Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

So, after several years going without, I decided to put together a Christmas card. It was all spurred by my friend Amber who every year without fail sends a really nice card and letter, leaving no detail of their year out. I love it and decided I needed to do something, if perhaps on a smaller scale.

This year I found some great (and free!) card templates at Becky Higgins site. Now I just needed a picture. Since I put these together at the last minute, I knew I wouldn't be able to pull together a decent shot of the whole family, but if I got creative, I could convince our son to pose for me.

My idea was to wrap him in lights like a Christmas tree... cute and fun. Well, I couldn't quite get enough light on his face, but got some cute outtakes. Here are some of my favorites:

Pretty cute! Here is the final result:

Thanks to Costco for the quick printing job! They're already signed, sealed and delivered!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another long break...

So, when I decided to start a blog, my intention was to have a place to ramble, organize some thoughts for scrapbooking and to practice writing. You see, I've never really felt like myself when I write. I'm not sure who exactly I feel like, but I have this desire for my writing to sound more authentic, more genuine. In 30 years when Alex is looking back at the scrapbooks, I want him to know that I wrote all those words, not wonder who I got to write them for me.
So anyhow, that was my intention and so far, I'm not off to a great start. I've made a decision that I can post something once a week at least. I'm not putting any kind of restrictions on myself, but even if it's one sentence, I can muster up something once per week! Hopefully it will grow from there.
I did participate in LOAD in October, but it didn't go so great. I just really didn't feel the mojo and let myself slide. I got a few layouts done, though. Here are a couple favorites:
Icicle Creek
This one I actually completed about an hour after that photo was taken. My husband and I were camping for our anniversary and went for a hike. When we got back to the trailer, I got my layout done. This was early in the month when I was still on track!
40 years
My mom recently moved and I inherited all our our family albums. My project for the new year will be to get those photos out of their magnetic albums and scan the ones worth scanning. Makes me tired just thinking about it!

See you next week!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I'm lucky to have worked the same job long enough to have earned five weeks of vacation a year. I tend to forget what a luxury this is until I take a couple of weeks off together. I'm just at the tail end of a two week break and it has been great! My boys took of for a couple of days of water park mayhem leaving me at home to get caught up around the house and, with the help of a friend, get two rooms painted! Then we met up with my side of the family in Leavenworth (WA) for a nice and hot weekend before the three of us headed over to Lake Chelan (WA) for a few more days of fun in the sun!
In Chelan, we met up with some new friends. The wives took the day of from mommy duty and hopped in a limo for a tour of the wineries in the area. This was totally decadent and fun. I've never been to a winery before so I learned a lot and would recommend this to anyone interested at all in wine.
The next day we all spent on the lake. We are lucky that these friends had boats and jet-skis so we really enjoyed the water.
I'm home now feeling a little tired, a little sunburned, but relaxed and so thankful for some wonderful family time!
Some photos from the trip:

1) The boys heading out 2) My mom and her sisters with my cousin and I 3) My son Alex introducing his cousin to bubbles  4) Alex rapping in the pool in Leavenworth 5) Alex at the skate park in Lake Chelan 6) A photo-op during our wine tasting adventure* 7) The ladies of the limo 8) Willow taking Mark out on a jet-ski** 9) Gaye, Barb and me on the 'tube' 10) Alex with the girls on the tube
*I spotted this wine barrel when we were pulling into the third or fourth winery. I said something like "Oh, I have to come get a photo of that!" and two of the ladies I was with asked if I was a scrapbooker! So funny.
**Mark took me on a jet-ski ride in Puerto Vallarta in 2001. It felt like he was trying to rearrange my organs; he was jumping waves, driving super fast. I tried to convince Willow to give him an equally crazy ride, but I'm not sure it happened.

Friday, July 2, 2010

That Time of the Month...

No, not that time of the month! The time of the month to share an awesome monthly project!

I've been using Cathy Zielske's "The Monthly 8.5 x 11 Album Set" from Designer Digitals for the past three months and it is really cool. It's designed in Cathy's signature clean style and makes getting some memories preserved really easy. Here is my creation for May:

This is actually four 8.5 x 11 pages and you can see them (along with some other layouts) by clicking on my Flickr Photostream on the left. I'm printing these to go into an album along with a divided page protector with some memorabilia, notes and additional photos. I am so happy with these! I don't really believe in the notion of being "caught up" with my scrapbooking and only really worry that our most important stories are being told. But, if I was determined to be "caught up" this would be all I needed to feel complete. It's simple, classic and perfect.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day...

Father's Day caught me a bit off guard this year. Not in the sense that I didn't know it was coming, but in how much I really missed my dad. I've thought about him every day since his passing and Father's Day, frankly, was never such a big day for us. But knowing that he isn't there to make a card for really hurt.
I liked to pull old pictures of the two of us to include in my cards, so I thought I'd pull some together here:

All of these photos are (obviously!) quite old. I was three days, about 18 months and about five. I'm forever grateful for the lessons my dad taught me and what he brought into my life and into my son's life.

I have to remember another very special father in my life, though. My wonderful and understanding husband. I couldn't leave him out of the photo fun:

Photos of my husband Mark with our sweet kid, Alex. On the day he was born, at four and about five. I know how lucky I am to have a husband who's totally involved and happy to have the role of dad.

But that's not all! I have one more amazing dad to celebrate in my life! I was adopted, brought home from the hospital when I was three days old. When I was 20, I was lucky to meet my birth parents and even luckier to have them become part of our lives. My birth father, Keith, is just awesome:

Here's to celebrating all of the dads in our lives!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A video share...

Well, the May edition of LOAD turned out to be a bust. First I got sick; I mean SICK. Whatever it was knocked me out for a week and then some. No energy, no scrapbooking mojo. Just in bed, TV on misery. Then we were on vacation down on the Oregon coast. I knew all along we'd be taking this vacation,I just didn't know we wouldn't have cell phone reception. No way to send a photo anywhere. I did end up with 13 layouts in May, which is 13 more than I would have done left to my own devices, so I can't really be too disappointed.

I did manage to put together a little video memory from our trip to Oregon. This was Alex's first time out on his quad in the sand dunes. He had a wonderful time. Please enjoy...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Work in Progress...

So, I'm still working on this blog. I hope that a few of you have come back a time or two. I am big time posting my LOAD layouts, but promise to be more diversified than that! I just updated my comment section (I hope!) This is my test post to see if it works. If you stop by, you can check it out for yourself!

Real Life

RealLife, originally uploaded by jashepler.

This is one of those photos that I have LOVED since the moment I shot it. Alex has the worst look on his face but what I really love is the look on my dad's face! I shared in my journaling on this page how special their relationship was from day one and that really is so true. Those two are best buds.

It seems as though I've seen the question on a couple of different message boards, as well as discussed on a recent episode of The Paperclipping Roundtable, about how you deal with scrapbooking challenging times. I've been working through this process over the last six months or so and this layout is a part of that process. I thought I'd share my take on the subject.

My dad passed away a little over six months ago. His death was a shock; completely unexpected to anyone who knew him. At the time, I couldn't imagine ever feeling right again. It was the worst feeling I've ever experienced.

But something happened as I was going through decades worth of photos in preparation for my dad's memorial service. I realized that all of these photos that have been part of my life for as long as I can remember had taken on a new meaning. I started to get a different sense of what it is we do as 'memory keepers'.

Shortly after, I stumbled across a website called Good Grief. This website was the brainchild of Amanda Probst and hosts challenges related to scrapping memories of loved ones who have passed. I honestly hadn't thought about scrapbooking anything, let alone my dad's passing, until I came across this site. So I took the plunge. I think the first challenge had to do with documenting your loved one's handwriting. It felt like a release. It didn't make me feel sad the way I thought it would; I felt more connected to my dad and realized that in preserving our stories, I could keep those small pieces of him with us always.

Now, I never shy away from scrapbooking with pictures of my dad. It doesn't soften the blow of our loss, but it is a gift to be able to share our most precious memories in a beautiful and heartfelt way.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Love My Boys

Love My Boys, originally uploaded by jashepler.
I really do just love these boys so much! Don't know how I got so lucky.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Righty or Lefty?

Righty or Lefty?, originally uploaded by jashepler.

Today's prompt for LOAD was "Holiday"; specifically to use holiday product in an untypical way. I wasn't feeling particularly inspired today, but I went through a stack of 'stories' that I had pulled prior to starting LOAD that I wanted to tell. When I came across these two photos, I knew that I would use them and I had the design pretty clear in my head. The little pieces of patterned paper were an afterthought to stick with the challenge.
Do love this page though and those cute pictures of my boy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

MothersDay, originally uploaded by jashepler.

We spent a beautiful and fun weekend down in Portland for Mother's Day. We really lucked out with the beautiful weather and totally took advantage of it. Since I had these fresh photos to use, they became my inspiration for my layout today!

While I was working on this layout, I decided to try creating a layered template as well. I've wanted to do this for a while to save some of my favorite designs so that I might use them again (hey, stick with what works, right?). Anyway, I think that I was successful and wanted to share! Here is what the template looks like:
and here is the link to download it:
Disclaimer: I've never done this before! The way I think this should work is you click the link above which will take you to a page where you can download a zipped file of the template. If it doesn't work for you, let me know! Or, if you know an easier way for me to do this, I'd love to know that as well!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A copule more catch-ups...

I've been working hard to complete a layout-a-day, even while on a little mini vacation! Here are my last couple of layouts:
This layout highlights a camping trip that Alex and I took with my parents last summer. In hindsight, I am ever so thankful that we took that trip!

These photos were taken the very next week when Mark, Alex and I had an adventure in Florence, OR. Super fun!

Think that is it. I'm all caught up for now. Eight days down, 23 to go!

Birthday Brunch

Birthday Brunch, originally uploaded by jashepler.
This layout is a direct lift from a design that I did in the Cathy Zielske class "Design Your Life" at Big Picture Scrapbooking. It's one of my most favorite photos lately of Alex. It was taken at a birthday brunch that Matthew treated us to. A super fun day I think captured in a super fun way.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gathering Wood

GatheringWood, originally uploaded by jashepler.

It's day five of LOAD. This one was a little tough for me.

Today is the six month anniversary of my dad's passing and he's been on my mind all day. It's hard to believe that it's been that long. Grief is a strange thing... it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. It could be something as simple as a t-ball game and it hits me all over again that we won't be making new memories with him. It makes me that much more thankful for these memories that we have captured.

I showed Alex this layout when I was done. He's just barely two in these photos. I asked him if he remembers cutting wood with Grandpa. He thinks about it for a moment and then lights up... "I remember that saw and that hat and gloves. I think I DO remember!"

I love that boy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Blackmail, originally uploaded by jashepler.

Day 2 of LOAD and another featuring my son in a somewhat compromising position. Sometimes these silly pictures are just what inspires me, you know?
Anyway, the challenge of the day was to pick three adjectives that define your style. I think simple, clean and linear are three things that typically define my style. I like how this layout came together. It even got Alex's nod of approval!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Busted!, originally uploaded by jashepler.

Layout-A-Day (LOAD from here on out) is my favorite scrapbooking challenge ever. It really forces me to carve out some creative time every day and I feel super accomplished at the end of the month.

Not to mention getting memories like this one down on paper.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What I've Been Up To...

I've been taking a class at Little Light Studio called "Bling Out Your Blog". While I'm not much of a "bling" girl, I have been interested in blog design for a while. I can get caught up pretty easily on how things look vs. what they do. I love the idea of a blog as a way to document everyday life, but didn't necessarily love how I could make it look so I found myself just not using it.
Now, it's looking more "me". There will be some adjustments still to come, I'm sure, but overall I'm much happier with how things are looking here.

On the scrapbooking front, this week has been Ali Edwards "Week in the Life" project hosted over at her blog. I started the week with really good intentions, but some technical challenges stumped me mid week. I'm thinking of giving it another go next week, but did capture some nice shots. Here are just a few peeks at our mornings:
1) Alex always ends up in our bed in the mornings. He's pretty sweet to wake up to.
2) Coffee...
3) Off to school
4) Eggo waffles... a new found favorite.
5) Alex is always usually cheerful in the morning

Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Want more LOAD?

Here you go...

Day 18... a layout for Alex's ornament book:

Christmas 2009

Day 19... Alex is pretty comfortable with the camera and in particular likes taking pictures of himself! I had a bunch of pictures developed from the summer of 2008 and found all of these:


Day 20... My dad took this picture a couple of summers ago and it is hand's down one of my favorites:


Day 21... I had this quote from Alex on the dry erase board in the laundry room for a year and a half! Happy to finally tell the story:

Cool Kid

Day 22... Another fun memory of 2008:


Day 23... More summer fun! Alex was so excited to get this slide and loved watching it be blown up but was terrified when it came down to sliding down:


Still caught up with just a few days to go! This Thursday and Friday I'll be in meetings in Seattle which will make things a little tricky, but I'm loading some photos and supplies on my laptop and will go digital! Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still at it...

Day 16 and I've yet to miss a day! Sixteen layouts complete. I'm really quite proud of myself. Here are a couple recent entries:

From today. I'm finding some solace in scrapping about Dad...

Day fifteen. A quickie Alex page...
Big Boy

Day fourteen. Another quickie highlighting Alex and Dwight's relationship. The first page I've done about the two of them...
Big Helper

Day thirteen. A special Valentine's Day 'card' for Mark...

I've done a pretty good job keeping up. I've even finished a couple of layouts first thing in the morning. Before work even! Twelve more days seems doable. I'm having a really good time seeing my completed work pile up! Even if my layouts aren't works of art, they are precious stories and they're BEING TOLD! This is the best thing of all!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


(click on images to see larger)

Today's layout is from "Yesterday & Today" a class taught at Big Picture Scrapbooking by Ali Edwards. What a great class that highlights your personal history and makes connections with today.

I'm really enjoying the challenge of LOAD. I'm feeling so productive... I've probably done more scrapbooking this week that in the past six months! Here are a couple more layouts:


Tooth Fairy

Winter '08

Dad's Spot

This one was a little tough. For some reason the last week I've felt a little sad about Dad. I know that 'they' say that grief comes and goes, but it's a whole other thing to go through it. I found this layout to be a great way to channel some of that energy and celebrate his life.

I think the best thing about this challenge is that I'm realizing I don't need to spend hours making a layout. Finished pages are way better than "perfect pages. I can't wait to see the stack when I'm done!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


So, I've taken on a challenge for the month of February... one layout a day, every day, for the entire month. I haven't been doing much scrapbooking lately. Not sure why. The inspiration ebbs and flows. I think about it a lot and have got some ideas written down to keep the flow going. Here's my layout for today:

I decided to catch up on some layouts from classes that I'm behind on. Should be a challenge, but one I'm looking forward to!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Six Things on Saturday

Trying to find a rhythm and routine for writing, so I figured I could manage to find six things to write about each Saturday. On my mind today:
1) Photo-A-Day
I've been doing a pretty decent job this year of capturing a photo each day. I have simplified my approach this year and I'm just capturing the date rather than try to be too elaborate. Here are a couple of my favorites...

Theresa and I on New Year's Day. OK, technically it was New Year's Eve, but it was after midnight so it still counts! I have never felt such a sense of relief and joy at the turning of the new year!

The newest addition to our family. Alex is in love. The verdict is out for me, although I do love using the DVD player.

Really, who could resist this face?

2) Knitting... I've picked up this hobby again and finished a project that I started almost two years ago! It's pretty exciting to see something done. I can see that it would be a pretty relaxing hobby, although so far I have to concentrate too hard to call it completely relaxing.
3) 2010 is off to a great start. So far, so good. Much calmer than the year ended. I hope for it to continue that way.
4) American Idol has started! I love it!
5) I've been working up to more creativity. Looking forward to spending some quality time in my workroom. Results to come.
6) It feels pretty good to have a post done! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


So much talk about how to pronounce the new year... I love it. I think it's entertaining.

My brother-in-law passed along a link to this video. It moved me. It made me think. And, in this season of goals and resolutions, it seems somehow fitting.