January 25, 2011

journaling my 365 gratitudes

When I first saw Monika Wright’s gratitude journal, I knew that I wanted to make one for 2011. It would be a wonderful way to remind myself of all the blessings in my life, even when things seemed bleak. You should keep in mind that, except for a cute pink diary complete with lock and key that I had as a little girl, I have never kept a journal. The closest I ever got was reading Note to Self:  On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O’Shea. But Monika made it look easy and inviting. With colorful paper and only tiny spaces to fill, I thought that even I could be successful completing this journal. Here are a few pages from my diary so that you can actually see what I mean.

This is pretty much a lift of Monika’s 2010 cover design. (Why change a good thing?) I used the PTI tab die to separate the months.

A shipping tag and an October Afternoon journal card.

I’ve sprinkled gratitude quotes throughout my journal. Uses October Afternoon label stickers and a My Mind's Eye journal card.

This is my favorite page. I just noticed the paper is upside down. Oops.

Some circles cut with Spellbinders dies and another October Afternoon journal card.

This uses the PTI ticket die. I’ll write directly on the dotted yellow paper.
Another shipping tag, this one inked, and a sheet from a Jenni Bowlin Memo Pad.

Although it is only January 25, I am pleased to report that I’ve written an entry for each day thus far, even on the two days that I wasn’t feeling particularly thankful. I wanted to share a page of gratitudes to show how easy it is to keep this journal.

Whether you write them down or not, I hope that you have many blessings in your life and are aware of each one. This poem by Bonnie Jensen, which I printed on vellum and included in my journal, is a sweet reminder of the wonder around us.

For every breath. For sunshine on your face.
For a child's laughter. For God's grace.
For peace of mind. For joy of heart.
For love. For the gift of life.
For good friends. For sweet memories.
For pink bubblegum. For silliness.
For red shoes. For blue skies.
For the kindness of others.
For family time. For understanding souls.
For kindred spirits. For true forgiveness.
For good music. For dark chocolate.
For a place to call home. For warm hugs.
For quiet time. For the freedom to dream.
For snowflakes on your tongue.
For raindrops on your face.
For colorful sunsets. For animal-shaped clouds.
For a believing spirit. For a forgiven soul.
For inspiration. For sand between your toes.
For smiles. For tears. For mercy. For Jesus.

Thank you, Monika, for giving me the vehicle to be more appreciative.


PS – My favorite page uses Martha Stewart baker’s twine, but I would have used some from The Twinery if I’d had any at that time. (I did use it on my new year’s tag. Their mandarin twine is delicious.) The Twinery has added some new colors and is having a giveaway and sale of 25% off until January 30 to celebrate. It’s worth checking out.

January 20, 2011

52photos: week 3

The prompt for week 3 of 52Photos is evening. I mentioned last week, I’ve learned that the photo presents itself to me, which is what happened again this week.

I was making dinner Sunday evening, a new-to-me recipe from Bobby Flay for vegetable meatloaf. By the way, it’s a keeper. When walking by my backdoor, I spotted the moon just showing its face. The view, framed by the trees, stopped me in my tracks.

When I opened the door to get an unobstructed view, there was a stillness in the air. When combined with the moon’s glow and trees’ shadows, a feeling of serenity came over me. I wasn’t able to capture that feeling in the photograph, but I captured the memory, which is almost as good.


January 19, 2011

cr84fn11: hugs & kisses

I’ve been following the CR84FN Color Challenge for a few weeks and decided to play along with an actual card, rather than just in my head.

This week’s color combination reminded me of an idea that I had wanted to try. The first attempt was okay, but I knew that something was missing. (I took the card apart before photographing it, so you will not be seeing it. Believe me when I say that your world won’t come to an end.) Then I remembered this photograph from the same collection as this week’s CR84FN challenge.

Now, I knew what was missing – gingham. As I started to reassemble my card, a phrase from a Donny and Marie song popped into my head. For those of you of a certain age, do you recall the Donny & Marie show? Well, I wanted to be Marie, except for the giving up caffeine part, and as an ode to her, here is my card, entitled “a little bit country.”

Perhaps next week, I might try to channel my inner rocker.


paper: Farm Fresh (October Afternoon); tea-stained c/s and tags
stamps:  Hugs and Kisses (TPC Studio); Simple Valentine (PTI)
ink:  Terra Cotta, Chestnut Roan (Clearsnap)
extras: floss #839 (DMC)

January 13, 2011

52 photos in 52 weeks

I could type a lot of words to explain the 52Photos project, but it would be best just to read about it in Monika’s words.

Participating in that project required next to no pondering on my part. What a change. All I needed to do was look at a few of my photos and I knew that this could only help. Plus Monika has some fun ideas (I know this one was Lisa’s, but I don’t know her, so I’m giving Monika the credit.), so I thought, “Why not?”

The first prompt was to take a photograph of whatever you were doing at 8:11p.m. on January 1. (Nothing nasty, please. Or at least don’t share that.) My photo is a screen shot taken while I was setting up my blog.

The second prompt, just completed, was independence. Yikes. How to capture independence? A slideshow of ideas went through my mind, but none that I could capture in a single photograph. Then when I was doing something in the basement (You know the drill. It was either laundry or putting groceries away or one of a million possible things.), I noticed my crutches leaning against the wall between some storage containers and luggage. They would be the perfect symbol of independence or lack thereof. When I had my knee surgery last year, I hated being dependent on others for medicine, food, transport. More than that, I really hated being dependent on those crutches for standing or walking. And they hurt. I was joyous when they physical therapist told me to stop using them. Even though I was moving slowly, I felt I was myself again independent of those crutches.

This week’s prompt is evening. What I’ve already learned, after only two weeks, is that the photo presents itself to me. Now let’s hope that I also learn how to take a better picture. My mom always told me that practice makes perfect. Isn’t she a wise woman?

I’m still debating setting up a minibook with a little journaling to supplement the photographs. I thought I should see if I last more than a month before making a decision though. 52 weeks is a long time… at least at the start of it.

Want to join in the fun?


January 9, 2011

moxie fab world tuesday trigger: winter white

Like many of the people who have been inspired by this magnificent wedding cake as the Tuesday Trigger on Moxie Fab World, I planned to make a wedding card. I don’t like making a card without a recipient in mind, though, so I thought I should try a different approach. I used my time shoveling to think about my design and, surprise, decided a “warm wishes” or “winter wishes” card with snowflakes would work well.

The paper from Graphic 45 fits the winter white category… snow after the snowplow has passed by.  The glitter of the snow is achieved with Perfect Pearl.  Snowflakes, gold tulle and other die cuts were layered and topped with a pearl, similar to the flowers on the cake.

It’s too late for you to play along this week if you haven’t already, but you should join the fun next Tuesday.

Wishing you a warm winter. (That’s how it goes, isn’t it?)


January 6, 2011

tutu or 22

If you visit my blog, you’ll get to know my daughter, Brianna. There are three reasons for this. The first is that Brianna is my life; I love being a mom. The second is that the cards I make for her are my favorites. I can be creative, add lots of layers, and experiment with color on her cards. And the third reason is that I love stories – preferably hearing/reading others – and there is usually a story behind any card that I make for Brianna. So if I post a card that I made for Brianna, you’ll get a story. Of course, you may skip over it if you’d like.

Brianna is a video arts major and produces at least one project each term. For Spring 2010, the main character in her video Amber in the Hood wore a tulle skirt that Brianna made.

I thought it would be great fun to work that tulle into a card. By the time I came up with a plan, the term was over and I gave up on that card. Brianna’s project for Fall 2010 included dancers (Think Thin – you can watch it here. When she wins her Academy Award, you can say, “I remember Brianna and her video with that incredible multi-channel dance sequence. I wonder whatever happened to her mom? She used to make cards.”). I decided to resurrect my Amber card idea since, with a few adjustments, it would transition between the two films, using Amber’s tulle skirt and a dance costume.

I was really happy with how that card turned out and apparently so was Brianna because on Tuesday, she asked me to make a version of it for her friend Amanda, who turns 22 today. Amanda is a dancer with exquisite movement. Her legs look like they start at her armpits and, when she is en pointe, they look even longer. And Amanda likes purple. So in honor of Amanda turning 22, a tutu.

Happy birthday, Amanda!


January 3, 2011

genesis of nancy jane, aka tangential ramblings in an e-paper world

Before I become sidetracked, I would like to tell the ten people who commented on my first post how much I appreciate each sharing time from her day with someone she doesn’t know. It reminds me of a funeral I attended last year in Ohio. (Oh, that did not come out right, but you’ll understand once I finish my story.) On the way from the funeral home to the cemetery, cars pulled to the side of the road as the very long procession passed. When I first noticed this, I was confused. We were on a narrow road and I thought the person was being polite and giving us room to maneuver. The next time it happened the road was much wider, yet three drivers stopped their cars in the middle of the road. When I saw their heads bowed in prayer and understanding came, I was so incredibly touched. While I love where I live, no one here would take the time to stop for several minutes without prompting and pray for a stranger. More than likely, drivers would be seething and cussing out the person who ruined their schedule. So, to see those many drivers spontaneously park their cars and bow their heads as we drove past brought me comfort and an amazing amount of hope when I very much needed it. Thank you to them… and to you ten.

When I first visit a blog, I try to take the time to read the first few posts to find out why the blogger started her adventure. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my story. And that is where the tangential ramblings come into play. Fair warning, when I get behind a keyboard, there’s no stopping me.

I hate the telephone. I would happily limit its use to ordering pizza, making doctor appointments, and listening to my daughter as she walks to class. (Brianna is a college student who likes to talk – rather than listen – and does so with me as she walks across campus. It’s just enough time to catch up on what is important to her at that moment.) Since it would be rude to ignore people not in my immediate world because of my aversion to phones, I send out notes. Holidays – be it New Year’s, the 4th of July or Thanksgiving – are perfect times to mail cards with a little bit of love inside. After sending out my Halloween cards in 2009, I said to myself, “Nancy, you should make your own cards. You remember how much fun you had with Brianna when you made cards together.” (Yes, I do talk to myself. And Brianna was very little when we made cards together many years ago.) So, because I am a scientist and doing research is part of my genetic makeup, I headed to Google.

Did I mention that I like to do research? Did I also mention that I am like the tortoise in that wonderful fable The Tortoise and the Hare? Well, four plus months later, after hours of research and planning, I made my first card. It was for St. Patrick’s Day.

Wonderful feedback was received from the card recipients. (They’re obligated because they’re family and friends, right?) And Brianna began her campaign for me to sell my cards on Etsy. “No way,” I responded. “Who would buy my cards? You have to have a strong blog following {thinking Mish here} to sell anything on Etsy. I’d have to start a blog first. And have some original ideas.”  That was the perfect thing to say to distract Brianna because she started lecturing me on how original ideas no longer exist. While I successfully diverted Brianna from Etsy, I set myself to thinking about starting a blog. Could I? Would I?

What witty title would I give my blog and, if I couldn’t come up with one, would “witty title here” work? Well, yes, it would, but not for me. Heather had already come up with that one.

What would I put in my “about me” section? Unemployed. Post-menopausally chunky. Procrastinator. Divorced with no understanding DH who hangs the stars in the sky. No, I would tell a few white lies. That would definitely work. But, darn it, someone – thanks, Jess, champion log roller – already used that approach.

Would I have a theme to my blog? Janelle’s Show and Tell is so clever, using her daytime life with preschoolers to direct her posts. And there is Andrea, the engineer who ends each of her posts with “the engineering details.” I thought about taking a lessons learned approach to my blog since I do that with my research, even incorporating LL into the title, but decided I wouldn’t be able to keep up with that. What would I write in LL if I loved my card? LL:  Nothing learned, I wouldn’t change a thing? Or worse, what if I hated my card? LL:  Don’t make this ever again!

During that time from March 2010 to January 2011, I kept making cards… to say hi and stay off of the phone. I also kept dodging Brianna’s Etsy conversations. And I kept visiting blogs and wondering, could I blog?

Here’s one card I made during that period, something simple that is so not my usual style. (Thought you might need a break from my words.)

During that same period, Cath held many challenges on Moxie Fab World. On November 29, she opened one for all occasions cards, my favorite type to make. The challenge closed December 13. I went through my usual should I, could I, would I questions about participating while looking for a job, getting ready for Christmas and packing up Brianna’s room at school. On the last day of the challenge, I decided that yes, I should, could and would enter. On December 15, to my absolute amazement, I read this post in which I was named a winner of the challenge. Someone other than my family liked my work. (I’m not sure if it is proper blog etiquette to mention a win, but I was and am so excited about it, I have to share. Also, I am going to admit that almost as much fun as winning was reading the comments that people wrote about my card in the announcement post.) When I finally stopped shaking – the smile didn’t leave my face – I started pondering the whole blog thing again. With such a moxie fab honor, I needed a place to display my badge. My e-mail inbox just didn’t cut it. So with that nudge, my blog came to life.

nancy jane is still in its infancy. The title is thanks to my daughter, who told me it had a certain panache with its simplicity. I’m not entirely convinced because no one calls me Nancy Jane unless they are either yelling at me (usually me at myself) or trying to sweet talk me into something that I know is not good for me. The “about me” section is still blank since I’m trying to come up with something that will not put everyone to sleep, myself included. And the theme? Let’s just say that this better be my last tangential ramblings type post or no one will visit again.


January 1, 2011

happy new...

Happy New Year! Happy New Blog!

All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have – these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose.

from I Am the New Year ~ Author Unknown (a Bible Illustrator)

It may be a bit dramatic to say that this blog was awakened by a “strong purpose,” but it is something that I’ve pondered for some time, never daring to take it further.  Today, on the first day of 2011, with the (mis?)conception all things are possible, I have dared to take that next step.

My hope for any who might read this is that the coming year be good to you in every possible way.


Tag inspired by Suzanne C.