Wild Whisper Designs Guest Designer: My Happy Place

This is my second project as a guest designer for Wild Whisper Designs (did you check them out, because you really should!!!  Go now!!!)  I’ve had so much fun creating with their products and I’m really excited to see what they come out with in the future.

This layout was inspired by the card from the card pack with the book, that says Curl Up.  Ummm, yes, please!  You don’t have to convince me to grab a book, a cozy blanket and a hot cup of tea to curl up and read.  When I saw that card an idea popped into my head and I took a couple of days to really think it over.  I wanted to create a book page.  I didn’t want to just draw a book page… I wanted the whole layout to feel like it was a book.  In my mind I envisioned a layout that looked like a book laying open with the edges of the pages showing on both sides.  I played with ideas like orienting the layout on a diagonal, and splitting the paper right down the middle, but in the end, what worked best for me was offsetting the centre line of the book.  By sewing a line vertically down the page 2/3rds of the way across (from left to right) I was able to get a nice big area to work on, but still maintain the look of a book that is laying open (or at least, I hope that’s what it looks like!).

This layout is about giving the impression of a book, so I painted some lines on a piece of white cardstock, and randomly scattered some little phrases and words throughout the layout to represent writing on a page.  The sewing represents the binding of the pages.  I cut one of the cards from the card pack to look like a bookmark.  And I used a lot (A LOT!) of foam squares and a sheet of fun foam to add dimension in between the layers to create the feel of other pages in the book.  It was a great exercise in experimenting with my layouts and taking a chance on an idea that I wasn’t sure would work out.  I love the end result.

I’d like to thank you again to Suzy and Heather at Wild Whisper Designs for giving me the opportunity to create with their awesome products.  And thank you to everyone for taking the time to watch and subscribe and leave your lovely comments, I really appreciate it 🙂

Happy Scrapping!!!

Valentine’s Day layouts <3

Better late than never!!!  Here are a couple of cute, quick Valentine’s Day layouts I made for my local scrapbook club’s February Scrap Your Stash challenge.  I made them while watching Sing with my three turkeys.  It was a great afternoon 🙂

Thanks so much for watching 🙂  Happy Scrapping!!!

Wild Whisper Designs Guest designer: No Place Like Home Collection

I am so so excited to share that I was chosen to be a guest designer for Wild Whisper Designs for the month of March.  Not only are Suzy and Heather super nice ladies, but they are also Canadian and local to me, AAANNNDDD their products are amazing.  Their designs are unique, and I absolutely love the thought and sentiment put into each one.  The colours are fabulous.  The quality of the papers is so great, it’s thick, and has a lovely glossiness to it.  This layout was so much fun to make 🙂

Now let me share a little bit about the picture.  As you know, our youngest two are adopted.  This picture was taken just a few short weeks after they first came to live with us.  There were so many things that made us feel like this was the right decision, that we are the family for them, but because this is one of the most important decisions in your adoptive children’s lives, there is always a little voice at the back of your mind asking if this is the right match.  Are we the best parents for these two beautiful boys?  We made a huge decision on their behalf, and was it the right one?  Of course, you know deep down in your heart that it absolutely was the right decision, but it takes time for reality to set in.

At the point that I snapped this photo, we were all still trying to get used to each other.  The boys were trying to figure out what had happened in their lives, and who the heck we are.  And we were trying to adapt to life as a family of five, and not lose them in a crowd because we still weren’t used to looking for their faces.  We spent all our time together to work hard to earn each other’s trust and develop strong attachments and bonding.  It takes time for children to trust you.  They have to rely on you because they need your help to survive, but trust is something completely different.  Bonding and attachment take time, especially for children who have come from insecurity, bounced around from foster home to foster home, and have experienced trauma early on in life.  We had had many sweet moments of bonding in the first few weeks that they came to live with us, but the moment they so confidently and trustingly took their sister’s hands and walked off (away from me, which hadn’t really happened before this point) I just knew that they were HOME 🙂  It’s not the best quality picture, but it means so much to me that I was able to capture the moment I stopped worrying about the decision we made to bring them into our family, because I knew it was the right one.

(How many times can one person say ‘cluster’, lol)

A Very BIG thank you to Heather and Suzy for allowing me to play with their beautful collection!!!  Thanks for watching, hope you enjoy!  Happy Scrapping 🙂

Canada Day layout and Project Life!!!

Lately I have really loved to go all out over a theme.  I generally don’t go too overboard with themes, except maybe for birthdays, but I was really inspired to make my Canada Day layout very red, white, and maple leaf-y.  It was the launching pad for some more themey projects to come, including some more July Project Life layouts and Valentine’s layouts.

Thanks so much for watching 🙂  Happy Scrapping!!!

Quick Scrap Series!

I talk a lot about time and my lack of it. We’re all busy with family, friends, work, responsibilities, obligations, LIFE!  I’ve decided to just embrace it and do what I can to make it all work, because, honestly, what else can you do?  One thing that I find is working well for me are these quick scrap sessions.  I’ve kept up with the little page kits I made for my crop last year, and I love that I can pull them out, and get a page done in about 10-15 minutes.  I keep my ‘go-to’s (like mists, washi, tags, enamel dots ect…) in a raskog beside me for easy access, and the bits and pieces of my kit in my little blue egg holder (is that what it’s called?) on my table.  There isn’t a lot of overthinking, or complicated techniques involved, I just do what feels right to get the pictures scrapped and the story told.  I tend to fall back on layout designs I know work well for me, but this is also a good opportunity to use all the sketches I’ve been collecting.  When I find myself with some extra free time, I put together a few more kits, so I always have one ready to go.

I still love being able to take my time and put together a really nice, technique-heavy, well-thought-out,  layout, of course, when I’m able to.  I try to schedule scrap time every week and let my family know it’s happening.  Sometimes it works out that I have the whole afternoon to scrap away, and sometimes life throws in a surprise that limits the time I have, in which case, I can grab one of these kits and at least feel like I’ve given myself a little bit of time and accomplished something.  If you are lucky enough to have your own work area where you can start a layout and let it sit out as you work on it, then you may not worry too much about how long it takes to complete a layout, but I don’t have a space like that, so if I start a layout, I need to finish that layout in the same sitting.  I used to get discouraged if I didn’t have, at least, an hour, or more to devote to creating something.  It seemed like a big task to pull out all my supplies, pick my papers and embellishments, get myself all set up and comfortable, and then only have a few minutes to actually scrap before I had to pack everything up and put it all away.  With a little preparation and a change in mind-set, I’ve found a way to work with my schedule and I’m really happy about it.  I know these layouts are pretty simple and basic, but I hope that they inspire you to find a way to make your time work for you, and get your pictures scrapped!!!  Here are two layouts I’ve done so far, and there are more on the way.  Hope you enjoy 🙂

Thanks so much for watching!  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I appreciate all the thumbs up and subscriptions.

Happy Scrapping 🙂

Traveler’s Notebook: 30 Days of Lists

This November I decided to try my hand at a traveler’s notebook.  I love watching traveler’s notebook Youtube videos and when I found some notebooks on clearance at Michaels I decided I needed to give it a try for myself.  I chose to do a month of lists from 30 Days of Lists, to commemorate my birthday month.  I love making lists, however, I did struggle with lists about myself.  In the end I think it turned out really great, and I can’t wait to jump in to my next traveler’s notebook project!  I still haven’t found numbers to mark off each day, but as soon as I do, I will post still shots for you.

Here are the videos:

I’d love to see what you are doing with your traveler’s notebook.  Thanks so much for watching 🙂

Happy Scrapping!

#WorldAdoptionDay

World Adoption Day is November 15th this year, and in honour of the day, I thought I would do a little recap/update on our adoption!

If you recall (or if you want to take a quick trip back through my blog, you will see) The Hubs and I decided to adopt after years of fertility issues.  We had a (then) 6 year old daughter and I was suffering from secondary infertility due to PCOS.  We had always wanted to adopt, because The Hubs, himself, is adopted, but like most people, we intended to have a few biological children first.  It dawned on us that adoption didn’t have to be an ‘after our own kids’ decision, and it even made me sad to think that I hadn’t considered it earlier.  I now tell people, all the time, DON’T WAIT!  If you think adoption is in your future, just go for it.  There is no right way to shape your family, and you don’t have to follow the same old prescription handed down to us of have your own, then adopt.  You can have a mix of adopted and biological children, in whatever order works for you, so just go for it!

After a little more than two years of waiting, several matches, too many bumps in the road to count, a lot of anger, frustration, and heartbreak, we were finally presented with a match that ended with us bringing home our two amazing boys! (See previous posts for more details on the journey)  Fox and Bear have now been with us for two and a half years, and what a whirlwind it has been.  Our official journey is not over, as we are  still, PATIENTLY,  waiting for a judge to sign the official paperwork approving the adoption.  It has been a two year wait, so far, but that’s a whole other story.  Our journey, on a whole, will probably never be over, though.  Two years with our boys has taught us that there are just some wounds that can’t be healed, no matter how young the child was when he got that wound.  They have settled right into our family.   Due to their young age, the memories of life in a foster home are slowly drifting away, but the damage left from a traumatic start to their life will always be there.  We can work with it, and find ways to cope, but it will never go away.

Another thing we learned, was that adoption brings with it a little secret, that not many people talk about, called Post-Adoption Depression (PAD).  When I had KB, I was very lucky to have an amazing family doctor, who made sure that I was aware of Postpartum depression (PPD).  I did my best to take care of myself and maintain a strong village of support around me, which got me through any baby-blues I felt.  Adoption was a little different.  Like PPD, PAD has both physical and psychological contributors. Attachment is such an integral part of a successful transition.  It means spending a significant amount of alone time with your children, to reinforce what comes more naturally to a biological child, that Mum and Dad (in our case) are number one.  It can be very isolating, especially for people who are used to being more social.  You are hyper-aware of how unpredictable your child(ren) are, and you have been warned over and over again by your social worker, that you just never know what they might react to.  There are so many reminders of the fact that you were not the first ‘parents’ in their life.  Even the child, themself, may not be aware of the residual effects that their trauma has left them with.  Any outing with any child is an adventure, but with a transitioning child, it can quickly go from an adventure to a complete nightmare, and you have absolutely NO idea why.  Add to that the inevitable feelings you have that a biological family member may see you, and confront you, or find out where you live, and come to take the kid(s),even though you know that it’s impossible.  The ever present fear that one day your worker will call you up and tell you that this has all been a mistake and your children are being placed with their ‘real’ family.  The strange teeter-totter of emotions you go through, where you are incredibly possessive and protective of YOUR children, while also wanting to constantly blurt out “they’re adopted” as an excuse anytime they misbehave or do something strange.  The absolute gut-wrenching guilt when on the worst days you think, or even say out loud “what have we done”, or worse “did we make the right choice”?  I could go on and on, and even if you have never adopted, you may be thinking to yourself “I went through most of that with my biological children” and that is, sort of, my point.  All of these intense feelings and emotions contribute to PAD in the same way that they contribute to PPD.  Physically, you are also battling hormonal changes, just like with PPD.  The hormones are different, but they intensity of their impact on your body is the same.  I wasn’t surprised to find out that PAD exists, but I was surprised to have it hit me about a year after Fox and Bear had been home.  It happened slowly, as things became more regular at home, and life became (our new) normal.  PAD snuck (or is it sneaked?) in, just to keep things interesting.  It lasted, on and off, for about a year.

And now, as we head towards our third Christmas with the boys, life is just life.  I don’t remember what life felt like before my boys, and I can’t imagine life, going forward, without them.  KB never ceases to amaze us with how much she loves her brothers.  They fight, of course, and she complains when they go into her room uninvited, or are the reason for her to miss out on something, but every night when she makes sure to be there while we put them to bed, to read them a story and help tuck them in, when she beams with pride as she picks up Fox every afternoon from his classroom and brings him to the bus with her, every time we find her and Bear snuggled together in some corner in her room as she shows him a funny youtube video or plays a game with him, we know she was MEANT to be a big sister, and she is really good at it.  And the boys themselves, have truly surprised us all by thriving in every way possible.  They have completely blown-away all the professionals in their lives who were prepared to label them with an entire alphabet of syndromes, based on their birth history.  I’ll admit that it makes me proud to be congratulated on our great work with them, but in all honesty, it wasn’t anything we did, and it makes me sad to think that this is the expectation of most foster kids.  The approach professionals take is one of diagnosing what must inevitably be there, versus letting the kids just be themselves and only diagnosing IF something presents itself.  For Fox and Bear, they just needed the space and time to be themselves.  They needed consistency, familiarity, and people who truly believe in them.  They needed to be home, and we are so very happy that they are!!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my little update.  If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know, and if you have an adoption story to share, I’d love to hear it 🙂  Happy World Adoption Day!!!

Take care 🙂