One Little Word: Worthy

There’s this thing in scrapbooking – a project, I guess you’d call it – called One Little Word. The idea is to pick a single word which will be the focus of your energy in the next year. There’s a whole online course associated with it to guide you in implementing your word and, as it is a scrapbooking thing, in creating an album to record your implementation journey.

After going back and forth for a few days, I decided to participate this year. In a way, I participated last year by choosing to focus on recording my life. Sure, I wasn’t very successful in that I blogged less and took fewer photos but I did think about it more often and got quite a few scrapbook pages under my belt.

But, this year, I really want to focus on living out my word. And, you guessed it, I chose WORTHY.

All my life, I’ve never really been convinced I’m worth it. I get glimmers that maybe I’m smart of I’m pretty or I’m creative. But I let myself forget all that as soon as I see someone who’s better than me at whatever it is. And, you know what, there will most always be someone better at me than whatever that thing of the moment is. But, I am WORTHY because I’m the best person out there at being Angela Leese. I’m cynical and dorky and passionate and ungraceful and talk too much and too fast. But, that’s who I am.

I did sign up for that online class associated with OLW, as the cool kids call it, and hope to post each month about my response to the assignments. I’ll be back tomorrow, at least – well, the WordPress widget that auto-posts at an assigned time will be – to talk about my intentions for the next year. And, maybe after that, I’ll talk about how I’m actually implementing them. For now, I’m off to sit and think about this whole one word thing and all it will hold for me in 2013.

Giving up 2012 / Remembering worth 2013

2012 was the year of giving up…and not in a I-will-no-longer-eat-fast-food sort of way. In a I-can’t-commit-to-anything sort of way. I was restless and unfocused and, overall, uninspired. At some point in the year I started then later gave up on scrapbooking, wearing makeup, photography, writing a memoir, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, blogging, sewing, running, watching the X-Files, embroidery. Only thing I really stuck to was reading (three cheers for the Kindle) and dying my hair (though partly because of the appointments made in advance).

I felt not good enough. My photos weren’t as great as those of others on Flickr or Instagram, especially because I wasn’t willing to dress up in a funny costume and never figured out how to clone myself with software. My current life had no excitement to blog about and my past was too boring to write about even within the confines of the notebooks that no one ever sees. My cross stitch was mundane; my attempts at a TARDIS embroidery untidy. My knitting (except socks, everyone always love their handknit socks) was unwanted. My attempts at cooking, bland. My attempts to mentor the students at FIRST, ineffective. My job search did go well at first because my suit didn’t fit properly (not because a great job was waiting for my within my own company – where I wore jeans to my interview). The only thing I could do correctly was eat, it seemed. Oh, and fall asleep reading. Totally mastered that this year.

So..what will be different in 2013? I’ll learn not to care. Okay, still care about important things like doing my absolute best at work and not dressing like a slob and making sure the bathrooms are clean when guests come over. But, not to care about things which are creative.

My friend Heather once told me that you can’t possibly fail at creativity. And, you know what, she’s right. No one dies if your embroidery is crooked or your photos is a bit blurry (call it “artsy”) or your mac-n-cheese is a bit runny.

Because, for the 100th time, all of my creative (and running, ’cause, you know, there’s that, too) efforts are worth it. Because, greater than that, I’m worth it. My time, my energy, my effort, my stash of craft supplies – all worth it.


I had planned to do my usual one-post-per-location showing off photos from our recent Ireland trip but decided, eh, why bother? If I take the time to do all that, with as crazy as everything is right now, I’ll never finish or never get back to blogging about other things going on in my life. All of the photos are here and here on my Flickr and, below, is the scrapbook pages I made for each portion of the trip.










so it continues

Things have been pretty crazy this month. Work week is full of stressful progress on a big project, weekends full of painting and landscaping. I’m ready for a vacation which, luckily, is less than two weeks away. I’ve been doing a bit of knitting, reading, and even writing but don’t much to show for any of that. So here’s my scrapbook pages for this month. Next post will likely be during or post-vacation. For now, I just don’t have enough energy left to say anything else.

April 1-7 (left side)

April 1-7 (right side)





Life Recorded, Three Months in

I’ll admit, I never thought I’d make it this far in the project. I thought, after maybe three or four weeks, something would happen to make my drop the project altogether. I’d get behind on making pages. I’d forget to take photos. I’d convince myself my pages were crap. Something. And, yet, I’ve made it nearly three months. Only one page behind (the page for last week). No matter what, I’ve managed to convince myself that this is worth doing.

Because, as has been my mantra, this is my life and if I don’t record it, no one will. Years from now, I’ll wonder when exactly we got that new birdfeeder or when we painted the bedroom or whatever. And, because of this project, I can look back and tell you.

Someone once pointed out that you wouldn’t care that your grandmother didn’t have perfectly composed layouts, just that she made a scrapbook of photos and maybe some explanation of what’s going on in them. You’d long for more and more detail, more information. A better picture of the couch you can sort of see in the background, a list of her favorite foods, how she felt when she finally got up the nerve to do that thing that always scared her. Sure, it would be nice if it were pretty or colorful but, really, that’s just a bonus.

So, I’ve continued and will keep going until I can’t do it anymore. When life gets super complicated, I’ll rely on those slower times when I can catch up. I still journal like crazy, writing down what happened daily (though not in a Harriet the Spy level of detail). I still take photos fairly often. The pages, those can wait for later, when life’s a little less nuts. Or, really, it only takes me about an hour to make a page. My life is not so nuts I can’t find an hour a week. One less hour reading won’t make a big dent (though I do have this reading compulsion lately, I can’t a book once I start it).

For the curious, here’s my pages from weeks 5-11 (this last week was week 12), newest to oldest.

Materials include:
Right Now by Kara Dudley
Valorie Wibbens Today Journaling cards
Valorie Wibbins Pockets No 3
Karla Dudley Breezy Papers









What I’ve Been Up To

I’m still here, just busy with work and life. This’ll be a photo-less post, partly because I’m too lazy to dig through Flickr to find relevant photos, partly because I really don’t have that many. Maybe next week I’ll get back into the swing of things with posts with actual photos in them. Who am I kidding, it’ll probably be another month or two before I write another blog post with something that’s not just like “here’s my latest scrapbooking pages.”

So, what have I been doing? Well, working, knitting, scrapping, improving the house, enjoying the weather, planning vacation, and reading. Mostly working and reading (ok, and sleeping and eating but no one wants to hear about that).


Don’t worry, no boring details. Just know that work is busy and while it’s sometimes overwhelming, I’m enjoying my current project.


Ok, so I haven’t knit a single stitch in about three weeks but before that, I knit a shawl/scarf and about 2″ on a colorwork hat.

The shawl/scarf was Different Lines using bright blue and bright orange Neighborhood Fibre Co Studio Sock that I originally purchased to make the Steven West mystery shawl. It turned out HUGE and rather scarf-like due to how I blocked it. Of course, I forgot to really take photos of it once I gave it to the recipient (Anne, my Phi Rho big sister).

The colorwork hat actually isn’t one of the patterns I was trying to choose between a few months ago. It’s called Latvian Hat and I’m using Neighborhood Fibre Co in a white colorway that’s named, appropriately, after what Matt tells me is a very, er, racially non-diverse part of Baltimore and Miss Babs in Lilacs. Even though the pattern starts at the crown and gets larger, it’s still very slow to work a single round and the pattern requires rather a lot of conentration. It’s also at an awkward stage where it’s a bit too small to work on two needles comfortable but too large for only one. I put it aside once work got busy enough that I was only making myself more frustrated trying to work on it in the evening hours.


Despite not taking a whole bunch of photos lately, I have been keeping up with making at least one scrapbooking page a week. Some weeks, they’re rather unimpressive but it’s about recording what’s gone on, not always having a gorgeous page. I am going to try and pick up my picture-taking so it’s not quite so sad when I open up the week’s folder of photos and see only two in there. I’ll post pages from weeks 5 to I think we’re on 11 later this week. I also still need to finish the last few pages from our last Europe trip. I think maybe two need words then they’ll be done. Oh, and finally print some of these off, likely starting with Europe pages.

Improving the House

Nothing involving power tools or anything but quite an impressive list of small projects:

  • Hanging photos everywhere (my friend Lead provided opinions on good locales)
  • Installing a door sweep and fixing the screen on the porch door (Matt did most of this)
  • Picking out and trying a paint color for our bedroom (liked the color, will paint the whole thing starting this week)
  • Buying a new hanging birdfeeder – the old one had old feed permanantly stuck in it
  • Cleaning up the leaves / sticks / acorns / randomly strewn bricks in the backyard (Matt did most of the work here but I helped with some pickup and  moving of stuff to be picked up to the curb)

Enjoying the weather

Despite being mid-March, it’s been in the high 70s almost every day the last week or so, with mostly clear skies on top of it. We’ve already grilled out twice (burgers then chicken) and enjoyed several evenings of reading on the porch after work. I keep waiting for the weather report to talk about a return to colder temperatures but it’s supposed to remain warm at least for a few more days. Anyone know if this may mean I can get my hands on some good and not very expensive steamed crabs earlier this year than normal? The wait until Memorial Day may be the end of me. Ok, not really. I’m just impatient.

Planning vacation

Matt and I started a few weeks ago thinking about taking a summer vacation and where we wanted to go and all that. After lots of thinking and looking around, we decided we’re going to head to Ireland for 10 days in May.


Ever since Matt got me a Kindle about a month ago, I have been reading like a crazy person. I think the first book I read on it was an Agatha Christie book, quickly followed by memoirs, dystopian novellas, more Agatha Christie, two books about WWII with a time travel theme, and, most recently, a thriller. I won’t go into all of the details but you can check out what I’ve read on Good Reads.

So…what’s up with you all?

Life Recorded – Weeks 1-4

So far, so good, on this whole Life Recorded thing. I’ve managed to remember to take photos far more often than I used to and have kept up with making at least one scrapbook page about my week. I realized I’ve put the completed pages online but haven’t actually blogged about them yet. But, hey, it’s just barely February so I can pretend like it was my plan all along to blog my pages a month at a time.

Week 1
The first part of the week was spent recovering from the holidays and visiting family. You know, getting back to the usual routine of getting up early, going to work, dinner with just the two of us. I love when family visits but, as someone who loves her routines, it’s always a bit stressful how they shake things up. The last day of the week was the FIRST kickoff, where we learned about this year’s game. This was also the week Matt first started playing Skyrim (which is now a nightly fixture in our house – he’s got something like 80 hours of playtime clocked).

I first made these pages using not only a different kit but also a different template for the page protectors, neither of which I really liked. So, I switched kits and protector sets (and bought some journaling cards) and “fixed” them the following week. I won’t show you the first version – it really was a mess – but here’s the pretty-fied versions.  

Week Two
Week Two included our first dusting of snow for the year which was only my second time driving in snow. We also got our basement fixed such that is no longer has water coming inside when it rains (which isn’t quite as photogenic as our snowy backyard so I didn’t grab a photo of it). I didn’t take many photos throughout the week so I instead captured the current sermon series at church, the cat’s current favorite sitting location, and my love of Chipotle. The sort of things I would have never thought to include in scrapbook pages but I know I’ll be glad I captured in years to come.

Week 2 - Jan 8-14 (pg1)

I gave FIRST its own page (a trend I continued in later weeks) because, well, it’s so different than everything else going on in my life. I’m sure I annoy the students with my constant photo-taking but they’ll appreciate that I’ve captured the build process as it goes along. I took something like 50 photos that whole have been appropriate to scrap and somehow managed to narrow it down into just the best ones shown here. (Oh and you’ll notice, FIRST weeks are one week behind “regular” weeks which constantly throws me off.)


Week Three
Week three was the week of zero photos. Okay, not zero but very, very few. Something about the week just killed any desire I had to take photos, including self potraits (yes, I’m trying that whole thing again – missed all of week 3 but good otherwise). So, instead of giving up and not making a page for the week or trashing the entire project, I decided to embrace it. Lots and lots of journaling about the week. And that picture I took while being evil and watching Matt clean off the car from our front stoop. (I cleaned off my car by myself the next day so I got my just desserts, dont’ worry.)


Week Four
Thankfully, I got back into the photographic swing of things in week four (last week, for those keeping track). After looking over my photos for the week, I decided to do a Top 5 page with SPs, cookies, Ada, books, and a really yummy pasta dinner. I struggled to fill the last “block” on the template and decided a summary of the week was probably a good idea to include. I probably got a little too sappy in the review but whatever. It’s my scrapbook, I can be as sappy as I like.


There weren’t any cancelled FIRST days in week 4 (and I took some shots on my iPhone during mid-week sessions) so I had plenty of photos for a whole page about it. I knew I wanted to use the photo-overkill version of the template but struggled with what to do when I had only 16, not 17 good photos to include. I decided the “As of right now” element was perfect for a countdown/progress bar and embraced it. After moving things around a dozen times, I finally stepped back and finalized the layout. I forgot to include any mention of the week or date which I may go back and add (or be very careful when putting these in order in my book once they’re printed).


(Quick note: I forgot to keep the template as the top most layer so these aren’t quite the final versions. In the final, the template is on top and gives the whole thing more of a page protector look like you see in the very last page. I realized this mistake just before pushing publish and am too lazy to make new JPGs right now. It’s fixed in PSE.)

Coming in Week 5:
- No FIRST photos (missed all work sessions due to teacher workdays and our trip)
– Our trip to WV to go skiing
– Current knitting WIP (may be an FO by Sat night!)
– New sidewalk lights

Materials Used on Various Pages:
– Valorie Wibbins: Pockets No 3 (page protector template)
– Karla Dudley: Right Now (Background paper and elements)
– Valorie Wibbins: Today journaling cards
– Robyn Meierotto: Dated 2012 Stamps

Year in Review (2011 Edition)

I was going to make this a post about how I did or didn’t meet my goals for last year then realized I never made any. Sure, I wanted to graduate but, really, was that ever in doubt? (Oh, I hope not.) So, again this year, a year in review.

January: Attempted, yet again, to blog daily which became weekly which became only when I felt guilty that I hadn’t blogged in awhile. Visited the National Building Museum. Started working with the TJ FIRST team. Mostly focused on coding my senior design project. Started a new job.

February: FIRST season concluded and senior design continued. Tried skiing for the first time.

March: Attended the St. Patrick’s parade in Old Town. DC FIRST regional held. Midterms and a big senior design deadline consumed my life. Spring break was spent working and doing school work. Attended Steph’s baby shower.

April: Life consumed by school projects, tests. etc. Traveled to West Point to attend a design competition (and really wished they didn’t have a rule about no AC before 1 may).

May: Wrapped up my last undergraduate semester. Graduated Suma Cum Laude. Celebrated Matt’s grandmother’s 90th birthday. Went to a color theory workshop with Ms Babs.

June: Started first full-time job (and it’s not so fun commute). Started looking at houses. Got back into sewing by making a few handbags (and failed at making myself a skirt).

July: Brutally hot month. Went to more open houses and house tours. Attended the first annual Bontrager cousins reunion in DE. Started digital scrapbooking five years of marriage.

August: Put a bid on a house, counterbid accepted, home inspection, mortgage application, and everything else invovled with buying a house. Felt not nearly as poor as expected at the end of the process. Really started my new job (assignment received). Started a quilt for the first time in four years.

September: Moved into the new house. Held a housewarming party with friends, family, and neighbhors.

October: Spent two and a half week exploring Spain, France, and Italy. Spent the rest of the month starting a new project at work and recovering from being away for so long.

November: Had Thanksgiving at our place, this time with Matt’s parents, Jesse’s family, Alison, and Lucy. Attended the DE reception for Caleb and Karen. Finished making a sweater for myself that actually fit.

December: Enjoyed a realitively warm December. Parents and brother visit for Christmas. Had first year of decorating our own house for Christmas (but settled for just a tree and some lights on a front window).

Another day, another December Daily page

Hope I’m not boring you all with these but I’m so proud that I’m being good with keeping up with this pages that I just have to show them off. Today’s page focusing on the only Christmas-y element of today: decorating our tree (while we watched the very exciting Packers-Giants game). Other than tree decorating, today also included Indian food and the Muppets Movie (very excellent) with Matt’s buddy, Mark and the previously mentioned football game watching. And, of course, I made this page.

Our Christmas tree will never be one of those fancy all-in-one-color deals. See, Matt’s been collecting Christmas ornaments since he was little so we probably have over 200 in total. We don’t pick them up nearly as often, usually only on special vacations (though we got zero on our last Europe trip). This year, with this giant tree  – it takes up a good portion of our living room – we finally have more than enough space to show them all off. Even took three full strands of lights to cover it – two mega strands (400 lights) and one normal (200 lights).

I was very happy with the performance of my 50 mm/f2.9 that Matt got me for a graduation gift. The lens let me easily take photos of the tree, despite the fact is was dark out and the only lighting was the tree lights and a light a good 50 feet away in the dining room. In ten shots, I had four perfectly in focus, like the one I picked that really shows off the different ornaments.


December Daily: Days 2 and 3

No blog post yesterday because I didn’t have a chance to get back on a computer after work (and, even if I had, it would have been the computer without PSE on it, anyway). I had a full day of work then we drove up to Baltimore to see a performance of Handel’s Messiah. We got stuck in a ton of traffic which meant we arrived 30 minutes late to our dinner reservation. Thankfully, it’s a local place and very chill so we didn’t have a problem getting a table, anyway. We then headed to the Meyerhoff for the concert, arriving 5 minutes after they started due to issues finding where to park. The concert was more than worth the traffic and waiting to be seated. I really liked that they provided a copy of the words (not the music, this wasn’t a sing-along). Despite not having any chance to take photos at the performance, I did manage a cell phone shot of some of the lobby decorations so I could still make a page for yesterday.

December Daily: 2 December

Today was equally busy. We spent last night at Matt’s parents’ house and slept in rather late. We had breakfast then went out and picked out our Christmas tree. After that, we grabbed lunch and did our usual Costco/Wegman’s trip. Matt and his dad went back to Costco and got a mattress set (you know, so my parents will actually have somewhere to sleep when they’re here in a few weeks). While they were gone, Matt’s mom and I did dishes, finally took down the chairs and tables from Thanksgiving, and cleaned out the room where the bed was going. Day ended with paninis for dinner and scrapbooking while watching Charmed (Matt’s playing on his PC in the other room). Of course, I only scrapped about the tree picking as no one cares about the rest of today. I don’t even think I care anymore. Heh.

December Daily: 3 December