Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goodbye Hello

Goodbye, July.
Hello, August!

Goodbye to long and lazy summer days,
and hello to the busy excitement of the new school year.

Goodbye to sleeping in and staying up late,
and hello to contending with the adversarial alarm clock once again.

Goodbye to tank tops, boxer shorts, and bare feet,
and hello to blazers, skirts, and heels.

Goodbye to planning and anticipation,
and hello to the arrival of another chance to start fresh.

Goodbye to waiting,
and hello to the new JBS August kits!

This month we're also saying hello to two new members of the JBS team, Briana Johnson and Mindy Miller.  Check out the rest of the gallery here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

First Class!

Even though I am entering my fourteenth year of teaching, and I have taught online courses before, it was quite an experience putting together my very first scrapbooking-related class at Miss Art's Papercrafting School.  Like any other teaching experience, it was a labor of love, and I learned so much in the process.  Here's a peek:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Longing for The Open Road

I know, I know, I know. 

I live in Hawaii, and I should know that the grass really isn't greener on the other side.  It's as green as it gets here.

Still,  sometimes I wish I lived on the mainland, so that I could just get in a car and drive.
And drive.
And drive.
(And not in circles.)

I love road trips.
I know some people (like my husband) aren't really fans of road trips, but I am all for the idea of exploring new terrain (with A/C, a decent soundtrack, and a stash of junk food) and seeing with fresh eyes.  I get a kick out of silly billboards.  I delight in crossing state lines and seeing "Welcome to..." signs.  I'm fascinated by bridges.  I study the surface of lakes, rivers, and swamps, wondering what kind of life teems beneath, wondering where they begin and end.  I marvel at seeing how others live, how they create their own homes and spaces and communities, how they find ways to adapt to the land and the weather and each other.  I'm amazed at how each town and each city has its own personality, its own identity.  I'm fascinated at seeing how the past and present intersect.

I hate the idea that to take a "real" road trip, I have to pay big bucks for a plane ticket first.  Even if I could afford the plane ticket, I am not a fan of planes.   Give me the open road over the wild blue yonder.

Maybe the beauty of a true road trip, or any travel that places us in a position of having to find our way in the world, is that it presents us with the ability to forget ourselves; we are out of our element, unable to orient ourselves based on what is familiar.

That was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was — I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds.  
 -- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

A few years ago we traveled from Florida to North Carolina, but only recently did I document our journey in one of my October Afternoon CHA layouts, using the new Boarding Pass line.

I'll have more CHA shares for you soon!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Fly Like Paper

A few weeks ago, I saw this stamp
and realized that it was time.

It was time to learn how to fold a paper airplane.

That's right -- I had no idea how to fold a paper plane.  Somehow I had gone through elementary school without learning this important life skill.  Somehow I had managed to compete in paper-plane throwing contests in science class without the teacher realizing that if you ask a ten-year-old boy to fold your plane for you, you don't need to ask him twice.  Somehow I had even earned a Master's degree in English, the most paper-heavy subject of them all, without learning that it is not just words, but a few simple folds, that can set a piece of paper free.   

When I saw that cute Penny Black stamp, I knew I had to create a paper plane to complement it on a layout for the Two Peas in a Bucket Garden.  And so I did, with some help from YouTube and a how-to video clearly aimed at the age four-to-six demographic.  I only had to watch it three times before it clicked. 

The result?  
I added a twine "jet stream", taking my cue from the image on the stamp (and amplifying the cuteness factor).  I flipped the plane upside down so that it would be easier to adhere and less likely to be crushed when added to an album.  

I know I'm not alone in my jubilation at finally learning how to fold a plane.  The moment I learned, I shared it with the world (in a Facebook status update, that is) and received a fair amount of "likes" from the plane-folding community:

Poor Jen.  I once knew that pain.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe paper planes have a future as a scrappy trend.  I've been noticing some paper plane images on Pinterest lately that are being repinned quite often, and within two days of creating this layout, before I had even shared it with anyone, I noticed that Lexi Bridges added some really cute planes to her layout in a paper plane tutorial on the October Afternoon blog.  It's crazy that we did this totally independently of each other, which makes me think that the time for paper planes has come.   Can you imagine a line full of cute paper plane accents?  I would so love that.  I think AC had a paper a few years ago that incorporated a paper plane design, but I haven't seen much else by way of aerodynamic cuteness out there in scrappyland.  It's time.

I'm just saying, if I can learn to fold a paper plane, then anything is possible.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Closing the Book

Today my daughter and I visited Borders for the last time.

This is a big deal for me.  One of my favorite places in the world is closing its doors.

The opening of Borders on island in 1993 also opened up a world of books that I would not have discovered otherwise.  Because of the books I happened upon on those shelves over the years, I became the reader I am today and, by extension, the person I am today.  Prior to that time, we only had a smattering of small bookstores with limited inventory, and the nearby public libraries really only stocked mainstream books and bestsellers.

Of course, since 1993, a lot has changed, and online stores and e-readers have changed the industry.  People's relationships to books are changing.  The paper book is dying, and I know this sounds melodramatic -- because it likely is -- but it feels like a part of me is dying, too.  As a reader, my habitat is not just threatened; it will vanish by the end of the month.

I have a limited number of happy places, and one of them is the -- was the -- bookstore.

I know, I know, there are other options out there, and I am a fan of Amazon, so it is not as if I have been cut off from books altogether, but I use Amazon to buy my "sure thing" books, the ones I don't need to hold in my hands, or browse through before reading; I use it to order my obscure or specialized books, the ones that Borders doesn't stock or has trouble keeping on the shelves.  So yes, I understand that in some way, giving Amazon my business has made me culpable; it has contributed to the death of Borders.  However,  it is not as if I have neglected my local bookstore -- trust me on that.  My empty wallet and overflowing bookshelves are the proof.

In any case, it's the end of an era, and how did I mourn?
I bought a bunch of books, of course!

The art section had been raided (so much for starving artists, unless they've been spending all their money on books instead of food), but I found a few gems.  I think this one was my favorite find:
You can find out more about it here, and see some of the images that it contains.  After looking through it for just a few minutes, I realized the potential this book has to revolutionize the way I journal.  And mostly, it's just cool.

I also picked up a book that I've been longing to read for some time:

Clearly my love for books will not end with the closing of Borders.  Amazon will come to appreciate me and my book addiction even more than it already does.

Still, I feel a little disoriented.  I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes, from Elaine Scarry:

"How one walks through the world, the endless small adjustments of balance, is affected by the shifting weights of beautiful things." 

Something is shifting right now, something that once gave me a sense of balance, and I think that's why the world feels a little off-kilter.  I'm not one to fight progress, but this doesn't feel like progress.  It just feels like an ending.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Where Is My Mind?

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground...

My head is wild with thoughts this morning, mostly because the days of summer are quickly coming to an end, and I can feel my summer stream-of-consciousness melting away (beach day, shave ice, scrapping, sleeping in, impromptu belly rubs for the dog) and my back-to-school lists forcing themselves to forefront of my brain again (required reading, AP prep, seating arrangements, bulletin boards, work shoes...).

Luckily, the excitement of CHA has been delaying my absolute conversion to back-to-school mode.   I've been living vicariously through the photos and videos posted by merciful attendees.  Last night I came upon these photos as well as these, which helped me to scratch that CHA itch.

I've also discovered these videos from October Afternoon DT member Lexi Bridges

and Two Peas in a Bucket

I wish I could see the OA booth in person -- doesn't it look incredible?  Thanks to these pics and videos, my CHA jonesing has been sated (somewhat). If you have any other links to share, hook me up!

I've also been thinking a lot about Shimelle's incredible, beautifully affirming video on Ali E.'s blog, which I am embedding here so that I can watch it ALL the time.  I think I've watched it three times today  already.

It's a manifesto, really.

I confess to feeling strange when people ask me about my scrapbooking.  My mother recently told the rest of my family members that I was asked to be a Garden Girl at Two Peas in a Bucket, so at our Fourth of July gathering, one of them brought it up, unsure of how to phrase her words, I suppose, and asked, "So you were published or something for scrapbooking?"

Here was an opportunity for me to talk about what I love (and to explain what being a Garden Girl means to me), but I felt tongue-tied all of a sudden.  Me, tongue-tied.  The one who spends much of her free time immersed in scrapbooking, now at a loss for words?

Even last year, when I introduced myself to my new co-workers in my "tell us a little bit about yourself" statement and mentioned my love of scrapbooking, as others had mentioned their own interests and hobbies, I felt kind of sheepish.   For some reason, when one person says something like, "I run marathons," or, "I cultivate rare orchids," or "I love to travel. We just got back from Santorini, in fact," it seems as if "I love to scrapbook" somehow pales in comparison to more adventurous hobbies.

And yet Shimelle set me straight.  Scrapbooking is an adventure.

I think that maybe I just feel protective of what I do, and rather than risk people belitting it or misunderstanding it, I choose to keep it in a kind of sacred space, sharing it happily with those I know will appreciate it, and sheltering it from those I am afraid will never understand it.  I always anticipate a patronizing smile at the other end of my admission.  So what, though?  Scrapbooking is my adventure, dang it.

I read this quote about surfing by Dan Webber recently, and it actually reminds me of the difficulty I have in conveying my own passion to those for whom it is not a passion:

There's something about surfing that touches the very essence of what it is to be alive. It's hard to explain to non-surfers how it feels to carve across a wave, to push the limits of your surfing ability and to surf even better than you thought you could. One surfs with the wave, drawing on experience to manoeuvre the surfboard in synchrony with the wave, all the while anticipating how it will change shape.  
It's this synchrony that I cannot express to others when I try to share how scrapbooking moves me.  It's a you-had-to-be-there kind of adventure, I think.  Then again, isn't much of what we do as scrapbookers invested in helping others to feel as if they were in the moment, with us? But Shimelle is right -- we need to push on, to move past stereotypes, to acknowledge "that this hobby is more than just pretty paper and stickers."

Part of my adventure is documented in this blog.  Maybe it's time to step up as Shimelle did and be more contemplative of the metaphysics of scrapbooking.  Metaphysical Mondays, anyone? :)  Seriously, though, I do think that it is time for me to "come out" as a scrapbooker more honestly with those who are not in the scrapbooking community.  Why deny this part of myself, when it is so much of who I am?

I will now leave you with some evidence of my everyday adventures (a.k.a. my JBS July projects).

The full post for this layout can be found here
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Confess

I've been perusing a lot of blogs and galleries and have been noticing how many talented scrappers there are out there who make the process of creating layouts and using products imaginatively look so easy.  How do they do it?  This has made me wonder if people ever look at my layouts and think something similar.  If so, I need to confess -- I definitely have some scrappy "brick walls" that are tough for me to break through when I face a layout.  


I struggle with large shapes on layouts. I am large-circle challenged.  I've worked with them before but I just don't "feel" the large circle.    

I can't do clean and simple any more.  My desk is proof enough of this.  I must have layers.  I must have accents.  I must have details.  I have such appreciation for those who can show restraint and pull off clean and simple so elegantly; in comparison to these sages, I am a scrappy hedonist.  

I freeze when faced with a plaid pattern.  I love plaid, but I have trouble making it work on a layout, likely because I love to cut everything into smaller bits and pieces, and plaid is a take-me-as-I-am kind of pattern.  I also have trouble making it work on shirts in my wardrobe.  What looks like a cute boyfriend's shirt on one woman makes me look like the boyfriend.  The lumberjack boyfriend.   

I've decided that the metal prongs on brads have outlived their usefulness to me.  I've taken to prying them off of the base of brads and just gluing the base directly to the layout.  Just give me faux brads, por favor.  Plus, I've noticed that the realization that I have to hammer a hole into my layout in order to place a brad corresponds with the simultaneous realization that the entire neighborhood, but for me, is sleeping.  

I love clouds, but I have trouble placing them on layouts.  They always feel awkward on my pages.  I need cloud placement lessons.

I have no idea what to do with ric-rac or pom-poms.  I want to love them, but they make it so hard.  

I neglect my chipboard stash.  One might think, judging by my collection of it, that I am hoarding chipboard and that I own stock in Maya Road.  In truth, I just neglect it.  I don't really think about adding it to my layouts while I'm creating them, and thus, it just sits there, unopened, unloved.  Chip-bored. 

How about you?  Anything to confess?  

I must also confess:  I can't believe it's CHA week!  I so wish I could be a part of the paper-loving frenzy this year.   I'll be there in spirit, though.  I'll have a few items in the October Afternoon booth.  I've been working with the new Farmhouse line, which is one of my all-time favorite lines (and not just OA lines) ever.  It's really just perfect.   I wish I could share more details, but trust me, when you see this line in person, you will know what I mean.  

It kind of makes me feel bad for Boarding Pass, which was my favorite OA line until Farmhouse unseated it.  I've still got MUCH love for it, though.  Isn't it awesome? 

It's a terrific travel line.  I love that the colors work with practically any photo (such as the photo of my daughter cringing at the thought of SPAM-flavored macadamia nuts).  

Thank you, OA, for never forgetting to put Hawaii on the map. 
I am going to be needing at least 50 more of these frames.  


If you're going to CHA, consider me jealous.  

If you're not, then come be jealous with me over at the Two Peas in a Bucket CHA online social.   Hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Got Me There.

For the past year, I've made a concerted effort to reduce the amount that I usually spend on scrap supplies.  I've tried to say no to add-on kits (emphasis on tried rather than no).  I've overanalyzed each item in my shopping cart at Two Peas, asking myself whether I really (really) want the item, and then, when I realize that I do want it, it's gone.  Then I want it even more.   I've also narrowed my LSS purchases to adhesive only.  Well, in theory, that is.

For the past week, I've reduced my stash by FOUR full boxes.  Time for a giveaway?

And now?  Now all of the endurance that I've built up, though it would rival that of medieval ascetics (and you know how they were about their scrapbook stashes), is about to fall away.

Thank you, CHA.  No, really.

Thank you, October Afternoon.  You know why:

Thank you, Jenni Bowlin and Ranger.  How you have persuaded me to make room for purple in my stash, I'll never know...but there's room.  Oh, there's room.

Thank you, Crate Paper.  You shouldn't have (but I'm glad you did).

Thank you, Fancy Pants.  You know me well.

Thank you, American Crafts, and thank you, Amy Tangerine.

Thank you, Bo Bunny.  How can I resist? 

Don't think I forgot about you, My Mind's Eye.

And you, BasicGrey.  Oh, you.  

And, as always, thank you, Studio Calico.

I know you're playing coy right now, 7Gypsies, but I'm going to thank you, too (especially for that paper tape that I see in the flip book). 

This is just the start of it, I know.  I'm a goner.