Friday, March 18, 2016

Attention Must Be Paid.

When I was younger, I thought that 40 was old. Crypt-keeper old. At death's door old.  Now that I am 40, I kind of want to flip off younger me. What did I know? 

Heck, what do I even know now?  

I think Sandra Cisneros knows. Her story "Eleven" begins like this: "What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one." 

Yep, when you're 40, you're also 39 and 38 and 37 and 36....and 28 and 17 and 12 and 7 and 4 and 1...and you can feel them all in there, different selves from different times, mingling -- sometimes uneasily -- to become the sum of who you are.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Feeling Lucky

It hasn't slipped my notice that my last few layouts have been predominantly dog-centered. Last night I realized that this isn't coincidental -- I'm pretty sure that my dog is my muse. More proof of this can be found on my latest page:
He loves the backyard, and is all about the green, making him the perfect star of a layout prompted by today's St. Patrick's Day-themed challenge on the Scraptastic Club blog: go green! 

I took the challenge in two directions, incorporating lots of the color green while also including items that might otherwise have gone the way of trash rather than treasure.  

I love creating pages about my pets. It's not stressful in any way, and it's always such a kick to journal about them (or even better, in their own "voices").

I'm off to go give my furboy a belly rub. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Just As I Am.

The question, "Do you document the bad stuff?" surfaces from time to time on message boards. And, from time to time, a reply that always surprises me surfaces along with it: no. It's explained in a variety of ways, but it usually comes down to this: "I only want to remember the good things, and I want others to remember me happy." 

Why do I disagree with this? 

This English teacher has read Brave New World and moderated the happiness vs. unhappiness debate enough times that I have finally arrived at the same conclusion that John ("the Savage") does at the end of Chapter 17: 


"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

"In fact," said Mustapha Mond, "you're claiming the right to be unhappy."

"All right then," said the Savage defiantly, "I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."


Granted, Brave New World doesn't exactly address scrapbooking in its utopian/dystopian vision -- although that might fall under the category of "soma" for those who scrapbook in pursuit of happiness or something like it -- but it is a book about what it means to be human.       

Happiness is part of the human experience, and some may even chalk it up being the very meaning of life, but it isn't the sum of the human experience. If we don't let our real, raw selves enter the records of our days, if we don't resist the urge to slap a smile on every page, then we might actually end up documenting our humanity as we experienced it rather than our humanity as we want others to believe we have experienced it.  There is value in vulnerability, in sharing how we handled living with uncertainty, with not always getting to find out the answers to our questions. From time to time, we need to "claim the right to be unhappy." 

I most definitely was not in a happy place yesterday.  At one point, I thought, "I don't feel like scrapbooking."  Then I started thinking more about that -- was I assuming that I had to be super-duper peppy, that I had to be in a good mood in order to be creative?  When I'm full of anger or angst, that doesn't keep me from writing -- in fact, it produces amazing writing and helps me to find clarity -- so why should it keep me from other creative outlets? 

I decided not just to work through my feeling of uncertainty, but to work with it.  My goal? Capture the here and now, inside and outside. 

I took a photo of myself without brushing my hair, putting on makeup, or changing my shirt.  I printed it in black and white, true to my grayscale mood.  The photo was the first item I placed on the page, and around it the layout came together. 
It's not spectacular -- it wasn't intended to be.  It was my attempt to remember to be human, just as I am, and not to back away from that truth when moving forward relies upon my acknowledgment of it. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's March 10 and...

you know what that means: the Elle's Studio reveal!

The March kit and extras are raring to go...
the Little Moments collection is now available (with special bundle pricing)...
Our new collection will also be available!
and the design team gallery is live! I created the following layout with all of the above:
If you haven't guessed it yet, I'm slightly obsessed with my dog. Do you think I used enough hearts on the page?