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18 posts from December 2012

December 31, 2012

The Best of 2012: a totally biased perspective


I have compiled a list for your browsing and clicking pleasure of my favorite posts of 2012. If you're a new reader, you may find some real gems here. Or, not. Either way, I present my best of 2012. 

Best Photoshop Job

Favorite Scrapbook Page of 2012

2nd Favorite Scrapbook Page of 2012

Favorite Post About My Fear of Public Nudity

Absolute, Hands-Down Favorite Thing I Saw on the Internet in 2012

Favorite Post on Marriage 

2nd Favorite Post on Marriage

Favorite Recreation of 1950s Basketball Player

Favorite Theme Party of the Year

Favorite Moment of Mistaken Identity and Parental Pride 

Favorite Free Template

Favorite Project Life Spread

2nd Favorite Project Life Spread

Favorite Lament About Parenting

Favorite Recipe of the Year

Favorite Recipe of All Time

Favorite Nods to Favorite Quotes

Favorite Album Project of the Year

Favorite Post About Scrapbooking

Here's to a happy 2013. Thank you for continuing to come around to visit me here in this online home. It means the world to me.





















December 28, 2012

Move More, Eat Well 2.0, an invitation (and a talk from Ye Olde 'Mill)


It's that time of year again, the time of grand, life-altering pronouncements known collectively as resolutions.

I've known this time well over the years.

Nearly every single year during my 20s and most of my 30s, my resolutions always included the following:

eat better

exercise better

quit smoking

I didn't manage to quitting smoking until I turned 40, and the whole Move More, Eat Well part? It followed in my 43rd year.

But let me tell you something about resolutions: I don't buy 'em.

To me, resolutions are things we set up in our minds that we want to be really firm in our commitment to, but then when we miss the mark, they seem to encourage us to give up somehow. They whisper in our ears, "It's okay… you gave it your best shot… you can't really make this change happen."

There's a crash-and-burn factor that is all to familiar when making resolutions. It's that all or nothing mentality. If you miss the mark, somehow, the journey ends. 

I think a much more revolutionary thing to do when you're setting out to make changes is to work more on your attitude, an attitude that says: Guess what? I'm not perfect, but I'm going to keep showing up and trying.

The past 12 months have not been a success for me, if you're only measuring my worth in weight. Yes, I put on 12 pounds since January 1st. But I also kept exercising and I worked really hard in my personal life to make changes that made me a much more loving and loveable person. In short: I put a lot of effort into living the best life possible and to me, that's really what this whole self-care revolution is all about.

How can you connect to your life and give yourself the time and care that is needed?

That, my friends, is really at the core of Move More, Eat Well 2.0. This class isn't a competition to Skinnyville. It's simply a way to document how your care for yourself and to understand your successes and failures along the way. 

Failure isn't a term I shy away from anymore because what may initially seem like a negative is really a positive. It all depends on how you look at it. I've learned, and continue to learn, that my perceived failures are really just opportunities for growth and understanding.

And then, I just continue to keep showing up.

I recorded a short video from my basement—a Treadmill Talk, if you will—to invite you to consider joining me for a year of Moving More and Eating Well.

I'm not a personal trainer or a licensed nutritionist. I do not have a secret revelation that will make this process easier. But I'm here, knee deep in the hoopla of showing up and trying to make small changes that add up to better health and overall fitness.

An Invitation to Move More & Eat Well, The Treadmill Talk Series from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.


To learn more about Move More, Eat Well 2.0 click here

I'd love to see you in class on January 1st. But if you're not ready then, no problem. I'll be there all year long.



December 27, 2012

Project Life, Week Fifty-One


It's almost done. The entire year. Honestly? The fact that I did this album every single week of 2012? Shocking. And awesome. 

This week's entry is simple. Not a lot of crazy stuff going on. I think it's that end of the year, eyes on the next album at work thingie. I'm going to start working on my title page for my 2013 album this weekend. I have some ideas and who knows, there may be a free download in there somewhere for you! Check back next week!

Here are my pages for Week Fifty-One.



I think my cookie photography has really improved in 2012, no?


A few of you have asked me to show you how to add a line of text to a photo. Here's a very quick video showing you how to do just that.

To get your free download of the template shown in this video, click here and read the post for more info. 

How to add text to 3 x 4 photos from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.





December 26, 2012

December Daily, the Wrap Up


I have loved this little album project.

I have loved connecting to the real joy of this month. Being with my family. Being healthy. Creating memories. Living our lives.

Yes, there was sadness this month—profound and deep—and it became a part of all of our lives, really. But it only affirmed the gratitude I have for my life, for my family, for my friends—all of it.

Funny how a little album can add to that, isn't it? 

Here are the last pages of the album.










I definitely went more simple for the final pages. I omitted a few because there were too many non-family friends to blur out for Cole's middle school holiday party he hosted on the 22nd. 

I really do want to send out some love to my dear friend, Ali. She inspires me—and a whole boatload of others—on a daily basis. 

I think I'll be doing this again next year. Thanks for letting me share my album with you.

That is all for December Daily 2012.


December 24, 2012

Not a creature was stirring…


Christmas Eve, 1970. Four-year-old Cathy MacDonald, and Frosty.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


December 22, 2012

Something cheery (albeit a little big goofy)

I had to record a very brief video message a few weeks ago for a very special scrapbooking juggernaut of a gal (Becky Higgins), and I decided to compile a series of outtakes. My contribution to Becky was only 11 seconds long. The outtakes? So much more than that.

A little holiday cheer—and goofiness—for you.

An Outtake for XMAS from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.



December 20, 2012

Project Life, Week Fifty


OBSERVATIONS: I wanted to keep last week's spread simple. Just photos and captions. Sometimes I think even I can make the Project Life process more complicated than it needs to be. Photos. Words. Life. Love.

Here are the pages from last week:



We spent hours antiquing in Stillwater, MN, last weekend. The reason this is highly amusing to me is that I don't like antiques. Not much at all. I think it was the company I was keeping that made it so sweet.



I'm sure that I will be light and bubbly and funny again real soon on my blog. I'm trying to understand this world that we all live in right now. I know there is so much good here on Earth.

So, so much good.



December 18, 2012

December Daily, catching up


I wanted to post the pages I've yet to share, doing a little catch up for my December Daily.

Here are the days:




This next page is a scan of the top of a box of Shiny Brite vintage ornaments I bought at an antique store in Stillwater, MN, over the weekend. There is something so cool about 1950s graphic design.





Dan and I spent a weekend in Stillwater, MN, a little sleepy town on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin, set on the St. Croix river. There was such a whirlwind of emotion for me this past weekend. In fact, when I look back to the December 13 page, my heart aches. How much we need days of normalcy in our lives. You know?

One of the things I decided to do was to get an Elf on the Shelf for our house. I'd asked the kids if they thought it would be fun when we were out last week at Barnes & Noble. They both echoed a resounding, "NO!"

But the next day I hatched a plan to go and get one, and leave them to find him when Dan and I were in Stillwater.

I left Aidan with a standard list of things to do: water the tree, bring in the paper, check the mail, etc. But I left the first note from Malachi (yes, that's his name) in our mailbox, to be found a few hours after we left town. The note was from an extremely bitter elf, who knew he wasn't wanted and just his luck, as he decided to come to our house anyway, found himself in an extremely sticky situation. (He was blindfolded and trapped in the dryer.)

Suffice to say, Malachi was a hit.

The kids were left with a challenge to one up the parents and create their own paper trail of elf-dom so we could come home and search him out as well.

Aidan took it to the next level.

She went online and got ideas for posing him. She created an Instax clue trail, complete with some serious riddles we had to figure out to unearth all of the clues. In short: it was totally awesome and she was giddy with excitement over the whole thing.


I put all of the notes and the photos into a little glassine pocket from Paper Coterie that was part of a Christmas card I received.

Each photo spelled out one letter of the key word that would help us find our poor elf.




We found him laying quietly on our basement wine rack.

My heart was about to burst, just at the fun and the joy created by my teen-aged girl.

So much to be thankful for right now. So very much. 



I've thought about a song that I posted once before here on my blog, years ago, a song by Everything But the Girl, and while I know this will pull on your heart strings, I feel like in addition to sending love and hope and prayers to these families, we owe it them to try our best to stay with their pain and their sorrow.

So they can know in some tiny, infinitesimal way, that they are not alone. 

I've thought of having children
But I've gone and changed my mind
It's hard enough to watch the news
Let alone explain it to a child
To cast your eye 'cross nature
Over fields of rape and corn
And tell him without flinching
Not to fear where he's been born


It's time to hold your loved ones while the chains are loosed, and the world runs wild.



December 16, 2012

December Daily, Day 14

Like many of you, the past few days have left me at a loss for what to say. Or what to think. But not at a loss for how to feel.

Dan and I had a weekend getaway planned this past weekend, just a half an hour out of town, and we decided to go ahead with it, with assurances from Aidan and Cole that they were okay with us going. They were and so we went.

We spent Saturday night in Stillwater, Minnesota, at an old hotel on the St. Croix river, drinking wine, talking, crying… connecting to the profound sadness that life offers at times, and the overwhelming love, and the infinite blessings. 

I still do not know what to say. I am still overwhelmed at the grief I feel and I cannot imagine how these families are able to cope.

I only hope they can feel the hopes and prayers of not only an entire nation, but the entire world.

I designed a simple card with a quote from Mr. Rogers that I read on Facebook over the weekend. It gave me comfort to think of all that light in the world; the good and the true; the hope for our humanity to grow and shine. 

If you'd like to download this card for your albums, by all means, please do.

Download December14


December 13, 2012

Project Life, Week Forty-Nine


OBSERVATIONS: I am loving the holiday look and feel to this month's pages. Yes, there's a little crossover with my December Daily stuff, but that's okay by me. 

This week, before we got hit with a foot or more of snow, I gathered my family together for a picture on our front steps. Even though the light color of my coat threw off the white balance, their willingness to do it, and the results, made me so happy. Thanks be to my Canon Remote Control Trigger Release.

Here are my pages for the week:



In fact, I would go out on a limb and say the photo of me and Dan in the upper left? Best shot in a long time of us together. That baby's going on a canvas somewhere. The bathroom, perhaps?

The other big thing that happened last week? My baby girl is a cheerleader, first one in our family. Ready, OKAY!



If you want to know how to add journaling to a 3 x 4 card file, this video is for you.


Awwww. Look at the Zielskes and the one with the white coat that threw off the white balance. Awww. (Side note: one of us is a hapless victim of Photoshop. Can you guess which one? I'll give you a hint: head replacement was involved.)

Here's the weekly recap:


I am ordering my album and other supplies for 2013 today! If you missed my video that features my Project Life Best Practices, click here. (You'll also be able to download some free 8.5 x 11 multi-photo printing templates to use for your Project Life albums.)

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