Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just Because.

Repeated behaviors develop into patterns, which develop into routines, which develop into habits, which develop into...me feeling utterly unmotivated if I do not have a deadline. I summoned my energy and surrounded myself with scrappy supplies today and decided to scrapbook without a deadline and with no other objective but to go with the flow and see where it would take me. Here's where I ended up: 
Apparently deadlines aren't the only motivation. Love most definitely inspires as well. 
I worked with colors and supplies that caught my eye, dipping into some past (and some downright ancient) Studio Calico goodies and putting some of the new Freckled Fawn tapes to use.
The layout celebrates the recent engagement of my cousin and her longtime love. They finally set a date, and I am so very happy for them!
 So of course I had to work in a heckuva lot of lovey-dovey-ness here.
I always feel a rush when I finish a layout, but completing one that was created just because feels incredible. It's a relief to know that I only think I need deadlines in order to accomplish anything. All I really need is a story to tell or a feeling to share, and everything follows from that. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

JBS July Kit Sneaks

The JBS Mercantile July kit reveal is just a few days away, and I've been happily busying myself with the Papercrafting and Antiquarian kits. Here's a peek: 
The kits are full of lovely surprises, including -- I kid you not -- flamingo patterned paper, a kit exclusive designed by Lisa Dickinson. I alternated between laughing and repeating "awesome" when I first set eyes on it. I so love the quirkiness of it. 

Be sure to stop by JBS Mercantile for the full reveal on Monday! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting Painterly.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that a certain summery color combo had been catching my eye lately. 
These colors found their way onto my most recent layout, in the form of painterly stripes.
Not only did the colors provide motivation, but so did the sketch on which this is based, by Alex Gadji, whom I joined for this week's sketch challenge on the October Afternoon blog. Initially I was going to create a background of ribbons or patterned strips, but I decided to work with paint instead. I love the way the painted stripes overlap and blend where they meet, and how they mirror the colors in the photos.
I've really been warming up to purple lately. I am not sure why that is, as it used to be the most challenging color for me to work with. Not anymore! My fifth grade self, who loved purple everything, would be so proud of me.
I'm also happy to have scrapped these photos. I love orchids so much. There are a few varieties in my yard that manage to bloom from time to time despite my black thumb. The ones in these photos, however, are not from my yard, but from the Orchid Conservatory at the Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu. It's my favorite part of the garden, next to the butterfly garden, the cannonball tree, and the quipo tree.

I used the "Public Library" line on this page, layering papers, stickers, and accents behind the photos. That collection really is an English teacher's dream, though this layout is evidence that it need not be limited to pages about books. Versatility is always a plus with any collection.

I'm off to finish a page in progress. This one's for JBS Mercantile, using the July kits. I saved the journaling for last on this one, just to give myself a little more time to think about what I wanted to say. The words always come, but they don't always do so easily. Now there's a lesson learned from flowers: it never hurts to take a step back to give the ideas a chance to germinate.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Notes and Things"

This beauty...
is just one of the many (many) delights found in Crate Paper's new "Notes and Things" collection. Check out the rest of the line on the Crate Paper blog, and enter to win a collection pack. If you happen to drool a bit while there, don't worry -- you won't be alone in that happening to you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Heartsick.


This morning I learned that Two Peas in a Bucket will be closing.

Suddenly I felt the same way that I did when the first school that I taught at closed. It was a small, close-knit private school that had been struggling for a while, but kept fighting the good fight because it believed it had important work to do. I had been a student there, and returned years later to teach there, and I loved it. The school shaped me, and I helped to shape it. On the last day of school one year, after the students had left, the faculty received the news that the school would be closing. I tried to fight this change, joining a small group of students, teachers, and parents to try to raise the funds needed to keep the school going, but it was too late. A decision had been made. The school closed its doors. The students never got to say goodbye to each other. They all scattered to different schools. Facebook did not exist -- we inevitably fell out of touch with each other. Wherever we ended up and wherever we are today, all we have in common is the memory of the community we once were.

Today I am feeling the same shock, the same sadness and frustration, and have to squelch the impulse to fight, because there is nothing that I can do to keep Two Peas in a Bucket alive. Times change. Just as the economy changed and people opted to send their kids to local public schools over private ones, affecting our little school's enrollment, so have economic shifts and people's choices contributed to the end of the Two Peas community.  There's a heartless but realistic saying that seems to hold true in cases like this one: adapt or die. Sometimes that adaptation can be a conscious choice, but sometimes, try as we might, no matter what we do, the environment itself has shifted and we cannot make ourselves survive within it. There is no one to blame. Two Peas tried to adapt. It fought the good fight. The peas who were committed to the community continued to participate in it and to support a business that they believed in.  It wasn't enough.  The environment has shifted.

Where does this leave us, the peas, the scrapbookers who continue to pose ominous questions like, "Is the industry dying?" and "Is scrapbooking over?" The two questions are interlinked, but the second one is more important than the first.

If scrapbooking has value for you, then you will keep doing it. You won't be able to stop. If it consumes you as it consumes me, because it is one of the best ways to capture life and what it means to live it honestly and fully and powerfully and wonderfully, then you will continue to call yourself a scrapbooker for years to come. The industry will stand or fall depending on whether these kind of people exist. The choices we make with our dollars will determine its fate. Even if individual businesses crumble, however, scrapbooking will still find a way, because what motivates us to scrapbook is not really the pretty paper or the cutesy accents; what motivates us is the story that must be told, the moment that must be shared.

It was just beautiful to have a place to share that passion with others. That is what Two Peas in a Bucket was for me, and maybe it was that way for you as well.

So we will disperse, like that school community that I so loved, but we will find other communities, other paths to learning, other ways of seeking inspiration. We will do what scrapbookers do: we will take what we have loved, we will remember it, and we will make it matter, somehow.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My Color Crush, Requited.

Today I grabbed my paintbrush and decided to put the idea in my last post into action. I can't share the full layout until next week, but here's a quick peek at the page in progress: 
What is it about these colors? They just feel so summery to me.

Of course, there's room in my scrappy heart for even more summer color combos, including one of my favorites, the analogous oceanic trio of yellow, aqua, and green. I just used it on a recent layout for Crate Paper:
Another combo that I have been loving lately is mint green, soft pink, and muted blue, which I found actually works pretty well on a beach layout.
What about you? Are there any color combos that you've been loving lately?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Color Love

(Pin sources: 1, 23, 4, 5, 6, 7

There is just something about this color combination that has commanded my attention lately. It's sort of out of my comfort zone, but I'm thinking I'll have a go at using it on a project soon. We shall see...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Of Lotus-Eaters and Layouts

Even though I fancy myself to be a flexible person, any break in my routine always leaves me a bit disoriented. Summer usually starts that way for me. The first few days are a sweet relief, but at some point, the time of day and day of the week start to blur, and with each summer day that passes, my body seems to wind down until it reaches a natural kind of rhythm, a summery ebb and flow. As the school year approaches once again, the days start to feel shorter, and a sense of pressure, a growing urgency, starts to percolate, and the space between seconds seems to reduce itself.  That seems negative, I suppose, but it ends up being an awakening; summer is not unlike the land of the lotus-eaters. The longer it lasts, the more it has a narcotic effect on me.

At the moment, though, I am having trouble allowing summer to pull me under its spell. My daughter is studying abroad for the next few months, and I am missing her so very much. It doesn't feel like summer without her, and I can't let myself slow down, for fear that if I am not distracted, then I will just feel her absence even more than I do. How the heck do parents cope when their kids go off to college? Empty nests suck. 

So...I've been trying to distract myself. This has been tough, with my computer in for repairs and my glasses broken, but now that I have both back and functioning, hopefully I'll find an escape in reading, scrapbooking, and watching TV mindlessly. I have a feeling that I'm also going to be talking to my dog more than usual. She's a good listener, though. 

Speaking of scrapbooking, a few days ago a bunch of new layouts were added to the gallery at JBS Mercantile. I added three to the mix, including this one of my lovely so-far-away-from-me-now-pause-for-heavy-sigh daughter. 
I had some fun with the number stencil from the June Papercrafting kit. I moved it across the page, left to right, misting as I went along, and then built the rest of the layout atop that background. 
My second layout is sort of the opposite of the first, style-wise. I tried my hand at a clean and simple approach (I know, so against my nature), using the Antiquarian kit. 
I added some hidden journaling to explain the connection to the Mary Oliver poem. 
The third layout pulls together the Papercrafting and Antiquarian kits, to pay tribute to the class of 2014. 
I tried to work in elements to emphasize the ideas of education, transformation, and celebration. 
I'm off to bury my nose in a book. Now that I have my glasses back, I can get back to reading Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick. So far, it's pretty engrossing. We'll see if remains that way! Here's hoping.

Thanks for stopping by today and putting up with my woe-is-me-without-my-mini-me mood. Like my dog, you deserve props for being a good listener. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Spending My Time

The first week of summer has come and gone, but not without being documented in this week's "Storytellers" video, via Two Peas in a Bucket:
My task was to use time to help to tell the story, and I tried my best to do so using a combination of words and elements. I'm a wee bit obsessed with clocks, calendars, and other time-related accents, as is probably evident to you by now, if you've ever looked at my pages. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I see scrapbooking as a way of momentarily freezing time, of extending and preserving moments -- which is, I suppose, an illusion, but it doesn't stop me from trying. 

I probably shouldn't be writing this post in my current state, having just arrived home after watching The Fault in Our Stars. Although I still can't get over how bizarre it is to have teenagers spouting philosophy and articulating the complexity of their lives and their understanding of mortality so eloquently, I'm all for the willing suspension of disbelief because I am, after all, the bearer of a beating heart that is not made of stone. 

I actually liked the movie, which did the book justice. Not every bit of the book made it into the movie, understandably, but the spirit of the book and its characters sure did. My husband actually suggested that we go to watch it together, which had me mystified. He didn't even dismiss it as a "chick flick," he didn't even fall asleep, and he didn't even mind talking about it on the way home. Strange. Maybe he's trying to earn husband points.  He made an excellent point about Augustus Waters, though -- there isn't really an explanation for him. He's just this amazing guy who says all the right things and does all the right things and loves and loves and loves unconditionally and thus, seems implausible. His one fault is -- well, the title alludes to it. The movie doesn't really give him much of a backstory -- it just delivers him up to Hazel Grace, miraculously.  He is absolutely endearing, and necessarily so. He was designed to be "for" the heroine and "for" the reader/viewer.

Still, once again, I will declare the willing suspension of disbelief and will, if I have to choose, don a Team Augustus shirt.  As far as fantastic creatures go, he's preferable to a vampire or werewolf. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Shares and Sneaks

The first week of summer has passed by rather quickly, but not without leaving behind a colorful trail.
I created this journal so that I could jot down my thoughts and reflections about the books that I plan to read this summer. I've already begun to fill the pages. 
I put together a little  tutorial and shared it on the October Afternoon blog. I'm on my third book of the summer, B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories. I really like his style. The dangerous thing about this book is that you can turn to any page, read any sentence, and get hooked right away. I keep having to remind myself to move through the book page by page -- no jumping ahead. 

I've also been working on a video for Two Peas, which will go live on Tuesday. Here's a sneak of the layout: 
I am loving the colors in the June moodboard. They are all over this layout, as well as in the printable that I used. Everything about this moodboard shouts "SUMMER!" to me. 

I've also been looking forward to the JBS Mercantile mid-month gallery reveal and have been working on a few more layouts using the June kits. Care for a peek? 
I think it's fair to say that the scrapping bug has hit me hard. No complaints here, though! 

Thanks for stopping by today. ;)


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

They Will Be Mine.

Oh yes.

I am so on board with these new flair from Two Peas in a Bucket.  I think my favorite is a toss-up between "Suckfest of Epic Proportions" and "Whatever." Honestly, not every layout calls for a "Best Day Ever!" sentiment. I dig the realness of these.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Prank Day

When I was attending school here in Hawaii, the last day of classes was nicknamed "Kill Haole Day." Supposedly, it's just a myth, but that didn't stop me from staying home each year. Maybe no actual fights occurred, but in the days leading up that fateful last day, kids would still joke about the coming "purge" and would spread rumors about how so-and-so was going to jump so-and-so.  Nothing would ever come of it, but it was still a source of anxiety for this blond-haired, blue-eyed kid. 

Flash forward twenty years or so, and now, I actually look forward to the last day of school.  Where I teach, the last day of school is nicknamed "Prank Day." The seniors take control of campus and transform it in creative, playful, and hilarious ways. This year's prank was both mischievous and magical. 
As one of the senior division teachers, I had the honor of walking into my room in the morning to find that the seniors had redecorated it to create the "Wonderland Café".  I couldn't bring myself to take apart the topsy-turvy conglomeration of desks and chairs, so we held class around it. As Mad Hatter, I declared each senior the valedictorian, and had her give a farewell address to the class. It was awesome.

I created this layout to document the fun and frivolity, with some help from the June JBS Mercantile kits. I love all of the brightly colored bits and pieces.

Thanks for visiting today!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Open Road Calls...

Summer is the perfect time to travel, isn't it? How does one do that, however, without having won a lottery?  I was pricing plane tickets from Hawaii to the east coast the other day, and they were close to $3000 for a round trip for a single person. How do entire families manage to travel, I ask you? Alas...I will be staying at home this summer. Again.

I suppose it's karmic, on some level. I've already had two chances to travel earlier this year -- once as a teacher chaperone on a college tour to Oregon and Washington, and then a few months later as a teacher chaperone on a trip to the Big Island for a competition.  It would be nice, however, to take off the teacher hat and travel just for the thrill of it this summer -- especially knowing that I have a bunch of travel-themed DT assignments coming up -- but since I can't do that, I'll have to content myself with reflecting upon past adventures.
Last week on the Crate Paper blog, I shared two layouts depicting some of these adventures, with the help of the "Open Road" collection. The first pulls together twenty photos from the fall college tour, and shares some of the highlights (according to my daughter, who was there as well) from each of the ten campuses visited. 
The second layout is about my daughter's trip to Tahoe in November.  My husband and I weren't able to go, but we were happy to be able to send her. She had so much fun playing in the snow.  Would you believe that the blue background peeking out from the cut circles is actually a desert scene? Ha! 

Although I'll be home-bound this summer, my daughter will be heading out again, ever the explorer. I'm actually content to stay here, provided that I receive regular photo updates. :) 

Thanks for stopping by today!