Sunny Days

It has been alternating between really warm and cool/rainy in San Diego lately, but this weekend is projected to be super sunny and hot.

I don’t like hot, but the sun is awesome!

It made me think of this hot day in Disney California Adventure when we headed up to check out Cove Bar, hang out in Paradise Pier, and just have some time together:


It’s not a perfect picture (taken with my iPhone 4s at the time), but I love it. It reminds me of the heat, and the sun, and the joy of the day.

Side note: I used to be a huge iPhone girl, but since switching to the Samsung Galaxy S6, I will never go back to an Apple product. Seriously. I love that the selfie camera is almost as good as the forward-facing camera on the latest Apples. Can’t make me go back to Apple. 😉

The word papers were from a stack that I picked up at Tuesday Morning (can’t remember who made it, sorry, as it was loose in my paper bin); the other papers were from Stampin Up! and I have had for years and years; the embellishments are from Freckled Fawn, EK Success, and Elle’s Studio.

I seriously love the products that Freckled Fawn and Elle’s Studio create. I get their monthly subscriptions, and find that I use almost everything they create because it fits well with my style, and the few things that don’t, will go well with how my friends scrap, so those things can be given to them.

The weekend has some plans with friends in the sun, but I also hope to make more progress on my Week in the Life album, so that I can share that next week.

Have a good one!



Recent Cards

I can make cards, but my first choice for my crafting time is scrapbooking.

Recently, as part of National Scrapbooking Day/Week festivities, I participated in some challenges that helped flex my card muscle once again.

3x4 cards

These cards are 3×4, and will be used on a layout rather than a PL spread. I absolutely love the products in Elle’s Studio’s monthly subscription, and all of these elements came from past products (other than the Mickey head – that was a punch from my stash).

I am obsessed with sewing on layouts, so I had to (carefully) add some texture on these with my machine. I love how they turned out!

Pink Card

This card is so very pink! The papers and binky washi strip are from their latest Live, Laugh, Love line. It’s fantastic! I also added the flower from the puffy stickers, and I had the tag from one of their previous releases.

I recently cut up their tag sheets, separated everything into like colours, and put them into crayon storage cases from Walmart that were $1.25 each. I love this system, and it has helped me locate some of the tags that I know I have, but previously couldn’t locate.

I love organization so much.

Thanks for looking! Have a fantastic weekend!



Large Photo Layouts

The vast majority of the time, I will use 4×6 photos or smaller, depending on the design, how many photos need to be included, it is cheaper to print them, and that size is generally easier to use and alter on the page.

But every so often, a photo is just too awesome and it demands to be big and loud and the total centre of attention on a layout.


I really loved this photo of us – the slight wind in my veil, the green hill behind us (even the patches with no greenery). It felt that it should be big, especially when I decided to use the large green flower (which I actually got at a craft retreat and was supposed to use it to make a hat. Um, no thanks) in the corner.

The photo was 8×12, but I trimmed a bit off the right hand side so that some of the patterned paper would be seen on the left side. I cut doilies in half, then positioned them above and below the photo. You have to take regular embellishments and make them work around big photos like this. Since the photo is horizontal, we want to balance that out with vertical movement (and the doilies work to do this, as does the patterned paper).

Also, busy background papers are possible, as the photo covers a lot of the pattern. I also recommend using embellishments that meld onto the photo, such as bling or a larger embellishment like the flower.

Here is another photo that, when I saw it, I immediately knew that I would print it in a larger size. I loved the vertical aspect of the tree in the background (I love palm trees!), and I loved how our bodies are angled. I just love this photo!


Again, you want to think of vertical and horizontal in relation to the photo.

With this one, I wanted the stars to partially cover up the tree, but also balance out how tall Tom is, so that the eye stays on our faces. The background paper is white and silver (doesn’t jump out much due to the neutral tones), but the pattern is quite busy. Circles = rings = great for weddings!

The doilies mimic the circles in the background, and the red tulle provides a horizontal balance, as does the repetition of the star with the key. Words are horizontal, adding more balance.

Working with larger photos sometimes requires a bit more planning, but also a lot less embellishments and paper.

What photos will you print in a larger size?


Week in the Life – Sunday

All week I have been making a note about the time and what was happening. Today, I didn’t. I also didn’t take many photos. I think that for most of my WITL album for this day, I was planning on doing a “Currently” theme, and making lists of things we’re currently watching, planning, listening to, reading, etc. Subconsciously, I think that meant I didn’t think to take as many photos. And that is okay.


Currently, I am thinking about Shakespeare – today would have been his birthday. I love his plays and poems.

Currently, I am silently saying “Happy Anniversary” to my parents. Today would have been their 40th. In writing those words, tears rush to my eyes and I can barely breathe. It will be five years since she passed in June, and I still expect the phone to ring at any moment so that she can update me on what is happening in my hometown.

Currently, I refrain from calling Dad because I know how he would feel awkward and upset, and he copes with things in his own way (like going away for a week to help friends, so that he didn’t have to be in the family home for today).

Currently, I continue with the reorganizing and purging while Tom has a safety meeting at work, then drops off a friend downtown, then picks up our nephew, who will spend the day with us.

Currently, I am watching more “Midsomer Murders” (obsessed) and reveling in this time alone. I can get so much done when it is just me, and I don’t have to worry about being in anyone’s way.

Currently, I am loving hearing about our nephew’s school trip to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.

Currently, I am glad that we opted to pick up dinner, as I wasn’t in the mood to cook (tired and it would have taken time away from other things).

Currently, I am glad that I have a cool bed waiting for me.

Currently, I am grateful for a fun weekend, a good WITL week, and the chance to document all of our life stories for a small slice of time. We are going to love looking back on this life in the future. 



Week in the Life – Saturday

7:00am: There are days when you just want to sleep in due to a busy week and because your body needs it. There are days like Saturday when this is totally possible because you don’t have work or kids or pets. There are days when, despite all of this, you are still awake at 7am. Today is that day. Gah! 😉


The top of the dresser where the tv is, and the top of my scrapbooking desk to the left are chaos due to my on-going Spring cleaning and reorganization that was completely unplanned, but that feels good to be doing. I’m hoping to get a bunch done this weekend, in between plans with family and friends.

9:45am: Wrapping the Frank Sinatra book we got my mother-in-law. She is a huge fan, and will love it. I adore wrapping presents, especially when the wrapping paper is so much fun!


12:30pm: Birthday lunch = Mexican food at El Indio. My San Diego burrito is amazing, although their guacamole isn’t as good as what Tom makes (his guac is the only reason I suddenly eat avocados and guac at all!).


4:00pm: Home for a bit before we meet friends for bowling. We haven’t been to a bowling alley since we first started dating in 2012. Before that, it was Grade 4. This is likely the reason that I am terrible at bowling. Like, TERRIBLE. I’m a tad nervous about making a fool of myself tonight, but our friends have assured me that they are terrible too (they are nice people!).

I can be a very outgoing person, especially when it comes to work. In the business world, I can be downright fearless and outspoken and no-holds-barred sometimes. In social situations, I struggle. I’m often awkward and weird when I don’t know people, or don’t know the place, or aren’t proficient with the activity. Tonight, I am worried because I suck at bowling, I don’t know half the people who will be there, and my leg is sore from the spider bite (and resulting surgery – story for another time). But, Tom is all excited to go, as bowling is a big favorite in his family. My father-in-law bowls competitively (I hope he never sees me bowl).

For now, we play our Episode 7 Star Wars LEGO video game. We share a love of LEGO, and these games are bonding time for us. I love smashing things to earn the bits used to buy characters and ships and stuff. LOVE IT.


8:30pm: Time for some bowling! Can I just say that bowling shoes are the ugliest things ever made? Still nervous, but let’s do this! They already know that I suck, and I shouldn’t really care, because this isn’t a formal sporting event. In my head I hear the words of Debbie Reynolds in the obscure movie “Connie and Carla”, “chin up, boobs out, it’s showtime!”. This is for you, Debbie!

Okay, so I didn’t need to be nervous. It turns out that when I don’t care, I can actually bowl not too bad! Second place on the first game for me, and Tom won the second game. Yay us!

Best of all? Meeting new people who are awesome. We had so many laughs! Everyone was super supportive, nobody was competitive, so much cheering and fun.

So very rad.

And this guy – I am grateful every day that I have him in my life. I am grateful that he is supportive, but also nudges me into things when he can sense that I don’t want to do them, because he knows I will likely love it when I get there. I am grateful for the laughs we share all the time.

I am grateful for this evening of new friends and plans to do this again in the future!

Week in the Life – Friday

4:30am: Currently, the alarm buzzes me awake. I stumble into the bathroom and shower and brush my teeth and brush my hair and I stumble back into the bedroom…and I don’t think I opened my eyes once. 😉


I am tired and feel dull today. The residual pain from my cancer surgery and pain from the still-healing spider bite hole in my leg is bad today due to all of the recent lifting and lack of sleep. On days like this, I retreat into myself like a turtle into its shell. It’s safe and warm and comfortable in these internal mental caves. The light can’t touch me here, and I can find the tenuous thread of hope that will help me get through the day.

7:25am: Currently, the office is quiet. There are a lot of people who booked it off (likely heading to the beach, as it is going to be another warm one in San Diego). The crew that is here is lethargic and stressed and wanting to get things completed before the weekend, myself included. We opt to only have half the lights on, which suits me just fine. I love working in the dark.


Currently, I am sporting another messy bun. It’s another black shirt day (like most days). It’s another tackle-new-email-requests day. It’s (hopefully) another day where I can get everything done by working through lunch, so that I can leave a bit early. I would like to get more purging and reorganizing done at home before the weekend plans begin.

11:56am: Currently, I am mentally and physically done for the day.

3:10pm: On my way home, finally. It is rather hot out this afternoon, and I’m looking forward to getting home and getting this weekend started! I snap this picture just as the light changes…


3:30pm: Late lunch – a sandwich and some Doritos, paired with lemonade flavoured water and some more Midsomer Murders (absolutely love this show).


8:00pm: After getting Tom, our friend who works at Parkway Plaza called. We’re meeting up with him to go bowling tomorrow night (I haven’t bowled in years!), so we go to chat with him a bit before running to Walmart for a few items.

And can I just say that I love self-checkout – provided that it actually works? Tonight, not so much. This pretty much sums it up:

Thank goodness this day is almost over. It was rough, but we made it! And now, we sleep…



Week in the Life – Thursday

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4:30am: I see a tired woman, who actually got a better sleep last night than the night before. I see unruly bangs that always get parted on the left due to a bad cow-lick (my Mom would randomly share the story of me as a child, indignantly asking her why she would let a cow lick me). I see the big photo of London that I loved for years, but living in Canada never purchased due to the higher price and long distance from IKEA, although had to buy it at the discounted price that it was when I moved to San Diego. I see eyelashes that are fine and almost blonde at the tip, which is why I love mascara so much.

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4:50am: I see a cluttered bathroom counter that needs cleaning (on my list for later today). I see Tom’s “Caesar’s Man” that he is almost out of, but keeps the little that is in the bottle because they don’t make it anymore (this was the scent he was wearing when we first met, and I love it on him – so sad that it is discontinued). I see the musk spray he decided to try after the bad news about Caesar’s Man (I am not a fan of musks, even though it does smell good on him – once this is gone, it won’t be replaced). I see the replacement cologne that smells quite a bit like Caesar’s Man, but smells fresher to me somehow (the dude at the shop was correct in saying that we’d like it – we really do).

I see my hair straightener for days when my bangs don’t behave (should put it away for less clutter). I see the heavy flashlight that Tom bought for the apartment (it is almost done charging). I see his clippers for his beard trimming after getting his hair cut on Monday (also need to be put away). I see the Vader soap dispenser that we bought for the restroom for our Star Wars themed wedding in 2013 (such a great day – I am reminded of it every time I wash my hands).

I see the almost empty toothpaste tube that somehow seems to have lasted forever. I see its replacement patiently waiting to assist our dental hygiene routine. I see my face wash (I wish the scent was a bit fruitier). I see the big lotion bottle that we have had forever because it is so big. I see my Tresemme hairspray (my go-to for years and years – level 3 for better hold for my fine hair). I see my hair tie, a must for long hair (and when not in my hair, worn around my right wrist, in the event that it is needed).

I see a bathroom vanity holding the various items we need daily. I see doors that never fully close because maintenance has painted them enough times in the past that the paint interferes with the hinges. I see a rental apartment’s utilitarian configuration. I see a type of bathroom vanity that I will never have again, because once we have a house, I would never choose this type of setup!

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5:20am: I see fresh hair, still wet from the shower. I see groomed eyebrows, something which I try to keep up with myself (self-conscious about them due to comments from a previous coworker who said that, at that time, my eyebrows looked like big caterpillars on my face. I maybe pluck them too thin now as over-compensation). I see someone who maybe holds onto things a bit too long (lol). I see a daily routine of foundation, eyeliner, mascara. I see a prominent Ukrainian nose (from my Dad’s side). I see light eyes that are blue, descended from Scottish, English, Irish roots (from my Mom’s side). I see a low-maintenance beauty routine that makes me happy (I have done this since I was 12. I do it for me, and nobody else. I do it because I enjoy it. On days I don’t want to do it, I don’t.).


5:58am: I see a white Toyota Corolla (not my first choice for a vehicle, but Tom wanted it due to low mileage and decent price). I see Star Wars decals (because it reminded me of a Stormtrooper). I see good fuel economy (Trooper is so rad in that respect). I see the way we get to work daily. I see the carriage that takes us to Disneyland. I see reliability.


6:09am: I see Tom’s workplace. I see a lot of vehicles in the parking lot this morning (usually nothing here but the shuttle that goes to the trolley station for the bus drivers). I see Tom in his safety vest (the third he has had since starting here in June 2014). I see his Star Wars Rebel backpack (he’s such a big kid). I see the start of his day, the same as it is every morning.


6:30am: I see the start of my day. I see a bit of my fan to the left (it runs almost all of the time because I’m usually so warm). I see sticky notes that house phone numbers and reminders. I see one of the Belles that Tom put in my stocking this last Christmas. I see my group of bad-ass Canadians (Wolverine, Deadpool, Ike, Canadian flag Mickey Vinylmation). I see Batman (looking as unimpressed as ever). I see a hint of Raphael (looking angry). I see my pen holder (with my Texas pens).

I see a spreadsheet (LOVE them so very much). I see Voyager. I see my name plate. I see wedding rings (engagement ring was passed down to Tom from his Dad, which makes it very special to me. The bands of diamonds on either side was our choice – I love the added sparkle). I see the simple earrings that I often wear when my hair is up.

I see a messy bun (tired this morning, and too lazy to do anything else). I see glasses (eyes are tired and sore and scratchy today). I see a black shirt (one of many in my closet).

I see productivity and determination.


10:47am: I see an office plant, one of many. I see the familiar foliage of where I used to sit before I moved to where I am now, which does not have a plant on top of the cubicle. I see bright leaves that I suddenly realize that I miss seeing daily.


3:20pm: I see our mailbox, filled with random mail, some of which will belong to another unit in the complex (because they moved in six months ago and in changing their address with places, put our unit instead of theirs, and even though they know about it still have not made corrections). I see a flyer from United Airlines (and based on recent events and actions towards their passengers, cringe slightly). I see a key for the bigger mailboxes that house larger items (like boxes from Toys R Us – Tom ordered a pop from them).


3:25pm: I see the orange blooms from the large shrub that is by the parking lot. I see evidence of the bees who buzz around this plant all the time. I see new growth. I see decay. I see the cycle of this season. I see the circle of life.


3:27pm: I see the iris bush at the end of our walkway. I see the cuts of where the landscapers have trimmed it back (which always breaks my heart, as it stunts how often it blooms).


3:28pm: I see our container of succulents that Janie gave us several years ago. I see the sections dying from damage caused when our neighbours moved out. I see the new growth (and, as always, am amazed at the hardiness of plants and people. This world can be difficult and harsh).


3:50pm: I see a pile of Tom’s printed t-shirts that I just removed from the closet. I see well-loved and often-worn shirts that he has collected over the years. I see shirts that he no longer wears due to them being old or not fitting right anymore. I see shirts that he can’t bear to part with yet. I see shirts that are taking up closet space and need to be removed. I see shirts that he didn’t remove himself this week. I see shirts that I will put into compression bags and store under the bed, freeing up space for me, and yet still giving him the option of connecting with them again in the future.

4:45pm: I see a bunch of projects and albums and ink pads and papers and packaged themes for Disney layouts that have yet to be used and lovingly made into layouts and December Dailies. I see a closet that needs some reorganizing and purging. I see my task until 6:40, when I need to leave to pick up Tom from work. I see a challenge. I see something that I enjoy doing. I see future donations to Crops of Luv. I see success ahead of me in this task, so that I can spend some time scrapbooking next week!


6:48pm: I see trees in the distance that have caught my eye due to the sunlight streaming through them (while stopped at a light). I see something that reminds me of my Grandmother, as Garth Brooks sings “If Tomorrow Never Comes” on the stereo. I see tears in my eye, as I remember someone who had a huge impact on my life, and who I have missed every day since she passed almost 26 years ago.

6:52pm: I see a wife waiting for her husband. I see a slight smirk, as this woman feels productive and sassy when undergoing a reorganization project (seriously, though). I see determination. I see a beloved keychain from when Tom (at that time a boyfriend) drove his buddy across the US when moving, but stopped to buy this souvenir for me. I see the Imperial logo on Trooper’s floor mats (because he looks like a Stormtrooper). I see purple toenails, something new I’m rocking this Spring. I see flip flops (permanent shoe choice now that I live in California). I see the sun going down on another day.


8:00pm: I see my first Dave Chappelle stand-up special. I see decorative bottles that are void of the M&M’s they usually contain (it has been awhile – adding M&M’s to the grocery list). I see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles items in a red metal bucket. I see candies from Ukraine in the glass bowl. I see Star Wars movies (so love them). I see Nintendo metal goodies that Tom collects. I see comfort. I see comedy. I see home.


10:30pm: I see tired. I see ready for sleep. I see the pillow cases that Aunt Lynda made us for our wedding (ones on the bottom). I see the pillow cases that Dailyn made us for Christmas just after our wedding (ones on the top). I see me moments before Tom comes into the room and we finally connect with his Mother to wish her a Happy Birthday, and make plans to go for lunch on Saturday. I see me moments before I lay there for another two hours, then finally fall into a fitful, unrefreshing sleep. I see the end of this day.