Friday, January 29, 2010

I heart the dollar store

First thing first - hope you all enjoy the new layout.  I have to thank my friend, Katwanya, for the link to a site that gives you pre-designed layouts that are a bit more diverse than what's on blogger alone.  Until I learn how to do html or buy dreamweaver, this will have to do!

Anyway, I've stayed away from writing for quite some time.  Not only did I have a cold that drained me of all energy last weekend, I also felt guilty and silly writing about my scrapbook room during the crisis in Haiti.  Knowing that that will be on-going process, I've decided it's time to push forward this effort.  I will NOT forget about what's going on in terms of relief, so you may be getting some sprinklings of information in between scrapbooking postings.

As the title suggests....I LOVE my local dollar store!

Why?  Because I can buy a variety of sizes of tupperware to use for storage......yup....I've started to package up things nicely.

Let's start with some shots (just to remind you) of the state that my room BEFORE:

ths is the north side of scrapbook room (pre-organization)

this is the south of the room (pre-organization)

Well, thanks to the tupperware and some cute labels, the south of the room currently looks like this!  This is the state of my will look even better soon, I promise!

I'm cleary not done (just look at that middle shelf on the second row), but there has been some significant progress.  I've taken to putting as much stuff as I can into themes.


For larger themes (like my christmas and baby theme items), I'm using larger bins from target.  For $5, they were a great find.  Nice flat top for easy stacking and cute design.

Every time I walk into my craft room now, I smile.  I'm not half way done yet, but's nice to see how easy it will be to find stuff in the future.  Amazing!

Don't really know why I sat on my butt for so long....should have done this years ago!

Friday, January 22, 2010

United Nations World Food Programme

 Aicha will be going on a rebuilding mission with the World Food Programme.  Click here to donate.

"Haiti we can see your Halo, I hope you don't fade away" - Beyonce

I've been neglecting the true purpose of my blog for quite some time....partly because it seems almost trivial to be blogging about cleaning up a mess of "extra" non-essential items when there is still so much sadness in Haiti.

I was about to relaunch my efforts tonight but then got side-swept by the beautiful Hope for Haiti fundraiser on TV.  I've cried my eyes out and donated more money.  I'm not a wealthy person by any means, but I have enough to share in times like these.  I haven't donated anything substantial, but I've donated to various organizations over the hope is that my mini-contributions will be compounded by the other mini-contributions out there.

My friend Dave is back from his trip.  He was fortunate to have students from his film program alive - can you even begin to imagine what that moment must have been like.  We must almost have hope!

Today, my friend James landed in Port-Au-Prince with Partners for Health.  James has several family members in Haiti.  I doubt he has a full account of everyone, but he is down there doing what he can as a physician.  I send him all my strength in courage.  What he'll see, what he'll experience....

Dear James - I hope you come back with personal stories of happiness (I pray that your family is okay), and with the incredible ability to convey the power of your culture....its beautiful strength and hope.

image from

image from

I haven't abandoned my original quest of organizing my room....but it just doesn't seem as important to talk about right now.

Until that day....please give what you can.

There will much to do in the months/years to come to help Haiti.  I have another friend, Aicha, who has signed up to go on rebuilding mission.  Once I know with which organization, I promise to post information so that you support her efforts.

I'm beyond humbled by the greatness of my friends.

I'm also very, very lucky to work at an organization who has pledged to match a portion of our contributions.  Thank you to the University of Chicago Medical Center for doing what they can.  So if you want me to donate to my agency on your behalf and mine, let me know and I'll increase my contribution.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Showing our Compassion

As I mentioned in my first blog, I have some fantastic, incredible friends.  Today, I want to talk about my friend, David.

Without going into great detail about David, I do want to shed some light on the great work he is a part of today (right now).  Dave is in the movie business...and he spent some significant time in the Dominican Republic not too long ago.  When the devastating quake hit Haiti, he didn't even think twice about whether or not he was going to be a part of convoy to bring supplies to the people.

You can imagine the pit in my stomach this morning when I heard that a large aftershock had hit the island.  Besides feeling absolute sadness for the people who have already endured so much pain, I also had a mini-panic moment.  This morning, I thought I had two friends in Haiti and I didn't know how to even begin finding out if they were ok.  I can't even imagine what it must feel like for those individuals who have all their family on the island.

I am one of the lucky people.  My one friend's medical deployment was delayed, so he was still safe at home with his beautiful wife.  I selfishly cheered for joy.

Dave was the one that made my hair grow grey.  With the beauty of smart phones, we had received heart wrenching updates from him via facebook for the past couple of days, but there were no recent I tried to not worry right away.  I shot him and email and waited....and waited....and waited.  Around lunchtime here, we got the facebook update....he was okay and ready to head in with the supplies.  Again, a selfish cheer for joy.

I know I shouldn't feel guilty that my friends are okay, but I do.  I do because there are so many people who will never know what happened to their friends, their siblings, their parents.  It just makes my heart so heavy.

Thankfully, Dave gave us a quick insight into what agencies he was able to see that were getting stuff through...I've made donations to both and shared that information with everyone I could.  I may not have the funds to make a million dollar donation, but I can make some contribution.

If you can also make a contribution or know people that can, please consider donating to one of the following agencies:


Sunday, January 17, 2010

I know, I know....

So I told myself that I would be trying to post something every night, so that I would stay on track.  Hmmmm....that hasn't worked out as well as I would like to, now is it?!

That's not to say, though, that my progress has stopped on the room or my wii fitness :)  I have made some new progress on the scrapbook - minor progress but progress nonetheless.  As for my wii passion, I'm happy to say that I have actually worked out 7 days in a row now.  That is CRAZY for me...I do not have good commitment levels when it comes to working out because I think it's boring.  Nintendo was genius when they created this.

Anyway, I'll try to post some new pics of the room tonight after I get home from the theater.  Going to go listen to one of my colleagues sing in Too Hot To Handel.  I'm really excited.  I've never been able to go support Laura since I've known her, so I'm really happy I can go today.  It should be great.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A little queasy

I don't think I'm gonna touch the scrapbook room tonight :(  I decided to get the h1n1 vaccine today at work (I work at a hospital so I figured my chance of exposure to it were greatly increased).  Anyway, I'm not feeling so hot...feeling a little nauseous since I got home. 

Yuck!  I rarely react to stuff but this one has left me a little queasy.

Hopefully, it won't turn into anything more severe, and I'll be good to go tomorrow.  I have a ton of stuff to do at work!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Below the chaos is beauty

While organizing my first section of the scrapbook shelf, I found some beautiful artwork made for me by two people I love to pieces. So the first thing I did, was find a place for them to be displayed. I'm sure they will both inspire me. If anything, they'll make me happy when I see them.

The top painting was made for me by my talented cousin, Marcela Chaidez de Nunez. While studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, she found a really cool niche when creating her pieces. I'll have to take a close-up one day to really showcase what I'm about to describe.

Marcy picks a book/magazine/newspaper and spend HOURS punching the pages with a hole puncher. She then empties out the hole puncher and uses the "dots" to create images or a textured background. She sometimes sews these dots together. I can't even begin to imagine how much time that takes! I'm sure she feels the same way about my scrapbooking.

In my calla lily painting , she then beautifully drew and painted the lillies for me in a red background. I remember she had asked me what color my bedroom was....she knew I would want to display this! Sorry it took so long, Marcy!

The finger painting below the calla lily painting was made for me by one of my godchildren. Jaiden, who lives in NH, sent me this great painting last year as a thank you for a birthday gift that I sent him. You can imagine my surprise when I found the envelope under the chaos of scrapbook supplies. I knew I had to put it up immediately

I can't wait to create scrapbook layouts with all these beautiful pieces of artwork around me!
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You can't stop me now!

I'm on a mission to get this scrapbook room in some sort of order so that I can start to work on some of the goals I mentioned in the very first post.

Sooooo...even though I just want to come home after work, eat dinner and veg out in front of some mindless TV, I'm committed to making the changes necessary to further some of my goals this year. I came home today and decided to work on another manageable portion of the supplies.

I have a group of friends who have given me stationary. I get funny, sweet and pretty stationary for my birthday and for Christmas. I'm TERRIBLE at sending cards. It's kind of ironic, really, considering I make cards for people to buy/send. Sometimes even I have to laugh at myself.

This cute collection of cards were thrown about the shelf, so I finally decided to put them in one box for easy access.

I also then decided to label my new bins and boxes in a beautiful fashion. What sense does it make to have purchased all these great supplies and not use them on me?! So that's what I did. I took some great rub-ons I have (their sort of shabby chic looking) and made some great labels. No more guessing!!!

Here is what one section of the once chaotic shelf now looks like.

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Oh the Ribbon....

Well, as I mentioned last goal was to organize my ribbon collection.  I mostly use the ribbon collection for scrapbooking, but I'll also sometimes delve into my collection to add that extra special touch to my gifts.  I LOVE ribbon....especially when you can find fun spools for $1 at Michaels and/or Hobby Lobby.  This does, however, also translate into bins and bins of ribbons that look like this.....

Not very cute, is it?  I must have had 4 bins that looked like this.  I tried to separate them in colors, so that I at least knew which bin to search in. Clearly, I wasn't very successful at it.

So I delved into searching for the best method out there.  Most scrapbookers use ribbon boxes like these:

Super cute, isn't it?  I found this one on, but you can find a similar version at most craft stores OR make your own.  The only problem with this method is that it doesn't account for (insert dramatic music here):

 Doesn't he look adorable and sweet?  This is Charlie.  Most of the time, he is absolutely adorable and sweet and boy oh boy, does he know how to sleep. 

Once the scrapbook supplies come out, however, he reverts to his childhood stage and come racing to see what I'm playing with.  These images don't even tell half of the story....

Charlie thought bubble: "Hmmmm....what are these?"

Charlie thought bubble: "It makes noise!"

So I needed to come up with a system that prevented Charlie from attacking the beautiful ribbons I purchase, and I wanted to keep his hair off everything.   So, I started with the following supplies...

We are in the process of relocating our office at work, and I found a bunch of file folder inserts for box bottom hanging files that we don't even have anymore.  In seeing this stack of cardboard, I knew I could put it to good use rather than tossing them out (my one green thing to do!).

I started by cutting the cardboard pieces into roughly 6 inch strips (in half).  I then, unspooled the ribbon I had (the wider ribbons) and taped one end to the cardboard piece like this:

Then the most tedious aspect of this process began....wrapping the ribbon around!  If the original spool of ribbon was large, I would cut it up into smaller sections so that the new wrapped board wouldn't be too fat.  In scrapbooking, you only really use about 12inch strips at maximum, so this didn't affect me too much.  It may become a problem if I decide to use some of this fun ribbon for gifts, but that's just on occasion.  So here is the start of a wrapped up board :

Each of these wrapped cardboard pieces were then placed in a medium sized tupperware bin.  I was able to organize them by color for ease in locating what I needed.

3.5 hours later (I had a LOT of ribbon), I had managed to condense my four bins of chaos into a large tupperware container like this (start applauding now, please!):

The smaller bin you see sitting on top is another ribbon storage system that allows you to put the spools in and allow the edges to hang over the edge.  Charlie clearly doesn't allow me the luxury of being able to display anything like that, so I need to store it away.  I've decided to use it to store my thinner and smaller spools of ribbon.

You could also use a smaller tupperware bin for the itty bitty ribbon (thin ribbon) and for the ones that come in flat packages because they are self-adhesive.  I have one smaller bin for these types of items.

Now I just need to label the outside of the boxes for when I put them in their place on the shelving unit.  No more opening boxes feverishly to see what's inside.  I will eventually have a beautifully organized space!

And what is tonight's project?  Hmmmm....don't quite know yet.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wii Fit Plus

So after spending a weekend in search of the Wii Fit Plus...I finally scored my own this morning before work.  With all the hype, I was scared to be too excited about breaking it out after work.  But who am I kidding..I couldn't wait to get home and set it all up!

Here's a new secret about me - I LOVE video games and I do not enjoy working out.  The Wii Fit is made for someone like me.  It unlocks new games (i.e. excercises) as you master some of the earlier ones.  Within my first half of hour playing, I unlocked the advanced level of parade marching.  I enjoyed it so much I had to force myself to turn it off.

For someone who doesn't work eagerness to unlock new stuff would have crippled me in the morning. Ha ha ha!

Anyway, my other goal for this evening is to organize my scrapbooking ribbons.  I'll post pictures tomorrow of the method I'm planning to use.  Hope it works the way I envision it will!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The clutter visualized

I promised that I would eventually post pictures of the maddening clutter that I have accumulated in the most unorganized fashion possible.  I moved all the crap that was laying around my house into the scrapbook room, and this is what it ended up looking like.  Ugh....I can't believe I'm posting these images!

Oh the beauty of divine fate!
My computer won't let me upload the images!  I really can't stop laughing right now.  I'll have to try to upload them tomorrow from my work computer.  I know you are all dying to see what I mean (wink, wink).  As mortified as I am to post them, I know I'll be even more proud to post the after photos!

As are two photos from the scrapbook room:

I've been inspired to get my butt of the couch by the TV show Hoarders.  By inspired, I really mean motivated.  I am well aware that there are many tools and supplies in my scrapbook room that I do not use I need to go through my stuff and either donate them or chuck them.

Donating them to my little cousins who love crafts will probably be the way to go...but I also do not want to clutter up my relatives' homes.

Maybe one day this year, I'll actually have a clear understanding of my inventory - supplies and tools.  Wish me luck on the scrapbooking organization!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Hmmm....33 doesn't feel so old, yet!  I'm about to go buy myself the wii I may be feeling old once I start using the darn thing.  LOL.  My body will remind me of my age in  no time.  I'll keep you all posted!

As I mentioned the other day, my scrapbooking clutter has taken over my house, so I started the "clean-up" process the other night.  I have yet to start the organizing, but at least the scrapbook supplies are making their way into their room.

I'm currently in the state of a quick clean up because my parents are coming to visit.  What a way to kick start the process...last thing I want is for my mom to walk in and start cleaning!  LOL...I often feel like a teenager when they come over.

Oh to finish cleaning!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh the clutter!

Like a true scrapbooker, I've managed to allow the supplies, tools and products to invade every aspect of my life.  The amount of stuff I own seems to be unmanageable because I've allowed for it to be in a state of constant chaos.

And living alone has become my excuse to let things get out of control to a whole new old roommates will surely recount stories of the scrapbooking invasion of the dining room table.  Imagine that...TEN FOLD.  Eek!

Until recently, I even had scrapbooking tools at my desk at work!

2010 will be the year of organization.  I'm too embarrassed to post pictures of the current state of my apartment, but I'll post some pics eventually of a toned down version of the chaos.  I promise, it will still be amazing to see.

Here is just a tiny example of what I mean:

Tonight, I'm removing any scrapbooking items from my bedroom into my scrapbooking room (yes, I have a whole room for supplies...yet the supplies are everywhere!).  Off I go...good night!

The beginning.....

I've been blessed with some extremely witty and talented friends who have inspired me to start my own blog.  Their willingness to share their humor and the craziness in their lives is humbling.  I know I definitely enjoy reading about their maddening, fun why not bring them into my life?

So why would anyone want to read about my life or what I do with it?

Well....I've been fortunate to have a great career and some awesome experiences.  I will often catch myself complaining about my life, but then I'll closely look at what I've done, where I've been, who surrounds me....and all complaints cease to exist.

I have a good life - an EXTREMELY good life.  Sure, I may have money management issues, I may want things that I can't afford, I may need a new car....complaint, want, complaint.  Blah!  As some point, you have to quit whining and enjoy the life you've been given.

So within my fabulous group of friends...who am I?  Without going into a major self-reflection mode, I'll use the one qualifier that separates me from most of my friends...I'm the crafty one in the group.

My number one craft is SCRAPBOOKING and I have spent countless hours trying to convince many of my friends to join me for a night scrapping.  In some cases, I have successfully converted the non-believers....but I also have the group of friends who would prefer to pay me to make things for them.  Lazy fools!  Hee hee (just kidding).

One of my best friends even helped me set up my own s-corporation, Just Remembers Scrapbooks Inc., so that I could profit from my creativity.  Since I work at a local hospital by day in Community Affairs, the most creative I can get there has to do with formatting newsletters and designing invitations for our events.  That clearly doesn't happen often, so I started to make albums for friends....friends who were event planners...friends who knew other event planners....and POOF!  I suddenly had a business.

Currently, my business is heavily weighted in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah circuit in Chicago.  As a Mexican-Catholic, this was the last cultural group I expected to be heavily engrossed in for expanding my business!  It's been a ton of fun though....these celebrations of the Bar Mitzvahs are no joke.  After so much work, these kids deserve the fantastic fun that their families shower them with.  I'm just lucky to be a small part of it.

In launching my business and making items for my friends, I have realized two things....

Number One
There are not enough products for specific ethnic/cultural groups and it is driving me crazy!  There are some limited items out there that are pretty good, but I often find that some of the stuff is very stereotypical.

Note to scrapbooking supplies developersThe Mexican culture is about much more than just sombreros, jalapenos and pinatas!  The Chinese culture is about much more than dragons and fortune cookies.  

I think you all get the point!  I've started to get creative when people ask for ethnic-centered items to try to help fill that void, so I hope to share some of those techniques with other scrapbookers.  My hope is that people reading this blog will point me in the direction of some cool products and/or new techniques.

Number Two
In the excitement of watching people's delight in receiving a scrapbook, I've failed myself miserably.  I DO NOT own a single scrapbook made by me, for me.

So my goal this year is to finally scrapbook SOMETHING for me!  Not quite sure what just yet...but I will make myself something. Oh the irony!

I hope you will all keep me on goes nothing!