Monday, May 28, 2007


I was quite stunned when The Times-Picayune, our New Orleans newspaper, called me a few days ago saying they were going to publish my letter to the editor. I had written previously about various issues for which I advocate and, quite frankly, considered it a lesson in futility. Hurricane recovery continues to be the hot topic while global issues are relegated to the back pages if it all. Happily, my letter made it into yesterday's newspaper:

Letters to the Editor

As a matter of reference, when my dh showed the article to my mil, she knew nothing about the Darfur region of Sudan...where it was or what was going on there. Nothing. Never heard of it.

(Title was NOT my idea. They read a little more into my letter than they should have.)

***UPDATE***On May 30, the White House announced that they were finally going to implement "Plan B" sanctions against Sudan! Think the Pres saw my letter?! Haha! A better outcome for the people of the Darfur region will require a UN resolution and international sanctions, but at least this is a start.***

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Something to Celebrate

From the LM Archives
Something to Celebrate By: Susan Berg, Design Team Member
Happy Un-Birthday to You! Happy Un-Birthday to You! 

Birthdays are not the only celebrations in our lives. Achievements in school, at our jobs, anniversaries, graduations, retirements, and religious milestones are all moments worth celebrating. Frequently, though, it is moments like these that we find the most difficult to scrapbook. Such an important occasion, so many wonderful memories and photo opportunities leads to at least a little extra stress when you sit down to scrapbook these times.

While the focus of this article centers on journaling, a few pointers before you get to the actual scrapbooking:

** Before the big day, make a list of pictures that you want to be sure to take. If possible, include some staged photos that can be taken before the excitement takes over. While action shots are wonderful, should something happen to keep you from getting those, you will still have the planned pictures to include in your scrapbook.

** Consider having a majority of your pictures printed in a smaller size. Even if you normally scrapbook with 4x6 photos, try using 3 ½ x 5, half sheets, or wallets. This will enable you to include all of those “must have” shots without having your layout look cluttered and cramped and can provide a nice contrast to one special enlarged photo.

** Keep cards and/or letters received on the occasion to include in your layout. If there are too many, or combined with your pictures you have run out of room, consider adding a fold out mini-album or a mini-page between two 12x12 pages, or you can maximize your space with hidden journaling: under a photo or on a pull out tag.

But pictures alone can only represent a portion of the importance of the day. Journaling for these events is what will be cherished for generations to come. And for many, this is where we start to falter. Always be sure to include the basics: who, what, where, when, and why. For things like this, the Making Memories Tag Maker is a terrific little item! Print up the information and make it into an attractive tag that can quickly give the vital information to whoever is looking at the layout. There are also several different stamps that make the perfect spot for jotting down a few highlights.

For the more in depth journaling, consider writing a letter to the subject of the layout. Let them know how proud you are of them, what you were thinking at that moment, and what you hope this event means for them. With all the different lined paper products out there like Scenic Route Backgrounds and Karen Russell Narratives this is easy to handwrite and make even more meaningful. If your feelings are too personal for anyone who might look through your albums, consider tucking the note behind a photo. This will save you space on the page and allow you to be more candid in your note.

Perhaps even more meaningful is to have the subject of the layout contribute to the journaling. How did they feel in preparation for their big day? Why was it important to them? How will this change their future or how they look at life or feel about the world around them? What changes will follow this event and how do they feel about them? If your subject is not very inclined to write their deepest thoughts out for you, consider interviewing them. The Chatterbox Instant Interviews Idea Book (on its second edition) or Scrapbook Trends’ Journaling Your Story can help.

If a party or reception is involved in the big event, consider asking the attendees to help with the journaling. How are they feeling about the occasion or the celebrant? Do they have any advice? If they went through the same event, what impact did it make on them? Plan ahead and have something prepared in advance to help get these journaling gems like premade tags and acid free pens to write with, a mini album that can be attached to the layout later, or even just small pieces of paper.

Whether the occasion is a baptism or graduation or retirement, you can preserve the feelings of the day with some well crafted journaling to complete your beautiful layout.

Design Team Examples
To view all layout ideas and products used, please be sure to visit the Design Team Gallery:Something to Celebrate
Or Click each image below to see a larger view!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Surprising Birthday LO Ideas

From the LM Archives
Surprising Birthday Layout Ideas By: Cecilie Malling, Design Team Member
Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. ~Larry Lorenzoni
Every day we each get a little older and maybe even a little wiser and once a year we celebrate the day we were put into this world. Since birthdays are recurrent events and every one in the family has one (at least) once a year we all end up with a large amount of birthday pictures we’d like to keep in our albums. And don’t forget while documenting the family of kids’ and loved ones to also document your own birthday celebrations.
At birthdays there are often a lot of activities on and even more clutter around which makes it a difficult to get calm pictures but don’t let that keep you from scrapping the birthday pictures. You need to focus on the memories you are preserving and in years to come it will be fun for you and the kids to return back to the pictures and remember the busy feel of the birthdays even if the pictures aren’t the best in the world. Moreover it might be a good idea to only scrap the very best of the pictures and keep the rest in a separate album or you could do a layout with a hidden part or a pocket to make room for more pictures.
It might seem an overwhelming task to tackle all the pictures from birthdays and Melissa advises that you use for instance Becky Higgins’ sketches as a starting point for your multiple photo layouts. That way you can either use the sketch with 4x6 photos or use the sketch as a guideline for resizing of the pictures. These two sketches are based on layouts by Susan and me, and I hope they may inspire your next birthday layouts:

When you have chosen the best pictures from the latest family birthday you still need ways to calm down the busy pictures and give your layout a focus. This might be done in these ways:
- mat the photos on cardstock to frame them against one another
- you might opt to use less patterned paper, monochromatic patterned paper or just a few colors to calm the entire layout down
- really bring attention to one strong picture by having it enlarged on page one of a double-page, framing it differently than the other pictures or having embellishments point towards this photo:
One of the staples of a birthday is the cake with candles and the pictures of the kids’ blowing out the candles might have colors that are muted because the photos were taken in the dark and without flash. Madeline’s tip is that these pictures even with their imperfections make for great pages and that you might bring out the best of muted pictures by using bright or deep colors instead of light or pastel colors:
Since birthdays are so happy, fun and bright in themselves adding a bit of shine to your layouts would be just right. In the latest releases a lot of the items have been glittery and these are really fun products that add shimmer to your layouts. If you want your title to glitter the 3 inches highScrapworks Shimmer Alphas have a great glossy glittery effect and there size make them perfect for larger titles. The Melissa Frances Pop-out Glitter Alphas are smaller and have a matte effect but I really like how the glitter stays on the letters and doesn’t rub of on the rest of the page elements. For smaller titles or subtitles the new MM shimmer stickers have a fun variety of fonts and sizes.
Not only your titles and texts can be glittered up since there are also a lot of new glittery embellishments available. The new Making Memories Shimmer brads come in various color combinations and they have a pretty matte shine. You can even get a glittering skull to use on a funky boy birthday page or sparkling rub ons might add the right amount of glitter to your layout.
If you want to add a little glimmer to elements of your page that doesn’t shimmer on their own you might want to try using either one of the many colors of Stickles or try the Melissa Frances’ glittersthat can be used with glue to embellish or even write text directly on your layouts.
What ever you chose do remember to have fun at the birthday and at the later creation of the birthday layouts. Happy Birthday ;o)

Design Team Examples
To view all layout ideas and products used, please be sure to visit the Design Team Gallery: Surprising Birthday Layout Ideas
Or Click each image below to see a larger view!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Jazz Fest Experience

I don't know if you've kept up with the weather in the gulf states this last day or two, but let me tell was something else!!! Terrible thunderstorms, inches of rain, street flooding, etc! The PITS! And Friday was the day I had planned to attend Jazz Fest with three of my sisters.

We sat around most of the morning waiting for the weather to clear...somewhat. Or at least until there weren't those menacing red bands, numerous lightening strikes and areas of rotation! Finally, we changed our plans and went to lunch instead, through floodwaters actually, to a fabulous restaurant in the burbs...Dragos! Char-broiled oysters, fried ravioli with crawfish sauce and seafood pasta! YUM!

But still...I was so depressed thinking about missing Better Than Ezra AND Counting Crows. I mean, how often are two of your favorite bands playing at the same place, same stage, same day??? So...I go to pick up my middle son from school at 4:00 (after serving a detention for having his hair too long...when you pull it around the ear!) While I'm waiting for him, I have this brilliant idea...!!! Why don't we go RIGHT NOW! He gets in the car and I ask him! "Let's Go!" he says! Of course, Tommy thinks I'm crazy, but he looks at the radar for me and it looks safe. Our luck has started to change! And even better, we found free parking! THEN as we were walking up to the gate a man getting into his car asked if we needed tickets. $10 he said! I knew they weren't tearing tickets (just scanning them) and it could be a scam with already used tickets, but he showed me his school ID (St. Augustine teacher) and Driver's License and promised me they were legit. I gave him $20! If they weren't good, I knew his name and where he worked...a respectable Catholic high school! Well, we got in! And saved $70 by trusting that guy!!! Hee-hee!

Anyway...we picked our way through the crowds, got as close as possible and caught most of BTE. Then came Adam Duritz and gang! Counting Crows were awesome!!! He didn't take a break! Sang his heart out! So, the dreariest, wettest day in months turned out pretty darned good! Amen!!! I was happy!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

You're Invited

From the LM Archives

You're Invited By: Madeline Fox, Design Team Member
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
Take to heart this Cajun expression and let the good times roll when planning your next celebration! Make it a stylish event with unique party accessories inspired and created from some of your favorite scrapbooking staples.
Themed patterned paper collections make it easy to design well-coordinated invitations, party d├ęcor, thank you cards and favors. The Junkitz Extreme Boy collection inspired two of our designers to create two very unique party sets. One line, two ways! Susan designed thank you cards to match her invitations, and embellished water bottles for the guests as a cool party favor. What a wonderful idea for a hot day! From the moment you open Cecilie’s pirate party invitation, you know you’re in for some excitement. Singed paper pirate map hints at the treasure hunt party game you will play and placecards welcome everyone to the table. Each guest leaves with a goody bag tied together with coordinating pirate tag. Arrr!
The next time YOU are invited to a celebration, consider creating personal tags, cards, and unique wrapping or packaging for your gift. Pillow box, fry carton and other templates are available for many of the popular cutting machines. Use your favorite patterned paper, add a coordinating tag and voila! Popular with preschool and elementary school parents are little business-card sized “calling cards”, printed in fun designs and personalized with the child’s name. I made my own by using stamps from the KI Memories It’s A Boy Icons set. These are so easy to attach to a present in place of a card!
The soft blues of My Mind’s Eye Baby Boy Oui Oui papers inspired two baby-themed cards. The shower invitation was embellished with a cute little carriage made by taking a quarter slice out of a circle of patterned paper and adding button wheels. The birth announcement used two KI Memories stamp sets, wording from It’s A Boy and stars from the Journaling set. There’s even room for a photo to be slipped beneath the velvet ribbon at the bottom of the card. And if it’s a girl, look towards the My Mind’s Eye Baby Girl Mon Cheri papers and accessories.
Browsing the patterned paper section of the Lifetime Moments store, I was bombarded by more ideas! Here are a few party themes and paper sets to consider for your next celebration:
Design Team Examples
To view all layout ideas and products used, please be sure to visit the Design Team Gallery: You’re Invited!
Or Click each image below to see a larger view!



Wet Weather Forecast

Would you wade through see Counting Crows and Better Than Crawfish Monica and White Chocolate Bread Pudding...enjoy gospel, soul, etc? It is supposed to STORM tomorrow and we have been planning to spend the day at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I am so bummed that they are forecasting 3-5 inches of rain! I'm afraid no one will want to go...but I DO!!! I have been psyching myself all week with CDs in my car and will be soooo disappointed if our plans fall through.

I have a poncho, umbrella, and extra shoes. Mud washes off. At least it won't be so hot!