Friends with Cameras

After a couple of crazy busy months, I decided to make a layout just for posting on the ol’ blog. Okay, I made the layout a few weeks ago, took the photo, and realized that I had no way of getting that photo onto my computer. Turns out, I left the cable in our hotel room in Arizona. Epic Fail!

Anyway, this cute layout was made using the September Studio Calico kit and a sketch from The Color Room. Sketches and kit clubs rule when you feel like creating, but have absolutely no energy to pull together something from scratch or when you want to challenge yourself to work within a set of parameters. A couple of cool things to note here: Glimmer Mist extravaganza on the frames and Crackle Accents on the title letters. Loves!

Welcome 2010

Another year has come and gone — and 2009 was filled with so much excitement that 2010 is seriously going to have to step up to the plate. Okay, not all of the excitement was happy (2009 saw plenty of tears), but even the changes that felt horrible at the time turned out for the very best. So, let’s take a quick look back at my life in 2009 as we (ever so gently) kick the decade to the curb.

  • one blog started
  • one bamboo floor laid
  • two ALA conventions under my belt: Denver and Chicago
  • one major-league baseball game attended
  • 900 tweets
  • one garden designed and planted
  • eight games (pc not console) beaten by Chris
  • one wretched day of layoffs
  • four dear friends laid-off
  • two friends, Rob and Cyn, sold their house
  • three cards accepted for publication
  • one sweet little baby born to my friend Sarah
  • two deaths: my uncle Richie and my friend Suzanne
  • one awesome, amazing job found and taken
  • one super 1990 Audi 100 up and running
  • a handful of darling new friends made
  • countless cards created
  • a gazillion little things to be thankful for

This has been a whirlwind of a year! It feels like it was only a few weeks ago that I was in Chicago, tweeting to you all from Wrigley field as the rain poured down. And it really was only a few weeks ago that Rob and I were planning Chris’ big Christmas surprise — his beloved old Audi up and running. Seeing his face when he saw his car in our carport on Christmas morning was the best Christmas present ever! (Aside from the new Barnes & Noble Nook my sweetiez gave me! I can’t wait until it gets here!)

So that’s the end of 2009. What’s in store for 2010? Who knows, but I’m loving the ride so far. I spent last night playing games and hanging out with some of my favorite people in the world. And today has been totally relaxing — just making cards and blogging to the ever-so-peaceful sounds of Batman: Arkham Asylum. I’ve chosen my one little word for the year: clean. By this I mean really detoxing in every aspect of my life — not just simplifying, but rethinking the way I approach the world. Eating clean. Exercising. Keeping a clean house and workspace. Looking at things and interacting with people with a clean slate and an open mind. I want to be a positive, refreshing force in people’s lives, and clean can help me be that.

Speaking of clean — here’s a quick clean-and-simple card to start things off: my contribution to the latest Embellish challenge! I wanted to use American Crafts’ Letterbox line and go as simple as possible with the design, while still fitting in the challenge requirements. I’m loving that new line! It’s so elegant and sophisticated — a perfect look for the new year.

I hope you all are healthy, happy, and safe today!

recipe: stamps: baby girl (hot off the press); cardstock: white (bazzill); patterned paper: letterbox (american crafts); chipboard: loads of letters (stampin' up!); ink: riding hood red (stampin' up!); ribbon: true black satin (papertrey ink); punches: scallop square (stampin' up!)

loving . . . the guild

Oh, it’s a good, good day to be a geek. Via Twitter, I followed Will Wheaton and Felicia Day at Comi-Con — such fun! Then I got the big, happy surprise of the day: Will is on Season 3 of Felicia’s web show The Guild. Apparently he’s playing the leader of a rival guild, Axis of Anarchy. I cannot wait! Also, I just have to see the music video that premiered at The Guild panel, “Do You Want to Date My Avatar?” The music video was written and directed by Jed Whedon (Joss’ brother and co-writer/composer of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog). {grins}

Here’s a great synopsis of the panel.

chicago adventures 2009

mom at eno

mom at eno

This year, I attended the American Library Association’s annual conference in Chicago. What an amazing experience! Being a fellow book nerd, my mom came with me, and we had a great time attending events and playing around the city!

Our first stop Thursday evening after checking into the hotel was a fun restaurant, Eno, which specializes in cheese, wine, and chocolate. Yum! Mom and I each ordered a selection of goat cheeses, which were served with two types of bread, a fruit spread, olives, and nuts. We were too full to even consider ordering chocolate. Sacrilege, I know!

Friday was set aside for playing. First on the list? The American Girls store! We picked up some fun Molly and Bitty Baby Twins gear for my nieces, Cali and Jordan. And I couldn’t resist buying a little dress and boots for the Kirsten doll that I’ve had for ages and ages. {Into the trunk they go!} After that it was a quick jaunt to H&M, a must on any big-city trip. We don’t have one in Salt Lake. At this point we had to hurry so we could make our train to Wrigley Field! Two adorable new shirts for me!

The Cubbies got creamed. I’m thrilled to have been at that game though! And so happy that it didn’t get rained out like we thought it would — it was iffy there for a moment. Hot dogs, beer, and the rush of screaming at the Cubbies pitcher when he loaded the bases not once but twice in one inning! The agony! Cards win 8 to 3.

game on

game on

Because of the game delay, we missed the YALSA mixer and fashion show, but that was okay — we were wiped out after the game!

Saturday was an early morning for me — first session on storytimes at 8 am. While my focus is teens, I need to keep up to speed on the latest research in early childhood development and literacy. We don’t have young adult specialists at the county, so . . . off I went to learn about storytime innovations. What a fascinating and fun class!

However, in hind sight, I would have ditched it to mob the Scholastic booth for an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. More agony! I threw myself on the mercy of the Scholastic publishers and begged for a copy. But they’d printed such a select few of them that there is no possible way I can get one unless someone puts it up for auction on eBay. In which case, I’ll suck it up and wait ‘til September.

judy blume signs mom's book

judy blume signs mom's book

There is, however, a huge bright side. I met Arthur Levine — one of the premiere children’s book editors in the United States and editor of Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books imprint. Go look at the spine of your copy of any US version of Harry Potter. Yes! That Arthur Levine! He was ever so gracious while I begged him for a book.

In the exhibit hall, there were so many free ARCs of books coming out this fall. I, of course, focused on collecting upcoming teen books so that I can read and get my reviews posted on Good Reads before the books actually come out. I didn’t quite make it through all of my ARCs from Mid-Winter conference {sigh}. Bad Kim. They also had seriously discounted copies of books that are already out for sale. Nice! I had a chance to meet and talk with Judy Blume (Blubber; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever; Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing). Wow — what an inspiration she is! Her books have been challenged, banned, and loved by kids and teens all over the world for at least three decades. Meeting this children’s publishing icon was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget. I also met Debbie Macomber, Cathie Linz, Eloisa James, and Laura Caldwell. Toss out any preconceived notions you might have about romance writers — these women are brilliant! Where else could you find a professor with a PhD in Shakespeare from Yale and a law professor from Loyola who aren’t afraid of some seriously bright pink book covers? {laughs} I’ve got Laura’s contact info, and I need to shoot her an e-mail once I’ve finished her latest book.

clowning around with libba bray

clowning around with libba bray

Other highlights of the trip? The Margaret Edwards award luncheon in which we watched Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Catalyst, Wintergirls) receive a lifetime achievement award. The YA Coffee Klatch and Morris Award for a first time YA author — this year’s winner was Elizabeth Bunce for A Curse as Dark as Gold. We were able to meet so many authors at this event! Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty) was so incredibly funny and energetic! We also met James Kennedy (who my mom swears looks like Hugh Grant), Christopher Meyers (Walter Dean Meyers’ son and a fabulous artist), and Andrew Smith (Ghost Medicine), just to name a few.

We also attended a wonderful gala and film preview at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Look for an outstanding American Masters documentary on Louisa May Alcott airing on your local PBS channel at the end of December. The flimmakers put an extraordinary amount of work into the research and the production. I learned a lot just from the sneak peek!

I went to some amazing sessions as well; notably, the Comics and Censorship panel with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund team and comic book authors Neil Gaiman (also this year’s Newbery award winner for The Graveyard Book), Craig Thompson (Blankets), and Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise). What a wonderful, talented, and funny group of people! They’re so smart and passionate, not to mention so dedicated to promoting literacy and defending first amendment rights. I walked out of that room practically floating.

neil gaiman (right) and the comic book legal defense fund team

neil gaiman (right) and the comic book legal defense fund team

The trip finished with the Michael Printz award and reception, where we heard this year’s honor and prize winners speak. The Printz award is like the Newbery for teen literature. I need to read Jellicoe Road, this year’s winner. I’m happy that I’ve already read some of the honor winners (whew!).

It’s times like this that I’m so unbelievably grateful for my life and the experiences I’ve had. And being able to share all of this with my mom made it even better! I missed Chris terribly, but we kept in touch through instant messaging on our iPhones. Gotta love technology! And I had so much fun sharing the conference with all of you via Twitter!

Later today, I hope to participate in some design challenges — need to get my stamping on! {laughs and shakes head}


a color craze challenge

Chris got me a Wacom Bamboo tablet for my birthday, and I’ve been having a ball using it in Pixelmator. There’s a bit of a learning curve getting used to using the pen instead of a mouse, but I’m getting there!

Last night, after reading Winter’s comment on my last post, I hopped over to the JCrew site to see what other color combinations they have right now. And here’s what I discovered. What fabulous summery colors! So, taking a leaf out of Kristina’s and Dawn’s books, I did a little merging and pulled together this Color Craze board based on one of the latest JCrew Collection ensembles. It’s a little challenge for myself — and to anyone else who wants to play.

If you want to make something based on this color combination, I’d love to see it! Just leave a comment here with a link to your project.

Note 7/25: Due to the switch over to WordPress, comments have been lost. Here are the reposted links to Brit’s and Winter’s cards.