Friday, January 31, 2014

New CHA Releases at Two Peas!

This morning I happened by Two Peas in a Bucket, and was psyched to discover that the store is packed with new goodies!  Here's what I'm loving:
"Ensemble" paper, wood-mounted stamps, aqua Thickers, and "Friend" paper (isn't that B-side awesome?) from Amy Tangerine
Pretty much everything Crate Paper
"Love You So," "So Big,"and "Little Stars" paper from Pebbles
Wanderlust "Napa Valley" and "For Your Info" paper, and wood numbers; Lemonlush "Sweet & Sour""Passionate", and "In a Hurry" paper from Studio Calico

I LOVE this time of year! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

In Which I Attempt to Scrapbook That Which I Know Nothing About

I confess: I have never touched snow. Ever.

Thus, reading my Facebook feed over the past few weeks and hitting "like" every time I read an update about someone grumbling about snow or low temperatures has left me wondering whether I lack empathy or whether I am just that ignorant about what snow really is.  When people post images of heaps of snow obscuring their front walks, or they include shots of their iPhones showing low temperatures, I don't think, "Oh, poor you!" or "I am SO lucky that I am in Hawaii right now."  Nope. Instead, I find myself thinking, "Man, I am so jealous."

I am just that ignorant, I suppose.

It's sort of like the tourists who come here having never seen the Pacific Ocean, walk right out to the edge of the reef, arms outstretched, taking in the miracle of the deep blue awesome, and then WHOOSH, get swept away.

Is that how it's going to go down with snow and me? Am I destined to meet my end in an avalanche because I romanticize the idea of snow?

I should know better.  The problem is that for every post that I read complaining about the evils of winter, three more posts exist lauding the wonders of the season. Snow angels! Skiing! Warm breath on frosty windows! A real reason to drink cocoa! Fireplaces that aren't ornamental!

Last winter, my husband was on the mainland for work, and he got to play in the snow for the four thousandth time in his life. When I say "play," what I really mean is that he stood in the snow, unsmiling, snapping requisite selfies to send to us back home.  It looked like playing to me.

As for me, I remain a snow spectator, only ever having beheld it on faraway mountaintops. This may explain why I, as a scrapbooker, generally shun patterned paper and accents that contain snowflake designs or cute little snowmen who appear to be smirking rather than smiling.

Then a few months ago, my daughter had a chance to go to Tahoe, and she got to frolic in the snow (along with a stylish pair of $145 Sorel boots she'll likely never wear again).  Her gift to me?  Photos, which I happily scrapped with winter-themed paper and accents that might have otherwise been neglected. I moved them, in disbelief, from the "as if" pile into the "actually using" pile, and created this layout:
With no small amount of glee, I used these October Afternoon papers and accents from the Eggnog, Silent Night,  and Milk Money lines and assembled a page about my daughter's first snowboarding experience.
So there you have it: I scrapbooked a page about SNOW.

Maybe someday I will actually find myself in the photos, arms outstretched, hopefully with NO avalanche headed my way.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting Sketchy with Shimelle

It's always a kick when Shimelle invites me over for a play date on her blog.  She is most definitely one of the cool kids, and being my socially awkward self, I kind of spaz out whenever I get a chance to join in on one her posts or classes. What I love most about Shimelle is how REAL she is while being so imaginative, and how grounded she is while being so innovative.  Her scrapbooking style reflects that.  I can totally understand why the mere mention of "Glitter Girl" makes the peas at Two Peas so giddy. 

Speaking of giddy, that is exactly how I felt when I joined Shimelle earlier this month for a sketch post. I adapted the sketch for an 8.5" x 11" approach, focusing on my first few days back to school this past fall. 
Now, at the beginning of the second semester of the school year, I can look back at the beginning of the school year (the time depicted in the photo) and realize just how much "the angle of my vision" has shaped who I am and who I am becoming.

What also becomes clear through this layout is that scrapbooking moments matters, as does journaling. The moment in the photo was fleeting, but in retrospect, it made a lasting impact, a realization that the journaling helped to bring about.

And of course, I have Shimelle to thank, since I likely would not have created this page had it not been for her!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Some Crate News!

Today's the day! I'm happy to share that I have joined the Crate Paper team, which is, in a word, SURREAL. I have been a longtime lover of all things Crate Paper since the company's very first line came out (I'm actually still hoarding a few pieces), and I can't quite believe that I am now a member of the DT, in the company of so many incredibly talented designers. 

I am still pinching myself. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Dear CHAnta...

Dear CHAnta,

I know that Christmas was less than a month ago, but I've been doing my best to remain on the "nice" list for the past three weeks. I've been working so hard, in fact, that I missed most of the CHA excitement and am only now catching up. 

Please -- pretty please -- may I have these?  
Charms from Webster's Pages
Spicy Social Soup from Jillibean Soup. 

Gold rub-ons and flatbacks from Jenni Bowlin Studio
Playlist from KI Memories 
Wood veneer from Cosmo Cricket
Frames and patterned papers from Crate Paper
…and Thickers galore! 

Oh, CHAnta dear, this really is the most wonderful time of the year.  

Thank you!

-- Jill 

P.S. Should my wish list expand in size -- and it will -- don't be surprised. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My First "Storytellers" Layout

I feel as if I just posted my holiday album yesterday, but nope -- that was a full week ago! It's been an incredibly busy week, and this weekend is going to be another busy one.

Somewhere in the midst of that week, however, I found a moment to slow down and to create a layout, and it turned out to be the best kind of layout, the kind that brings clarity and that leaves me feeling gratified, closer to whole. 
The layout is my first for Two Peas in a Bucket and its new "Storytellers" feature this year.  
During the second week of each month, the focus at Two Peas will be on exploring tools and strategies to assist in the telling of stories. In today's Storytellers video, I share an idea for how to tell a story through the use of a timeline. 
Although I went into the process with a general idea of how I wanted to use the timeline, I was not prepared for how working through my experiences this way would affect me.  

This year, the big question at Two Peas is simple but powerful:  "Why do you scrapbook?" 

This layout reflects one of my answers to that question: scrapbooking involves piecing together the fragments of memories, and through storytelling, those fragments are made whole. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

December Nearly Daily

In 2012, I decided to nickname my holiday album a December "not-so-daily" album, and now, as I look back at my album from this past year, I realize that I've been working on a December "nearly daily" album all this time. With the exception of the last week of December, when everything went by in a blur of wrapping paper and laughter and gravy, I was able to incorporate photos and journaling from almost every day of the month. Initially, I was hoping to have at least two or three events/moments documented per week!

I've shared most of the album here on my blog. Here are the final additions:

I realize that this sets the bar higher for next December, but I'm going to just chalk this up as an anomaly. 

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Making It Matter

Among the last few projects that I worked on as the year came to a close were two layouts and a mini-album, which I created using the January JBS Mercantile kits. Each is a reminder of why, next to summer vacation, I love this time of year.

Winter in Hawaii isn't exactly snowy and blustery, so it shouldn't be a surprise that oranges would be ripening here in December, but I live in a rather rainy area of the island, where the oranges on our tree have traditionally "ripened" to a greenish brown, and not the bright orange color that they surprised me with this year. I had to document it.
Yes, I scrapbooked fruit -- that is, on the surface. Ultimately it comes back to that word I wrote about in my last post: wonder. Anything that delights or thrills or amazes earns its own layout.

That is exactly what was behind my second layout as well.
That's right -- I saw the President of the United States golfing right over the hedges in my mother's yard. He even waved.

The oddest thing is that he looked lonely to me, even surrounded by a large group of Secret Service agents -- or maybe it was because of that.

In any case, the experience was surreal.

The third project that I created documents the year in review, in the form of a mini-album.
(The full album can be viewed in the gallery at JBS Mercantile. The date stamp I used can be found at Two Peas.)
Each page in the album recalls the events and details that defined 2013. The album isn't just meaningful because I helped to put the kit together; it is truly meaningful because of what I invested in these pages. In creating the album -- in looking back at my photos and choosing just one --  I was looking back at each month of a year that shaped me, that shaped my family.  In adding the journaling, line by line, I found myself reflecting on all that happened in the course of a single year, and how, because of that year, none of us will ever be the same people that we were at the beginning of the year. This is not just an album, but an artifact -- evidence that we were here and that we lived and loved. This album is important to me.

And you may have noticed that it is not necessarily a showstopper of a project, a brilliant feat in design;  on the contrary, it is simple, and purposefully so. One photo block. One accent block. One title block. One block of (packed) journaling. The focus here is on telling the story, on recounting a year, and the simple design helped me to get that done. I love it not for its ability to "dazzle," but for its ability to evoke that which mattered most to me over the course of 365 precious days.

As I look ahead to another year, that is something I want to keep in perspective: the story is the most important aspect of scrapbooking. Tonight I gave a stack of layouts a home in a fresh new album, and as I sat with my daughter looking through the pages, it became clear rather quickly how these albums are "read." The eye looks at the photos first, and then moves to the journaling, and then back to the photos.  I might notice some cool technique in the process, but not everyone will look at the pages with a scrapper's eye. My daughter just kept pulling the album closer and asking, "What does it say?"

This is exactly what I was trying to get at when I wrote a post a few days ago about this on the Two Peas blog: the words matter. The story matters.  The heart of a project is not found in the design; the heart is found somewhere between word and image, and the meaning that emerges from the interplay between the two.

While some have been asking lately whether scrapbooking is "dying," the best way that I can answer that question is to think about what keeps it alive for me.  I will continue to insist on telling stories, and on being as genuine as I possibly can in my creative process as well as on the finished page.  As long as there are stories to tell, there is a need to document them, meaningfully.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: In a Word

It begins with a question, and becomes a quest. That uncertain, quivering "what if" or "why" sparks, igniting curiosity, giving rise to connections, to ideas, to imagination.


This is my word -- and my challenge -- for 2014.

In the past, the words that I have chosen at the onset of each year have related to the place in which I found myself when they were selected -- perspective, balance, matter, savor, sense. I don't treat the words like resolutions; they aren't things on a list to check off or accomplish. A word, given power and meaning, can serve as a reminder, a touchstone, an anchor, an identifier.

"Wonder" resonates for me. To truly embrace a sense of wonder requires a shift in mindset, in assumptions, in behaviors; it is a hopeful word, one that emerges from a space of uncertainty even as it prompts a step forward, toward possibility.

And that's my quest for the year: to recognize my uncertainty and vulnerability as starting points for true discovery. I'm going to WONDER.