Bags Packed

SFO by Håkan Dahlström

I always dreamed of being a traveler.

Every time we pack our bags for a big adventure, I know how lucky we are.  I feel how lucky we are.  It’s not lost on me.

Every time we enter the airy, beautiful international terminal at SFO, I get so excited.  I grin when we go through security.  It never ever gets old.

I carry my passport like I have a backstage pass to Alice Cooper.  It’s the ultimate accessory, really.  Would you like to see my passport??  I have a passport and I’m using it to go somewhere cool!  Are you sure you don’t need to see it, Mr. TSA guy?

My bags are packed, I’m clutching my passport, and this time none of the trip includes work.

Wheels up and away we go.  We’re so lucky.

Follow along on Instagram.

Image by Håkan Dahlström via Creative Commons license.

On Being Decluttered

Marie Kondo Book

Some people spring clean.  We usually January-clean.  Or get-home-from-international-travel-clean.

Coming home from a trip that makes us realize we don’t need a lot of possessions (or, if you’re Mr. P, that you have to start making your own baked goods).  When we came home from Christmas in Europe, I started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Enter a recipe for us getting rid of a ton of our stuff.

This book is serious business.  I thought I was a decluttering pro already, but I was shocked at how much we got rid of.

There is a great review and synopsis of Kondo’s method here in the New York Times.

Every space in our home has been decluttered and organized.  Every closet, every shelf, every drawer.  Our clothes, food, kitchen, craft supplies, desk, bathroom, under the bed, movie and music collection, cleaning supplies, papers & bills, everything!

Lessons We Learned

Keep only what makes you happy and let go of the rest.  I used to keep things based on usefulness.  But why bother keeping something I just kind of like?  If you worry about getting rid of a perfectly good thing, Kondo has an answer for that in the book.

Take everything out.  Kondo says bringing items together in one space is the only way that you get a true sense of how much you have.  For example, we took every book we owned and put them in the living room together.

This is why moving sucks.  I kept saying that over and over.  Moving already sucks.  But moving really really sucks when you have to transport so much stuff.  Seeing possessions out in the living room made me realize how much we didn’t need.

What’s left over makes us happier.  I was a little skeptical, but Kondo is right.  My clothes closet only contains items I really love.  There are no “meh” outfits anymore.

Everything has a place!  This was earth-shattering.  After getting rid of stuff, there was space.  Space to grow, breathe, and homes for our things!  When I get home from work, my laptop bag has a space in the closet.  All of my craft supplies have neat shelf space and are not piled on top of each other.

We did a bit each Saturday and it took a little over a month.  We started with clothes and books, then moved to papers, then all 3 of our non-clothes closets, then the kitchen.

I wish I’d taken photos of the living room mid-purge.  I had no idea we’d get rid of so much!

On the Road to Tomorrowland

Disneyland Tomorrowland by Natalie Parker

Ten years ago today, on a beautiful February afternoon in Disneyland, he asked me to marry him.

We were in one of the passages of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the one that leads from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland.

When I look back on it now, I smile and think about how appropriate it was, on the road to Tomorrowland.  We ended up in that exact spot because he knew the castle was my favorite and the passages were the only areas where he could do it without a bunch of people staring — he was pretty nervous.

I smile every time I think of it.  That and how I couldn’t figure out why he had to go to the bathroom so often that day (he was checking for the ring in his pocket after every ride).

See how I scrapbooked our proposal story here in my wedding scrapbook.

Picture Story: Leftover Wine

Picture Story by Natalie Parker

After several hours of traveling we were finally home.

Wait.

After several months of feverish wedding planning, deciding to change jobs a month before the wedding, making all of our favors, decorations, and playlists, welcoming our family to town, having a rehearsal, getting ready, getting married, having a reception, dancing, late night hot dog run, up early the next morning, on a flight to Hawaii, checking out volcanoes, having a little beach time, taking a boat tour, going out to dinner, looking at the stars, hiking on the coast, trying to figure out where to return the rental car, back through security, back on planes, shuttle to the parking lot, in the car, Mr. P deciding at the last minute to carry me inside, we were finally home.  Exhausted.

After so much happening, it was peaceful to be home in the quiet.  Together.

We came home to find out parents had hung up leftover flowers to dry, stacked leftover wine in the garage, put leftover wedding cake in the fridge, and stacked our gifts and leftover favors nicely in the living room.  As orderly as anything could have been.

And so, on our first night of married life finally home, we popped open some leftover wine from the reception, curled up on the couch, and tucked into some KFC we picked up on the way home.

Sometimes you just need popcorn chicken.  Sometimes that’s just about perfect.

Picture Story is a new feature where I take a picture from an upcoming layout and tell its story.  Stay tuned for the layout featuring this story.  

Merry Christmas

Christmas 2013 by Natalie ParkerMerry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Peace on Earth!

This is easily my favorite part of the year and not just because it gives me an excuse to watch A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation as much as I want.

I wish you the happiest of holidays no matter what you celebrate or when you celebrate it.

Happy Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingI have so much to be thankful for this year I cannot begin to enumerate it.  And I’m thankful for the opportunity to take the step back and appreciate the good in life.

Whether you are in the US or not, I hope you have the chance today or sometime soon to spend time with loved ones and I hope the coming season and the coming year bring nothing but good things to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers!  I’m very thankful for all of you!

Crafty Movies

Crafty MoviesI’m curious, what do you watch or listen to during creative time?  Do you watch TV?  Listen to music?  Watch movies?  Enjoy the silence?

I watch a lot of TV and movies.  Well, I listen to a lot of TV and movies because I’m usually not actually looking at the TV.  I also try to clear off the DVR before I start watching movies.

In My DVD Player Right Now

I have a hand-me-down DVD player that holds 5 DVD’s.  This is awesome because I can be lazy and keep multiple movies in the DVD player without putting them away.

The only real rule here is that the movie has to be something I’ve seen before.  That way I can listen to it mindlessly and not have to worry about missing plot points.

  1. Little Women – The Winona Ryder version.  Of course no movie is completely true to the book, but I find this one to be the closest.
  2. Notting Hill – I could watch this movie over and over again and I’m not sure why. I have a very high bar for romantic comedies and they usually disappoint me.
  3. Pride and Prejudice (2 discs) – The BBC version.  Colin Firth is and always will be the only Mr. Darcy in my book.
  4. The Royal Wedding – As in Will and Kate, BBC version.  I got this for Christmas and it is awesome (and finally allowed me to delete the wedding coverage from the DVR).

I’m not going to get into what’s on my DVR.  Let’s just say I watch a lot of bad cable reality TV.

New Year’s Resolution

New Year's Craft ResolutionI actually don’t make new Year’s resolutions.  Not because I feel above it all or anything, I just never think about it.

How about a crafty new year’s resolution?  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about crafts and creative time.  I have a lot of exciting things in life planned for 2012 and fitting in creative time will be a challenge.  Expect a few more posts about this as the year goes on.

Creative time is precious and I don’t think I could ever possibly have enough.  I realized what bits of creative time I do have I should guard.  So here it goes:

Crafty New Year’s Resolution:
No Email or Social Networking During Creative Time

Normally, when I work on a project, I probably check my email several times.  I can check my email from anywhere.  I can’t work on creative projects from anywhere.

Sure, it probably won’t be an absolute ban and I’m okay with that.  The mantra above is easier to repeat to myself than “cut down messing around on the computer as much as possible during creative time except when it’s really important.”

Are you making any crafty new year’s resolutions?  If not something formal, do you have any crafty goals this year?

Note:  I’ve updated my Links page, which includes links to blogs I read.  It’s a new year!  Head on over there to check out blogs I love and try some new ones on for size.

Goodbye Twenty Eleven

2011, my what a year it was!

I have many things to be thankful for and like to take moments like this to think about all the great things I got to do and all the reasons why I’m very lucky.

I consider myself lucky for the big things, such as taking a trip to Egypt and Jordan in March, and little things like finding awesome scrapbooking bloggers that I now read daily.  Not everything was rosy and a fair amount was stressful, but I prefer to dwell on the good (and I’m not usually a positive person).

2012, nice to meet you!  2012 is going to be packed, packed I tell you, with all sorts of fun things happening in my life.  And while I see myself going lots of places, my favorite place to be on New Year’s Day is sitting on the couch at home with my husband watching football.  For all of those things, I’m truly thankful.