Thursday, June 25, 2015

R & J

When creating a layout brings tears to my eyes, I know that I'm truly scrapping from the soul.

This mushy-gushy layout came about as a result of today's sketch post on the Scraptastic blog and the "Thinking Out Loud" kit and add-on. I'm a die-hard fan of the grid layout, so I had no problems getting on board with the grid sketch. I took a bit of a deconstructed approach, not worrying about perfect alignment of squares so that I could create more of a free-flowing page. I love how it turned out.
My favorite part is the journaling -- the part of the process that had me brushing tears from my eyes.
When I told my husband about how I cried while making this, I added, "...And you know I don't cry easily," to which he said, "Except during movies," and started chuckling. I'm pretty sure this is a reference to Inside Out, which we saw last week, and which had me bawling every ten minutes and revisiting places that would be considered familiar territory for Freud and Jung.  The end of the film nearly found me curled up in the fetal position.

Okay, fine. I cry at movies.

Maybe I shouldn't have told Rob that I cried as I wrote the journaling. Last night, as I was preparing dinner, Rob walked in the kitchen and opened the fridge behind me.

"Jill," he said, his voice serious.

"Yeah?"

"I cry for you, too."

Then he started laughing while I reached out to smack him. He's such a butt, that true love of mine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Challenge Layout #2

I did a bit more stash-chomping today, using the kit that I compiled for the Ms. Pac-Man challenge.
I struggled with my hoarding impulses, but I still managed to persuade myself to use this blueprint paper (from Jenni Bowlin, whose treasure-hunting gifts are unrivaled). It needed to be on this page with the Studio Calico "Phases of the Moon" Project Life card, by way of juxtaposition -- the idea of a specific plan alongside an image of constant change. 
I used one of my "lazy" (but lovely) techniques here, ripping out the pre-stitched buttons from a button card and using the line of buttons as is. 
It's difficult to describe how I feel about change, since it can be positive and negative. I tried my best.

One more layout to go...

It's been great to see the growing interest in the challenge, by the way! I've heard from people via this blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Get It Scrapped.  I can't wait to see the projects that everyone has been working on!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Challenge Layout #1

It's been 24 hours since I created my kit (see previous post), and I'm feeling psyched! There's nothing quite like a kit to get one's scrappy mojo flowing -- I already finished my first layout.
The layout focuses on my daughter's final choir concert. It was so emotional, as she knew it would be -- she told me in advance that this would be her "real graduation."
Music has been her passion for so many years. It has been unlike other subjects, and her choir director has been unlike other teachers. Z talked about her choir and music history classes incessantly, nearly out of breath as she recounted tales about composers and explained, in detail, the intricacies of the fifth movement of Symphonie Fantastique. To watch her choral performances was to watch someone fill with light, and share it.
It's been argued that music education can improve language and mathematics skills, but the kind of learning that my daughter has experienced goes far behind the kind reflected in multiple-choice exams.
We live at a time in which school districts are stripping away arts programs -- and, as a result, imagination itself. I am a strong supporter of arts education, and I am so grateful that my daughter was able to attend a school that sees the arts not as "extra," but as essential.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Up for a Stash-Busting Challenge and a Giveaway?

Anyone up for a stash-busting challenge?

I was going through older posts and came across one about the Ms. Pac-Man challenge from 2012.  I believe it was started by JBS team member and DT coordinator Doris Sander. The idea behind the challenge is to "chomp" away at your stash by compiling your own kit and using it to create three projects.

The old challenge required one layout and two cards, but I'm good with a minimum of three projects in general, with any combination of layouts and cards. 

I'm planning to stick to a similar list of kit contents used, with some changes here and there to account for the possibility that one might wish to create three layouts:
1. Eight pieces of patterned paper scraps and four specialty paper/"other" paper scraps -- no complete sheets allowed. 
2.  No more than one yard of trim, with no individual piece measuring more than 11" in length.
3. One sticker sheet, with a catch: at least one sticker must be missing from the sheet.
4. A pre-2013 alphabet set (the old challenge asked for a pre-2010 set, but I figure, three years have passed, so we can compensate for the time change).  If you don't have a set this old, aim for your oldest. 
5. One opened package/container of scrappy product.    
6.  One unopened package/container of scrappy product.
7. One roll of tape.   
8.  One item or package of product from a company that no longer makes scrappy products (the old challenge required a JBS product, which could still apply to this updated version). 
9.  Six journaling and/or Project Life cards (if you don't have individual cards, you can cut them from a journaling-card-style patterned sheet or use a printable, if you wish). 
10. Unlimited cardstock, adhesive, and "technique-type product" (e.g. stamps, stamping ink, paint, mist, stencils, embossing powder, etc.).     
I'm going to add a few more items:
11. A wild card item. Include anything you've been wanting to use (regardless of whether it is old or new, opened or unopened).  The time is now. 
12.  A nearby item. Grab something from your desk or craft area that is within arm's reach. This will be fairly easy to do if you are a mess-maker like me. If you are super-organized and have no items within reach, then head for the nearest drawer or bin, close your eyes, and reach blindly. The item that you retrieve will be the final addition to your kit. 
Once you've made your own kit, take a photo of it, and blog (and/or share via Instagram or some other form of social media) your list of kit items. 

Here's my kit: 
(1) Eight scraps of patterned paper: KI Memories, Love, Elsie, Bo Bunny, Sassafras, Studio Calico (clouds and numbers), and Daisy D's;  four pieces of specialty/other paper: blueprint paper and time card (from previous JBS kits), dictionary page, white vellum.
(2) Trim: Making Memories (planes), KI Memories (rainbows), Webster's Pages (lace), May Arts (hot pink) -- it all equals no more than 1 yard/36 inches. 
(3) Sticker sheet (with missing sticker): Hello Forever for Studio Calico.
(4) A pre-2013 alphabet:  Heidi Swapp chipboard letters (I went waaaaaay back). 
(5) Opened product: Seven Paper vellum hearts. 
(6) Unopened product: My Mind's Eye Lost and Found buttons. 
(7) One roll of tape: 7Gypsies linen tape (or was it Prima?)
(8) One item or package of product from a company that no longer makes scrappy products: Jenni Bowlin Studio metal flatbacks
(9) Six journaling and/or PL cards: all are from Studio Calico, with the exception of the lined card from Becky Higgins
(10) Unlimited cardstock, adhesive, and "technique-type product"  -- so far I've pulled three sheets of cardstock -- white, kraft, and metallic gray, and I have a few stencils and stamp sets at the ready. 
(11) A wild card item: printed chipboard circles from Studio Calico. 
(12) A nearby item: gold paper clips from American Crafts. 
Once you've compiled your kit, the real fun starts: begin creating! 

If you decide to participate, I'll sweeten the deal with a giveaway -- and yes, I do recognize the irony in challenging you to chomp through your stash only to accumulate more product. 

To be entered, share a link to your blog (or Flickr gallery, Instagram feed, etc.) in the comment section below, and I'll be sure to visit!   ETA: You can also post to a thread that I started at Get It Scrapped.  Your post(s) should contain the kit image as well as images of your three projects -- feel free to split up the posts. 

Let's aim for a July 20 deadline. That should give you a little over a month. Happy stash-busting! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Color Color Color

The other day I was looking through my gallery at Scrapbook.com, and I had to laugh -- everything is SO bright and colorful. I don't think I could create an understated layout if I tried.
Even if I'm using just two main colors, I still aim for that color-pop. 
You'd think that this would translate to all the colors of the rainbow in my closet or bold accent walls in my home, but no...it only materializes in paper form...
and on Pinterest.
I love color.  :) 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

ICAD Continues!

This week's ICAD challenge focuses on using paint and draws upon seemingly food-inspired topics. I've been riffing on the color combos that they suggest.  

Day 9. Carrot and Lemon. 
I stamped a grid on the background and then filled in the squares with various patterns and gradations. I used a combination of watercolors, acrylic, and ink. 

Day 10. Eggplant and Ginger. 
I painted large watercolor circles on canvas paper and let the colors run.

Day 11. Lime and Mango. 
I folded an index card and dipped the creases in paint. I then flipped the card over and worked with the reverse side, adding teeny tiny hand-cut shapes (cut from painted paper) to each square. I stitched across each column and row. This reminds me of the old-school "complete the pattern" worksheets from grade school. 

Day 12. Parsnip and Kiwi. 
Before creating this card, I had no idea what color a parsnip was -- thank goodness for Google and Pantone! I drew a series of circles, painted the centers with watercolors, and included the closing lines from one of my favorite poems ever, Liz Rosenberg's "Susquehanna." 

Day 13. Blueberry and Plum. 
I worked on this one today, pulling together a combination of patterned papers (yay for saving scraps!) and painted papers and adding stitching. I don't usually work with this color combo, but it's making me crave fruit in a big way. It reminds me of Helen Chasin's "Plum."

I'm looking forward to making tomorrow's card -- the prompt is "salt and pepper." Fun! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Mondays

Summer vacation Mondays are oddly quiet and calm, which is really quite different from the harried approach I usually take to this most unfavorite day of the week. It doesn't feel like the start of a week -- it just feels like the continuation of a very long one. The days are beginning to blend, and while that might sound blissful, it's actually disorienting. I've become so accustomed to routines that I find myself wanting to clean and organize just to feel a sense of purpose.

Something that has kept me feeling purposeful is scrapbooking. I admit, I still feel a little twinge of guilt when I start a project. An annoying little voice in my head always asks, "Shouldn't you be doing something more productive with your time?" I have to tell the voice to shove off, and it's not always easy to do so. During the school year, I counter it with a louder voice that insists that scrapbooking is stress relief, but I can't say that during freaking summer vacation, now can I?

Yet getting crafty is purposeful -- it makes me feel good. It makes me happy. Productivity is overrated. Creativity matters.

That said, here's what's been making me happy lately:
I am crazy about the Scraptastic June kits. I've been working with the "Thinking Out Loud" kit and add-on, and I love the colors and patterns (not to mention the accents). I couldn't decide which papers I wanted to use first, so I pretty much used most of them here. Lots of layers, lots of happiness.

The layout focuses on my daughter's last days of high school. She, like many members of the class of 2015 nationwide, was struggling with acute senioritis at the time that these photos were taken, so those days were likely a blur to her. I'm glad that I was able to capture some of the highlights for her.

In addition to scrapbooking, I've also been deep into ICAD mania. The Index-Card-a-Day Challenge has supercharged me creatively. I don't even really care what the cards look like -- I care more about what it feels like to create them.

Day 5: Owl.
The prompt had me a bit stumped at first, but poetry saved the day. I turned to Mary Oliver's "White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field," and incorporated some lines of the poem over a glittery feather from Things That Shine.  To create the background, I sprayed OA Sprinklers in Lagoon and SC Mister Huey's in Inky Black at close range and let the colors mix and meld.

Day 6: Taxi.
This topic was another challenging one, given my very limited experience with taxis. I've ridden in one only once, and it wasn't even of the trademark yellow and black variety. As I thought more about the concept of "taxi," I decided to riff on related ideas -- the taxicab color scheme, mileage logs, and tires and tires and tires.

Day 7: Periodic Table.
With 20 minutes to spare of Day 7, I worked at a frenzied pace to create this card. I thought about the periodic table in terms of elements and building blocks. Having recently celebrated 18 years of marriage, I created a series of eighteen building blocks of marriage, with each block representing a year. The color coding refers to the elements that comprise love and marriage, in varying combinations.

Day 8: Grapefruit and Cherry (Beginning of Week Two).
The week two topics feature culinary combos, like grapefruit and cherry, eggplant and ginger, and salt and pepper. I've been thinking about them in terms of colors. The theme/materials have also shifted for week two. The first week focused on drawing and doodling with pens, markers, and ink, while this week's focus is painting (gouache, watercolors/watercolor pencils, acrylic paint). I pulled out a few watercolor pencils in grapefruit and cherry hues, and once I had lightly sketched out a series of grapefruit slices, I brushed water over the designs. I then added some white acrylic paint to define each of the rounds, and then intensified the color a little by painting over each slice with cherry-colored ink, lightly dabbing over it with a paper towel.

I still can't believe it's a Monday.

Friday, June 5, 2015

ICAD Update

I'm four days into the challenge/phenomenon/obsession known as ICAD.  With each day and each card, I find myself just enjoying the process and feeling really good about what I'm doing -- no stress, no pressure, just...an index card a day.

So far I've kept with this week's theme -- doodling and drawing using pen, markers, and/or ink -- and I've been using the optional topics as creative prompts. I've already shared the first day's card, so I'll pick up where I left off.

Day 2:  Carnival.
The idea of "carnival" got me thinking about one of the rides that one always finds at a carnival: a carousel. That immediately brought to mind Rubblebucket's "Carousel Ride," which remained on continuous play in my head as I drew a series of spirals on the index card and dipped the entire card in ink (OA "Hopscotch" Sprinklers). Once the card dried, I doodled the lyrics with a "round and round" approach, following the spiraling lines. Lesson learned: it's really hard to write in cursive continuously in a spiral without picking up one's pen.

Day 3:  Draw a Map.
I've made a vow: perfectionism will have no part in my ICAD experience. Even though I was tempted to reach for a pencil rather than a pen in drawing the coastlines on this card, I didn't want to look back -- I wanted to move forward. I grabbed a nearby ball point pen and created a quick contour drawing based on a map that I googled. I then painted with three different colors of ink (SC's Seafoam, Shell, and Honor Society mists). Although I thought about adding words, what I really wanted to call attention to is what my eye returns to over and over when I look at this card: the space between.  That space says more to me than any words could.

Day 4: Mailbox.
I collect things, two varieties of which can be seen here: stamps and quotes. For nearly three decades, I've saved pretty much every stamp that has ever come my way in the mail, sometimes simply tearing off the corners of envelopes and slipping them into a nearby drawer for...later.  Now is later, apparently. I reached into the drawer today and discovered a bunch of little treasures.  The Arcade Fire lyrics have been on my desktop for years, as if they've been waiting for this card. The theme still applies -- printer ink and, of course, the ink that is care of the U.S. Postal Service. The doodling was done with my trusty sewing machine.

The next topic is "owl." At the moment, I'm stumped...but the topics are optional, so we'll see where the end of the day finds me.  I love that I have no idea. I'm starting to think that maybe that's the point.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ready Set Go

I don't get to travel much, given the cost of air fare across the Pacific, but every few years, I get to utter the words, "We're going on vacation," and mean it. A few days ago, I shared a layout on the October Afternoon blog that looks back at a past vacation to one of our favorite places while also looking ahead to the return trip that we've been planning.
I can't believe the last time we were at Disneyland was ten years ago! I wonder whether it will still feel magical, now that Z isn't a little kid. If my husband's level of excitement is any indicator, there's a whole lot of magic left.
The OA Summertime collection was perfect for a Disney-themed page. It's definitely going to be making an appearance in my upcoming Disneyland album.
About that album -- I've been instructed that "we are not stopping every three seconds for a photo." They know not what they say.  I'm just going to pretend I didn't hear that.

Monday, June 1, 2015

ICAD 2015

For some time now, I've been an ICAD lurker, but I shall lurk no more. This year, I'm getting in on the ICAD (Index-Card-a-Day) challenge, which starts today. 

I'm so used to being in my head as I create, so overly detail-conscious at times, and it was quite a sweet relief to just let go (or at least, to try to let go) and spend a few minutes creating my first card today. 
This week's theme is drawing and doodling, using ink, pens, or markers. There are also optional daily prompts/topics available. Today's was chevron, so I ran with it for my journaling, which was more like free-writing than my usual draft-amd-revise-and-revise-again process. It was liberating. The background includes ink, and I doodled a bit (clumsily) when it came to a few of the words. Maybe in the days to come, I'll loosen up a bit more and just...let it go. 

I also joined the ICAD Facebook group, and I'm so glad I did, because the inspiration there is incredible. So many takes on a single challenge -- wow! 

You should check it out!  The challenge runs from June 1 to July 31, 2015.