The family. we were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.

– Erma Bombeck

February is the month of love, and as such, love is a popular blogging topic this time of year. But for many of us (myself included), romantic love just isn’t a focus in our lives at the moment, for whatever reasons, and for whatever season. So I thought my little blog could focus on love of other kinds this month. This week, it’s all about family.

Family Love

Most scrapbookers and journalers, and even planner girls I know got started with their hobby because of a love for their families. Think about it. We make scrapbook pages, filling volumes of albums, about the people (and pets!) who are most important to us – our families. Whether it’s your extended family, your nuclear family, or your alternative family, I’d bet if I flipped through your pages, I’d find tons of photos and information about them. Why? I believe it’s because even if they drive us crazy, even if they themselves are crazy, even if they are the most dysfunctional people we know, we cannot help but to deeply love our families.

They are the ones who celebrate with us in good times and weep with us in bad times. We can go days, weeks, months, and even years  without having contact, but our hearts still long for the love of the ones we grew up with, sharing experiences no one else would understand. It’s a bond that can be strained, but is never fully broken.

Creating a Family Tree

Recently, I had the pleasure of creating a layout for my ScrapHappy friend Alice Boll to be used in her Layout A Day challenge. The prompt was to create a page based on your family tree. Honestly, doing something like this has always been on my scrappy bucket list, and I suppose because of that, I almost immediately got a vision for what I’d want that page to be.

I started out at I knew I could create a visual representation of my family tree, so I set up a free trial account and started punching in information. By the way, the commercials are true! It really is a thrill to see a leaf pop up for a family member, and you can spend hours tracking down new and interesting tidbits about your ancestors. For my purposes, I set up a simple tree starting with my parents, continuing with me and my siblings (I’m the youngest of 6!), and our children. I did not include spouses, and I stopped with the third generation – anything more simply wouldn’t fit on a 12 x 12 spread, which was the format I was working with.


NOTE: You can plug in photos of your family members as you add them to your tree. I was working within a deadline, so I didn’t use that option, but it would look really cool on a scrapbook or journal page if you did!

Scrapbooking Your Family Tree

I decided that I would try to use the printed family tree and paint an actual tree around it. I printed the chart from using a laser printer. I had to work with the settings a little to shrink the printout enough so that it was no wider than 12″. Once I had that, I pasted the chart to a piece of white 12″ x 12″ cardstock, then coated the whole thing with clear gesso.

I watched this SUPER inspiring and helpful video to learn how to use my Walmart Crayola brand watercolors to create something that would look like a tree.

Then practiced in a watercolor journal. I highly recommend practicing before you commit to your actual layout, especially if you are not familiar with the medium and/or the subject matter that you will attempt to create.

Next, I transferred my newly learned skills to the actual page. If you try this, don’t be alarmed by the wrinkling and warping. This is simply what happens when water meets paper. Once everything is dry, you can place your layout underneath a towel or pillowcase and go over it with a hot iron to press it out.

The next step is to just put it all together with photo(s), embellishments, title, and journaling. Get as wildly creative or go as simple as you like. I think I landed somewhere in the middle, with a two-part title using woodgrain and pink glitter Thickers and mini alphabet stickers.

Just a simple strip of patterned paper behind the matted photo, part of a border sticker, and a round sticker make up the embellishments.

Confession: All the little things I needed to stick down wouldn’t stick down so well. This was because the clear gesso gives the paper a “tooth,” or grainy texture. Just use a good liquid glue, such as Beacon 3-in-1, to remedy that problem.

Have you done a family tree layout? I’d love to see! Link me up in the comments or come on over to the MKP Facebook group and show us what you’ve got!

Level 10 Life

I’ve spent a lot of time lately reading about goal-setting and achieving, and frankly, found a lot of it to be overwhelming and a little boring (let’s be real, right?). But one thing that I kept seeing popping up all over the place (Facebook groups, Pinterest, etc.) was something called “Level 10 Life.” Well, I’m not usually one to jump on trendy bandwagons, but finally I thought, “I really want to do this goal-setting thing. I ought to at least check it out.” A Google search for “Level 10 Life” returned this AMAZING post by Kara Benz from Boho Berry (of whom I am a huge fan), and immediately I was in.

The first thing I did was find a printable for the assessment wheel. Sure, sure, I could’ve drawn it myself in my bullet journal, but I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, and I’m also impatient. I found the printable here.

I also followed Kara’s example and picked little “mission statements” for each of the 10 major life areas and added them to the spread.

Admittedly, setting 10 goals for each area was a little intimidating for me, so I decided to pick 5 instead, for a total of 50 goals to work on. That’s almost one per week! How about that?

In the end, I’ve got a set of achievable goals to work toward all year long. I’ll track my progress in my bullet journal and make adjustments as needed. I’ll check in once a quarter and update my assessment wheel. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out!

I invite you to create your own Level 10 Life spread. Whether you work in a bullet journal, planner, or scrapbook, you can use this method for choosing realistic goals for yourself. And as always, I’d love to see! Come on over to the Kreative Facebook group and share your stuff!

Hungry for more on goal setting and resolutions? Check out 3 Scrappy Solutions You Should Make (and Keep) in 2017

3 Scrappy Resolutions

Today I’m showcasing 2 of the printables in my Calendars and Ledger Papers, available for a limited time as part of the iNSD Mini-Bundle.

Display files Personal SizeEach of the calendar spreads comes in 6 colors, and the ledger and grid papers come in a coordinating magenta. The printables are sized for Filofax personal planners or Midori pocket size notebooks.

Today I’m going to show you how to create weekly and a monthly traveler’s notebook planners.

First, choose the weekly spread you prefer. I printed five copies of the 2 page horizontal weekly spread, 2 of them front to back, with a ledger paper printed on back of the fifth.

Next, trim the printouts to size.

Fold the papers in half lengthwise.

Next, cut a cardstock cover 6 3/4″ x 7 1/2″. Decorate as you like. I decided to play with Gelators to add some fun color to my cover. That’s one of the things I love about creating my own traveler’s notebooks – I get to experiment with mixed media techniques I might not try in my scrapbooks.

For this technique, I rubbed a bit of each color across the top in a stripe pattern.


Added a generous amount of water with a paintbrush and tilted the paper to allow the color to drip down.

Then I dried the water with a heat gun and handwrote the label on the front.


After decorating your cover, fold everything in half and bind the pages into it with staples. Voila! One traveler’s notebook completed!

Next, print out 13 copies of the monthly spread.

Trim them down to size.

Decorate the cover. For this one, I chose a simple stamping technique.

Using a sponge dauber and a coordinating color of ink, I stamped a large polka-dot pattern onto the cardstock.

Then I labeled it with the months it will contain…

loaded in the printed pages, and stapled the book together.
  And then the fun part begins – the planning! I’ll add some doodles, stickers, and stamps to these layouts, but I think they’re pretty cute even plain.

Now it’s your turn. Be sure to pick up the iNSD Mini-Bundle, and you can create your own variations of planners, journals, and notebooks.






Christmas Terrors

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I write mostly about scrapbooking, mixed media, cardmaking, and other paper crafting topics. You also know it’s been a while since I’ve written much about anything.

That’s because I’ve been working on a totally different type of project  – I’ve ventured into the world of fiction writing! Here’s the short version of how it all happened:

Back in September, my best friend Jakki and I attended Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans Conference. We had an amazing time soaking in all sorts of “writerly” conversation and learning from the pros.

Jakki and me between panel sessions

Jakki and me between panel sessions

There was an evening pitch session with representatives for the indie publishing company 13Thirty Books. They were offering an exclusive opportunity to be published in their Never Fear Christmas Terrors anthology, only open to attendees at the conference. Jakki and I each pitched stories, and the guys encouraged us to send in our finished works as soon as they were completed.

Rich from 13Thirty

Rich from 13Thirty

Lance from 13Thirty

Lance from 13Thirty

Long story short, I submitted a short story titled “The Gift That Won’t Stop Giving,” and they liked it! I waited on pins and needles for a couple of weeks after sending my story in, and then on October 7, I received the email I’d been waiting for – my story was chosen to be included in the anthology!

Fast forward to December 2, and the book was published and available for purchase. I can’t describe how rewarding it is to see my name on the cover of a book in circulation! And I wanted to share my excitement here. If you’d like to read more of the story, you can check out my new author blog Before 49. Once you get there, join my email list. I’d love to stay in touch with you about upcoming fiction that I’ll be writing.

Meanwhile, I’ll be getting back to more crafty posts around here. I’m trying to find a way to balance work, creating, writing, and blogging, and I am certainly a work in progress. But I am so enjoying this chapter in my life (no pun intended!), and I wouldn’t have it any other way.



The struggle is real. Every year my husband asks me for a Christmas wish list. And every year, my initial response is the same. “Ugh! There’s nothing I need or want!” And then I go online, or spend some time with scrappy friends (like I did this weekend),, and the ideas start flowing. Here are my top 4  picks. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration to pass along to YOUR personal Santa. 🙂

Zip Printer

1. Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer – This little jewel prints photos directly from your iOS or Android device! The photos print to a cute little 2″ x 3″ size, and the papers themselves contain some sort of wizardry that requires no ink. I’d use this little thing endlessly. Dylusions Creative Journal 2. Ranger Ink Dylusions Creative Journal – It’s an art journal with sturdy manila pages. You can do all sorts of painting, inking, staining, pasting, and anything else your artsy mind can conceive of, and it will not bleed through to the other side of the page. I love that the book itself has an elastic loop to hold it closed, and you can customize the kraft chipboard cover any way you want. Stamper's Brush Markers 3. Faber-Castell Stampers Big Brush Pens – A collection of 15 colored markers for stamping. With these, you can apply different colors to a rubber or polymer stamp. These seem really cool for all kinds of scrappy and artsy projects. I wonder if they make good brush lettering markers, too. Hmmmm…. Colorburst 4. Ken Oliver Color Burst Assortment – A set of 6 Color Burst powders in bright colors. These are so much fun to play with! You can spray water over your project, then squeeze a bit of the pure-pigment powder into it. Or, you can go in reverse – powder first, then water. Either way, it’s like watching fireworks explode! The colors are vibrant even when you mix them with other mediums like modeling paste, gesso, or gel medium. Amazing! (There’s also an “Earthtones” variety pack) I must admit it’s pretty fun to window-shop and daydream about all the projects I’d love to create with these goodies. I’ve got some scrappy friends who are sharing their wish lists today, too. Check them out! Alice Boll at Scrapbook Wonderland Danielle Leonetti at Scrapper on the Street I’d love to hear what’s on your scrappy Christmas list! Leave me a comment below and let me know! 🙂

PIn it:

Gifts for ScrapbookersArt Journalers Gifts

Hello my friends, and welcome to the Christmas in July Bundle Blog Hop!

I’m so excited to tell you that the Creative Christmas Bundle is going to be rereleased – for a very limited time run – in just a couple of days! I wanted to share a little bit about my own product being featured in the bundle and also give you a little taste of it in the form of a quick tutorial.

Santa's Helpers Workshop

My contribution to the Christmas bundle is called The Santa’s Helpers’ Workshop. It consists of ten easy to make, easy to gift, handmade project tutorials. The projects are made using simple supplies that you may already have on hand, and each of them is an adorable way to package a small treat or gift. You’ll be able to jazz up things like notepads, tealight candles, microwave popcorn, hot chocolate, and all kinds of candies. These gifts make great stocking stuffers or secret Santa items at Christmastime, but they can easily be adapted to other types of events, such as favors for wedding and baby showers, or just for little “thinking of you” treats. You’re only limited by your imagination as to what you can do.

This product is delivered as a PDF download, and in it you’ll find a complete supply list and ten step-by-step photo tutorials with cutting and assembly instructions.

Want a sample? Here’s one of the projects that’s included – the Winter Fresh Breath Mints Holder.



1 sheet 12 x 12 solid color cardstock
1 sheet 12 x 12 coordinating patterned
8” length of ribbon
Circle punch
Corner Rounder
Stamps, inks, etc. for embellishing
Insert: One box of breath mints, such
as Tic Tacs ®


Step 1: Cut one piece cardstock 5” x 3”


Step 2: Round all four corners



Step 3: Score on long side at 2 ¼”



Step 4: Score again at 2 ¾”



Step 5: Cut three pieces of patterned paper 2” x 2 ¾”



Step 6: On each piece, round two opposite corners on long side



Step 7: Adhere two patterned pieces to inside of card , as shown



Step 8: Adhere third piece to front of card, as shown



Step 9: Punch hole near bottom of front cover


Step 10: Tie ribbon bow to close

I hope you enjoyed that peek into the bundle. To learn more about the other designers and products in it, be sure to go through the entire hop. The best part? Leave a comment on each of the blog hop posts before 9:00 PM EST on July 10, and you’ll be entered to win on complete Christmas in July bundle. Each comment equals one entry, so the more blogs you visit, the more times you can enter!

Next up, wait till you see what Beth from Scrapping Wonders can do with her iPhone – and you can, too! Leave a comment, then check it out and follow the hop all the way through!


Last week I wrote a post about my favorite photos, and in that post I also discussed my commitment to becoming a better photographer. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time, but I never felt that I had the time or money to take a real class, and quite frankly, I’ve felt overwhelmed by the whole idea. I mean, aperture? ISO? Sounds like a foreign language.

But I took the leap and downloaded a free guide on photo composition (no longer available – sorry! But I will tell you later about a way you can still get that resource as part of a larger, more comprehensive resource).

The booklet had just a few composition lessons, which was perfect – start small and manageable, right? And I decided to focus on three of them this week: Focus, The Rule of Thirds, and Fill the Frame. I grabbed my iPhone (I’m not quite ready to tackle manual mode on my Panasonic) and began to practice. Here’s what I came home with:

1. Rule of Thirds

My son’s band performing at a local contest.

It’s blurrier than I wanted it to be. The lighting at the venue wasn’t great, and I couldn’t get very close to the stage to claim a steadier shot. Still, I think I managed the Rule of Thirds, placing  my son in focus on the imaginary vertical line that would divide this image into thirds. His head is almost exactly placed on the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines, and had this photo been sharper, it might have achieved greatness. (Yeah, ok – I’m such a beginner – I’m not expecting greatness yet!)

2. Focus

Who wants Arnie Palmies?

I found this product at Wal-Mart and took the photo to send to my best friend, who loves this half and half drink. Plus, it’s an inside joke between us to quote the line from the movie The Other Guys “Who wants Arnie Palmies?” (Watch it – you’ll love it!).  For this photo, I thought it would be interesting to put the signature into sharp focus, and I think it worked. Of course, lighting was bright and I had no trouble getting as close as I wanted. Not a photo for scrapbooking, but successful, I think.

3. Fill the Frame

Phoebe the Japeke

Finally, I wanted to try the Filling the Frame technique. This is one of the main reasons I think my photos lack that certain something. Too often, I am standing far away from my subject, and I struggle to capture anything of significance when I’m just shooting into a room from the doorway. So I got up really close and personal with my Japeke (that’s half Japanese Chin, half Pekingese), and snapped a few shots. She cooperated surprisingly well, though I doubt I’ll ever catch her looking straight into the lens. By filling the frame with her adorable little face, I think I caught her unique Mogwai/Ewok-ness. Yep, totally a word that I just made up. Feel free to use it.

So that’s what I came up with for this week. There are plenty of other tips still to try just in the single-chapter excerpt of the book I downloaded. As I said before, that excerpt is no longer available for free, but you can get the entire book, The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer, plus 18 other ebooks and courses in the Ultimate Digital Photography Beginner Bundle.

I’ve already gotten mine, and I plan to work my way slowly through each resource. As my photography skills (hopefully) improve, I plan to share my progress here, maybe on a weekly basis. I’d love to have some company on this journey, so if you feel like your photography could use some improvement, consider getting a bundle for yourself, and let’s do this thing together! We can share ideas and chat in our own private Facebook group and work through the ebooks and courses sort of like a book club. I think that would be the most fun, don’t you? Check it out today, and let me know if it’s something you’d be interested in.

Till next time,

Hello again, and welcome to another month of mojo! June is the month we all look forward to – school is out and the whole summer lies before us, full of possibilities. This month, we’re focusing on summer-themed prompts and inspiration, all gleaned from my own carefully curated Pinterest boards. Hope you find something here to get you motivated!

 1. Color Scheme

Color Scheme

This bright, citrus-y color palette is from Color Palette Ideas.  I’m envisioning the colors being used together in a dreamy, ice-creamy project.

2. Sketch


The sketch comes from the Scrapbook Treehouse blog. The pennants make think of summer carnivals. I think they would look amazing in the pinks, greens, and oranges of the color scheme.

3. Embellishment


Our embellishment idea is from the Paisleys and Polka Dots blog. I love all the layers – and notice the scheme!

4. Technique


June’s technique prompt is actually a tutorial from the Keeton’s Art Supply website. Check it out to learn all about gelli printing.

5. Topic Prompts

Topic Prompts

These photo and journal prompts are actually saved on PicMonkey. They are general enough to be interpreted lots of fun ways.


Hello, and welcome to another week of Monday Mojo! This week, I’m linking up with the Make it Monday blog tour, and the theme is travel. Perfect for me, because I just got the second half of my Wyoming photos back, and they are so amazing, I can’t wait to get them scrapped!

This layout, titled “The Mountains are Calling” is based on May’s sketch prompt:


I stuck fairly close to the sketch, adding in a few of my own touches. I added a couple of strips of patterned paper and washi at the top and bottom of the page, because I’ve found that this helps to break up and brighten up the seriously neutral tone of the kraft paper, which, let’s face it, can be a little boring at times.

My favorite part of the layout, aside from the photo, is the piece of an actual tourism map cut down and used as one of the patterned papers. Such a cool way to include actual memorabilia from the trip right into the page!

 I tried a couple of different versions of a handpainted title, but in the end I went with my trusty SN@P alpha stickers. Can’t go wrong with these babies!

And lastly, once the layout was put together, I splattered a bit of blue ink onto the page on a diagonal, being careful to cover the photo. Added my journaling, and ta-da! Completed page in about 30 minutes. That’s the magic of using a sketch – all the planning is done for you, so all you have to do is pick the photo and papers, and you’re off! I hope you enjoyed this little bit of mojo on a Monday morning.


To continue the blog tour, click on over to Karen’s blog, Photos Kept Alive, where she’s also showing you how to include ephemera on your layouts – only digitally!

Take away tip: Cut up maps, brochures, and other memorabilia to layer with patterned papers on your travel layouts.

Hi there and thanks for stopping by!

If you’re joining in from the iNSD Bundle Blog Hop, welcome. And if you’re a regular reader here for Monday Mojo, then hopefully I can convince you to join the hop as well.

See, I’m part of a super-exciting project that’s launching THIS WEEK, called the iNSD Bundle: A Celebration of Memory Keeping.

In this bundle you’ll find awesome classes, printables, cut files, eBooks, and more. 12 of the industry’s most talented scrapbookers have contributed some of their best products, and for one week only they’re all being offered together for one low bundle prices. Pretty fantastic, right?

So today, I’m sharing with you a page I created that was inspired by two of the classes included in the bundle: Monica Bradford’s Super Simple Celebration Scrapbooks and Beth Soler’s Scrapbooking 101.

I used Monica’s framework for creating the page, and I also incorporated a few stamped touches into it.

Let’s take a look:

This double-page pocket spread includes photos from my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding “shower.” (It wasn’t really a shower – they both had everything for their households, but my sisters and I really, really wanted to do something nice for them.)

So the framework for this spread was to create a title section, a header card with journaling about who the guests were, a header card about the gifts, plus a plain journaling card. Super simple, indeed! But I absolutely love how it turned out, and loved how quickly it came together.

     I cut out the white journaling cards with my Cricut, using the negative space of the lettering, and gluing them onto a red background. I stamped, then heat embossed the banner element in white to give the title section a more festive feel. I also stamped on the white journaling cards with sayings just to give them a little oomph.

The best part? I now have so many ideas in my head for ways I can simplify certain types of scrapbook pages. I’m also feeling inspired to break out the stamps more often. Goodness knows I have enough of them!

So that’s it for me. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win an entire bundle. The winner will be announced tomorrow night at 8:00 CST. To join the email list and be the first to find out when it goes live, be sure to visit You’ll receive our FREE ebook Scrap Smart: Designer Tips to Scrapbook More.

Till next time – peace!