Pixel Scrapper Blog Train – November 2020

posted in: Blog Train, Freebie, Personal Use | 32

I’m running a little late this month for the Pixel Scrapper blog train; I ended up making a lot of things, and had even more planned, but working despite back pain hitting tears-in-the-eyes levels after 1.5 hours of sitting or 20 minutes of standing wasn’t possible. So I spent an awful lot of time this month out of energy and sleeping off the pain, when I wasn’t dealing with pain that made it impossible to sleep. Pre-election political enthusiasm by the far-right Trump supporters in the house (I’m a moderate liberal) hasn’t helped reduce stress, either, which contributes to lingering inflammation and pain.

While the back issues have been the biggest thing of note this month, my partner has a new job that he actually likes reasonably well and his bosses like him, so it’s looking like the tight finances we’ve been struggling with since early fall of 2019 are finally going to be history. I’m not counting it as a done thing until they hire him on directly instead of through the agency he’s officially employed by at the moment, but the dark tunnel seems to be a few shades lighter and that might be an exit ahead. My goal over the next few months is to start rebuilding my savings so we have an emergency fund again.

Also, the scale says I’ve succeeded in getting down to 255 lbs.–still much heavier than I want to be, but I haven’t been this light in 2.5 years, and I spent the summer of 2019 in the high 290s, so I’ve lost 35 lbs. That’s a big accomplishment, considering that most forms of exercise are prohibited or limited by asthma, rapid fatigue, or unstable joints that pinch nerves if I move even slightly wrong, and I’ve been living on a 1200-1300 calorie diet for the last 6 years (so there’s really nowhere to cut calories). My size 20s fit again, at least the stretch jeans, and my 2XL shirts aren’t looking as tight as they were, so I’m celebrating the forward progress.

Speaking of celebrations, my mother-in-love had a birthday and requested pastry rather than a cake–she’s a much bigger fan of crispy layers than of sweet crumby cake–so I tried something I hadn’t done before and made homemade croissant dough, then used that for homemade apple turnovers (after consulting with her as to what sort of filling and what shape she’d like the finished pastries to be). They turned out pretty well, especially since I started them three days before her birthday so I could space out the time for rolling/folding them to avoid overworking the muscles in one day and injuring myself, and even more especially for the number of oddities I coped with–including rolling the pastry with a shower rod because my rolling pin is in storage an hour away and hers is in storage three states away! The Granny Smith filling with brown sugar, cinnamon, and clove turned out wonderfully.

That said, I’ve got a bonanza of not-so-mini kits for you this month. Most feature elements that I’ve handpainted in ArtRage and extracted in Photoshop, and are rather heavy on themed patterns, but I know others participating in this train have created a variety of generic patterned papers that will stretch these “minis” into kits that can create several pages each. All of this month’s pieces are released under a personal-use license; I intend to sell the original layered painted files as templates in the shop once I’ve finished naming layers and the like.

The first mini is Veterans & Voting, made to document all of those US-centric things that happen in November–Election Day, Veterans Day, the Marine Corps Birthday, etc. I’ve gone pretty traditional on the colors, though, so you could also use the papers for Memorial Day or the 4th of July, or the camo papers for any military or hunting themed layouts. And I know the world is watching this election, and most of them are hoping enough of America has come to its senses to vote Trump out so we are no longer an international laughing stock or object of pity, so they can use at least some of this mini as well.

The second is Food & Festivities, and it’s in this one you’ll find elements for most of a turkey dinner, plus Christmas/Yule foliage, gifts, and ornaments. The papers are a mix of Thanksgiving and holiday themes, so you can use the same kit for both if you’d like. I know this year’s holiday season is going to be weird for a lot of people with social distancing and not traveling, so I made it a little less family-specific than I otherwise would. This kit also has elements and papers to celebrate Homemade Bread Day and National Mason Jar Day.

The third is Fashionable Fall, all about seasonal clothing and makeup. Red Lipstick Day is in November, and I’ve also included this year’s must-have leopard-print pattern in a paper for the fashionistas among you. You’ll also find a couple of warm sweaters, a plaid skirt, booties, a scarf, tall boots, a few fashion sketches, and a basic makeup kit of liquid and powder foundations, lipstick, eyeshadow, and mascara. (I may do some recoloring so there’s more than one shade of each, if I have a little extra time.) Papers include a classic tweed, faded blue denim, black leather, a couple of handpainted plaids, the aforementioned leopard print, a lipstick-and-lip prints pattern, and a paper with a mix of seasonal wardrobe pieces. I meant to get a few more hats painted and a paper made for National Hat Day, but the back issues ended up eating too many days out of the month for that.

The fourth is Forest Friends, intended to be a more general-purpose fall kit with a bunch of handpainted chibi-style critters and trees and leaves for the forest they live in. However, it’s late on the 3rd now, and I’m just going to release the elements I have and update this post with it on the 4th.

The last is the smallest, entitled Write & Remember, and it’s here to help with family stories, memoirs, and even NaNoWriMo. Again, I planned on it being bigger, but life happened, and it will be uploaded tomorrow. Remember, though, they’re all the same color palette, so you can mix and match with all the other blog train parts to tell any stories you wish.


Veterans & Voting
Food & Festivities
Fashionable Fall
Forest Friends
Write & Remember

Once you’ve got all the downloads I have for you, be sure to head back to the November blog train final list at Pixel Scrapper to pick up all the other fabulous contributions! And then I hope to see you back here next month for the December blog train.

32 Responses

  1. Barbara

    Love the kits, but all three downloads failed. 🙁 Hope you’re feeling better and that the pain subsides. I broke my neck several years ago and still have back issues, so I understand. Sending healthy vibes your way.

    • Holly Wolf

      They’re downloading fine for me again. See if your browser has an option to resume the download; that usually helps when network hiccups cause a break in the data transmission.

  2. Susan Kimmet

    Thank you for these kits, very. nice. And SO sorry for the news this morning. I guess it isn’t over for sure, but things certainly do not look positive for Biden. What a disappointment. This isn’t the country I thought I was living in!!! Keep smiling, surely this will pass.

    • Holly Wolf

      I’m all too aware it’s the country I am living in, despite my extreme disappointment in that being the case. I truly wish more of our country would realize that the protections rolled back over the last several years were put into law precisely because business owners created an obvious need for those protections (working conditions, environmental protections, food/drug safety, medical coverage, anti-discrimination rules, equal opportunity law, etc.)… but they’ve spent the last 30-40 years weakening our educational system, even in the northern states, and the southern states were already weaker educationally before they started. Businesses and oligarchy don’t want an educated populace, because an educated populace pays attention, asks questions, demands answers, and fights more than just their most egregious overreaches.

      That said, they’re still showing Biden ahead in the electoral votes, and there are still lots of ballots to be counted in urban areas of battleground states, so I can still hope that we will stop our progression along the path of 1930s Germany. Some of my generally conservative, Libertarian friends held their noses and voted blue down the ballot because they recognized that stopping this slide is more important right now, this election, than voting their usual party line, and I’m grateful. I just hope it’s enough.

  3. Anne MacLellan

    Thank you for the lovely kits, I hope you are feeling better physically, I know how difficult the next while is going to be for everyone who supports Biden. (Although I’m a dual Canadian/American citizen, I’ve never had US residency & therefore can’t vote but my heart is with the Democrats.)

    BTW the poppy is a Canadian symbol (later adopted by the US and UK) to commemorate war veterans. It dates back to a poem written by then Major John McRae, called “In Flander’s Fields” about World War I, Every Canadian school child is taught this poem. John McRae was a field surgeon in 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, 1st Canadian Division and he wrote it after after the battle of Yyres. Sadly McRae did not survive the war (he was also a veteran of the Boer War(. https://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/remember/flandersfields_e.html

    Here’s the poem:
    In Flanders Fields

    John McCrae

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.
    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders Fields.
    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders Fields.

    • Holly Wolf

      I’m quite familiar with the poem, Anne–in fact, I’ve a recording of it being recited at one of the Irish Tenors concerts back in the early 2000s (back when I was working and going to school and could get student-rate tickets to cultural events). It’s still a favorite tribute.

      • Anne MacLellan

        🙂 (I wasn’t sure if you knew the origin of the poppy for Remembrance/Veterans Day. )

  4. Ronelle

    You’re very generous will all these kits and the kits can be used for many themes. I love the color and the designs of the graphics. Thank you.

    • Holly Wolf

      One of my biggest problems with a lot of commercial kits is that they usually have too many theme-specific elements and word art, and SO MANY of them aren’t applicable in my life. I’m on disability, so no real budget to travel or go to a lot of events or even go out to eat frequently, a lot of more physical activities are either impossible or extremely limited for me, my son is grown and got married last year so no grandkids yet, my parents made sure we didn’t get to know our extended family well (and I can only make so many inroads on that starting as an adult), my sister and I mix like oil and water, my partner’s family situation isn’t a whole lot better, and he doesn’t like to have his photo taken. That leaves me scrapping pics of my service dog, the house and yard, my art, special holidays, and the occasional special meal or getting out for an event as far as “traditional” themes go. But they say you should design kits you’d like to use, so I try to make things that are flexible for a wider range of themes and experiences than the standard-for-scrapbooking middle-class mom/grandma; it challenges me to come up with word art and elements that inspire creativity and flexibility, and since I tend to scrap more by “does this kit match my photos?” than by using a kit for its given theme, that flexibility pays off in my own scrapbooks.

      As far as the colors go for a blog train, those are generally picked when the palette is chosen; I’ll occasionally add a metallic color or a neutral if I need it for certain elements, but I generally stick to colors present in the given palette, and sometimes I won’t use all of the given ones (usually because I don’t like the way one color works with the others). So thank Marisa over at Pixel Scrapper for the colors, and thank you for the compliments on the designs!

  5. Vicki

    Thank you so much Holly for the wonderful kits. Grabbed the first three and anxiously waiting for the next two! They are so versatile and as you stated each kit can be used for many things…one thing I really like about them.
    I do hope you are feeling better. I’m 74 and and have really noticed a change in my stamina for doing things that I used to be able to accomplish in a short amount of time. Instead of cleaning my house in one day it now takes 2-3 days! I now contend with osteoporosis so can definitely understand the back pain along with pain from arthritis.
    It is not fun getting older! All we can do is remind ourselves that we need to put health first. In that respect I look forward to the 2 final kits when you are finally able to get them active. God bless you.

  6. Cesc

    Thanks, Holly, for the nice kits. I was delighted to see your Vet’s kit included something for the USMC Birthday, as my husband was a career Marine. I will miss the formal Marine Birthday Party this year due to COVID – but I’ll look forward to next year ‘s celebration. Thanks again.

  7. Lily

    Hi Holly,
    Just wanted to draw your attention to the link for Write and Remember .. I am not able to download .. all the other links are in red writing, where as the last is in black and doesn’t link at all. I hope you can fix this .. I will come back later 🙂 Thank you so much for the other kits, they look fabulous too 🙂

    • Holly Wolf

      I’ve finally gotten it posted, Lily. As Vicki said, I’ve been fighting with my health issues, and the house I’m living in only has satellite internet available–NONE of the cable companies come out here, and even DSL isn’t an option. In practice, that means that my internet connection most days is about what I used to get back in the late 1990s with a 56k modem…with the added fun of it going completely out every time there’s a strong thunderstorm because the satellite signals can’t penetrate the cloud cover. I hate it, and so does my partner; we want to move as soon as we can, but his parents still need us to help out financially so that’s not really an option yet. Things are improving on that front, slowly, so hopefully we’ll be moving again in spring, to a place of our choosing this time (and very high on the list of must-haves is cable internet!)

  8. Vicki

    In reply to Lily: Holly has been having some health issues as well as some internet connection problems so has been unable to upload her last download for us. Keep coming back to check as it will be worth it! I, for one, appreciate her talent, time and generosity in sharing her kits and want to thank her again!

  9. Gala

    Большое спасибо за ваши великолепные наборы! Через боль создавали свои наборы… Желаю Вам крепкого здоровья!
    Thanks so much for your great sets! Through pain we created our own sets … I wish you good health!

  10. Anne MacLellan

    Thank you Holly for all these great kits, I really appreciate all your hard work. I hope things get better for you.

  11. Anita

    I posted earlier, to say how much I liked the Write & Remember kit; but I’ve been trying repeatedly, and when I get about 17 MB into the download, it ‘fails’. I’ve also gotten a message that says it could not be saved, because the source file could not be read…
    Like you, I have extremely poor internet connections (rural, no choices), so I know how that is.
    I does look like a great kit!
    : )

  12. Mary Faye Salters

    Holly thank you for all of the amazing kits!!! Each one is just wonderful and so unique!!! I love the military one. I have so many military pics to scrap, it will be amazing to use!!! The food and festive is so stunning with the gorgeous lace leaves and ornaments and snowflakes!! The food looks amazing also!! The Fashionable fall… Love the boots!!! The hats are fun!!! I love a great hat!! The makeup and kiss are so fun!!! The forest friends is so precious!! All the little critters are just plum adorable!!! The Write and Remember is so gorgeous!! Love the different frames!! The typewriter is so vintage! The flowers and ribbons are beautiful/. Love the papers!!! Especially the notebook and our story!!! You have been so generous sharing you wonderful talent!!!

    I also suffer from severe back pain and neck pain and wonder if you have considered a couple of things that might help you out a great deal…. One is making rice socks and putting the in the microwave for about 30 seconds, they give off a wonderful deep moist heat that can get down and truly give some relief and also help the muscles to relax. They are easy to move into different shapes and positions to give relief. The other is the magnet blankets. You can find them in different sizes and I know it sounds weird but I swear by mine!! I tell friends to try them and they think I am crazy until they borrow mine and use them a couple of times and go get their own. Another thing is Aspercream lidocaine rub… That stuff is truly heaven in a tube. Also the patches help, I just find the cream can go where I need it to also. Maybe one of these will help you!!!!

    • Holly Wolf

      Thanks for the lovely comments on the kits, Mary Faye!

      I have rice socks, but my moist heat heating pad has been more useful on this due to the wider area; lidocaine doesn’t do much for me, but the Salonpas methyl salicylate patches help to calm some of the nerve pain and let me avoid opioids as much as possible. I’ve also been taking my prescriptions for Flexeril and prednisone, and using my Voltaren gel and my TENS unit. The two that seem to be helping most are the heating pad and the Salonpas patches, though I’ve continued the medications. I’m finally starting to get back to where I can be vertical for more than an hour or two as it starts to heal, which further supports my suspicion that I tore something in my sleep. Of course, going out and overdoing it Saturday shooting fall foliage didn’t help, but my partner’s been wanting to take me up to those lookouts for 3 years and there’s always been something blocking it–me still living out of state, him working on the road and not being here during the fall, tight finances where we could barely afford bills and food… but this year it wasn’t absolutely out of the question, so we took the opportunity, knowing it would aggravate my back, and chalking it up to “an important part of living with a chronic illness is LIVING”. Some of the colors in the photos I shot should go well with this palette, too, so I’ll have scrapping to do this month. 🙂

  13. daisyq

    Thank you Holly for all this terrific work you put into all these amazing kits. I do hope you can rest now and deal with the back pain. Can Dr. Ho help? I know it can be detrimental but please stay away from the doctors opioid drugs. (wink wink yes I know you are way smarter then that)I would hate to lose you to that epidemic. Be safe and follow Biden and you should be safe from the pandemic. As for family and Trump that is a hard one. I personally never liked the liar from his first lie onward. Everyone should have known what type of person he was before they elected him but that is the past and we can only hope that it gets better going forward. Take care, stay safe and I’ll see you in the forum. Hugs DaisyQ

  14. Pam K

    So sorry to hear about your health issues — in spite of everything, your positive outlook is inspiring! Praying that you will feel better each day!
    thanks for sharing all your lovely creations — you are so very generous!

  15. Vicki

    Oh so much pain and yet so generous with your gifts!! Thank you and I’ll be praying that you get to feeling much better. I have chronic neck problems that vary in their extremes so understand just a bit. Please take care and hope you will be feeling well enough to truly have a wonderful thanksgiving.

  16. Ann

    Fantastic kits, thank you for your wonderful efforts. I was disappointed because no matter how I tried I wasn’t able to open UNTIL I changed the pull down format to ALL FILES! TY

  17. Lorri

    Thanks for the variety of kits. I like them all but the forest animals the least as I am not much of an animal person.

  18. Kelly

    Thank you for the kits, Holly!

    I hope you are feeling better. And congratulations to you on your weight loss! Inspiring!

    I know how it feels to have family on both sides in this divisive political culture. It’s so hard to see some of my extended family buy into all the conspiracy theories.

    It’s reignited my faith though, as I see that I can’t trust politics–only God.

    I hope you have a blessed holidays!

  19. Josephine

    thank you for sharing all this. Can’t wait to play with them. Stay safe!

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