The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Digiscrapping on a Budget January 20, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — michellehuegel @ 10:41 pm
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Hi! Michelle popping in here with a little re-direct! I’ve written a great, information-packed post all about digiscrapping on a budget. Visit my new blog LifeInkScraps to learn about coupons, sales, freebies, creative teams, and more ways to save money and even earn free stuff!


Sugar Hill Co Blog Train Sneak Peek! September 16, 2010

Filed under: Scrapbooking — michellehuegel @ 2:04 pm
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I love blog trains! And this one promises to be especially sweet – the designers at Sugar Hill Co have put together a blog train collab called “Sugar Shock”! Check out this adorable preview:

How cute is that?! It leaves the station this weekend, September 18 – start at Sugar Hill Co’s blog then follow the train to collect each designer’s portion.

Here’s a sweet layout to give you another peek at Sugar Shock:


Ideas for Scrapbooking Changes Over Time September 14, 2010

Have you ever said or heard the phrase “They grow up so fast”? Kids aren’t the only ones who change (quickly or slowly) over time, though. Another great example would be pregnancy – possibly the most rapid and visible change a women will ever undergo! Or, for you green thumbs out there, do you love watching your garden go from a square of black soil, to a lush expanse of greenery, to a colorful crop of ripe goodies or fragrant flowers? Scrapbooking a single photo of your garden in full bloom or your child at age four is great, but scrapping a page about how that child or garden changed over time tells a fuller story. And it’s just so much fun to see those seemingly-small changes week by week (or month by month, or year by year, etc.) add up over time to a much bigger change! In the examples here of my weekly belly photo scrapbook pages, if you compare one week to the next there’s not much change. But looking at the beginning and the end of one trimester shows quite a difference! (Click on images for full credits)

It takes commitment and discipline to track changes over time. I’m terribly forgetful – despite reminders set on both my phone and my husband’s, we would often forget to take a picture until right before bedtime, or even the next day. But even if I was tired, or didn’t feel like it, I made myself take that picture. Often it was in front of my bathroom mirror, or holding the camera out in front of my belly myself!

Here are some other ideas of what you could track over time: child’s growth (daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly), your yard, your garden, a single flower or vegetable plant (from planting all the way to blooming), a room in your house, school classroom, haircuts, your body (especially if you’re on a diet or trying to lose weight – maybe pair each picture with your weight that day/week/month?), holiday preparations (photo a day in December?).

All of these examples are things that may not show a big difference day to day, but it’s fascinating to see that series of photos side by side – a vivid representation of the passage of time.

To help you get started, here’s a few templates I found that are perfect for scrapping changes over time (images are linked!):

Here’s one specifically for babies, but could definitely be used for any pictures/theme!

Scrapping with Liz at Scrap Orchard offers this set of templates to scrap your goals:

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are some other changes you can capture over time? Do you have a great template or other resource you can link us up to?


Balancing Accountability and Creativity July 15, 2010

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — michellehuegel @ 7:59 pm
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In my mind, the words “accountability” and “creativity” fall at opposite ends of the scale. Creativity is supposed to be spontaneous, carefree, spur-of-the-moment. Accountability evokes structure, to-do lists, calendars, and rigidity. So what’s the problem with being a “creative” person? Too often, nothing actually gets created. Maybe I don’t “feel” like it, or there’s no “mojo,” or time just slips away. Sometimes I wonder how I made it through college with a near-4.0 GPA, or succeeded at my various office jobs – and then I remember. College and work had deadlines, expectations, daily structure, and accountability.

I think my creativity often “falls down on the job” because there’s no one expecting me to turn in a new scrapbook layout or article. No consequences if I put off yet another blog post. No deadline to complete that album, finish some research, or organize those photos. I only have myself to disappoint, which is a vicious downward spiral of disappointment, guilt, and resultant total lack of motivation. I’ve written about this before, and tried a variety of tactics to motivate myself. Rewards (think Starbucks, a new book, watching a TV show, etc) sometimes work. For a little while. But with no accountability other than myself, every system eventually fails. I’ve come to the conclusion that some people simply require outside motivation, either all the time as part of their personality or maybe only during certain times of their lives. I’m under a lot of stress right now with a young toddler, new baby on the way soon, moving across country, and struggling financially to make it all work. I know theoretically that creative pursuits like writing and scrapbooking are crucial to my emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being, but “in the moment” I’d often rather take a nap or just zone out. So I’ve finally decided (yes, I’m a little slow sometimes) to create accountability in my life – or more specifically, in my creative pursuits.

Getting down to business – I’m going to begin balancing creativity with accountability in my digital scrapbooking. I can’t focus on every area at once, and I’m still pondering ways to create accountability in my writing. But for now I’m going to focus on my scrapbooking. I’m going to stop making excuses like “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t have time” or “I can’t create on command” and actually, FINALLY, apply for some creative team positions. Because really, those are pretty pathetic excuses. I’ve learned a lot over the last two years, I do have time, and I need that pressure right now to create.

By the way, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a “creative team” works for a designer or scrapbook store to create layouts with new products. They help showcase a designer/store’s products and provide inspiration for projects created with those new products. That’s my definition in a nutshell, anyway! I’m being a little choosy about which designers/stores I apply at as they open up “CT calls,” because I want to make sure I’m a good fit for each one. And I’m extremely nervous about the whole process. I don’t have a gallery full of brilliant layouts (mostly because I’m terrible about remembering to post them!) or experience on other creative teams. I’m struggling with feeling “good enough.” But I’m doing it anyway, letting my “accountability” side triumph over my “creative” touchy-feely side because I know I need this, and I know I have something unique to offer these designers. I’m in the process now of applying to a couple, so hopefully soon I’ll have some good news to share!

Have I inspired you to balance your creativity with a little accountability? Or do you have a tried-and-true technique already for attaining this balance? Please share! I’d love to hear your ideas, and what you think of mine!


Experimenting with Fine Art Textures on Photos April 30, 2010

Filed under: Photography — michellehuegel @ 6:31 pm
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I wanted to share this great Paislee Press blog post with our readers! Emily Powers gives tips and ideas for applying fine art textures to different types of photos, including tips on blend modes. Also, through tomorrow morning, she’s offering readers a chance to win one of her amazing Photology fine art texture packs! These are so easy to use – just drop the .jpg file over your photo and experiment with blend modes and opacity until you’re happy with the result!

Now, don’t you all run over there and leave a comment for a chance to win because I want to win!! Just kidding…


Wedding Salutations April 28, 2010

This past weekend I was part of a wedding party. It’s always an honor, and this was especially exciting, as I introduced the bride and groom. (I made sure to brag about it, too!)

photo by Anne Harrigan

After having been in so many weddings (this was my sixth) and having been a guest at many more, I have yet to find a go-to wedding gift. I’d written earlier about finding the perfect go-to shower gift, but weddings are a whole different animal. Usually, I resort to something off of the registry.

But then there’s a new problem: what do you write on the card?

It doesn’t help when you leave to the last minute (even during the reception!) and you brain is so mushed you can’t think of much to say beyond something generic like, “Congratulations! God bless!” But when you’re at the wedding of a writer, that hardly seems to suffice.

So, I’ve tried to come up with some creative wedding salutations since then. Here’s what I have so far:

  • For those Dr. Who fans: “May your love be like a tardis, normal to the typical passersby, but unbounded by time and space by those who enter in.”
  • For those Creative Memories scrapbookers out there: “May all your memories together be creative.”
  • For all the Photoshop lovers out there: “May your love for one another be like Photoshop: able to turn a grey sky blue, a frown to a smile and change your focus to what matters most.”
  • For those supermodels who marry each other: “May you love looking at one another as much as you love looking at yourself.” (Okay, I don’t have any friends who are that vain, but I was trying to think of something out of the box.)

How about you? What creative wedding salutations can you come up with?


December Daily Day 8 December 9, 2009

Filed under: Life in General,Photos — michellehuegel @ 12:30 pm
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Today marked my second day of enforced cleaning isolation. Thankfully I got the majority of cleaning finished by about 3pm, and Grandma got to see her grandbaby! To be perfectly honest, it’s not 100% clean like some people’s houses I know. But that’s just not happening for us at this point in our lives. Josh still needs to mop our three small areas of linoleum, and I need to clear off the catch-all table by the front door and do some filing. But otherwise, the clutter is put away, floors vacuumed, sinks and counters scrubbed, laundry manageable. As long as I’m happy it’s all good – because I’m the mom! Hah!

I started on the first page of my hybrid calendars. Twice. The first time my computer overheated and died. Second time Photoshop crashed. This is not an auspicious start. I’m nothing if not gosh-darned stubborn, though, so if/when Cai naps tomorrow, I’ll remember to plug in my cooling fan and save every three seconds. Here’s the templates I’m starting with. I’ll include pictures of the finished products too (assuming I ever get that far!). Right now the plan is to buy photo ink and nice matte photo paper for my parents’ printer and print them at home. I can do multiple to a page and make sure everything is how I want it. Not sure if it will end up cheaper or more expensive than having them printed somewhere else. But I like the control. I know that’s a shock to some of you…

Cai’s getting sicker. He ran a fever tonight, poor cheeks were so flushed, and you could just tell he was miserable. I don’t anticipate a good night. We’re all praying that this bug runs its course before Christmas – we’re leaving the 18th to travel for a week to both of my grandparents, one in Iowa and the other in St. Louis. It’s just not Christmas without traveling to see family, but it would be pretty miserable with a sick anyone.

PS – A certain observant someone brought to my attention the fact that I somehow missed posting Day 5. Obviously I can’t count (I’m an English major, remember??). So I will post it later today 🙂 – I’m sure you all are dying to know what excitement swept the Huegel household on December 5, right?!