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20 posts from November 2012

November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thankful: The Wrap-Up

And so, my little album project has come to a close.

That was fun, and it was easier than I thought it would be. I mean, it's really not difficult to think of things you're grateful for. They don't have to be all deep and meaningful all the time either.

I'm going to make this an annual tradition.

Thanks to everyone who has played along and shared their gratitudes as well. Be sure to post a link today and share your final pages.

Onto the month of December with a full and grateful heart!












November 29, 2012

Project Life, Week Forty-Seven


OBSERVATIONS: This was one of my favorite weeks from a Project Life standpoint. There was food, fun, family—you know, all the stuff that tends to happen around a holiday week and Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. We also had record warm temps in my part of the country. We also had a 13-year-old boy agree to hold still long enough to have a photo taken. We also had a girl bake a delicious apple pie to share with her extended family. We just had a really lovely week. Here are my pages from Week Forty-Seven.



Still loving my J-Cards this week. I forgot how much I actually love typing up little stories as opposed to writing them out by hand. The fact is: I make way too many handwritten typos. (To learn how to add journaling to the cards, watch this video.)



I had a shopping day out with my sisters-in-law, a tradition we do every year in a lovely part of St. Paul known as Grand Avenue. It ends with bloody mary's and big onion rings. I took some really crappy cell phone shots but knew that by making them small in a little labeled template, they'd look halfway decent and save the memory of our yearly outing.


Here's the weekly recap:


And that is all I wrote for Week Forty-Seven.

Coming soon: a post about preparing for Project Life for 2013 with a bit about my process and how I make this system work for me.



November 27, 2012

Preparing for December Daily


I've never done December Daily.

I've watched my sweet friend Ali do it year in and year out and always thought it was cool, but I'm going to tell you something that you may or may not know about me: Christmas, for many years, has not been my favorite.

This year, for numerous reasons, my head is in a better space as the holiday season kicks into full swing. Part of it is the work I've been doing with my therapist, in looking at my life and determining what kind of person I want to be in the time that I have left here. Actually, this is probably not just part of it; it's mostly all of it.

I always had an insane passion for Christmas when I was younger, but over the years, it felt more and more like a burden. The commercialism of it all depressed me. The hustle and the bustle were two things I avoided at all costs.

And then last year, if I'm being completely honest, I had moments as Dan and I were wading through the mucky muck where I wondered, "What if this is the last Christmas we are together as a family?" It was a fleeting thought, but a thought nonetheless. That's what happens when you dig in and shake things up.

I think what has happened in 2012 is that I'm connecting to my life in very real and meaningful ways. Or at least I sure as hell am trying to. 

And this opens up space for joy.

Pain is there too, but they can exist in the same place, which is something I've really only recently learned.

It's funny. When I started writing this post, I thought I'd just show you a few shots of my album, and I will, but I didn't think it was going to go where it did, you know, into therapy land talk.

But there you go, right?

Shall we move on to scrapbooking? Okay. Let's...

I am using the Studio Calico December Daily kit and holiday products from Elle's Studio. And if I may say to Studio Calico, please, for the love of all things scrapbook related, MAKE this 4 x 6 album all the time! It's the perfect size. I am in love with it. I want to marry it. 


And I'm planning to do a combo of hybrid pages, keeping it very simple as I go.


I don't know if you picked up by looking at those little wooden trees, but um, yeah… I EMBOSSED them. You're welcome.

I'm using old Christmas papers in this album too, from BasicGrey. Remember this?


I'm keeping all of my stuff on my dining room table so it's ready to go, every day.


One little cute find was a holiday stamp from J Crew, of all places. You may find them still in the stores.


I'm looking forward to documenting life this December, in this little album. I know many of you will be doing it as well, and I'm happy to join in the fun.

For more information on December Daily, click here.

For a huge selection of December Daily products designed by Ali Edwards, click here.

For holiday products from my collection, click here.

Photo Nov 18, 4 19 11 PM


November 26, 2012

Chubby Hubby

Heyyou copy

This is not going to be a post about Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Nor will it be about my decidedly non-chubby hubby Dan.

And while there is a link between them, this is really—surprise, surprise—all about me.

Many of you know I've been trying Move More and Eat Well for coming up on three years. 

You know because you've read about the ups, the downs and the many in-betweens of this little health quest of mine over the past 36 months. (And if you've been reading me even longer, many more whines have been posted along the way.) And you've shared a lot of your own very personal stories in the comments over these past many months.

This is not a whine post today. It, like some of my State of the Marriage posts, is hopefully about the truth.

So are you ready for it? The truth? It's not going to come as some big hoo ha, but here it is:

This s#@t is hard for me.

I feel like the lyrics from a ZZ Top song…I been up, I been down… (and for you ZZ Top fans, maybe I am, in fact, looking for some 'tush'—looking for some, ahem, smaller tushand specifically the size of my own.)

Let me back up with a quick short story about 2012.

On January 1, I weighed 160 pounds. Then I gained 10 pounds in 11 months. The end.

Okay, there's actually more because what you need to know is that I started 2012 up 19 pounds from the sacred low of October 2010.

I'll do the math here: of the 40 I lost back in 2010, 29 are back.

Just so you know, one of the purposes of moving more and eating well is to have a scale that measures a smaller number, or at the very least, one that stays the same.

That said, if there's one thing I've finally connected to this year it's that it's not just about a number on the scale.

So here are the facts:

• At 170 pounds, I'm physically in the best cardiovascular shape of my life, more or less. I can run 3 miles without passing out; I can swim 30 minutes nonstop and am in no danger of drowning.

• My connection to exercise and better mental health has never been stronger. I can attest to this because as I've slacked off on exercise this fall, I've felt far more life stress than at any time in the past three years.

• My attitude remains one of "I can actually do this thing" as opposed to "Oh HADES! Pass me the Sprite and Cheez-Its!"


Here's some more truth: my therapist, who I believe has helped me not only save my marriage but also has helped to save me in pretty much every way possible layed this on me: why would I want to solve my weight problem? I thrive on having a problem. When I keep it a problem, it means I get to keep acting like the child I've been all these years. Acting like a child = indulge myself by eating all manner of foods that really don't fall into the Eating Well category.


But if she wasn't delivering some truth there, it wouldn't hurt to hear it, now would it?

I know there are those of you for whom this is a no-brainer process. And you may sit back and say, "Jeez Zielske, figure it out!" 

I assure you, I'm trying to figure it out. Every day is an opportunity to do better. To move more. To eat well. To care for this veritable temple of a body that I am so fortunate to have.

But back to the chubby hubby connection. Here's another story:

When Dan went to Slovenia last Spring, we realized in those 11 days apart that this whole thing we've got going? It's a good thing. It led to six months of food and wine and fun. I was completely plugged into experiencing life—still am, mind you—but it also included a lack of sound judgment as far as quantities and calories have gone.

The fact is that Dan and I don't share metabolic similarities. I can't go mental with food unless I'm running hours every week. And with a nagging foot injury that I'm presently dealing with, that's just not possible.

I love my hubby. I let myself get chubby. 

Now it's time to focus. 

I'm not pretending that somehow I magically gained weight with zero understanding of how it happened.


My Move More, Eat Well students know my story this year very well. I don't try to present them with the idea that HEY! Look at me! I have it all goin' on!

They, like me, are works in progress. God love 'em.

I am continuing on with the journey and I'm also going to run Move More, Eat Well 2.0 in 2013

And just because it's almost December doesn't mean I'm going to wait until January 1 to get serious. 

Heck no. Today's as good as day as any, right?

What about you? Where are you at as the year begins to wind down and what are your plans for 2013 as far as taking care of you go?


For a short audio message about Move More, Eat Well 2.0, click here.





November 24, 2012

Weekend Product Releases

I have a few new holiday-themed products this weekend. 


J-Cards No. 04 Holiday 3 x 4 cards. Predesigned journaling cards for the holiday season. You don't need Photoshop to use these. Just open the PDFs and print.



Social-media inspired Hashtags No. 02 Holiday and Hashtags No. 03 Thankful. These are great for page titles or using for creating your own holiday journal cards. Great for dropping onto your photos as well.

All new releases are 20% off through Monday.


November 23, 2012

Share-a-Page Fridays: 30 Days of Thankful




I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday (to my U.S. readers, of course), and that you are safely nestled at home this fine Black Friday.

I fully plan for today's entry to be: Thankful I don't fight the crowds today. I know people get out there and do, and I admire that pluckiness. 

Here are the last few days from my album, minus yesterday which I'll post next week in my final post for 30 Days of Thankful.

Be sure to share a link to your pages at the bottom of this post.



Day 17




This is definitely a project that doesn't have to be relegated to the month of November. By using the digital kit, you can drop in any seasonal papers and colors to make this a project suited for any holiday—Christmas, Hanukkah—you name it. Have a great rest of your holiday weekend.


November 21, 2012

Project Life, Week Forty-Six


OBSERVATIONS: The year is winding down. And here I sit, with my second binder full of Project Life pages. I'm so glad I did this project this year. 

I'm going to be putting together a post for early December about my process and how I fit this into my week every week, the supplies I go to time and again (photo paper + photo printer + white cardstock), and how you can begin planning to do this project for 2013 if you're so inclined.

Yes, it's been very different from my traditional memory keeping layout approach, but I really feel like this is such a cool time capsule—a life capsule, if you will—and I believe that I'm hooked on the system.

My favorite part is that this system can evolve into anything you want it to be. Flexibility? That's Project Life's middle name. No, really. Ask Becky. She'll back me up.

Now, onto the week.


Yes, this year I'm going to attempt doing December Daily. I figure that I've got all the stuff and I've also got the daily documenting bug, so why not? More coming on my album preparations next week.


See that image of the text Dan sent me? Yes. The mice are back. Sigh. It's nothing personal against them, but they ate through one of my Pampered Chef oven mitts. Mama was not happy.


I used one of my new J-Cards to elaborate on the mouse-death-themed text. I hand journaled on one of them, then I used my computer on to journal on the others. (To learn how to do that, watch this video.)


And finally, our weekly recap:


And that is all I wrote for Week Forty-Six.


Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

November 19, 2012

Video Tutorial: Customizing PNG Journal Cards


I released a new set of journaling cards over the weekend, and someone emailed me and asked how to add journaling blocks in Photoshop. Today I'm going to show you how to do it, as well as how to set up a document with four journaling cards, each with its own journaling block, that you can use time and again for your hybrid projects like Project Life.

Even though these printable cards are set up to just print and add your hand journaling, I find that when I type my stories in, I have more to say and there are generally fewer typos. (Yes, I make typos every single time I journal by hand.)

Here's a video walking you through the steps of working with predesigned PNGs using Photoshop Elements 10. Note: to see this video larger and in HD, click on the link below the video. If you have any questions, leave me a comment.

Adding Text to Predesigned Journal Cards + Creating a Re-Usable Template File from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

 You can find the journaling cards by clicking here.

New music for a Monday: Johnnyswim

I was running some errands this past weekend, listening to A Prairie Home Companion (yes, I'm officially middle aged and it's my right to do so…that, and I could listen to Garrison Keillor read the phone book), and I heard a band that made me pull over and figure out who they were and what they were all about.

The band is Johnnyswim,  and they are a folk, soul, blues, pop duo hailing from Nashville, Tennesee.

They are insanely talented, extremely pleasant on the eyes, and get this: they're married. Oh for cute.

I just bought their Home EP and am loving it. Hey Johnnyswim, release more songs! You guys are the real deal.

This is the song I heard them do on the radio show and I loved it.


Here's another lovely song.


Find them on iTunes or Amazon.


November 17, 2012

Weekend Product Releases



J-Cards No. 01 are part of a new series of printable 3 x 4 cards, perfect for your Project Life albums, or other hybrid layout projects. The best part is, you don't need Photoshop to use them. Just open the PDFs in Acrobat and print. This set is also available in two other color schemes.


J-Cards No. 02 and J-Cards No. 03.


Also new this week, Holiday Story Cards No. 01. These 4 x 6 PNG files can be used as photo overlays or journaling cards.


Another new product are Hashtags No. 01 Brushes and Stamps. These would be fun to drop onto photos, or to design custom 3 x 4 journaling cards of your own.

And finally this week, one set of digital papers that I've been using to customize some of my layered journaling cards.


Of course, all new products are available for 20% off this weekend.