Sunday, July 31, 2016

It's That Time.

If you are one of the three regular readers of this blog (hi, all!), then you have noticed that I haven't been posting that often lately.

It's that time of the year, when my focus starts to shift from all things crafty and summery and unstructured and lazy, toward all things school-related and regimented and disciplined and so-not-summery.

I'll still be checking in, and I'll still be getting crafty -- but the blog tends to suffer when the "to do" lists give it some competition, so if you don't hear from me as often, know that I'm still thinking of the three of you, and that I'll pop in soon!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Live Happy

1.  Unplug. The analog life is worth living.
2.  Go outside and breathe in the fresh air.
3.  Don't be afraid to get dirty.
4. Befriend the grass, the flowers, the trees.
5. Back to the earth, face to the sky.


Lately, I've been...

...reading the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. I'm on the last book, and am looking forward to the upcoming movie.  It took me too long to finally begin the series, but I'm glad that I did. It's a little difficult to put my finger on why I keep turning the pages. It has something to do with the quirkiness of the books, which are a mix of The Addams Family, Time Bandits, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.  

...watching Graceland. But why? I don't actually like this show very much (and I really can't stand the way it depicts women or male/female relationships), but my daughter has been watching it, which means that I've been watching it, too, and we have now become somewhat invested in the fate of the characters, whom I also don't actually like very much (with the exception of Johnny -- I have a soft spot for him). We're in the middle of season two, but we won't get much further, as we learned even before we started watching the show that it had been cancelled. Shocker. 

We've also been watching Roadies. Being a forever fan of Say Anything, and a huge, sappy, swoons-and-cries-every-time fan of Almost Famous, and also being willing to forgive Cameron Crowe for the disaster movie (not the fun kind) that was Aloha, I decided to give the series a go, and I'm glad I did. It's not particularly witty or smart (sorry!) or well-written (though it has its moments), but it speaks to my music-lover's heart in a way that makes the relative absence of the other things I mentioned easier to overlook. And Cameron Crowe may not know how to make a movie about Hawaii and he may not know that Emma Stone does not look Chinese or Hawaiian at all, but he does know music, and has never let me down in that respect, so I'm going to keep watching. 

...trying to be healthy -- to eat healthier, to exercise regularly, to visit the doc. It's not about checking the scale daily or studying my abs in the mirror or trying fad diets. It's about feeling better and making better choices for myself without going to extremes. 

...loving the peeks from the new lines! I'll admit, I was bracing myself for a declaration of the scrapbooking industry's time of death, but apparently it's not ready to go gently into that good night. 

Among my favorites are Shimelle's "Go Now Go" and Crate Paper's new lines. 

I'm loving many of the patterns that Shimelle has included in her latest collection. Here are a few that will be mine (oh yes): 
There are also some must-have accents in the collection: 

I'm a longtime fan of Crate Paper and was ecstatic to see the new CP lines revealed this past week.  They do not disappoint in terms of design, but they do bring up a question: is it time for manufacturers (and their clientele) to move past traditional gender stereotypes?  Two CP lines have me thinking about this. One collection features dogs, cars, robots, planes, dinosaurs, and travel/exploration motifs. The other features flowers, mermaids, unicorns, butterflies, and cats.  You can guess which one mentions "boy" repeatedly (and never mentions "girl" once), and vice-versa. All of those themes are great, but why assign a gender to them? 
"Cool Kid" sounds like it could be unisex, but there are specific aspects of the collection that mark it as being designed for boys ("little brother," "boys will be boys," "love this boy," "Mr. Rad"). The blog post introducing the collection explains that the line is "perfect for boys of any age." Still, it's not as if this is saying that the collection must be used in one particular way. There are some versatile components that don't include references to gender. 
I am happy to see that "Cool Kid" includes some non-gendered paper designs and gender-neutral sentiments like "young and brave," "awesome," "little explorer," and "wild child." It would have been great to see a few "girl" references embedded in this collection as well -- or, even better, to have dispensed with gender markers and gendered language altogether. 
The blog post introducing the "Cute Girl" collection mentions that it "is great for any sweet girls or women in your life." It abounds in frills, flora, and fantasy, and sentiments like "adorable," "sweet girl," "friend", "love," and "oh darling."  Once again, though, I will mention that the collection doesn't have to be used for "sweet girls." My cat is a veritable demon, with the bite and claws to show for it, and "Cute Girl" is so being used on a page about her. 

...scrapbooking with the Scraptastic "Sweet Jane" kit and add-on and letter stamps. Here's my month-in-review page for June: 
I know, I know, it's kind of busy. That pretty much sums up June!  You'd think that being on summer break would equate to long, leisurely, mellow days, but June was packed with events and appointments and activities. Usually the moment that I actually start to relax into summer, it ends. 

...falling behind with ICAD.  And I was doing so well!  I need to play catch-up soon. 

...listening to musicals (and analyzing them) with Z: Hamilton, The Last Five Years, Into the Woods, Spring Awakening, and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.  It's not unusual for me to wake in the morning with a line from a musical in my head, and then have it repeat all day long: "In 19th-century Russia we write letters...we write letters..."

...failing to complete the "to do" lists that I created for myself when summer started. Most of them involved cleaning, so I'm not taking it too hard.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Not to Worry

Scrapbookers: we're all about documenting. We look to the past from the vantage point of the present in the hopes that a future someone will appreciate the stories that we tell.

Given that so many of those stories are often about our children, I suppose that it is fair to say that a common fear among scrapbookers is that we will somehow "run out" of subjects to scrapbook, that the stories will exhaust themselves once our children stop being children.


Even when our little ones grow up, there will still be stories to tell.  Just look at my "adult" daughter, still hunting for Easter eggs after all these years.
(More details about this layout can be found on the Scraptastic blog.)

I've witnessed far too many scrapbookers throw in the towel as their children get older. I don't want that to be me. When I'm empty nesting it, I'll still be scrapbooking, even if that means I'll be making pages featuring time lapse photos of the grass growing in my yard. I'll get more cats if I have to (and oh, yes, I have to) and create albums for each one of them. I'll make it work.

July Reveal at Elle's Studio

One of the highlights of each month is when, on the 10th, Elle's Studio releases a bunch of new items.   This month's offerings  -- the July kit and extras -- are bright, colorful, and oh-so-summery!
There are also a few special deals happening -- the kit is $9.99 today, and all stamps at Elle's Studio are 20% off through July 13 at 8 pm. PST. 

Today is also the gallery reveal at Elle's.  I paired the July kit with the Sunny Day collection to create a "snapshot" layout about my sweet girl: 
There's even more to see over at Elle's Studio. 

Thanks for stopping by! 


Friday, July 8, 2016

ICAD 32 - 35

ICAD 32.  The prompt: "Zodiac." I attempted to stitch the constellation for my sign against a night sky and then got frustrated and started stitching wildly.  Behold! The reverse side of the ugliest ICAD card that ever was. Can you guess my sign? 

ICAD 33. The prompt: "Magic." This brought to mind the way that watching watercolors swirl into each other is not unlike watching cream that has just been added to a cup of coffee: it's magical. I played with various watercolor effects using the same color palette, and then cut the resulting cards and stitched pieces of them together. 

ICAD 34. The prompt: "Statue of Liberty." The words of Emma Lazarus, inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, seem especially powerful in the time of a refugee crisis. I wrote out her words and then cut them apart, signifying the divisive and fractious state of our citizenry with regard to attitudes about the treatment of refugees. 

ICAD 35. The prompt: "Sunflower." Remember back in the early 90s when sunflowers were a popular trend? Even though I'm fairly certain that I jumped on the bandwagon in some form (though not as avidly as a cast member of Blossom), methinks it's still too soon for a comeback. Thus, instead of taking this prompt literally, I opted to work with some sunny yellows and bright floral hues instead, gathering "petals" of circles and layering and stitching them. 

Checking In

After a one-week blog hiatus, I'm back to assure you that I'm still here!  I've had a slew of appointments that I've been taking care of lately, most of which have left me feeling kind of blah and uncreative. Today, I'm feeling the spark rekindling itself, though, and I'm hoping to play some ICAD catch-up and get in some scrappy time as well.

The well hasn't been completely dry. A few days ago, I shared this layout on the Scraptastic Club blog.
Clearly, all of the playful painting that I've been doing as a result of ICAD has impacted my scrappy sensibilities as well.  
After dabbing paint over the left side of the page, I used the leftovers to paint what became the journaling block. 

I'm off to play! 

Friday, July 1, 2016

ICAD 31: One Hundred

The prompt could easily have been called "Waste Not" instead -- I pieced together this garland using a hundred little scraps from my last card.

After one month with the Index-Card-a-Day challenge, I have let go of all nervousness about getting it wrong or messing up or not knowing enough about artistic techniques. Sure, there are show-stopper cards that emerge daily in the feed of the ICAD Facebook group, but I am long past comparisons. I just give these marvels their due by marveling at them, and then I go back to doing my thing, because the point of all this is to just just enjoy doing that...and to just let each blank index card take you where it takes you. 

ICAD 30: Trivial Pursuit

For a moment, I was stumped by this prompt, but then I thought of the pieces in the game and that rush one gets when each token comes together to form a complete "pie." This week's theme is "inspired by bold color," and I am feeling that, for sure.