I just wanted to take some time today to express my gratitude. To say I am floored by the outpouring of comments, care, and concern, would be an understatement. I felt all warm and fuzzy reading your supportive words. I know it's not something that people often blog about openly, and I really appreciate your kindness, and understanding.
Writing that post felt scary but also strangely cathartic. Like I was coming clean with something. Like giving the monkey on my back an eviction notice.
I want to re-assure anyone that might be worried about my well being… My husband has promised to make an appointment with a therapist in our area for me. Once I explain what's going on to her we'll work together to figure out a medication and/or plan to get me back on track with feeling normal.
I also want to tell you that although I have no doubt that I'm clinically depressed and need help I've never had any thoughts of hurting myself or those around me. That's just not one of my issues. I don't want anyone to worry about that with me.
I know I am loved. I know people care about me. I know that there is a lot to be happy about.. and I plan to take care of myself, with the help of my husband… & take the steps I need to to be myself again and live life to the fullest.
I promise to give you updates here and there on my progress. I would like to go back to blogging as usual too. It feels good to be able to share my projects and random bits of life, so I will continue to do those things. Thanks again, your support and advice means the world to me.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time. At least a month. A lot of things have held me back… I like to keep it light and fun around here, I don't think I'm great at expressing my feelings with writing (it comes of scattered), I don't want to be judged, I don't want people to think I've been hiding things or trying to paint a rosy picture when in reality…. it's not roses most of the time right now…
but there comes a time when none of the above really matters. A time when I just have to get out what I've been feeling and going through. I have to share my story because it's part of me.. good, bad, or ugly, this is my life and my reality right now….
So here goes nothing. I am depressed.
Not just, oh man this is a bad day or week and I'm pretty bummed out about it. Full blown, deep and dark depression. I'd like to say it came out of nowhere but the truth is it's been creeping in for awhile now. For the past month it's become worse and worse and now I'm to the point where I need help. I need a counselor and probably medication. Not probably. I really, really think I need help with medication.
I'm just not myself anymore. I find it hard to smile. I'm impatient with the kids. I find it extremely hard to take care of myself. I don't feel lovable or even likable right now. I cry daily. I don't even recognize the person in the mirror any more. I don't like that girl, where did she come from? Sometimes I find it hard to get out of bed… I swear, if I didn't have kids and obligations with them I probably wouldn't get out of bed at all.
I've dealt with brief bouts of depression in the past… had my run ins with the blues that last a little longer than I'd like.. it's something that runs in our family. I know it well. But in the past I've always been able snap myself out of it in one way or another.
I try to keep things into perspective. Sure our family has gone through hell this year.. but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are so close to rebuilding things…. I have my health, my kids, the love of my life… I know, I so know all of that. I remind myself daily that it's ALL that matters. I tell myself that everyone alive has problems, great and small. There are people out there dealing with more struggle than I could even begin to comprehend. I know that too. Absolutely. But somehow right now it doesn't help.
For awhile leading up to this I was making a painstaking effort to snap myself out of what I knew was coming. If I felt down or negative I would do something for myself. I'd text a family member or send an email to someone in my life to tell them how wonderful and important they are. I'd buy myself a fancy coffee. I'd spend extra time with the dog. I'd pick out a movie or do something involving the new house. I'd blog and work on my goals. I'd scrapbook and focus on the good things in life, the happy little moments and memories. It would work for a time, even though it was taking a lot of work. It was working, a little. Like a tiny bandaid plastered over a gaping wound..
but not anymore. There is no snapping-out of this. The depression is palpable.
I can't see the forest through the trees. I'm in the thick of it. Sure I have good moments. Times when I can laugh. Things I can post on Instagram. Moments when I see glimpses of my former self.. but I'm telling you it is shocking how infrequent they are. It's like my reality has flopped places… I have as many "good" days as I used to have "bad" days. I hate it.
For some reason I finally decided to share it here on my silly little scrapbook blog… it felt like it was time I owned it. It's why if you're a family member I probably haven't answered your calls, or made any effort to call you. It's why if you're my husband I've questioned why you would continue to love me through this when I am at my worst, over and over. It's why if you're my kid you wonder what the heck is wrong with Mommy… and I am so truly and deeply sorry for those things. Please believe me, if I could fix them right now I would.
I don't know if anyone will even really read this… I guess I just wanted to share with anyone who stops by to check in on what I'm up to. I guess I don't even know why.. maybe it's my way of reaching out.. making the first step to getting help.. maybe I just want you all to know that I am trying so desperately to be happy again. To get myself back to normal… even if you didn't really know that anything was wrong.
I'm grateful for so many things in my life. We have a long list of things to be happy about.. and I intend on getting to a place where I can start doing that again very soon.
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 8:49 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Welp. It's that time again. Time to send the kiddos off to their new schools. I'm excited to see the school year begin (because it means I'm FREEEEEEEEE! J/k..but it does mean I have a couple of sweet, sweet hours a day where it is just Dez and I.) It also means that I morph from stay at home Mom to taxi cab Mom. This first month of school I'll be shuttling them around until we move into our new digs. I'm in the car at 7am, 9am, 12pm, 2pm and somewhere in between to take Aidan to and from work. Ah the things we do for our kids.
This dude was looking forward to beginning the 7th grade. He loves a fresh start. I hope he has the best year yet. He deserves it….
Middle school moment: "Mom, seriously, how many photos do you need, it's like 6 in the morning."
Evareaux has been looking forward to Kindergarten for the past two years. No joke. I guess it comes with the territory when you have older sibling and you are convinced that school is the coolest thing ever.
"Hey Evareaux, are your ready to go to your first day of Kindergarten?"
The only person not loving this whole back to school thing is Dezmond. Poor kid. Each day when we drop Evareaux off he becomes heart broken all over again. As soon as she leaves his side and walks into the classroom he just loses it and tries to chase her. Then I scoop him up and carry my wailing baby through the school in order to leave. The way he cries about her you'd think he was losing a limb. Maybe one of these days he'll realize it's ok to be stuck with Mommy… then again, probably not. ;)
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 5:11 AM
Thursday, August 21, 2014
"When are you going to move out of that dump you live in??", you ask. Well, in March we finally sold our Kentucky house. Sometime before that we made the leap and committed to building a home here. I remember putting this sticker on the plot of land we carefully chose. The nerves were outrageous. Such a leap of faith to do something like this and not know how or even really when things were going to work out. So many things had gone wrong for us.. It was hard for me to believe that everything would end up happily ever after.
Back then everything was just a dream… and seemed like a sort of ideal (NOT ideal in the way that we would have to extend our stay in the rental nightmare we live in now) solution since we just couldn't find a house in our area that had everything… or even close to everything we wanted. Building covers all the bases for us, ticks all of the boxes, and allows us to have something cool and positive out of the nightmare that has been moving here. Here's the blueprint (Note: not blue.).
I'll also never forget the day we first told the kids and went to show them the land. They were surprised and excited and wanted to move in immediately. Uh, yeah, me too… sadly we have to wait for walls and, you know, a foundation and stuff.
Here's a couple of phases of the project. I desperately want it to be done already, but will admit that it's pretty cool to see every step of the process… each week brings a new project completed.
We were there earlier this week and the siding and stone are up. There are some cabinets in there, dry wall and the primer is up, the countertops should go in too. It's starting to get really real. We're a month away from actually moving in and I can hardly believe it and hardly stand the wait at the same time.
I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the whole building a house thing. I'm going to let them percolate and swirl around in my brain until we actually move in. That way I can share our experience in entirety.. for anyone who might care to hear it. But I thought I'd share for now because we are so close, and also because this is a bright spot in some pretty dreary weeks for me lately. Thanks for stopping by.
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 5:55 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
This has been a really tough summer (more on this later, I bet you can hardly wait).. instead of being hard on myself and feeling like a failure for not "doing enough" I'm going to allow myself to say I did enough. Also, I'm going to blame the weather because honestly there wasn't much of a push to go to the splash pad or water park when it was a pleasant 70 degrees (totally not complaining there. I've LOVED the mild weather this season.)… also, there's always next summer.
All that being said as I looked back and began to compile some photos of the things we did do I was surprised to find so many…. most of them simple and some of them even very lazy… but we are together and healthy and that's the most important thing...
Next summer I'll be the cool Mom and schlep my kids all over town in the interest of their entertainment. (maybe.) I won't yell as much or threaten to take their prized possessions away if they don't get a long. (is this possible?) I won't declare over and over that I can't wait for school to start. (who am I kidding.) I'll ship them off to summer camp. (yes! now there's an idea!)
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 7:11 AM
Monday, August 18, 2014
Last week I was tagged by the incredibly talented Paige Evans for a fun little scrappy blog tour. (See her post here.) I was so excited when she asked me to play along. This tour is a great way to see what some of your old favorite scrappers are up to and be introduced to some new ones! First up is answering a few questions…
1. What am I working on right now?
Oh boy, I wish I would have taken a photo of my desk last night. I had 3 layouts and 2 project life spreads going at one time. That's what happens when I have a Paper Camellia kit assignment.. I spread the contents over as many pages as I can and then add embellishments here and there until everything is used up! Here's a peek at the layouts…
2. How long does it take you to create a project?
I work pretty quickly. A layout can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on what elements I choose to include. Sometimes it takes "days" to actually finish a project but in reality I only worked in 5-10 minute increments over the course of that time. (ah the life of a stay at home Mom!)
3. What are your favorite things to create with at the moment?
I've been having fun playing with gelatos and water colors a lot lately. I tend to use enamel dots, bows, tags, and sprinkled confetti of some sort on just about every project.
4. How does your process work?
I typically start with a photo. Then I pull out whatever supplies work well with each other and that photo. Once I have a nice little pile of patterned paper and embellishments I start to push things around the page until I like the basic look. I adhere some things down and then start embellishing and pretty soon it's journaling time. I don't spend a ton of time "planning" anything out, it just sort of happens.
5. How do you become and stay inspired?
I like to look at other blogs and galleries to see what people are coming up with.. that inspires me to keep scrapping. For color or design inspiration I hit up Pinterest. Usually just seeing bright colors and shapes put together will get me going. New products also really light my creative fire. I get super nerdy when I see a new line that excites me and makes me want to use every single piece. Ideas swirl around in my head and I can't wait to get my hands on it! (like the Crate Paper Notes & Things line. TOTALLY
nerded out over inspired by this one!)
So now it's my turn to tag a couple of my favorite scrappers! You can look for their posts next Monday as the blog tour continues. I chose:
The fabulous Jen Ritchie. She does some really cool stuff with the Paper Camellia kits.. and have you seen her wedding photos?! I die. So gorgeous.
and the wonderful Meghann Andrew. I love the clean, elegant look of her pages. (and as a bonus she posts the most delicious recipes on her blog. two words: pine nuts. you're welcome.)
Thanks for stopping by today and make sure you see what these two ladies are up to next Monday! :)
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 7:58 AM
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Hey ya'll, I need some advice. I have an apt next Saturday to get my hairs did. I'm thinking I'll probably go for another wild color, but I don't know what to choose! I was purple for awhile and then changed to aqua. My stylist did this thing where she bleached out the ends of my hair so the color would be brightest there and left my roots alone… then she put the color on my whole head. It creates an ombre look and I liked it with the purple, but never really did with the aqua.
The aqua also faded super quick and for a couple of weeks I've been enjoying the blonde ends. For this photo I flipped the end of my hair over my head to one side so I could see what I might look like as a blonde. :) I kinda like it! I've never been a blonde before.
I'm really, really considering having her bleach my entire head so that I can have a bright color throughout… and eventually it would fade and just be sorta blonde again so I want to be sure I'd be ok with that… also the bleach is hard on hair so I don't want to do it and then be like why did I do that!
So my question to you is, what color should I try??
Should I bleach the whole thing so I can get a bright, bold look?
Or stay ombre for a little bit longer before taking the plunge?
I think it would be kind of cool to have hair as outrageously awesome as this...
aslo, can I just have her incredible legs as well?! Clearly she plays roller derby. ;)
Opinions, please! I have a week to decide.
PS. Sincerely feeling sorry/awkward about a post that has so many photos of me. It's just weird to see!
PPS. Thanks so much for your comments on my last post. I love you all.
Monday, August 11, 2014
This marks my last month on the American Crafts 2013-2014 Design Team. I've been trying to think of a great way to compose a post about this that would sum it all up. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the term coming to an end. I don't even know if I can find the words to encapsulate it all, but I'll try.
I want to start out by saying how very grateful I am to have been chosen for the team. It was such a colossal long shot. There are SO many talented designers out there. SO many variations of styles and aesthetics can been found. I often feel like I can never begin to compare, measure up. I spent years, YEARS, looking up to the American Crafts team members (and still do).
Someone in the industry told me early on in my scrapbook endeavors not to try out for the "big name" teams. "Don't even try," she said, "they will never choose you unless you have some team experience under your belt." "Start small and work your way up." But I submitted anyway, because that's the kind of person I am. Why wait? Why can't a big name BE my design team experience? Sure I may never get chosen… but I will never know unless I TRY.
Then it happened. When I got the email from Paige about making the team I almost couldn't breathe I was so excited. I was paralyzed with shock. ME?!?!!!!! I made it???? Tears filled my eyes. The happiest, most fulfilling tears. Truly, I could hardly believe it. After serving a full term I still have to pinch myself. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this talented group of ladies.
Finding full lines of the best collections in the industry, fresh off the presses, there on my doorstep.. it's the stuff of dreams, people. I looked forward to every single assignment. Took great pride in the fact that I was able to complete my term without missing a single gallery or blog assignment. I would do anything for this company… they treat their team like gold. It was everything I'd imagined it would be, but somehow better.
The things I've learned this year are invaluable. Being on a big team pushed me to great lengths creatively. I developed a strong personal style. I thought outside of my own scrappy little box. I came up with new ways to use products and tried new-to-me techniques. I learned how to take better images of my pages (although, I admit, I still have to work on this *grumbles*). I gained a lot of confidence. Connected with some really cool people. Made some of my best work ever.
Sitting down with a stack of American Crafts products became the highlight of my months/weeks during a really difficult transitional time in my life. A bright spot. I will always cherish that… it made me feel really happy, and feel really special… and man did I need that!
When I learned that I was not being asked to return to the team for a second term… well, there were some tears there too. Listen…. I think deep down I knew I wouldn't make it when I heard that they were cutting the field to six members. But I crossed my fingers and toes and hoped for the best. Because that's the kind of person I am too.
I won't even begin to write about why I think it is that I wasn't chosen… even though I have thought all of those thoughts, and then some. At this point that doesn't really matter, right? Like anything in this industry it's fleeting being on a team. Things are always changing, there are no guarantees. I loved and valued every single minute of it because I knew that at some point it would come to an end.
Instead of being sad about my time running out (although I've allowed myself some of that too) I want to share some of my favorite American Crafts projects…. I could not be more proud of these.
and I will leave you with this thought.... If you're thinking about doing something… do it. TRY. Even if people around you say it can't be done… or if you think you might not be good enough. Try anyway. Go for it. You never know what could happen. You could actually get a yes!! But you can't even be considered if you don't put your hat in the ring…. and a "yes" could lead to one of the best experiences of your life. Scary, and inspiring, and fulfilling in the best possible ways! You may even surprise yourself along the way. Hope to see you around!
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 3:18 PM
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
So we're building this new house (which I can't WAIT to move into) and I've been starting to make plans for what I want each room to look like. And I realized that I never even shared Dezmond's nursery from our last house with you!.. even though I totally promised I would! oops. sorry. glad no one noticed! ;)
It was my favorite room in the house. Maybe because I was never able to plan a one for my other babies. Or because I was able to make any decision for it that I wanted. It wasn't perfect, and I even had a couple of more plans that were moved from the back-burner to the never-happening burner once we realized we were moving. Even so, I still loved this room. We made some fun memories in it that first year of Dez's life. I'm glad I have some photos and can (finally. oops.) share… even though the quality of them is lacking.
So here it is, better late than never…
Dezmond's Robots and Rockets nursery
I used some of my favorite scrapbook papers throughout the room, vintage toys, diy curtains and mobile….
I painted this mural on the wall and was happy when I heard from our realtor that the new owners planned on keeping it. It was a labor of love. There was many a morning when I walked in to find Dez staring at the bright colors. The only thing I'd change about this view is the crib. A plain grey or white one would look much better, with a nice dark rug in that area. But this crib was free and a hand-me-down from Evareaux so that won out in the end.
Actually, come to think of it, I did this whole room on the cheap. I made just about everything in there aside from the furniture and a few decor pieces…. I had grand plans of turning that book case into a rocket like this one… and painting the dresser this really shiny cobalt blue color. That would have looked so cool. I was also going to paint a few stars on the ceiling and some robots near the door.
The prints were my big splurge. (and I was going to link to them but it says they are no longer available!) I just LOVED the way they looked lined up perfectly in shiny silver frames. When I saw them online early in the dreaming of nurseries days they were what spurred me onto choosing this theme. I knew I had to have them.. and the quality is stellar. I also really like these prints that are on Etsy now. They didn't have them two years ago when I was doing this room. I love the vintage/mature feel of them juxtaposed in a nursery.
Here's a couple of little paintings, blocks, and the cutest robot ever. I made them all.
So theres the room. I wish I could go in and take some detailed shots of the toys and little bits around the room that make it truly special. Sadly all of these things are in boxes right now. So this is the best I can do…
Here's a link to my Baby Boy Ideas board on Pinterest. I used it a lot for planning this room. I was thinking about going another direction for the new house and a more toddler-like room.. but now that I've seen these photos and remembered how much fun I had with each project I may be inspired again. Especially after looking at that board! SO many things that I never got around to!! Just think how cool I could make his next room!
Although I left the curtains behind, and the mobile, and the mural (of course). So, maybe I will change things up. SO many possibilities, I just can't WAIT to be able to decorate again! This temporary stuff is for the birds. I need to put these pinteresting ideas into action!
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 10:20 AM
Sunday, August 3, 2014
As promised here are two layouts that I made using cards and embellishments left over from my kit. I like to layer them and use every last thing. Totally cool that you can get so many different uses out of a pocket pages kit.
Check out what everyone else on the Paper Camellia team made with the August kits here.
Posted by Elizabeth Gardner at 9:06 AM
Friday, August 1, 2014
Hello There! It's reveal day at Paper Camellia! Here's a look at the Everyday Life Kit this month..
When the August kit hit my desk I couldn't help but begin my projects right on the spot. It's such a good one. Love, love, loved working with it. In the end I created two full spreads and two layouts. I have a few more bits and pieces to play with too. Good stuff! Today I'll share the pocket layouts.
Even though this is a LOT of photos for one post I'm going to share some close ups.. because when I look at other peoples projects I like to take in some of the details. Maybe you do too. :)
Here's spread number two...
So here's the deal. The Everyday Life Kits sold out pretty quickly last month.. so if you like what you see you should jump on it. I'm also loving the Scrapbook Kit. I can't wait to see what the team has created with it. I'll be back soon to share my regular layouts using the pocket pages kit. :)