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.
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.