Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Creative Process

I was recently given the challenge to create a layout featuring "me". I realized that most of my pages are about memories rather than a statement about a person, place or thing. What a delightful approach. I don't recall ever having so much fun creating a layout. My perspective adjusted to the conceptual rather than a story telling mode. I felt so free. I never realized how I let the photographs restrict me. I was completely uninhibited by details and I was able to scrapbook from the heart. I didn't think it was possible to enjoy scrapbooking anymore than I already did but to my surprise, I did.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Charm, charms and more charms

I am in 2 charm swaps - One for Inspired and a Valentine's Charm Swap I signed up for on 2Peas. My Valentine charms are due on Wednesday (this was an extension-thank goodness) so I had to get cracking. They took much longer than I expected but only because I am new to the art of charm making and had to learn a couple things the hard way.
We were each assigned colors - mine was white so I decided to make white hearts with opaque glitter hanging on a gold wire with opaque and gold beads. I had to make 75 charms so I wanted to create something that was pretty yet not too time consuming or expensive. This took strategy. After wondering through Michaels for hours, I finally committed to wooden hearts. I punched holes in each heart then sprayed them white and sprinkled Crystal Clear Glitterex on them while they were still wet. I cut 2 inch pieces of Gold Plated Memory Wire (1/2 oz.) and bent each end into a loop after slipping 2 bead on the wire. I put a gold jump ring into the charm and loop on one end and attached a lobster claw into the other loop. This process took upwards of 20 minutes for each charm because the wire was so rigid. The first night I worked on them I only made 10 charms and the next day, my hands ached. It wasn't until I had made 25 charms in this manner that it occurred to me that there had to be a better way to do it.
I spoke with the manager of the beading department at Mikes and she laughed out loud when she learned about the wire I had been using. Apparently it is not meant to be manipulated. She recommended a much lighter weight wire and sent me on my way.
Wow! What a difference the 32 g wire made. It was so easy to work with that I no longer had to add jump rings - I could string the wire right through the heart, add beads, the lobster claw and twist it closed. This made the charm making so much fun! I finished my last charm yesterday and I am anxious to start working on my Inspired charms. I've added another medium to my list of artistic expressions! I love thinking about the great gifts I can make and can't wait to learn more!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Inspired! goodie bag swap!!

I am so excited about attending Donna Downey's Inspired in April! The yahoo group has been buzzing for months. What an amazing group! There are lots of swaps to join - I have signed up for several! The "Goodie Bag" swap is currently under way and I received my "goodie bag" from the fabulous Aimee Porco today!!! Look at all the treats she sent me plus the creativity!!

There were 8 bundles- each bundle had a letter from the word INSPIRED, loads of fun products and a page to a mini album- each tied together with a beautiful ribbon. Assembles, the mini album looks like this: Isn't she amazing?? I can tell we are going to be great friends! Thanks so much Aimee. You are a delight! And as for you Miss Cathy - you know who you are - well your goodie bag went out Priority Mail today - I can't wait to hear from you once you get it! I love swaps :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What are your favorite products?

I've been thinking about all of the amazing products us scrappers have to play with and how much money I spend to have them. I just did a bunch of scrap space organizing and got reacquainted with my stash. It is amazing how many things I HAD to have that remain untouched or slightly used. Yet there are other products that can't get enough of - my staples. Here is a short list...
  • Fabri-tac - the best glue in the world!
  • Kokuyo Dot 'n' Roller
  • my craft knife
  • Bazzill card stock
  • Color Box Cat Eye dark brown
  • Basic Grey Precision File Set
  • American Crafts black pens in .1, .3, .5, .8
  • Making Memories paper trimmer
  • Chipboard and acrylic letters in assorted colors
  • stapler
  • Crop o dile
  • paper piercer
  • Basic Grey magnetic cutting mat and ruler
  • pencil
  • Zutter binding machine
  • Sizzix die cut machine (I have a pazzle and a cricut but I use the Sizzix the most)
  • Tim Holtz paint dabbers
  • glue dots
  • pop dots
I reserve the right to add to this list as things come to mind. What are staple favorite products??

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I love scrapbooking!

What more can I say? I haven't blogged in several weeks because I have spent every minute I wasn't working, hanging out with the family, cleaning, and taking care of the business of life, playing in the studio. I have completed a number of scrapbooking projects and have a few more still in the works... It has been sooooo fun!
I just love how this 8 x 8 acrylic album turned out. I purchased the acrylic from Tap plastics and had them cut it into 8 x 8 squares several months ago but I couldn't commit to a concept. Then BAM! I thought of a review of 2007. My husband helped me drill the holes because the crop-o-dile caused the plastic to crack. He used my Fiskars hand drill to slowly grind the holes. I primarily used SEI paper and embellishments throughout the album but there are other products sprinkled through-out.
I also scrapped a bunch of 12 x 12 layouts - mostly pictures from the holidays but I also put together a few layouts from winters past with the wonderful Bohemia papers I got from SweetPea Scraps. This layout is of Grandma and Eva after she received her Christmas coat. I'll be posting the rest on 2Peas later this week.
Another project I completed was with the mail art group I belong to - UGRA or Under Ground Rail Art. Every month or so you receive a package in the mail with an amazing project someone has constructed for another member. The projects vary in style, size and medium. The themes are based on the recipients interests and each "player" is invited to contribute to the project. This project was being made for Dawn who likes flowers, gargoyles, antiques, chocolate and coffee among other things. I went with a coffee theme, collaging vintage coffee advertisements and contemporary paraphernalia from Starbucks as a background. I then added a pot pouring into a cup which was adhered with pop dots. I also created 2 pockets; the larger had a tag with the history of coffee (I soaked the paper in coffee to antique the cardstock and to add an aroma). The smaller pocket had a chipboard coffee cup tag in it with a picture of Juan Valdez saying "Hola Dawn".
I've also been working on a fabric album for my daughter. I wanted to make her a scrapbook that she could take to bed with her, play with, cuddle, and we wouldn't have to worry about it getting ruined. She is 2 and very precarious so it needed to be "Eva-proofed". I've never made a cloth album before so it has been a learn-as-you-go project. I have finished the construction of the album but have been a little stymied with what I want to do on the pages. I elected to set it aside for a week in hopes that the inspiration will come to me.
The last few days I've been tinkering in my art journal. I have come up with a few new scrapbook layout sketches that I am excited to see through. I've also practiced a few new doodles and have been playing with several different fonts. I dread journaling by hand because my handwriting stinks so I am really trying to learn a few new techniques. I've already noticed an improvement but it takes so long to write out a thought. I'll be writing again real soon. I've got a lot of exciting things coming up!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Living in the present...

My New Years resolutions have been an amazing adjustment in my life. I have been relieved of a lot of the ridiculous pressure I have imposed on myself out of habit. This has freed me up to do the things I love. I've slipped into my creative "zone" at the very start of each day Even if I'm not going to start art-ing right away, I find that when I'm in the "zone" (the creative space that makes me feel centered, present, open, enough), I am capable of living in the present, accepting life as it comes and I am more motivated to move (instead of thinking about moving.) When I say "move", I don't mean get up off of the couch, but rather jump into my life instead of observing and directing. For some reason I never made the connection that by living in the present, one is not able to worry because worry relates to the future. How lovely!

I'll be posting some of the new creations I've been working on and the instructions for the calendar project later this week so stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year; Clean Slate; Adjust Accordingly

I can't believe how quickly the holidays came and went. It was a great Christmas and quiet New Years- I love that! My kids have been pretty wacked out with the anticipation, excitement and attention they've experienced. Both Dad and I were home much of the past two weeks so their routine was interrupted. I enjoyed the season but am looking forward to 2008 and the promise of a New Year.

I've been thinking about New Years resolutions and what I'd like to do differently in 2008. What keeps coming up is that I would like to be kinder to myself and find more comfort in happiness. I have come to believe that joy brings me a great deal of anxiety because I anticipate the let down that occurs when joy is bumped by the trials of life. The expression, "this too, shall pass..." applies to both the bad and the good times and it seems I'm much more "comfortable" with the bad because I prefer anticipating things getting better. When life is peaceful and I'm feeling harmonious, I start to worry and wonder what event will change the tide. I suppose I do this in hopes that I can alter the future by eliminating the obstacle, but by the very act of consideration, I have ceased to feel the joy I am trying to protect.

Besides being self defeating, exhausting and frustrating, this cycle of self sabotage undoubtedly takes a toll on my physical and spiritual health. I am certain it is not a state of being that God intended for me or anyone else for that matter. And so, in 2008, I pledge to be kind to myself; to practice being in the moment no matter what lies in front of me; to embrace happiness and to clean up the messy details that clutter my soul. This means taking a few minutes each morning to connect with the world and my Higher Power; to reduce multi tasking and take my time in all my activities; to open up my heart when I feel good inside rather than guard it; and to cross one dreaded detail off my list each day instead of stockpiling them until they become unbearable.

I printed this pledge and taped it to my bathroom mirror so it is official. I am committed.