Creative Health + Play Event part 2

As I said yesterday, Stacy Julian was one of the first to ever take a chance on me and let me do my thing. To encourage me to dream crazy ideas and go for it. She has always encouraged me to be ME – and that is a gift I have and will always treasure. It is one of the things I love most about her – that she sees people and encourages them to be their best selves. Truly one of the kindest souls I have the pleasure of knowing.



So I’m sitting at a table with all those ladies you see above. I’m looking around and sitting next to me on one side is Ali and on my other side Tammy. Down the table a mix of ladies I know, ladies I’m just now meeting, and dear friends.

and all of a sudden it just hit me like a ton of bricks.

I am at this table too…

Now that might sound totally stupid, and you might be thinking “duh”… but if you read my post yesterday then you know more of my history. You should know that NEVER, not on ANY of my lists of dreams and aspirations for my crafting did “be headliner teacher at major creative event” make it onto a list. That was too big, that was beyond me. I wouldn’t ever be at that place.

But I’m sitting at the table, preparing to present at such an event. And on a stage with women I admire so very much – as one of them.


Now obviously my being at this event wasn’t a surprise. I signed a contract. Made a class. Prepared for it. I knew perfectly well what I was doing. Yet somehow I hadn’t thought about the fact that I’d be at this event really doing it. In person.

Here’s the thing. I teach (almost always) at HOME. I sit down, dream up my ideas, make my classes, and do all the work before anyone sees it. Quite often while wearing pajamas. And then? They see it from their own homes. I don’t see their faces. I don’t see their reactions or see if they are into what I’m throwing down. And honestly? That’s how I have the nerve to do what I do. Because I create, I play and have fun and do my thing and don’t really think about the fact that someone is going to see, judge, and have opinions about me.


I’m not a public speaker. I don’t get up on stages. I sure as heck don’t volunteer to hold a microphone and present anything. These things TERRIFY me. The thought of public speaking makes me want to go hide under my desk.

So… why had I signed up for this?!

I took a deep breath (or ten), cracked a few jokes, and focused on the moment.

I focused on the ladies who were all SO kind and lovely and relaxed a bit more. I looked around at how much positive energy + creativity was in the room.

On the amazing team that put this event together.

On the incredibly talented ladies sitting next to me, also in crazy balloon hats.

I just thought about all the stuff I love about crafting in general, embraced all of the amazing energy, and ran with it.


It was terrifying – not going to pretend it wasn’t – but it was also completely amazing and totally worth it. I put “creative health” on this 2-part blog post because this was a huge creative growth opportunity and the absolute most amazing experience I’ve ever had teaching for so many reasons. You really do have to take leaps in life and do stuff that scares you – otherwise what is the point?


There was such a great energy here and it was so hard to process that I was here. This was something *I* was a part of. Among the “have fun” and “you’ll do great” supportive texts and messages I got was a voice mail from one of my favorite people.

You know your shit and you are talented and you are beautiful and you are just going to get up there and people are going to freaking love you. They just want you to succeed…

I will be quoting her in my next art journal page. Her words? They hit the heart of me and made me realize that this was a place where everyone was rooting for each other.

I had no reason to be so scared. I was among friends, among truly positive people who WANT ME TO SUCCEED.

Dang if that didn’t make me tear up quite a bit.

I embraced her words, reviewed my notes, and went for it.



I will be scrapbooking this in a pocket-page album (which yes, I will be sharing when I finally print photos!)


I truly had the most fun every single minute of this event. Talking to lovely crafters, enjoying the atmosphere and connecting with so many people from all over the world as well as being in the same room with people I work with but never see. I so cherish this experience – I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.

My favorite part was definitely after when I got to chat with people, got to sit down and enjoy lunch with crafters, got to check out their layouts and just simply be in a happy and wonderful creative place.

I wish I had been able to stay the whole day and watch more of the classes – as it was I had to miss several due to my afternoon flight home and parts of others because I had to pack a lot of stuff into not enough bags.


Every single one of the instructors inspired me in some way- as did every attendee I spoke to. Such a gift for so many reasons.


As I flew home I felt like I had gained a renewed sense of purpose. Validation that just doing my own thing and not stressing out about if it would be popular, or if I would be judged negatively for my views was the way to go.

A reminder that I have stories to tell and that I want to be a part of this community.

A reminder that whenever, however I can uplift, inspire, and encourage fellow creative friends I want to. I want to be there for others, to be someone who gives a smile and thumbs up to all kinds of creativity.

I want to be someone who has kind words to say about myself, as well as frequently saying kind things about other people.

I am reminded that I want to keep doing what I do, but also seek out ways to do even more and continue to grow…

and this is where I am heading into February 2014…

Creative Health + Play event part 1.


Last month while down in Anaheim for CHA, I also had the honor and privilege of teaching at Play – a special event put on by Big Picture Classes. I was really excited about teaching at this event – when I got the call asking if I could do it I double checked with the family that an extra 24hrs gone was cool – then I accepted. They wanted me to teach a scrapbook layout – sounded good to me! I immediately knew I would use my “go-to” playful layout design and I sprung into action.

Today I want to focus on why this layout design was so meaningful and why it helped me so much. This is information I meant to share in class but when I realized there was NO way I could do so without bursting into tears I knew I couldn’t possibly have the courage to stand up and teach a class to so many people AND knowingly get myself into something that would make me cry so I just cut it out.

So I’m going to share it here, now, with you.


I wasn’t always a happy, “forget the rules” crafter.

There is a very serious reason why “Happy Crafting” is my mantra and I say it so much.

I used to be a very miserable, sad, hates herself crafter. I was a people-pleasing “if only I could be a little more like….” crafter. A girl who posted projects to on-line galleries for the SOLE purpose of trying to get comments and praise. Who made layouts not how she liked, but how she thought she could get the most praise. That could be picked for publication. That could win her a spot on a design team.

And, I was a girl who 100% of the time failed to do any of the above.

Nobody gave a crap about what I was doing. I did what I did for the feedback, for the hope of praise, because I needed someone to tell me I was good at crafting.

Pathetic. Freaking sad and pathetic. I am not embarrassed to own any of this though because it is a part of my story, and it is also something a lot of crafters struggle with.

It was at this time that someone I knew and trusted said to me words that burned in my brain, that were aimed to be so completely HURTFUL, and intended to break my spirit once and for all.

Yet they did the opposite.

They set me free and this very mean girl? Instead of breaking me and making me give up she was the turning point.

She said to me that I didn’t have my own original style or talent. That NOBODY, NOWHERE would ever want to take a class from me that was of my own making and that there was NO CHANCE I would ever “make it” on my own in the scrapbooking industry. That I just wasn’t talented like Cathy Zielske or Ali Edwards. That I needed to just give up, scrap-lift their pages, and be content teaching at a local store because it was lucky that they’d have me and they didn’t mind – in fact they encouraged – lifting ideas from the magazines.

Now I wasn’t able to snap my fingers and become a happy crafter that day. No, that took several YEARS of hard work and a lot of hours, swearing, frustration, and downright determination on my part.

I fought hard for my crafting freedom.

But what the speech that was intended to break my spirit did was two things:

1. My inner Taurus woke up after a way too long nap. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that once I’ve become set on something – that is just it. Deep within I heard the words “can’t” and “will never happen” and I heard a challenge. Challenge, ACCEPTED.

2. I realized I hated crafting this way. I realized that I’d rather quit than make pages like Cathy or Ali or whoever the next big trend setter was going to be in order to fit in.

For the record? I ADORE and ADMIRE the heck out of both of those ladies!! In fact they inspire me and I’ll share more about how some other time… at this point in time though, I just didn’t want to be their clones or be told to be like anyone else…

Play May

When I did start to really find my way, the layout that I shared at the Play event was one that really was the first “playful” and “I’ll do what I want…” page I found where I could go wild, mix things up, but still have a cohesive page that had some design elements that made it pretty, functional, AND fun.

I saw ladies embracing the spirit of it, but more importantly, I saw a lot of ladies putting their OWN SPIN on the thing and making it theirs. This was the greatest thing to see – truly I just can’t express how special it was to see them taking ownership of the idea and making it their own.



There are no rules in crafting (basic safety aside), but I do have some personal guidelines.

  • Do what makes you happy. If you like your pages to look like you sneezed stickers all over them, if you adore neon, if you want to make it look very precise and measure with your ruler – just do it.
  • Don’t think too hard. Getting up inside your head and over-thinking your craft supply placement will only lead to ugly pages. Sorry – this is just a fact. Be focused on the overall mood and feel, and remember there is simply no one way or right way to scrapbook anything.
  • If colors + patterns are overwhelming to you, stick to one collection. The scrapbook companies want to make it easy – so let them!
  • Don’t forget that it is YOUR project. Somebody tells you that you’re doing it wrong or that it isn’t good enough? Stick your tongue out, flip them the finger, or give ’em a few choice words.
  • It can be about whatever you want it to be about. Deep emotional outlet? Fun way to preserve a vacation? Daily minutia? Just because? There’s not a wrong reason or way to scrapbook or craft in general. Don’t forget that.
  • Embrace your perspective. Everyone has a different path, past, and story to tell. So embrace yours and charge right in.

This class I taught had me walking twelve years down memory lane. It also reminded me that just as I was really getting comfortable in my crafting and truly having fun again one woman said “why not” and took a chance on a pretty much unheard of instructor for her new on-line workshop site.


Yes. I’m talking about me + Stacy Julian. I emailed her and asked to teach for Big Picture Scrapbooking back in 2006 and I remember a small doubtful voice in my head saying “no way… you have no chance…” and I kicked that voice in the head and hit send on that email.

to be continued…

Re-boot: part 1.


Before anything gets moved, touched, or otherwise changed I have to ask: What works? There are a few things working quite well, most of them pictured above. How I store my stains & sprays (shelf thing made for kitchen use), my distress inks being so close to my fingertips, the spinner where I hold adhesives, hand lotion, and a cup for scissors and tools are just a few things.

I also note what is NOT working. For example, the fact that I bump into the girls all the time as their art station is on the other side and we frequently feel like we are in each others spaces. Also NOT working? My computer desk. The incident of spilled water (Which *knock on wood* seems to have had no effect on my computer) is an example of how things aren’t real great in this room.

The biggest tip I would have, and this goes for ANYTHING in life really from craft storage to your personal closet to anything at all – is that you have to clear the slate and start blank. You don’t tell yourself that you HAVE to this, or MUST that. You start all the way empty and say ok, what do I love? What works super well? Then comes adjustments, seeking new possibilities. Trying new configurations.

It’s a process, one that I’m working on not only with my studio but with how I blog, how I am building (soon, I swear!) my new website, how I am eating now, how I exercise – everything it feels like. Quite daily around here I get this “everything is in process and nothing is done” feeling which can be absolutely overwhelming and entirely discouraging.

But each day I get up, and chip away at the album projects (more on that soon), the website (I’m past bashing my head into the wall and making real progress now!), the studio re-do, how I fuel myself, keeping active, and more. I guess today’s post is a reminder of a few things, for myself as well as anyone who wants the info.

  1. Little steps daily add up and are what matter most.
  2. It’s a journey. You don’t start at the end.
  3. Eliminating everything, then bringing back in only the stuff you love and don’t want to be without is a lot better than finding places to cram all kinds of junk you don’t quite want to let go of, but don’t really want either.

I will be documenting more about storage, organization, and what changes I’m making including my new “closet office” – which I say daily may be a) the best thing I’ve ever done and b) idiotic that I’m only just now doing it.

Until next time, I hope you’re having a wonderful day.


looking back: Hotel page

Continuing my look back at my Disney albums, here’s a page from early 2009…

I loved this page then, and I love it now. The use of the hotel folder that held our keys (both a chunk ‘as-is’ and my stars that were punched from it), the stitched ribbon (I NEED to do that again!), the sequins and buttons, and the simple background. Yes, I LOVE this page.

Would I change a thing? Just one. I wouldn’t have drawn lines for my journaling I would have just written. Other than that, this page remains one of my all time favorite Disney designs for the bits and pieces, the magical feel, and the simplicity too. I like that I didn’t force a title – instead I let the hotel name be enough. Sometimes, I don’t need to ‘make’ titles. That’s a good reminder.

looking back: Snow White

Over the next few weeks I’ll be digging into some of my old Disney vacation albums and sharing a few pages that are 3+ years old. I’ll be looking at them, evaluating what I like (or dislike), if I have any regrets or would change anything, find things I’d like to scrap-lift, and more. I hope you enjoy the look back. I’m specifically picking pages that stand out to me for some reason, and that are within my more current “style” (meaning, not my earliest work.) If you want to see my very early work, and read about my creative journey start with the last post on this page, and work your way up!

Let’s start with Snow White. I know this page was for a class I did, and the challenge was interpreting/scraplifting. I know I scraplifted the general design (I *think* it was from Lisa Dickinson, but I could be wrong!)

What still works for me:

  • The design: I still love the overall look and feel of this page.
  • My use of cardstock and how I managed to use Snow White’s colors without overwhelming or getting brighter than my photos.
  • the painted chipboard apple. I love what this adds to the page.
  • the border punched paper strips (I need to get back to doing more of these!)

What doesn’t work for me anymore? Not much. It is light on journaling, but I expect that with vacation pages so often. When you have little snippets and stories from a trip where there are maybe 50 possible “scrapbookable moments” every day – not all of them are super long. That’s ok.

It is unfortunate that I didn’t use better glue, and that my red glitter is rubbing off onto my photos and page – but that’s ok. I’m going to re-seal it with some perfect paper adhesive, wipe away any excess glitter than I can, and return it to the album.

An upcoming trip to Disneyland has the girls and I seeking out our old albums to walk down memory lane, and I’m glad! Looking back isn’t just fun to see all the photos, but it also gives me a chance to look at what I love, what I notice, what I’d like more of or to try again, and what I am not loving as well.