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Archive for February, 2010

Don’t Stop

Justin is an intern that just started working at Jim’s Gym.  It certainly hasn’t taken him long to jump into the swing of things.  He counts for us (drat!), he helps us do exercises correctly, and he is following his mentor in offering “Jim-isms.”

“You’re only going 11.0 on the stationary bike?  That’s slow!”  Justin, here’s the thing.  You are a really nice guy and I’m happy for you that you are almost done with school and everything.  I like you, but having two of you at the gym makes me feel like we have Jim in stereo version.  Besides, don’t you know that speed is over-rated?  Becky, my gym classmate and now my friend, brought me this quote on Friday because she knew I would like it.  I should have showed it to Justin when he told me to go faster on the bike.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.  -confucius

Thanks, Becky!  It’s so true – and since Confucius said it, the advice has clearly stood the test of time.  Although maybe I should cross out that “do not stop” part – I do tend to take a break here and there in the middle of a set of exercises to catch my breath or rest my tired muscles.  But in general, we all persist pretty well.  I’m working on the not stopping part.  I think I’m pretty good at it when it comes to life but I want to be better at not stopping at the gym.  Slow and steady…with only a few breaks here and there.

See you on Monday, Justin!

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I’ve decided something.  Photoshop is a lot easier when people who know it well are doing most of the work for you.  With designing for Hampton Art (Studio G) and Provo Craft, I have to do a lot of drawing and font work.  I use the program Illustrator to make it all happen because I need the flexibility of vector artwork to manipulate things easier.  In fact, I just finished a whole batch of Halloween designs for 2010 and ended up with about 230 individual designs when I was done.  Whew!  Glad that assignment can be checked off my list!

My Valentine, St. Patricks & Easter designs - started on my computer screen but are now in stores as stamps! I love that!

Although it is in the same family as Illustrator, I have an extremely limited knowledge of Photoshop.  But it’s true that all of these programs are ones in which they become easier the more you use them.  I started playing around with collage storyboards from House of 3 because I wanted to be able to put more photos in a smaller space on my blog.  One reason why I like the templates from House of 3 is that they come with simple instructions to teach you how to use it or to refresh your memory – which I seem to need a lot more these days.

So now that I have been getting more confidence with the collage templates, I have ventured into adding papers and embellishments to them (as you saw on the pages I did for Cole’s birthday photos).  I know that for some of you these steps might seem elementary.  However, some of you are probably like me and have not ventured into digital scrapbooking because you’re not sure how to start learning.

Here’s my suggestion to those of you who have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  Learn what it means to work with “Layers” and practice using the tools within those layers (Jessica Sprague teaches great classes online for digital scrapbooking).  Layers are like working with a pile of scrapbook stuff.  Some things are on top of other things and if you want to manipulate or move something in the middle of the pile then you have to click on that “layer” to get to it.  Plus, you see whatever is on top of the pile so you can move layers around in order to “see” the right stuff.

It works the same way if you are scrapbooking by hand as well.  You layer and tuck things under, over and around other elements.  Layers are everything in Photoshop.  Once you start playing around with layers and the tools (i.e. commands) that manipulate the layers, you pretty much just need to practice to get better.  There are a lot of possibilities with just a limited knowledge of Photoshop.

free desktop wallpaper from the shabbyprincess.com blog

But here is something that is FABULOUS about the scrapbooking world and all of those highly talented people in it.  Just like the collage storyboards from House of 3, there are scrapbook pages, desktop wallaper, blog headers, cards and invitations (and anything else you can paper craft) out there already layered and ready for you to drop your photos into.  For me, it’s the true meaning of “simple scrapbooking” because someone else has done so much of the work.  This is extremely helpful because I need to be able to spend less time starting from scratch so that I have more time to design things for my job.  Plus, it’s always more fun to use someone else’s designs for the simple fact that they are NEW TO ME and it’s so fun to work with new things.

Yesterday I got my daily (I think it’s daily) email from www.designerdigitals.com.  I often don’t have time to do much with the emails but yesterday they were offering their “Thrifty Thursday” deal.  It was a scrapbook page (darling!) that was layered and I decided to give it a try.

What I loved about working with this layered page template is that I realized that it is a great way for someone who is sort of familiar with layers and tools to try some things in Photoshop.  Each of the elements on the page are on their own layer, which means that if you click on one layer then you can move that element around and fiddle with it.  This template also comes with simple instructions for adding your photos using a clipping mask – just like the collage storyboards I have been using.

So here is what I came up with making my own little tweaks and additions to the DesignerDigitals layered page:

I changed the background paper by dropping in one of the free downloads I got at shabbyprincess.com.  I added Coleman’s name using the text tool (it looks like the letter T in Photoshop).  I moved things around by clicking on the correct layer and then moving that item with the move tool (it looks like a black arrow).  I added some text to the little tag and clipped my photos the way the instructions told me to.

It took me about 30 minutes to fumble my way through it.  I guarantee that it would have taken a lot longer (and probably been more expensive) to do it by hand.  And with digital photos, all of the supplies I needed for this layout were in the same place – on my computer.

So if you are thinking about learning how to do some digital scrapbooking but are nervous because it seems so overwhelming….take heart. I know how you feel and I want to tell you that it’s easier than it seems when you start by using the talented work of others to help you.  “Standing on the shoulders of giants” is what they call that.

Give it a try and I hope that you enjoy my own little educational journey as I practice Photoshop along with you!

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First of all, welcome to all of our new blog followers!  If you are looking for the entire “Every Needful Thing” program, click on the category on the right side of my blog called “Every Needful Thing.”  This will give you a list of all the posts that have to do with the program in order from most recent to earliest.  I would recommend scrolling down and starting from the earliest post first so that it makes the most sense.  That will help you get up to speed as we move forward.  Also, in case you haven’t figured it out yet….here on my blog, “ENT” stands for “Every Needful Thing.”

Don’t Start From Scratch

In just the last month I have received many, many comments and emails from people out there in the world who are joining us (in one way or another) for our “Every Needful Thing” program this year.  This is why I have given you so much information about it – not only do we have many people participating on an individual level, but we also have many other women’s organizations (including many Relief Societies or church groups in other areas) who are planning it for their groups.  I don’t want those of you planning the program for your neighborhoods and groups to have to start from scratch or feel like you are “behind” in the planning process.

Therefore, I have decided to help you with this.  Whenever we start having a more detailed plan taking form for future activities, I will tell you about it.  For example, we are making some progress on how we are going to do our “Organization Fair” in March.  I’ll tell you about it next week.  Then, if you want to do something similar you are more than welcome to.  If you want to go a different direction then I think that’s a great idea as well.  That’s the point of “Every Needful Thing” – it can be taken so many ways depending on what you are looking to accomplish.

Your Start-Date Doesn’t Matter

With that in mind I also want to give a suggestion to those who are planning “Every Needful Thing” for their groups.  True, we started in January with our program.  However – no one says that you have to have started in January as well.  It will be just as effective no matter when you start it so don’t feel pressure or rushed in your planning.  Just start it when you are ready.

I received an email from a woman who is doing this for their group and they have decided to start it in March and go until February 2011.  Great idea!  Don’t feel confined to a certain calendar year.  In fact, it’s nice to start in March because then they really can look at what we do and what ideas are shared here and still have plenty of time to plan their activities.  I think it’s brilliant!

You Might Want to Add This to the Notebooks

We were planning on having blank paper (8.5″x 5.5″ and two-hole punched) available at our next activity so that the women could take notes in their notebooks if they wanted (this would be in addition to the handouts that we will also give them). However, we are already finding that some would use that blank paper now to write down thoughts and things that they want to remember from church or books or other things they are learning.  As one woman said, “I decided that this notebook will also be my journal to write down ‘special things.'”

So, instead of waiting to add the blank paper – you might want to do it in the beginning and encourage people to use it for any thoughts that they want to remember throughout this journey.

Share Your Ideas Here

The more people and groups that I hear about who are either following our program or using it as a jumping off point for their groups, the more I want to know about their ideas.  Everyone has something to offer and I know that there are fabulous tweaks and changes and adaptations already floating around out there about how you are going to tackle this program to meet your group or individual needs.  PLEASE SHARE!  Leave your comments, telling us what you are doing or you can email me directly with your great ideas.

I have heard of a few who already have the wheels spinning in their minds as to what will meet the needs of their group.  Email me (kolette@kolettehall.com) the ideas and I’ll post them regularly for everyone to benefit from.  I would also LOVE to see photos of what you end up doing – you can email me those as well.  Just be prepared for me to brag about you on my blog!  One idea that a group is doing might trigger another idea for someone else.  Please share!

Keep It Coming

I love hearing that your group is jumping on board with us or that you, as an individual are doing so.  Please feel free to continue your emails and comments letting us know that you have joined our ENT club and thank you for sharing it with so many others as well.

I love ENT and I love YOU for being a part of it with us!  I’ve been totally pumped about it from the start but my excitement level is reaching new heights as the weeks pass.  Thank you!

And thank you to all of the lovely women in our neighborhood who have embraced this program already – I can’t wait to learn from you and share this experience together.

I got an email from another woman who is making a sign for the whole year using the ENT logo.  I thought I would give it to you here in a generic, black and white, 8.5 x 11 size.  I won’t be able to custom design things for your group but I figured that this would be something that many of you might want so here you go!  Just click on the image to download it.

Winner!

And let’s talk about what is truly needful….winning a whole set of my new clear stamps!  Thank you for sharing this blog with those around you – as many of you mentioned in your comments, I love to share and the things I like to share are often simple enough for anyone to use or be a part of and be immediately successful.  So keep sharing and spreading the love!

Congratulations to our random winner:

Chalese Groberg

I did it!! Thanks so much for always being willing to share your fabulous ideas and talents with us. You are amazing and your little guy is adorable!!!

Chalese, please email me (kolette@kolettehall.com) with your address and I’ll send this pile of stamps out to you!  Hooray!

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Peace is an interesting word with many connotations as well as denotations.  Perhaps you first think of it as being the converse of war.  Or perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is holding up two fingers in a “V.”  For me, peace is a sense of being.  There have been many times in my life where I have not felt peace – after Jason’s car accident when he hovered near death then spent 13 months in the hospital, coupled with years of intense rehabilitation and surgeries – it was a stormy, rocky time.  Peace was not easy to find.

However, since experiencing something often helps us to understand the opposite of it better, times of distress have only helped me to more fully recognize and value the concept of peace on a personal level.  For me, peace is a state of being.  It is a sense of calm that is possible even when chaos surrounds me.  Whether it is in the busyness of life in general, health issues, a family crisis or anything in between, peace is possible.

When Jason was in the hospital, I went with my sister’s family to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a week.  I had no responsibilities and my sister was truly creating an escape for me.  As I sat on the beach with the ocean breeze blowing the sea grasses and the picket fences lining the walkways, I found peace in the middle of my personal storm.  It was one of the most treasured gifts that I have received because in that moment I learned that peace was possible despite my circumstances.

Now, it would be nice if every time I felt stress I could head across the country to the ocean for a moment of meditation.  But that’s not reality and so I had to learn how to create that feeling without the waves crashing on the beach in front of me.  It’s a mental thing.  So whether it’s through exercise or listening to music, crafting, reading, going to church or spending time with family, we all have things that help us feel more calm and settled.

One way to feel peace, that I believe is true for everyone, is to choose not to be offended, let go of grudges and see the best in others.  Criticism and finding fault in others, in life, or in ourselves is a guaranteed way to drive away inner peace. This is the message that we learned more about at a Women’s Conference that I attended this weekend.  James Ferrell, author of “The Peacegiver,” spoke to us about the sense of peace that comes from each individual’s choice to see the good in one another.  This is the activity that we are doing for the month of February in our “Every Needful Thing” program.  I didn’t have anything to do with planning it (ahh…bliss!) but it is certainly part of helping us determine what is “needful” in our lives.

We received the following message at the conference:

If we want peace in the world, we can create it by having peace in our thoughts and hearts, in our words and in our actions.  As we develop a more peaceful home, that attitude will ripple out into our communities and then out into our world.

If not Me……who?

If not Now……when?

If not Here……where?

We can create individual peace in our lives and it often starts in how we choose to approach our relationships with others.  Chaos is inevitable.  Hardship is unavoidable.   Stress is just a part of life.  But peace, in spite of it all, is still possible.

Be the peace you want to have in your life and enjoy the download (with 3 color choices!) to help you create that.

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Daily LIfe

Another day to love Project 365.  Nikki, Cole’s babysitter and my friend, snapped this photo while Coleman watched the kids play from his favorite spot at my office window.  Not much could be better than a sippy cup, a sunny day, and a window that is one foot off the ground.  Although I didn’t take the photo personally, it’s going right into my Project 365 album for the year.

This is daily life.

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Let’s Do a Stamp Giveaway

I have received my shipment of the latest batch of clear stamps at AC Moore stores that I designed.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t have AC Moore near your house – the closest one to me is 1547 miles.  I don’t think I’ll be able to make it there this weekend…

So, if you’re like me or even if you have an AC Moore nearby, you will probably be interested in our giveaway today.  I have an entire collection of clear stamps right here, ready to be sent to a random comment-leaver.  Here’s what you’ll get and remember, each “set” has different designs so this is a TON of stamps:

  • 16 sets – Valentines stamps
  • 16 sets – St. Patrick’s Day stamps
  • 16 sets – Easter / Spring stamps

Whoa!  That’s a lot of stamps just waiting for you to create fabulous projects with!  Most of them were designed by yours truly, but a few sets were from some friends of mine – you’ll love them.  This is how Cole uses them (don’t worry, I pulled your set out of his collection already).  I’m sure you will be inspired by his work of genius that you see here.  He’s already showing signs of amazing creativity, don’t you think?

This is what we’ll do:

Think of at least 3 people you can forward one of my blog posts to.  It doesn’t have to be this post – it can be any post from my blog that you think is interesting or funny or useful to someone in your sphere of influence.  Then come back here and leave a comment that you have done it (we’re going with the personal integrity approach).  That’s makes you eligible for the fabulous stamp giveaway.

I’ll give you some time to pass the blog along so comments will close the evening of Tuesday, February 9.  Then whoever wins can send me their address quickly and I’ll get the stamps out to you right away – hopefully in time for Valentines day.  But to be honest – many of the Valentines stamps can be used all year long because they are full of hearts and love and hugs and kisses!

XOXO to all of you!

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I’m pretty used to Jim’s comments and most of them go in one ear and out the other these days.  Sorry, Jim.  I know you think we hang on your every word while we are lifting serious weights and doing an obscene amount of sit-ups.

However, the following bears repeating.  I don’t really know what to say about it other than this was the statement that we got from Jim while we resisted his constant hounding to RUN from exercise to exercise.  As we walked…somewhat briskly (sort of)…then we got this profound quote of the day from the mouth of our wise leader:

If you scurry like a squirrel then you’ll be skinny like a squirrel.  -Jim

I couldn’t help myself.  I just had to make a bonus download from it.  I hadn’t realized that squirrels were all that skinny but the idea of scurrying is certainly sound advice when you’re trying to exercise…I think…

So our motivation today is a tiny woodland creature who seems to have skinny-ness all figured out.  I’m almost certain that the only resemblance I have to a squirrel is packing away tasty nuts.  Yum.

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