26 March 2015

Another Brick in the Wall

Another Brick in the Wall

I adore the name of this gorgeous die... how clever is it? And yes, I hear the song in my head every time I look at the die!

For this fun card, I paired the 'Another Brick in the Wall' die with another recently released dies form Crafter's Companion US (they're all available in the UK, too) Mediterranean Window. I die cut the farame from Black Pearl shimmering cardstock, and did the flower box three times in Sky Blue, Green Envy, and Yellow Pearl. 

To create the background behind the brick wall die, I placed the metal die on a piece of kraft cardstock and sponged Memento Rhubarb Stalk ink on - this left more blank space between the color and the die, which was what I wanted. You can get a whole different effect if you use an extra pice already die cut! To add color to the die cut wall itself, I sponged on Memento Desert Sand, Rich Cocoa, and Bamboo Leaves.

Be sure you stop by to check out all six new Create a Card dies released today! 

25 March 2015

Starshine

Starshine

New dies are coming to Crafter's Companion US tomorrow, and I absolutely love them! These Create a Card dies make quick and detailed card fronts in no time - this whole card took about ten minutes to put together, and that's only because I lost one of the stars on my messy craft desk!

I added a piece of Snowfall acetate behind the card front (it's not available anymore, but the new heat resistant acetate is pretty awesome!). My sentiment is from the versatile 'Phrases' stamp set and is stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black ink. It's die cut from the Die'sire Essentials Ovals and Scalloped Ovals. Oh, and that black matting? It's the super lush Black Pearl Shimmering cardstock. The yummy yellow is from Simon Says Stamp.

Make sure you check in on the Crafter's Companion US Facebook page formore sneak peeks, and the fabulous launch offer tomorrow!

24 March 2015

The Importance of Written Records


I'm back with another post for the virtual book club I'm part of, From Left to Write. I was so, so, so excited to get an Advance Reader's Copy of Dead Wake, by Erik Larson. His books are so fantastic, and this one is about a subject I'm fascinated by - disasters at sea. You can read my review of the book here (I posted it on my blog after I devoured the book in two sittings!)

As I mentioned the other day when our book club discussed Thrive, by Arianna Huffington, when we do book club discussion posts, it's not a review. Instead we discuss things the book makes us think about, based on themes, characters, and content.

I recently read a really interesting article on Slate, discussing the looming loss of so many important written records of historic decisions. It was a really thought-provoking article.... what are we doing to preserve our written history? How are we ensuring the longevity of our electronic communication, our decisions, our notes? The article (which is well worth reading) points out:
The State Department is doing nothing to retain public records. Neither, others tell me, are the other federal bureaucracies. As a result, our history is vanishing into the ether. Major decisions—cataclysmic events—are happening all around us, but their causes may never be known.
When the Lusitania went down, letters and journals survived. Paper dried out. Of course, so many priceless things were lost (oooooh, the art!!!), but what if that had happened today? Electronic devices would have all been destroyed. Yes, of course emails and live tweets of the ship's sinking would be there, but how would a historian access them one hundred years from now, if there was no clear preservation method?

Another thing that needs to be considered is how quickly technology changes. Your iPhone 4 doesn't work any more (although, my stepmom is clinging to hers!), so how can we be sure emails kept on servers now will be accesible in the future? I can still read the loving, heartfelt letters my grandfather wrote my grandmother who he was fighting in World War II. But will my children be able to read the emails I have been sending them all these years? Will their children? How will they access them?

The whole thing has given me pause. I think I'll start copying the emails and random notes i send my kids into journals, to pass on to them. Then at least I know I tried!

This post was inspired by Dead Wake by Erik Larson, a thrilling account of Lusitania’s last voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and the U-boat that attacked it. Join From Left to Write on March 26th as we discuss Dead Wake. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. but all opinions are my own. Any links to the book within this article are affiliate links. 

20 March 2015

With Love & Sympathy

With Love & Sympathy

A very dear friend experienced an unimaginable loss earlier this week, and after several tries I've finally made a card to send on behalf of our close group of friends. In moments like these there are just no words of comfort, and all we can do as friends is make sure our loved ones know we are standing with them, available for any and everything, at any time. 

I'm going to re-post something another of my friends shared earlier in the week, because really I'm at a loss: "...hug your kids. A lot and often. You are not guaranteed tomorrow with them, nor even guaranteed the next minute."

Today, as the Beebe family prepares to say goodbye to their precious Eleanor, please know that although so many of us cannot be there with you, we are sending every ounce of love, comfort, white light, and support we can. The Beebe's made a request that today be about celebrating things Eleanor loved, and that included wearing red, black, and white for her CheerCats. That's why this card is red, black, and white.... to show our support in the smallest of ways. 

To lose a child is every parent's worst nightmare. If you would like to offer your support for this amazing family in the days and weeks to come, please consider giving to one of the GoFundMe sites set up for them (here and here). Or, leave them a note of encouragement after reading about sweet Eleanor and/or donate to one of the local organizations they've requested (addresses are here).

17 March 2015

The Thrive Challenge


I'm part of From Left to Write, a virtual book club, and we just recently were given the chance to read (or re-read) Arianna Huffington's Thrive, as part of the celebrations surrounding the paperback release. I missed this book the first time around when the club read it, so I was excited to get it this time!

When we do book club discussion posts, it's not a review (for my thoughts on the book, see the short review I posted on Goodreads). Instead we discuss things the book makes us think about, based on themes, characters, and content. Since this book had so many challenges and suggestions for how to shore up your Third Metric, we were also challenged to try one of the ideas for seven days, to see how it went!

We could ALL use more time in our days, right? I know I could, and over the past year I've been feeling more like the busy-ness of "stuff" is taking over. Toward the end of last year I resolved to put an end to it, and really make an effort to focus. Each year I participate in the One Little Word movement -this year my word is discover. As part of that, I'm trying to do more mindful tasks and less multitasks. Be more present and allow time to discover new things about myself, my children, our family, activities we enjoy...basically wherever things lead us. This is what the book focuses on as the 'Third Metric' for a healthy, balanced, focused life.

Here are a few of Arianna's suggestions that I've tried (and how I did):
  • Get eight hours of sleep each night. (She mentions treating bedtime like an appt you cannot be late for - great idea)
    • My result: I'm a terrible sleeper, but I need a lot of it. I've been good about setting a firm schedule for myself, but had to put this on hold when I got sick and needed some surgery. Back to it by next week I hope!
  • Start a gratitude list and share it with people each week.
    • I actually started this on Facebook, and although I've not shared in a few weeks due to feeling under the weather, it's a fabulous thing to do and i highly recommend it. Actually, I'm going to make a habit of writing a short list (three to five things) down each night, because there are moments of gratitude all day, every day!
  • Turn off your digital devices at a designated time each night, and leave them in a room other than your bedroom.
    • Ok, this one makes total sense, but it's HARD for me. Not because I need to compulsively check email and social media all night, but because I use my phone as my alarm clock, need it for possible inclement weather delay for my daughter's school, and I read a lot on my iPad. I've made a bargain with myself to not do anything BUT read after a certain time. 
  • Practice regular deep breathing.
    • Check. Done. Love this, swear by it. I actually choose a mantra when I'm facing something particularly difficult so I have words to focus on while i breathe (I've got a whole slew of them of different occasions). 
I'll definitely be sticking with the challenges I've tried so far (and she encourages yoga, meditation, and exercise, all of which I'm working into my days as I can!). I an definitely say that making these changes is hard, and takes commitment. And the reality is, not all of them are realistic for everyone's life situation. Im just trying to make the best with what I've got, because it's all about being grateful of what you have!

This post was inspired by the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington, who challenges women unplug and sleep more to create a balanced life. Join From Left to Write on March 19th as we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. I received no other compensation for my review or thoughts. Links to the book in this post are affiliate links.