20 October 2013

An Update & a Few New Layouts

Sorry I've been MIA. I've been getting into the groove of Graduate school. I can't wait to finish up & to have a Media Center of my own. It's going to be awesome!! :)

I've been doing a fair amount of scrapbooking and Project Life. I'm totally in love with what I can document in that album. I've been questioning how complicated I've been making it for myself. This year is certainly more simple than last year. I've been condensing my photos, using less inserts, & doing more at home printing, which helps. Since the beginning of the year I've been making it far more simple and I keep streamlining my process.

I'm embracing my Becky Higgins kits too. I have partial kits of Honey, Kraft, Midnight, & Jade, plus the Wellington & Seasons mini kits. I am totally in love with Kraft & Jade, I think they're my most favorite, but I love all of them. I've been contemplating the addition of the Heritage Edition, so I can make an album for my Pop at some point. We have tons of new photos and stories, that we've discovered from ancestry.com... which is a great investment if I have to say so myself.

Anyways, other than Project Life, I've been doing some scrapbooking. All summer I focused on Project Life & my scrapbook albums for Steph & Sue... [which I plan on sharing an update on soon] So when I went on a cabin retreat with my friends, I declared it to be a SCRAPBOOK weekend. I didn't take any Project Life supplies. I was determined to work on our yearly 12x12 album.

So here are a few of the layouts I completed while at the retreat

In other news... My December Daily album was featured on the Simple Stories Blog the other day... you can see it HERE

I'll be back in a couple of days to share my latest more simple Project Life spreads. 

07 August 2013

01 August 2013

Tales of Summer Vacation. Florida Edition Part 2.

After a LONG, and in some cases painful, ride to Florida on the 3rd, the 4th was a welcome joy. We had grand plans for the 4th of July, although the weather did not get the memo. Seriously. I shook my fist at the sky in fury of the rain, but we still managed to have an awesome day.
First thing after breakfast, we took a walk down to the river dock to see some boats going out onto the ocean & to see what the water looked like.
On our walk, there was a lot of dancing and skipping, you know… normal girl stuff.
My Pop, Uncle Gary, & Cousin Ashley talked shop & boats, of course, you know… man stuff.
The girls had never been on a boat, so my Pop wanted to look at the water, see how busy it was, so he could decide if he would be able to take us out on the water for a bit. We used this boat talk time to take some photos :)DSC_8540 DSC_8546
Pop decided that the water was fine for a short ride out to the Gulf. So we headed back to his house to prep the boat & get on bathing suits… no we weren’t going into the Gulf to go swimming, but my Pop is known to get everyone in the boat completely and utterly soaked when he drives.
Then suddenly the sky looked like it was going to drop buckets of water on us. My Pop was trying to get us back to shore before it really started storming. What is up with Florida weather?!?!? It was sunny & warm one minute and stormy & cold the next. All weekend. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Everyone else must have had the same feeling we did & they were heading back into shore too, especially the kayakers.

<<The girls had an absolute blast. My Pop’s speedy little fishing boat did the trick for them. They were screaming and squealing the whole time because, even though it was July, the water was ICE COLD.
He took us out to the Gulf, as far as he could, because there was a lot of water traffic & the ocean was super choppy because of the incoming storm. Then he took us on a river tour. I’ve done this once before, when my cousin Ashley took Ryan and I out on his boat, way back in 2007. It was a beautiful day, despite the weather.

<<<<<< Evidence of my Pop’s Speedy boat ride… ultimately windblown hair.

When we got back to Pop’s house & got clean & dry, we decided that we would all go to the grocery store together as a family, yep all 9 of us, so we could all pick out stuff we wanted at the cookout. Since there was no way we were having it on the 4th, we postponed until the 5th [although the weather still didn’t cooperate].
After driving the 40 miles to the grocery store, eating dinner, & driving the 40 miles back, we made it just in time for the fireworks show. My Pop LOVES the Steinhatchee Fourth of July Fireworks show. It lasted a full 40 minutes and it was supremely spectacular. In other words, I was impressed, it was much better than my hometown’s show.
First photo out of the camera. I’m a sucker for bokeh.
Some of my favorites from the show:
The aftermath of an explosion looks like it’s own galaxy.

I'll be back with our last full day of vacation. I have to say it was my favorite day. :)

09 July 2013

Tales of Summer Vacation. Florida Edition Part 1.

Last year, my dad moved to a small town just off the Florida panhandle. He had been going there on vacation since he was a kid. He has fond memories of being there with all of his brothers and sisters, his dad, and especially his mom. She died when he was 11 years old from a pulmonary embolism. So any memories he has of her are super special. He can still point out the house they used to rent & the places they would go eat, which is slim pickings around there. :) He loves to tell stories about him & his brother Raymond, who was killed a few years ago, by a drunk driver. Even though this town isn't my normal... meaning, there isn't any internet at his house & the only place that has free wifi is a small restaurant on the river, the drive to the grocery store is a killer 40 miles, & sometimes it smells like dirty fish, I have grown to love being there with my dad. I'm glad that one of these days I'll be able to tell the same type of stories he tells me, but this time they'll be about me & him. 
So last week my mom, mema, stephanie, sue, & I loaded up the car and headed to Florida for a visit and mini vacation. Well, it went pretty well, if you don't include all of the rainstorms we encountered. Seriously. I have never seen so much rain come out of the sky at once. 
Our adventure started at 5 am, when Sue & I woke up to get ready to leave from my house. Too bad my mom didn't show up until 6:30 am... I totally could have slept later.
Sue & I did end up taking a short nap waiting on Mom & Steph. But once they got there we were ready for breakfast & to be on the road. Seriously. We ended up at Martin's restaurant for breakfast. My favorite. Finally after we finished eating we were ready to leave GA & be in FL... too bad there isn't a time machine or teleportation device.
Here’s what we looked like at the beginning of the ride… (not the best photo, it came from my iPod with dreary light conditions :/ )
but this is what the back seat looked like most of the time...
I got to show the girls the gas station & intersection where the opening scene of the Walking Dead takes place... how cool is that? I live right down the road from it!
After hours of driving, encountering 2 wrecks on the interstate, & constantly seeing flashing lights because of the downpour, we made it to one of the best rest stops I've ever been to, & I've been to quite a few. This one is just outside of Columbus, GA. The attendants gave me & the girls Zombie Hunting Permits for the cars, :) Ryan was excited about that. There were displays about the history of Georgia & IMG_4063tons of maps & brochures to look at. I will IMG_4067definitely be making sure this is stop every time I go to visit my dad from now on. Proof of a clean rest stop restroom. lol.


We stopped for lunch at a Huddle House… not my first choice, in Pelham, GA. The only reason we stopped there is the girls were getting antsy in the car, asking for a bathroom, & Mema loves coffee.
We took our time ordering and eating. It was nice to be out of the car, but I was ready to be in  Florida. For real!

Once we finally got to Florida, we stopped in Perry to grab a few things we needed before heading down the 40 mile drive into nowhere. lol.
IMG_4082Luckily, there’s a Sonic in Perry, I really needed a sweet treat. I got a Cherry Slush, mom got an island breeze slush, mema got a vanilla shake, Steph got a chocolate shake, & Sue got a powerade slush… the whole treat thing was going over well, that is until Steph thought it would be a good idea to shake some of the shake out into her mouth… She ended up with a face full of chocolate milkshake, [a real Renee moment ;) ]
Now this is the point where the trip turns slightly south. The whole time we’ve been on the road we’ve encountered numerous rainstorms. Most of the them, just that rainstorms. They passed over pretty quickly. But the one we ran into next, well it was what my dad would call a gully washer.  We were in Keaton Beach… SO CLOSE to Steinhatchee, when the bottom fell out of the sky… quite literally, mind you.
This was one minute… looking down the canal at Keaton Beach.DSC_8511
And this was just a couple of minutes later, looking through a patch of trees into a field.DSC_8514
I promise. There was no editing done to these photos. Straight out of camera… I have never seen the weather change so quickly. It was almost scary. When we get so super close to Steinhatchee that I could feel my back & legs relaxing, ready to get out of the car & stretch, we came across a tree across the road. ALL THE WAY ACROSS. I just wanted to scream “COME ON!!! THIS HAS GOT TO BE A JOKE!” because, you see, we had already driven close to 35 miles of the 40ish miles to Steinhatchee from Perry, but in that moment, we had to turn the car around and backtrack, then go another 40ish miles on another route. By this time I was hungry & my dad had called to tell us he had a HUGE dinner made for us. I was ready to be out of the car & at the dinner table. lol.
So that is the first leg of our Florida Adventure. I’ll come back in a few days with the next part… 4th of July Steinhatchee Style. :)

22 June 2013

Elle's Studio + JBS

Hey! I'm back again to share my project featured on the Elle's Studio blog for the Elle's Studio + Jenni Bowlin Studios Blog Hop.

I've only scrapbooked a few photos from our trip to Savannah last Autumn. So I figured the JBS Modern Mercantile would be perfect for photos from the city. Very rustic & vintage. I put together a grid layout with a few of the cards from the cut apart paper. I used some of the letter stickers for the title... I LOVE LOVE LOVE these letters, they are the perfect size & color. I love grey. :) I paired it with some of the tidbits and cut apart tags from the Cameron collection from Elle's Studio. I absolutely love how it turned out & it is definitely going into my stack of favorite layouts ;)

here are some close ups:

16 June 2013

sweet little c

I'm back to share another project from my Elle's Studio May Inspiration Gallery. Back in April, Ryan and I went to Serenbe to hangout with his some of his family... well all of the girls of his family... this is our family tradition for when his aunt comes into town, but usually it's just us girls. This time Ryan tagged along with me & my SIL had her baby with her, he's so adorable. We almost never get to see him when they are in town. Ryan & I always seem to be super busy with school, or I've been out of town visiting my dad. But we were determine to see him this time. He's so sweet & totally loved sitting next to Ryan at lunch. I swear by the end of the day I had hundreds of photos of him. I just couldn't stop, who can blame me? 

When I got the photos printed I decided I wanted to make a layout with as many of the photos as I could, so I made a photo collage & had it printed, then cut it apart to use as individual photos for a grid like layout. 

I've never really been great at making grid layouts. But for some reason, Elle's Studio products make me want to make grid layouts. 

This was the first layout I made with the new Cameron collection & by the time I got the photos printed I was dying to break into the collection & use the stamps. Seriously. such a great alphabet stamp set & I think my favorite stamp is the love your ____________ stamp. I can come up with so many things to write in the blank, so I know I will be getting LOTS of use out of it. 

My mom came over not long after I finished the layout & fixed her old sewing machine that I've had for quite a while... I'm still getting used to it, so my sewing isn't the best, but I'm really enjoying adding new textures to my layouts.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you keep coming back :)

10 June 2013

Today at Elle's Studio...

Today, the new June Limited Edition Kit is available for purchase!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this kit.

So versatile. I'm going to be sharing my projects I made with it in a couple of days. I love that she makes sure that the cards and embellishments will work for June & July.

For today only the kit is $9.99, after today the price goes up to $11.99. You can get the kit here: http://www.shopellesstudio.com/Elle-s-Studio-June-2013-Kit.html

Also, both Cameron & Saltwater are available for purchase.

I love both collections so much. I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite from either, because they are both just so awesome!

To get either, or both of the collections go to:

06 June 2013

Is it really June already???

I can't believe it. Summer is finally here & we've been looking forward to it for quite some time, but it seems like it has come at such a whirlwind speed. We are in full on family mode. Spending tons of time at home, cooking, crafting, playing, and just enjoying the time together. I don't get a lot of time with S&S during the school year, & even though we are driving each other crazy by the end of the summer, I relish the time we get to be together.

What I'm really here to share is a few projects from this month's Elle's Studio Inspiration Gallery. I can't believe this will be my last gallery share. So sad. I've had such an amazing experience being on this Design Team. Elle is so generous and such a wonderful person. If I could recommend anyone to try out for any design team... Elle's Studio would be one.

First off, I have a couple of weeks of project life to share with you. I'm really loving Project Life. My album from last year is one of my favorites and most cherished albums every.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll have more project life spreads, layouts, & even cards to share later this week & next week.