Sunday, November 28, 2010

52CP48: All the Small Things

"All the small things,
true care, truth brings..."

So begins a song by Blink 182 that I hear every time I think of the phrase "small things"... Other "small things" quotes, poems, etc.:

Good things come in small packages.

Little drops of water, tiny grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean and the beauteous land.

From the tiny acorn grows the mighty oak.

We can do no great things,
only small things with great love.

There are many, many more, but that's enough to start with today... Why am I discussing small things?

As we move into the holiday season we are bombarded with - and possibly overwhelmed by - ad campaigns and commercials and store displays that try to make us believe that our holiday must include the most elaborate decorations, the most extravagant gifts, the most sumptuous dinners, the most over-the-top parties, etc.

I don't know about you, but when I take my trips down memory lane none of my memories are tied to "bigger, better" anything! Here are some standouts for me:
  • Looking out my window at the Christmas lights reflected in the wet street (rain is Christmas weather in southern California, where I grew up)
  • The smell of bayberry candles and balsam Christmas trees
  • Swedish spritz cookies that my mother made with a cookie press and that we decorated with tiny red icing bows and silver dragees
  • Driving around town in the family station wagon to look at the Christmas lights
  • Going to the Christmas tree lot run by my brother's Boy Scout troop and watching them flock the trees in a big tent
  • The row of ornaments my mother hung from tinsel garland in the front windows of our family room
  • My mother playing piano while we sang Christmas carols
  • Opening our one gift (new pajamas) on Christmas Eve - the rest were for Christmas morning
Nothing on that list cost a lot of money or required a huge effort on anyone's part, yet those are the memories nearest and dearest to my heart. I have to believe that the same is true for you...

Do you remember the decorations at the parties you went to, or what was on the menu? Or do you remember the warmth of friendship and good times shared? Aside from one or two memorable gifts, do you remember the rest of the pile, or just the anticipation and excitement of Christmas morning?

We've all heard the phrase "We do not remember days, we remember moments." What moments will you create this holiday season that will be happy memories later? When your loved ones reflect back on this Christmas - or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you celebrate - what will they remember?

I made a card with one of the truest sentiments I know to remind me that "it's the little things that make life BIG":

Stamps: Stampin'Up! Happy Harmony; Ink: SU! Purely Pomegranate; Papers: SU! Raspberry Tart dsp, Purely Pomegranate; Accessories/tools: Nestabilities Labels Four, Martha Stewart border punch, ribbon, vintage button

The "Featured Artist" post for last week's challenge is below this one - please scroll down to view it - thanks!

Here's Mr. Linky for your creations for this week:

52PC47 Featured Artist

Apparently all of you have had as busy a week as I have! Erica was our sole participant this week! Here's her adorable card for "the most wonderful time of the year":

Is that snowflake paper the cutest, or what? Love the card - thanks, Erica!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

52PC47: Time

Good Sunday Morning To You!

I hope that things are going well for all of you! I'm making progress on the get-a-handle-on-my-life front, I'm happy to report! I've decided that my issues of late are part of a learning curve while I adapt to increased demands on the parental front (they are, after all, very old), and increased demands on the work/career front.

That being said, the biggest issue in all of it has been TIME - as in, not enough of it to go around! As usually happens in Sue-land, once I identify an issue or a trend or what-have-you, I start seeing all kinds of tie-ins in the people and things around me. No exception on this: I got a handy little post from Chris Guillebeau in my inbox this week. The theme? Killing Time! Here are a couple of excerpts from it:

"We all have to make judgment calls on where we should spend our time. I am an advocate for spending it deliberately: if you’ve got a spare hour, put it to good use. Or enjoy it by deliberately choosing to chill out. But don’t waste it, and don’t kill it. “Killing time”… what an unfortunate phrase.

Sometimes it helps to put things in perspective: what one thing will you get done today? If nothing else happens, how will you help others while pursuing your own dreams? (These goals are not mutually exclusive.)

When you find yourself with time to spare, don’t kill it. Respect it."

I also referred back this week to a post by Leo Babauta that Stephanie alerted me to regarding procrastination which, as I've told you before, is something I struggle with and that eats up waaaay more time than is even remotely allowable! He begins the article with this:

"Procrastination is one of those topics that, it seems, I can’t write enough about. There isn’t a person among us who doesn’t procrastinate, and that’s a fact of life.

It’s deep within us. We think we’re going to do something later, or read that classic novel later, or learn French later. But we always overestimate how much we can do later, and we overestimate the ability of our later selves to beat procrastination.

If our current self can’t beat procrastination, why will our future self do it?"

He then outlines the "why" of procrastination and some very practical steps to take to overcome it. VERY worthwhile article, as all of Mr. Babauta's articles are! (Thanks again, Steph!)

For my project this week I decided a clock was in order! I up-cycled a freebie CD to make it (there's a tutorial coming Monday on my other blog), and serendipity dropped a fun thing in my path for it, too! The clock hands that I had were too long for this small clock, so I headed out to Michael's to buy new, shorter ones with my 40% off coupon. Know what was on clearance? Oh yeah, a set of "Time Flies" stamps (Recollections)! I used them with a piece of paper from Basic Grey's Sugared collection and some distress inks to make the face for this:

That's one of my favorite "time" quotes, typed up on the computer in Pegasus font (bold). The clock hands were brass (not my fave) and I tried to spray-paint them, but the paint didn't stick. I hit them with some alcohol-ink markers, but they're still not right. Good enough to share for now - I'll fix them later! I don't need an excuse to stall on this post, right?

And that's it for me! Here's hoping we'll get a few more participants in the last few challenges of the year. I canNOT believe we're in single digits with how many weeks are left! Hopefully Mr. Linky won't be quite so lonely this week:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

52CP46 Featured Artist

Stephanie is our sole participant again this week! Here's her oh-so-fun card:I love the bright colors and goofy monsters (Steph thinks the one in the lower right corner represents her, by the way...) Fun sentiment, too! Thanks, Steph for giving us a genuine smile!

I've actually been able to get back to some semblance of "normal" this week, so I have a post AND a project ready to roll for tomorrow! Amazed? Me, too! Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what that's all about! Oh - and thanks for stopping by today! Buh-bye!

Monday, November 15, 2010

52CP46: Genuine Smiles

Hi, all! Sorry about the looooong silence here. I'm inundated, overwhelmed, burnt out, and have no better excuse than that I haven't been anywhere near my studio or my computer for the past five days. I am trying - again - to turn things around, and have a most excellent blog post that I will send you over to check out in a quick minute, but first I want to thank the ever-faithful Stephanie for her contribution to last week's challenge:

She wrote:

"This card is also for Sue's 52-Card Pick-up Challenge where she talks about the lyrics to the Jewel song My Hands, which begins with:

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these

That's one of the best things about having a sister who is also your best friend ... no matter what the world tries to pound me down with, I knew a few minutes talking with my sister will always help me see things through clearer eyes ... and remind me that we're all OK."

Thank you, Stephanie, for your thoughts and for always, always joining in (also for sharing your talents in the beautiful-card-making-field)!

On to this week: One of the bloggers I follow, Marta Dansie, has been hosting a series of "How-to" guest posts on her blog, and I found this one to be extremely fitting and inspiring: How-to Carry a Genuine Smile Every Day.

Since I've been unable to create anything new this week, I'm bringing back a card I originally created for one of Stephanie's Inspiration challenges (she hosts them every Saturday over on Splitcoast Stampers):

Stamp: Heidi Grace Quotes; Ink: Versafine Onyx Black; Paper: Close to My Heart Pink Carnation, white, black; Accessories/tools: Stencil (hand), Close to My Heart Stubble tool, Marvy corner punch

Here's Mr. Linky for this week:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

52CP45: My Hands

Good Sunday afternoon to you all! I hope it's been a pleasant day for you! This week I have a video for you. It's an older song, but I still love it. Embedding has been disabled, so you'll have to click through to YouTube, unfortunately. Here's the link: Jewel, Hands

Back again? Beautiful song, isn't it? I especially love the refrain at the end: "We are God's eyes, God's hands, God's heart..." I have long held the belief that we answer each others' prayers - that people are placed in our path, and we in theirs - to help each other through this life.

With that thought in mind, I decided to acknowledge that I am ready and willing to take on whatever is next in my role as a kindness-sharer, joy-giver, or prayer-answerer:

Stamp: Inkadinkado Maison Frames; Ink: Close to My Heart Garden Green; Paper: DCWV Mariposa Mat Stack, black, Stampin'Up! Naturals Ivory; Accessories/tools: Stampin'Up! Decorative Label punch, ribbon, computer-generated sentiment (Amazone BT font)

Here's Mr. Linky so you can link up your creations:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

52CP44 Featured Artists

Good Saturday evening to you! Kind of quiet again this week... We did have a couple of cards for the empathy challenge, though:

Stephanie used the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, who felt like he needed a brain to matter:

I love the colors and papers she used (I pretty much always do!) and her take on the challenge.

Erica made a great red-and-black card:

Fabulous classic color combo, and the textured background is perfectt!

Anne made a card for last week's Count Your Blessings challenge, but linked it up this week (thanks for adding this to our small gallery!):

I love the sentiment-stamped leaf - so pretty (and clever)!

Thank you, ladies, for your contributions!

I have a favor to ask all of you (well, a couple of favors, actually). I would be ever so grateful if, when you link up a card, you could take a quick sec to also leave a comment. That's the only way I get alerted to the fact that there are cards linked up (I get an email for comments, nothing for Mr. Linky), and it would also be nice to give some feedback to the author/creator of whatever inspiration I post.

The second favor is: please add a brief comment (either on your post on your blog or in a comment here) on how/why the card relates to the inspiration. It's totally awesome to see different takes on the same information, and I like looking at things from different perspectives, which is what that info would provide. Thanks so much!

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!