Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Moving my Blog!

Hi all,

Just a heads up that I've combined my two blogs into one. I've imported everything over to my new blog at www.melanieritchie.com. See you there! Thanks for reading :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's all in the timing

I have a lot of scrapbook supplies. A lot. The oldest supplies probably date back 12 years ago. I went on a scrapbooking hiatus after having my kids and then I switched to digital scrapbooking. When I'd look at my stash I'd feel guilty. Loads of guilt. I'd see dollar signs just sitting there unused in boxes. When I switched to digital scrapbooking, I felt I'd abandoned my pretty paper supplies and didn't know if I'd ever return to them. Then in early 2012 I decided I wanted to try Project Life. I still enjoy digital scrapbooking but I wanted a way to document everyday with little mementos and notes, without thinking about an entire 12x12 layout. I haven't had much time this past year to dedicate to it but I'm starting to take the time for a variety of reasons.

1. I need it. I really, really need it. Project Life allows me to recognize the blessings in my life. To be grateful. It allows me to process my days, and to work through any negative emotions I have. Life can be overwhelming for me. I'm overly sensitive and let unnecessary things affect me. Project Life is very good at helping me to focus on what is important.

2. Being creative helps me. Although, I have design work that is plenty creative and needs more of my attention, I like to be creative with something that has no pressure attached to it. So I put in five minutes here and there to work on my Project Life. Design work is a big chunk of time I carve out specifically to be productive. Lately, I've been struggling to get things done. It is amazing how one small thing lacking in your body can throw off everything. I have been suffering dizzy spells, exhaustion, vertigo, aches, and irritability to an extreme I've never felt before. It appears to be just a deficiency that can be fixed in the next few months with supplements. Hopefully, it is nothing more.

3.  Grounded.  Project Life keeps me from floating away when I feel other parts of my life are a little out of control. You should have seen the pile of laundry I had the other day. Yikes! My biggest goals lately have been to ensure my kids are happy & healthy, that I get some rest, and that my daughter adjusts well to school, as well as my getting used to our new routine. So far, so good! So, I'm trying not to let it get to me that my yard is growing wild, my house has cobwebs, and that clutter has been getting a little too comfortable in its little piles around my home. Stuff will wait. It surely will.

4. Improvement. Finally, I am embracing Project Life as a challenge to learn how scrapbookers use product. I think using supplies in different ways (many out of my own comfort zone) will make me a better designer.

Now to the reason I'm writing this blog post. Timing. Timing is everything. I'd stare at those unused supplies over the past few years with that guilty feeling. One of the items that bothered me the most was a book I'd treated myself to several years ago. It is a book called Love Your Handwriting by Heidi Swapp. I came across it yesterday when I was attempting to organize some baskets. I had to laugh when I realized the book was written by Heidi Swapp. I hadn't remembered that. I bought the book because I do not like my handwriting. I never took the time to use the workbook and I always regretted it. Just yesterday I had been cursing my handwriting on my Project Life pages. I want to use my own writing but it looks so bad. Finding this book again was perfectly timed. I spent half an hour reading it last night and already I'm seeing an improvement on my pages. I was also having a hard time finding a good black marker for my journaling. The book comes with a pencil, a marker, a ruler, and eraser. It felt like Christmas! The Zig brand marker is perfect. The eraser removed the pencil lines without damaging the paper. Exactly what I was needing.

What gave me the final laugh? The intro of the book is written by none other than Becky Higgins. This book was written before Becky began Project Life. Who knew they'd all be such players on my scrapbooking stage in 2012? The universe was just waiting for our worlds to collide. Ha! Some things really are about the timing. Patience and trust are needed. Things will happen. Just keep plugging along at life as best you can and things will come together as they should. That was my happy realization last night.

Next post... maybe I'll finally get around to writing about CHA Summer 2012 and my paper release Alphabet Junction at Carta Bella Paper.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Everyday moments...

Ok, this was actually written in my journal yesterday but it is my blog post for today.

Today is my birthday. My husband let me sleep in. He thought our daughter had joined me to sleep too. What he didn't realize was that she was happily playing with her Strawberry Shortcake dolls and waking me up occasionally to help her dress a doll, or to paint my face with a dry paintbrush. I was staying in bed because I had been told that I wasn't to go downstairs. I thought this was all part of the plan. Then the phone rang and my husband came into the room. He was surprised to see us busy at play. He took our daughter downstairs and then they returned with breakfast on a tray. I'm not sure I've ever been served breakfast in bed before. Such a treat! My son helped himself to the bowl of blueberries as I ate. I gave my son and my daughter a slice of the raisin toast.

Afterwards they presented me with a big box. Inside was a garden gnome water gauge and a gnome planter. Gnome, sweet gnome! They had decorated the kitchen with balloons. My daughter insisted we were both birthday girls. My son decided he must be the birthday boy. I don't mind sharing my special day.

I had a bad headache and went back to bed for a 20 minute nap that ended up lasting hours. When I woke up, I joined everyone in the backyard. My husband was washing our window screens. A task I usually perform. That was definitely the birthday highlight for me. I got out the video camera to record the kids playing in the backyard. My son was doing something very cute. As always, when I press record, the action stops. This is why I don't use our video camera often enough. I usually miss the moment. It is sometimes better to just watch the cuteness and try to burn it into my memory before the moment passes. I began recording and my daughter was goofing for the camera. I made a comment to my husband that I had missed the special moment I had hoped to record. That is when my husband made a comment, unknowingly revealing my "lesson" for the day.

He said "the lesson here is that these are the special moments. The reality is that there are really special moments that never get documented. But the everyday, the not so special moments... those are special too because you live most of your life in the everyday". So, let me enjoy witnessing cuteness that doesn't make it onto film, and to embrace the less than perfect moments, like when my daughter makes "poopy" talk on camera. This is all part of life that is happening now. Life that is fleeting. Life that is ordinary and treasured forever.

A digiland void...

I miss Nancie and Lynne-Marie. There I said it. Digiland just isn't the same without them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pita Pizza Recipe

So, I tried a new recipe today. I had some pita to use up and decided pizza would be yummy. This is what I did:

makes enough for 2 adults, a distracted preschooler, and not-so-hungry teething toddler.

Heat oven to 425F.

a bit of oil (optional)
2 large whole wheat Pita
2 cups mozzarella (I love the stuff)
1/2 cup any pasta/tomato sauce
toppings (I used black olives, sliced mushrooms, pineapple, and corn... yup, corn, hey I lived in Japan and they know what they're doing when it comes to food)

1. I sliced into the pitas and evenly dispersed a handful of mozzarella cheese into each. This was my stroke of genius thought I had while driving today and I do think it made the pizza a lovely consistency, even though you won't necessarily notice the cheese itself. Try this step... I urge you.

2. Sprinkle some olive oil and baste it over the pita. Will give a bit of crunch and flavour to the crust.

3. Ladle 1/4 cup of sauce over each pita. Make sure to leave an inch or so of crust around the edges. Add the remaining mozzarella cheese over each pita.

4. Add your toppings. Use your imagination... what is in your fridge?

5. Bake for 10 minutes at 425F.


Sorry, I don't have a photo... I got hungry and the pizza disappeared before I could find a camera.

Small Victories

Today is a windy, chilly, wish-I-could-stay-in-bed-all-day-kinda-day. The kids are getting a little stir crazy. I'm getting a little tense. So, I got up the nerve to take us on a little outing. You would think it wouldn't take nerve to go for a drive. Well, the truth is that I suffer from some anxiety when it comes to driving. I avoid it if I can. Did you know that about me? I keep my drives as short and local as possible.  I stew days before going for long road trips on the highway. I get rattled driving into busy sections of the city. I just don't bother unless I have to. I mostly drive to get to the library, my daughter's dance class, medical appointments,  grocery shopping, and anything that doesn't get too far into town.

Recently, I found out that there is a scrapbook store in the area. They even carry Carta Bella Paper! I heard it about the store recently and was surprised I hadn't known about it. It is actually a wholesaler with a retail store attached. They sell to retailers across the nation. I've been living in this city for four years and I truly thought there were no scrapbook stores to be found. I thought I'd have to Montreal to see my paper when it comes to stores.

So, I've been itching to check this store out. I decided today would be a good day. I wrote down the directions and was pleasantly surprised to find out the route was very direct and not overly full of traffic. I got the kids all ready. Nyal was in need of socks and Lauren was wearing a fairy dress that would leave her chilly. She ended up with a long sleeved dress with decidedly mismatched socks to wear. Pippylongstocking was her goal. I myself, was stylin' in my green sweats, pink hoodie, and red converse. We got in the car and off we went. The highlight of the drive was looking over to see a car with its tailgate up, parked at the entrance of a hiking trail. There stood a man playing his saxophone, clearly very into it the way he was bent over. He reminded me of Bill Clinton.

We entered the store and I was so excited. All the lovely brand names I drool over in magazines. All the stuff I thought I'd have to buy online or drive hours to purchase. Yippee! The store clerk was extra friendly and asked my kids to be her helpers and help her make a craft. Thank you!!! My daughter was thrilled. My son preferred to touch all the beads. When I told him "eyes only, no touching" he decided maybe he'd just like to be carried around. Sleepy boy! So, we checked out the selection. Carta Bella's Beautiful Moments by Carina Gardner wasn't on the shelves. I asked the clerk and she said it was in the warehouse as they give priority to wholesale and stuff trickles into the retail store afterward. I told her why I wanted to see it and she brought out a sample paper for me to look at. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I really wanted to feel the texture of the paper. I made some purchases and we headed home. The kids listened to "Go, Dog, Go" and were happily occupied while my mind wandered to supper preparation. I have my best ideas when I'm preoccupied with a mundane task. I'm making pita bread pizzas and I had this total brainwave of an idea to slip mozzarella into the pocket of the pita before putting on the toppings. Cross your fingers that it works!

I think I'll be revisiting the store again, sooner than later!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

50% off retirement sale at CatScrap!!!

Hi all,

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet. I am retiring from MellyBird Designs and my stop at CatScrap. My designs are 50% off until the end of May. Be sure to pick up anything before then! Thank you for your continued support. I will still post on this blog as I am still designing.