Friday, February 10, 2017

Reveal Day at Elle's Studio

Every month on the 10th, Elle's Studio rolls out its monthly kit, along with lots of other new releases. This month's reveal is sure to hit right to the heart.
There are tons of products in the store that are longing for a place on your lovey-dovey layouts and projects. I'm especially fond of this month's kit: 
ln case you don't already know about this, I must mention that there is a subscription option available for the kits, along with a launch-day special price of $9.99. 

I used the kit plus some of the extras to create a layout that recalls the night my daughter met one of her great lyrical loves, Watsky

And yes, you CAN sew on wood veneer! That's exactly what I did above. The wood shapes from Elle's Studio are thin enough that you can easily stitch over them.  Sweet!
Have a great day! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Lately, I've been...

...attempting to undertake a one-second-per-day video project. A co-worker of mine has done this for the past two years, and I have been so inspired by her. It's time to step up and try it myself. So far, it's been a simple process, and I've already noticed that I'm moving through the world a little differently, always on the lookout for little wonders and heartwarming moments in my day. I've come to realize that they are in abundance, even in the days that I once thought were similar to all of the other days that preceded them.

...flying through A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab.
I'm hooked. Even though I've been exhausted at the end of each day, I've been treating myself to a few pages before bed -- sort of. A few minutes turns into an hour pretty quickly.  The book is just so good!  I need to get my hands on the second volume already, because the first one will be done by tomorrow, I"m sure.

...compiling a mini-album that centers upon a series of "love lists." Consider it a form of counting my blessings. I'll be sharing it soon!

...surrounding myself with color as often as possible. It counters the blahs. Sometimes this necessitates field trips, like a recent one to the Honolulu Museum of Art, which I documented in a layout for Elle's Studio.

...watching the final season of Teen Wolf. My daughter and I binge-watched the last two months of the show in two days, and in the process, we realized that the show is actually best when binge-watched. It's how we got hooked.  Only when we started to watch on a weekly basis did we kind of waver in our devotion. The series has had some strong seasons and some weak seasons, but we're die-hards: we'll be there for the last ten episodes. It'll be bittersweet, but those kids have been in high school waaaaay too long. It's time to move on.  Plus, I'm really sick of the commercials on MTV.  Even when I'm fast-forwarding through them, I'm grossed out. The "reality" shows advertised are full of skeevy folk doing skeevy things. What happened to good old MTV, the MTV of Randee of the Redwoods and Downtown Julie Brown and House of Style? And videos? Where the heck did all of the videos go?

...dealing with sinusitis. Ugh.  I've been combating it off and on throughout cold and flu season, and it's been kicking my butt.

...worrying, all the time, about our country -- our world, in fact -- and where we are headed.  The antidote for hopelessness, I have found, is in our youth. Being a teacher is, for me, an experience in hope. At the moment, my classes are discussing Emerson and Thoreau, and the timing could not be better.
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth -- certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.  
 -- Henry David Thoreau
It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. 
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reveal Day at Elle's Studio

Elle's Studio is starting the new year off with a new kit...
and some new shop items...
not to mention a new team with some new projects to share, like this one, inspired by a new arrival. 
Be sure to head over to Elle's Studio to check out the full release! 

Monday, January 2, 2017


the Elle's Studio 2017 Design Team!
I'm so happy to be a part of the team, and I'm honored to be in wonderfully crafty company:

As I close the book on the old year and head into the new one, I have two last 2016 layouts that I created using Elle's Studio. 

The first one came about a few days after the election, while I was still processing the results and searching for hope. (Two months later, I'm still doing that.) Instead of focusing on hopelessness and giving in to my fears, I concentrated on what I CAN do, moving forward -- especially as a teacher.  

So I grabbed a smiley pre-election teacher selfie, some Elle's Studio stars and stripes, and created a page to document my post-election teacher resolutions. 
Scrap therapy: it's real. 

The second layout I created about a week ago, to document my family's Christmas. More details can be found on the Elle's Studio blog. 
It was a Griswoldian holiday, but in my experience, every holiday seems to end up that way!

I'm excited to enter 2017 as a member of a team that encourages creative expression and that recognizes the importance of telling our stories, come what may. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Catching Up

Although I had hoped to complete a holiday album this year, it is now December 23, and I have yet to begin.  I know, I know -- shame, shame.

I've been creating holiday albums for years now, and over the past few weeks, as the album increasingly became an unlikely prospect with each passing day, I just couldn't get started. Mostly I just wouldn't get started.

I wasn't experiencing some kind of creative block -- I was, in fact, experiencing December.

This month is insane, especially for teachers who are trying to finish a semester and grade stacks of essay exams, who put off appointments until breaks, who really just want to sit on their butts and watch their annual LOTR marathon without needing to worry about getting ANYTHING done -- especially a holiday album.

Scrappy me tried to put up a fight: "You always make an album, Jill. It's tradition! What kind of December would it be if it went undocumented?"

A pretty restful one, it turns out.

The holiday album is a tradition, and though I am dealing with some guilt because I'm departing from that, the whole process was starting to feel redundant. The line between documenting Christmas and staging Christmas was becoming too blurry.

Yesterday, in the midst of watching The Two Towers (priorities!), I officially decided to forgo the holiday album and to devote my creative energies toward finishing a project that I've been trying to stick to all year: my month-in review layouts.

It felt amazing to just do my own thing.

December will be documented -- just in a different way.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December at Elle's Studio

It's December 10: time for the monthly kit reveal and launch of new products at Elle's Studio! Highlights include the Malia lower-case stamp set (oh, how I love that font!) and the Dated stamp set.

The December kit includes lots of merry tidbits, just in time for the holidays.

The "holidays" don't just have to refer to Christmas and New Year's, by the way. I used pieces of the kit along with some other Elle's Studio goodies on a Thanksgiving layout.
This month, Elle's Studio is also having a special "Celebrate the Season" sale with 25 items for $2 or less.  Sweet deal! 

Friday, December 9, 2016


Lately, I've been...

...watching Gilmore Girls (for the first time).  I just started season four. I don't know how I could possibly watch ads for the show for years on end without actually ever watching the show. It's addictive. I see my daughter and myself so clearly in the characters of Lorelai and Rory. I've been trying so hard to avoid spoilers from the recent Netflix four-episode "season," but I've read a few (namely those about Rory being a disappointment). Still, I've decided to withhold judgment until I watch the entire show.

...rereading (for at least the tenth time) The Joy Luck Club with the students in my "Women and Literature" course.  Apparently I have mothers and daughters on the brain lately.  Each time I read the book I connect even more deeply with it. I never tire of returning to it -- I always discover something that I overlooked during previous readings or come to embrace a new way of thinking as my students share their interpretations and perspectives.

...reading (just for me) Erika Johansen's The Fate of the Tearling. I really enjoyed the previous two books, and I'm curious to see where this volume takes the story. 

...putting off my holiday album preparations. I was determined to create a December sort-of-daily album, and have been compiling supplies and photos here and there. If the album ever comes into existence, it'll be housed in this mint Instax album that I got from Studio Calico: 
It's now December 9th, and I have nothing to show for it yet.  I'm a sad case. The first weeks of December are anything but magical and inspiring for teachers who are focused on trying to maintains a semblance of sanity at the end of the semester.  Hopefully I can put something together during the upcoming holiday break. 

...enjoying the rainy season. It's as close as we'll get to snow around these parts, so I'll take it.

...sitting in traffic. A lot. A lot a lot. I'm really good at it. 

...learning to make pie. I made my first-ever pecan pie for Thanksgiving and had leftovers with ice cream for breakfast (and lunch and second lunch) for two days afterward. It was ahhh-mazing. I used Ree Drummond/the Pioneer Woman's version (from her cookbook -- though I used one and a half cups of chopped pecans instead of one cup). My daughter turned her nose up at the nuts and wouldn't even try a slice, but I didn't bother giving the usual parental lecture about trying new things, because of one important reason: more pie for ME!