Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nana's Brag Book

Things have been pretty quiet around this ol' blog for awhile. There's a good reason for that...wait, no not really. I've been working on projects like crazy, planning new ones (my first a quilt perhaps?!) and getting school wrapped up. Oh, and work. I just haven't been on here to talk about it all. 

But to start off the projects I've been working on, I have a fun mini scrapbook album I made for my mom for her birthday, which was yesterday. She loved it and so now that she's seen it, I can talk about it! Whooo! You know you are excited! Right? Right!

So I thought it would be fun for Mom to have a mini album of her grandkids. I tried to get Erin to send me an ultrasound of her little girl to include, but that didn't happen. So Erin--it's your fault she's not included. :)

So there's the album! I thought it turned out pretty cute--but it helped I started with really adorable subjects. 

Coming soon...more projects I've worked on! Including one that has been super top secret that no one knows about--except all the people I told about it. ha.

Monday, May 12, 2014

30 Things I've Learned Before I was 30

I'm turning 30 soon. [shudder] I'm not entirely excited at this prospect, but considering that it is such a landmark birthday, I thought I would record some things I've learned in the past 30 years. Ugh. I'm feeling slightly nauseous at the thought of being 30 right now.

Anyway. Moving on. 30 things, in no particular order except the first three. Here we go.

1. I am a daughter of God.

2. He loves me and I love him. (Oh, hello there Young Women's theme!)

3. My family loves me, despite my many imperfections, and I love them.

4. I am truly am grateful for those that have sacrificed their time, freedom, and life to protect mine. I have a great respect for those that serve in the military.

5. It is more important to be kind and loving than to be right, or prove that you're right.

6. Sometimes people just won't listen. Nothing you say will change their thoughts or behavior. It's best to just move on.

7. There are some people that act like cancer in life, slowly eating away at happiness and goodness. They need to be cut out. I don't have to interact with them. I don't have to allow them in my life.

8. Prayers are answered. Always.

9. Good books are like food for my soul.

10. I need to be able to create. If I can't, I tend to shut down, unable to function at my best. When I do, I feel like I can breathe again.

11. I love teaching people. Especially if it is Gospel related.

12. I am so much more productive when I have too much to do. I don't do well when I am not busy.

13. Kindness matters. Be kind to everyone--no matter who they are, what they look like, or how they act. I think kindness is WAY underrated and I certainly am not perfect at this, but I do try to be kind. I love the quote, "Always be kinder than you feel." I don't usually feel kind--especially when dealing with difficult people (something that happens daily), but I try to be kind. Patience also goes along with this. It's hard, but I'm trying.

14. I like to grow and stretch myself. If I don't then I feel like I'm sliding backwards--and I don't want to do that.

15. Memories are worth the expense. I've never regretted the trips I've gone on, the memories I've made, and the friends and family I've gotten closer to as I've visited them. The philosophy of my grandparents rings true to my heart: Memories are better than things. They usually would "give memories" as gifts, instead of things. They would give money to our family so that we could have trips, adventures, and one time, a dream vacation to Disneyland. Totally magical. I love this idea. It's fun and it builds relationships. Win-Win. :)

16. Life rarely turns out they way you think it will. I thought I would get married in my 20s. Nope. I thought I would have kids. Nope. I thought I would work in bio-medical research. Nope. I didn't think that I would like law. Nope--meaning I do like it. More than I thought I would--but certainly not enough to go to law school. I thought I wouldn't have my own business. Nope--I do have my own business now. Crazy! And awesome.

17. The Lord's timing is everything. For me this has meant patience. And I have decided that if my life had gone according to my plans (see #16)--I would have probably royally screwed it up. There is purpose in the Lord's timing. No idea what that is yet for me. But I have faith that there is and someday I'll understand. And I'm okay with that. :)

18. Sometimes you just have to do something--anything with your life. If it's the wrong thing--you'll know. 

19. Family is most important.

20. Friends are right there with family. I love the saying, "Friends are the family you choose." So true. My friends are my family too. 

21. Sometimes the smallest moments create the biggest life lessons.

22. Awkward compliments are the best kind. They may be really weird, but you know they are coming from a sincere place in the person's heart. 

23. There is always something to smile about. Usually in my life it's this: 

24. The greatest feeling in the world is knowing that a 2 year old misses you.

25. Preserving memories and photos are super important to me. Thus my love of scrapbooking. :)

26. Integrity really does matter. 

27. Hard work makes up for a lot of weaknesses.

28. My family history is incredibly important to me. They laid the foundation for the wonderful life I have.

29. Learning new things is important. Whether it's formally through school, or googling something you don't know (I do this a lot) it doesn't matter--I just love learning about things.

30. Laughter really is the best medicine. Especially when it's because of adorable toddlers.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Big News

Friends. Guess. What. As of this morning I'm officially a business owner!

Yay me!

If you had asked me even a year ago if this would happen, I probably would have laughed at you. I am not an entureprenuer. This is not something I had always dreamed of doing.

It just kind of happened. It feels right so I'm going for it.

I'm pretty darn excited.

I own my own business.

That is so wierd. And so awesome.

I feel like I just got inducted into some club or something.

So feel free to check me out and like my facebook page. Or my etsy shop. Products coming soon! I got some fun plans.

Oh, and hey. Guess what?!

I own my own business.

Friday, February 28, 2014

I Collect 4th Cousins

Last night I was sitting in the temple thinking about my family. All of my family. The generations that have come before me and the meaning their lives give mine.

I have been very, very blessed.

One (or three) of the blessings is that I know three 4th cousins and their families. Well, okay, one of them, I've only "met" via email--he lives in Australia. Awesome! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I mean, who the heck knows their 4th cousins, besides me (and my family)?! Does that happen to normal people? Um. I didn't think so.

But I do. And I love it. And every time I have "discovered" one, it has been in the most random way.

Here, I'll explain.

Example 1: The first time.

Scene: 2003, age 19, Rexburg, Idaho.

About 1 month into my Sophomore year at BYU-Idaho. I was living with awesome roommates in a new apartment in the dorms. My new roommate's name was (is) Nicole (hi coley!!)We hit it off immediately and had a great time together.

One night she came bursting into our apartment with exciting news.

"Ohmygosh!ItotallyjustsawElderEyringintheMC!" (Because to Mormons, seeing General Authorities, especially the First Presidency or a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is like totally a "celebrity" sighting--but not really because we're much too respectful of them.) Anywhoo. We all conversed excitedly that she had just seen him and--oh my gosh--walked past him. [Deep breath.]

As we chatted, I happened to mention that my grandparents had known him WAY-back-when in the military and he liked stale marshmallows, according to my Nana. Somehow in relating the trivia, I mentioned my grandparents' last name of Bryson. Nicole dramatically gasped (okay, not really).  "My grandparents' last name is Bryson!"

What?! All of us freaked out at the coincidence.

So naturally we HAD to find out how we were related. Turns out we are. I pulled out my giant pedigree chart (because that's how I roll) and she called her grandma. After some chatting, we are both descendants of Samuel Bryson, Sr. and Sarah Ann Conrey--our third great-grandparents.

The really sweet thing was that my family knew, and I was able to share, some family stories, particularly about Sam's mom, Margaret, that Nicole's family didn't know. That year, I spent Thanksgiving with Nicole and her family--well, my family. It has been wonderful to build those relationships. Nicole and I still stay in touch and last August we were able to visit and do a session at the Salt Lake Temple together--so wonderful!

Example 2: The second time.

Scene: 2012--driving back from San Francisco/Oakland, from my former roommate's wedding.

We (there were 4 of us in the car) had carpooled to the wedding and were driving home. I can't remember why it came it came up, but Tyson mentioned that his third great-grandfather was Francis de. St. Jeor.

I just about caused a car accident in my shock. Francis de St. Jeor is MY third great-grandfather!! OH MY GOSH. AGAIN?! What are the odds?!

"Dude, Francis de. St. Jeor is MY third great-grandfather, too," I calmly said. "TYSON--WE'RE 4th COUSINS--and all these years we didn't even know it!"

See, Tyson and I had been friends, and in the same singles ward, for several years by this point, and his aunt and uncle were are in my home ward and friends with my family.

(Later, my mom said she had already told me that they were actually our cousins, but I don't remember that.)

So that was pretty exciting.

And I just realized---Tyson's sister married a Sessions. These particular Sessions' she married into are my 2nd Cousins-once removed or something on my Bryson side. Another de St. Jeor married another Bryson--within the same stake I grew up.

Oh, that's weird. This is a small, small world people.

Okay. Third Example.

I have an account on and about 2 years ago, I received any email from someone looking for information on McGraths. Well, as I happen to be one, they were hoping I would be able to clarify a few things. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to--I was really confused and had conflicting information about the people he was trying to research. Not helpful.

Then about 3-4 months ago, Graeme contacted me again to let me know he had found the right information and wanted to help me fix my records. So generous! Multiple emails later (as he lives in Australia), we figured out how we are related--and what the problem was in my family's records.

You guessed it, the ancestor we have in common is our fourth Great-grandparents--Peter and Anastasia McGrath. Because of some weird generation things, we're actually 4th cousins.

Through Graeme's generous sharing of information, I was able to add over 90 names to my pedigree chart and answer some really important questions (like someone who I thought was husband and wife was actually mother and son--kind of a big problem). INCREDIBLE!

This is also an example of patience and answering of prayers. I had been searching for this information for many years.

One of the interesting things I realized last night as I was pondering each of these experiences is that each of one them is from a line from each grandparent. The only grandparent that is missing is my paternal grandmother's line. Her maiden name is Peck--so if you are reading this (or know someone who is a Peck), based on the above, I'm going to guess we're 4th cousins. My third great-grandparents on that line are Joshua Peck and Nancy Andrus. Let me know!!

Moral of the story? It "pays" to know your family history. You'll never know where (or when) you'll find a distant cousin! And maybe you'll have answers for them, or they'll have answers for you!

Family History work is soooo totally awesome. :) Do it. You won't regret it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Growth Chart

I had Caitlin and her family for Christmas a few weeks ago. I made them a Growth Chart as their family gift. 

I found several tutorials via pinterest. Then I did what I usually do. Look at the picture and made up my own way to do it. :)

First thing I did was go to Home Depot and found pre-sanded wood. Conveniently they are sold by the foot. I decided that since Nick's family is tall, they needed a tall one. I bought a board that was 6'1". And then when it was hung 6 inches from the floor and it would be 6'7" total. Perfect!

I was going to paint the board, but Nick is a wood purist and painted wood offends him. :) So I stained  it with Minwax PolyShades in American Chestnut Satin. I've never really stained anything before, so I thought this would be a good practice project. 

Who knew that gloves would have been a good idea...or that water doesn't wash stain off a porcelain sink and that my hands would turn super sticky when I tried to wash the paintbrush with water (thus the stain in the sink). Probably everyone. But in my defense...nowhere on the can did it say that it was oil based stain, or that gloves would have been a good idea. 

Thankfully Nick is an expert in staining, so when I realized the problem, I called him and he suggested nail polish remover. Thankfully I had some and dumped it everywhere. It worked pretty well. Eventually my hands returned to their normal color and non-stickiness. :)

So I started with a pretty piece of poplar and began staining.

I did two layers of stain. For the tick marks and numbers, I cut them out with my cameo out of white textured cardstock. The numbers are inked in silver ink to give them a bit more character. They are then modpodged on and then sealed with another layer of mod podge. Vinyl is a perfectly acceptable option, and one I considered (would have been faster and eaiser), but I was afraid of little fingers picking and peeling off the vinyl . So paper and glue it is!

All done! 

Here it is hanging up in their house, tucked in nicely behind the front door. And complete with measurements of the kids. :) On Rachel's 2nd Birthday, she measured 2'11"--she really tall!  

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bedroom Makeover: My Crafty Corner

One of my favorite parts of moving to the master bedroom has been that I have more space for a crafty corner. YAY!

I decided that I was going to take the opportunity to go through my stuff, purge, and organize everything. Most of it is scrapbook supplies and those really needed to be wrangled in. I had a couple of large boxes I picked up at IKEA that I really liked and so I decided to get more so everything matched.

I spent a whole afternoon one Saturday organizing and filling the boxes. It is so nice to have a specific place to put everything. Hopefully this will help me keep my desk a little more clutter free. Um, maybe. :) (update: Yes it has! It's AH-MAZING!)

I decided to use one of my bookcases to store the boxes and my scrapbook paper. Remember my epic fail with them? Yeah. So fabric for this bookcase too. Pretty! I just wish I could see more of it! 

Everything looks so tidy boxed up!

Right now I have 10 boxes: 2 Embellishment boxes, and then 1 for each of the following: Alphabets, Tools, Hardware, Adhesives, Stamps, Powders and Glitter, Sewing, and Inks & Sprays. They fit perfectly on the bookcase. 

Each box is pretty organized. For my glitter glue, I glued together some plumbing round things (that's the technical term) and they hold the glitter glue upside down. 

For my inks, I decided to put the blending pads velcroed to the lid of the box. It makes it easier to find the right color. All my inks and sprays fit nicely in the box. Yay!

Then I took on the task of organizing my paper. I actually don't have that much paper, but there's still enough that it took awhile. My paper was already fairly organized, but I didn't like the system since I just wasn't using the paper as much as I should. It was just easier to buy new paper. Which, as fun as that is, just is me spending more money. I needed to really go through my paper and donate what I don't want, or won't use, and start over again.

I really wanted these fancy paper holders, but at $8 for one, it was out of my budget. Then, I read on a scrapbook forum (I'm such a nerd), someone had used the free priority mail boxes from the post office to make their own. GENIUS!

So I ordered some boxes (it came in a package of 10--and hello free shipping!) that were the size I was looking for and then cut them into the shape I wanted. After lots of white spray paint to cover up the priority mail markings, I attached some fun label pulls that I had spray painted silver. I wanted them to match the white boxes so I picked up some adhesive silver foil and put it along the edges. This also helped the paper not to catch as much. So for about $20 (spray paint, label pulls, and foil) I made 8 magazine holders--vs. $64. I win. I could have made 10, but right now I only need 8.

Pretty awesome, right?!

The answer is yes. :)

So I organized my paper and it is lovely now. The scraps are in the ziplock bags that I used for the paper before and go in the box with the rest of that color.

I needed more light in the corner, so I hung up my paper lantern with a light in it. It made a big difference. I wanted to spice up the lantern a bit and found a pretty inspiration picture on pinterest and started cutting away on my cameo.

I really like how it turned out.

I finally was able to put up this pretty organizer that I bought on clearance at Michaels months ago...way before I knew I was moving. Normally it's over a $100, but it was on sale for $20. I knew that someday, somewhere, I would find a place for it, so I snagged it and it's been sitting in my garage ever since. I love having it up and excited fill it with pretty things. :)

I was able to squeeze my ribbon holder in the corner. It was exactly the right size. Above it I put my bulletin board. Eventually I do want a new, bigger table. But that will happen in time.

So that's my crafty corner. I now feel like I have a studio area in my bedroom, instead of a bed in my studio. haha. It's nice to feel like I can breath in my room. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Bucket List


2014 is going to be a good year. I can tell. Even though it's starting off with me having a slight cold and sore throat--it's going to be great. :)

Last year I created a bucket list instead of doing resolutions. I did pretty well and so want to do it again.

Let's see what I'm going to do this year...

1.    Read at least 60 books.

2.    Pay off my car.

3.    Make two new stockings (for Erin’s baby and Monica’s baby!).

4.    Go to Idaho to visit my family.

5.    Go to Washington DC/ New York City

6.    In conjunction with the above trip…visit the DC and Manhattan Temples

7.    Go to three new states

8.    Go to the Oakland Temple

9.    Finish Paralegal Associates degree (MAY--YAY!!) (haha)

10. Spend time each week with my family

11. Make a headboard for my bed.

12. Get a power tool and use it on a project (didn’t get to do this last year)—Maybe for the headboard?

13. Sew a bed skirt.

14. Switch over to the family ward (Sunday will be my first one in the new ward!)

15. Keeping going to the temple at least 3 times a month

16. Get my sewing machine worked on.

17. Finish Cait’s wedding scrapbook

18. Finish my Chicago scrapbook

19. Apply for a design team

20. Finish little projects from bedroom make over.

21. Get bookcases and organize books.

22. Create an inventory of my books.

23. Paint my dresser

24. Take a fun art class this summer. Oil Painting? I’ve always wanted to learn how to use that medium. 

25. Visit two local museums.

That is all I can think of for the moment. Can't wait to find out what this year has in store!