Sunday, June 29, 2014

Creative Blog Tour Questionnaire

I'm participating in a blog tour - I think I like that name better than "Blog Hop."  If you are following the tour than you have come to my site via Faith at Scrapbooker PhD.  These are the questions I have been asked to answer: 
1. What are you working on? 
Oh my goodness, so, so much!! Actually it has been bananas these last couple of weeks between VBS and summer camp.  I did some of the photography for Vacation Bible School and also helped out in the kitchen (not artsy - but believe me - we were definitely creative!)  Last Monday was the first day of camp and I was the first segment so I had a lot of prepping to do!  We started out with stations for the kids to roam freely.  I wanted to get a sense of their interests and abilities.  

Many of the girls hot glued flowers to floral wire to make crowns and jewelry while they boys flocked to the artist trading card station.  They  also created costumes out of fur scraps, feathers, tissue paper and fabric and did relief watercolor painting that we embellished with glitter and doodles. The next day we made giant marble runs using packing boxes, drain pipes and balls. 

Next week I am teaching Monday through Thursday for 2 different camps so I will have a lot of fun projects to share!

2. How does your work differ from others?
That is such a good question.  My work features a lot of color, impulsiveness and dimension.  Sometimes I aspire to clean, balanced, structured work but in the end my true voice wins.  I suppose it is balanced in an eclectic way but because I try to tell a story on a variety of levels, the balance is tiered.  I try to say something beyond the obvious with layering materials, varying styles and using a variety of techniques... kind of like a mix tape.  You know what I mean?

3. Why do you write/create?
If I don't create I feel emotionally constipated.  I'm sorry for the bathroom metaphor but it is the best way to describe the emotional bloating I feel when I am not accessing that part of myself.  Making things opens up my release valve. I love being creative - it is my soul's default state of being.   It is my resting place - my toll booth to joy.  I soar when I am creating.  I feel safe, authentic and alive.

4. How does your writing/creating process work.

Honestly, I look at my supplies.  My Cricut, my giant drawer of glue, a box of vintage buttons, a tub of modeling clay and the wheels start turning.  Say what you will about hoarding supplies- all I have to do is look at my stash and I start feeling the love.  And of course - if all else fails...Pinterest.

So now on to you!  I get to invite 3 fellow bloggers to join in the blog tour.  Please leave a comment or email me if you would like to join and I will get you all of the information!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

School is out, Summer camp is coming, SVGcuts at FCCB


Worst picture ever - darn florescent lighting!
My boy is a middle schooler, my baby is a 3rd grader and summer is here!  I am so relieved that the year is over and looking forward to camp which starts a week from Monday.  In the mean time we are going camping in our "new" (used) pop up camper and we have VBS.  as busy as that sounds, it feels like lazy summer days to me.

Of course my sister looks amazing but I was so busy getting everyone else ready, I'm disheveled and sweaty.
We are in the midst of the Celebrate Dad challenge at the Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog and this week's prize is
HUGE!
Our sponsor is svgcuts and they are giving away a $50 gift card and a Sizzix Big Shot.  This prize is valued at $125.  
 
Be sure to submit your Father's Day project here.  Remember to include at least 1 Cricut cut in your design.  If you are an Explore owner (or any die cut machine that works with svg files) and need some inspiration, visit svgcut's Father's Day section.  They have a bunch of collections specifically geared to celebrating Dad.  Use one of their projects as a starting point and customize it with a Cricut image!  Svgcuts is running an amazing promotion right now. Spend $9.98 or more and get this darling collection for free!


I know I sound like an ad for them, but I really am not on the payroll.  I am just addicted to their stuff and you know how I am... I get obsessed and I can't stop talking about it.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Last Days of School and General Mommyness

It is official.  I am formally declaring the end of the school year MORE stressful than the holidays.  I loathe being this busy, especially when I am burnt out, it is hot, and I am staring at summer like a deer in headlights.  I wish I could be like those mom's who have their summer plans sorted out in March.  I just have to remember the immortal words of the poet Popeye the Sailor Man; "I yam what I yam" and I need to re-discover that it is pretty good being me.
Last week my son's 5th grade teacher asked me to teach the class how to make art journals.  She wanted them to have something very special to take with them when they moved on from 5th grade.

 
I made this as a sample and she was thrilled with the design so the kids and I got artsy together last Tuesday.  I *LOVE*LOVE*LOVE* watching kids get their creative on!

I guess I had never really seen 5th graders in their "natural habitat" and I was shocked at the difference between the behavior I see on play-dates versus how they act when they forget grown-ups are in the room.  Their conversations were so different then they had been when they began 5th grade.  They are cynical!  How does that happen to an 11 year old? And boy - are they obsessed with video games.  Quite honestly, it was disturbing. My kids only play on the weekend - they get 2 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I worry that that is excessive. We also adhere to the age recommendations so all the chatter about Call of Duty was surprising.
I was really proud of my Aidan who was entrenched in his creative process.  I can only pray that the time we spend with him creating, playing games and camping is enough to keep him satisfied after he graduates from 5th grade and moves from a small christian school of 140 kids to middle school with 700. I love him so much but I have to remember that God loves him even more than me.

As his graduation approaches, I am becoming more and more aware of this time in my own life.  Right here. Right now.

I am a creative soul that loves her husband and children and all the other stuff swirling around me are distractions.  It is time to get my hands dirty in the garden; to make some home-made vegetable soup; to play with Modge Podge; to turn on some music; to wear a skirt with my Chuck Taylor sneaker's...
...to put braids in my hair; to play on the swings with my daughter; to hold my husbands hand when we watch TV; to go for a walk with my son; to breath deeply.  I am here. Right now.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Graduation Step Card

I  have seen so many fabulous "Step Cards" (referring to the accordion fold feature that creates 'steps' for you to place your layers of embellishments) recently, but I have never made one. I took advantage of this week's challenge on the Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog to create one. FCCB's June 2nd challenge is "Replenish Your Card Stash" which means you can make a card for any occasion or sentiment. Since my little boy is about to graduate from the 5th grade, I decided to make him a graduation card.

But before I made Aidan's card, I practiced with the "Oak Manor Step Card" design that comes with the Edisto Island collection from SVGcuts.com.  It is such a beautiful project! It definitely took some extra time to figure out how the design works. When it was all said and done, I made 2 design changes to create the card you see above:
  • In order for the house and tree embellishments to stand erect, you need to use a heavy weight cardstock for your base card.  Unaware of this, I had used a standard weight cardstock so my step card did not hold its' form well.  I supplemented by making a second step card out of thin chipboard and adhering it underneath the cardstock which worked very well.  
  • I also added extra leaves to my trees so that the brown of the tree trunks was not so dominate.
I gave this card to a dear friend for her 40th birthday.

Once I had the hang of the design and a sense of its' structure, I started on Aidan's graduation card. I cut my step card using my Cricut since the Edisto Island already has the cut.  I was grateful because it was late and I didn't have the mental energy to do any measuring, scoring or manual cutting.

First, I enlarged the SVGCUTS step card template to 11.45" wide so that I was able to use the entire sheet of 12 x 12" paper. I wanted to direct you to a Cricut Template for the card, but I could not find a step card file on ANY of the Cricut cartridges. Have no fear because you can cut one by hand, easy peasy. It is not at all the headache I thought it would be! There are loads of websites that have templates and instructions.  Here are a few:

Krafty Hands Online -for fantastic templates and a video tutorial.

Split Coast Stampers- to view a gazillion tutorials in addition to step cards.
Side  Step Card
Practical Publishing Australia - An article on 47 stepper card templates!
Once you have your card, the next step is deciding on what embellishments you want to add.  I used 2 Cricut cartridges for mine-  Locker Talk and Recess.  I tinkered with the colors to better suit the design and added a thick strip of paper to fill in the negative space on the front panel.  We will write a sweet message on the back.

NOTE:  I adhered my layered cuts like the school and computer onto heavy cardstock "tabs" (for lack of a better descriptive word) and then glued those tabs directly onto the fold ridges so that I could stagger the heights of the die cuts and prevent them from falling forward or backward.

I think this is a viable solution for just about any embellishment you want to stand vertically rather than lay backwards or fall forwards. Of course there is a bit of a slant which part of dimensional impact but nothing is being tugged by gravity which was a problem with my first card.

I think Aidan will treasure this card as he is very sentimental and the embellishments are exactly what he is associating with middle school right now...especially the laptop!