Catching up . . . and readying myself for 2014

Hi everyone! Things are finally starting to wind down here from the holidays and snow days from school, so I'm about to get started on what I'm planning on being a terrific year! Lots of things have changed for me over the past year. I have new priorities in life. Those new priorities have affected every facet of my being- my home life, my work life, my vision on what life is supposed to be and how we are to live it.

In previous years, I've never commited to a OWL (One Little Word) coined by the infinitely talented and inspiring Ali Edwards. I've always seen the benefit in it, but I've never felt like I really had it in me to commit to living it out in real life - therefore I didn't want to set myself up for inevitable failure. However, my life has irrevocably changed. And now, I do feel that I can commit and will commit, to a word this year. I have my word, and I will share it with you very soon, along with all of my reasons for choosing it, and my vision for how I plan to live it out in 2014.

First, let's start to wrap things up for 2013.

1) I want to thank each and every on of you who patiently waited for me to come out from what was an incredibly difficult first part of the year. The entire year of 2013, was honestly very difficult. But it was in the first 4 months of 2013, that I was incapable of really doing anything with this blog, work, or anything related to memory keeping at all. You sent me countless encouraging emails, comments and messages. I didn't always respond, but I assure you, I read each and every one of them, and I needed them. I needed to know that this one little part of my life wasn't going to change or be ripped away from me. In the beginning, I wasn't certain I'd be able to come back in any capacity to sell or promote keeping wonderful, living memories, but you still you encouraged me. Sometimes you implored me to return. Those notes are honestly what I kept remembering and they are what kept me going. Knowing that people actually wanted to see me, they missed me-that I may have something unique and special to offer people outside and beyond the confines of my own home and community. And do what I love on top of it. That is what encouraged me to slowly start back. So, for that, I thank you.

2) My scrapbooking role has changed. In very early January of 2013, I went from having my dream job at Two Peas in a Bucket going into my second year, being the DT Coordinator of Lily Bee Design with an upcoming debut release at CHA-W 2013, to having none of it. I understood why things had to be the way they were - business has to move forward, and it was CHA time, I understood and ultimately I made the decisions based on that knowledge. But in addition to everything else that was going on in life, I was broken hearted. I had worked so very hard for the last several years to make each of those things a reality and now they were  gone. I often put in 40-60 hours per week into my hobby/work - including devoting entire weekends away from my family to work towards my goals. It was my business, my passion,  and my future. But life had different plans, I had to learn to accept that.

October Afternoon was fantastic to me. They told me to take as much time as I needed and that they would be waiting for me to come back and join them when I was ready. And I did just that. My first layout back, though, I thought, was pretty ho-hum, and I felt bad about that. But, as I got my footing again, things started to come back and creativity started to flow again. I will forever be grateful to OA because of their compassion and faith in me during one of the most traumatic times in my life. Thank you Kim and Jon! ;)

In August, I received a message from Kristen of Lily Bee Design. She wanted me to develop a line of project life-type cards for her. I was thrilled to say the least! I felt like things may just swing back for me. It had now been 8 months and I was ready for things to start moving again. And this was perfect for me. A smallish project, that would get my feet wet into the product development and design side of the industry. Ultimately, what started as 36 cards turned into the mini collection you all know now as Urban Autumn. I am very proud of that collection and I will always be grateful to Kristen for reaching out to me and having the faith in me to put a collection together that could represent her brand and put me out there as a designer in my own right. Kristen also gave me th opportunity to design a collection for CHA-W 2014, however I felt that I needed to decline, as my priorities for this Christmas and holiday season needed to take precedent with my family vs. with work. I don't regret that decision, as the time spent with my family this season have been some of my most special ones to date. I wish Kristen and Lily Bee Design the best of luck at CHA next week, along with her adorable new collection, "Everyday". Thank you, Kristen for everything! xo

Upon completion of Urban Autumn, I decided to try something else out, which was to open my own design shop. Fair Isle was the first collection in my shop and I'm excited about the possibilities that may come out of creating my own collections through that little space on the interweb. Thank you to everyone who purchased Fair Isle! I'm so thrilled you liked it! :)

3) My life and priorities have changed. I look at every moment with my family so differently. As a stay-at-home-mom for so many years/ and a work-at-home-mom for many as well, I never thought I could love my children or my family more, but I do. You just look at each moment, so more profoundly. Some things that felt heavy before, just don't anymore. Life is simply too short and some things aren't worth worrying about in the big picture.

I value my friendships so much more and I invest in them now, whereas before I really didn't - they came far after the priority of work and family. There were many reasons for this, of which I won't go into, but most of it has to do with my priorities. Now they are SO important and I treasure those friends, both old and new, who have been in my life and touch my heart each day.

I am important. Before, everything that was good for me came after family and work. Now, I put myself right up there with family. My family and me come first. I make time several times/week to go to kickboxing classes. That, in-and-of-itself has changed my life. I see things through new glasses. I have a wonderful trainer who lives the true martial arts way, and he is a fantastic teacher both from the exercise perspective as well as the spiritual perspective. I value this part of my life so much and it's now a part of who I am - a part of my new normal.

I am committed to investing in my community. We are galvanized, here in Newtown, into a community. It wasn't always that way, at least I didn't think so. But it truly is now. And I consciously play my small part in bettering our community by regularly volunteering and by having my kids to do the same to make a difference in our community. As I continue and my family continues down our personal path through this life, it is our hope and desire that our small contibution of time and effort into our community has made a difference in bettering our world in some small way.


So much has changed. So much has been difficult. But, so much has been beautiful. I'm looking forward to this upcoming year with this new perspective and resolve to live the best life yet in 2014!


And now, here's a look at some of my last projects from 2013 for October Afternoon. 




This project was from last week's tutorial on creating a year-in-review page using the new OA 12x12, 3x3" divided page protectors. OA_BEYONDMEASURE_LO_AMYHELLER_121613And this project was from my challenge on creating a page documenting the weather, found here




Let's move on to 2014!

I'm ready for it! What it holds in store, I have no idea! But I'm excited about the possibilities!!!


I do know a few things ;)

1) I am starting a blog series, here, that is all about stash busting!!! YAY!

2) I am starting Project Life - eeeps!

3) I am creating a new collection for my shop! Whoop whoop!!

4) I have 12 boxes of product that I am JUST ABOUT READY to giveaway here on the blog! hip-hip-hooray!!


So stay tuned!! I'm photographing my product boxes today and will have them on the blog tomorrow! So be on the look out for that!

Again, than you so much to everyone and Happy 2014! Here's to what may be!! Cheers! xo