Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Make It Meaningful: Family Mini Album

For this week's "Make It Meaningful" bonus project I wanted to share a family mini album that comes together very quickly. Using some of your favorite scrapbooking papers and stickers, you can easily make one for a special family member.

To start with, I cut up 3x4" and 4x6" journaling cards from the "Moments and Memories" collection from Carta Bella Paper.

Then I embellished the album with stickers, buttons, ribbons, and more. Here's the sticker sheet from this same collection:

And here are the inside pages of this album:

Be sure to pin your favorite pages of this project. You can find additional paper crafting projects here on my blog by searching my sidebar with the words "Make It Meaningful." Inspired by my Two Peas In a Bucket scrapbooking process video series, I wanted to create additional "bonus" projects that also have meaning. You can find anything from cards, to paper crafting projects and more in this crafting series here on my blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Diary of a Memory Keeper #6: What Camera are You Currently Using?

In this week's video I discuss the cameras I am using. I currently own a Nikon D50 and a Nikon D90. I'm also using a Nikkor kit lens (28-80mm) and a lens I LOVE for photographing people: Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8. They are great lenses.

You can watch this week's pre-recorded video HERE on my Youtube channel or below:

Just a few more weeks, and I'll be settled in my new home and can film some videos in my new space. In fact, I may need some help planning that new space so perhaps we should discuss that in an upcoming video. In the meantime, I filmed a few of these ahead of time so I could still continue chatting with my online friends. This was one of those vlog entries.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Creative Crafts Weekly Round Up Linky Party

The former Garden Girls have decided to host a weekly round-up in the form of a Linky Party to allow all of us to share what we've been working on. We'd love it if you shared any of your most recent projects. Add your project below so we can give it some love!

Here's a peek at one of my projects from earlier this week:

To participate simply, click the link below and add your project!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Grammar-Free Journaling Class Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all of those interested in taking the Grammar-Free Journaling class. The winner is . . .

I've sent the winner all the information for claiming their spot in the class.

Sign up HERE for this exciting new class!

I also have a coupon code for those of you interested in taking the class. Simply use the code "GOGRAMMAR"for $7 off Grammar-Free Journaling.Expires on the first day of class 7/24/14.

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Last (and Never-Before Published) 2Peas Make It Meaningful Scrapbooking Process Video

I wanted to share my very last scrapbooking process video project for Two Peas In a Bucket. This would have been published the Friday after their big shut-down announcement. I've held onto it for a few weeks trying to decide what to do. I thought it was high time to share it, though.

Here's a a few close-up photos of this project:

You can watch the full start-to-finish video HERE on my personal Youtube channel or below.

Now that we have a home we're hoping to soon move to, I'm hoping to get back to filming a few new videos. I miss having a weekly video to share with you. In the meantime, be sure to check out my process videos for Scrapbook and Cards Today Magazine HERE and Echo Park Paper HERE.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tales of a Tract Home: House Hunting

I naively thought that when we sold our home and we started to look for our next place, that it would be all kinds of fun. Honestly, I can't say that is has been a barrel of laughs or anything. Rather it's been a stressful, exhausting process. Way to start this post with whining, right? But I think it kind of caught me off guard just how difficult house hunting could be.

Do you watch the HGTV series "House Hunters?" I've been a big fan for years, and I've been one of those judgmental TV viewers who calls out to the tv, "Seriously? You can't buy it because it has a red accent wall in the living room? Paint it already!" I just couldn't ever really understand why these buyers would talk themselves out of buying a perfectly great house that just needed some paint to refresh the entire place.

You would think I've never bought a house before. Would you believe this is my fourth time doing it? I guess you can't really call me a "newb" any more, but I certainly felt like a newbie during our house search.

I think I forgot the most important rule of house hunting: Remain as unemotional as possible.

How in the world do you remain unemotional and unattached when it comes to buying a home? This is the place we will watch our daughter graduate high school, serve a mission for our church, go to college, get married, and eventually and hopefully make me a grandmother. This is the home where James hopes to make long-lasting friends and will make many of his most important decisions and memories, and where Brett and I hope to settle until our wanderlust returns and we're off on a new and grand adventure.

Every single home we've bought before has been based almost solely on emotion.

Of course price, location, and needs have been key players in our decision, but it wasn't until we found the homes we've bought, walked in, and had that "this is the place" feeling overcome us that we've finally signed the contracts to buy our homes.

So why did I think this time would be any different? We started with a very logical list of needs: two separate offices since we both work from home, a bedroom for each child, a formal living room for the piano, a location near our daughter's high school, and a reasonable budget.

From there we started looking at listings in the areas we wanted to live. And we looked. And we looked. And we looked. What we found was a mysterious hole in the housing market in our target area. We found plenty of homes just a bit bigger than the house we had recently built. But when we jumped up in the market to look for homes with more living space, there was a gaping hole in the inventory. I've been watching the real estate market down here for over six months, and I could not figure out why homes with our specific needs weren't available. We stalked Zillow and used their "Zestimate" tool HERE as well to look for areas in which homes might become available. Nada.

So then we started thinking we could build a home. We've built one home before. It was as tract home development as it could get, and the only choices we got to make on the house were carpet color and countertop color. It was a great introduction to home ownership, but this time around we thought we could go semi-custom and get what we wanted. Enter housing gap #2. This gap was a major jump from existing home prices to new build pricing. While it is still fairly inexpensive to build in our area, prices either reflected a tiny lot or general overpricing for the area and very few areas to choose from in which to build.

We were getting seriously discouraged. I was turning into one of those "House Hunters" housing hunting divas, and I didn't like how that felt.

We dismissed houses for lot size, neighborhood upkeep, wrong school, tiny bedrooms, proximity to trains, and more. Did I really care about all those things?

I realized that my approach to house hunting this time was heavily affected by the housing market crash that destroyed any equity we might have had in the previous home we owned. I didn't want to buy a house that I could never resell. It was making the decision even more difficult as we began over-thinking every little detail.

Finally we decided we'd just pick five existing homes and go see them even though they weren't exactly what we thought we would want. Our very patient realtor made arrangements for us to walk through all five in one evening--yeah, he deserves an award for dealing with us.

The very first home we walked through had a faux finish paint job in the two-story family room. Something that had completely turned me off to the home in the MLS listing, I didn't even notice when I walked through the front door. That old-familiar "this is home" feeling started to creep over me. Walking through the bedrooms, the finished basement, and observing the view from the backyard deck, I felt it even more.

But I tried very hard to dismiss it. After all we had four additional homes to go see and a small deposit on a lot for a home we hoped possibly to build. After viewing the other four homes, our realtor, realizing we had loved the first home, asked if we wanted to go back to see it again. As it was empty, we readily agreed and walked through a second time. I couldn't deny it. I knew I loved the home.

As it was July 3rd when we walked through the home, I knew that we needed to use the long holiday weekend to make a decision. Brett and I spent long hours talking about it. We considered a second home we had seen, but realized that we both felt good about the first house. We called our realtor and decided to put an offer on the home. By Monday evening and after some negotiations, we had an accepted contract on the home.

We are looking forward to closing on the home at the end of this month and moving into the house in August. We hope that everything moves forward smoothly, but we trust the Lord to do what's best for our family if something causes it not to work out.

Perhaps house hunting should be a little less emotional. But how do you turn off that voice inside your head that tells you when something is right or wrong? I don't think I can live any other way than to keep that voice close and to listen to the promptings in my heart.

So while a great deal of my logical list went right out the window when we found this home, I know in my heart it's the place for me! I can't wait to make this house our home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Craft and Create with Echo Park Paper: Lovely Day Layout (with video)

Today I'm sharing one of my latest videos for Echo Park Paper. In this video I use the beautiful "Simple Life" collection. I love all the little details in the patterned paper and stickers. It reminds me a little of quilting fabric my grandma had but with modern and updated colors.

You can watch the video HERE in my EP TV playlist on my Youtube channel or below:

Look for additional Echo Park Paper videos HERE. Subscribe to their channel as well for more inspiration!