January 9th, 2012 by nicole

I love this quote:

I am trying to undo years damage and fear from lots of negative self-talk… this quote is healing for me.

Since I wasn’t “born crafty” (who is—really?!) but I know what I like, I can give myself a really hard time when I don’t measure up to my own standards of perfection.

A big part of my goals with playing and experimenting in my art journal is to allow myself to play, like when I was a kid and I didn’t care. And imperfections in my work are just signs that I tried something new… even if I didn’t do so great with it. I’m just having fun and making a beautiful mess!

Speaking of a beautiful mess, I like all the mess on this page:

When I was stamping the quote for my mom’s canvas, I thought I’d save time and ink by just putting it into my book at the same time! I wasn’t sure I was done with this background yet, but I when I saw the butterflies just sitting there on this page, I knew I wanted to put the quote here.

Love all the craziness.

Here’s something fun you can try: When you’re working on another craft, leave your art journal open to a new page. When you have extra paint on your fingers or an inked up stamp, just use your book! I did this while I was working on my canvas and now I have a background for a page started. It’s full of color because I got rid of my “extras” on there. Love it!

My daughter has been getting in on the action.

I have a spread in my journal that I’m letting her play with.

So often as a mom I hear myself saying “No. No. No.” I know that it means a lot when I say “Yes!”

So, in the spirit of playfulness and not caring about perfection, I let her make a page. She loves to craft. She has since she was old enough to touch whatever Mommy was crafting with. I have pictures of her stamping when she was 18 months old. Ha ha!

Here’s what it looks like so far:

By the way, you can click on these images to enlarge them. They were just quick little grainy Instagram pics.

I’ve been using Instagram a lot this week. It’s a fun way for me to remember to capture the little details of life!

She’s a pro, huh? Well, the name of the game is playing and making a mess… something eight year olds know a lot about!

Our crafty times are some of our favorite times together. We can talk and show each other the cool things we are doing. If you’re not crafting with your kids, I’d highly recommend you find a way to let them in to what you’re doing. It’s magical. Messy, unpredictable… but magical.

wishes & new year goals.

January 8th, 2012 by nicole

I once had a Blogger blog with a list of 101 things I hoped to do in 1001 days. I loved the concept. And it was really cool to come back and see what had changed in my life and how many things I had wished for had naturally come to pass over that time.

Many things still haven’t happened. We’ve yet to go camping. I still, after 10 years, do not have a full set of dishes. But so many other things did happen. It’s a really fun exercise to make yourself a list like this. I will certainly have to do it again one day…

But today, I wanted to focus just on 2012. Here are some of my specific wishes, hopes and dreams for this year:


  • Capture one family photo a month (love this idea from Tara Whitney: 6 people, 12 times).
  • Continue to enjoy family story time // Help Travis find great books.
  • Do more that the kids enjoy during school // Worry less about cold, hard facts and make more messes.
  • Get back to a regular MWF Outside/Bath night schedule.
  • Make Saturdays more about outings, less about work and/or TV and video games.
  • Stick to a good, old-fashioned cleaning schedule // No, really—this time, I mean it.


  • Get out of the house with my notebook and draw out ideas (at least once a week; Saturdays or even early weekday mornings).
  • Stay off Social Media sites until after I’m done with high priority items.
  • When e-mails or requests come in, either reply right away OR make a note in my planner.
  • Get into the rhythms of blogging to take advantage of the beauty of organization.


  • Eat more fruits and veggies e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y. // More trips to the store.
  • Start moving more // Specifically, get outside and walk/run.
  • Lose 10 pounds before my birthday in four months.
  • Lose 10 more before the year is up (and thereby become a Lifetime Member with WW).


  • Do something scrappy every day.
  • Backscrap when inspired.
  • Enjoy Project Life.
  • Print more photos (see above).
  • Journal stories in my daily diary.
  • Blog the Friday Five to help record weekly highlights and memories.


  • Play in my art journal every day // Collect quotes.
  • Make a mini art book for my One Little Word with meaningful quotes.
  • Make a canvas just for me.


  • Whatever organizational systems work for me, I want use them until they break. I need them in my life. If I’m going to keep up with all I have to do in a day, I need structure and lots of aides, since I can’t have a personal assistant move in to my house… LOL!
  • Where ever I am, be all there.
  • Stop the yelling // Be a scary whisperer instead (in all seriousness, it does make me calmer).
  • Stop and listen to the little ones when they interrupt whatever it is that I’m doing.
  • Smooch my husband. Always.

hello, project life.

January 6th, 2012 by nicole

I mentioned in a previous post that I am excited to get back to scrapping and that I plan to get involved with a big project this year: Project Life!

I’ve been a member of Pinterest for over a year now and I have to tell you—for me, that has been one of the most life changing sites I’ve ever been a part of!

Anyway, it was through Pinterest that I started to see all these beautiful PL spreads popping up. It was via a pin that I discovered my PL hero, Marcy Penner. I loooove her clean and simple hipster style.

So, for Christmas I strongly hinted that I would be pouting and crying and someone would be in big trouble if I didn’t get some stuff from my Amazon wishlist under the tree. There wasn’t anything else I wanted more than a binder and some page protectors!

Well, Mr. Santa did not disappoint! My Bear knows what makes me happy. Ha ha! (And it’s a good thing, because most items are now sold out!) o_O

Here’s what I’m using:

An American Crafts D-ring Binder and PL page protectors A and D.

Still on my wish list:

The 6 x 12 page protectors, grid notecards and a Selphy!

Nothing much is in my album yet. I did cut up some cards and insert them, just for fun. I heard that it’s good to work ahead!

I did want to show you this little idea I had that I stuck in my book on Monday: index notecards, for place holders, so I could journal in my book!

I plan to head to Target sometime soon to print off photos for my December Daily and also pick up a notebook for keeping notes in. But for now, I thought that this was fun and easy.

Last night I made my first note card and worked on this week’s title card:

I am undecided if I like the title card as is, because it is pretty in it’s simplicity, or if I want to add more embellishments. I left it alone for now. I can pull it out again any time!

I have a few personal challenges for myself this year with Project Life:

  • I want to informally do Project 365/366, so my mindset is geared towards recording everyday life and I’m getting my camera out each day—even if I’m using my iPod and Instagram.
  • I want to take a headshot of each one of us this week. Then I want to take a headshot of us all at the end of the year. This will be my first and my last pages.
  • Each month I want to try to capture all four kids in one snapshot (and all six of us, if I can swing it!)
  • At least once a month, I want to take a picture of myself.
  • Every week, I want to get involved in the picture somehow–even if it’s just a part of me.
  • Every Friday, I want to wrap up a spread and blog about Project Life in some way. (Welcome to the first one of those! Ha ha!)

Most people probably start with their title page, but I felt like I needed to wait until 2012 started. I want to use 2012 pictures for everyone, if I can swing it. I might cheat and use one from Dec. 31st for Benjamin.

So far this week, I have only been able to capture one gem for the title page:

Joshua and Benji have not cooperated. I figure Katie will be easy, so I’m saving her for last.

And I took a snapshot of myself that I thought was cute:

“Yay!” for feeling cute!

I have yet to print a photo that I have taken with my iPod. We’ll have to see how the quality is.

I’m sure that iPhone cameras are better… there’s more room in an iPhone for better components. Still, Instagram is fun and addicting and a great way to do Project 365.

Even if the prints stink, I might still take them all year long, just to be in the habit of taking pics!

And now for the Friday Five:

#1: The goal of this week was “Getting Back to Normal Life.” Monday was full of running errands. Tuesday was full of housecleaning. Wednesday was the first day back to school. Thursday was a mix of cleaning and schooling.

#2: Somewhere in the middle of all this there would be 5 minutes of painting in the art journal, 10 minutes of blogging, 15 minutes of creative writing, 5 more minutes of painting in the art journal, taking 20 pictures just to get one good one, stamping in the art journal… Life happens in bits and pieces around here. I feel like I have lived in the backend of WordPress this week, between writing posts here, at Sugarplum Paperie and at Tell Your Story Every Day. And if I’m not there, I’m in the kitchen, creating something. Starting to miss Photoshop this week…

#3: My one little word is NOW. I would like to get more intentional about my word next week. This week, there were only a handful of moments where I pressed pause and spent some time fully enjoying the moment. I have a nebulous project in mind to make a journal for my OLW and through it find ways to remind myself to slow down and be all here. Still thinking over the hows and whats of that…

#4: I went back to Weight Watchers this week. The last time I weighed in was on 12/14 (I missed two weeks of meetings—one thanks to food poisoning). Looks like the food poisoning canceled out all the negative effects of all the trips to Starbucks I made this holiday season… because there was no change in my weight. I’m trying to look at this as a good thing. At least I do not have more weight to fight. But currently, I am at a total 15.8 lost… but I’m thinking more about the 2.2 I gained, because right before Thanksgiving, I had hit a total of 18 pounds lost. ::thinking positively, thinking positively::

#5: This week I got out my Love Your Handwriting book for the first time since 2007. I practiced more and did some exercises. I tried writing faster and making my letter taller, aiming for a pretty but messy look, since my neat and clean is neither neat or clean. I’m continuing to practice this style when I write in my daily journal. I’m hoping that I’ve really latched on to something here that will help me love my handwriting… because the more I love it, the easier it’s going to be for me to write on my pages and scrap a lot faster!

tell your story every day.

January 5th, 2012 by nicole

I wanted to share something really special with you today: my new site, Tell Your Story Every Day.

You can read all about the inspiration for the site and see what we are doing there—so while I’m tempted to write more about it, I’ll refrain and just say “Check it out!” instead.

It was amazing to spend New Year’s Day receiving comment after comment about how much people loved the message and were also excited about the site. I was practically floating around the house all day long, a little giddy over it all. It feels great to be part of something that people really appreciate. I love sharing things like this with other people. That’s why I started The Hybrid Chick in 2009—because I once had had my own card-making blog and I know how it feels to share the love of papercrafting with others. Now I have Tell Your Story Every Day as my own pet project to help inspire others to love and enjoy their favorite hobby while really doing something to record their precious memories! I think so many of us have forgotten that that is what scrapbooking is all about…

I hope you’ll check out the new site and join us for a fantastic 2012.

until you spread your wings.

January 2nd, 2012 by nicole

Life has been so ridiculously busy in the last two weeks—and very little of that had anything to do with the Holidays! My Christmas was actually super relaxing and mellow. But work, both freelance design projects and new things for The Digichick, kept me working non-stop into the wee hours of the morning… until we all got food poisoning, that is. Ugh!

Anyway, I wanted to share my first art canvas today. I made this for my mom for Christmas.

As I said in my last post, I am SUPER inspired by the amazing Christy Tomlinson. She plays a lot with canvases, so I thought I would try one myself.

Like Christy, I started with pieces of scrapbooking paper and mod podged them down. Then I added paint and stamps:

Layers upon layers later, here’s how it turned out:

The quote was stamped on to graph paper and then watercolored. My mom has taught herself to paint with watercolors this year and the quote made me think of her. I made this canvas for her painting space.

I loved just touching this, petting the front of it. I love to make art with my computer, but MAN—there is nothing like touching the things you make.

Here’s one of the sides:

It was so much fun to make this. When I picked up this canvas at the store, they were buy one, get one free! So, I look forward to making one for myself now… probably once I find the right quote.

Thanks for looking!


December 20th, 2011 by nicole

After a few months of experimentation and struggle, I have started on a journey towards art journaling in a happy way—a way that works for me!

I found this little kraft paper journal in Michael’s one night. It called out to be and said “Hey! Play with me! You know you want to!” so I bought it.

(You know those funny Pier 1 commericals? “Party, party, party!” That’s totally me in that commercial.)

So, I brought it home, got out the acrylics and went to town!

Except, things didn’t really look the way I thought they would.

So, I got out a pen and tried to doodle and write some profound things. I even tried adding a little flower embellishment on the page, you know—to be artsy.

Ugh. It was not what I expected.

A few weeks went by.

I ignored my journal.

But I felt sad about that! It’s not what I had intended to do at all. I was supposed to be on a new journey of exploration and discovery! But I think that I forgot that I needed to walk and move to get where I wanted to go. Doh! That’s why we use the whole “journey” metaphor in the first place, isn’t it?

So, a thought occurred to me—I should look harder at the inspiration I found on Pinterest! I needed to see how I could deconstruct the work of those I admired.

Well, when it comes to admiration, there are two people I highly admire! The first is Karen.

Karen makes beautiful scrapbook pages (I love her use of white space and her long titles that are whole sentences). And she makes beautiful art journal pages. After stalking her blog for layout inspiration, I started to get caught up in her art journaling journey. It was with that in mind that I immediately picked up that little journal for myself with glee and great expectations. I was ready to play, too!

But I had no road map to get where I wanted to go… until last week, when I stumbled upon the amazing, free tutorial videos made by Christy Tomlinson! Now I’m a-stalkin’ her, too. Hey, any woman with more kids than I have and her own business? She’s an instant hero.

Now, I had heard of Christy’s wonderful classes before from my friends. But I just assumed that all her best tips and secrets were contained in them. (And, you know, who has an extra $45 lying around? Not me.) What I didn’t know was that Christy is an extremely generous person and she has made a ton of wonderful videos showing us how she plays around with different products and how she creates such depth and interest in her canvases. I found some great clips on My Craft Channel (specifically Episodes 1 and 2) and in this YouTube video she made here that helped me take a giant leap forward in my own play times.

So, I took my first page, covered the whole thing up with layers upon layers of paint and started anew with my favorite quote:

A girlfriend of mine used to say that when we would stamp and make cards together and it’s stayed with me as my crafty motto ever since. It’s especially dear to me now, as I am embarking on this new crafty little journey… and totally fitting, considering that I made a “mistake” with my first page which lead to a wonderful opportunity for creativity! 😀

A funny little anecdote: My kids are talking about going outside to pick some leaves and flowers to press.

My daughter says to my son, “Well, just get your flip flops on.”

He says, “I can’t. I just have the one.” My ears perk up.

I say, “Why is that? Can’t you find your other shoe?”

He said, “No, it broke the other week. I just have the one now.”

Then suddenly, my children are left to stare in wonder as their mother claps her hands in delight and excitedly demands that the kids go find this one flip flop for her. This is not something that Mommy would typically be happy about!

Then they follow her to the kitchen where they watch her take scissors and a kitchen knife to the thing to cut it up to use as a stamp in her art journal. (ps. I did ask Joshua if it was okay with him before I cut it apart in front of his little face.)

I guess I am now one of those “crazy” people. Woo-hoo!

And you know what? That new stamp is the most awesome thing! You can see it above. The sole of the show was worn away, but the inside of the flip flop makes the coolest diamond plating type of pattern! It’s great.

I just love it! Ah, yes I do… here’s to new, crazy, fun things!