Monday, February 23, 2015

Pursuing My Passions - Scrapbooking

WARNING: This is a LONG and PHOTO HEAVY post! :)

This is part three in  a four part blog series about my passions and how I'm pursuing them this year.  I'm doing this as much to get it all organized and straight in my own mind as to share with you what I've been up to lately and why I've been so absent from blogging. So here goes...

One thing leads to another.  But scrapbooking was the genesis of it all.

Don't get me wrong, I was a creative before scrapbooking... crochet, sewing, quilting, embroidery, macrame, etc. ... selling at craft fairs with hand made dolls, teddy bears, and baby quilts ... in fact, I even did "scrapbooking" back in the days when it meant putting pictures on white backgrounds with a single line caption and no embellishments or *GASP* in magnetic albums!

But Scrapbooking is where it all began.  In 1999.  With an album purchased at Disney World and supplies and stickers from Michaels. Because I wanted to capture in full detail our family's first trip to Disney in November 1998.  An album full of photos cut into shapes with fancy edge scissors and covered with sticker sneeze. An album that, while it makes me cringe, still captures the wonder and joy of that first trip to Disney World.
After that album, I learned about Creative Memories and acid free and a whole new world opened up. A wonderous world with endless possibilities and I was hooked.

Now that I was scrapbooking, I wanted more and better photos. Jay was always the family photographer. But 95% of his photos were of just our three daughters, individually, in pairs, as a group. He had a singular focus. I wanted more. So I got into photography.  But my skills at people photos leave a lot to be desired! I gravitated to nature photography and still life.  

2001 began two successive rounds of being an independent consultant for start-up direct sales scrapbooking companies and having my "style" heavily influenced by the product lines presented.

Scrap in a Snap featured bright,  busy patterns printed on glossy cardstock with cartoony embellishments. Which made for fun happy pages.

Top Line Creations had a more natural palette with lots of slightly-off-kilter geometrics. Which made for more subtle and beautiful pages.
In 2006, I was introduced to digital scrapbooking... which led to online education... which led to blogging... which led to more online classes and exposure to more styles and more things to be passionate about... like She Art... like Mixed Media... like Art Journaling (both digital and the messy kind)... and it all started with scrapbooking... but I digress...

So, Cheri, what are you doing this year to pursue your love of scrapbooking?  Why, thanks for asking!

Right now I'm participating in LOAD215.  The next LOAD is scheduled for October and there is a good chance I'll be ready for another round by then. 
 I don't have any "scrapbooking" classes on tap for this year, although I may go back and finish up a class or two from my Big Picture list - we'll see. 

Ha! Just made a liar out of myself. Had this drafted and I hadn't signed up for anything, but I literally JUST used my 11 year anniversary gift card from work to sign up for a six month membership in "Champions" at Scrapaneers.  So I'm hoping to improve my digital scrapping a bit and maybe learn my way around my new PSE13 - so much has changed since PSE10!
I'm taking inventory of all my paper scrapbooking albums/projects - seeing what work needs to be done to finish off a few albums and what needs to be let go. Using the "Start Fresh" planner and then making plans to get those pages done! 

I'm attending a weekend scrapbooking retreat in mid-April. Hopefully another chance to work through a lot of the girls' School of Life albums.  And possibly a day crop at the beginning of May.

I'm slowly reviewing and purging my digital scrap stash. It is so easy to let things build up when they are "hidden" on your computer (although certainly not neatly put away... the files are a disorganized mess!). 

I'm trying to pare down both paper and digital supplies to make the process of scrapbooking simpler and more in line with "my" style... 
and I'm trying to figure out just what my style is... by ruling out what it isn't... what doesn't bring me joy...  

I admire so many styles out there, but I don't aspire to be the next Cathy Zielski or Shimelle Lane or May Flaum or [fill in the blank with your favorite scrapbooking celeb].  I just want to be the best Cheri Andrews. I want my pages to be recognizable as ME, not as a copycat somebody else.
So I think this is a year of paring down, simplifying, finishing up and of discovering just where scrapbooking goes from here in my life.  One thing is for sure... it isn't going away!

What are you doing to pursue your love of scrapbooking?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Scrapbooking Shares

More from LOAD215:

 Actually had to go online and BUY a scrapbook kit (Kickin' & Screamin' by Libby Pritchett at Sweet Shoppe Designs) for this... but it will get a lot more use as I work through the girls albums! Soccer may have been short-lived for Sarah, but it was a big deal for Rachel and Becca.

 Here's one of the BIG advantages of digital.  I created this base two page layout. By swapping out the individual photos (bottom two above, top left below) and changing up the journaling just slightly, I was able to customize a set of pages for each girls' School of Life album.  So from two... I got six pages!

 Just for fun - the kit is "Jack Frost" by Studio Courtney at ScrapbookGraphics

Needs no explanation, but makes me yearn for Summer. I'm ready Rinda!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sian's Valentines Postcard Swap

As soon as Sian posted news of her Valentine's Postcard Swap, I signed up! I love getting happy mail, I love sending it. I had also just been cleaning out some scrapbooking stash and came across this "pile of postcards" from a very old Stacy Julian class. I knew they would be perfect for this swap!

I sent to Katie Brandist, Karen Parkhurst, Lizzy Hill, Liz Lee, Sonja Wright, and Shirley Kaboom - ALL of whom were brand new to me. I have visited all their blogs as well. Those are some talented ladies! I also sent out some extras to established blog friends. Don't worry if you didn't get something this go around - there will be more!

To date I have received from Melissa (top left), Rinda (top right), Barbara (center), Jo (bottom left) and Karen (bottom right).  I don't know if they all had my name from the swap or not (I know that Jo's was!) ... I may still have more happy mail to look forward to!

Aren't these cards just gorgeous!?!

Pursuing My Passions - Photography

This is part two  in a four part blog series about my passions and how I'm pursuing them this year.  I'm doing this as much to get it all organized and straight in my own mind as to share with you what I've been up to lately and why I've been so absent from blogging. So here goes...

It is no secret among my blog friends that I love to dabble in photography. I'm no expert and still struggle with the technical aspects of my camera (aperture, exposure, f-stops, lighting, all befuddle me) but I totally get composition and I love to play with flowers and still life photography.

So, Cheri, what are you doing this year to pursue your love of photography?
I'm taking "Be Still 52" with Kim Klassen. This year-long weekly class is $72.  And each week has a surprising amount of material! In fact, I'm already behind, but determined to keep up with this one.

 photo with basic edits for color, contrast and clarity

 added a Kim Klassen texture... just for fun

 Again, original photo with minor edits (an old Christmas centerpiece that I allowed to dry on the table)

 Filters added to try to recreate Kim's "dreamy" look.  Which do you like better?  Personally, I'm a fan of sharp focus....

 Original photo, straight out of camera. I was playing with lighting from the window, diffused with the paisley drape.

Added filters to increase the light effect and to try again to capture that "dreamy" look.  Did I succeed?

So I'm playing with Be Still and should I find any free time, I have at least a half dozen photography classes that I've signed up for in the past but never finished. Because the technical stuff intimidates me. But maybe this is the year I figure it out. Maybe.

So that's how I'll be pursuing my passion for photography in 2015. How are you working to improve your photography skills?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pursuing My Passions - Art Journaling

This is part one in what will likely be a four(?) part blog series about my passions and how I'm pursuing them this year.  I'm doing this as much to get it all organized and straight in my own mind as to share with you what I've been up to lately and why I've been so absent from blogging. So here goes...

I ADORE Art Journaling and Mixed Media.

In fact, when it comes to tactile arts and getting messy this fills my happy well far more than scrapbooking ever did. It still involves cutting and pasting but it adds painting and collaging and making glorious messes.  Not to worry, scrapbooking is still a huge part of my life, just in a different way.

So, Cheri, what are you doing this year to pursue your Art Journaling? Well, thanks for asking!

I've got two classes on tap this year.

First is the Documented Life Project.  It is a weekly prompt class with limited technique instruction via guest bloggers. It has the advantage of being FREE! Free is a really nice price.

Last year DLP was done in a moleskine weekly planner.  This year they've ditched the planner in favor of the large Dyan Reaveley Creative Journal. The prompts are geared to straight art journaling, not to documenting a week of your life planner style. I have a very small (3.5" x 6") weekly planner that I carry in my purse for keeping track of appointments. I've decided to add some tiny little bits of life (tickets, receipts, stamps, product wrappers, etc.) and maybe some washi tape and doodling to that little book. Just for fun.

The Creative Journal has the advantage of nice thick pages that hold up well to most media. It has the disadvantage of having a LOT of space to fill (a two page spread is roughly 18" wide by 12" high)!  I've been leaving it out on my art table and adding layers every time I have ten or fifteen free minutes.

We are six weeks and six prompts into the DLP year and I've only completed three spreads. Here they are:

Week One - the prompt was "book paper" and the theme was "Be your own goal keeper". Since my goals for the year are so intimately connected to my One Little Word "Thrive" I chose to use that quote for my page.

Week Three prompt "Color Wheel" and the quote provided as the theme. I started with a dark wash of colors (quite by accident because the medium I was using did not do what I thought it would), but then dry whitewashed it all with gesso, very purposefully making sure there were lots of scratchy brush strokes visible. My very loosely interpreted "color wheel" is created with magazine clippings of flowers and color swatches.

Week Two's prompt "Gesso" and theme "Beginning". I started with a coat of gesso, then added Tim Holtz distress stamp pads in a watercolor style blending mode. Spritzes of water create a mottled look. Some stenciling... and then ... I created the roses all around the edges using the bottom of a bunch of celery as a stamp, painted with acrylic paints.

Work got so busy at the end of January, I didn't do the week 4 and 5 prompts. I'm choosing to skip them. I'm working on week 6. While I am striving to keep up with the class, I am not worried about doing a page every single week. If I average 3 spreads a month by the end of the year, I'll be very happy!

My second class is Artfully Inspired Life 2015 with Joanne Sharpe. This class is also set up to create a year long art journal. Lessons are posted once a month to create four weekly pages around a monthly theme. The cost is $59 for the entire year. What is being "taught" is whimsical lettering styles, something I've been wanting to learn.

After viewing the January class material, I chose not to create the actual journal for the class. Joanne has the entire year mapped out with what goes on every page of the journal. Part of January's assignment was to create the table of contents page and number all of the weekly pages. That felt too restrictive for me - I have this terrible habit of wanting to make every project my own! Instead, I'm simply going to incorporate techniques I learn in this class into my DLP journal.  For example, the lettering in the third spread above is my take on the February calligraphy exercise, using calligraphy markers.

So that's how I'll be pursuing my passion for Art Journaling in 2015.  Do you art journal? How do you devote time for it in your busy life?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Scrapbooking Shares

Between LOAD and LIFE, I seriously can't keep up! But here are the latest and greatest of my LOAD pages...

 a fun page about a silly co-worker using Krystal Hartley's collab kit "The Joke's On You". found at Sweet Shoppe Designs.

 An art journal/vision board style layout from scratch using a lot of Pinterest inspiration for my OLW "Thrive"

When things get too crazy, I resort to a simple quick page. All I had to do was drop in and resize the photo and add journaling to the journal card.  This one is "Birthday Bash" by Miki Ferkul - Studio Miki at ScrapbookGraphics.

Another one from scratch with elements from various designers. I can't wait to see how that water splash element coming off the photo and onto the background page prints out... thought up using the element that way all by myself!

Documenting the recent hospital stay.  All of the page elements here and the Journal Template are from Kimeric at the DigiChick.

 Another Quick Page template from Sue Cummings at O'Scraps.  This one is from 2011... I've really been digging through some old stash!

And finally, in a bit of a throw back to another time... Sarah at her high school Senior Prom. Both pages start with Blended Templates from Studio Rosey Posey at ScrapbookGraphics which I then tweak to fit my needs. This one is from Blended Template Bundle 12.

This one is from Blended Template Bundle 15.  I seriously love working with these templates so much, I'm surprised I don't own a lot more of them! Sarah has already graduated college and been in the working world nearly three years now. Much to her chagrin, she doesn't look any older than she did in these photos!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Five Faves

The only photos I took in January were a few for an online class... so no new favorites to share this month. No worries... it is LOAD month, so I'll be doing (and sharing) plenty of scrapbooking!

Here are my layouts from December's Faves:

Created with an old quick page template from Miki Ferkul "Cornucopia" kit

Make with another old QuickPage template - "Summer Fun" by Cilenia Curtis

Made with Krystal Hartley's newest collab kit "B Mine 4Ever".  I think my shadowing is a little off - I'm learning my way around PSE13, having just upgraded from PSE10 and things look very different on my laptop than on my desktop for some reason!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Camping At The Crop

I've written so many blog posts since January 12... in my mind.  I've shared thoughts and ideas and communicated so many times with you all... in my mind.  Somehow, I haven't managed to get it all from my thoughts and into some tangible form that actually communicates with you all.  Has this ever happened to you?

January seriously got away from me.

Big Time.

I mean, where DID the month go???

After my last post on January 12, I had the crop in Lancaster PA with daughter Sarah.  For those of you that follow me on Facebook, you already know that was an experience.  One of the hotel boilers was broken down and waiting for a part for repairs.  The common areas of the hotel were fine.  But the rooms.... half had no heat and were being supplied with space heaters ...

and NONE of the rooms had hot water.  Which made showers, well, chilly to say the least.  At least our room had heat.

But we survivied our camping out at a "resort hotel" experience. I won't bore you with the rest of the inadequacies of the hotel or the complete lack of customer service.

I had the BEST intentions for taking photos while there - of Sarah and I, of my friends and table-mates Rachel and Wendy. I even took my big camera.  It didn't happen.  I didn't take a single photo. Not one. But I did get pages done.

LOTS of pages.

This 8x8 page for Jay's Birthday album.  Using one of the photos from my FIVE FAVES from December.  One down, four to go....

 My annual 2 page 12x12 spread of holiday cards received.  I discovered this year that if it weren't for my blog friends, I would receive very few Christmas cards these days!

 Closer view of the left-hand page

Closer view of the right-hand page.  I couldn't include a piece of every card I received, but some of you should recognize bits of these pages!!!

The rest of the weekend I worked on pages for the girls' School of Life, Volume 2 (7th-12th grades) albums.  The albums are not done yet, but great progress was made with 15 pages in Becca's album, 18 pages in Rachel's album, and 7 pages added to Sarah's album which already had the foundation pages in place.  Not bad for a weekend work - 43 pages in total.  Probably a record for me. And at some point I may even take photos of some of the best to share....