CSI Case File #220: Family Recipe

The new year is looming, but there's still time to get one last case file solved.

Love 67 Forever Holiday Layout: Case File #219

Christmas holiday scrapbooking layout using Sizzix Big Shot dies, lots of layers, corrugated cardboard, burlap, and distressing

This month's case file challenge at CSI looked so enticing, and I knew the perfect photo to scrap, a favorite of Zae this last winter in the hat my mom knitted for him and his sweet little chequed flannel snow suit. It was one of his first times out in one of our Minnesota snows. {he seemed about as enthused as I am about the whole winter thing.}

Sunday Night Sketches 07

I was ill over Thanksgiving {my "feast" was a bread roll} so I didn't post this sketch. I have a bunch of 4x6 pictures to use, along with some new chipboard from Blue Fern Studios. I'm excited that I will now be including their lovely chipboard pieces in my Etsy kits! I just love Blue Fern chipboard, don't you?

I have so many kits I've been working on, I just have to have a photo day...that is really the hardest part! Zae loves to "help" {completely hinder} with everything, so I have to do most things after he goes to bed--which was fine this summer, but now that we're in the long dark of winter, time for natural light is over well before his bedtime, and I don't work with artificial light in my photography. Mr. 67 does really great night time work, but he uses a long shutter speed with low light. So, I have some experimenting to do {which I will probably accomplish just in time for summer}!

Here's the layout I created using this sketch:

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Us: CSI Case File #218

blue and yellow scrapbook page layout handmade flowers

I'm back again today to post the second of my entries for the CSI case files in November.

Your Joy: CSI Case File 217

This month was rough, with sickness sweeping through the house, but in the last few days I've been back to myself again. So I was excited to have enough time to get in on the November case files at CSI. This is my first entry, and I had SO. MUCH. FUN!

Since I was ill over Thanksgiving, I didn't quite get my fill of autumn colors. I don't usually scrap holidays or seasonally, but I do love autumn and autumn colors. I wanted a romantic rustic look; I love the juxtaposition of rough wood against golds and pearl elements. 

I heat embossed a piece of chipboard from Blue Fern Studios and the flower from Michaels with Blue Fern's antique gold embossing powder. 

The Case File

The Sketch

Here's the criteria, evidence, and clues I used:


  • pale yellow
  • khaki-olive
  • pear green
  • dark moss green
  • burnt orange/rust


  • wood background
  • heat embossing 
  • pen work
  • leaves
  • animals


From the November Prompts I chose #19: What inspires you? 

My answer to that is Zae's joy in discovering new things. It makes me look at the world in a different way, trying to see what might be interesting in the grain of the wood he's looking at, or feel the textures of the things around us. 

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check my next post for the second CSI challenge.

Sunday Night Sketches 06

I almost called the game due to inclement weather: it's been gray and drizzly here, and I have caught the cold Mr. 67 and Zae have had. I haven't even felt good enough to open my laptop. It's also switched viciously fast from being a beautiful, unseasonably warm fall here a twenty degree drop yesterday afternoon, with a wind that bites and seems to herald winter's arrival. {go away, Winter...just go away}.

Sunday Night Sketch 05 + Layout Reveal (Little Red Rocker)

I finally have my act together...and I'm posting my layout WITH my sketch for the first time since kicking off the Sunday Night Sketches series!

This is one of my favorite little kid pictures, taken by my dad, who always spotted those moments that would make a great photo, like this one of me and my cousin sitting in our little red rockers using the bench of a picnic table as our table.

My Purr Baby {Pawsitively Pets Challenge}

Short and sweet today, I wanted to share my layout based on my last sketch. I had a lot of fun at my sewing machine, as you can see. One of my favorite elements was this wavy stitch on the pink paper under the photo. Then I trimmed around it, because I didn't have a doily that was the right size but I wanted to give it that kind of effect: soft and feminine {no surprises there}. I used 3 or more patterned papers, inks, sprays, and a photo of my pet for the Paper Issues Pawsitively Pets challenge.

And, since it's Veterans Day, I'd like to thank all the vets for their service to our country. Both of my parents, and three of my uncles, are veterans of the Vietnam war. My parents were in the Air Force, which I think was part of their attraction to each other when they met. So be sure to thank all the vets in your life for the immense, and life-changing, sacrifice for our country! And have a great weekend :)

Sunday Night Sketches 04

Happy Sunday, everyone. It's time for another Sunday Night sketch, and my own personal challenge to step out of my comfort zone.

This sketch is about romance, femininity, and softness. I imagine the circle photo is almost like a telescope into someone's dreams, enclosed in the safety of the circles. The title is outside, like a narrator telling a story. Hmmm, I'm waxing poetic this evening. Since November is National Novel Writing Month {known as NaNoWriMo for all the struggling writers out there}, I'll cut this short and put words toward my daily word count goal.

Black and White and Pink All Over

My cousin's daughter is the sweetest, brightest little thing. She's soulful and beautiful to boot. I can't get enough of her! And she's four and she is plunking puzzle pieces in faster than any of us adults. And she loves her cousin Zae.

Be True 2 You - Sketch 03 Layout

As promised, here's my layout based on Sunday's sketch. I had two wallet sized photos I wanted to use, and since I've been experimenting with mixed media more lately, I wanted to incorporate that as well, so this layout was born. The other goal I had in mind was NOT to use pink. {so I went with purple instead--ha! a girl can only change so much} 

Sunday Night Sketches 03

Happy Sunday and almost Halloween! My pumpkin is going as a pumpkin this year, because that's what he picked out {that's also what he was last year, when he was just a little 5 week old pumpkin...}. I don't do themed layouts well, so no Halloween sketch. This week I had two wallet sized photos I wanted to use, so that was the driving factor behind this sketch. I've been very into mixed media lately, having all kinds of fun with sprays and paints, so this sketch is geared toward using those mediums.


I found this blank page that I created when I was pregnant with Zae...and felt I was having a girl. So what the heck, I stuck a picture of the boy on it and now the poor little dude is surrounded by pink. Ah well, it makes Mama happy!

Bubble Trouble (Sunday Night Sketch 02)

I used this week's Sunday Night Sketch and stepped out of my comfort zone, using circle photos, which I have never used before in all these years. I was missing out, because they were so fun to work with. I went a little more minimalist than the sketch, which surprised me, because I usually go for a floral, girly, rustic, shabby style.

Sunday Night Sketches: 02

Last Sunday I kicked off a new series, the Sunday Night Sketches (for all the Sunday football widows). I'm back with my second addition, and this one is a personal challenge, because I've never before used a circle photo. I do believe I'm missing out on a whole scrapping landscape, and I'm aiming to change that.

One thing I did forget to mention in last week's post is that I would love to see your layouts. Email me, link in the comments, or tag me @dearzae on Instagram.

All right, I'll keep this short and sweet. Have a wonderful week, scrappy friends. I'm going to cut some photos into circles.

You can see the layout I created using this sketch here: Bubble Trouble. 

Pancakes and {Boysenberry} Syrup

This layout features two of my favorite things in the world: my son and my cat {and pancakes}

I lost Sweet Woolly at the end of August, so of course I had to scrap this photo of them together. When I found this saying, "We Go Together Like Pancakes and Syrup," I knew I had to use it, because I am one of those weird people that gives their cats really strange nicknames {my first cat, Tigger, was Pielington}. Woolly was the only male out of our five cats {at the time}, so he was my boy...senberry. Yes, I called my poor cat Boysenberry. {He loved it}

A Day With Zae: 11 Months to ONE!

I am so behind on my Zae updates it's not at all funny. {after all, this blog is called Dear Zae...} As much as I love scrapbooking, it's memories with Zae that I want to capture most of all. After carpal tunnel surgery, I wasn't able to use my camera until recently, so my pictures are sadly limited. These last couple of months have been challenging, but I've been on a journey of self-forgiveness, and attempting to accept things that are out of my control, and that includes giving myself a break when health issues get in the way of productivity. But that doesn't mean I can slack off, especially when it comes to keeping up with the Mini's little achievements!

Kickoff! Sunday Night Sketches: 01

I've been organizing my digital files lately, which means I was completely distracted every time I found one that sparked my interest, so I ended up working on some sketches.

I was watching the Packers game last Sunday and thinking how funny it is that I watch more football than my husband {who is a Detroit "fan" if he had to choose one}. Most football-loving husbands would love to have a wife that didn't try and get him to leave the couch every Sunday, and I married one of three men in the world who doesn't care about sports. {opposites attract?}

Home is Where We Are Together

I wanted to share a quick layout and thank everyone who sent their kind thoughts, prayers, comments, and messages over the last week. I couldn't believe the response I had after my last post. {I didn't know that many people even read my blog...}

Seriously, though, I shared my struggles with grief, depression, anxiety, and pain because I wanted to stop hiding in my shell. I hadn't realized how heavy that thing was. I've been lugging it around so long I hadn't realized how much it was weighing on me.

We Own The Sky

If you've read my About page, or my previous post, you know I lost my dad suddenly in June, 2009, to suicide. I adored my dad, but I have had a hard time scrapping about him, even seven years later. This is one I did a while back. It is themed on his being a pilot. I don't even know where I found this gray airplane paper, but it was perfect for this layout.

I really started scrapping seriously when my cat died, who was 19 at the time. She died in 2011, but she had fallen sick with kidney problems only a couple months after my dad died. I bought her expensive medicine and in hindsight I kept her going too long. But she was my lifeline after I lost my dad. I know she went to kitty heaven for what she accomplished here on earth.

Happy {and Hurting...} All Over

Well, friends, you'll see some scrapbooking pictures, but I don't think I'll talk much about scrapbooking today. Today I need to write for catharsis.

A Selfie {From Ancient Times Before There Was a Name For Selfies}

Back when I bought my first digital camera, I took a few pictures of myself to try it out. Can I tell you how embarrassed I was at the idea of anyone finding out what I'd done? Nowadays you see people whipping out their selfie sticks (I'll admit, we have two in our house!) to get the perfect shot, but back when I was in college there was no such thing as a "selfie." {rather, there was no name for it and people didn't do it in public}

365 Days Later: Coming Home With Baby

Dear Zae,

You turned a year old and I can't believe it! Time has flown by in a haze of happiness. I can't believe it was over a year ago we were taking birthing classes and counting down the days of summer like they would never {yes, never, when you're talking about hauling around a bowling ball that sits on your bladder and sprouts feet for the express purpose of kicking your ribs} end.

Now I have to pause and take a breath as they fly past so fast I feel like I'm frantically trying to run around and catch them in my little butterfly net, even as another one flies by. I am still in disbelief that it was a whole year ago that, after patiently waiting for 11 days post-due-date, you were finally born into our world and lit up our lives after so much loss and heartache.

Waiting for you as others around us grew their own families...it's hard to explain those feelings unless you've been there. What was wrong with me? I knew I could be an awesome mom...I knew I could love a child the way all children should be loved. At times I questioned God's plan. How could there be mothers out there who throw their babies into trash bins, and I was childless? I'd shed so many tears waiting for you. On the day you made me a mama, my tears were of happiness.

The day we brought you home was an absolutely stunning September evening. The air was the perfect mix of warmth and golden sunshine. The trees were just starting to hint at the changing season. The birds were singing. Butterflies wafted on the wind...seventeen rainbows flashed across the sky. {that might possibly, maybe, just be how I remember it...} We couldn't have had a more beautiful day.

And apparently, you hated it.

My Buddy: My Creative Sketches August Challenge Scrapbook Layout

This layout was created for the August sketch challenge at My Creative Sketches. Here's the sketch:

I was inspired by this sketch because I have a hard time with titling and journaling my pages. I focus too much on pretty flowers and miss the most important aspects of scrapbooking: telling a story, recording memories, capturing the feeling of the moment behind the images. And since I'm still mourning the loss of "My Buddy" Woolly, I wanted to do something special for him.

Because I'm Happy {Clap Along If You Feel Like Happiness Is the Truth}

My little man got the biggest kick out of the pinwheel from Gramma Lisa. He was just laughing out loud with pure glee. Don't you wish you could put on baby-tinted glasses sometimes, and see the world as a kid again? Childhood is such a magical time. I am so thankful to my parents for providing me with such great memories. I hope I can do as well for this little punkin of mine.

Perfectly Imperfect

Today I wanted to share a scrapbook layout with a baby theme. I haven't done much with the baby theme. I tend to shy away from themed items because I tend to buy them before I really need them. But when I was pregnant, I knew I was going to do an all-out baby page.

And I really wanted to do something cheerful, since I've been pretty down since my Woolly love passed away a week ago, so working with these colors helped a little {a teeny tiny little little...I miss him so much}.

Happy September! Time For an Autumn Layout

It's almost September!!! I can't believe we are heading toward autumn, and Zae's first birthday in less than three weeks! In honor of my favorite season, I wanted to share this autumn themed layout to get you into the fall mood!

Before Zae came along, I had to content myself with scrapping pictures of my own childhood.{mainly because while I love taking pictures, I have a super hard time being in front of the camera} My dad was an avid photographer, back in the good old days of film, so at least he left me plenty to work with.

Fall was my dad's favorite time of year, and it's my favorite time of the year, too. I love the smell of the fallen leaves, the warm afternoons, the crispy-cool evenings, and fresh apple cider {my hometown is the Apple Capital of Minnesota, so spring is pretty awesome around here, too, when all the orchards are in full bloom!}. September is also Zae's birthday {he is going to be a year old and I am freaking out about that a little -- I didn't know your heart can burst with happiness but also be squeezed by disbelief and a little sadness}.

A Day With Zae: 10 Months

I am so behind this month. I've had a few health issues, doctor's appointments, physical therapy, a family reunion two states away--that I insisted on going to for my mom's sake even though I felt like death--and I ended up sleeping almost all of that trip in my mom's cousin's guest room...but at least my mom got to party it up with her cousins {which means staying up until 9:30 playing board games}.

I also had carpal tunnel surgery, which is slowly healing. But worse than any of that was the death of my beloved Woolly. It's hard to make it through the day without breaking down into blubbering mess. And I take no shame in that. I loved that cat. He loved me, and we had something special that only a cat person can understand. But...this post is about Zae...

Sweet Woolly: RIP My Fluffy Friend

A couple posts ago, I thought my next post would be about the county fair this year. I was spouting excuses left and right for falling off the face of the earth, and I've had even more to add to that list now, with a family reunion two states away, a funeral, and a week where I had a doctor's appointment or physical therapy every day.  Not to mention all those other reasons I previously mentioned.

Then I received a custom order for a special wedding album kit through my Etsy shop, so of course that took top priority. It was also a good distraction, because I lost my best fur friend this week. My best friend, fur or not {no one else showed up every single time I needed a metaphorical shoulder to cry on}.

The cat of changing names, "Cheeto" came into our lives back in 2003. My sister is absolutely infamous for bringing home pets {not for herself, but for other people}. Usually this meant my mom or I found homes for them, but on a visit home from nannying in Maryland, she visited an aunt who had a cat who had just had kittens with the Maine Coon down the road. So she brought home this little orange ball of fluff who instantly became the terror of the house. It wasn't long before "Cheeto" became known as NoNo, short for "Kitty! No! No!"

Bringing Gorgeous to a Special Custom Project

In my last post, I mentioned how crazy things have been here. What I didn't mention was that my cat, Woolly, was sick. It happened fast. I took him to the vet and they ran tests and it was exactly what I dreaded. Kidney failure. We euthanized him the next day. I loved that cat. He was my constant buddy, and my biggest hindrance in getting anything done helper.

While Woolly was sick, I was contacted by Melissa on Etsy, who requested a custom kit for her wedding album. She sent me a beautiful picture for inspiration. I loved her ivory lace gown and her navy and cornflower blue bouquet. She said her style is something of the traditional mixed with shabby chic and rustic. A woman after my own heart, I think. That is my favorite style! I was pulling out everything blue I had in stock!

How to Disappear Off the Face of the Earth {and a Distraction So You Don't Notice}

Firstly, I can't believe it's the middle of August. {Also, because this didn't really fit in anywhere else on topic, I'll be throwing in random pictures of Zae into the first part of this post because I don't really have any photos that scream "Here's all my excuses for not posting yet this month but hopefully some cuteness will distract you."}

This month just snuck up on me and before I even realized it wasn't July anymore, it was halfway through this month and September is looming, waving it's giant orange maple leaf flag while I'm still shaking the sand out of last year's beach bag.

I've pulled a disappearing act for the last few weeks, and I feel bad about it. I could sit here and make excuses for myself, because I have a few of them. Since I last posted, I've had a few health issues. I had a flare-up of fibromyalgia that hasn't hit me this hard for a while. My son quit nursing, which means that favorite aunt is back in the house. {I don't even have a guest room and she's making herself right at home!} Then, while preparing to go to a family reunion five hours away, I had to go into the clinic, already knowing I had an ear infection because I have narrow canals or some wonderful thing like that. It's been a problem in the past, but I started using drying drops religiously after showering and swimming. Then a couple years went by and I forgot the pain and annoyance and pretty soon the drops were in the back of the medicine cabinet and I'm back in the clinic on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when I should be enjoying time with Zae.

This Little Shy Baby: Ultrasound Layout

Gray and Yellow scrapbooking layout with stitching, bling, flowers, and button string

I have scrapped one other ultrasound, which wasn't a happy ending. I am happy to say that this ultrasound is of Zae, and of course that pregnancy had a happy ending. :) I love how he had his hands over his face. It's funny, because he loved to put his hands on his face and head when he just a little thing.

Spring {in Autumn}

Scrapbook layout page in pale blue, yellow, and green. Spring theme with butterflies and thickers alpha letters

This layout is of my mom shortly before she and my dad were married. I wanted to do something as young and fresh as my mom looks in this photo, so I went with a spring theme...thinking that this was shortly before their June 12th wedding. After I showed my mom the finished product, she told me it was actually the fall before they were married. So this is more of the metaphorical "spring" of their marriage.

Dream in Pink

This post is picture heavy...mainly because this is one of my favorite layouts! The photo is of my cousin's little girl, Eliza Marie. She is a beautiful little girl, most especially on the inside, but just as much on the outside. Needless to say, it's not at all hard to build a beautiful page around that face.

A Day With Zae: 9 Months

Dear Zae,

You're nine months old now, and you are so fun. You make every day seem new and exciting when I look at it through your eyes.

Fairest of Them All: Pink and Brown Layout With Handmade Flowers

Here's another layout of my lovely niece, Adeline, from the time we spent with them in Virginia. I only wish I could photograph her more often.

Grand Opening of the Dear Zae Etsy Shop! 40-60% off Until 7/15

Announcing the grand opening of my own little shop on Etsy!

Midsummer Dreams Come True
I've been talking about it on the blog for a while now, working toward it constantly, and finally {finally!!!!}, all my hard work has...come to something. I haven't quite hit "paid off" level yet, but I'm taking it bird by bird {which is Anne Lamott's way of getting through large projects, as referenced in her book, Bird By Bird, which I read for a writing class in college but works as a philosophy for all of life's challenges}.

I wrote my first blog post in March. Since then I've been building my blog, buying supplies, creating inventory, taking photos, and building a social media platform. All done during naps and after bedtime.
I have 30 kits to introduce the shop, with more incoming. I'm looking forward to mailing out my first package. Mostly, I am excited to get back to contributing to my family.