Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!!

I can't believe that it's the end of 2010!  Where did this year go?  Why did the months fly by??  What did I do to mark this year?  Well, let's have a little review of the projects of this year.  I like to look back over my layouts and artwork and pick my top 10 for 2010.  I've been doing this for a couple years now, but I was inspired by Balzar Designs to post them... I probably would have forgotten to revisit my pages this year in all the chaos!  Thanks!  Here they are in no particular order:

 Okay, so here is what I've noticed about my favorites this year:
1.  I am still on a cardboard as background kick!  I love to rip, tear, and expose the cardboard layers to add texture.  It's something about the 3D element that I have to have!
2. Lots of layering of torn bits going on here.  I'm using lots of scraps and recycling!

3. Drips and splatters are a staple of mine.  I love to drip ink, paint, mist, stencil, etc... It's a favorite technique of mine!

4. Circles are in almost ALL of my pieces.  I don't think I can make a page without a circle element showing up in it.  Perhaps it is my dream of being well rounded. LOL!

5. Not alot of journaling.  Just pictures and layering to tell the story.  I like to talk but I guess I'm not a big writer.  So, that will be my goal this year... to journal more... use text more.

Okay, so I've shared... now you link me up to your favorites on your blog!  I love to browse other's pages!   I have a little giveaway to share here too...

Nikki Sivils goodies to one lucky comment telling me what your New Years traditions are.  What do you do each New Year's Eve to ring in the coming year and wave goodbye to the old?  

I have a My Friend Birdie, Ellie's Day Out Mini pads, and 2 chipboard mini albums from Nikki Sivils  to give away! 

Leave me a comment by midnight on January 2nd... I'll pick a winner on the 3rd! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Opportunities and Holidays

This month has flown by! I can't believe it's the holidays and I've been so busy getting ready for Christmas that I haven't shared some good news in my creative endeavors. I have been asked to be on the Faber-Castell Design Team! The art supply company that I've loved since I was a kid has asked ME to represent them in the altered, mixed media and visual journaling arts! I'm soooooo excited and thrilled to have this opportunity! They have a whole new mixed media line coming out in January! It's full of fun, juicy and creative tools! The best of which are their water soluable pencils and art sticks called Gelatos! I am in LOVE with these things! I also love their new PITT artist pens that are India Ink and waterproof! They have 4 different tips and are amazing!!!
Check out their blog:
I'm thrilled to have my artwork in their catalog and at the CHA booth! I can't wait to play with all the new materials and create fun art with them. I loved them in the past and I'm swooning over the new stuff!!!

Elfie has returned and has been keeping watch over the little angels in my house. Mark is absolutely thrilled to be able to seek out Elfie each morning and he tells him all about what he's done that is helpful or good but forgets that he's around when he's acting naughty! We have to remind him frequently about his poor choices and how Elfie will be reporting back to the big man. This time of year is NUTS! I think this is the first year that I've completely felt like the holidays are bumrushing me and making me miserable! I am stressed, overwhelmed, and freaking out about how fast it's coming! I am NOT ready! Shopping is mostly done, but the wrapping, baking, and all the spirit is running me over. We have been sick around here and I'm so ready to rest! I need a vacation from the holidays. I know I sound like the grinch but really it's just that this year has gone so fast and I can't keep up. I am hoping the new year brings me more time, less stress, and having more "me" time. I need to make some goals, resolution, whatever you want to call it. Later about those! I am just happy that I have some new opportunities to create art and can't wait to get to it! Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Down and Dirty workshop!

I'm teaching a Visual Journaling workshop on December 3rd at Stampin and Scrappin Time in Bridgeport! The class will cover all the basics of starting a visual journal and some fun "down and dirty" techniques to get starting mucking your pages up as a base! Here are the details! Check it out and call today to get in on the action!!! The class will be 6:00- 8:00pm. All materials are included.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A few new to share

I have a few new artworks to share from my scrappy weekend with the girls!

Mischief Maker
This one is for the Scrap That Baby blog prompt. I love this photo of my youngest. He is such a trouble maker! So, this photo with his striped pj's and gate bars is perfect to show his inclination towards getting into everything! Come play along with us!

This one is a mixed media artwork that I created with some of my photos and free clip art that I added to tags and cardboard with photo transfer techniques. I'm framing this one and showing it in an art show. Yes, that's a branch sewn on.
This one is fun with my son and some simple strips of paper.
Brother Play
The boys at the playground. I created this framed template with some chipboard rectangles and cut out ones in different sizes and sprayed with glimmer mist.

I made a few more but I'll save those for another post! I think I'm going to try to post at least twice per week if you'll be patient with me! I have lots of ideas but time is something I don't ever have enough of! I'll be cropping next Saturday too and can't wait!!!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Alive!

It's been so long since I blogged. Life has been so crazy busy with school starting and getting back into the rhythm of the school year. We've already encountered rounds of illness for each of us... Hello, germ factory! However, I have to say that I'm feeling much more balanced this year. I find that things are not so overwhelming this year. Maybe it's because I've been through a year of teaching at the elementary level. It's still hard, but not as hard.
Here are a few back to school photos:

First day of school morning!
What a big boy! My 1st grader

Okay, so school started and I was invited to attend the NYSUT (NY State United Teachers) Leadership conference in Lake Placid, NY. End of September, peak foliage, a weekend away with other professionals and adult conversation? YES! So, off I went to learn about the new teacher evaluation process (APPR) and talk to other union members about issues facing teachers today. It was a fun, educational, and interesting weekend. The weather was great and the shopping was awesome! I got 2 new pairs of boots at the Bass outlet. Nice! Okay, any time I find a deal on cute boots is good in my book! Here are a few photos from the view from our hotel.
Last weekend was our annual scrapbooking weekend away in Hamilton, NY at White Eagle Conference Center. My girlfriends and I packed our scrap bags and off we went to create art, drink wine, and eat good food! We were not disappointed! Fun times had by all! I lost my voice on Friday at school and it was not a healthy weekend for me, but that didn't stop the conversation or creativity! I was on a roll.. I finished 11 different artworks! Whew... I'll share some soon as soon as I'm sure they won't be picked up in a magazine! LOL!

That's it for now... I will update SOON! Promise!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Just back from our vacation to the Dominican Republic. Before I get into the long story of our trip, I thought I'd reveal my winner from the Scrap That Baby blog hop! I randomly chose:

Anonymous Kristin Summer said...

Lovely layout Jen!! I'm dying to get my hands on that Nikki Sivils paper!!!

It's kind of funny, her last name is "Summer"... perfect! I'm dying to GIVE you some Nikki Sivils papers girlie! Just email me with your addy and I'll get those out to you! Thank you all who left comments here! You were so sweet!Okay, about our trip...I have to say that it was relaxing after we got there and adjusted to the heat, humidity, and kidless atmosphere. Lots of drinks, naps, and pool time was enjoyed. We met a few nice American couples to hang with at the pool bar. Mostly the language spoken around the resort was Spanish and Russian. There were so many Russians there. It was a mix of European and Spanish. Everywhere we looked there were thong bathing suits and cigarettes being smoked. The food was not stellar, the room was outdated and old, but clean. The air was sticky and everytime you stepped out of your air conditioned room, you immediately were sweating! But beyond the negatives, it was relaxing. We enjoyed the adult conversation and drinks. We slept in, ate when we wanted, dressing in swimwear and flip flops during the day and I got dressed up at night. Nice! The weather was hot and sunny! It only rained 2 nights and the day we left. I got a killer tan! Matt burned and is peeling now... LOL... Irish boy!

I also must mention our horrific travel back. This is the main reason that I will NEVER EVER go back to the Dominican Republic. The airport is slow as molasses and very disorganized! We got to the airport on time with actually hours to spare. We noticed that the flight to Philly (which was the only other US Airways flight out that day) was late in boarding. We went through security and their computers were down due to a power outage that afternoon. SO, they had to handwrite our boarding passes. Weird! The checked our passports twice before we got the gate. We waited and Matt was a wreck because it looked like the Philly flight was not leaving on time. We had only a 1 1/2 hour layover in Charlotte to get through customs, security, get boarding passes for the 2nd half of our trip and get something to eat. Not looking good. So, after 2 hours, they still hadn't departed the gate. Our plane was waiting on the Arrival side to move. So after a handful of people (including my hubby) asking them to move gates and board us, they finally decided to bus us over to the arrival side where the plane was. DUH! We got there and they checked our passports and boarding passes as we were to board. They hadn't loaded the luggage yet either... WTH??? Apparently time means nothing to them. BUT we had a connecting flight to worry about. They boarded us and we waited on the plane for over an hour before someone came on and let us know that there was a problem with some passengers passport information. Apparently they needed to double check over 24 people! So, a Dominican worker came on with a cell phone and reflective vest and was talking rapid spanish to whoever was in charge on the other end. He bounced for person to person with no order or timeliness. It was maddening! 4 hours later, we got the word that they were cancelling the flight due to not being able to get the Charlotte in time to met Customs. Meaning we would be stuck on the plane unable to deplane until morning. So, we deboarded and got our luggage and were placed on big busses to be put up in a Dominican hotel. No one knew what was going on. It was scary and frustrating! Matt and I were wrecks and HUNGRY! So, finally we got the information that we were being put up in an all inclusive overnight and had to meet the busses at 7am the next morning to do this all over again. Hopefully with more organization! After checking in and getting settled, we went to a buffet to eat at 10pm! Because I was so cramped up from sitting so long, I decided to go swimming after to stretch out. Nice! It was a warm night and perfect. The room SUCKED! It smelled moldy and old, but there was AC and a bed. My neck was stiff from the hard bed, but it was okay. We boarded the bus and got to the airport. They told us to eat because we may not have food on the plane... it's a 3 hour flight. So, we ate Wendy's food for breakfast.. LOL! We left an hour late, but we had real boarding passes and a connecting flight at 4:30pm. So, we had plenty of time. I was so tired and miserable... I just wanted to get home at that point.
All the relaxation and enjoyment w as sucked out of me after a horrible night. NEVER going to go there again! I think I may not go out of the country for a long while! TOo much work to be going through all this nonsense. We got home and got lots of wonderful hugs and kisses from the boys! We missed them so much but it was soooooo good to get home and I am so thankful to have such wonderful parents to take the boys and keep them safe for us! LOVE YOU SO MUCH MOM AND DAD!!! I can't thank them enough! I love the USA too! It's crazy to deal with 3rd world country issues! NO thank you! So I am home and getting ready to go back to school.

So, here are some photos of our trip. I didn't take as many as I wanted because we were relaxing and I was lazy!Tee hee...

Me posing in front of the beach.

They had elaborate carvings from squash and melons around the buffet each day. So cool!
The waiter took a photo of us at the buffet one night.
All dressed up one night in front of our building.
The pool area.
One of the days in the pool.

Matt relaxing under the thatched hut.


Gotta love those doors. So cute!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ya Baby

One of the fun things about being on the design team for the challenge blog, Scrap That Baby, is getting to participate in a blog hop! Read on for details:
Welcome to the Scrap that Baby's Sweet Summertime blog hop!!

Thank you so much for hopping along on our first ever blog hop!

If you didn't come from Sarah's blog or you popped upon this blog and didn't realize we were blog hopping you need to go to Scrap That Baby and start the HOP! You will need to comment on ALL of the blogs to be eligible for the grand prizes listed on the main site! Plus, so many of our awesome designers are giving away a prize on their blogs as well. You will not want to miss out. There are MANY MANY chances to win!

Our theme for this blog hop is SWEET SUMMERTIME!! The members of our design team will all be sharing fantastic summer projects, stories, tips or ideas for keeping cool and having fun in the summer with a baby along.

I'm going to share a layout that I did about my son, Christopher, who is 1 year old and adores blueberries! I love that so many fresh fruits and veggies are available at the local farmstands in the summer. We stop in often or pick our own from some of the local growers. I could eat fresh corn on the cob, blueberries, strawberries, squash, zucchini and just about any other of my favorite fresh item until I'm sick of it... that gets me through the cold winter. I also freeze a lot of our pickings! This layout is a "sweet" reminder of Christopher's love of blueberries. The kid would eat a whole pint of blueberries in one sitting if we let him! He shovels them in like candy! It's so cute and of course very healthy too!

As an extra bonus for visiting my blog... I'm giving away one set of Nikki Sivils, Scrapbooker papers from her brand new release, "Blueberry Hill". You will get one of each of these papers. I'm fortunate to be on her DT and am willing to part with one of each of this line just for you all! So, leave me a comment about what your favorite summer food is and I'll pick a random winner for this prize pack! These papers aren't even in stores yet!
Our blog hop run from today, August 18th until August 22nd . Invite your
friends to play for extra entries. You must comment on all the blogs for a chance at the main prize The Scrap that Baby blog will be drawing for prizes on Wednesday August 25th! Don't forget to leave a comment about your favorite summer food here!

I will be going on a much needed adult anniversary vacation with my husband this week to Punta Cana, but I'll draw the winner on August 26th and post it here!
Thanks for visiting and sharing!

The next stop on the blog hop is........ Sara

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer fun!

It's summer vacation here and I'm officially going crazy! The kids are all over the place and I can't get a moment's peace (well, except at bedtime and maybe during naps). I just thought that I'd be relaxed and have time to refresh and plan for the coming year, but let me tell you that that is NOT as easy as it sounds. With a 1 year old and 5 year old who NEVER stop moving or talking, I'm just drained at the end of the day! So, finding fun things to do during the week is a must otherwise they drive me nuts! This past week we went to Green Lakes State Park beach and then out with friends later in the week for a photo shoot at what was supposed to be a sunflower field. More on that later. First, I took the kids and all our beach toys, snacks, blanket, and other stuff to the beach. Now, we are landlocked here in Central New York but we have a handfull of lake beaches around. Not too bad if you really want sand and water to play in. The sand is more like sandy mud around here though. At least at Green Lakes it is. But it's family friendly and a diversion. Here are some photo highlights from our couple hour trip....

Busy making sand holes and piles... or is that sand-mud?

Fascinated by the lifeguards and lifeguard stand!

Cute boy sitting for 2 seconds eating blueberries (before he got up and dumped them on the sand and proceeded to eat them before I could catch him! YUCK!)

It was fun but exhausting for everyone! We stayed 2 hours and I mostly ran after Christopher when he decided that he'd rather have everyone else's toys or blanket. I brought tons of snacks and he and Mark ate them ALL! Hungry boys! So, we headed back to the car after much fussing and changed. I thought Christopher would lose his diaper it was soooo swelled up from the water. I had forgotten the water diapers and I don't think they work anyways! On our way home, he fell asleep! Mark was pretty good and loves any and all water and sand that he can find!

The next outing was with my good friends and their kids. We were going to go get pics taken with the kids at a sunflower field. But when we got there, Nic realized that they didn't plant sunflowers this year, but CORN!!! Darn! We still had the kids get out and run around. It was pretty there by this little pond in Camillus. Lots of neat trees and cool rocks that were on the hill around the parking lot. From the middle of the hill looking up, you could see the sky. Nic brought a pretty pink chair for her little girl and Holly's little one to pose on, but mostly my boys thought it was fun to sit on it.

Mommy, there are sunflowers here! See???

Mark was obsessed with climbing trees! My monkey boy... here is one of my favorite photos of him!
Here's the chair! Christopher looks so cute on it!

Frankie just wanted his cup but they do look cute together!

Here we all are on the rock... I have to edit the car on Mark's shoulder and the rope he was carrying around. But all in all it's a good one! Love that sky behind us! Douglas took this photo!

Okay, naptime is done and I guess I better go get the kid up before he screams his head off! I hate to say it... but I'm soooooo ready for school to start again!

Friday, July 9, 2010

BEE Happy!!

It's summer and that means I have a bit more time to create! I am trying my best to fit it in during Christopher's nap time and after the kids go to bed. Being a mom is never ending... you don't get breaks like in a "real job". It is hard and it is exhausting, but it is also rewarding and fun sometimes. There are times when I don't really enjoy being a mom... like when I have to be the disciplinarian. When I have to yell and get totally aggravated by behaviors that are inappropriate or or down right intolerable! Mark is going through that 5 year old stage (well, he IS 5) where he wants to do what HE wants to do and not what we ask or tell him to do. It's become a battle of wits. Not always fun! We have done alot of yelling and screaming on both sides here in and out of this house. Finally, I HAD it! I decided to try a system that I read about in a magazine. It is simple and had instant gratification all in one! He needs motivation to curb his wants. So, I made a reward jar. Simple glass jar decorated for him and using marbles and pretty "gems" as tactile symbols for positive behaviors and deeds. He gets one from myself, Matt, or one of the grandparents (when they are watching him) if he displays a positive tone, respectful behaviors or requests, and helpful deeds (either by being asked or on his own... like sharing or getting something for his brother without being asked to). He gets to place the marble or gem in the jar. When the jar is filled, he gets a reward. The rewards are of his choice: a special day with Mommy or Daddy, a play date with a friend, or some spending money. Now, I know some people think that this is bribery, but you know what??? I think whatever works to the end result that you want is fine! I am done with the yelling and screaming. I want to instill him to strive for positive things through determination and a goal. Whether that is intrinsic or extrinsic doesn't matter to me. 5 year olds are not intrinsically motivated in general. They do what they FEEL like at the time and don't think about long term goals unless there is something motivating them to do so. So, here is my solution and it's working great. We had been doing a chart but it's hard to keep track of and do consistently. This is much easier for everyone and FUN! Here's the jar:
I have more projects posted over at Nikki Sivils, Scrapbooker blog HERE. Check it out! I am working on tons more right now! I can't seem to stop with the ideas flowing!

I'll leave you with one more page that I finished a bit ago. It's one of Mark with his lovey, Ducky. I love this photo so much! I printed it on watercolor paper for a soft feel. The papers are Tim Holtz's new line! LOVE these designs!!!
I used a variety of hole punches to create the eaten corners. Love the layered look with texture. He will not remember the words he spoke that day, but I will never forget them! I wanted to document them for him later. My sweet little boy is growing so fast!

Btw, you probably noticed that the blog has a new look to it. I changed the background and I might work on a new header someday. It was time for a new "artsy" look. I love Shabby Blogs site and their designs! Let me know what you think!