Saturday, June 30, 2012

Midsummer Slump

Whoa -- I can't believe I'm already at the halfway mark of summer vacation. Where did one month go? I'm a wee bit concerned. By this time each summer, I've hit my stride and am knee-deep in projects.  This week, however, I haven't been able to do much scrapping, and it's just so wrong.  The heat just isn't helping.  All I think about is ice cream and air conditioning (neither of which I have right now).

Before my summer slump, however, I was able to complete a layout that I love.
For more details and a full supply list, please see the original link at Two Peas in a Bucket. 
This gives me hope that the mojo is still in there, and may be strong enough to override the request my husband just made for a milkshake run.  Who am I kidding? I'm doomed.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Congratulations to...

Bia, you're the winner of the Two Peas gift certificate from this past week's Garden Girl blog hop!  :)  I'll be in touch shortly.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Plants, Zombies, and JBS

It's been a fun weekend over at the JBS Studio Mercantile Forum.  The chats were -- as always -- highly amusing, and the challenges have been just as amusing.  Yesterday, Doris came up with a one-hour challenge that I had to attempt, because it was just so irresistibly weird.  She was apparently inspired by a video game, Plants vs. Zombies, the premise of which is that zombies are proliferating, and the only way that you can combat them is by using plants.  Bizarre.

So the challenge?  In an hour or less, create a card that has four components: it must include green and it must include something floral (to represent the plants), and it must feature something black and something that should have been purged, but wasn't (to represent the zombies).

I got off to a late start with the challenge, mostly because I was looking at Plants vs. Zombies, but I was able to finish a card during that hour.  It's the perfect card to give when the zombie apocalypse arrives:
Sorry for the not-so-great photo.  I was trying to beat the clock.

My green element included patterned paper and a border sticker from Crate Paper, along with Mint Julep Studio Calico mist.   I also used some Buttercup mist and floral Crate Paper for my floral element.

My black element?  More mist.  Finally, the shoulda-coulda-woulda-purged items are the stars and brads from an old-ish KI holiday embellishment collection (do you remember those cute test tubes?) and American Crafts Typo letters (of which I have a set that is lacking all vowels but "u").

I got a kick out of this challenge. :)  I can't wait for the next crop!

There's still time to get in on some of the challenges, if you're in need of a little creative push.   Many of their deadlines aren't until next week.   Check out the full list of challenges on the Summer Crop Celebration 2012 thread.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Up for a JBS Weekend?

Where will I be much of this weekend?  Why, at the Jenni Bowlin Studio Mercantile Forum, of course, since it's time for the Summer Crop Celebration 2012

Now, I'm not sure if you've ever participated in one of these crops, but we have such a blast.  First off, there's the chatting, which is equal parts polite banter, scrap-related sharing, and outright lunacy.  Seriously, you have to be there to understand.  

Tomorrow we'll be chatting from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. CST, and again from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. CST.  On Sunday, there's another chat from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.  CST.   Join us!  

The second reason why you simply must check out this crop is because of the many, many challenges.  You will most certainly get the creative push that you need.   Some of the challenges are one-hour challenges (which can be crazy, but they can also be crazy fun), and others are week-long challenges, with a Sunday, July 1st (midnight CST) deadline. 

The third reason why this crop is worth a looksee is because of the giveaways -- and man, there are a lot of them!   There is a giveaway for each challenge, as well as an overall grand prize: one crafty participant will be selected to be a guest designer for the JBS Mercantile Kit Club!  Briana Johnson was once the winner of this prize, and today, she's a member of the design team.  I'm just saying that wonderful things happen as a result of this crop. :) 

Check out the full details and challenge threads at the Jenni Bowlin Studio Mercantile Forum.  We'd love to see you!  

Gardeners' Digest: June Garden Girl Blog Hop

Welcome to the Gardeners' Digest, a monthly update from the Garden Girls, the design team at Two Peas in a Bucket. We'd love it if you'd visit each of our blogs today to see what's in bloom in the Garden this month -- and what a month it is!  I don't know about you, but summertime scrapping is really the best scrapping of the year for me, and so far this summer, I have been in the zone.  Do you know that zone?  The I've-been-wearing-pajamas-all-day-wielding-a-scissors-and-covered-in-mist-while-fawning-over-paper zone?  Good times.  
 
My most recent layout is the product of one of my pajama-wearing days (man, I love summer!).  With the Fourth of July holiday just weeks away, I couldn't resist creating a layout about that special day.  I hope you'll like the full layout when you see it (it'll be in the gallery soon!). 
Here, I used numbers as a design element, enhancing the theme while putting my number stickers to good use.  I also had some fun with the journaling -- when you see the layout, you'll know what I mean.  

If you're planning a Fourth of July layout and you need some product ideas, check out this helpful compilation on Two Peas.  Almost everything that I used on this layout, including the JBS Wren paper, can be found there. 
Another aspect of summertime scrapping that I love is being able to "pea" more often than usual, since I'm on break from school. There is so much ingenuity and color and playfulness and heart to be found lately in the galleries at Two Peas.  In fact, all of those things can be found in the pages of new Garden Girl Marcy Penner.   Just look:  
Marcy's pages demonstrate that she has mastered the art of subtle contrast.  There is often  a lot of white space and a sense of boldness present on her layouts, but at the same time, there are clusters that reveal her eye for detail and nuance and layers that urge you to take a second look.  She combines a clean, graphic style with softened, sweetly mussed-up edges.  Alongside her trademark ink splotch "signature" (it's like a scrappy fingerprint -- I love it!) she also delivers a bit of the unexpected.  For instance, the arrows at the top of the layout are delightfully startling, and the title is a crafty and charming addition.  She's just so good.  Can you tell I'm a fan?  
Another perk of summer scrapping? The summertime releases!  Yesterday I received a box bursting with scrap-me goodness, including...


New Mister Huey's mists from Studio Calico
Heyday from Studio Calico (which fans of Sassafras will absolutely love)...
"Bouncy" patterned paper from the Pebbles Sunny Side collection (don't you love this B-side?)...
American Crafts "Memo" Thickers (I'm a fool for text-patterned everything)...
and the perfect beach layout paper -- "Coronado" from the American Crafts Shoreline collection.

To thank you for visiting today, I'd love to offer you a chance to win a $5.00 Two Peas gift certificate.  To be entered, leave me a comment sharing your ideas for new collections you would love to see, given that CHA-Summer 2012 is just around the corner.  As for me, I would love to see something with a techie theme -- you know, mouse, keyboard, monitor, laptop, cell phones, binary code, emoticons, status update stickers, "like" and "unlike" stamps, etc.   Ooh, and more green.  Lots and lots of green.  Be sure to post your comment and pea name by Sunday at 6 p.m. HST, and I'll pick a winner shortly thereafter. 


Onward with the hop: your next stop is the blog of new Garden Girl Marcy Penner!     

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Join Us!


I'm excited about this weekend's JBS Mercantile online crop. The design team has been gearing up for a scrap-happy time by thinking of some fun challenges.  There's also an awesome giveaway -- you could be the next JBS guest designer!  

Join us, even if only to stop by to chat.  See you Friday...or Saturday...or Sunday...or all three!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Power of a Playlist

One of my favorite books/movies is High Fidelity.  It's eminently quotable, like so: 
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
To me, making a tape is like writing a letter. There's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention...and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch...and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs and...oh, there are loads of rules. 
In fact, it was High Fidelity and the compilation tape methodology that came to mind the other day as I held an October Afternoon cassette tape die-cut in my hands. A moment later, I had an idea for a layout.  
The layout itself is for this week's October Afternoon challenge, which is to "circle back around" in multiple ways, including: (1) revisiting those high school days and documenting a memory from that time, (2) using a series of circles on a layout, and (3) unifying the elements of a layout by enclosing them in a circle or loop, as I did here by machine-stitching around the clustered elements several times.

The journaling reads, 
Before the days of iTunes, before we were even a realwe, before we could look each other in the eyes, we found a way to speak to each other and make each other listen: the mixed tape. Its an artform, really -- the perfect mixed tape. A series of songs, carefully selected, does not just send a message; it sends an entire self, and that self finds a way into every song, every line a coded message, every feeling my feeling, every song, our song. 
Today, alas, the mixed tape is no longer the primary form of communication for angst-ridden teenagers.  Now we have the digital playlist.  Still, there's still just something about receiving a cassette that was tailored just for you, by someone who was thinking of you the entire time.  The digital playlist can be personal, but it is also functional and easy, a matter of dragging and dropping.  It can be done within minutes. A mixed tape, on the other hand, is nearly an artform, a labor of love.  It isn't convenient, but despite this, someone put it together all the same, spent time with the music as if spending time with you.  Someone actually sat there, listening to each song as it was being recorded, experiencing the music just the way you are as you listen to it, this gift, this message, this shared something.

Gosh, now I'm feeling schmaltzy. Methinks I'm off to create a playlist. :)  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

And the Giveaway Winner Is...

Congratulations!  I'll forward your information to Jamie at Two Peas.  Enjoy Lisa's workshop!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Found.

Apologies for being AFK for the past few days.  I'm on summer break, but you wouldn't know it, based on how busy I've been!  I have been trying to make time on weekdays to scrap, but it's been a challenge. Who knew that there'd be so much to do over the summer?   Speaking of making time to scrap, you might be interested in a thread that was started on Two Peas today, regarding the issue of finding the time to scrapbook.  

Today, though, I made time to scrapbook -- I had to schedule it, in fact.  I'm glad I did.  Last night I was faced with one of those stubborn pages that just would not look right no matter what I did, so I abandoned it, and decided to have another go at it today.  Apparently I just needed a little time and distance, because now it's done, and I actually kind of dig it!  It's for an assignment, however, so I can't share it just yet. 

I do, however, have a few others to share...
More details and a supply list may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket 
I absolutely loved creating this page.  It pulls together items culled from my daughter's backpack at the end of the year (with her permission, of course, which was no easy task to receive, given that she is, alas, a teenager whose concept of privacy extends even to her geometry homework). 

My favorite "find" was a teeny scrap of paper with "anarchy" written on it.  Classic. 
I also have a few more projects that I created using the June JBS kits , including this page of my crazy kitty Koko: 
I am a member of the pet paparazzi.  It's endlessly amusing to me to follow my pets, camera in hand, snapping a series of photos of them -- the cat rolling around in the driveway, the dog dashing through the grass, the cat and dog coming face to face unexpectedly.  
My husband and I recently celebrated our fifteenth anniversary, and I used the June JBS mini-album kit to document fifteen observations on married life. 

I also created a second mini-album using the main kit.  This one is a project that is very close to my heart.  
For a long time I have been struggling to find a way to tell the story of my grandmother's first pregnancy. It is a tragic story. My grandfather was away at war when my grandmother went into labor. The women in the plantation hospital who had received C-sections were dying, so the doctor refused to perform one on my grandmother. After a very long labor, she finally gave birth, but she lost her child. Years later, when I was pregnant with my daughter, my grandmother's story haunted me, and when I saw my grandmother hold my daughter for the first time, it was overwhelming. I created this mini-album to document both of our stories. 
 
More details about how I put it together may be found in the June JBS gallery.  

Thanks for visiting! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Divide. Conquer. Giveaway.

I don't think I need to work very hard to persuade you that Garden Girl Lisa Truesdell is a crafty genius, but if you needed me to do so, I would most definitely provide her new Two Peas in a Bucket workshop, Divide & Conquer, as evidence to support my claim: 

Lisa's workshop focuses on the creation of a mini-album, which will come together pocket by pocket.  

Here's a bit more about the workshop:
If you have the best intentions with mini albums – but not the best follow-through – then it’s time to Divide and Conquer! Garden Girl Lisa Truesdell will walk you through the steps of using divided page protectors to turn a hodge podge of memorabilia and photos into a beautifully finished mini-album. We’ll explore putting together a kit to work from, selecting what photos and keepsakes will make the cut, and fun techniques perfect for this style of book. Lisa also has lots of tips on keeping your motivation up and making the process fun until the last embellishment is in place, and will be sharing a peek at additional sample layouts from three other contributors, each working with a different themed album.  
This self-paced workshop will let you work at your own speed through the chapters.  Each chapter is accompanied by a helpful PDF walking you through the process and a 10-minute video sharing a closer look at how Lisa’s album came together. These videos are technique-based and will explore creating a die-cut cover, working with transparencies to build a two-sided layout and making custom sized page protectors, and will also include techniques for working with pockets. Lisa is using the Simple Stories Documented 6x8 Mix & Match Mini Album available for purchase separately; however, these same principles may be applied to an album of any size using divided page protectors.   
The content of this workshop will be available immediately upon purchase. The lessons are available for you to work at your own pace and upon purchase can be accessed in the "Workshops" section under "Classes & Events." A private message board forum is also available to ask questions for Lisa and to connect with other participants. Enjoy!


If you're interested in winning a free spot in the workshop (a $12 value), leave a comment on this thread (including your Two Peas username) before 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time on Sunday, June 17, and I will select one lucky winner.  If you purchase access to the class and end up winning the drawing, the fee will be refunded, or you can "regift" the free class access to a friend.  



Good luck!  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

(P)noticed: 10 on the 10th

1. Pin:
Cover love (and hopefully book love, after I read this).  "Girlchild" by Tupelo Hassman.
This book is also on my summer reading list.  
2. Passage:
"...Barry Lopez said we are pattern makers, and if our patterns are beautiful and full of grace they will be able to bring a person for whom the world has become broken and disorganized up off his knees and back to life."
-- from Pam Houston's Contents May Have Shifted (299)
3. Picture:
4. Person:
Christine Middlecamp, who is generously sharing her "Mapping Happiness" project-in-process on her blog.

5. Problem:
The 10th ends in a few hours, and my lasagna will be out of the oven in about 10 minutes, so I should finish this fast!

6. Process:
As of a few moments ago, this month's JBS mid-month gallery is up, packed with TWENTY-NINE new projects.  Many of the designers provided information about their processes in the details, as did I, in regard to an album that I created about my grandmother's first pregnancy, and its impact on my own pregnancy and mindset as an expectant mother.  This is a story that I have long been struggling to tell in some way, and I finally found a way to do it.


7. Product:
This month's JBS main kit includes the entire Wren line, which Two Peas in a Bucket now has in stock. I absolutely love the entire line, though one of my favorite papers is "Blueprint."  
A smaller version of the pattern is included in the Mini Pattern Sheet from the Wren line, which I used on a card that I created with the main kit: 

8. Pleasure:
Lasagna. Guess what just came out of the oven, cheese and sauce dripping everywhere? ;)

9. Post:  See #4 above.  Oh, also, does a video count as a post?  I've been getting a kick out of this one:

They're using classroom instruments.

10. Present:
My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this week.  He really is the best gift ever.   So schmaltzy have I been lately, that I couldn't resist making him the subject of my layout for this week's challenge at Two Peas in a Bucket, which is to use song lyrics on a layout.
More details and a full supply list may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket
I'm off to lose myself in lasagna.
Source
Have a great week! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What They Say


This past week I attended an ed tech conference, at which I had the pleasure to hear two incredible keynote speakers, Will Richardson and Michael Wesch.  If you've ever taken a gander at my list of frequent blog reads (to the right), you may have noticed Will's blog keeping company with a bunch of scrappy/crafty blogs.  It belongs alongside all of the other blogs that inspire me and that drive me to become more innovative and reflective.

So imagine how stoked I was to actually see and hear him in person, and to be challenged and inspired by so much of what he said:
  • In this moment, living and teaching in a networked world, "If you don't feel challenged now, I don't think you're paying attention." 
  • "Is there a better time to be a learner than right now?" 
  • "If we do not find ways to measure what we value, we will value what we measure." 
  • "If you're in education, you need to be 'Googleable.'" 
  • Proposed outcome: "...that every student that graduates is 'Googled well.'"  
  • "Are you Googled well?" 
  • Re: Twitter: "Use your real name. Own your own thoughts."
  • "Repeat after me: I want to be found by strangers on the Internet."
  • "Teachers are everywhere." 
  • "Kids will be learning with strangers all their lives." Teachers can assist kids in "discerning good strangers from bad strangers." 
  • "We need learners more than teachers in classrooms." 
  • "How are you a mobile, connected, global learner? How are you learning in your networks?" 
  • "I'm only as smart as the people I'm connected to." 
Will did not disappoint.  That he left me with more questions than answers is a hopeful sign.

In many ways, I was not just listening with the mindset of a teacher, but also with that of a member of the global scrapbooking community (a term that usually makes my husband chuckle, but this community really does exist).  Scrapbookers, too, should strive to be "Googled well," and on some level, yes, we should "want to be found by strangers on the Internet," all the while being cautious about distinguishing between good strangers and bad strangers.  The "good strangers" that I have met along the way have truly been my best teachers, and the connections that I have made through the years -- through networks -- have irrevocably changed me.  Other than the actual creating I do with my hands, the rest of my scrapbooker's identity is constructed and maintained through online interactions.  I am a "mobile, connected, global learner."  The experiences that I have had in the very-much-networked scrapbooking world have actually made me a much more tech-literate teacher.  Now imagine if we all used our own names and "owned our own thoughts" on forums and in blog comments.  How much more productive and collegial might our exchanges be?

On the second day of the conference, I heard Michael Wesch speak on "The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever," and I was simply overwhelmed.  Wesch, a cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University, asked a question that I will keep asking myself for years to come: "How can you inspire your students into a state of wonder?"

He went on to talk about what wonder really is, differentiating it from curiosity.  Wonder not only prompts us to investigate the world further, but it also allows us to see "the world in its essence." He regards wonder as a capacity rather than as an experience.  The difference?  Think of love, for example.  Love as an experience is what we often quest after when we are young, but as we mature, we come to realize that love is a capacity.  As our understanding of it deepens, we are able to love all the more strongly, and be loved in return.

As we try to embrace the concept of wonder as a capacity, it is important, then, that we attend to the act of questioning.

Wesch spoke about how humans are the only land-dwelling mammals who also sing.  From an evolutionary standpoint, this is actually a pretty dangerous adaptation.  Singing can express vulnerability, just as questioning does.  Think of the intonation of a question, something we might recognize regardless of the language a person speaks.  There is a "song" of sorts that we all sing when we question, as a question ends in a higher pitch.  A high pitch signifies submission, vulnerability, a need to connect (Wesch uses the example of a whimpering dog versus a growling dog).  Thus, each time we question -- each time we sing that tune of vulnerability -- we are inviting connections.   "To wonder is to quest," according to Wesch, and this "allows ideas to flourish."

While this idea of questioning-as-singing is going to forever change the way I regard the role of questioning in my classroom, once again, there is a connection to the scrapbooking community.  What is it that we do in our online forums?  We question.  We express our vulnerability to each other.  We are all fellow learners.  In fact, there are far more learners than teachers among us, and when we co-create spaces that are not only full of inspiration, but are also safe spaces in which to ask questions, we can foster a sense of wonder.

Wesch envisions spaces of learning in which there is "true freedom to learn," where we can "embrace vulnerability," and where we can "invite connections."

As you can see, I've had a revelatory past couple of days, so much so that the dual conversations regarding teaching and scrapbooking that have been running through my head ended up converging in my most recent layout.
More details and a full list of supplies may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket.  
On Thursday's October Afternoon blog post, I shared this layout, which documents some excerpts from my end-of-the-year evaluations.
This particular class showered me with compliments (many of which, I'm sure, are exaggerated, though I love them all the same, since I taught these students the art of hyperbole in the first place).  Still, I had trouble really seeing myself as a teacher materialize through their words.  Then I heard Michael Wesch address the topic of the self in his address:

"Who we are is projected back to us -- it doesn't come from within us."

So here I am, in the age of "learning networks" and "whatever," realizing that more than ever, it is important to be self-conscious while also seeking every opportunity to cultivate the capacity for wonder.  It's a tall order, but I think I'm taking hopeful steps forward.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Good Fortune

Is the first item necessarily related to the second, I wonder?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Staycation

At the end of every school year, the most popular conversation among students and faculty members begins with, "So...do you have any plans for the summer?"

This is a conversation I have never quite enjoyed.  

This year, alongside the usual "Disneyland" or "Disneyworld," I'm hearing "Paris" and "Scotland" and "China" and "South Africa" and "Australia" and "Thailand."  Z even has a friend who will be traveling throughout Europe with her family -- again.  That's how it came across, as in, "I have to run down to the store -- again", or, "My heartburn is acting up -- again." Europe. Again. 

As for my family, our plans are usually the same: we stay at home and enjoy our vacation right here.  Again. :)  We do live in Hawaii, however, so it's not as if we're having a pity party.  We may not travel, but we still have the beach and the blue sky!

Still, I wonder how people do it.  Where do these travel funds come from, anyway?  Do you have any idea how high a mortgage is here in Hawaii?  "Disposable income" is not a term used very often 'round these parts, especially among teachers, so each time I hear about a teacher traveling, I always wonder whether she or he is subsisting on saimin throughout the year to save up for this travel budget, living rent-free in a house paid for by wealthy parents, or married to someone who earns three times as much.

I priced tickets to London the other day (just to see if my bucket list item could become a reality in the near future), and almost fell over from the shock.  I have come to realize that yes, the whole wide world is waiting, but it's not readily accessible to just anyone.

So it's a staycation for us again this year, and I'm cool with that.  I am all for sleeping in and trying new recipes and lazing on the couch reading books and heading to the beach whenever I feel like it.  That's not a bad way to spend a summer, am I right?

Z and I had some practice staycationing back in April, when we stayed at the Hawaii Prince Hotel for a weekend.  I documented our little adventure in a layout from this week's Garden at Two Peas in a Bucket.  
More details and a supply list may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket
So...do you have any plans for the summer?  :)