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July 11, 2014

Please join me at my new online home


Please visit me at my new online home,

Note: if you read via an RSS reader, I'm working to fix a glitch in the redirection. For now, please come to the site and I'll work out the Feed issues soon!

July 09, 2014

I am in limbo. How are you doing?


Hello, Gentle Blog Readers,

This may be close to being one of the very last posts to appear in this hallowed Typepad space. 


I wanted to give you an update on the new and here it is:

It's getting real close.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. I have no idea how the server I am using will handle the launch of the new site. If it is excruciatingly slow, please know that I will be looking into solutions. 

2. There are 1,182-ish posts and right now, each post features a double image of the first image. Unless someone waves a magic Word Press wand, mama is going to have to go in and fix each one of those posts. I'm totally going to do it, but it's going to take some time. So there's that.

3. I've got a helpful guide to the site ready to go. I just need to make some final tweaks before we loose the tiger. (Note: if the site is slow, then just think, "Aw yeah, she loosed the turtle!"

4. This is stressful.

5. Hold me.

6. I wouldn't trade what I'm doing right now for all the Blue Raspberry ICEEs at Super America.

7. If things are completely wonky when the site launches, please let me know and I promise that I will work to resolve the issues. 

8. I love you.

Now I am going to go for a walk and see if what we just did at my server helps to improve the speed. Then I may ask Dan if he wants to snuggle me. Then I will solicit unearned compliments from people on Facebook. 

Then, I drink.

Thanks for your continued patience. I have so much to share… it's coming.


July 03, 2014

Have a great holiday weekend + a website update


As we prepare to celebrate our nation's birth, let us also prepare to celebrate the birth of a brand new CZ Design website.

There won't be as many fireworks or barbecues. There won't be as many fights between relatives who had just a little too much of that fancy rum punch. (Okay, there might be a few…)

It's not as sexy as Uncle Sam on stilts, but it's in progress and will be coming soon.

I'm migrating this blog from Typepad to WordPress and we have been facing broken links and other assorted web surprises, so I've hired a different company to help me with the content migration. What's more money, right?

Why WordPress after all these years? It's the platform the company I'm working with preferred. So I said, "Cool. Whatever. Let's do this."

I'm looking forward to sharing the experience of re-doing a website and brand. It's been mostly fun and I'm really itching to unleash the tiger from its cage. (Note: in the new blog, I will use as many cheesy expressions as possible because who doesn't love that?)

I appreciate your continued patience.

While you're waiting, by all means, connect with me in multiple ways online through social media:

Subscribe to my newseltter. The next issue will announce the new site and has a super cute free printable.

Like my Facebook page. Here's where I share blog posts, recipes, cat videos (only recently, mind you) and other silly or interesting little tid bits. Sometimes its even scrapbook related!

Follow me on Twitter. You know, for fun in 140 characters or less. #crapfreescrapbooking

Follow me on Instagram. I'm trying to take more interesting photos with my phone. But the question remains, will I succeed?

Again, have a safe holiday weekend and I can't wait to let you know when it's all systems go on the new site.

July 02, 2014

The Present Participle List for July


Trying to get out for more walks. It's crazy how easy it is to stop exercising. To tell yourself that there are about a zillion other things that are more important.

Dealing with a stye that will not go away. There is nothing that makes you feel like your body is falling apart than resorting to posting any information of any kind about your particular ailment.

Wondering what scrapbooking will be like when Aidan doesn't live here anymore. Or more specifically, what life will be like when Aidan doesn't live here anymore.

Wanting to go through all of my photos and find shots around our kitchen table, or some other common space, like Ali did.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to figure out how to migrate 1,168 blog posts from here to my new site. Note: I'm pretty sure it will involve more money.

Working on a new class for the Fall that will be tied into the Me: the Abridged Version concept but with some twists, turns and other adventures.

Thinking about getting some new running shoes and starting back with a Couch to 5K program. 

Loving Season 2 of Orange is the New Black


June 30, 2014

How to catch up on nearly three months of Project Life


There's been a lot going on of late that has taken precedence over my Project Life pages. A first child graduating from high school. A corresponding graduation party. A new website that is getting oh-so close to launching. Plus working to become a more responsible, less neurotic adult female planet member. (That alone makes it suprising I get anything else done, ever.) Combine this with the daily work I try to do to make life both clean, fed and profitable and you are left with the fact that as of last week, I was 11 weeks behind in Project Life.

I will be honest: there is zero stress about this. Zero. This project is my fun and relaxing way to add photos and words together for a document of our year. When it happens, it happens. And when it doesn't, that's what having weekly photo folders defined by the weekly dates in iPhoto is for: it's all there waiting for when I am ready. And this past weekend, I made time to be ready.

Here's how you catch up on 11 weeks of Project Life.

Step One: Refuse to accept that you are behind. Rather, look at it as the opportunity to spend a bit more time with your photos and stories.

Step Two: Tackle one week at a time, and if you have the mojo to do more, by all means, do.

Step Three: Have a glass of cheap red wine (won't apply to everyone, I understand this.)

Step Four: Complete album pages and high five yourself or anyone in the vicinity as you do.

That's it.  

I kept them simple. If one page was all that was needed then that was all that was offered up. Not a lot of funky journal cards added, or if they were, they were simply repeats from the prior week. While I love to have fun and play with my Project Life pages, I just wanted to get 'er done. I would say a lot more, but a lot more isn't warranted. Here are my pages for the past 11 weeks.












Click on any of the images to see them larger in a new window. Note: when my new site launches, the images will be much larger and easier to read!

And that is all she wrote.


June 26, 2014

Thank you, Two Peas


Two Peas is closing.

I, along with many others, learned this sad news yesterday.

Two Peas was a pioneer of the online scrapbooking store and community. They were the trailblazers. The people who thought, "What would happen if we tried this?" 

It wasn't long after I walked into my first Archiver's store that I found Two Peas, probably through a Google search for "scrapbooking." And what I saw blew my mind. 

I'm not kidding.

There were women doing stuff with paper and fonts and stuff that just made me say: I want to be a part of this!

It was the place I met some of the truest friends in my life. The truest. People like Tara, Margie and Ali.

I'm talking hide-a-body, talk-you-off-a-cliff-at-2 a.m. kind of friends.

Two Peas was a place where I felt like I fit in. I clicked. 

Hell, it's where I coined the "czdesign" moniker. That's right. I broke the cardinal rule of nicknames: I gave one to  myself.

It's the place that inspired me to try crazy shit, like painting acrylic frames.


Or tearing paper.


Or just unapologetically embracing the 8.5 x 11 size.


When I started working with Simple Scrapbooks in 2003, I had to pull back from the community. Part of being on a magazine staff meant impartiality. I remember being so bummed, but understanding that the opportunity to make money designing for a magazine that actually covered something I truly loved was a necessary trade off.

I remember being so happy but also a little jealous of my friends all becoming Garden Girls. 

I remember forming little offshoot Yahoo groups for offline conversations with more of the amazing women who came from that site, like Shell and Lisa and Suz.

Thank you to Kristina and Jeff. I know I wasn't an active member for many years, but what you created changed the course of my life.

Now that may sound dramatic. 

That's because it is.

Much love and gratitude and the best to you and your family for whatever lies next.




An app I'm digging


Do you know about the Visual Supply Company (a.k.a. VSCO?)

I've been seeing the #vscocam on Instagram for a long time and last week I Googled it to find out what it was all about. (I read a good article on VSCO Cam here.)

I've really pared down my phone photo app usage this past year. I mostly use Pic Tap Go (editing) and Big Lens (background blurring and other aperature effects.)

But after discovering VSCO Cam, I'm kind of crushing big time.

With their app for both iPhone and Android, you can do things that you can do with many other apps but there's something about this app's whole aesthetic that appeals to me.

I will admit, it took me a while to figure everything out (read: I haven't actually figured everything out yet) and I don't feel like it's the most intuitive app on the planet, but there is something about this app that makes me want to take more creative photos with my phone.

If you look at the VSCO Grid, it's a melange of absolutely stunning photos. Clearly, this company is featuring top notch phone photography. But that's what is so cool: these shots are all taken with phones.

That's one of the things I love about phone photography: it helps to level the playing field and lets you feel and be as creative as you want to be.

I've decided to use VSCO Cam to try and create more interesting images. I will use it to augment my Instagram use, as well. If you want to see what I'm posting, you can find me here.

My goal is to be more deliberate with the images I create. And to play more. To have fun with my phone.

What about you? Any new photo apps you've discovered? What about VSCO? Are you already a fan?


Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 8.32.07 AM

Speaking of phones and photography, the Phone Photography Project 2 kicks off next month. For more information or to register, click here.




June 25, 2014

Things are gonna be a-changin' round here


I'm getting really close to launching

I'm nervous. I'm excited. I'm ready. I'll post an orientation to the new site once it's live.

I wanted to let you know that when the changeover happens, there may be a few bumps along the way in the following areas:

• broken links (I'll fix them).

• new categories (I'll retag every single one of my over 1,100 posts written since 2007).

• images that don't look quite right (I'll work on those, too).

Some great news about the site: it's a responsive site. This means it'll look great on your smart phone or your tablet. No more squinting at your iPhone people.

The other great news is that other than having a completely new look, feel and structure, this blog will still be Ground Zero for every story I have to share with you. The only difference will be bigger photos and bigger, easier-to-read text. 

In fact, the font size is bigger throughout the site. My middle aged eyes are kind of digging it, even if my designer heart misses those smaller text sizes. 

My site will be a WordPress site. I have a whole new platform to learn, but I hear it's pretty do-able.

You will be able to subscribe via your favorite reader as well.

Change is always a little scary. Personally, I like familiar and sometimes it's hard for me to push myself to move away from that which I know. I hope this change is a good one for you, my readers. Give it a few weeks. Let it warm up to you. I think you'll like it. 

PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS WITH ME If you would like to consider becoming a sponsor of my new site, by all means, email me and I'll send you my media kit for 2014. Regular sponsorships are now available. 


June 23, 2014

An apology seems in order


"…I am sorry that I tried to make you into something that wasn't mine."

It starts with this article. (If you read it, this post will make a bit more sense.)

I've read articles like this before. Articles that are designed to help women see themselves differently. Articles designed to enable women to see their bodies as the amazing vehicles for all earthly experiences (which, of course, they are.) And I usually let them touch me for a good five minutes, commit wholeheartedly to changing my body image attitude and then forget all about them and go back to my status quo.

What is my status quo? It's that salvation will always lie 30 pounds less from today. That a thinner me is automatically a better me. That I will be more attractive. That I will feel better. That I will have it all together. That I won't have to be ashamed. 

Every day it's all about what I shouldn't put into this space—this body that ties me into being remarkably human. Shouldn't-a eaten that. Shouldn't-a eaten this. Aaaaand repeat.

No matter how I've tried to truly embrace the whole body love movement it seems like I'm much more for showin' than for blowin'. (And yes, I am quoting Laverne DeFazio.)

Move More, Eat Less—whoops, I mean Eat WELL! I'm full of catch phrases and positive spins. I love alliteration when it comes to all things diet and exercise. I mean, if it's catchy, it's gotta at least be worth 10 pounds in the right direction. Right?

But something happened when I read this article. This idea of being sorry for trying to make my body into something that isn't mine. The pervasive idea that all of us, with some elbow grease and hard work can achieve this crazy ideal of body perfection. If I just smoked enough cigarettes. If I just nailed those 22 points a day. If I just got off that sugar. That gluten. Those carbs. That animal protein. That Cross Fit workout. That Pilates class. That [insert the next life-changing health and fitness idea here].

If I just do everything right, I can have that body. Size 12. Size 10. Size 8. WHO KNOWS? Maybe even a size 6! 

I am guilty of buying into this every single time because of that one time in 2002 when I smoked incessantly instead of eating and got down to a "magical" weight [read: ridiculous weight] for all of 15 minutes.

I know I can do this! I did it before!

But the fact is, until I get right with this ridiculous cycle, it will never be enough. Ever. 


I am 48 years old and look at the legacy I'm carefully, neurotically laying out. The thought that I'll hit 50, then 60, then 70 (if I'm even that lucky) and with each successive decade there I'll be, still muddling through and trying to accept the body that I have with grace and failing miserably.

And writing about it. Over and over and over again.

Of course, that's what writers do. We write. We write to figure shit out. And we keep doing it until we think we know something. Or at least until that something changes, and then we have to figure it out again.

I know I present to the world as a middle aged scrapbooker mom, but I'm going to let you in on a secret: I'm a writer first, even if I'm the only one who knows it. 


I read the aforementioned article aloud to Dan. I only got as far as "Dearest," before the tears came hot and fast.

Dearest. Oh my God. I never think of myself in that tender way.

I'm not saying this is some kind of Come to Diet Jesus turning point for me, but it is time to issue this body of mine an apology.

I'm sorry for all the hating. The disappointment. The endless cycles of dieting and exercise. The extremes. The pity parties. The things I didn't do because there was nothing that fit. The throwing my hands up in the air and not caring. The disconnection from doing what is actually needed.

But mostly, I'm sorry for not being tender.

My therapist says I don't see myself accurately (and no, she's not talking about being chubby, because believe me, she'd be the first to point that out). But that I don't see my strengths and weaknesses accurately.

I see my attitude in this category as a weakness. The attitude that is always focused on those 30 pounds. And sure, I can frame it in more positive language ("stronger!" "more fit!" or the best one, "healthier!") but for me those are just words for the same idea: thinner.

I need to work on this. I need to change this. It ain't happening overnight. Just like any developmental shift, it's going to take time.

But hopefully not too much time. I've wasted an awful lot of it to date.

Apologies are meaningless without action to back them up. 

I've got some serious making up to do. 


Over the weekend, we were up at our family cabin and I didn't hesitate to throw on my new swimsuit, go for a boat ride and swim in the lake. And I'm taking that as a very small sign that changing this attitude is, in fact, possible.





June 19, 2014

The Present Participle List for June


Recovering from the end of graduation season. Though we have one more party to hit this weekend, it has been alternatingly fun and a bit sad as, you know, this is happening is done.

Trying to spend more time on the deck. While it's in need of a good stain, it's a lovely space and I need to be outside more often. With bug spray, of course.

Realizing that I've officially become an internet cat video fan because of this clip. The whisper kills me.

Reviewing my new website. I saw the first test version this week. A few tweaks here and there and it's going to be ready. I'll give you all the details very soon but if you like, go ahead and bookmark so you don't miss the changeover. I'm sure there will be many things that have to be fixed in the world of past posts and links, but I promise that once it's live I'll make it all work.

Packing for a weekend up North.

Learning more about Adobe Illustrator than I'd previously known. Me and that program? We may end up friends yet.

Listening to this album by Sam Smith and kind of digging it.

Laughing out loud at this feminine hygiene commercial. Honestly? This is such creative advertising.

Learning about everything that goes into getting a child ready for college. And hoo boy, as many of you can attest, it's a lot.

Working to catch up on Project Life. I got stuck at Week 18. It's Week 25. I plan to do single pages to catch up next week. No stress needed on that project. That's the fun stuff.

Adjusting to the pace of summer. Aidan gets up to go to her nanny job every day. Cole would sleep until 2 p.m. if I let him. Dan is taking two grad courses. One thing I love is that I can start my work day much earlier because I don't have to do morning school stuff which can mean being done with work earlier in the day.

What are you —ing this month?