Saturday, December 25, 2010

A White Christmas

Well, today has been a day of firsts. We had our first White Christmas! In the South, this is very unusual. My husband and I have never had snow on Christmas morning, and neither have my children. It was truly magical to wake up to the crisp, beautiful blanket of white.  No cars, no people (as most neighbors had already gone out of town for the Holidays)  -- nothing but silence and this magical sight!  This was definitely a day I think my kids and I will always remember.

The other "first" that I had was not spending Christmas day with my parents due to the bad weather. (I know, I'm lucky to have spent so many with them, and I'm very grateful!)  Although it's amazing to have this snowy Christmas day at home, I do miss seeing them today.  I could tell my Mom was a little down when I talked to her on the phone this morning -- and was missing us too. We will just have to plan something for later in the week...  I can't wait to see her open her surprise gift -- I got her a KitchenAid stand mixer! What a great treat it will be to surprise her!

I hope everyone had a magical Christmas Day! (And took lots of holiday photos!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How Amazing is Shimelle?

Shimelle Laine is one "on the ball," cool, creative chick! Love her! Not only does she put together the amazing Journal Your Christmas online class, but she provides us with all kinds of fun "stuff!"(See manifesto below.)

Can't wait to see how my album comes together. Still planning, and sorting and working. Before I sleep tonight, I will have my first page done!

Thanks & Hugs, Shimelle!

Decisions, decisions.... December 1 is Just About Here!

Journal Your Christmas finally begins! I want to talk more later about the process, the reasons for journaling your Christmas, and most definitely the amazing Shimelle. Right now, however, I wanted to let you know how difficult it is for me to make decisions about this album!  So many glorious choices! Old papers that are favorites, this brand new Imaginisce line that I love, or a combination of all in my Christmas stash? Whatever is a girl to do... One thing that is decided is the size -- I'm doing an 8x8 album. Well, I'm going to sleep on it, and wake up tomorrow and get to work! Enjoy the Season!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home...

I found this quote in a magazine recently, and I love, love, LOVE it! It made me feel so much better about my house, about me -- and just happy in general! I'm so glad I'm providing my children with such a warm, loving environment, with plenty of poetry!

"Clutter is the poetry of our homes. It is an intimate view that is not always perfect -- a few dishes in the sink, books piled next to the bed. Everything in its place may give a certain satisfaction, but a lived-in room exudes comfort and warmth." 

~ Mary Randolph Carter, author of A Perfectly Kept House Is The Sign of a Misspent Life

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to The {Scrappy} Girl Next Door!

It was a year ago today that I started this blog! (It actually really blows my mind that a whole year has passed so quickly!)

In usual "Tracy Style," I contemplated blogging for quite some time before actually creating my blog. It went something like this, "Should I really spend time writing down my thoughts? Who's gonna' read it?"  or "Do I really want to reveal things about me that are personal, perhaps trivial, and well,  sometimes downright quirky?" or "Gee, do I really need something else to work on? I already have plenty of hobbies -- do I need something else to add to my To Do list?"  All of these things went through my head, and one day it just   hit me -- "What do I possibly have to lose -- Just do it already!" So, The {Scrappy} Girl Next Door was created!

The thing that has surprised me about blogging is how instantly gratifying it is, and how much I really do enjoy going back and reading posts from previous months. These two reasons alone are enough to keep me blogging.

When I say instantly gratifying, I really love that feeling when everything is all typed,  spell check is complete and you hit Publish Post.  I can spend days and days working on a scrapbook layout, and I rarely get that immediate sense of gratification. (I keep working on the layout, wondering if I should make changes, should I add just one more thing, etc.) I see scrapbooking as sometimes never-ending (with three busy kids and all!) but my blogging can be done in just a few free minutes I have in the evening once everyone is in bed. Love that it's short and sweet, and DONE!

The second reason I mentioned, going back and rereading earlier posts, really does make me feel like I've actually preserved memories. It takes me back to that day, that event, that layout -- whatever the post was about -- and makes me recall specific little details that I might have otherwise forgotten. My posts make me remember very special times (and even a few not-so-fun times: see post Keepin' it Real, when we had Swine Flu on Thanksgiving!)  but sometimes they also make me more aware of how far I've come. It's all right there, just for me (and occasionally a few of my followers!) to read. Basically, just the modern day diary!

So, all in all, I'm happy that I became a blogger! Some days I'm not sure how I want to proceed with my blog, and what direction to take. It will be very interesting to see what the next year brings. Blogging definitely preserves some of my favorite memories, and Hey, I don't lose my blog like those countless little spiral bound notebooks I used to buy for journaling!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Happy Birthday, Scrappy Girl!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

CHECK THIS OUT! Gypsies Journal: A very merry gypsy holiday indeed.... and a GIVEAW...

Gypsies Journal: A very merry gypsy holiday indeed.... and a GIVEAW...: "Whether you've been naughty or nice this year we think every gypsy deserves of a special gift this holiday season. And here's our gift to y..."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Fall!

Today we are planning to get outside and enjoy this beautiful day! The leaves are at their peak here, and a big rain front (badly needed rain!) is due in later tonight. I think we need to enjoy every little moment of today, with the incredible color and the warm sunshine! We've been so lucky to have this Indian Summer -- kind of an extension of carefree, summer days.  I think some fresh apple cider would hit the spot right now....  Happy Fall, everyone!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Things I Love Today, in Honor of 10-10-10

1. Sleeping late. Sleeping late is better than cupcakes or chocolate. Or even chocolate cupcakes.

2. This beautiful sunny Fall day, with the trees bursting with a mixture of crimson, burnt orange and sunflowery hues.... 100% Gorgeous.

3. Hearing my son playing on the guitar downstairs.  Amazed at how he can hear a song once, then go figure out  how to play it, all on his own. (I really did give birth to him, but this blows my mind, as I have zero music ability.)

4. Coffee. (Need I say more?)

5. Sitting by the pool, soaking up the sunshine.

6. The song "Little Lion Man." (And fair warning, it's not for little ears.)

7. Irreverent Madison on Alt Nation/First Wave. You just never know what she will say next, and I love it!

8. Mad Men. It comes on tonight -- Hooray!

9. Running water and electricity. I'm currently reading the book "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" and it pains me that they had to go a full five days (or more!) without a bath. And when they did get a bath, the servants had to bring boiling buckets of water up three flights of stairs to fill the copper tub. Makes me tired just thinking about it...  Yet usually I think it's hard to walk upstairs and turn on the faucet. (Yes, I admit to being a lazy individual.) Seriously though, we really do take these things for granted. Hmmm..... I think I will go take a shower now. Because I CAN...

and drum roll please for Number 10........

10. My amazing 13 year old son made dinner tonight for us all. We had his legendary homemade Alfredo sauce with pasta. It's absolutely delicious! (Yes, this is the same son that is playing the guitar. Oh, one day he is going to make some young lady such a good husband! Who doesn't dig a cute guy that plays guitar AND cooks? Oh yea!)

Okay, that's my list. Now I'm going to eat my chocolate cupcake for dessert. All in all, it's been a fabulous 10-10-10. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

When you care enough to send the very best...

Did any of you participate in WCMD (World Card Making Day) this weekend? I actually made several cards and remember why I love card making so much -- you get instant gratification and a finished project within just a few minutes! Love it! No stress, no never-ending albums, no worries about keeping things chronological, etc. Just an Instant Happy! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Easier said than done, uh? Especially for us "busy body" types!

This is one of my most favorite things in my craft room. We were strolling along the beautiful streets of Sea Side, when we spotted this piece of art in a gallery. My husband took one look at it, and laughed, saying, "Babe, this sums you up perfectly!" (He meant this in the kindest way possible, of course.)  It hangs next to my desk and reminds me to not take everything so seriously. I especially love the way it says "...YOU decide." That lets me know that it's really all up to me and how I react to things and others.

I {heart} this zany lady -- she helps me Chillax!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nothing Says Summer Like Tomatoes & Sweet Tea!

Well it's about time! After tending to 10 heirloom tomato plants since April, we're finally eating these wonderful ripe, red beauties. We've been amazed at how long it actually takes a green tomato to turn red. (An agonizing process when summer is in full swing!) For several weeks now we've been enjoying BLTs and sweet tea for lunch or dinner, or some days lunch AND dinner! And I must mention, bacon is not even necessary. These tomatoes are that good.

In addition to sandwiches, I've also made Caprese Salad and Caprese & Mozzarella skewers. I even threw together a BLT Pasta Salad. Yum. Oh, the possibilities are endless when your cup runneth over with tomatoes...

My latest tomato creation (shown below) was highly requested. My oldest son has been asking for a Tomato Pie for months. It's full of cheese with little hints of delicious fresh basil. Not the healthiest I will admit, but as Mr. Food would say, ""It's Oh, So Good!"

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Summertime...

Today I received the Back-To-School issue of Pottery Barn Kids in the mail, featuring the latest and greatest in lunch-boxes and backpacks. Yesterday, I saw a fall display on a store shelf, with autumn leaves and little splashes of orange and brown throughout the arrangement. I did not like either of these things. Not one little bit.... It's Summertime, people! Let's not rush it!

Although I do love Fall, I can't stand the thought of the kids being back in the school routine for another long nine months, or the thought of another never-ending frigid winter. Enough! I just want to enjoy this splendid season: the carefree days with no schedule, my kids all being home with me, fun days by the pool, and just the ease and attitude of SUMMER! Cheers, my friends, to Summer! Enjoy every little minute of it...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feeling Inspired & Ready to Create!

A few weeks ago I attended Donna Downey's incredible Inspired event. It was definitely just what the doctor ordered! We did so many projects that were totally out of my comfort zone, yet I loved every moment! It really got my creative juices flowing. Aside from the fabulous teachers & artists, I met so many great people that share my love of creating! All in all, it was a fabulous get-away! I'd love to share some of my photos from the weekend, featuring work of some AMAZING artists.

Pam Garrison is a mixed-media artist, and was absolutely amazing! She created this canvas for Inspired, and it is so darn cute!!! Now I want to paint a canvas for my scrapbook room. In her class we used vintage papers, acrylic paints & watercolors, collage elements and we even sewed on our pages in class. (For me, that was a huge accomplishment!)

Artist Diana Gessler taught a wonderful class on Illustrated Travel Journals. She showed us her inspiring journals from her trips around the world, and her talent is unbelievable! I love the way each little picture told a fascinating story from her travels. I have my traveling watercolors and my artist's journal -- all I need now is a summer trip! (And maybe a fraction of Diana's talent!)

And last but definitely not least, is this canvas layout by Donna Downey! I'm in awe of Donna's talent, her energy level, and her great sense of humor. I wish I could sew, and embrace the use of fabric like she does! I've never used fabric on my layouts before, but now I really want to! (I even have purchased beautiful fabric and I'm ready to go!)

My most favorite class out of the entire weekend was Donna's Inspiration Journal. Her journals are GORGEOUS. She goes with the flow, and just goes with whatever she's feeling that day. Each page was a true work of art. She would just slap down paint directly on the page, and then start painting, and before you knew it, an exquisite piece of art was before you. After her class I bought two of her blank Inspiration Journals, and I can't wait to start filling up the pages. I will admit, though, I am NOT the type to just squeeze paint directly on the page - lol! I'll try to loosen up a bit, but just not sure that's in the cards for me!

I hope you've enjoyed these little sneak-peeks from The Inspired Artist's Workshop. PLEASE NOTE that the above works are not my work, and that each artist is named. They are shown here for inspirational purposes only. Please visit their websites for more Inspiration.  I highly recommend Donna's Inspired weekend (May 2011 is the next scheduled event) and hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer's Here!

Ah, Summer Day, Summer Day -- nothing is as beautiful as those two words! School is out, the kids are sleeping in (and so am I!), and the days are spent poolside or else doing absolutely nothing -- except what we want to do. I love it! My favorite daily summer ritual is to have my coffee outside on the patio before the day gets too hot. I love the cool feeling on my skin, the birds chirping loudly in the trees, and most of all, the excitement of what possibilities the day may hold!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Southland in Springtime

After the longest, coldest, snowiest winter that I ever recall, it is finally really spring! Although it has been official for several weeks now, it actually looks and feels like spring. The dogwoods are in bloom, the daffodils and tulips are in their prime, and the azaleas are just opening up. I woke to the sound of birds chirping outside my window, and a lawn mower buzzing in the distance. The grass is the greenest of greens -- that glorious new green that only appears in April. It is absolutely gorgeous out today. Love the Southland in Springtime!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One of my most favorite quotes, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." by Albert Einstein. Gotta' love it! As much as I believe this, I'm a little hesitant to really push this quote on my school-age kids . Most specifically my thirteen year old who insists Algebra will never help him in real life. (Yes, I remember saying this to my Mom!) I can just hear the conversation now, "See Mom, even Albert Einstein knew that imagination was more important than Algebra, so why should I bother? He was a genius after all." But between you and me, I totally think this is true! (And using my imagination and creativity makes me infinitely happier than Algebra, or any kind of math!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Tiny Green Room of Her Own

I'm absolutely obsessed with looking at photos of scraprooms! I can look at craft rooms, scrap rooms, art studios -- whatever you want to call them! -- for hours on end. Not only do like to see the various styles of decorating, I love to get storage and display ideas for my own room. When someone posts photos of their scraproom, I never think of it as being "braggy" in any way. I think of it as a contribution to scrapbookers everywhere -- A gift to man-kind!

I love so many types of scraprooms -- big ones, tiny ones, rustic ones, green ones, you name it. I have favorites saved on my computer all the way back from 2002. I recognize a scrapbooker's profile pic on a message board and think, "Oh, she's the one with the lovely red scraproom with the cute Pottery Barn Samantha Bench..." You get the idea!

My scrap "space" started out in 1997 as cozy nook with a card table in the corner of my family room, right next to my new baby's Pack'n'Play. He played or napped, and I learned how to scrap, and the rest, they say, is history. Over the years, with moves to different houses, I've had "shared spaces" for my scrapbook supplies ranging from a really large laundry room that had built-in shelves and a desk, to my kids' playroom which had a mural of hot-air balloons painted on the wall, and my little added counter-top in the back of the room. None of these spaces were perfect, but I managed. Of course I kept hoping for my own room, and would constantly reconfigure rooms hoping to find space JUST FOR ME. That finally happened about a year ago. We shifted the boys around, and I took over a tiny bedroom. It was great fun to decorate, and being the only girl in the house, it was quite a new experience buying PINK things! All in all, it turned out well for me and it is indeed my favorite "go to" place.

Although I would hate to think of giving up my room should we move, I do find it ironic that scrapping was actually much easier back when I simply had one Iris cart and a Rubbermaid tub in the midst of teething toys and plush baby blocks. Yes, sounds pathetic, but I swear, I got a TON of scrapping done back then! I'm not going to say that the layouts were exquisite works of art, but they were completed quickly, and the process wasn't at all stressful. (And when I look back at them, I love these early pages!) As I type this, and look around my room which is overflowing with patterned paper of every hue, and printers and die-cut machines covering most surfaces, I can't help but think of one of my husband's favorite quotes: "“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.”

Hmmm... what a concept! Scaling back? Out with the old, in with the new? Simplifying? Definitely an option to explore in 2010.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Handmade = Love <3

Happy New Year! I've had over a week now to ponder New Year's resolutions. Every year I contemplate various things, and frankly, I don't usually stick to any of them. They usually involve either fitness & diet, or home organization. I must be honest here -- these are not things that I excel at, or enjoy working on. And overall, these aren't things that are really going to matter 50 years from now. [Note: My husband just read this sentence and laughed loudly. He said, "Of course your diet and fitness is going to matter in 50 years!" Let me clarify -- YES, it will matter and I do hope to make some positive improvements. However, my kids won't care in 50 years if I wore a size 8 in jeans or a size 12, know what I mean???] The bottom line is this: In 2010 I want to focus on doing what I love and loving what I do, and doing it for my loved ones -- the people that really matter.
Last night I was taking down my Christmas trees and had time to think about what each ornament meant to me. What memories each one held, the story behind it, and for some, the hands that made them. The hands that made them with love for me and my family.
The top photo is my favorite ornament this year. My seven year old son created this just for me! He made these adorable snowmen with his hand print. Words just can't express how much I cherish this ornament. I love that little hand print, and love those brown eyes that just sparkled with pride as I opened his gift! As the years pass, and his hand grows, I will treasure this ornament all the more.
The next two photos are ornaments that my grandmother made for me over the years. Each little person, or kitty, or gingerbread man was created with her hands. Each eye stitched by her, with love. This is my sixth Christmas without her, and each year I miss her terribly. But it makes me feel close to her when I hang these ornaments and touch the fabric she has touched. It also makes me know I want to be the kind of person that she was. The kind of person who loved to make things for her family; the great mother and grandmother that thought good food was a way to show her love for her children, and that it was worth the effort; the hardworking person that never sat idle and always had a project going for someone she loved. That's what I want to do, and that's the gift I want to give my children.