Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Paper Crafts Magazine Swan Song Blog Hop

Welcome to your next stop along the Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking Magazine Swan Song Blog Hop! You should have arrived here from Miriam Prantner.

You'd think I would have gotten used to these goodbyes by now. I said goodbye to our Moxie Fab Cath last November and bid farewell to my job at Paper Crafts last August. It's been quite the whirlwind of emotions. And even though I haven't been a part of the magazine for over a year, I still feel very attached to the editors, designers, readers and even the pages of the magazine itself. You spend 7 years at one place and it's bound to leave a lasting impression. And it has.

I have so many stories to tell and pictures to share, but there's no way I could do them all justice here. So I'll share some highlights. I know readers always love seeing what went on behind-the-scenes. Despite popular belief, we did NOT paper craft every day! We were busy publishing magazines each month, writing blog posts (between Paper Crafts Connection and Moxie Fab World), concepting features and columns for future magazines, filming videos and the list goes on and on. But we still managed to sneak a little fun into each day. 

Birthdays were a big deal around the office. Former art director Stace Hasegawa created these Coca-Cola-themed signs for my cubicle.
We loved celebrating holidays, especially the ones where we could dress up!
National Pink Day is a real holiday!
CHA was our favorite event to mingle with our designer friends & readers.
Celebrating Paper Crafts' 5th birthday in 2009.
I always loved walking the CHA floor with my girl, Megan Hoeppner!
Our annual ed board meeting brought the beloved Go-to Gals to Utah.
Love these "gals" and their crazy talent!
"Parties on the Porch" were always a special treat. These ladies and Matt are the real deal. I wish them nothing but luck as they begin a new adventure in their creative lives.
As you can see, we had a lot of fun. Probably more fun than any job should allow. But when you're working in an industry with so many creative people, it comes with the territory. While I'm sad the magazine is ceasing publication, I'm so pleased it had such a great run and impacted so many people. And I'm happy I got to be a part of all the creativity, all that pride and all that love. I still have every one of my Paper Crafts issues. They take up 12 magazine organizers. No lie! They're all my little babies. I'm proud of them and the work they represent. Yours, mine and ours, collectively.

As we officially say goodbye to our dear magazine, I'm reminded of something I posted over on the Paper Crafts Connection blog a few years ago. It was titled Changing it Up as I was transitioning my duties. At the time it gave me comfort writing it, as I hope it does for you now.

"Something this creative industry thrives on is change. Companies come and go, products reinvent themselves and trends burst on the scene and then take their final bow. And while it’s often inconvenient and frustrating at the time, change usually brings out the best in us. We adapt, we grow and we often surprise ourselves with the results."

I have no doubt that creativity will continue to inspire and bring us together, one way or the other. It may not be in the same format, but it will always be there, surprising us all.

One of my favorite cards published in Paper Crafts. I've always been partial to puffy hearts! ;-)
Thanks for the memories, Paper Crafts

Your next stop on the blog hop will be Yana Smakula. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Monarch Story

Image courtesy of
 I recently came across this inspiring story. I love its message of perseverance and strength. :)

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as if it could not go further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it, expecting that at any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand: the restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

It always a spectacular thing when spring finally arrives, especially after a long, cold winter. Having grown up in Texas, where there's only two distinct seasons — hot and hotter — winter in Utah is something I'll never get use to. Like ever. Luckily, glorious spring never disappoints.

A couple of weekends ago, I attended to the annual Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point Gardens. 250,000 tulips across 55 acres in quite the sight to be seen. Here's some of my favorite blooms from the festival, along with some of my favorite quotes on flowers...

The earth laughs in flowers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just living is not must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~ Hans Christian Anderson
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. ~ Gerard De Nerval

Happiness held is a seed; happiness shared is the flower. ~ John Harrigan
I must have flowers, always, and always. ~ Claude Monet
The nature of this flower is to bloom. ~ Alice Walker
In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends. ~ Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea 
A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in - what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~ Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

The Tulip Festival features over 100 varieties of tulips. Here's a display table listing the names a few of them.
For all my local friends, the festival runs through this Saturday, May 3. You definitely don't want to miss the opportunity to see Mother Nature in all her glory!

Earth laughs in flowers.

Earth laughs in flowers.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Peeps & Polka Dots

When I came across this cute stamp in the dollar bin at Michaels, I knew exactly what to do with it. That almost never happens! I'm usually much more of a collector of craft supplies. :)

I have a friend who loves Peeps, those marshmallow chicks and bunnies that are so popular around Easter. I personally don't care for these sugary confections (they have a crazy long shelf life!), but they sure do make for a cute gift - especially when paired with an equally cute gift tag. 

I simply stamped the design with my favorite Onyx Black ink on a manila shipping tag. Then I colored the chick and shell with yellow and pink colored pencils for a soft pop of pastel color. Love the polka dots on the shell!

And, of course, I had to add wiggle eyes to the little chick. They added just the right amount of peepsonality to its peepers! Then I wrote a quick message on the back of the tag and secured it with a yellow polka dot ribbon from American Crafts (cause who doesn't love polka dot ribbon?).

I can't wait to leave this fun Easter gift on my friend's doorstop this weekend. I think she'll be tickled peep.


Thursday, April 17, 2014


 I wrote this short story for a new initiative we're launching at work called mynt. Geared towards the Gen Y community, mynt is all about living life on your terms. More than just making money, it's about nutrition and fitness, having fun and giving back. #myntmoments are those random acts of kindness that we've been blessed to give or receive. This is my myntmoment. My story of random kindness.

Many people think random acts of kindness have to be over-the-top gestures that require a lot time to plan and execute. Nothing could be further than the truth. Sometimes the most appreciated acts of kindness are those spur of the moment surprises that just happen.

Last year I was standing in line at Subway waiting to order my sandwich. The line was extra long that day and I was extra frustrated that it was taking longer than usual. When I finally got up to the counter and handed the cashier my money, she said, “Your husband already paid.” When I gave her a very confused look, she returned the look and said, “The guy in front of you paid for your sandwich. Don’t you know him?” Before I could even answer her, I looked to my right to thank the kind stranger, but he was already out the door and on his way. He clearly wasn’t expecting a thank you nor wanting one.

I was struck speechless by this man’s generosity. But more than that, I was struck how a single, fairly insignificant gesture could affect me so profoundly. It was a $5 sandwich. Nothing more. It required very little effort on his part, but it created a heart full of gratitude on mine. So much so that I now look for similar opportunities to pay it forward without the expectation of being acknowledged or thanked.

Small random acts of kindness are really just spur of the moment surprises. Who will you surprise with your kindness? #myntmoment


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Other Side of Depo

Just like this post, The Other Side of Lortab, I'm happy to be done with my 3-month trial of Depo-Provera. Or as my family doctor calls it, Depo-ProSCAREa.

And when I say done, I mean D-O-N-E. Like NEVER EVER AGAIN! Unfortunately, it can take up to a year for all of the nasty side effects to completely disappear. I've learned doctors don't give disclaimers on certain drugs because every patient reacts differently to them. Some have no side effects at all and some have every side effect in the book. I would fall in the latter category.

While Depo-Provera is primarily used as a contraceptive, it's been known to be effective in the treatment of endometriosis. And when I woke up from my surgery last November, this first thing my doctor said was, "Moving forward, we're going to have to treat this aggressively." Which is why we went straight to Depo.

By suppressing ovulation, the goal of Depo-Provera is to keep all my crazy hormones calm, quiet and dormant. And theoretically, if this is accomplished, no new endometrial adhesions will form and life will be just peachy (insert sarcastic tone here). My life the last 3 months has been anything but peachy. More like an episode of LOST where I'm stranded on an island and nothing is what it seems.

Within a day of the injection, I started experiencing daily headaches and this weird pain in my side, right below my left rib cage. I started taking calcium pills (to counteract the effects of bone density loss from the shot) so I thought my body was just having a hard time digesting the big, fat horse pills. I switched to calcium chews and that seemed to help a little, but the pain continued, along with being bloated, gaseous and hungry ALL THE TIME. (Example: I went to the mall one afternoon and ravished a Philly cheesesteak and then followed it up with a corn dog because I was still hungry! Who does that?!) Then the pelvic pain and irregular bleeding started. The nurse warned me while my body was getting used to the shot, I would experience pain similar to the pain of endometriosis. I had to laugh at the irony. If this "treatment" is supposed to be helping me, then why is the pain worse than actual endometriosis? To stay sane, I was popping Advil every 4-6 hours. The Kelly Cocktail (3 Advil and a Coke) was my saving grace. Hair loss, weight gain, fatigue and mood swings came next.

Long story short, I was a mess.

But during those long 12 weeks, I had plenty of time to do research (knowledge is power after all) and was strangely comforted that I wasn't alone in my struggles. On, Depo Provera users rated their experience with the shot. Out of 2,102 responses, with 1 being "extremely dissatisfied" and 5 being "highly satisfied", the average rating was 2.1 "not satisfied". After reading through many of the comments, I found myself nodding in agreement, in fascination, and in horror. I actually felt guilty because many of the experiences were far worse than mine. So many referred to Depo as "synthetic poison" and "it will ruin your life". I can't say I disagree.

As the appointment for my second shot approached, I was anxious to speak to the doctor about other treatment options because like I said before, I was D-O-N-E with Depo. She listened sweetly as I rattled off all the side effects I was experiencing and let me vent for awhile. I'm sure she's heard it all before. But she also mentioned she has patients who have been on it for 5 years and love it. Grrr...

After careful consideration, she asked what I thought about a IUD (intrauterine device). Mirena, to be exact. This plastic, t-shaped device is placed in the uterus and slowly releases the same hormone that's found in Depo, progesterone. The advantages for endometriosis patients: the hormone stays in your uterus instead of traveling through your blood stream and causing all the horrible side effects. It also lasts up to 5 years or can be removed at any time by a physician. My sister, who also has endo, has had the Mirena implant for the last year or so. It's worked well for her and kept her pain at bay. The one disadvantage: she has had more ovarian cysts with the device. I asked my doctor about this and she said while it doesn't cause cysts to form, it doesn't prevent them like the pill or other treatments do. And these types of cysts usually resolve themselves within a couple of months.

So, we're going to see how Mirena works for me. The "installation" was not fun. I guess the pain is worse for women who haven't had children since the device must pass through the cervix before it reaches the uterus. I had pretty bad cramping and spotting for a day or two, but the pain subsided. I had so much fun telling my male boss I was going to be working from home due to a "procedure". I could tell he wanted more information, but knowing my past female issues, he just nodded and wished me well. Good choice! It's been about a month, but I can already tell my pelvic pain is better. And I'm happy to report I'm completely off my daily consumption of Advil. Not by choice, but after taking it habitually for the last 9 months, I'm more concerned about the effects it's having on my liver and the lining of my stomach. We'll see if I can stay off the Kelly is so addicting!

In hindsight, this last year has been a game changer for me. Health is no longer a gift I take for granted. I'm proactive and intend to stay this way until I find the best treatment that is right for me. If I can help anyone who is currently dealing with endometriosis or similar issues, I'll sleep well. And because laughter through tears is my favorite emotion (love that movie!), I had to share this ecard:

PK (#endosister)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Valentine Gift Box

I love personalized gift wrap. Boxes, bags, tags, oh my!

One of my last duties at Paper Crafts magazine (now Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine) was to design two projects for the Jan/Feb Simple Printables column. Since they ended up merging Paper Crafts and Creating Keepsakes into one magazine (now monthly and digital-only), my two projects were lucky enough to be spread out over two issues.

My favorite of the two projects is this Happy Valentine's Day Gift Box found in the February 2014 issue. It's kind of crazy to think I made it last August!

I went with the trendy melon and mint color palette, which just happens to be featured in PC&S's March 2014 issue (Trend Talk column). The beauty of these Simple Printable projects is they're made with a FREE download featured in each magazine. I loved the chalkboard feel of the Happy Valentine's Day graphic, and immediately envisioned it on a cute little gift box.

I simply printed, trimmed, and matted it with pink/melon cardstock. Then I added a few stickers from the Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm collection. My favorite touch was using a date stamp to stamp the "Feb 14 2014" (in mint, of course!). I won't even begin to tell you how many times I had to stamp it to get a perfect impression!

To download the Happy Valentine's Day graphic, click HERE.

And here's a complete list of supplies:

SUPPLIES:  Collection: (arrow die cut, chipboard heart stickers from Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm collection) American Crafts  Cardstock: (Strawberry Slush) Stampin’ Up!; (white)  Rubber stamp: (Remember This And That Rotary) Stampin’ Up!  Pigment ink: (Celadon) Clearsnap  Digital element: (sentiment)  Adhesive: 3M  Other: (gift box)  Finished size: 3 1/2" square

If you're needing a fun birthday option, check out my Make a Wish Gift Box in the January 2014 issue.

To download the Make a Wish graphic, click HERE.

Here's to quick and easy gift wrap!