerting myself at all. The race was easy right up until it became hard, and there was no middle ground, it was like falling off a cliff. E...a...s...y...HARD, nothing in the middle just BOOM. At mile 22 is when it all changed. Ugh, THE WALL. Ok, I can run 4 miles. I can always run 4 miles. I kept repeating that over and over. It started to help me mentally through the wall but I had gotten some Gatorade at the water stop at 22 that hadn't been mixed with enough water and by mile 23 I was in trouble. I had a horrible side stitch on my right side and even threw up from the Gatorade upsetting my stomach. So right around mile 24 I decided I would walk. I was making great time anyway. Even though I only had 2 miles left I had put in a great run and I decided I would not be disappointed if I walked for a bit. So I stopped running took about fourteen steps before I saw the photographer. I couldn't run the whole marathon just to be walking in my photos so I started running again and ran the rest of the race.
The finish was AWESOME! So many people were cheering, Rob and the kids were right there cheering me on. Then the announcer said "Megan Carey of Bristow Va finishing this Marathon"... wow, what a feeling: 4 hours 7 minutes and 1 second of self reliance, determination and the support of everyone there and I had become a MARATHONER.I celebrated like a real runner... with a beer! I slipped off my sneakers and walked onto the beach into the race event tent and got myself a Yuengling. I stood on the beach wearing my medal and drinking my beer. Life is Good!

Monday, March 8, 2010

So I will always BENUMBER

A few weeks ago Cullen was standing just outside of my studio talking to his sister. He was talking about something they had done the day before and he asked her if she BENUMBERED it. Benumber... one of the many words that I like to call "Cullen Speak." I have wanted to make a layout about Cullen Speak for quite some time and that day in my studio it hit me. That is why I scrapbook... so I will always Benumber.

I decided I had to tell him the truth about
Benumber. I didn't want to, I love Cullen Speak. It is like a little bit of baby left in him but I had to tell him the truth. I went out of my studio and told him the word is really remember and even had him repeat it back to me a few times to practice saying the right word. I walked back into my studio and started journaling for this layout. I had basically gotten down the idea that I scrapbook so I can benumber when Cullen ran by the door chuckling saying "Do you benumber that?" I was soooo happy he still said benumber anyway. Honestly, I teared up a little. I will really miss benumber when it is gone but I'm just glad I have it for a little while longer.

The Journaling
I want to always Benumber that when you were 5 you said Benumber instead of remember. That's why I scrapbook... so I will always Benumber these things. I will even benumber how hard it was to tell you the word was really remember and how happy I was when you still said benumber anyways.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I capture the moment... I design


Here is another Jen Starr project I started this weekend! Ok, so this is what I started with: an 8x8 piece of black Bazzill cardstock, a green Prima flower {I added this to the project myself} and some rectangles of white water color paper. I used some of Jen's Tim Holtz stamps, distress inks, Archival Ink and some Glimmer Mist for good measure... and this is what I created!


I used the different techniques Jen taught me to create each of the rectangles. I used the same color distress inks for each of them which helps pull them all together in the design. I wanted to show you the before and after so that you could see exactly what these products can do {when used by a talented designer- hey... its my blog!} The Prima flower took me only a few minutes to distress and I think the result is just beautiful.

I have this layout on one of my display boards in my studio. It is there to {INSPIRE ME}

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happily Distressed

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take two classes taught by Jen Starr, a designer for Ranger Ink as well as Prima and Tattered Angels. She is such a talented designer and I learned so much from her classes. I can't wait til she comes back to ScrapbooksPlus!

This was one of my favorite project we did. We started with plain white water color paper and a strip of the harlequin paper. I added some inks and embossing powder, used some stamps and a mask too {the way Jen showed me} and voila, this is what I got. I chose to use the colors that are in my studio so that I could display this on one of my memo boards. The quote stamp that I used said:
"Creativity is an endless journey where we should always take the scenic route"

That's My... This project was so much fun. I decided on "That's My Family" for my book. It is still a work in progress but I hope to be posting the finished project in the next few days.

Watching Jen design with these products was so inspiring {I love inspiration, it's my thing.} So of course I had to get a few new Ranger products after seeing how fabulous they are. So here is my new stash!

I decided I really need my Distress Inks close at hand so I put them in a basket on a shelf next to my work space. I can pull the basket off of the shelf where it lives and put in right onto my counter when I'm working with the inks. This is the ITSO canvas basket from Target. It is perfect for my ink pads because it is shallow so I can glance down and see all of the colors at once. If it were a deep basket my inks would be stacked making it harder to find the color I want. {I love organization. it's my other thing}

So I have been converted! I am no longer a strictly clear stamp girl! I never thought I could be swayed into rubber stamps but I was. They are easier to grab and use, they are more durable, easier to clean and easier to store. {they also look really cute on my shelf & cute is important!}