Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Boys and Girls

I seem to make more pages using my daughter's pictures than my son's. Whenever I can I prefer to use pictures of them both, but my daughter just seems to be more obliging when I want to take pictures. My son on the other hand seems to be rather uncomfortable in front of the camera. Guess I need to take more pictures of him to get him over his aversion.

I find it interesting, the difference in raising sons and daughters. At least in my case, my worries for each child are completely different and neither one is easy. No one ever told me raising kids would be easy, but they all failed to tell me it could be this hard. And I've only just entered the realm of teenagerhood.

Anyhoo, without too much detail, here are my pages for the past few weeks. Oh the adventures of parenting. If you want to delve into my journaling, all of these can be found in my TDC Gallery.

 papers and elements from Life Composition and Add-on Bundle by ViVa Artistry
page template from 365-ish Vol. 1 by Cluster Queen Creations

 papers and most elements from Bee Happy by Danielle and Mari
black dotty gel alpha by Mari Koegelenberg
outline alpha by Sahlin Studios
page template by Little Green Frog Designs

 papers and elements from Industrial Bundle by ViVa Artistry and Studio Gypsy
page template from Winter Flavors Chocolate Mint by Busy Bee Designs
Paperworn art journal style action on font by Studio Tangie

 this is a scraplift of Maiko Kosugi's scrapbooking style
all papers and most elements from Stay Gold by ForeverJoy, guest at TDC Feb 2012
worn page overlays by Lynn-Marie Favreau, Something Blue Studios and Amy Wolff
Burlap mat from unknown source
cream eyelet lace flower and large yellow flower from Emporium by The Digichick Designers
Edge Overlays from Edge Overlays Vol 6 by Karen Lewis
Glitter Action on overlays from Princess Frog Glitters by ViVa Artistry
hanging charm by Ali Folendore
font for date is Jellyka Delicious Cake

 papers and elements from Glamorous by Jenn Barrette
page template from Winter Flavors Spiced Vanilla by Busy Bee designs

And speaking of adventure, I used to be quite bold and daring. Before getting married I even took a 2-month solo journey through Indonesia and Thailand. You'd think I would have made more pages with all those photos by now, but just haven't. Seems like a lifetime ago...

papers and elements from Lost World by ViVa Artistry
Link Me Up Alpha also by ViVa Artistry
page template from 365ish 2-pagers Vol 1 by Cluster Queen Creations

Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the web. Please come again soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I Get to Look at Everyday

I mentioned last week that I've been working on some paper projects. I showed you the Diploma's and today I want to show you my first attempt at a Printer's Tray.

These pictures always look so much sharper and focused on my screen. 
Don't know what happens to them once I upload them to galleries and my blog. 

Rummaging through the online galleries I realize that this is quite simple and almost "plain" compared to several of the more professional ones. But nonetheless I really love how it turned out. I used Basic Grey's Porcelain series for the papers and most elements. The timepiece is an actual pocket watch that my brother-in-law gave to my husband as a Christmas gift a few years back. Since he would never use it for its intended purpose and since its just too pretty to tuck away and forget about, I commandeered it for this project.

I also have a few little preserved flower arrangements from my friend that add a soft and feminine touch.

Because everything in our simple living room points directly to the TV and entertainment wall unit (Joey from Friends would be so proud...) this little display takes front and center stage.

Thank you, as always, for stopping by my little corner of the web. I love to hear your comments. Please stop by again soon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Diplomat

Before I came to Japan I did an internship at the Colorado International Trade Office. I even got to meet and speak with the state's Governor. I loved that job, but it was after all an internship and therefore unpaid. It did not put any sushi on the table.

But I learned a lot. I learned that even after having attained my bachelor's degree in International Business, there was still a lot that I didn't know about "international." I learned a great deal about myself as well! I figured out that I am not a hard-selling international corporate marketeer. I prefer a soft touch, I prefer to make international connections through friendships, not sales. I absolutely loved learning about communication and protocol among different cultures.

I was fortunate enough to have been offered a staff position within that office, but it was a far cry from the international career that I envisioned for myself. When I discussed my options with the personnel officials there I was told that if I wanted to BE international, I needed to GO international. In short, I'd never been out of the United States and needed to get my feet wet on international shores. They said anywhere, anything was fine - just go, spend a year overseas, come back and try again for one of the higher level positions.

I went to my university's job placement and counseling office and researched international positions. Pretty much every overseas job was for teaching English conversation in Asia. So that's where I applied. This all took place in February, exactly 20 years ago this month.

Much to my surprise, much to my horror and delight, I was offered a teaching position within two weeks of having applied. And they even gave me 24 hours to think it over. Wow, that was a tough decision. Is that really what I wanted? I was the biggest leap I'd ever taken. I said yes.

It wasn't exactly working for a huge international corporation overseas. Actually it wasn't anything like that. It was teaching English conversation to children and adults in a small town in western Japan. I wasn't really convinced that I like it. But keeping in mind that it was just for a year, just one year, I stayed. I planned to go back and apply for a position in the state department - hoping that one day I would work my way up to Diplomat. I never made it back to apply for that position.

Fast forward 20 years. Twenty very hard, very fun, at times very lonely years. Somewhere along the line I learned the language and the customs. I've made friends with some incredible Japanese women.

When I started scrapping about 13 years ago, I never dreamed that I would ever be good at it (which is still open for interpretation). I never dreamed I would one day teach it to my neighbors. I never dreamed that scrapbooking would be the key to me being an international diplomat. That really sounds extreme, but these past several months I have been so blessed to be able to use my scrapbooking skills to form and enrich friendships with Japanese women.

You probably remember my eyelash-perm adventures. The lady who does these eyelash perms saw a few of my scrapbooking pages and asked me if I wouldn't decorate her beauty school diplomas. I was honored.

I have no idea why this photo is so bad. 
But these are the two finished layouts in frames.

When I look back at the tapestry of my life so far, I see the beautiful design that scrapbooking threads are weaving in my journey. Its amazing to me that I can use scrapbooking as a way to serve and honor my friends.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Stresses of life

Oh my poor neglected blog. Trust me, its not that I am not scrapping. On the contrary, I'm scrapping my little heart out, whenever I get a chance to that is.

Work. I "work" 4 part-time jobs.
  • I scrap. I rarely get paid to scrap in real money. But because I am a member of the Digichick Creative Team I get paid in free supplies. Which, let's face it, I would be spending good money for anyway so I look at is as if it were barter.
  • I teach scrapbooking once or twice a month. I charge a mere pittance for my classes compared to formal scrapbooking classrooms around Tokyo, but its enough to keep me and my students in fresh scrapbooking supplies most of the time. 
  • I teach English conversation to kids and adults (not full-time by any means, but it helps bring home the bacon. I mean sushi.) 
  • I also do a very little bit of translation/proof-reading/English editing. Recently this little venture has been keeping me busy. Its not easy and I am completely unqualified for the translation part anyway. But at the same time its fun. And I can buy a little more sushi.
Add this all into being a full-time mommy to a lovely, young, fresh and sassy 13-year-old daughter and a can't-seem-to-stay-out-of-trouble 10-year-old son. School meetings, working out at the gym when I can, meeting friends for lunch, hosting the occasional craft bazaar, etc. I wonder how I manage some days. I suppose this is how many of you spend your days as well.

Its not easy doing all of this for anyone I imagine. And sometimes when I feel like throwing  myself a little pity party I console myself that I am doing all of this in a country and culture that is as foreign to me as I am to it. Sometimes I don't do such a good job. But I have to keep on trying.

Everyone says enjoy them while they're little. I'm sorry I didn't enjoy you more. Looking back I know how much I missed out on and I am sad that I wasn't a better mommy to you when you were both so small. But truth be told, it was just too much for me most days. I was fighting so many internal battles of my own that enjoying my two small babes was overwhelming. I felt so alone, almost like a single parent living in a country that I didn't understand, that was constantly watching me and you. I look back at pictures of you when you were little and I just want to cry. I want to jump into the photo and hold you so tight, tell you how much I love you. And make sure you know that even though I am crazy most days that I love you. I love you. I love you.

Things are better now - now that you are older and don't need me for every little thing. I have found some peace and balance. I still lose my perspective some days and fall into the old pattern of feeling like I have to be the perfect mother, that you two have to be the perfect children. But deep in my heart I know that we are okay. We are going to be okay, I hope and pray. I didn't love and respect you enough when you were so little. I'm sorry for that. But please know that I am still learning. I so deeply want to be a good mom to you. I am trying. I feel like I am getting better now.

most papers and elements from Midsummer Night by ViVa Artistry
butterfly is from Into Indigo Scrapbook Pack by Quirky Twerp
background stamp is from Cluster Caper by Karen Lewis
photo mask is by Vera Lim
font used for title is The King Queen

I made this page back in December, for the January edition of the Artisan Notebook. Around the same time as this was coming out, Glennon at Momastery wrote the most beautiful blogpost I have ever read. Don't Carpe Diem. I felt like she had read my mind. I've been a lurker on her blog for about a year now. If you only read one post of hers, make it this one. She is amazing. If you have several hours and are ready to be touched and inspired, please read as much of her blog as you can. God is using her to show his love to this world.

In other scrapbooking news, The Digichick had a three-day Event weekend. Wow, talk about great CTing on my part. Now that the event is over here I am telling you about it. I hope no one there reads this and I end up losing my barter. That would really upset me. The other Challenge Chicks and I spent a lot of time making up some incredible challenges, not only for the weekend but for the entire month. Please come join us!

With some input from another CT member, I came up with the Scavenger Hunt Scraplift challenge. Have a look! For my page I used the incredible new Boutique collaboration called A Love Story. One word, Beauuutiful!My precious babes even obliged me with a series of fun new photos.

Oh the way you taunt each other. Criticizing and bickering, typical sibling rivalry I suspect. Sometimes I just want to scream, sometimes I actually do. I don't understand why you can't have a kind word for one another. And then, there comes a time when you are getting along, playing happily, really communicating with each other. These are the times when I feel it. Love. Regardless of the way you interact some days, deep inside your hearts you actually do love each other. 
Credits:  all papers and elements from A Love Story by The Digichick Designers
page template is the January FB Freebie by Little Green Frog Designs
Pounce photo action by My 4 Hens Photography
font used for journaling is DJB Another Mandy

Credits: papers and most elements from A Love Story by The Digichick Designers
some elements from Emporium and Shutterbug both by The Digichick Designers
white flower from Always and Forever by Mari Koegelenberg
heart charm from my heART by Etc by Danyale
Plume stamps by Anna Aspnes
Page template from Solos Part 6 by Busy Bee Designs
font used for date is DJB So Much to Say
for The Color Room challenge #95 

I have more to say and much more to show, but if I must write it all tonight I'm sure it won't get gone. I'm just finishing up some paper scrapping projects that I'm looking forward to sharing also.

But for now, I will sign off and say thank you. Thank you for keeping me on your blogroll even when posts are few and far between at times. Thank you for reading my wonderings and wanderings. And thank you for your lovely and kind comments.