31 May 2006

Wood-Mounted Stamp Storage

Continuing my plan from last week, here's another organizational tip. This is how I have my wood-mounted stamps stored. I don't have a huge number of them since I really prefer acrylic, and I like to have them visible so I remember that I have them. This old box holds them perfectly. Right now, it sits at the back of my table against the wall. It could also be hung on the wall, but that would take considerably more effort!

Since this picture was taken, I've had to remove the green and pink foam leaf and shape stamps. Tinsel loves to chew anything made of foam, and she seeks out and destroys all foam-mounted stamps. She's even been known to open the small drawers on my scrapbooking table and pull out sheets of foam pop dots. I've found foam stamps and pop dots stashed in odd places, peppered with pointy cat teeth holes. I can pretty much tell by examining the evidence who is responsible!

Other than the Tinsel factor, this stamp storage system is another little organizational thing that makes me happy!

29 May 2006

In Praise of Sliding Glass Doors

Yesterday morning, the tiniest baby bunny hopped up onto our patio step, attracted by the smell of the scented geranium. With ears no more than an inch long and eyes as brown as a chocolate bar, he nibbled on a sprig found on the step. Such a sweet sight.

On the other side of the sliding glass door lurked the fattest tabby cat, attracted by the movement of the tiny bunny. With ears flattened and eyes flashing, she licked her chops and thumped her tail. Such a sweet bunny, she thought.

And for a few minutes, the would-be predator and would-be prey sat a mere inches apart. One oblivious and one acutely aware. Captured only by the camera.

25 May 2006

A Craft Becomes Art

Having a musically talented daughter means that things get busy at this time of year. Recitals, concerts, contests...they all seem to happen at once. Then suddenly everything is over.

This week brought the annual band solo and ensemble contest, the last big event of the school year. At this event, students play pieces for a judge to receive a rating. This was Bailey's third year participating in the contest. For the third year, she was named outstanding soloist for her marimba and snare solos. This year, she received a perfect score for each. This meant a great deal to her, given the complexity of the pieces she played.

As I look back on it, this year's contest marked a bit of a turning point, both for her and for me. As I crouched outside the door of the contest room listening to the sounds of her warming up on the snare and marimba, I began to relax. My normally nervous mom feelings started to disappear. As she launched into her marimba piece and other parents and students gathered outside the door to listen, it hit me: she really knows her craft. She makes it seem easy. I started to listen with a different level of appreciation. Rather than focusing on the mechanics of the performance, I felt the joy of listening to a musician.

I recently read a quote from someone about the difference between "craft" and "art". "Craft", she said, "is about making the right choices. Art is achieved when we no longer notice the craft."

As I listened, it occurred to me that Bailey is maturing in her musical skill to the point where I'm no longer aware of the craft. What I hear is the art. And what a privilege it is to be along for the ride.

22 May 2006

Clearly Organized

Ok, here's a new feature on my blog for anyone who might happen by! I love organizing, so each week I will try to share an organizational tip related to scrapbooking.

Yesterday I taught a class called "Mission Organization", so this topic is on my mind today. We discussed many options for organizing all kinds of scrapbooking tools and supplies. In preparation for this class, I gathered numerous photos, a few of which were from my own little scrapbooking corner.

This photo shows how my acrylic stamps are organized. I leave the stamps on the clear plastic carriers, then put them into empty CD cases. (I read this tip a long time ago on Two Peas.) The CD cases fit nicely into this rack, which I purchased at Target. I am planning to label the spines of the CD holders to identify the stamps contained in each...just haven't done that yet.

It's a little thing, but my acrylic stamp organizer makes me happy!

19 May 2006

More Than a Sign

I'm one of those people who saves just about everything. In fact, in my parents' attic are multiple boxes of papers from my school years, kindergarten through graduate school. My parents are feeling a need to sort through things, so they have started to carry a few boxes down from the attic. They recently decided they'd have me start weeding through my treasures by sorting through a box of my 4th grade papers. I'm not sure why, but Mom announced that I'd start with 4th grade.

Anyway, the contents of my 4th grade box will be the subject of a future blog post, but in the meantime, this particular item, the first thing I pulled out of the box, really struck me. This is a large (probably 16x16 inch) red paper, not really heavy enough to be a poster. It is obviously farming-related, but I haven't a clue where it came from or why it was with my 4th grade papers. While I can remember most of the things I found in the box, this one seems totally foreign to me. And I find it really intriguing seeing this today, as an avid scrapbooker for whom CROP has a very different meaning.

And there's more: A little deeper down in the box were two scrapbooks made from large paper grocery bags, covered with pieces of wrapping paper and loosely tied with yarn. Inside the scrapbooks were pictures and advertisements cut from magazines. Again, I have no recollection of making either of these scrapbooks. But they must be mine. They were in my box.

There is probably no real significance to either of these finds, but to me, they feel like a confirmation that today, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Looking back, the signs really were there, even when I was a fourth grader. I may have ignored the signs then, or maybe they weren't visible to me, but now, as a grown up, I see the signs clearly. It has taken me a long time to get here, but these little clues tell me that maybe, just MAYBE, I'm becoming who I'm really supposed to be.

13 May 2006

Good, Clean Fun

My folks surprised us with a new Maytag washer and dryer this week. Totally caught me off-guard. We'd been having a rather serious problem with the previous washer. Every time we used the warm or hot settings, most of the water would pour out of some unknown hole in the bottom of the washer, flooding the laundry room. Let me tell you, it is not easy to pull a semi-full washer out from the wall to mop up a mess, then push it back again. I hadn't even told my my folks that the dryer occasionally didn't heat up. But I've been coping with these issues for quite some time. Domestic chores are quite low on my list (if on the list at all).

Anyway, the new washer and dryer are, of course, beautiful and fully-functioning (no leaks and plenty of heat). The dryer even has a light in it! Remarkably, the washer does its thing with practically no water or detergent, a feat I'm still trying to understand. The dryer does almost everything except put the clothes away. But the control panels have so many buttons and lights that I feel like I'm piloting a jet plane. I've never had to make this many decisions related to my laundry.

We are all very grateful, if not still in shock. So I made my folks a little thank you card that looks like a washer. That, I CAN do.

06 May 2006

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

In honor of National Scrapbooking Day, I thought I'd post a few things that I love about scrapbooking:

Telling the story. Bringing the photos to life through words. Refining and polishing my text.

Perfecting the design. Finding balance and unity on the page. Removing unnecessary clutter until the photos and story are the focus.

Finding the perfect font. Sleuthing to find a font to match one I've seen in a magazine. Selecting the one that contributes to the mood of the design. Getting it just right.

Teaching it. Helping others to see that scrapbooking is not only fun, but it can also be therapeutic and life-changing as well.

Leaving the world a better place. Creating pages that will last long after I'm gone and touch people I'll never meet. Using my abilities to tell the stories and share the photos of our lives, right now.

I hope that if you're a scrapbooker, you'll take some time today to create. Know that it is important work you are doing. Know that you're part of a community, a world-wide network, of people who GET IT. Today, we're celebrating that!

04 May 2006

Things That Make Me Crazy: Volume 1

Ok, today’s post is going to be on the lighter side. Do you have pet peeves? I have a few, and the list is growing. For starters:

Crooked signage on buildings. If you really start to notice signs on buildings, you’ll see that sometimes the letters go uphill or downhill. I can think of several signs in my little corner of the world that are horribly misaligned. Now I know that hanging signs is probably not as easy as it looks, but for Pete’s sake, if hanging signs were my business, I’d do it right! The best example I can think of this is the signage on my daughter’s orthodontist office. The letters “t-i-s-t” go noticeably uphill. Now, why would I have confidence in their ability to straighten her teeth if even their signage is crooked? This makes me crazy!

Gone missing. Ok, what is the deal with this phrase? What has happened to the word “disappeared”? Now, instead of disappearing, everything “goes missing”. “The city of Cleveland is asked to be on alert for a tiger which has gone missing from the local zoo.” Gone missing? Now, this can’t be grammatically correct. Plus, it’s just a goofy thing to say. The word “disappear” has even gone missing! This makes me crazy!

White IPOD cords hanging from people's bodies. What is going on with this? Every time I look around, half of the people I see have white cords protruding from their ears and running down their abdomen. It looks like everyone is getting an IV drip. The IPOD website boasts headphone cord lengths of 37 inches. I'm not sure of the distance between the average IPOD user's ears and belt, but doesn’t 37 inches seem a little long? I guess not if you’re a middle school boy whose pants are so low-slung that your underwear shows. And that makes me crazy, too!

I could go on and on, but instead of being therapeutic, making this list just gets me all riled up. I’m going to take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths and move on.