Thursday, July 18, 2013

Imperfect Photos

Those of us who are scrapbookers are forever in pursuit of the perfect photos for our layouts, whether someone else is behind the camera or we take the pictures ourselves. Unfortunately, life isn't perfect and sometimes neither are our pictures. Think back to the days before digital photography. We could snap rolls and rolls of film, get them developed and every single shot have something wrong with it i.e. bad framing of the shot, poor lighting, a trashcan in the background, red eyes… you name it! And if you’re anything like me, you didn't throw out too many of those prints.

So what do you do when the only pictures you have of a memorable event aren't very good? Well, you use them on your layout of course! Such was the case with the pictures from my 20-year high school reunion. Since that event was almost 16 years ago, I have no idea where the pictures came from and whether they were taken with my camera or someone else’s. All I know is that the pictures were awful; they were dark, a little fuzzy, and I could barely make out the faces. But you know what? Those four pictures were the only ones I had, so after much soul-searching I decided to make a layout using them. I suppose I could have taken them to a photo lab to see if they could improve them, but I just wasn't up for all that. I matted the photos on light paper in an attempt to help improve their visibility a bit but that was really all I could do. And I’m okay with that because I no longer wanted to leave those pictures sitting in a box and needed them to capture a precious memory. So, without further ado, here is my [Week 3 iClassygirl From Desk to Done] layout:

So today's takeaway is simple: if it's the memory you are trying to preserve, you might have to use pictures that are less than perfect, and that's okay.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Make it Fit

Yesterday evening, I participated in Classygirl's Pajama Party on Spreecast. Prior to the party, we were provided with a sketch and a list of what supplies that were needed. You know me, I am all about using sketches! This is the second pajama party I've participated in and I love watching Classygirl as she gives us insight into her thought processes when creating layouts and cards. It's also fun chatting with her and the other participants as we all work simultaneously on our layouts.

I had a lot of difficulty with the broadcast last night, and as a result didn't get to see or hear much of what she did. So I was kind of left to go it alone with the sketch which is okay because a sketch can be followed exactly or it can simply be a starting point.

Anyway... I made my layout and chose some Thickers for my title. In the evenings, the lighting in my craft room is not as bright as I would like it to be AND my eyes are aging quite a bit. So, after I had already adhered the Thickers to my layout, I realized that the blue lettering was not the greatest match. So I darkened them up with a little Bundled Sage Distress Ink. The yellow letters were also a little bright, so I used a little Mustard Seed Distress ink. It didn't quite mute the yellow enough, but it's a little better than it was. After I complete this post, I might try it again with Scattered Straw.

I also pulled out my Cricut to make the basketballs and found some transparencies in my stash. I decided to try the Aleene's Crystal Clear Tacky Spray on the transparency with the arrows and while it did dry clear (as promised), it also left a faint film that kind of muted the colors in the picture. My fault, I should have tested the product first. So here is my completed layout.

So our lesson for today:

  1. Have letters or embellishments that could work for your project if you could just modify them in some way? Try it! Inks, sprays, paints, markers, glitter, whatever...! Make it fit for your project.
  2. When trying a new product, test it first on something similar before using it on your project.
  3. Sketches!
Thanks so much for looking!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Choosing From Your Patterned Paper Menu

Have you ever been to a restaurant where there were 100s of items on the menu? Jerry's Famous Deli in Marina Del Rey comes to mind. They boast of having a menu containing over 600 items! I've been there... once. It took me about 1/2 hour to decide what to order. Sometimes having too many choices can be more debilitating than having just a few.

While putting together page kits for Classygirl's upcoming Summertime and the Scrappin' is Easy workshop on Sunday, I decided to use patterned paper solely from my single sheets (in an effort to use it all up), instead of from stacks such as DCWV. Because my single sheets of paper run the gamut of patterns, colors, textures, etc. and much of it dates back ten years or more, finding two or three sheets of patterned paper that worked well together AND that I liked was tough. Back in the day when I used to buy single sheets of PP (ten of the same sheet!), I just bought what I liked (or what was on clearance) with no idea of how it was going to be used or whether it matched anything else that I was purchasing or had in my growing paper collection. In addition, several years ago I was a CM Consultant and often bought packs of paper just to satisfy my quarterly quota, whether I liked the paper or not. So I had amassed quite a collection of patterned paper. Once I moved to Arizona I began purchasing paper stacks because I realized that for "patterned-paper challenged" people like me, it was so much easier to coordinate papers if they were part of a stack.

In a fit of purging this past spring, I donated the equivalent of two boxes of paper and embellishments at CKC when it was here in April. But yesterday, I decided that I wanted to move my divided Jetmax cubes (which contained albums, unfinished projects, and notebooks etc.)  from the bottom of my configuration to the top, but in order to do that I was going to have to get rid of more paper, or at least find other storage for it, since the paper would fit much tighter in the divided cubes than it did in the open cubes. I really didn't want to have to allocate any more storage space to paper. The open cubes were at the top with my cardstock and patterned paper, but the paper tended to fall over when I pulled a handful out to search for something. So last night I decided to switch them which of course then became a paper-purging event as well.

My patterned paper filled up an entire open cube so I went through all of it, not once, not twice, but three times and this is what I have decided to give away. I was chatting with someone on SOC last night and jokingly told her that I had about 12 inches of paper stacked up already. I was about 8 1/2 inches off, but if you count what I donated in April, it far exceeds 12 inches!

After purging, all of my patterned paper fits in three sections of one cube and I was able to make more room for my cardstock.

I was choosing paper this morning for another one of Classygirl's From Desk to Done layouts, and it was so easy peasy because I didn't have to sift through so much non-coordinating and mostly disliked and outdated patterned paper.

So the take away for today is this:

  • It's much easier to coordinate/match patterned papers if they are part of a collection from the same manufacturer or part of a paper stack.
  • When buying patterned paper, it helps if you already know how you're going to use it.
  • Once your storage space for a particular item is full, it is time to purge. Make your stash fit your storage; not the other way around.

Thanks for checking in today!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mixing Art and Faith

Yesterday I said "the art world is not an exact science like mathematics, yet our faith in the artistic outcome of our projects is often tested and we sometimes get in our own way when it comes to trying to shape that outcome." My faith was tested once again when Classygirl (yes, the very same Classygirl who put me through my paces with From Desk to Done..) hosted Friday Night Challenge over at Scraps of Color.

The first challenge was to create a mixed media layout using textured paper, mists, metal and a stamp. We could use any other items we liked as well. Let me just say that I am so NOT a mixed-media girl. I have always pegged myself as a fairly plain and simple scrapper. Well that was not to be on Friday night. After some initial anxiety i.e. I have to choose pictures! What do I do? How do I make textured paper? Argh! I took a deep breath, stopped to think and remembered that I had put together a second kit for the From Desk to Done challenge earlier that week. Why not pull it out and make it work for this challenge? The only thing I needed to add was the textured paper, metal and stamp. So, I got to work beginning with painting over (and paint wasn't even one of the requirements!) some really ugly flocked pattern paper. It was in my stash and I have NO IDEA why I purchased it other than it was on clearance...duhhhh... I wonder why!? I added the flocked paper and the other requirements using the same layout used for the From Desk to Done challenge. And here is my layout... I don't think it's too bad for my first mixed media layout...

The second challenge was to create a mixed media card using paint, distressed edges, and piece of newspaper/book or magazine. We could include any other items we liked. I just used some of the same paper I used for my layout and came up with this card: 

Having faith has been a prevailing theme in my life a lot lately. Everywhere I go, everything I do, I'm reminded that I must not only HAVE faith but WALK in faith and know that all is going to work out exactly the way it is supposed to, for me....with my job or career, my health, my family, my life, and my art. Does this mean I can just sit back and wait for things to fall into place or just happen? No, because as it says in James 2:17, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." This means that, depending on the situation, some action may be required.

So... when it comes to our art, what does this mean? It means keep your hands moving, even when you are unsure of the outcome. Have faith that what you produce will have beauty and be meaningful.

Have a great week and thanks for visiting with me today.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Trusting the Process

Last week, in an effort to get more scrapbook pages done, I decided to participate in Classygirl's From Desk to Done in Just 5 Minutes challenge. Pretty funny, since I can't do ANYTHING in 5 minutes when it comes to scrapbooking. I admit it, I have commitment issues - everything from deciding on patterned papers, arrangement of said papers and photos, what embellishments to use, should they be 1.5 or 2 inches from the edge - I think you get my point. I refuse to say that I have a Type A personality, but I will admit to being a B or B+.

That said, I really thought that following this was going to be easy. The first day I was to choose two photos that could be cropped to 4 x 5. Easy peasy! My photos are well organized so that took me about 10 minutes. Always being the overachiever I chose two different sets. Day 2: choose two pieces of colored cardstock and three pieces of patterned paper. OK... managed to do that in about 10 minutes. On Day 3 I was supposed to choose embellishments to use on my layout; that's when things started getting shaky. I have commitment issues, remember? AND tons of embellishments! I struggled to find embellishments that matched my theme(s) and not knowing how they were going to be used on the layout made it hard. Choosing embellishments probably took me an hour. On Day 4, we were told how to cut our papers. The analyzer in me wanted to know where they were going on the layout, the orientation, etc. so that I could decide which pattern I wanted to use where. Not having that information gave me a bit of the crazies for a moment. I had to stop, breathe, just go with the process, and trust that it would all come together just fine.

Day 5 was the put it all together day... And this is what I came up with.

Not bad, not bad... I even did a little altering of some of the rosettes with Inka Gold Metallic Rub because I didn't like the words that were on them. *Note to self...Glimmer Mists warp paper! Don't use on layouts anymore! 

I must say that sometimes we teachers are the most difficult students! I was given instructions in little bits and pieces; this made it really hard for me to trust the process since I didn't know where we were headed. Yet, as a middle-school math teacher, I want my students to trust the processes I teach them and have faith that those processes will lead them to the right answer.

The art world is not an exact science like mathematics, yet our faith in the artistic outcome of our projects is often tested and we sometimes get in our own way when it comes to trying to shape that outcome. (More on that in my next post where I'll share the second layout!)

So... having said all of that, let's get to our lesson for today which is simply learn to trust the process. And that lesson applies not only to your crafty projects but to your life as well! 'Nuff said!

Thanks so much for hanging with me today!