Thursday, June 23, 2016

live inspired: designer, lilith eeckels

My apologies for not posting last week. I was traveling and had limited time to record and my guest had technical difficulties aka no internet connection. Thankfully we did connect this week and the results are very worth the wait, in my opinion!

This week, I'm talking to former Two Peas in a Bucket Garden Girl, Lilith Eeckels. Lilith and I discuss why she stepped away from design teams for a while, how her mood affects her scrapbooking style, why Project Life didn't work for her and documenting our journey through life with meaningful memory keeping.

As Lilith and I talked during the taping, I just felt like our paths crossed at exactly the right moment. I just finished creating a class all about journaling and making your memory keeping meaningful and I realized some things listening to her that I want to add to the class. As I said in the show, I've been using the word "heartfelt" for a while with regard to how I want my journaling to be written but I really like the word "personal" to describe how I want to approach my memory keeping. I'll be thinking of how I can put that into very practical application to go along with the lessons in the class.

I could have continued to talk to Lilith for a long, long time. She is truly a joy to know. Now that I know her heart, I'm looking forward to watching more of her videos to see her thoughts in action. I know you'll want to as well so here are links to Lilith online:

Blog: Lilith and Scrap
YouTube: Lilith Eeckels (109 Videos)
Instagram: lilitheeckels
Design Team: Altenew Blog

Two Peas YouTube Channel

Subscribe to Live Inspired in iTunes here.

If you enjoyed this episode, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! It really helps give me motivation to continue providing free content when I know you're supporting me. To each of you who support me with your dollars and purchase my classes, a big special thanks to you. I appreciate you more than you can ever know.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

live inspired: mixed media artist, heather greenwood

This week, on the Live Inspired podcast, I'm talking to my friend, Heather Greenwood, about her contributions to the new book, "101 More Mixed Media Techniques" and her work with Shanna Noel and Illustrated Faith. We also discuss how Heather stays organized using multiple planners, her recent wellness journey and saying "no" unless you can say "heck yes!"

Heather's resolution to only say "heck yes!" or "no" to projects that come her way really hit home for me. I've been thinking a lot this week about what makes me want to jump on the bed and say "heck yes." I think that will be on my mind and heart for weeks to come. I know podcasting is on that list. Conversations like this one are always good for my soul.

I hope you are inspired to fill your days with things that bring you fulfillment and that you look up Heather's awesome mixed media tutorials and get your hands messy this week!! I know I'm looking forward to the next entry in my journaling Bible to illustrate my faith.

Here's where you can find Heather online:

Instagram: heathergw

Be sure to check out "101 More Mixed Media Techniques" at this link. This is an affiliate link and if you purchase anything at Amazon after entering through this link, it will help to support my podcasts so thanks in advance for doing that!

If you enjoyed this episode, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

live inspired: taking the leap with victoria marie

This week, on the Live Inspired podcast, my friend, Victoria Marie, and I discuss her leap into working full-time in the creative industry. Victoria gives us the 411 on all her plans for productivity in 2016 and beyond. If you're interested in teaching classes online or growing a following to begin your own creative journey, this is the show for you!

I love Victoria's enthusiasm and ordered way of thinking! She makes me want to step up my game and be a bit more organized with my long-term planning. I think planning and goals are so essential to success, especially when working for yourself.

If you'd like to connect with Victoria Marie, follow these links. I know you're going to love her work!

Victoria Marie Facebook Group
Victoria Marie Blog
Victoria Marie on Instagram

If you enjoyed this episode, please let me know in the comments below. I'm scheduling guests for this summer so I'd love to hear who your favorite crafters are.

Thanks so much for listening!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

live inspired: brandi kincaid: thinker. maker. sharer.

This week on the Live Inspired podcast, I am so excited to share with you my heart to heart conversation with Brandi Kincaid about her utterly delightful art and soul inspiring words. If you do not already follow Brandi, before you listen to this episode, I recommend you check her out on Instagram at @brandeye8. Seeing her work and reading the letters she wrote to herself during her "week in the life" recently will give you more perspective on our conversation.

Brandi said so many amazing things in our conversation but one of the things you'll hear right off the bat is that "she gives herself grace" for her memory keeping and creative work. I think that's so important! Those words "giving myself grace" makes me kind of feel like I can breathe a deep breathe, sigh and everything will be okay. Creative work is supposed to be fun and never stressful, even when it's your job.

I just absolutely adore Brandi's illustrations and her memory keeping so I hope you'll take time to visit her Instagram account and her blog. I am just tickled pink I found such an amazing source of inspiration and it makes me wonder who else is out there that I'm missing out on!

If you know of someone who is super inspiring - let me know in the comments below. Who makes your heart go pitter-patter when it comes to their creativity? Tell me! I need to know! :)

Thanks for listening - have an awesome day!

Friday, May 20, 2016

live inspired: inspiration everywhere with jen schow

This week, on the Live Inspired podcast, I'm talking to Crafty Jen Schow about her recent YouTube series, "Inspiration is Everywhere." We discuss each idea from the series and how we can use her ideas to fuel our creativity for crafting.

It's always fun to talk to Jen since because she's so full of creative ideas. I hope you listen and leave feeling inspired yourself! :)

If you'd like information on the cruise we are teaching on this fall, click the image below!

Be sure to visit Jen's blog for a boatload of inspiration on a regular basis!!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

what's going on

I mentioned some of my upcoming events and new classes in the Scrap Gals podcast and promised to put links here for those who want more info so here it is!

Join me at the ScrapHappy Reunion in Grapevine, Texas, June 17-19, 2016
We will crop and have a lot of fun. I'll be teaching a brand new class called "Journal Your Life Workshop" and a hand lettering class (both traditional and brush lettering will be covered and put into action). 

You must be a ScrapHappy member to attend. To become a member, use this link.

Join me on the PL Junkies Cruise & Crop, October 2-9, 2016

Crafty Jen Schow and I will be instructors on this cruise which includes several days of crop time, plus excursions in Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico! I'll be teaching a class on Project Life Design and another class which I'll announce soon. 

There is a $250 crafting fee in addition to the cruise fee. To book your trip or find out more info, visit this link.

Check out my new class with Illustrated Faith - Follow Your Arrow: Documenting Your Testimony

This class is available now at this link. I share step-by-step how to create a mini-album to document your journey of faith. Heather Greenwood and Shanna Noel also share a project and I know you will love the content of this class.

I'm getting a lot of great feedback on my latest class, The Ins and Outs of Titles. This is a five-lesson class for the low price of only $10 so you can try out my teaching style and see what you think! The class is available at this link or click the image below.

Exciting things are in the works, including:
- Ready, Sketch, Go! Volume 2 (available late June)
- Journal Your Life (available early July)

I hope you're staying crafty and having fun doing so. Live Inspired is still on a break but I'll be back next week with a new episode. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

live inspired: kelly purkey, part one and two

This week and last, on the Live Inspired podcastI interviewed someone I have admired for many years....Kelly Purkey. Kelly lives a life many of us only dream about, traveling often and seeing new places and having new adventures. She somehow finds time to design her own line of stamps and products perfect for documenting travel as well as everyday life. It was truly a delight to hear about her travels and her design work. 

I'd like to say thank you to Kelly for answering all my questions and for sharing your amazing life and design skills with us!

Be sure to check out Kelly's shop full of amazing products for the modern day memory keeper and use the code INSPIRED20 to receive 20% off your entire purchase through 5/1/16.

Here's Part One of the interview:

Here's Part Two of the interview:

I hope you enjoyed this two part interview as much as I did. If you're looking for inspiration, I have a couple of new classes you might be interested in: The Ins and Outs of Titles and Follow Your Arrow: Documenting Your Testimony (with Shanna Noel, Heather Greenwood and myself). You can save $5 on Follow Your Arrow, only through May 1st by using the coupon code "followyourarrow." 

You can find more info by clicking either of these images:

Will be off on a holiday for the next two weeks! See you back here the second week of May!

Monday, April 18, 2016

why I love the disney dining plan

I had a discussion with a friend this weekend about the Disney Dining Plan. I tried to convince her of its merit and that it is not as much about the money we save as the convenience of having an all-inclusive trip planned. 

1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian

I believe the Disney Dining Plan allows us to have a different experience at Disney than those without it (unless those people have unlimited funds but who does, right?). With the dining plan, we schedule a lovely sit down meal every evening and many of those include character interaction. 

Caroline and Prince Charming - 1900 Park Fare

The meals are at a different resort each night and I build time into our schedule to relax in the lobby of a resort that I wouldn't see without a dining reservation there.

Lobby of The Grand Floridian

During our time at the parks, we rarely stand in line for an autograph because we know we will see almost all of the princesses (more than once) and the entire Mickey Mouse gang. You could schedule your dining in such a way that you also see Stitch, Winnie the Pooh and more. I hate standing in line for an autograph, I want to ride rides or shop or see a show. Also, with a long line of people behind you, the character experience is very quick. At dinner, the characters come over and talk to you and interact with you and your child and make you all feel very special.

Chef Mickey's at The Contemporary

There's just nothing like it. The food is great and I always book the earliest dinner reservation available (often 4:55 pm) so the characters are fresh and so is the food!

Some of our favorite moments of all our Disney trips have been at these dinners. We sit and enjoy dinner and relax and we never feel rushed.

O'Hana at The Polynesian (our table overlooked Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom)

The characters and at the non-character meal, the servers, have always been extra nice to us probably because we're so happy to be there and we never complain. 

Akershus in Epcot's World Showcase (Norway) even includes a free photo package with a 5x7, 4x6's and wallets! It's always with Belle in her yellow dress.

This is a photo of the photo thus the poor quality.

So you may be thinking, "Well DO you save money on the dining plan?" 

The answer is YES! I do. I always do. I know that for sure.

We leave in 12 days so I have every meal scheduled and know where we will be eating every day. Here's the cost breakdown (from an online Disney Dining calculator) but keep in mind, this is an average cost. I just actually ordered our food online (today) at Be Our Guest and it came to $70.52 vs. the $51.95 you see here. So this is a very low approximation.

This is the average cost projection for our meals (for three people):

5/1 - Pop Century Food Court - $46.42
5/2 - Sunshine Seasons at Epcot - $49.97
5/2 - Biergarten at Epcot - $143.23
5/3 - Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom - $51.95 (actual cost $70.52)
5/3 - 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian - $158.31
5/4 - Pop Century Food Court - $46.20
5/4 - O'Hana at The Polynesian - $150.77
5/5 - Columbia Harbor House at Magic Kingdom - $42.37
5/5 - Chef Mickey's at The Contemporary - $177.18
5/6 - Sci Fi Theater Restaurant at Hollywood Studios - $81.50
5/6 - Captain Cook's at The Polynesian (self-serve Dole Whip!) - $39.87
5/7 - Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge - $86.69

With every meal, you get an entree, drink AND dessert. We do not eat dessert sometimes at lunch so we ask for carrots or grapes and put those in our bag for later. You also get a snack so the cost of the dining plan includes a snack for each of us each day. That is not reflected in the cost above. Those snacks can be as much as $6 each snack so that's about an additional $100 we would spend just on snacks if we were to purchase them ourselves.

So with the calculator, the cost for the plan (one quick service, one table service, one snack plan) is $1,267.63 and if I paid out of pocket, according to the calculator, the cost is $1,074.46. It says I am spending $193.17 more with the plan but here's why I know for sure that is wrong. 

First of all, I've figured it up exactly what we spent on each trip and we always come out ahead with snacks and every meal and I will do that again and do a follow up blog post.

Secondly, as I showed you above, just the cost of Be Our Guest was off by $20. I know that in some of the restaurants we eat at on the plan, I order the most expensive meal and some people order a low priced meal. If I were paying out of pocket, I would order the lowest priced meal so you can't really calculate the cost by using an average. You have to know how you eat and what you order. 

Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom

But here's the truth of it. Even if I thought I was spending almost $200 more for the plan (I'm not): it would be worth it. One reason is: I pay for it up front which means our entire trip is all-inclusive. (If you've ever been on a cruise, you'll understand the beauty of that.) So all of our dining and snacks for the entire day is paid for up front. I do take tip money but other than that, I walk in with a gift card in my pocket for souvenirs and the entire trip is paid for. I don't have to consider how much something will cost. I just sit down and order like a princess. Now when does that ever happen in real life? (Then an actual princess comes over to talk to me while I'm eating.)

You might say, "Well my kids just don't eat enough to pay for that, we split meals." I understand that. This is for kids who are healthy eaters or above 12 and/or adults. I have to think about the cost of every meal, every day because we eat out every day and it adds up quick! So at Disney, I don't want to think about "what will this cost me?" because let's face it, I'm probably NOT going to be okay with the Chef Mickey buffet costing $177 for three people. Are you kidding me? What are we 

So this brings me to another plus on the side of the dining plan. Because you're not worried about the cost when your bill comes, you just eat and enjoy. You're not physically laying out $177 for three buffets. That would smart!!! Ouch!!! I can't do it!!! So I eat. I enjoy. Mickey comes over to see me. I walk out happy. It's less stress, especially if you're a penny pincher. (I am not but I'm not wealthy either.)

This is my favorite dessert at 1900 Park Fare (at any Disney restaurant, actually). I love every bite but would I love it knowing I had to get out $158 and pay for it? No. I don't think I could enjoy it. I just love my money more than that. ha!

I just figure if I'm going to Disney anyway and I stay in the value resort (Pop Century, adorable, clean, magical) then I may as well splurge a little on dining. It's TOTALLY WORTH IT! Trust me, you'll have something to look forward to every evening. A respite during an overly scheduled, busy, fight the crowds vacation. You'll be treated well and feel like royalty. The food is delish and the characters amazing. You'll have more time to ride rides and you'll pass the suckers in the line for Cinderella and think, "Ha! Saw her twice already at dinner." 

Most of all....your kids will love it. You will love it. I just can't say it enough. Disney is a different experience with the dining plan and character meals and time built in to rest before and after.

So here's the dining plan calculator but trust me when I say, this is a lowball figure you're getting... Disney Dining Plan Calculator. I'm going to try a couple different ones and I'm going to calculate every dime we spend and prove to you I am right but I will end this as I started it, it's not about the money - it's about the experience!

12 days and counting!

Friday, April 15, 2016

a new self-paced, online class

I'm super excited to announce the release of my newest class, "The Ins and Outs of Titles." This class is priced super low at only $10 so that those of you who have never taken a class from me before can try out my teaching style. Those of you who are loyal supporters of my classes will enjoy this lower rate, I'm sure.

This self-paced class includes:
  • Five never before seen layouts created exclusively for each concept taught
  • Five lessons with more than 2 hours of video instruction
  • Seven page .pdf handout with written reminders of the lessons taught in this class
  • Six exclusive sketches to help you create great titles for your layouts
  • Links to my most-used free fonts for electronic die cutting
  • A sneak peek at my "coming soon" classes

Here's what you can expect to learn:
  • new options on what products work best for great titles
  • a fresh approach to designing your titles
  • an understanding of how to make your title super readable
  • the skills to find an authentic title for your page
  • how to find a good spot for your title
  • an arsenal of go-to page designs with a designated title spot
  • how to discover new title ideas in old magazines and idea books
  • a desire to tell a story on a page and pair it with a title for that specific moment
  • a step-by-step guide to creating a great title on your pages
  • how I choose a story and title for my photos

I've had a great first day of sales so thank you to all who have already purchased!! If you'd like to purchase, click this link

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have so leave a comment if you have one. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

live inspired: let's get creative's suzy west

This week, on the Live Inspired podcast, I'm talking to designer, educator and event coordinator, Suzy West. Suzy, who has traveled the world teaching scrapbooking, is currently hosting events called "Let's Get Creative" at major manufacturers and scrapbook stores across the country. Her story about getting started in the industry is fascinating and fun to hear.

I had fun talking to Suzy and hearing all about her scrappy adventures. Ironically, as I was editing the show, one of my friends posted about going to an event where Suzy is teaching. They sound like a lot of fun! If you'd like to get on Suzy's mailing list to hear more about her events, visit her Facebook page for a link to her newsletter sign up or e-mail her at

I'm counting down the hours until the release of my newest class, "The Ins and Outs of Titles!" Check back here tomorrow for a list of what is included in the class and a link to purchase!

Have a great day!