Friday, July 22, 2011

So In Love ...

It's amazing how sometimes you can be randomly snapping photos and you will capture one that grabs your heart and holds it tight. That's how I felt as soon as I saw this photo of my beautiful daughter. I looked into her sweet eyes and my heart overflowed with the love I've felt from the moment I knew I was expecting her. This precious girl and her equally precious brother are the reason I was put on this earth, and everyday I think about how lucky and blessed I am to be their Mommy.

I was inspired to use the Echo Park Be Mine line, along with a paper from Teresa Collins Posh line (for the flowers). The "so in love with you" caught my eye immediately, and I designed the layout around the photo and that sentiment.

Thanks for looking!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I {heart} Dogs

I finally did it!!! After months of having zero motivation, I finally created a new layout. Not a kit this time -- this is my layout. I was inspired by the photo, I just knew I had to do something with this one. Then I picked up the Friends Furever line from We R Memory Keepers and knew that the two belonged together. The final piece was the July 2011 sketch challenge posted at Scrapping Turtle, which is a sketch from Scrapbooks Etc.

So I put the three together and created this:

The journaling is still to come. I need to sit down with Sammy during a quiet moment and find out what he loves best about his puppy. I want it to be in his words.

Thanks for visiting my blog and seeing how inspiration finally hit me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poor Poor Blog

I had the best of intentions of getting this blog back on track, but clearly it hasn't happened yet. I could list a ton of reasons, all of which would be valid, but there is one main reason I didn't get back to blogging when I wanted to. I lost my mojo :(

When my Design Team assignment with the Scrapping Turtle came to an end I was very sad. It was a huge part of my life and meant the world to me. It is more than a scrapbook store, it is my happy place, filled with people who mean a great deal to me. Being on the DT was a very significant thing in my life -- it was something I felt I was good at, something I could be proud of. But I'd been on the DT for two terms and at that point I was working part time, in the midst of report cards, and planning on a full time return to work by the end of March. I couldn't do it all, not with all of the health issues I was still fighting. So the DT term came to an end and I found myself taking a break from the regular scrapbooking and card making challenges.

In much the same way that I had missed teaching during the time that I'd been unable to work, I now found myself missing this part of my life as well. Without the deadlines, it was too easy to give in to exhaustion and other priorities, leaving creativity behind. My heart wanted to, but my mind and body just wouldn't let me pick up my scrapbook supplies and create something. I kept telling myself that once I got into a routine I'd get my mojo back, that things would return to normal, that I'd find a rhythm in which I could do all the things I wanted to do once again. I kept telling myself that tomorrow would be the day when I'd find the time and energy to create a layout or make a card, tomorrow I'd be inspired.

You'd think that the lack of motivation would at least mean that I slowed down on purchasing scrapbook supplies, but that wasn't the case. As with everything I've been "obsessed" with in my life, I continue to buy, buy, buy -- even if it is only being placed on a shelf. I've done this with books, CDs, DVDs, and every craft I've encountered -- instead of buying one or two things I have to have everything, just in case it is no longer there the next time I go back. I continued to enjoy visiting my LSS and picking up some lovely new goodies. I purchased with the best of intentions, with ideas racing around my head, but once I brought them home I was too tired to begin or I had to focus on something for work. I'll get to it tomorrow.

Then came the shocking news. On the morning of March 27th my brother phoned, frantic that something had happened to our very dear aunt. He'd heard a loud noise not long before he'd called me and when he went outside he could see black smoke in the distance over by where she lived. After talking to me and telling me how worried he was, he tried driving past her building, but the streets leading to it were barricaded and he couldn't get through. He parked as close as he could get and set out on foot, his heart filled with fear. The closer he got the more he knew that this was very very bad.

The apartment building my aunt lived in was engulfed in flames. Around 8:30 a.m. that Sunday morning, a massive explosion shook the building. An entire section of the building collapsed in flames. My aunt's apartment was in that section. Her daughter scoured the city looking for her mom and my brother helped as much as he could. They checked out everywhere they could think that she might have gone -- walked the paths she used for her daily walks, visited every store that she had ever shopped at, called everyone they could think of that she could possibly be visiting, and repeatedly called the Red Cross to see if she had turned up, but she hadn't. We hoped and prayed that she would be somewhere safe, somewhere that she couldn't contact us from (in the middle of a field taking a walk perhaps) or somewhere that she hadn't heard about the explosion and fire. By that night my aunt was one of the people still unaccounted for. Everyone was hopeful that the missing people would turn up after a weekend away or something, but her daughter and the rest of the family knew in our hearts that she wasn't somewhere safe. She'd never let any of us worry for even a moment. She'd never go away without telling her daughter where she was going.

Over the next few days her daughter held a vigil in the parking lot, watching the fire department methodically search the rubble, carefully moving debris. My aunt was one of two people still missing the day after the explosion. Her daughter vowed to maintain her vigil until they brought her mother home -- and she did, joined by her brother and her niece, and other family members over the next few days. You can't help but hope that there will be some kind of miracle, some kind of Hollywood-esque moment in which they move a chunk of concrete and find an air pocket where your loved one has been trapped, battered and shaken and dehydrated but otherwise miraculously safe from harm. You hope, even though you know that it is just a matter of time ... you hope because there is nothing else that you can do.

I watched the news footage over and over on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday -- staring at all of the people in the crowd, hoping that I'd see my aunt in the crowd safe and sound with maybe a bump on her head causing her to not know who she was. I've always had a vivid imagination so I came up with all kinds of possibilities, all of which involved her being alive and unable to let us know for some unrealistic reason or another. Even as I joined my cousin in her vigil on Tuesday I hoped and prayed for that miracle, for that Hollywood moment. We didn't get it.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on March 27th I believe that God reached down and picked up my aunt and the other resident, carrying them home. I believe that it all happened so quickly that neither of them felt any pain, that neither of them suffered at all. On March 30th the recovery teams brought my aunt's body home to her family. Later that same day they brought the other resident's body home to his family.

Even now I don't really believe that any of this happened. I mean, I know it did, I saw the rubble, I went to her memorial -- but it still hasn't hit me that this wonderful caring loving woman is really and truly gone from this earth. Or maybe the grief is manifesting itself in a different way. When I sit down and try to be creative I find my mind racing, wondering what the point is, asking why this had to happen. I find myself dwelling on the question of tomorrow - wondering what would happen if it never comes. I don't have any answers. All I know is that somewhere in there I lost my creativity, I lost that belief in myself that I could create something good and worthwhile, I lost the desire to lose myself in the muse for hours at a time.

I want it back ...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Wow! It's been a long time since I've been here. Sorry my dear blog. Interestingly enough my last post coincides with when my life changed as I returned to work part time in September. This was a major step for me, one that I wasn't overly confident with nor was I feeling physically prepared for it. After all the stress and frustration that have been a part of my battle to regain my health over the last few years, I finally stopped listening to all the nay-sayers and decided to take my life back - or at least see if I could manage it anyway. It has never been a matter of whether or not I wanted to return to work -- I've been fighting to do that since this battle began -- it was a matter of being able to manage the requirements of teaching on a daily basis, while coping with the fatigue and pain that are a part of my life on a constant basis. On the plus side I have always loved being a teacher and been proud of what I do, being a teacher is an important part of who I am, and I was returning to a school that I consider to be like "home" to me.

While I returned to the school that I love and to a supportive staff, I had to leave behind the grades I have taught for most of my career and my beloved Primary division to take on the challenge of a new grade level, a split class, and my first real experience in the Junior division. My ability to cope with change has been seriously affected by my illness, so these challenges were not easy ones for me. Thankfully I had the support and encouragement of my family, my dear friends, and my co-workers who welcomed me back with open arms.

Returning to work, even on a part-time basis, meant that there were changes in other areas of my life as well. One of those changes was that I let this blog lapse. I'm hoping to change that and revive it by sharing the projects I have created since my last post (but not all at once).

So I am blowing the dust off and bringing Simply Me back into the light. I hope you will join me on the next leg of my journey -- wherever it may take me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August Design Team Projects

I will be honest, this month has totally gotten away from me. I haven't had a chance to post my Scrapping Turtle sneak peek or my reveal and the month is close to being over. Yikes!!! I've had a lot going on this month, including a fabulous weekend at Memories Manor with six very dear friends.

Now on to my Design Team work for August.

This month I've been having a blast working with Echo Park's A Walk In The Park line. I love Echo Park and this is one of my favourite lines from them. I had so much fun working with the double sided papers and the stickers.

First of all, here is my sneak peek for the month:

Followed by my reveal:

Thanks for looking!! I hope you will visit the Scrapping Turtle to see all of the wonderful creations from my fellow design team members.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

They've Done It Again

Yup!! Sass has ANOTHER new line that I love. It's called Count Me In!!!!

The moment I laid eyes on it I said "this is perfect for Sara's first day of school photos". Don't ask me why -- we haven't even picked out what she is going to wear on her first day yet, but that is what this line said to me.

Love it!!! Way to go Sass!!!

Can't wait to see what they introduce next :)

Mix and Mend

I love Sassafras Lass!! It is one of my must haves whenever I find it. It is always such a fun paper line and I adore it. But this time they've really done it. They've shocked me with something I totally didn't expect. The newest Sass line is .... well ....

I'm not really sure how to put this into words ...

Umm ...

Quite possibly ...

Most likely ...

My most ...


I am head over heels in love with Mix and Mend!!!! I can't wait to add it to my collection!!!! I love love love it!!!! Woo hoo!!!!

Check it out on their blog -- introducing Mix and Mend...and a fun way to win it!:!!! Sass as you've never seen it before :) Love it!!!