Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The next kit to arrive came from Simply Obsessed which is only $20 / month with membership. I have to say that this kit was my favorite based on quantity of items for the price. I just loved the variety of papers, plus they included sugar coated chipboard letters, KI lace cardstock, a large metal flower, Making Memories Hillary Pebble Clips, an American Crafts silver marker and more. What an amazing value and I'm really impressed with the coordination of items. There is a perfect balance of paper and embellishments.
In addition to the December kit, I purchased their Halloween add-on kit and the November kit. The owner, Shauna, gave me the member rate so I only paid $20 for the November kit and $10 for the Halloween plus no extra shipping. I could not believe how much product I received! I expect to remain a member at Simply Obsessed for years to come. Their customer service is top notch and their kits are incredible.
The last kit to arrive came from Studio Calico which is the Ann Taylor of scrapbooking kits. From the website to their online community to the packaging of their product, they are top notch. Every detail has been carefully considered and their kits are to die for. With a membership, their kits are $29.50 / month. The include an amazing variety of products from the hottest scrapbooking lines.
There are several add-on kits each month but you have to tune in at the midnight release EST on the 27th of each month to order one because the sell out before the sun comes up. I purchased 2 add-ons this month sight unseen because I had heard so many great things about them. I was not disappointed! The add-ons run from $3.00 for additional Bazzill to $28.00 for a whole other coordinated kit. I had Christmas money this month to purchase 2 add-ons but I don't think I will be able to indulge regularly since it was an additional $55 for the 2 add-ons I purchased.
I also want to mention that April and Scarlett (the owners) provide amazing customer service and are present on the message board all the time. Speaking of the message board, everyone there is so welcoming and there is a real fellowship amongst the members.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I wanted to have the same kind of experience with my kids this year, so I hunted to find a similar kit but it seems they don't make them anymore. Since Aidan (4) and Eva (2) are so little, I decided to improvise with age appropriate materials.
We started out with the glass ball ornament - Aidan punched snow flakes out of white bazzill bling and put it in his orb along with a little clear glitter. Eva helped by placing a few snowflake stickers on the outside.
The next ornament swe did together was an impromptu creation that we will treasure for years to come. First, I had the kids color pictures. Then I punched out sections of the pictures with a large circle punch. I also punched out circles of thick clear plastic (part of a product package that I saved just in case I needed it) and placed the plastic over his drawings. I used the small hole punch on my crop-o-dile around the edge of the circle and hand stitched the plastic coverings over the drawings with embroidery thread. I attached a ribbon. at the top and viola- Aidan is so proud of his ornament- I often catch him taking it off the tree, staring at it and then placing it in a more visible location.
Our ;last Christmas ornament adventure was last Sunday. I put out an assortment of materials so the kids could invent their own project. There were jingle bells, pom poms, craft sticks, shiny covered wire and a bin full of craft foam shapes I've collected over the years. The kids saw the foam people cut outs and immediately decided to make our family. I had a bag full of foam hair style, clothing and even shoes which they explored thoroughly. When they finally decided on outfits, we glued it all down and punched holes through the head for the ribbon so they could be hung on the tree. Aidan decided that girls should be on one side of the tree and boys on the other and he loves the idea that he is as tall as his dad. :-) These are the memories that make Christmas so special.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I've finally completed another altered cookie sheet advent calendar. It was such a challenging project because I wanted to use totally different embellishments than those I had used on the first. I had so much fun dressing up die cuts and clip art into 3-D Christmas decorations. I have listed both calendars and a few other mini albums I created on Esty.
I have also been working on a Desk Calendar which has been very time consuming because I'm "cooking" without a recipe. I've had to reconstruct, rethink, recreate a number of elements but it is finally coming together. I'll post the final product once it is completed.
I've also been creating lots of Christmas gifts which is so much fun. I placed gigantic orders at Costco photo center and Snapfish so I have plenty of great photos to work with. Now I have to commit to the placements. I bought a canvas for large wall layout for my mom and the GIGANTIC scrapbooking coordinated set at Costco to create albums for Tim's family in Texas. I can't post the projects until Dec 26th because I don't want friends and family to see their treats before Christmas. i love the holidays!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
After the birth of my daughter, any illusion of order in my home went out the back door when I wasn't looking and I was FORCED to accept chaos in my home. I remember in a desperate attempt to make my house (and life) clean and organized, I purchased an all purpose steam cleaner from HSN while I was up late nursing. "This will fix everything" I thought. When it arrived, I was filled with hope and started steaming immediately only to discover that I couldn't really use it when my 2 year old was around because of the hot steam . The steam cleaner sat in the middle of our kitchen island for 3 months. Every time my husband went to put it away I shrilled "Noooooo!". It was a symbol of what I hoped I would regain. Yet when I finally got into the groove of being a mother of two and found myself with free time, I did not clean. I retreated into my scrapbooking room and shut the door on my messy house and my never ending responsibilities. A clean house would only last a few hours but the joy I got from scrapbooking my family memories filled me up for days.
Fast forward to today. The internal battle continues When the "take care of business" side shoots the canon, I know I have "work" to do. Art will have to wait. But when the struggle is limited to debate, I leave the mess and go "play". Balance requires thoughtful attention and daily practice. If it was easy, tight rope walkers would be a dime a dozen.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Since I have been spending a lot of time in bed with my little ones, I've had time to read a little more of "Life Artist" by Ali Edwards (love it!) and think about some of the projects I want to try from Donna Downey's "Creative Albums". I also did some writing and sketches in my art journal and now have an exciting list of things I want to explore in the near future. Here is a sampling:
- blow up some of my favorite photos and create a series of layouts around them.
- do an entire album around a theme of geometric shapes
- use binder albums and varying page sizes
- incorporate envelopes
- photo transfer onto acrylic
- take a picture everyday and make an album of just those pics
- buy some Heidi Swapp ghost clocks
Being a mommy - taking care of my babies when they are miserable and scared, is an unbelievably hard job. I never knew how hard it would be until I was in the throws of it. I am so grateful that I am capable of doing that job and that I have art to look forward to - it keeps me full and happy and willing to give of myself.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I have seen many different interpretations of the cookie sheet calendar. There are so many creative ways to approach this project! I decided to use supplies from the 8000+ piece Holiday Scrapbook Kit I purchased on QVC through their autoship program they offer last spring. The kit includes about a zillion card stock and chipboard diecuts to use for the countdown. I dressed some of the pieces up by punching small holes and inserting sequin garnished jumprings. I used a glitter pen, bling and sequins to embellish and add sparkle. The title is a combination of chipboard letters. The "Countdown to" portion is Downey Downing nude chipboard letters from another awesome kit I purchased on QVC. I paint the unfinished letters with Ranger's Lettuce and Watermelon paint dabbers. "Christmas" is spelled out in K.I. Memories Holiday Chipboard Alphas. It was a super fun project- I starting a new one today using Sandylion embellishments. They have an enormous Christmas selection this year. I'll post it when it is done and make the kit and finished project available for purchase.
Art club starts in a few minutes so I've got to get ready. We are using Heidi Swapp's "Love your Handwriting" book today for our challenge.
Friday, November 9, 2007
How things change... this year I officially declared Fall my favorite season. I love the way the air smells, the changing colors, the crisp cool mornings, the anticipation of the holidays. People say that California doesn't have a Fall, but I disagree. It is just a Californian Fall... Our backyard is alive with color and our grass is completely covered with leaves (just a day after raking). The kids and I had a wonderful time gathering foliage to make collages. They each had their own bag to collect all of Fall's treasures. Aidan thoughtfully looked for the most exciting leaves with interesting patterns and bold colors while Eva found joy in each and every leaf she picked up.
Like Halloween candy, the kids dumped their goodies on the table and selected their favorites. I gave them each a large puddle of glue on a plastic plate so they could enjoy the sticky, gooey sensations to the fullest. I felt so happy watching them dip their various bits into glue and randomly place them on sheets of chipboard. How easily they slip into the "creative zone".
Once the globs of Elmer glue are completely dry, I will go back with craft dots to secure the heavier items and then put them in a dark closet to thoroughly dry out. In a few weeks, we'll frame their artwork in shadow boxes so we can have a bit of fall all year round.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
The first project in this "cluster of creativity" is a staggered, spiral bound chipboard album. I scraplifted the overall concept from the Zutter website. The difference in mine is that I added Bazzill cardstock pages in between the chipboard to pull out the rich colors of K & Company's Wild Saffron paper. When I started this book, I had just received my Zutter and was dying to give it a try so I dug into this project without any sort of sketch or plan. After I cut the chipboard, inked and adhered the paper and bound the book, I found myself having trouble coming up with the overall theme and words to use. I wanted to do something really unique but many of the ideas I had were too many letters for the pages or did not coordinate with the Tuscan feel of the paper. LESSONS LEARNED: Consider theme and purpose before you construct the project. Being excited about a new tool or product does not make basic design principles any less true. Another thing I learned was that by adding the cardstock in between each chipboard page, there was less surface for the letters to adhere to the chipboard pages. Overall, I really like how this album turned out but I haven't done anything with pictures, journaling or embellishments yet.
This next project really had me in a strangle hold. I scraplifted the concept from a product demonstration for the Zutter machine on HSN. The back bone of the album is a 12 x 12 piece of cardstock. The pages are attached in a gate fold but the pages vary in size. The various chipboard pages are 6 x6, 12 x 6, 6 x 12, 6 x 3, 12 x 3 and 12 x 8. I had been wanting to use the rest of my Danny O paper and this edgy and fun design was the perfect place for it. I covered both sides and stamped with Fancy Pant's acrylics in black to dress up the collage tone. I ran into a few problems in the actual assembly with the Zutter and my pages did not end up where they belonged. This mistake really bummed me out because the cover pages I had chosen were now buried towards the end. The covers I ended up with were were not meant to be next to one another and felt dry and uninviting. My hope was that it would come together once I added some texture. To do this, I used my Ranger Paint Dabbers but the end result did not grab me. Instead of looking like brush stokes and smears, the paint looked contrived. I went to bed on Sunday night feeling crummy. I let these obstacles get to me and I started doubting my abilities. Monday morning, I was still feeling licked so I decided I had better do something to make it stop. This motivated me to take the album apart and put it back together the way I wanted it. Suddenly, the project was speaking to me. Yes, this is what I was after! LESSON LEARNED - (again an obvious one) if I don't like where a project is headed, I am allowed to change its course.
The embellishments and title I selected worked just as I envisioned. The photos I had planned on using were perfect. it was coming together better than I had expected!
It is such a great feeling to have a project start to take life. The process however, often involves discomfort - I would like to change that. I want to grow as an artist without doubting myself. Is this even possible?
I am also working on creating my own acrylic album rather than spending $18+ on an 8 x 8 from kits2remember or other products out there. I went to TAP plastics and had them cut the panels for me at $1.11 each. I was pretty excited that it had been so simple until I put the 1/16 acrylic in the Zutter. It was too thick to gracefully cut through the plastic and it cracked when I finally forced it. The same was true for the Crop-o-dile large hole punch. When I used the small hole punch, I had no cracking but then the binder rings wouldn't fit through the hole at the hinge. I finally showed this project to my husband and he said all we needed to do was take a trip to the hardware store and he would be able to solve the problem. LESSON LEARNED: (Hmmmm - I think I've heard this before... )2 heads are better than one.
I have a few other projects I have been tinkering with each of which has taught me something -
- unique envelope designs which I want to use for a mini album - LESSON LEARNED: skip the ornate details until after you have the envelop folded and adhered. No sense spending time cutting and punching if the basic design doesn't work.
- my sister's birth announcements - I still haven't got a design I'm crazy about - LESSON LEARNED - Use magazines and websites to get inspiration rather than spending hours trying to reinvent the wheel.
- twinking H2O's and stamping for collage - LESSON LEARNED - invite the kids to experiment with mediums - it is amazing what you can learn from their uninhibited style.
- Granny's 95th birthday album - LESSON LEARNED - scrap with love and it will all fall into place
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
But to my good fortune I stumbled onto a posting about Donna Downey's Inspired Artist Workshop so I decided to check it out and WOW! I love that there are a variety of different artists teaching and that the projects are so far outside my comfort zone. I signed up with my best scrapper pal Corvus and we've been giddy ever since. Just a couple days later I got a call from Bill Downey, Donna's husband, to welcome me and let me know that he is available to answer questions and assist in anyway. In addition to the 6 - 3 hour classes there will be optional workshops each night and Ali is attending as a student - Yeah! The icing on the cake is that one of my dearest friends in the world moved to Charlotte just a little over a year ago and I miss her soooooo much! Now I'll get a chance to see her new house and give her the big fat hug I've been saving for her all these months. I'm coming to see you Jen!
And so this morning, I awoke early and I thought where will life take me today? Will it be chores, errands, guilt for what I have not accomplished and disappointment about what I did not get to do? Or will it be a day filled with adventure, passion and experience? Hmmmmm- same day, same city, same characters, yet the perspective is polarly different. If I get to choose, and I surprisingly, I do, I'm gonna have to go with adventure. Yeah - that's the one I pick. how exciting! I'm going on an adventure today! I'll let you know how it turns out!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
This morning however, I found myself in a conflicted state. Half of me buzzing from the many hours I spent in the studio and the other half, heavy with guilt. Apparently, my committee held an emergency meeting while I was asleep and decided that responsible adults should not play when there is work to be done. I awoke to the disapproving chatter of all the people who live in my head and they made it abundantly clear that I should feel an equal portion of guilt to the joy due to my lack of initiative and poor judgment. It wasn't until I crossed a dozen things off of my list that I became aware that I did not feel like I deserved to be happy until my life was in order. No smiles, or giggles, or quiet moments allowed until the beds are made, the laundry is folded and the floor is swept, don't you know! A few hours later, still wading through my chores, I realized that this rule; this belief; this absurdity; was robbing me of joyous moments. More precious than gold or diamonds, joy is too precious a commodity to squander for a clean house. I've realized how lucky I am that I can experience joy so easily through scrapbooking and other forms of artistic expression. It fills me up which helps me to give more freely of myself. And lets face it, when mommy's happy, the whole family wins.
Monday, October 8, 2007
The months following this adjustment were busy with scrapbooking and art classes for Camp Gan Israel and the business of life- expensive car repairs, my computer crashing, a robbery, navigating warranties and insurance adjusters and the exciting reinvention of my home studio into a arts and crafts classroom.
I cannot tell you how much I love the new studio...my husband was so dedicated to the project and he did an amazing job creating an atmosphere of creativity and function. My clients have said nothing but fantastic things about the space and I am thrilled to have it so accessible.
The opening night crop was a blast. Many of my absolute favorite people where there making the night extra special. Everyone got so much done and I provided one-on-one instruction to anyone who needed it plus did a demo on embossing. Several people came without a project and we designed kits for them to work on together.
I am so happy with the course my life has taken. It seems that whenever things DO NOT go according to plan, I find myself just where I need to be. I have finally let go of the steering wheel and am enjoying the ride. My kids have a mom that is available (instead of a mom that says "in just a minute" all the time). My customers have a vendor they can count on (instead of a vendor that has fallen behind, trying to keep up with the demands of overhead). My husband has a wife and a friend (instead of a roommate and project manager). I get to be a human BE'ing rather than a human DO'ing which is a much bigger dream than I could have conjured up.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
I used to try on personal styles like hats in a vintage shop – I’d go from sophisticated to rebellious to hippy in a matter of weeks all under the guise of being “eclectic.” While these styles were fun and fabulous, none of them where my mine. It wasn’t until I stopped looking for definition that my style became evident. You might say it found me. One day I looked around my home- in my closet, on my bookshelf and through my scrapbook pages and realized that my style was everywhere…even on my TIVO!
At first I was a little disappointed because I had secretly hoped that “it” would be a style of pure genius. Something to put me on the map… when people of stature and clout described innovation and creativity they would say…”wow – it’s so…Jilliene.” But low and behold it was neither newsworthy nor likely to get me into the VIP suite at some who ’s who after-party.
Once the initial disenchantment passed I began to see the colors of my style. The lines, the patterns, the flavors, the attitudes – this was my truth and I liked it. It was cheerful, and fun, adventurous and undisciplined. It was clean and organized with a bit of chaos for good measure. There were hints of my mother and shadows of my favorite artists scattered about and the totality of it all was beautiful. I could see this beauty in my children’s faces and in my grocery cart and in the laundry basket. I was leaving my own distinct mark and I wasn’t doing it wrong!
With this awareness my creativity soared. I trusted my instincts like never before and became willing to let things happen. I knew I could count of my style to work out the details. My artwork became an act of joy rather than a quest for understanding. I was no longer searching – now I was exploring.I can see the difference in my scrapbooking pages since I got friendly with my style. There is more glimmer, more life, more happiness in them – the same hold true for me.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Last weekend I attended both days of the Bay Area Scrapbook Expo. In hind sight, I think I overdid it on the classes – I took ten. Most of them were terrific, I met lots of wonderful people, learned a few new tricks and compared notes on products and tools.
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My first class was” Take a Journey with Junkitz” where we worked on a mini album to capture vacation photos. They were really generous with the supplies and the project was great. I didn’t get close to finishing it, partially because it was my first class and I hadn’t warmed up yet and partially because it’s a 20 page album!
The next class was Rusty Pickle’s Family Pocketed Accordion which was a blast and a darling project. Our instructor was a sweetheart and as always, Rusty Pickle did a fantastic job with the album design.
Then I took Fall In love With Daisy D’s which was an 8”x8” accordion album. The paper was a little too soft and feminine for me (I like lots of color) but I enjoyed the class and the instructor, Michelle Grainger. She was a crack-up!
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Next I took Greetings & Salutations by Xyron – I loved the teacher! She was so down to earth and relaxed. We each had our own personal cutting system to use to make 10 greeting cards from S.E.I. products. What I liked about this class was that we got to dream up our own designs rather than the usual step by step project instruction you typically get. Don’t get me wrong, I take classes specifically for that kind of learning; this was just a nice change of pace, I enjoyed getting to know the other people in the class and learned a lot just by looking at their creations.
I had a two hour break to do a little shopping and was fortunate enough to enjoy a few make and takes. My absolute favorite and the hit of the entire show was 2daisies “Friend” wordbloom. For $5 you got to make an adorable mini album (you can buy the kit at our scrapbook boutique). Some complained about the one hour line but in my opinion…well worth the wait!
My last class of the day was Alexx Kesh’s Folding Album in a Box – This was a very unique project and a fun class. Lots of lots of flowers, ribbons, lace and mesh. My day ended at 8:00 PM and I was pooped.
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The next day I started with Rusty Pickle’s 8x8 card board album, Ode to Mom. This was yet another fantastic project by the Picklicious Designers of RP and a really fun class. The album is fabulous!
Next was a Date Album by Cosmo Cricket. They gave us a ton of extra paper and the album is super cute – We used Cosmo Crickets double sided cardstock which is gorgeous but a just not as durable as I’d like for this kind of book. I would have preferred the pages were mounted on chipboard.
Next was A Thing Or Two About Girls by QuickQuotes – The class was packed and there was hardly any work space for each student- I got there right as the class was getting started and couldn’t find a seat so I took my class kit and nice lunch break.
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After an hour and ½ rest I went to another Rusty Pickle class – the Girlie Girls Tag Album- I learned some great tricks and just loved working with the girlie girl papers- We may sell them in the boutique next month. This tag album is so fun and original.
The last class of the day and weekend was My Big Fat Chunky Book by Quick Quotes. I found a seat this time but we were squeezed in tight. The class was ridiculously fast paced and most of us were groaning because we couldn’t keep up. It was just a really big project for a short amount of time. The concept was great and I really liked the products we used – especially their new chalk ink. I just didn’t care for the pace or the instruction.
A few products I fell in love with while at Expo:
- Zip Dry adhesive
- Kokuyo Dot’n’Roller
- Tombo Aqua adhesive
- Glaze embossing pens
Friday, March 23, 2007
Of all the heists known to humankind throughout history, the greatest thief there ever was, was Fear. Fear has stolen love, wealth, success, liberty, creativity, invention, health, dreams and even life from many a great person. Fear has the ability to convince it’s Mark to literally hand over treasure, walk away from opportunity, hide from truth, discard relationships, refuse assistance, dismiss innovation and reject potential. We let Fear steal from us. We allow Fear to rob us of possibilities. We can make a choice not to.
I often find myself blocked creatively and otherwise because I am afraid to make that first step- to commit to a color, to waste a sheet of paper, to take a chance. The Fear grows in conviction if I remain idle. I become afraid to spend time on something that may not work, or to believe that I can do something only to find out I failed, or worst of all, to find out that I am devoid of any talent whatsoever. Where do you think fear keeps all the energy he steals from me? Does he have a giant vault with my name on it?
The next time I experience Fear I think I’ll say, “no you can’t have that!” and I’ll do the next right thing. If Fear suggests greater catastrophe, I’ll smile and say, “bring it!” And as my stomach dances around with butterflies and nausea, I’ll breath in deep breaths of acceptance and breath out my need for certainty. I’ll be me, whoever I am at that moment and use that Fear dripping energy to do exactly what I must. No easier, softer way; no hiding from the lessons or troubles that await me. I’ll put pen to paper, brush to paint, glue to photo, or foot to floor and I’ll keep the fate that awaits me. It is mine and Fear can’t have it.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Some of my greatest inspiration occurs when I am trying to fall asleep. There is something about the silence, the stillness of the dark that causes “out-of-the-box” thinking. I keep a journal and a pen at my bedside table and allow myself to break from my concentration on sleep to jot down ideas. I know that if I don’t put them on paper I’ll lay awake even longer trying to burn the thoughts into my memory banks for access in the morning or else, I’ll lose the ideas forever.
Tonight as I tried to drift off I kept thinking about passion. Not the kind we try to recapture after five or ten years of marriage, but rather the kind that drives us and brings about innovation.
There have been times in my life when I have felt completely devoid of passion, unclear what I am interested in or where I am going. Yet today, at time in my life, I am filled with passion and I have no idea why or where it comes from. I suspect that passion, creativity and hope are roommates in my psyche because where there is one, the others are sure to follow and once the three get to talking…well bippidee-bop, you’ve got inspiration instead of sleep.Enough writing for now - it is time to play with the Basic Grey Pheobe paper I got in today. I just love the colors, patterns - the whole collection is gorgeous! Tomorrow I'll post some photos of the projects I did at Expo! The Rusty Pickle classes where dynamite! I've got to take some pictures to put in them!