Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Stash-Busting Challenge: Kit Pic!

After spending the afternoon hunting for components for the Stash-Busting Challenge, I am happy to report that I now have a kit that I am really looking forward to working/playing with over the next few weeks. 
Here are the kit contents: 
1. Eight pieces of patterned paper scraps: Crate Paper/Maggie Holmes, Bella Blvd, Studio Tekturek, Love, Elsie. Daisy D's (left over from the last challenge), and KI Memories; four specialty paper/"other" paper scraps: paper cut from an Anthropologie shopping bag, KI Memories die-cut calendar paper, washi paper, and JBS perforated paper; two complete/unused sheets of patterned paper: one from Crate Paper and one from Studio Calico
2.  One yard of ribbon/trim: opted for two pieces of hemp cord and one piece of burlap trim, cut into 11" lengths 
3. One sticker sheet, with a catch: at least one sticker must be missing from the sheet: label stickers from Gossamer Blue
4. A pre-2015 alphabet set: American Crafts Typo Thickers (circa 2009, I believe).  
5. One opened package/container of scrappy product: Freckled Fawn arrow clips  
6.  One unopened package/container of scrappy product: rubber accents from Crate Paper 
7. One roll of tape: washi tape (brand unknown)
8.  One item or package of product from a company that no longer makes scrappy products:  Love, Elsie chip buttons 
9. Up to ten journaling and/or Project Life cards/tags: JBS (vintage tag), Crate Paper, Elle's Studio, random gray tag, Ali Edwards, Farmhouse Paper Co. 
10.    Two "wild card" items: Shimelle/American Crafts wood buttons and Crate Paper Cool Kid stickers 
11. A nearby item. Whoops! I just realized that I didn't photograph this with the rest of the kit contents. It's a packet from Freckled Fawn containing two acrylic words: "adventure" and "explore" (see image here)
Time to get scrapping! 

Up for a Stash-Busting Challenge (Again)?

Two years ago, in the quest to chomp away at my stash, I, along with other scrappy folk and crafty hoarding types, embarked upon a stash-busting challenge, based on the Ms. Pacman challenge from a few years prior.  A little over a month ago, Kat Benjamin (@kraftkat9) reminded me how much fun we had with the challenge, and I agreed that we should revisit it -- so let's do it! 

The "rules" change a bit each time we repeat the challenge, but the gist is the same: compile your own kit based on the guidelines, and use that kit to create a minimum of three projects (layouts, cards, etc.). 


This time around, we will stick with most of the same kit contents from the previous challenge, with a few adjustments.

1. Eight pieces of patterned paper scraps, four specialty paper/"other" paper scraps, and two complete/unused sheets of patterned paper that you know you should stop hoarding and should just start using.
2.  No more than one yard of ribbon/trim; if you want to make this extra challenging, no individual piece can measure 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-2015 alphabet set (the old challenge asked for a pre-2013 set, but since two years have passed, we can compensate for the time change).  If you don't have a set this old (or don't feel like doing the research to figure out if the set is pre-2015), aim for your oldest. 
5. One opened package/container of scrappy product.    
6.  One unopened package/container of scrappy product. If you don't have any unopened product, opt for an opened package/contained that has hardly been used, or the newest package of product that you added to your stash. 
7. One roll of tape (washi tape or other decorative tape). 
8.  One item or package of product from a company that no longer makes scrappy products (or that has not had a new release within the past two years) or one of the oldest items in your stash. 
9. Up to ten journaling and/or Project Life cards/tags (if you don't have individual cards/tags, you can cut them from a journaling-card-style patterned sheet or use a printable, if you wish). 
10.    
Two "wild card" items. Include anything you've been wanting to use (regardless of whether it is old or new, opened or unopened).  

11. 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. 
As with last time, the kit includes unlimited cardstock, adhesive, and "technique-type product" (e.g. stamps, stamping ink, paint, mist, stencils, embossing powder, etc.).  
If any of the guidelines above are cramping your style, feel free to modify them so that you can be your best stash-busting self.  For instance, if you're in the midst of working on a project, and you realize something that isn't in your kit but in your stash would look great on that project, then go ahead and add it anyway. 

Accounting for the rummaging and scavenging time as we compile our kits, plus more time to create three layouts, let's aim to complete all three projects by August 31 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  If you can't make it by then, no worries, but if you can, I'll enter you in a drawing for a scrappy giveaway. Just be sure to share your three projects on Instagram (I'm @jillscrap; feel free to use the hashtag #stashbustingchallenge2017 when posting your images), the Get It Scrapped Community on Facebook, or your blog (post a link in the comments below). Feel free to split up the posts. 

I'll update with my kit pic soon! 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. Then get started on those projects. I can't wait to see what you create! 

Ready, set, go!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Stories to Tell

When it comes to documenting the hard times, my advice has always been to push through, to tell that story, because if our albums are going to truly share our lives as we live them, they should radiate light but also acknowledge the shadows, the dark and difficult moments. We should be cautious about the difference between spinning the story of our lives and telling that story, truly. 

In the week before my recent surgery, when all I seemed able to do was to fixate on fear, I encountered a design team deadline. It occurred to me as I worked on the page that if something went wrong during the procedure or with my recovery, this could be the last page I would ever make.  And that left me overwhelmed.  

I pushed through, however, letting my feelings shape my focus, and I ended up creating a layout about my love and admiration for my daughter, and her bravery in moving forward in life, a separate person from her worrywart of a mother.  When I was done, I thought, if this is the last page I ever make, then so be it.  Imagine saying that about every page you make.  Morbid and possibly even melodramatic, I know -- but it was a breakthrough for me all the same.  

Though the surgery itself went well, other health concerns surfaced in the weeks that followed the surgery, and whatever peace or closure I might have felt in creating that "last" layout vanished, along with my creativity.   Scrapbooking seemed like something my other self, my healthier self, cared about. I wasn't sure if I would ever be that self again.  

There was no pushing through. There was just an urge to surrender to the worry, to shut down. For the first time in over a decade, I started seriously considering giving up scrapbooking. Don't all life stories end mid-sentence anyway? 

Then the days pieced themselves together into weeks, and the new and unknown became the normal and unknown. I haven't stopped worrying, but I have been making a greater effort not to let my worries consume me.  I've been spending time with family, and I am humbled by love's power to endure even as our bodies struggle to do so. 

This moment happened last week: 
Here's my uncle, in 1967 (the layout is from 2014): 
Maybe what I need to understand is that when I was thinking about stopping scrapbooking altogether, it was because I was coming to terms with the fact that my own narrative was possibly changing on me.  The fear that I had run out of stories to tell paralyzed me. 

I can't let that fear control me.  My uncle, the storyteller, still has stories to tell, even though he cannot shape those stories into words in the way he used to do, but they are there, in his eyes, in his smile, in his hands, in the family members who surround him and, even in his voicelessness, listen. 


Monday, July 10, 2017

Elle's Studio July Reveal

It's July 10, which means that there are lots of new Elle's Studio releases, including this month's kit and extras.  
It's also the time of month when the design team members share some of the projects they've created using Elle's Studio goodies. My July gallery layout incorporates two of my recent ES favorites, the Summer Journaling Tags and the Stanley Alphabet Stamps, solid and outline.
 
My yard is kind of a wreck, but it's also kind of a marvel. This layout documents how I've learned to find "comfort in chaos." 
I hand-cut strips of the scallop pattern found in the Live Laugh Love collection as well as from the Summer Journaling Tags, and layered the strips to create the paper equivalent of bushes and shrubs on the page. I worked the journaling into the mix, and then added some messy stitching here and there. 
Thanks for stopping by today! 
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Stuff Happens.

Just when I thought that I could make an early-June recovery and continue with my summer plans feeling better than ever, my health took a turn, with a few conditions colliding to great the perfect internal storm. Instead of enjoying summer at the beach or working toward my goal of being more active and healthy, I've spent the last month on the couch, binge-watching The Vampire Diaries (a pretty good series, as it turns out) and reading book after book -- that is, when I wasn't in doctor's offices and hospitals getting poked, prodded, and scanned.

Over the past few days, I've been feeling much better, but I'm still in need of answers, and am awaiting further tests.  There's so much waiting involved.  I just want to deal with everything NOW, and have it behind me.  It's been very stressful, but it's also helped me to realize more than ever what matters in life and what doesn't.  It's so easy to take good health for granted, because when we're healthy, we're healthy -- it's just the norm. We may not even realize how good feeling good feels, until we don't feel that way any longer. When we're not healthy, and aren't sure if we will ever return to being healthy again, it can actually be terrifying, and destabilizing, and exhausting.

As you might imagine, my creativity has been at an all-time low, but because deadlines are still deadlines, I've had to push through, and although I might have approached my most recent projects grudgingly, it turns out that having a creative escape can be quite therapeutic. For a few moments, I stopped worrying about my body and focused instead on something other than my anxieties.

I'm sad to say, I've given up on ICAD. I was back on track for a while there, but I just couldn't keep up with it.  Here are the last few cards that I completed. Maybe next summer I'll be up to the challenge.


Here's hoping your summer has been far more enjoyable than mine!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

ICAD 7

This is going to be my mission statement for this summer. 
I merged the prompt "Alliteration" with the week one found text/poetry theme. I love the idea that poetry is everywhere, hiding in junk mail, in a landscaping magazine, in form letters, waiting to be discovered. A few letters in the last word vanished when I added the stitching -- it's "source." 

If you find yourself curious about ICAD, check out this must-read post/pep talk on the Daisy Yellow blog: "12 Tips for the Index-Card-a-Day Challenge." It's inspiring! 

Elle's Studio June Reveal

Every month on the 10th, Elle's Studio releases a bunch of new items, including a kit and extras. This month's lovelies are just in time for summer vacation!  
With some of the items from the June release, I created a beach-themed page, complete with strands of bits and pieces that appear to be culled from the coastline.
 
The Acrylic Summer Shapes remind me of sea glass. 
When I created this page, I was a few days away from heading into surgery and was pretty emotional, so it shouldn't surprise you that the journaling doesn't focus on the beach experience, but rather, on life experience. 
Be sure to check out Elle's Studio as well as the ES blog, where you will find a bunch of the team's layouts posted. 

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Getting There

I am so over this couch-dwelling existence; I can't wait until the doc gives me clearance to be fully active, and neither can my dog -- he was very sweet and calm for the first five days, but now he's going stir-crazy. He loves to nudge and bop his nose at us when he wants to play, and there have been more than a few near-misses with my nose over the past couple of days. 

On the bright side, I'm just a few cards away from being caught up with the ICAD challenge.  I don't mind being a little behind -- the psychological perks of being doubly/triply creative each day are quite nice, and are keeping the remote control from being hurled into a wall. I know that there are hundreds of movies and series from which I can choose, but seriously -- why is there nothing good on TV?

Here are today's sanity-preserving ICAD attempts: 
ICAD #5. The prompt was "Kawaii" or "Cute," which initially left me dumbfounded, but soon found me rummaging through my daughter's stash of cute stationery from Japan and Korea. Her room is a scary mess, but I managed to find what I needed. 

ICAD #6. The prompt was "Detour." It might as well have been "Story of my Life." I dipped a piece of string in the wet watercolors left over from the previous card and arranged it to represent the usual course that I take from point A to point B. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Recovery + A Little Catch-Up

The surgery went well -- thank you for your kind comments and prayers!

I really thought that sinus pain/nasal sensitivity was going to be the most challenging part of the recovery after my septoplasty and turbinate reduction, but I honestly haven't felt pain at all -- just a little discomfort, ameliorated by saline washes and some Tylenol (I haven't even had to take the pain meds that the doc prescribed).  It was really the anesthesia that had the most powerful effect on my body, followed by the post-surgery antibiotics. It has taken me a week to shake off the dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea and to regain a clear head, but I'm on the mend and feeling so much better.

In fact, today I finally got so fed up with vegging on the couch and watching TV (something I never, ever thought that I could ever tire of doing) that I summoned a little burst of creative energy and played some ICAD catch-up for days 2-4.

The theme for ICAD Day 2 was "Lost and/or Found." In keeping with the week 1 theme that includes words and poetry, I worked in a few lines from Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" ("The art of losing isn't hard to master; / so many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster").  I also worked in "found" items from the mail.
The theme for Day 3 was "Vintage." I turned my attention to creating a little stitched collage, which includes some vintage papers mixed with more recent tidbits. The base index card is repurposed from a stack of cards my daughter used to study for a science exam. This card is highly amusing to me, as my  husband helped my daughter with the study process by writing out a few test questions for her, each of which included answers of his own among the multiple choice options.
Day 4's theme was "Lavender." I took a somewhat literal approach, incorporating lavender hues in the form of painted rectangles stitched into a garland.

These are simple little cards, but they have helped me to revive my spirits and to welcome color back into my life.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

ICAD 2017: Day 1

This summer will be my third time participating in the Index-Card-a-Day (ICAD) challenge, the brainchild of Tammy Garcia, who posts weekly prompts and themes on her blog, Daisy Yellow. 

Although I have yet to make it through the two full months of prompts, last year, I came close. Maybe this year I'll go the distance -- but if not, that's okay. The challenge is all about the process, about making room each day to play, to experiment, and to be creative...on an index-card canvas. 

Today is Day 1, and the prompt is, fittingly, "Sunrise."  
In keeping with this week's theme (which is totally optional, by the way), I incorporated typography, words, found text, and lists. 

The card was actually therapeutic for me. I'm having surgery this week, and I am, in a word, scared, so much so that I was hesitant about spending time doing anything but worrying. I thought about postponing ICAD until mid-June, but the idea of "sunrise" -- of beginning again after a long night -- spoke to me, and I gave myself over to the process, with the wonderful side effect of not worrying for 15 minutes, something I haven't done much since the surgery was scheduled. 

I'm not sure whether the recovery is going to interfere much with the rest of this week's cards, but I'm looking forward to playing catch-up regardless, with a heart that is grateful for every sunrise with which I am blessed. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

In My Shoes (Again)

"...Shoes are not merely shoes. Shoes, like any other clothing choice one must make every day, reveal something—inconveniently, maybe, but inevitably—about the wearer. "
-- Megan Garber 

Although Garber's words, in context, relate to her argument about wearing heels, they apply to all shoes.  What do my shoes reveal about me?  As someone who deplores shoe shopping, being the bearer of feet so large that they transform even the most elegant footwear into floppy clown shoes, I'm fairly certain that my shoes reveal a wearer who is more focused on function than form. 

I'm no Imelda Marcos or Carrie Bradshaw -- my shoes number in the single digits, and are limited to basic flats and sandals for work, heels strapped on (grumpily) once a year when I chaperone prom, fairly ugly but wonderfully comfortable slippers that are usually on my feet when the aforementioned pairs aren't, and these, which I should wear far more often than I actually do: 
These are high-stakes shoes, involving a choice: wear them with intention, or don't wear them and end up with regrets.  When these shoes are on my feet, it means I'm walking two miles or skipping to keep up with my dog's pace or pruning hedges or carrying yard trimmings to the bin. I sweat more in these shoes than in any other pair. I look my wildest, dirtiest, and most disheveled. But I also feel incredible when I wear them, because I know that in these shoes, I'm getting stuff done -- stuff that is good for me. Wearing them means that I am choosing to do the harder thing, the better thing, even when so many other options -- like coffee, Netflix, and butt-sitting -- tempt me.  
This summer, I'm really going to try harder to make healthier choices. Every time I try to do this, though, there are always so many factors that get in the way, the biggest of which is my own willpower. 
This layout serves as a pep talks of sorts, reminding me to put on those shoes and catch the sun...while I can. This isn't the first time I've featured my shoes (or my good intentions) on a layout -- and I'm sure it won't be the last. 
(More details about this page can be found on the Elle's Studio blog). 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Elle's Studio May Release

The tenth is always a highlight of each month, since that means it's release day at Elle's Studio! In this month's kit, Elle definitely delivers on cards, color, and cuteness.
 
And just look at the extras
I may have gone a wee bit crazy with the arrow stickers on my most recent layout. 
I'm also giddy about the acrylic hearts. 
And I can't wait to create a layout featuring the new stamps. The word "UGH" is among the most used in my vocabulary, incidentally.

Speaking of stamps, have you seen the one included in the new "Everyday Adventures" Mini-Album Class?  

The class itself, with its eight approaches to mini-albums, has my curiosity piqued. Even though I'm mostly a layout girl, I do love mini-albums, too. 

Thanks for stopping by today!  


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Friday, April 14, 2017

Been There.

Ah, a familiar scene...
My daughter's-eye-view of her coffee, notes, and essay-in-progress take me back to my college days. Back then, though, I was sans laptop and chugging Pepsi for my source of caffeine.

I created this layout for this week's one product/three ways feature on Elle's Studio blog.  The product focus was puffy letter stickers, which I used for the journaling.
There's a lot that didn't make the list. My daughter somehow manages to deal with a pretty demanding schedule without ever losing her passion for learning. She's even been considering a career in academia lately. I could see that happening...as long as the coffee keeps coming. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

It's the 10th!

It's April 10, which means that it's time for the Elle's Studio monthly reveal. This time around, there are tons of new items in the shop, including a new kit...
new extras...
and a new collection, Live Laugh Love!
As for me, I've been enjoying creating with all of the above.
The Live Laugh Love collection shows up a lot here. I built this page on a large circle loosely cut by hand. I then broke the space into four quadrants, linking them all with the title block and repeated accents. I haven't stopped craving pecan pie since I created this page, incidentally. 
The woodgrain pattern from the Live Laugh Love collection makes another appearance here, this time on a page addressing a craving for beauty, in the form of flowers. I'm flower-obsessed, so much so that I have been breaking out of my usual indoors-existence to spend more time outdoors with them. 
More and more, I'm understanding why the "flower children" of the 60s were synonymous with love and peace. Every time I pass flowers, I want to grab the nearest person and insist that they just LOOK for a moment. All of the answers to our most important questions might actually be found if we spent more time being reverent, being still -- just being -- in nature. 

Can you tell I've been reading Mary Oliver lately? 

Thanks for visiting today! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Jill Who?

I know, I know, it's been for-freaking-ever since I last posted.

I've been dealing with five back-to-back sinus infections since November, and it has had a serious impact on my productivity. I've been a mess, actually. It's been good for me, philosophically speaking, however. I've realized that when I'm healthy, I always take my health for granted; when I'm sick, I can't think of anything but wanting to be healthy again.  We all need to be reminded of our fragility from time to time. It keeps us humble. And grateful.

Right now, thankfully, I'm in the midst of a good week, and my creativity is returning. It also helps that it's spring break, and I'm getting lots of rest. Also, my ENT is a goddess, even if she does want to perform surgery on me eventually. Ugh.

Yesterday, I got crafty for the first time in about six weeks. I've never gone so long without creating something. I had absolutely no energy, and correspondingly, as if my body knew it had to devote all of its energy to trying to recover, my imagination shut itself off. Scary.

So when I finally started feeling better over the past few days, it felt so good to play with paper once again. My creativity came back in a gleeful rush. I set out to create a single card for Elle's Studio using the "Grow and Bloom" wood veneer sentiments, and I ended up creating three of them!
They're featured on the Elle's Studio blog today.
Thanks for stopping by today!