Category Archives: design

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about the dates

Back in my wedding photography days, dates were super important. Just about everything I did revolved around the date of a couple’s wedding and those dates still stick in my head sometimes. I often booked weddings more than a year in advance and committed to that special date above all else. My schedule – my life, really – was all about those dates.

So when I was writing Goodbye, Magnolia, it was a no-brainer that the chapters would follow along with Maggie’s wedding photography schedule. And I stuck with the dates for the non-wedding chapters as well to keep things consistent. What was going on in Maggie’s life on this date? Oh, right … meetings. What happened to her on this date? Oh yeah, this was the day Simon showed up and blindsided her with his “brilliant” business proposal. And really, that’s sort of how I looked at my life at that time, too. Based on my work schedule. Based on the dates. Meetings and engagement sessions and weddings and tons and tons of photo editing.

Going with the dates rather than Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. may not be the norm, but it felt like the right choice. For the other two Cornerstone books, I actually used the dates as chapters during the writing process, too, so I could keep the timeline straight in my mind. But Hello, Forever wasn’t focused on Maggie’s wedding photography and in Until Then, Michelle isn’t a photographer, so it didn’t really make sense for those books.

Goodbye, Magnolia got spruced up a little recently with new fonts in the chapter titles (shown above). I’m loving the new look.

Hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes.
Happy reading!


You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)


I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.


something new

Happy weekend, guys! This is rare since I don’t usually post here on the weekends, but I got the itch to create something and I decided to share.

Last month, I read through the book of Proverbs. A chapter a day. One of the verses I came across was Proverbs 16:24, which says “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” I loved that and jotted it down in my notebook. And it crossed my mind that the verse and the honeycomb theme would be a cute idea for cards for my Project Life album. It’s been in the back of my mind for a few weeks now and on Friday evening, I dove in.

This is my first time designing cards to use in my albums and it was fun. Slow at times with lots of mistakes and scrapping things I didn’t like and redoing cards that needed a little extra something, but I enjoyed putting this together.

Click image to purchase

I’ve had an Etsy shop for several years, but haven’t really done much with it. Recently, I listed my pocket calendars and The ING journal and a print I designed there. So that’s where you’ll find this kit and any other future creations. :)

I put together this layout using my cards and pictures from my cousin Sarah’s wedding. The colors went so well together. I love how it turned out.

Click for larger image


Click for larger image


Click for larger image

SUPPLIES USED: (click the product name to purchase)
Honeycomb Pocket Scrapbooking Kit
Project Life Design A pocket pages

Have a wonderful Sunday!

hello, monday

I said I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies or make a space for the tree until after Thanksgiving.

But that’s exactly what we did this weekend. All of it!

The plan for Saturday was to have a day with my girl while the boys went to hang out with a friend of Jake’s. So we turned on Christmas music and danced around while straightening up the room and making a place for the tree. My brother, Rick, stopped by and hung out with us for a while, probably thinking we were crazy girls. When the guys got home, we watched Elf.

So, yeah. That happened.

I also spent some time working on a little something special for people who subscribe to my email mailing list. Anyone who subscribes from here on out will get this downloadable 8×10 print I designed using Psalm 91:4, one of the verses from my book, The Truth About Drew.

If you already subscribed, don’t worry. I will be including this in the next newsletter, too, which is coming later this week!

If you haven’t signed up yet, enter your email address below and watch for instructions in your email inbox. Don’t forget to click the link in the email to confirm your subscription, too.

And I would love to see what you do with the print. If you get a print and hang it up, show me! Email a picture or comment a link. :)

something up my sleeve

I have ideas. Fun stuff. Ten pages in a notebook completely filled with ideas. I recently listened to this podcast by Elise. She talked about having so many ideas and trying to find the one you should be doing. She suggested opening a notebook and at the top of each page, jotting down one idea you have, then going back to each idea, setting a timer for like ten minutes, and writing everything you can think of to implement that idea. And the one that you can’t stop writing about … that’s the one you should go for! I love that. It’s so simple, yet completely genius.

So I did it. Last month, I left a little early to pick up the kids and sat in my car with my notebook and wrote and wrote and wrote. I sometimes feel like I have so many ideas, things I’d like to try, things I know I would enjoy, things that could become a fun product to sell, that my brain is sort of exploding with too many ideas. This really helped to get some of them down on paper and out of my head so I could figure out what I’d like to try.

I’ve been toying with a couple ideas and have decided what I want to work on right now. Working on the design this week and soon I will share more.

Above are the colors I’m leaning toward using. They are one of my favorite color combinations. Might add a pink in there, too. Not sure yet.

I’m not giving up on writing books, by the way. Not at all. In fact, I recently came up with a pretty cool idea for another YA novel and I’m kind of itching to start writing that one. But I’m not very good at working on two books at once, so I think it will be something I start after editing of Goodbye, Magnolia is finished.

This project, however, gives me a little break from editing and something fun I can offer for the holidays season. :)

Stay tuned!

mom’s day card

How is it the middle of May already? I’m not complaining. The weather is lovely and we are in the teens in our “last day of school countdown” now. That’s just fine with me.

Thought I would share the little Mothers Day card I made for my Mom this year. I can’t remember where I saw a hand sewn card (Pinterest or on a blog perhaps!), but I liked the idea and I wanted to give it a try. I found some extra double-sided cardstock I had lying around (I think from the original Project Life kit) and trimmed it into a card size, folded it and trimmed a strip along the bottom of the front so the blue on the inside would show through and match the blue embroidery floss I chose to use. I wrote “Mom” in pencil in a pretty script and sketched some little x’s into flower shapes. Then I poked holes through the paper with my needle to make it easier to stitch and went for it.

I think it turned out pretty cute. :)


most of these were made with Heather Ann Designs kits. The 2012 cover used Project Life Seafoam digital kit paper. The 2011 used a kit from One Little Bird.

I have been making “year in review” books for my mom for several years now. Some have been very simple, two-page layout per month books. Some have been filled with pictures from every event in our year. Some were hard cover, some soft cover. Some thin and some very thick. I enjoy putting these together and looking back at the year. Today, I pulled the cover images from the past six years and put them side by side. Awwww, look at how my kids have grown.

I recently got the digital version of a couple of Project Life kits and I thought I would try out the Olive kit on my 2013 year-in-review. So I made a title page. Will probably add a family photo to that at the end of the year when I put together my cover image.

Then I made a page for each month’s section of the book using the cute little filler cards and some of the papers. My idea is to add one photo to each month’s page (like above). The photo above was from last year in January, but I did it as an example. I think each month’s photos will just be simple grids of photos – 4 or 6 or 9 depending on how many photos I want to include on each layout. We’ll see how it goes.

Guess this book’s design won’t be much of a surprise for you, Mom! ;)

a digital layout share

A few pictures from the first day of summer break.
Did a quick little layout last night.
Been a while since I made a page.
Feeling inspired to do more.

If only my back didn’t hurt so bad that I can’t sit at my computer for more than fifteen minutes at a time. :(

land i love

Wow! Two blog posts in one day! I haven’t done that in a while. But I wanted to share a little layout I put together with Heather’s new Land I Love kit, now available over on her site. It’s perfect, and not just for 4th of July pics. A couple of the girls on the design team are not from the US and they had no trouble using the kit. Check out the gallery HERE.

shutterfly feature

Look what popped up on my Google Alerts today!

One of the editors from Shutterfly contacted me a few months ago. They had seen my Year In Review album that I made for mom last year in their gallery and wanted to feature it on their site. I thought it would just be a picture of my album on the front page of the gallery section with a link or something, but they actually did an interview with me and everything. Click on the image above to go to the Shutterfly webpage and there is a whole article there. So fun! I was actually surprised to see it on there today because I didn’t think it was going to be up there for another couple months, but it was a happy surprise! I’ve been dying to share this and now that it’s online I can. :)

AJAXed with AWP