Monday, March 30, 2009


"Dreams are ...illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you"
-Marsha Norman

I'm ready for warmth. I'm ready to hide my flannel pajamas pants and long sleeve t-shirts. I'm ready for summer nightgowns and sleepshorts.

Scanty from Bluefly.
From American Eagle.

Wendy Glez from Bluefly.
From Victoria's Secret.
From Anthropologie.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Some favorites this week...

"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it."
-William Arthur Ward

"Is it slutty, or is it fun?" from MightyGirl.
"an old favorite" from Elise Blaha :: enJOY it.
"singing to baby*" from Boho Photography.
"get crafty: an online workshop" from Elise Blaha :: enJOY it. -- is she reading my mind?? better believe I'll be participating in this one!!

My worldclass man

"Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
-St. Francis of Assisi

Tomorrow will be Rob's 20th day in a row to work at the plant. And, I'm not talking about 9-to-5's, more like 6-to-7s, and more than once, 6-to-10's. It's been a long couple of weeks, preparing for the huge building audit, which he believed his future with the company relied upon.

FLASHBACK! I remember making conversation with a cab driver in Boston on a family trip a couple of years ago, when he asked me what I saw in Rob (who was my boyfriend at the time). I answered with the first thing that came to my head, "because whenever he puts his mind to something, he makes it come true!" Later I reflected if that was a silly reason to love someone, and then I wondered why I even cared what I told a cab driver, but even today, this trait is one that I most admire about my husband.

After all of his frustration, hard work, and a little bit of luck, it looks like they are going to pass the audit, and maybe even achieve "worldclass" status!! I'll be sure glad to have him home in the evenings next week!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My own little corner

"In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be whomever I want to be." -Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cinderella

Been wondering what I've been up to lately? Well, this week I planned a list of projects for myself, so I'd be too busy to feel guilty about sitting at home without a job. And, first on the agenda... a complete overhaul of my craft room, including moving it to the smaller room across the hall (switching with what was the guest room). So with a $100 budget, I set out to make this room super cute and super organized, just like those awesome studios that I drool over on Flickr.

Here's my little sewing corner. I made the curtains (using this tutorial from The Small Object Steno Pad) and even lined them with white fabric on the back.
And then on the opposite wall is my collection of scrapbooks and photo albums. Unfortunately there's not a lot of room to grow with that discarded piece of an old computer desk. But don't you love the pennants!However, the major accomplishment was the closet. Now everything is organized by project type and should be easy to find--even if I need a step stool to reach it because I'm so darn short.The other sewing projects that I attempted included this sewing machine cover (tutorial found at Spool) and wrist pin cushion (tutorial found at PlanetJune). I'm pretty stinkin' pleased with my projects. I didn't really run into any hiccups, and they totally add a lot of fun to the room.
I have a couple of more projects to finish up the room, including revamping these lovely finds from the thrift store. Stay tuned to see how they turn out!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our favorite potatoes, besides mashed, of course

“What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
-A. A. Milne

Our favorite green beans

"An empty belly is the best cook."
-Estonian Proverb

Dinner at our house

"When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste."
-Laiko Bahrs

I'm no chef, and I don't pretend to be. I do try to cook on weeknights, even if it's just pasta. I enjoy cooking, but I'm such a picky eater and we're on a budget, so it's not usually as fun as it could be. But, I'll do anything to wear a cute apron like this!!
The other day after I tried a new recipe, Rob complimented my skills in the kitchen, saying that "the meals we've had in the last year or so have been on a completely different level than those that he grew up with." Well, I try to keep it interesting, but there are certainly a couple of staples in our weekly routine.

Two of which I paired with a pre-seasoned pork loin for dinner on Friday night. Recipes to follow...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An afternoon read

“Wear the old coat and buy the new book.”
-Austin Phelps

After thoroughly enjoying my walk last night, I made sure to get some sun-time today as well. This afternoon I took my book and a camping chair out to the back yard to enjoy the last bit of sunshine for the day.

I J, do solemnly promise...

“Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history.”
-Phyllis George

So the moment I get a job and the economy looks like it's on the upswing, I'm promising myself that I WILL attend an awesome art workshop like these. Would you like to join me? Of course it will be more fun with you along!

Squam Art Workshops: 5-day sessions in New Hampshire. June session focuses on textiles. September session focuses on art journaling

PACS09 Italy by Scrapbookiondo: 3-day scrapbooking/paper crafts convention in Napoli, Italy. If you think you can't beat the location, then check out the workshops. Even my favorite Emily Falconbridge is teaching!
Red Velvet Art Craft Weekend: 3-day weekend of indie crafts. Lots of crazy fun projects!

Film is Not Dead: 3-day photography workshop with Jonathan Canlas. If Jordan Ferney
recommends it, it must be good!

Inspired Artist Workshop: 3-day workshop in Charlotte, NC (not even too far away!). Focus is scrapbooking, but love the mixed media mini-workshops as well!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My photographer

"You don't take a photograph, you make it."
-Ansel Adams

In our family, we have two cameras for a reason. Rob and I see things differently, and we each want to capture our memories from our own individual perspectives. When we upload the pictures from the memory cards, you'll always find lots of pictures of Rob on my camera. For someone so logical and analytical, it's always worth capturing a photo of him embracing his creative side.

Rob's had a stressful week at work--the big building audit is tomorrow, his employees aren't living up to their potential, and the power was out at the plant for two whole days. Whenever he makes it home this evening, I hope to surprise him with a little bit of my love. My love for my favorite photographer.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A look outside

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn."
-Hal Borland

Despite the bitter cold outside, the first signs of spring have sprung.

My favorite nooks

"He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There's been a lot of sitting around the house this week. I'm waiting for job interviews and substituting gigs, while trying not to spend money (since we're a one-income family for the time being). I should probably find something productive to do, but I'm having a hard time thinking of something.

So let me share with you two places in our house that make me really happy:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Dreaming, again

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
-Gloria Steinem

I'm dreaming of the recession's end, a full-time job, and the coming of spring...
And, if I'm in the mood for clothes from Fossil... then I will need some fun accessories as well.

Stories from Substituting

"Too often, the role of the substitute teacher is overlooked."
-Scott Smith

So, I completed an 8-week long-term substitute teaching contract last week. I taught a computer science (really, computer literacy) class to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at a local middle school. It was a wonderful experience, giving me a much-needed taste of the classroom, before I was responsible for my own class.

And, to tell you the truth, as crazy as it was (and, some days were especially crazy!), there was never a day that I hoped I could go back to my old desk, and my old office, and my previous design job.

Some quotes from my first teaching adventure:

  • "If I go back in there, I'm gonna beat him up."--Friday of my first week, I had to call the administration to my room to escort two sixth grade boys to the office, after they threatened to beat each other up. When the assistant principal arrived, she knew both boys, and told me that it was unfair to me to have them in the same class. (She was able to transfer one of the boys to the other computer science class.) It was my first experience with extreme discipline--and I probably didn't handle it as well as I should. At least, I was able to wait until class was over for my tears to fall.
  • "2 minutes until games."--Unfortunately, the free-time activity for the students (for after they had completed the classwork) was to play games at educational websites. I was constantly battling students who wanted to play games BEFORE they had done the work. However, by the end of the 8 weeks, I'd learned that the promise of games was an excellent way to motivate them to actually get the work done. I would walk around the room, giving the countdown until they could play games.
  • "I wish my counselor was..."--One day the school counselors asked my students to complete an online survey about their current offerings. I had to read the questions out loud to one of my special ed 7th graders; I explained, "Z, finish this sentence." She thought about it for a second, and then looked up me and proudly said, "was my mom!" I said, "Sure, type that!"
  • "Can I take my haler?"--One of my 8th graders left each day to go to the clinic five minutes before class ended. One day, he asked me "Can I take my haler?" I had to ask him to repeat himself several times, because I really wasn't sure what he was asking. Finally, he asked, "Can I take my 'haler at the clinic? I have asthma." Oh... your inhaler, yes, you can go take your inhaler.
  • "J, why are you punching me?"--One of my 7th graders liked to joke around with me, and usually I appreciated his humor. One day, I was standing next to him, helping his neighbor, when all of the sudden he "punched" me in the arm. I spun around and said, "J, why are you punching me?" He said innocently, "I just wanted to see your muscles." I had to explain that next time, he should possibly give someone a warning before he punched them.
  • "No visitors during bus call." and "Get out of the doorway."--My most challenging group of students was one of my seventh grade classes. There were 18 girls and 6 boys, and man, was there drama. They talked so much that they couldn't complete their work (or even hear the directions for the assignment!). In particular, it was difficult to keep them under control during bus call (which is really just baby-sitting time until they are dismissed). I was constantly reminding them of the rules, once even drawing a boundary around the door with tape on the floor.
  • "How were they?"--One of the great things about this teaching experience was meeting and getting to know the teacher next door, Natalie. Although she is a veteran teacher, this is her first year working with middle school aged kids. She became my mentor and good friend. After each class, she was come over to ask me how it went. We used each other to vent, brainstorm, and bounce ideas off of each other.
  • "Once upon of time..." and "That's a great metaphor!"--One of my responsibilities was to sit in an 8th grade English class in the mornings for academic support. While at first I looked forward to the opportunity to observe another teacher's teaching style, I quickly got very frustrated as she often taught the students things incorrectly. Sometimes all I could do was to walk out of the room.
  • "You did a good job encouraging students to work with their teams."--In my last week, I was surprised to see my assistant principal come into the 8th grade class to observe me. I panicked, given that we were playing "Jeopardy" to study for their computer vocabulary test, and it was a little bit chaotic. In the previous class period, I had to stop the game in the middle because they could not control their behavior. However, Dr. A gave me a surprisingly pretty good review, checking off that she had observed over half of the possible teaching strategies. And, in my face-to-face review, she told me how pleased she was of my success and said she wished that she could hire me right there. Hopefully other people will feel the same way.
  • "We had a blast when you were our teacher. You shall be missed. P.S. You should get a teacher of the year award."--My favorite class made me a card to tell me goodbye when I left. They used software that I had taught them previously to use, and the whole class signed it. What a special treasure to keep from this awesome experience!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Weekend Stats

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.”
-Mark Twain

  • 26 mini-book pages scrapped to commemorate the first snow in our new house
  • The last of 4 night shifts Rob worked this week, which means the last of 4 nights Jana spent home alone
  • 74 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons
  • 8 miles hiked at a great park near our house
  • 3 hours reading at the park while Rob did a long ride (I actually did a lot more watching kids play than reading)
  • 1 funky sunburn only on the right side of my neck
  • 4 episodes of 30 Rock streamed through Netflix
  • 1 hour missed because of the Daylight Savings time change
  • 6 heart-shaped, blueberry muffins Rob and I devoured this morning
  • 15 miles biked in two trips around a new trail
  • 1 almost-collision with a tree (instead, I collided with a big bush, but it had to have been softer than the tree!)
  • 3 cups of coke drank at Zaxby's to refresh after the bike ride
  • 4 new graphic design projects to think about (and eventually work on!)--2 of which are paying gigs
  • 5 maps printed to local schools, in hopes that I get called for substitute gigs this week
  • 45 minutes on the phone with a friend who wants to become a teacher, too
  • 2 loads of laundry done, still 2 more to go

Belated Valentine's Post

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”
-Judy Garland

As noted previously, Valentine's Day is the one holiday when I try to DIY my gift for Rob. To celebrate our love with something handmade. This year's gift was as much for me as it was for him, but it appropriately expressed my love for him (and I surprised him with a bag of gummi bears as well!).

[BTW... check out the throw pillows that I handmade (and hand-embroidered!!) on the bed.]

I designed the curly-q flourish in Adobe Illustrator, using a detail from our master bathroom vanity as inspiration and then had a sign shop in Snellville print and cut it from low-tack vinyl (just perfect until we find a headboard that we really love!). Since it had to be printed on a five-foot long strip, I decided to go ahead and use the excess to create the quote for the bathroom. The quote is inspired by our wedding vows, "... even though you love me just as I am." All for less than $25.00--I think that's one heck of a thrifty gift.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Snow Day

"The Eskimo have 52 names for snow because it is important to them. We should have just as many for love."
-Margaret Atwood

Last weekend a rare snowstorm in Georgia dumped about four inches of snow on our house and our neighborhood. This was the first snow that we've had in our new house--the dusting made everything look so magical.

Inspired by the mini-books of Elise Blaha and Ali Edwards, I decided to use the beautiful images that Rob and I captured to create our own "Snow Day" album. I used scraps that I had around the house and made one quick stop and $3.50 purchase at the Clearance Scrapbook Store (where everything is 50% off).

Although I'm really, really pleased with the result, I've learned that I'm not so good at spontaneous. This "thrown-together" book actually took three evenings of careful scrutiny, organization, and even a mockup in InDesign. (Not that I had anything else to do, since Rob worked nights this week!) However, I wonder if the "experts" go through this same process.

I have an idea for one other mini-book. I've been collecting scraps for this idea as well. Hopefully I'll be able to "throw something together" in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Newest Facebook group

“The family is one of nature's masterpieces."
-George Santayana

After spending last weekend with my family and the past week with his, Rob decided that he and my brother-in-law, Jordan, should start their own Facebook group, called "I'm lucky I got myself a Shaffer girl." However, he realized that he and Jordan would be the only members right now, so maybe they ought to wait on that one.

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