Sunday, March 26, 2017

Just Smile!

I receive these email bulletins from a site called Lifehack.  Today, I received this one:  110 Happiness Quotes That Will Make You Smile Instantly.  It's awesome to start your day by reading something happy!  No matter how badly you slept or whatever weight is on your mind, you can't help but smile at these. I'm sharing the link with you because I want you to smile too!

Check it out here:

Here's one of my favorites:

This is a good one and resonates with me. My goal is start my own handmade greeting card company.  I'm not rushing into it and spending a bunch of money I don't have; rather I'm bootstrapping it, as they say.  However, creating cards does set my soul on fire.  I love doing it!

What about you?  Which of the 110 quotes makes you smile?  Share in the comments below!

Monday, March 20, 2017

10 reasons to send a handwritten greeting card

Nowadays, it's very easy to become or feel unattached to those we love.  Texting has taken the place of phone calls and posting a picture on a social media site is a way of communicating with everyone in one swoop!  Make connections again with a handwritten greeting card.    In this post, we will explore numbers 1 through 10 of why you should send a handwritten card:

  1. To thank someone for something small.
    • Sincerity is a lost art. Practice often.
  2. To say “Happy graduation.”
    • Welcome to the real world.
  3. To say “Sad graduation.”
    • Welcome to the real world.
  4. To congratulate someone on getting their driver’s license.
    • No texting and driving. Always best to send a card.
  5. To celebrate a new year.
    • Let’s make this year better than the last. And then let’s do the same next year.
  6. To congratulate someone on getting a puppy.
    • They make edible cards, right?
  7. To congratulate someone on getting a kitten.
    • They have years of being ignored ahead of them, so why not give them a little attention now.
  8. To welcome a baby into the family.
    • In about 18 years they’ll have time to finally read your card.
  9. To “apologize” for not inviting someone to your wedding.
    • It’s tough. A little thoughtfulness now can save a lot of awkwardness later.
  10. To offer a random compliment.
    • Fact: 100% of people enjoy receiving compliments. Fact #2: Your hair looks great today.
 If you are off looking for a card, check out some I have for sale on E-Bay:

Love or Anniversary Card

Just to say Hi!

Creating cards is a passion for me - stay tuned while I add more or if you would like to buy directly, contact me at

It's not important where you get your card from, just do it!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Will I ever catch up on my scrapbooking?

NO!  You won't.  It's that simple and that complex.  I think it's just how you view it.  Here's a few tips to make you feel a bit better about not being 'caught up':

  • Lower your expectations. The goal is to chronicle your life, not show off your ability to create some paper masterpiece.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that too much enhancement is a distraction and a detriment.  So, for the sake of your gorgeous pictures AND your sanity, keep it simple.
  • Take fewer pictures.  Really.  Our kids are the most highly photographed generation in the history of the world.  And the more pictures you take, the more you have to sort through and edit.  Lately I’ve been intentionally taking fewer pictures, and it’s amazing how much easier it is to go through and pick out the ones I want to keep or add into an album.  Which is the perfect segue to #3…
  • Throw pictures away.  Yes, I know it feels wrong somehow, but if you’re not going to use ’em, TOSS ‘EM.  (Or, give ’em to your kids to "scrapbook".) There is no reason to keep extra pictures around, cluttering up your living space.  And with everything digital nowadays, you can always reprint it if you regret tossing it later.  And the fact is, you do NOT need to put every picture you print into your album.  When in doubt, leave it out.  You will probably never remember it.
  • Be selective.  This goes along with #3, but again, you don’t need 150 pictures of your daughter’s birthday party in your album.  You can keep them on your computer if you want to see them.  But in your album, try to keep each event to one or two pages.  It’s more enjoyable to thumb through an album when you have captured the highlights of each event.  No one wants to look at 10 pages of Christmas Day.  
  • Go digital!  If, like me, you want to flip pages of a book, you can even print out your digital masterpiece.  There are many online stores offering digital scrapbooks, that you can have one printed and then add your own embellishments to it!
I still need to catch up on several years, and I'll get to it - eventually.  I'm not going pressure myself into feeling like I need to have every single picture scrapbooked by the end of 2017. 

How about you?  Are you 'caught up'?  What tips and tricks do you have for our readers?  Share in the comments below!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

4089 and counting

It's Superbowl Sunday!  Just another reason for Americans to consume, consume and consume some more.  I'm not saying that I don't enjoy the game and the food, but do I need to buy balloons, party goods and special plates?  I think not.  The past several years have seen us host a party - lots of money spent on food, enjoying good times with our friends and then the biggie clean up the next day.  Most of the time I would take post-Superbowl Monday off because I had a messy house to straighten up.  Kind of crazy to sacrifice a PTO day to clean up after a party, right?

This year is different.  The hubs and I are going to stay in - just the two of us - make some special hamburgers (consisting of cooked bacon, shredded cheese and then topped with a cooked egg and avocado slices).  I might have a cocktail - I might not.  The hubs rode his bike 94 miles today so I don't expect him to last to half time, but he might surprise me as he is taking a little siesta while I write this.  I completed my first workout on my P90X3 DVDs today - a kick butt workout!  A simple Superbowl - I like it.

As I journey through this early retirement planning, the one chord that keeps striking with me is the word 'simple'.  I want a simple life.  As I look around our house, I can start to feel stress and angst.  It's a mess.  Not dirty - messy.  Both of us don't like to put things away and the hubs works from home, so it spills into other rooms instead of just the office.  There's a blog called 365 Less Things where this woman began decluttering one item a day for a whole year.  I think I will start today.  I looked at my desk and saw all these Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons sitting in one of the slots (it's a secretary desk).  I haven't shopped in that store since I don't know when.  If I shop nowadays, it's online.  If I need a BBB coupon, I can find it online.  Bye bye, BBB coupons!

I wonder what I will get rid of tomorrow..........

Saturday, February 4, 2017

4090 Days and counting

I have a dream and goal for retire when I hit 56 years old.  The idea came to me one day within the past 3 or 4 months.  My Dad retired at age 56 - he closed his business, sold the inventory, the land, our family house and moved us all to Florida.  I was 12 at the time and I really didn't know my Dad.  When I got up in the morning, he was gone to work and he could come home around 5:15 - 5:30 p.m., take a shower and the first time I would really see him would be at the dinner table.  By 7:00 p.m. he was asleep on the couch in our family room.  My Dad made interior and exterior iron railings.  Raw steel would come into his shop, and he would weld, grind, shape, form, paint (several coats) and install them.  By himself.  Five days a week.  To say he was tired at the end of the day was an understatement, which is why I never knew my Dad until he retired & moved us to Florida.

Now at the ripe age of 44 (and my Dad will turn 90 this year), I'm reflecting on my life and reading alot of blogs and re-evaluating my life.  Maybe it's a mid-life crisis.  Maybe I'm just waking up from the consumerist train.  Whatever it is, I want more out of my life than this train ride I'm on.

There are a ton of blogs out there about minimalism, frugality, simple living, early retirement, financial independence, etc.  I'm not trying to compete with them or do something different than they are.  I'm using this blog as documentation of my journey to get to age 56 and semi-retire, or totally retire, or became an entrepreneur or whatever I decide to do.  I do have 11 years, and that's a long time, but I'm curious to see what happens and how I will do it.  This blog is keeping me accountable.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

4 Easy Steps to Go Back & Scrap Previous Years

"I'll never catch up!"  This is a common saying in the scrapbooking community.  We are all there and we all feel it.  We have boxes and containers of photos and momentos.  It's OK - you'll never be 'caught up'. And that is one of the beauties of our hobby:  it's ongoing.   So, how can you start to feel 'caught up'?  Try the Project Life (by Becky Higgins) way of catching up to make a dent in your photos and feel accomplished.  Here's how:

1.  Decide on your photos
Look through your computer or actual printed photos and decide which ones you want to scrap into a Project Life Album.  If they are digital, look for a deal from Walgreens, CVS, Shutterfly or your favorite photo printing manufacturer.  Get them printed.

2.  Decide on your pocket layout
Don't overthink this step and make it simple on yourself.  I use the same style for my Project Life albums because I don't have the time to resize photos and I tend to hold the camera the same way so 99% of my photos are 6"x4".  For me, I use Design A, which allows for 4 photos and 4 journaling cards.  Boom - done!

3.  Decide on your photo placement
Do you want to group them by day, by week or by year?  Make it easy and stick to it.  

4.  Journal and Embellish
Let's face it - you aren't going to remember everything that happened from 4 or 5 years ago!  It's ok - journal what you do remember about that photo - even if it is just who is in the photo or where you were.  The great thing about pictures is they do prompt you to remember details about an event but don't beat yourself up if you don't remember.

And that's it.  Buy your products, print your photos and make some time to get 'caught up'!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Why Memory Preservation? Caring for your History Part IV

In today's post, we are going to see how you can preserve those old VCR tapes that you have laying around:

VCR Tapes

Over the last decade VCR tape has become a favorite way of preserving memories. VCR tape, however, is even more fragile than color photographs and thus individuals who use it to store family remembrances must take great care to use it with caution.

Understanding the Problem

VCR tape is created when metal oxides, lubricants, and plasticizers are "bound" to a "base" of clear polyester tape. This mix of chemicals serves a variety of purposes. Metal oxide records the magnetic impulses that are "read" by the VCR to recreate images on a television screen. Plasticizers help keep the film supple so it is less likely to break or stretch. Lubricants serve a similar purpose by helping to keep the tape moving smoothly through the mechanical transport system that moves the film from one spool, past the VCR "head," the device that "reads" the magnetic pulses recorded on the metal oxide, and on to the other spool.

Each of the component parts of the finished tape is subject to unique problems and a failure of any one of them can make the tape unplayable. Because the mix of component parts is complex even the best quality tape can begin to degrade quite quickly, often within a year or two after its manufacturing. Even under ideal conditions the binder that holds together this mix of chemicals is very delicate and it is usually quite easy to scrape off parts of the chemicals from the base. For whatever reason as degradation occurs the image that is played back on a television screen becomes poorer and poorer, until it can no longer be viewed.

The Enemies of VCR Tape

VCR tape is subject to harm from a variety of sources. Just as with paper and photographs heat can speed the chemical reactions that cause the tape to fail and humidity can encourage the growth of various biological agents that can destroy the tape.

"Binder breakdown" is a frequent cause for tape failure. Like all adhesive agents, as the binder ages it begins to lose its "stick." As this happens microscopic pieces of oxide as well as the other chemicals imbedded in the binder slowly fall away. As each bit of oxide is lost, a small piece of information is lost creating various problems when the tape is played.

Because VCR tape can only be viewed by playing it through a complicated mechanical device, a VCR, it is also frequently damaged by mechanical problems within a VCR. Dirt is the most frequent problem. Dirt, even microscopic particles, if located in strategic spots on the transport mechanism or VCR head can cause continual scratching of the VCR tapes. Each scratch scrapes off a bit more material from the polyester tape base and each loss of material further degrades the image.

Preserving VCR Tape

There is no long-term strategy for preserving VCR tape. It is reasonable to expect that most VCR tape, for one reason or another, will be unplayable after approximately a decade. Within this short life-span, however, it is possible to take steps that will keep the tape and the images preserved on the tape, in better condition, thus allowing for a higher quality copy of the tape to eventually be made.
Practical suggestions for maintaining VCR tape in good condition include:

Buy name brand VCR tape. The chemicals used by various manufacturers, quality control practices, and other procedures vary dramatically between manufacturers, with "no-name" tape usually being made as cheaply as possible. Lacking good studies on the reliability of various brands of VCR tape, a consumer can at least fall back on the advice that you often get what you pay for, and buying the cheapest tape available is asking for preservation trouble.

Make a "preservation" copy of the VCR tape as soon as it is shot. This can be done at home by mating two VCRs or it can be done at many shops which do VCR repairs. Check the preservation copy once a year, but otherwise never play it. This "pristine" copy will serve you well when the time comes to copy the tape onto a new tape. Pull out a second, "user" copy of the tape to show friends, neighbors, and relatives. Although with each viewing the user copy will slowly degrade, the images will be preserved in the best possible state on the "preservation" copy.

VCR tape should be viewed and rewound annually. Annual viewing makes it possible to detect problems before they lead to the catastrophic failure of the tape. Annual rewinding helps avoid a number of problems that can occur as the tightly wound VCR tape rests up against itself.

Always use a clean, well-functioning VCR machine to play the tape. Microscopic particles of dirt can cause irreparable damage to the tape as it races past the VCR head. Professional cleaning of a VCR machine, including demagnetization of the head, is always a good idea before the family tapes are pulled out for their annual screening. It is particularly important to make sure the VCR has recently been serviced before playing the preservation copy of your tapes.

Assume VCR tape will have to be copied. The medium of tape is very fragile and subject to a variety of fatal harms. Plan on copying tape at least once every ten years.

VCR Tape: A Checklist

  • Buy name brand tape.
  • Make a "preservation" copy of family tapes that will be used for subsequent copying.

  • View and rewind VCR tape annually in order to find image degradation before significant tape failure occurs.

  • Play family tapes (particularly a preservation copy) through a recently cleaned and adjusted VCR machine.

  • Assume VCR tape is a temporary medium and plan on regularly copying the tape.

Just the Scraps.....

Bits and pieces of our lives.