Hello: My Crate Paper DT Bio :-)

Hi there everybody! Today Crate Paper posted a little biography of me on their blog and I just wanted to encourage you all to check that out if you haven't already (so you can see all the bios of all the new members of the Crate Paper DT for 2016). There are so many super amazingly talented ladies, I feel so blessed to get to work with them! I thought I would also share my bio here on my blog in this post so that in future people can also find that info on here! So here we go...

My name is Andrea Bethke and I am a Latina living in SoCal with my amazing (Prince Charming) husband, Ryan, and our puppy, Leeloo! I am a photographer and have a photography business with my husband which focuses mostly on weddings and other big events in the lives of couples. Our slogan is "photography for lovebirds, by lovebirds". We are truly lovebirds, as I love my husband more and more each day and feel so blessed to have him in my life! I am very grateful for all the blessings that God has given me! I'm very happy to live in what I consider a magical world that is filled with beauty and possibility; however, I also struggle day to day with a serious disability that can make things difficult from time to time. I have a condition called CRPS, complex regional pain syndrome, which is a nerve condition that causes severe (and frankly often excruciating) pain. I sometimes cannot walk and have to use a wheelchair and other times I can't really even move at all and have to be confined to bed. It's hard being stuck inside so much of the time, but I see such challenges as simply annoying hurtles that I know I can overcome with a little courage and imagination!

Frankly, what really helps get me through it all is my faith, my family (one super awesome husband particularly) and most definitely my imagination and creativity! Scrapbooking and crafting have had a huge impact on my life! They are the outlets that help me to heal and express myself -- I like to call my scrapbooking, my scrap-therapy! Memory keeping and making helps me remember what's really important in life, and to see all the wonder, magic, whimsy and endless possibility in the world!  I love to create so much for this reason! My motto is to "live life as a fairytale", which just means that I want to live my life with courage and imagination, the way they do in fairytales! I think I accomplish this by imaginatively living out my personality, persevering through struggle, and showing the world in a very visual and creative way the unique woman that I am and the story that I'm telling. I encourage you all to live your life as a fairytale, too. It may not always seem like a fairytale that we're living, but despite all of life's pratfalls and challenges, we can each write our stories with bright colors and pretty patterns, with beautiful imagery and inspiring poetry, and create for ourselves a world with our own Happily Ever After! 

My favorite Crate Paper collection is by far the After Dark collection! Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday! It has been ever since I was a child and my Dad and my Grandma taught me how to make my own costumes! October and Halloween-time became even more special to me when I got older because that's when I met and fell in love with my husband and it's also the month we chose to get married in! For all these reasons and more, every year for the last four or five years I have made an "October Daily". I was inspired so many years ago by Ali Edwards' December Daily to document the month of October in a similar fashion, coming up with the idea for an "October Daily" in which I could commemorate all the special things me and my family do at that time of the year. Every year I search for product that will fit the task of making such a special project, and I was more than thrilled when Crate Paper came out with their After Dark collection which suits that kind of a project, as well as my style, perfectly! The collection is filled with pattern paper and ephemera and embellishments that are so vintage, kitschy-cute, and whimsical that you really get the feeling of what Halloween and October are really all about -- which is seeing the magic in the everyday, being nostalgic about your past, and letting yourself interact with the world with a child-like sense of wonder! For me Halloween-time is a time for fun, for tricks and treats, and letting your imagination run wild! And October is a month for beautiful memories as well as shnuggling and being silly with the one you love! I think After Dark absolutely embodies those same playful, happy, sweet, and heartfelt sensibilities! 

I'm super excited to be on the new Crate Paper design team and I hope more than anything that I can inspire others to live creatively, to never give up, and to find the magic in the everyday!