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Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Review

Now that 2011 is almost over, I figured I'd take you all with me for a trip down memory lane, remembering some highlights of this past year. Putting this post together made me realize how busy and eventful and miraculous of a year it has been!

We started off in January visiting Disney Land! It was hands-down, one of our best vacations ever. Something about Disney just makes me feel like a kid again, in the best way.

Can't miss the teacups....

Tagging along with our Disney trip, we also visited the new Harry Potter park, where I totally geeked out!

Loved the random owl guy.

We spent lots of fun time with family....

And I got to experience CHA for the first time, in Anaheim in January! It was so wonderful to be able to interact in person with so many online scrappy buddies. And it's funny how quickly you can pick up in real life!

I also became an official lawyer this year! And got a job I love. So, all good news on that front!

We spent Purim with some of my best friends growing up.

And just a few months later, after months of disappointment, THIS came along!

While still feeling nauseous and tired, I jetted off to Chicago for CHA Summer, spending more wonderful time with friends.

And a few months later, in September, we headed out to Key West!

We loved the sunshine, ocean, swimming, and frozen limeades:)

And best of all, I got to share the good news with all of you:)

Thank you for tagging along with me this year, and for all of the stories, kindness, and love you've shared with me. I never expected this little blog to lead to so much friendship and happiness, but it really has. Here's to a happy, healthy 2012 for all of you!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Festival of Lights

Well, Chanuka is a bit more than halfway over (I always get a little nostalgic when both sides of the menorah have candles), but I have a Chanuka post to share anyway.

For my Write. Click. Scrapbook project this month, I whipped up a little Chanuka decor.

I had fun creating the banner--I used blue and white (Chanuka colors), but added in some yellow and ledger to give it a lighter, more vintage feel. And because I can always use some ledger.

If you'll notice, this menorah is actually a leaning menorah, and therefore can't be used for candlelighting (all the candles are supposed to be level), but it does look pretty. I always wish I could just bend it a bit the other way!

A few Chanuka candles add some color....

I created this centerpiece using a sticker from Crafting Jewish Style--a great source for Jewish holiday-themed scrapbooking projects. (PS--I don't get money from CJS, I just like the products and people. Disclaimer over:))

Here are some fun Chanuka links around the scrappy web:

  • Some fun Chanuka crafts and giveaways at CJS

If you find any other fun projects, please link me up and I'm happy to add them here!

And before I go, I want to take a minute to think about the actual meaning of Chanuka. Amid the great food (latkes and jelly doughnuts, oh my! Although not too diabetic-friendly, so boo to that!) and fun menorah lighting and songs, I have to remind myself to step back and get to the point of it all.

The Chanuka story is about a battle between the Jews and Greeks, who were trying to prohibit the practice of Judaism. It celebrates that element of being Jewish that involves being different, doing something other the rest of the world, which is not hard to relate to during to the Christmas season. Being different isn't easy--it wasn't when I was the only kid with a dreidel taped to my desk in 4th grade, and it isn't always a comfortable feeling now. But it's part of our story, and so important. For a fun take on the rest of the Chanuka story, check out the classic Maccabeats video:)

And of course, the ultimate miracle of Chanuka is the oil that lasted for eight days and eight nights. As I said in my earlier post, I'm so in awe of the miracle of my own this year--I look down and just can't believe that after all the treatments, it finally worked. I still have to pinch myself sometimes.

What's been YOUR greatest miracle this season?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Chanuka!

To those of you celebrating Chanuka, wishing you a very happy first night!! And to everyone else, wishing you a happy and fun holiday season!

I'm off to do some menorah-lighting, dreidel-playing and possibly a eensy teensy piece of gelt-eating:)

PS--Remember this photo? It's from my Scrapbooks, Etc. Chanuka layout featured here. I can't believe that here I am, one year later, so close to having a baby at last. Miracles indeed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ele's Studio December Gallery

Happy Sunday everyone! This may be a bit of weepy post, because it's my LAST inspiration gallery as an Elle's Studio team member. I can't say enough how much I've loved being part of this team. Elle is a fabulous person to work with, her products are top-notch quality with adorable patterns, and best of all, they coordinate perfectly with the rest of your stash! I would definitely recommend applying for this team in the future!

But now onto business--the December Inspiration Gallery.

For this gallery, each DT member used one of the two December project kits. I chose Jack Frost:

I also LOVED the other kit, but I went with the less Christmassy option:)

I went with a snowy feel for this layout (loved using the Studio Calico Shine mist that comes with the kit) and added a Maya Road kraft doily from my stash.

I seriously can't get enough of Crate's woodgrain patterned papers. When will they make 25 packs of these, I ask you?

This layout is about how I grew up in Hawaii (fun little fact about me) and moved to Ohio and was THRILLED about snow. And I still love the white fluffy stuff, although my new routine driving to work may complicate that this year!

For my next layout, I brought in bolder colors to the color scheme--I love how you can use the same kit to create layouts with really different feels to them.

In case you can't see it clearly, the paper in the photo says "snow day." S took this photo 2 years ago I think, when I was desperately hoping for a snow day and my wishes for finally fulfilled! Journaling reads: Snow days are CLEARLY the very best part of winter!

And those are my December projects for Elle's! I may make a few projects by January 15th as part of the withdrawal process, so I'll share those on here in if I do:)

In other news, S and I are driving to Philadelphia to see family today. And I'm hoping to continue the great "let's compare these 5,000 stroller options and choose one without our brains exploding" debate in the car. Fun stuff!

What are YOU up to this Sunday?

Monday, December 12, 2011


This was supposed to be a Scrappy Sunday post, but then I got lazy:) Oh well. Thanks for all of your kind comments about my last post. I'm only 3 days in, but so far the finger pricking is a lot less scary than it was initially and I'm getting used to the diet. I even got to eat a Dunkin Donuts munchkin today--score!!

I have an old layout to share with you today. I made this back in Kelly's Sketchbook 3 class. The colors are a lot bolder than my usual girly style, but I had fun with it:)

In other news, I'm very happy that winter has finally hit New Jersey. Something just seems wrong when you're wearing no jacket on Thanksgiving. I'm loving the cold weather:) Although now that I drive to work, I'm not quite as keen on being blanketed with snow!

What's going on in YOUR life this week?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Life....It Ain't Easy

I wrote this post a few days ago but wasn't ready to share it just yet--

I haven't talked about it too much on here, but this pregnancy has been a roller coaster from 20 weeks on. First it was a concern about chromosomal abnormalities (now gone), then an issue with bunny's heartbeat which led to me cutting out all caffeine. After that, there were concerns about preeclampsia, and today I found out that I have gestational diabetes as well. Sometimes it feels like just when I've adjusted to one piece of news, another one is hitting me.

One of the hardest parts of infertility was accepting that something so easy for other people was so difficult for me. I was so angry about potentially doing IVF--it just did not seem fair that I would have to jam needles in my stomach once a day to get pregnant while other people had honeymoon babies. And of course, it really isn't fair. Lately, I've struggled a little with feeling frustrated that my body has made this pregnancy so complicated while other people have an uneventful nine months. I worry that bunny will be somehow worse off for growing inside me of all people.

But I try to remember this: that going through the pain of infertility is probably the best training to be grateful for a challenging pregnancy. That I'm so, so thankful to be pregnant even if I have to eat nothing but spinach for the next few months (kidding! Or at least I hope so!). That life may not be fair, but as unfair-ness goes, I'm hardly in the worst position. (Although I will add that it still boggles my mind that people have babies doing something actually fun!)

So I'm keeping my eye on the ball--one happy, healthy little baby coming up right up, G-d willing:)

Holiday Homes--Purim edition!

Our gallery topic for Write. Click. Scrapbook this month was Holiday Homes. Since I don't (a) have a house or (b) celebrate Christmas, I decided to go way out of the box for this theme and use some fun photos from Purim, a holiday we celebrate in March. What I love about Purim is how it fills up our entire house--crazy costumes hanging in the closet, shalach manot gift baskets spread out assembly-style on the floor, last-minute baking attempts (see chicks below) covering the counters and dining room table.

For this layout, I kept the design pretty simple and focused on the photos. I loved the Crate "Hello my story is" sticker and was happy to use it here!

And a little close-up.....

Check out the December gallery here to see what the other girls whipped up!

So tell me, what does YOUR holiday home look like today?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Publication Q and A

Today, I thought I'd tackle some publication questions I've been getting. (Note: this photo has nothing to do with anything. I just like adding at least one photo to a post.)

Before I get started, a caveat: I am really no expert on publications and design teams, and my "lucky streak" ebbs and flows like anyone else's. I'm just answering questions based on what's worked for ME and what my experience has been. That said, now we can move on:)

One thing I've always wondered is how new of layouts do you submit? I like to use up older kits and I always think it's not "new" enough to submit.

I tend to submit newer layouts, but mostly because I forget about the older ones! I also usually feel like the effort invested in submitting isn't always worthwhile for me for a years-old layout where none of the product is available anymore (although I'm not sure how much this actually matters). That said, I think any layout you love is worth a try, and there are some "oldies but goodies" that I do go back to and submit. And if it's a newly made layout with some "vintage" product, I generally send it out!

How do you deal with the rejection?

This is the million dollar question! Rejection is really, really hard. Especially when the item being rejected is something you created with your own hands. The best way I've found to deal with this is to separate myself from the actual publication/submitting process, and try to send it out and forget about it (easier said than done, I know!). I have so much more I could say on this, but I think that is the crux of it.

Why do the manufacturers seem to want the same people over and over for their teams?

Well, I guess this answer should really go to a manufacturer, but I'll take my best crack at it! First, if a designer has a large following and a lot of exposure due to other DTs, then they can provide more publicity for the manufacturer. Second, it's part of the ebb and flow--when a designer gets exposure on a "big team" then other companies are more likely to notice them and pick them up. And third, sometimes when you see a name over and over, you can't help but feel that there's something to that person's work. That said though, everyone starts somewhere, including the "celebrities," so it never hurts to try.

My question would be how do you keep from getting burned out?

This is SO important. I feel like I'm always hearing of people who work like crazy in the industry and then quit scrapbooking, and it makes me sad. Since I keep the Sabbath (no scrapbooking on Shabbos, for those wondering), I have a built in break every week where I can't scrap,so that gives me a much-needed creative recharge. I also take breaks and try not to force it if a layout is just not working out. Finally, I try to keep my schedule manageable and not sign up for more teams than I can handle. The nice thing about being a little "under-booked" in your teams is that you aren't completely overwhelmed when guest design gigs and such come along.

I'd like to know what it is they look for when they are look for pubs and DT members.

I wish I knew the answer to this one, ha! My guess would be quality projects and a friendly persona that are "packaged well"--good layout photos, a well-designed blog, etc. Otherwise, I have no clue:)

My question is "What is your end goal in doing all the submitting to design teams and magazines?"
This is a VERY good question. And a tough one. The reason I got involved in DTs to begin with was because I wanted to connect to other scrapbookers who were "into" the industry side of things, and for the validation. As its evolved for me, I focus less and less on getting validation from industry success, because there's never quite enough to feel like you're there. I do it because I love being involved in the industry and part of this amazing group of women. And because I like free scrapping supplies, especially when I have to cut my own budget:)

Don't you sometimes just not want to scrap? And when that happens (if it does) and you have an assignment due, don't you just h*te scrapbooking?

Yes! I try to work on assignments ahead of time to avoid this very situation. It took one night of me scrapbooking with a migraine, pasting paper while holding an ice pack to my forehead, to realize I needed to change my system.

Do any companies or magazines offer payment for design work?

Yes, depends on the company and magazine. Not crazy cash, mind you, but there is payment.

And those are the questions I have for now! If I missed yours, leave a comment! And if you have any insights/ideas into these issues, please share below. What do YOU think is/would be the best and worst part of being in the industry?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fall Farewell......our Apple Picking Adventure

Just a few weeks ago, S and I finally tackled the outstanding item on our fall to do list--apple picking. By the time we went, there weren't a whole lot of apples left (and the ones that were still on the trees were either too high or rotten), but did we get just enough for some tasty snacks.

S posting with his apple picker:

How pretty is this farm?

Me posing on a wooden cow. (btw, I have a thing for cow statutes. You find one, I'll pose with it!)

We headed straight to the Granny Smiths--while I know the other ones have their uses, I'm an apple loyalist. It's Granny all the way.

Our modest harvest:

After the apples, we stopped by a farm so that S could see a pig (don't ask). I took the opportunity to take some pumpkin shots:

Ahem. I believe the belly is bigger than the giant pumpkin. Lately, I've been getting a lot of "when are you due?" and "oh wow, you have some time to go!"s. I blame the small torso.

At the end of the day, we turned some apples from our haul and caramel sheets into these yummies:

It was a lovely fall day:) Now I need some snow to make winter memories!

Has winter come to YOUR area yet?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elle's Studio November!!

It's that time again....Elle's Studio gallery reveal!

I can't believe it's one of my last months as an Elle's Studio DT gal. I try not to think about it too much, or I tear up. I have love love LOVED being on this team.

My first layout includes one of my favorite new photos, from a day of apple picking:

I loved the fall colors in my November Studio Calico kit and had so much matching them with Elle's goodies! I love the larger "traditions" tag made a great backdrop for my title.

(PS--Can we talk about how big that belly is? Shaving legs is *already* becoming an issue. It's going to be a looong winter, folks!)

A little sneaky:

And what the heck, one more...

The next layout features a photo taken by my friend Pam (who just a really cute kitty--but I digress). In this shot, S is holding Nava, my friend Sara's little girl, and has the best expression on his face. Seeing that photo makes me SO excited to see him as a father.

I kept the design of this layout pretty simple to focus on the photo. I like how the die-cut background adds some pizzazz.

Why do all things look better in macro? Unclear.

My last layout highlights the 4D ultrasound shot of little Bunny. While this photo may be a teensy bit strange to look at, mommy goggles are on in full force in these parts. I just love that tiny face:)

And those are my Elle's projects for the month! Go right here to check out what the other ladies have whipped up.

While y'all know I don't do Christmas, Elle has some really cute new items out that would perfect for those December Dailies. Check out these circle tags...

And these fun tidbits!

And more immediately relevant, I love these Thanksgiving Gratitude tabs:

I hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend! What are YOUR Thanksgiving plans?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guest Designing at Sweet Peach Crop Shop!

This month, I had the pleasure of guest designing for the Sweet Peach Crop Shop! Corrie makes the funnest kits, and I had a blast working with the November edition.

My first layout is one I've been meaning to scrap for about 5 months now....don't you love how that goes? This layout documents the day I found out I was expecting Bunny, and how I told S that night. I kept the design simple to focus on the happy photos and words, and I love the result!

And a close-up--love those wooden letters. They make such a great statement!

This next layout is a bit more serious, abut all of the things I'm worried about lately. Which, for a natural worrier such as myself, is a long list. Much of the problem stems from the fact that I want every little aspect of my life worked out right this second. I don't do well with uncertainty, and gray areas. Unfortunately, as the talented Alexa Stevenson writes in Half Baked, gray areas account for about 99% of human experience. Alas.

I was really debating where to put the journaling here, but ended up liking the white space in the middle and placing the journaling around the edges.

My next layout goes back to the first topic, with more details and photos of the day I told S I was preggers. Even though these two layouts are a bit redundant, I'd rather create two layouts about something important to me than feel pressured to get every detail in one project.

Snuck a little sewing in here:

And finally, I fell in love with a Martha elephant punch in Michael's a few weeks ago, so I gave it the spotlight on this card. A great way to use up scraps!

Love my elephants....

And that's all for my Sweet Peach projects, folks!

Question for you: how often does the same topic creep into YOUR layouts?