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01 February 2016

Memorandum Monday–Give Me A Sign

It’s a new Monday – here’s the memo:


This past week hubby and I started sign language classes. Our son is dating a lovely deaf girl.  Naturally we want to be able to communicate with her and vice versa.  Our son has picked up sign from her pretty quickly; we old folks need more formal training.

We were just barely introduced to the subject on our first night of class, but we did learn that the signs for hello include a small salute from the temple or, as you would expect, a side-to-side wave.  So hello to Sian @FromHighInTheSky and friends this Monday.  (A wave will also start the countdown timer for the camera on my tablet, another new thing I am learning.)


According to our instructor American Sign language has its roots in French grammatical structure. If you know French that would help you. I do not know French, although hubby had studied it back in his high school days. She explains the origin of the signs she shares with us, so we better remember them. It is a way of connecting a little story with a mental picture.  As a scrapbooker, I liked that.

I asked the instructor if ASL is like shorthand, an obsolete skill I excelled at in high school and college.  I hoped it might help my brain process it more logically.  She explained both American Sign Language (ASL) and Signed English (SE) are used when communicating with the hearing impaired. The basic signs for words are the same; however, with Signed English (SE) a sign is executed for every word in a sentence whereas American Sign Language (ASL) seeks to convey a concept. So SE is closer to shorthand -- all the words are included, but are shortened to symbols.
Here is a good example I found online.  If I were to sign “I have two sisters” in SE, I would make a sign for each word. In ASL, I might make the signs for “two” and “sister” and then point to myself, conveying the thought “two sisters, me.”  Based on videos I have seen online, the who, what, where parts of a question come at the end in ASL.

Initialized signs are another tool for teaching as they help students differentiate between words that can be represented by one single sign. For instance, one sign can mean car, bus, or truck. But by using a “C” when car is made, a “B” when bus is made, and a “T” when truck is made, the signer can increase the expanse of vocabulary introduced.  The example given in class was that the inclusion sign for a group of people is often the same, but using a “C” for class and an “F” for family adapts it to the situation. Signs, therefore, are most usually taught in groups of words.

Signed English is used most often in a classroom setting where sentence structure is being emphasized (for example, lessons in reading or grammar). ASL is used in settings where the focus is on the thought or message (like history or psychology).  Our instructor, who is personally acquainted with our son’s girlfriend, knows that she mostly uses Signed English. 

The book pictured above was given to hubby by his mom.  Our instructor thought it was an excellent one from which to learn.  At home, we began using it as a reference for learning to form  letters of the alphabet.  The instructor did not want us to practice finger-spelling until she could go through it with us. Indeed, she promised to “properly clean up” the alphabets of those who have  been using it!

Well now, there is a hint that our instructor is quirky in a fun, entertaining way.  She definitely knows her stuff, including several languages other than sign.  She shared stories of being called upon by the police and other public agencies to help out in situations with the hearing impaired.  I think our learning experience will be enjoyable.  Our reward of getting to know our son’s girlfriend will be extra special.

Do any of you know sign language?  Why did you learn?

February 2016 Counterfeit Kit Blog Hop

Hello, and welcome to February and the Counterfeit Kit Challenge reveal blog hop.  February is a short month. Time’s a wastin’ – let’s get to it.

Start: Our inspiration kit is from Mind The Scrap, their February kit – Snuggle. Pretty!


Lots of pink, teal and some navy were included in my January kit.  To mix it up I keyed in on these inspiration elements::

Gradations of color (I used the full spectrum and not just pinks)
Strong horizontal lines – rows of pattern
Black for contrast
Bold funky type
Hearts (it’s February, after all - but I did stop short of the cupid's arrows)

Last month, I USED A LOT OF MY JANUARY STASH KIT.  (Yes, I am shouting it from the rooftops.)  Then I spent time tidying the studio, organizing paper lines, looking through older stash, and purging fewer things than in recent years.  Being reacquainted with older stock meant that I could pull odds and ends and still produce a cohesive look.  It is very satisfying to use up the last of a paper line, embellishment pack and odds and ends.

My February kit is smaller than January’s.  I hope to speed through some layouts and make some cards from the scraps, adding in cardstock and card bases as I go.

Set: Introducing Scrap In A Snap

Stash: Patterned papers:
Fancy Pants The Good Life Enjoy (reverse)
Crate Paper Trendsetter Style Sheet (reverse)
Studio Calico Bright Pier Banana Stand
Authentique Fresh Collection Free (reverse)
Jillibean Soup Blossom Soup Fresh Cilantro
Tim & Beck for Studio Calico Clean Slate
The Girls’ Paperie Jubilee
The Girls’ Paperie Paper Girl

Pink Paislee Fashion Scrip alphabet stickers
Fancy Pants My Valentine Transpariences
Basic Grey Knee Highs and Bowties alphabets
American Crafts pearl brads
Creative Imaginations label die-cuts
Colorbok journal and heart die-cuts
Stampin Up silver thread
Unknown maker blue twine
Love My Tapes washi tape
My Mind’s Eye Lost and Found Lovely buttons
EK Success Art Blanche scalloped chipboard
Unknown silver charm
Momenta vinyl words
Heidi Swapp acrylic die-cut words

Feb card add-on

Oh, and let’s not forgot the pocket cards that I said I would include each month – this adds some important design aspects this month - like the tiny triangles and the funky brush type (and even a couple of small arrows, after all).  The cards are trimmed down from two 6 x 8 double-sided cards from a Studio Calico kit. The stamps sets are by Studio Calico and Pebbles, the set of labels from Twine & Ink (for Studio Calico).

Stops: Now it is time to make the rounds to see more great counterfeit kits:

So go make yourself a kit for some quick scrapping this month.  Go, go, go – even with the extra leap year day - time’s a wastin’.

29 January 2016

Duke Is Part of the Family

Duke is Part of the Family – a Scrapbook Challenges Flashback Friday sketch layout

duke family 

Start: sbcffsketch201

Here is the sketch we were given.

Style: This layout has fairly recent patterned paper and an odd lot of old embellishments.  It was done when I needed to get my mojo flowing again.  My approach was to make  it fun without being complicated – mixing playful patterns and layering was the game plan.  I will admit it took me twice as long as usual to complete because I was not working from a kit.  I spent too much time deliberating the choice of ribbons and buttons – umm. . . make that button!  I never did find the doggie themed flair I know I have, and even now, I am tempted to move those enamel dots around.

I like the design’s straight lines, circles and scallops.  I had the self-control to only look at pictures in my to-be-scrapped box.  I don’t have a 4 inch punch, and using my Cricut or even my Creative Memories cutting system was going to slow me down – not ideal when your mojo is not strong.  So given that I have a 2 1/2 inch punch, I used smaller circles and then tucked the transparency behind the two most important circles for emphasis. 

Admittedly, there is not much story here.  He’s cute and he’s spoiled – enough said.  Naturally I let my title tell a big part of the story, because you know how I feel about titles (wink)!

Stash: Bazzill cardstock
Echo Park Bark, Jillibean Soup Fur Fusion Soup and Bella Blvd Rover patterned papers
SEI Homestead alphabet and border
Basic Grey small alphabet
My Mind’s Eye tranparency
Little Yellow Bicycle printed chipboard
EK Success Carte Blanche scalloped chipboard
Leaky Shed Studio dachsund shaped chipboard
Bella Blvd heart button
Teresa Collins essentials enamel dots
Queen & Co. Candy Shoppe dots
Jillibean Soup journal sprouts and die-cut vellum hearts
Stampin Up ribbons and punches
Versamagic chalk inks

This is my final challenge for the Scrapbook Challenges blog, I am rotating off at the end of this term. It has gone by fast and has been a fun and productive experience - I recommend it!  In fact, if you had not seen, there is now a Design Team call open over there.  In February they are doing something different while retooling the blog a bit before the new Design Team begins.  Go check it out - it's a cool challenge site!!

Stay tuned to see where this scrapper pops up next with her scissors in hand.

25 January 2016

Memorandum Monday–Every Third Day

Hello, just a quick wave at Sian @FromHighInTheSky and friends.  It’s Monday, and here’s the memo. What’s new?  Statistics!

My last blog post was number 1,250. I knew I was coming up on the milestone.  Then I decided to check.  I have been blogging for 4,290 days – starting on 4/2/2009.  I did the math – that is nearly 30%, or every third day. Yikes, I had no idea. Who knew I could be so consistent?

So to those of you who are still reading – yay!  And those of you who are thinking – “she needs to get a life” – I hear you.  Maybe I’d better get outside – snow or no snow.


Just as soon as I finish this next blog post I am writing . . .

PS  How do I get my news every weekday?  Here is one fun, ever-so-slightly irreverent way:

Wish Granted

Wish Granted – a Scrapbook Challenges Sketch 468 layout

wish granted-001 

Start: I used Scrapbook Challenges Sketch 468, and because I rarely use such small photos, I adapted it to one photo instead of 3 and substituted a square photo and a journal box for the two round embellishment clusters.

Story: We went back to Bermuda for our second honeymoon to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  I had explained the tradition of the Bermuda moongate once before on my blog, as we have a moongate figurine that we picked up on our first honeymoon as a memento.
Stash: This is another layout from January’s counterfeit kit, to which I added a few doodads from Fancy Pants’ Flutter line.  I hope to get one more assignment layout done from the kit before long.  Stay tuned.

Why not hop over to Scrapbook Challenges and see what other designers have done with this sketch.  Then give it a try yourself.