Thursday, December 18, 2008

I love Christmas. I love the smells, I love the colors, I love the music, I love the food. I don't love the inevitable weight gain, but hey, that's what sales on exercise equipment are for, right?

But I LOVE kids at Christmas. Here's a present my 5 year old wrapped for his sister by himself.

And the card that goes with it--which reads, "You will love this present. I love you."

I feel like these children are my presents. They are my loves, my laughter, sometimes my frustrations, my life. I love them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm back!

My husband mocks me that I never have my scrapbox closed and looking pretty like this. I assure him it's because I'm always working on lots of very important things.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas in my family we have two birthdays. So that's two friend parties, two family parties, shopping, baking, etc. etc. Add to that, this year we had a big family celebration this past weekend where my two sisters and their families (that would be eight children under the age of 11) stayed for the weekend, plus lunch for 70 on Saturday. Now add to that all the normal Christmas stuff--and you can maybe see why I feel like I'm stretched about as far as I can stretch.

I would really like to hear suggestions on how you balance all this Christmas stress. Isn't this supposed to be the season of Peace on Earth? I'm not feeling especially peaceful at the moment. And while I know with one part of my brain that the answer is to do less--to simplify, to let some things go--the other part of my brain is a raving lunatic for insisting it all be done. Every goodie not baked, every Christmas card not written is someone left out and I can't live with myself if I do that. So . . . how do you manage it? Seriously. I'll be in the kitchen while I wait, whipping up some more goodies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Piles of Paper

I have a confession. I scrapbook the way I sew (only with less swearing)--I love buying paper and fabric more than I like to do the actual project. I get very excited in the store with the vision of all the wonderful things I will do . . . and then I get home. Finding the quiet and the time to sit and create something meaningful is hard--mostly I'm happy to just get some thoughts on paper and try to scrapbook in the same decade as the pictures. And there is a definite link between my sense of well-being and cupboards full of food, pantries full of supplies, scrapboxes full of paper. At any rate, I can't seem to stop buying and collecting more goodies.

One of the reasons I love my scrapbox is because it gives me lots of places to organize all that paper. One of my favorite features is that all the shelves are adjustable. I can create big shelves, small shelves, or just have an open shelf for fun. I keep paper and scrapbooking stuff in some of the drawers, gift bags and tissue in more drawers, and paint and craft stuff for the kids in some of the other drawers. It has become a little craft room all in one cupboard. (The cat has even crawled in a box or two--the naughty thing.)

And I love the doors. All the pouches come with velcro on the back so you can rearrange all of your tools anytime you like. My children think I'm obsessed with velcro. Wouldn't it be lovely if velcro worked on mouths . . . Mostly I love pictures--I love to be surrounded by reminders of people I love and places I've been. I even attached velcro on the back of other things I want to hang--pictures, charts, reminders to buy more velcro.

Someday I'll get the whole thing organized and looking pretty. For now, here are the two little snapshots. And I'm thinking there's room in some of those drawers for more paper. Must be time to go shopping again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Fall is a bittersweet time for me. Bitter because the leaves are all falling--the glorious colors are at an end and the endless winter is just around the corner. But it's also a sweet time for me because of the almost overwhelming memories that come of my grandma.

Fall was her favorite season. Fall colors were her favorite colors. Thanksgiving was a wonderful time at her house--the smells, the feelings, the sounds. Sounds of my cousins joining with us to play annie-annie over and then there was that special game of rolling pool table balls under the bed where people were hiding and the sounds of chipping teeth. She spent hours in the kitchen for us--just one more day in her life of service of others.

I often have the sense that she is with me--usually on my morning walks. I think of her in her garden, I think of her sewing for me, I think of her caring for her mother in her later years, I think of her feeding all my high school friends lunch, I think of shopping with her, I think of sleeping over on Friday nights and I remember that when I wanted to run away I was going to go to her house. She was my champion, my haven, my friend.

I often wonder if she is pleased with me and my life today. Would she approve of my service to others? Would she think I was full of good works as she was? Would she be tickled with my children and happy with the way we are raising them? Would she be proud of me?

And then I wonder if I have taught my children well enough about her life and the kind of person she was. Have I shared my favorite memories of her with them? Have I told them that who I am today is in large measure a result of her love? I'm afraid that as often as I think of her, I haven't shared those thoughts enough with my children.

So today I will sit down at my little table and I will craft something for their books about their Greatma, my grandma. If not today, then when? It not today, I know it will get pushed down the list of my good intentions and remain there until I am less busy or more inspired or more or less something. I want her to be a part of their lives now, while they're growing. I want them to know her and love her and to have their hearts filled with love for her even as the autumn leaves fill the air.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why I Scrapbook

Yesterday the kids were looking at their books. My youngest son was looking at his book from when he was "none" (his baby one). He came across the picture of him in the blessing gown.

Let me explain about the gown. My husband's father was blessed in the gown. My husband was blessed in the gown. All of our children were blessed in the gown--including the boys. My husband insists that it's a "gown" and not a dress. :)

So he spies the gown and says, oh, that's a picture of his sister. I said, no, that's you. At which point he shouts, "Who put me in a princess dress?!!"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Slight " Mess

OK, I'm new to blogging. My husband set the blog up for me and has encouraged me to share how I use my scrapbox. I have to laugh at the "slight mess" comment. That's a "slight" understatement. Let's just say that the "slight mess" was threatening to take on a life of its own. And it was discouraging to even start a scrapbooking project since the mess would come out and stay in the living room or on the dining room table for far too long. I seem to have trouble finishing a project quickly. Too many interruptions!

Anyway--the scrapbox has been a fabulous organizing tool. I've got a separate drawer for everything, all my tools at my fingertips, and when I need to clean it up, everything goes in its place, I close the doors and it's beautiful.

The thing I've really enjoyed is using it for more than scrapbooking. I have drawers for shopping ads and coupons, drawers for budgets and receipts, drawers for special projects I'm working on, and the kids have even commandeered drawers for themselves to keep some of their projects organized.

One of my recent projects was sewing a colonial style vest and coat for my son's Colonial Days at school. It took far longer than I thought it would (I seem to have a habit of grossly underestimating the time it takes for anything to be done) and it's full of mistakes, but I'll attach a picture anyway. The scrapbox was a big help since I was able to use the table as an extra surface while I was working on the coat. I don't know why I spend hours and hours working on something that will be worn once--I guess if he feels special for the day because he has something I've made for him, then it's worth it.

P.S. My drawers are messy. Organizing THEM is on my list of things to do. Maybe after the kids all leave home I'll have time . . .

Monday, November 3, 2008

Best Storage Design Scrapbooking Furniture

After nearly 2 years of using my Scrapbox, I have decided to start a blog about Storage and Organization. My husband designed and produced the Scrapbox after seeing the slight mess in my living room while doing scrapbooking for my kids. After making the first one for me, he decided to make a whole bunch of them and sell them. He has now sold over 2,000+ Scrapboxes all over the world. The Scrapbox "Workbox" won the CHA (Craft and Hobbies Association) best storage solution prize last year. It has been a lot of fun watching the huge success of this one product.

Please check out to see it.