Thursday, March 21, 2013

Taking back my life

Hey friends!

I posted awhile back about my battle to get off of some medication that was making me very sick.  I am still battling.  Depression is a real bitch.  A spiral really.  It's hard to make myself do anything, including things that I know will help me feel good and then because I don't do them I feel worse.  UGH.  Lately it has been particularly difficult and I have rarely even gone in my studio - which all of you know is CRAZY.  Not only that but I don't even wake up early enough to get in there anymore.  Is anyone here who remembers the days when I got up at 3:30am every single day???  Depression doesn't make sense either.  I have a great life, a sweet daughter, an awesome hubby - the first time EVER that I have had security and stability.  But it doesn't matter because depression isn't about feeling bad about something bad that's happening :P BUT I have GOT to shake this.  I have GOT to pull myself together.  I WILL beat this just like I did before.  I have never been one to lay down and give up.  I have had a rough life and overcome some pretty tremendous odds on a number of occasions - I can't get lazy about things now!  Hell I may even start another blog about it - not about depression cuz that would be...well, depressing!  hahahh!  But maybe one about all of the positive things I can do to pick myself up and take back my life.  I think I got lazy and it ends here!  So look for that to begin soon - I will let y'all know here in case any of you want to hop on over.  (Does anyone even read this blog anymore???)

Before I move on I also want to say my hubby is a SAINT for sticking with me through this.  I know I am no picnic right now!  Lord he puts up with alot!

I have been feeling stuck, unmotivated and un-artistic lately.  I decided that needed to stop and despite not having the money for it really I took the plunge and signed up for one of the online art classes that has been on my list for awhile (and boy is it a long list!)  I adore the whimsical fun look of artwork by Juliette Crane and began her Backgrounds and Layers workshop.  It was a bit outside of my comfort zone but I dove in anyway and it got me using a few things I don't use enough AND doing some drawing which I also struggle with!

Of course - being in my current state I hated both of my first pieces.  But I showed them to my buddy Suzanne and then posted them in the workshop group and gt a little encouragement so I am sharing them here after all and chalking it up to my questionable mental state!  tee hee!

 OF COURSE there's a cat!  I love the free, whimsical style of this drawing though contrary to what it sounds like free and whimsical can be a bit of struggle.  Pezza however, sat down and drew the MOST adorable whimsical owl when I was drawing - I was quite impressed.  I said How do you know how to do that so well?  she says You taught me.  Hmmmmmm....then why can't I do it as well?  Probably because I am not 6 anymore!  We'll have to take a look at her owl in another post.

And then because I am jonesing for Spring and it was part of the lesson - a happy little flower.

The backgrounds are a mess of acrylic paints, water soluble oil pastels, stencils, sprays, tissue paper, book pages, inktense pencils and even some chunky Art Institute Glitter!  That's ALOT of layers of ALOT of stuff and, as usual, my fabulous Stillman & Birn Beta series art journal held up under pressure!  I think perhaps I shall do more...though I may need a larger size paper to work on!  The new Stillman & Birn Zeta series is available now...waiting for it to show up at Dick Blick!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Layouts - done!


I have been thoroughly enjoying the little glimpses of spring we have had lately along with the extra daylight at the end of the day!  The temp was up in the 60s this past weekend and I was SO ready to be OUT of the house I got nearly ALL of my gardens cleared of the dried dead foliage I leave for some winter interest. We also go the family room re-painted - my adorable little artist managed to color the walls in every room on all three floors when she was little so we are slowly recovering now that she is older and {slightly} more sane.  I had the WORST time picking a color!  When we built the house 8 1/2 years ago I was very into dark colors and high drama.  I have since gotten over myself and am more in the mood for lighter, brighter, funner but I was worried I went to far with the green I chose.  It was a bit...minty.  Think My Little Pony Mint Green.  NOT what I am after.  But once we got the whole room done it is fine - the previous pinkish-taupe was reflecting and doing weird things to it I think!  We had to go back to Home Depot for a second gallon of paint and 3 pansies Monday and Pezza and I ended up leaving with 37 packs of seeds and a seed starting kit EGADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We'll see how that little adventure goes...

All of these shenanigans have left little time for me to be in the studio BOO!  That makes me cranky and I am having a tough time finding my mojo.  But when last I typed I told you of my plan for my scrapping and I wanted to share a couple of the finished layouts.

So I am still totally old-school with my scrapping - I know many mixed media artists whose layouts are full of mixed media goodness too but I am just not there I guess....

I dug out this crocheted snowflake I made awhile back and put in on a felt circle.

I also pulled out this great chipboard swirls and covered them with a fave of mine - Frantage embossing enamel in shabby blue.

It was difficult to take good pictures in the Aquarium because of the lighting but several of them turned out really cool!

For this layout I pulled out my Cricut Cartridges and some Stickles!

Aren't they cute!

And here are a couple for the next round I took the other day - she was QUITE proud...
Nothing quite like FINALLY perfecting blowing a bubble!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Scrapbooking - how I got organized to catch up

Hey everyone!

Ahhhhh monday.  I kinda like Mondays in a way.  New week, fresh start.  I think of all the things I am going to do better for the week.  Usually by Thursday or Friday I am thinking oh eff it I give up!  Maybe next week I can do it!  Hahahhahah!  It's like the New Year's resolution scenario but in a smaller scale.  I am very much a routine oriented type but having a small child with you all day can really make it tough to be that way.  So can Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Message Boards :P  It's like entering a time warp!

So speaking of New Year's resolutions...who is behind on their scrapbooking???  *hand waves wildly in the air*  When we hit 2013 I realized I was now 3 years behind and I do not like that.  I got into the card making and coping coloring and the scrapbooking went by the wayside.  Making cards is so much quicker and easier, little planning and instant gratification.  However I could now brighten someone's day every day until I am 200 years old with the mountain of cards I have made.  And it makes me feel guilty.  Waste of time, waste of supplies.  But scrapbooking has a useful purpose so I wanted to get back to it.  But how to catch up?  Now I know all about Project Life and checked it out when I was hanging out at my buddy Suzanne's (ScrapBitz).  I totally see the appeal but it is not for me.  Since I am no longer making cards I want the creative outlet of designing my pages and really "working" on them as a creative process.  Ok so how do I get caught up?  And how do I keep myself going?  I did not have such a hard time when I first began my scrapbooking journey.  I think when you get behind the task appears insurmountable!

Now one thing I do is print my own pictures.  I like to edit them myself and I like to size them anyway I want.  I use sketches RELIGIOUSLY, especially Page Maps sketches and those have pics of all shapes and sizes.  However this means there is alot of "prep" time involved when I scrapbook and I think that is the part that I get stuck on.  Or worse, I plan it out, find a sketch, choose and size my pictures and then forget so I have to start over.  Around the New Year y'all may recall I managed to get all of my 2010 pics scrapped.  I sat down and did it all at once!  And while it worked and I did it I wanted to make it a little less of a HUGE undertaking.  It is also difficult to scrap a large time period in a short time - I was wrangling with ALL holidays and ALL seasons at once.  I felt like I would never catch up with myself because I couldn't make time stop while I worked on everything I was behind on!  But I have come up with a new approach AND a way to organize that makes it doable so I thought I would share it with y'all.

First of all I decided to take it one month at a time BUT one month from all three years.  Or two.  So right now (for the crop I went to Saturday - good motivator - I am working on ONLY pics from January and February but from all three years - 2011, 2012 and 2013.  This makes for a much more manageable and attainable goal and it also helps because the themes of the pics and time of year is the same so I am only grappling with a few paper types and embellishments and such - winter, birthday, and a few other misc things - this time cake baking and a few cat pages.  Plus I am doing current pictures too, which I like because those are fresh in my mind.  I believe I came up with a total of 8 spreads - some 2 page and some 1 page.

Now as I mentioned, a huge part of this is the planning and there is nothing like forgetting what I planned to make me throw up my hands and quit because I don't want to re-do it!  So I came up with a method that I think is going to work really well.

  1. Pick out your pictures.  In this day and age of digital pictures we take zillions of pictures.  Now there is no way you can scrap that nor would anyone ever want to look through them all.  When I download pics to my computer I have it set up to group them by date.  This way it's easy to just go in and look at all the pics from January of each year.  Within that folder I make a new folder titled pics to scrap.  I pick out all of my pics I really like and want to scrap and group them by layout.  Then I look at them to get an idea of how many there are, the orientation and think about what size I want them.  Are they all the same?  Is there one I want to focus on and others that are just support pics and can be small?  Put them all in their own folder within your "Pics to scrap" folder and title it what you want to call that layout.
  2. Pick your sketch.  Then with that in mind I go out and find a sketch I like on the internet to fit them.  You can go to the Page Maps site, CK magazine, Pile It On challenge lists, Pinterst boards or just google scrapbook sketches in google images.  When you find the sketch you like save it to the same folder you put your pictures in.  Be sure to label it where you got it so you can give credit later.
  3. Edit and re-size your pictures.  Now you have an idea of what size your pics need to be for your sketch so open them up and edit and re-size them.  There are alot of programs out there to do this so I won't go into that unless someone asks me to.  Re-save them back in that same folder so your layout stuff stays grouped together.  This is an important point for me because I am interrupted CONSTANTLY and that is why I am always forgetting what I am doing.  This way my stuff stays grouped and I can go back to it later.  If you have a lot of pictures in one folder and more than one sketch for them then group them together by the way you name them.  For example I had a bunch of kitty pics this time around.  So when I saved the sketch I named it "bubba sketch"  then the first picture was "bubba 1" etc.  Then for the next set of kitty pics it was "Bubba Pez sketch"  then "Bubba Pez 1" - this way the sketch and the related pictures stayed together in the file and I will explain why that is important in a minute.
  4. Print your pictures.  Print out all of your pictures.  Again there are a number of ways to do this but since I like to make mine all sorts of weird sizes I find the best way for me is to print them myself.  I simply open a Word document, insert my pictures and print them off.  I have never researched it or anything but I feel quite sure this is not the cheapest way to do it but it is the way I do it because like I said - I want the size variety, I want instant gratification and if one does not end up looking quite right or needs any sort of adjustment I can fix it and print it off again.
  5. Print your sketches.  This is optional.  I don't tend to bring my computer into my studio with me or if I do it is too watch TV on it.  But especially since I was going to this crop I needed to print my sketches.  I also know that one of my BIGGEST sticking points is I print my pics, print my sketches and then forget which sketch I wanted to use with which pics.  UGH!  Then a light bulb went on.  Remember how neatly we organized our files - the sketches and pics are grouped together because of how we named them?  Screen shots!  So I open up a second Word doc and then I take a screen shot of my file with my sketch and then corresponding pics right after it and save that in the same file.  Next I insert the screen shot and then I insert each of the corresponding sketches.  Ta da!  Handy reference sheet!  Print that out too.
  6. Journaling.  At this stage you can even do your journaling.  Because you are working with a sketch you can usually get an idea of the size and space you have for your journaling and can type it up too if you are one who types it like I am.  However I found that alot of the sketches don't have measurements on them so it got harder to guess the journaling too.  I decided to leave this part until last.  Or it could be that this is my least fave part and I am just procrastinating....
Here is what one of my files looks like - the screenshot:
 By using the screenshot I can come back at any time and know what my plan was so I don't have to start over!  Now I just got to get in there and SCRAP!  I did far more talking than I did scrapping at the crop but I did get the basics of four layouts onto the page.  Now I just need to do finishing touches/embellishments and the journaling.  The other hurdle I am battling is that I can never seem to settle on papers.  And when I finally do settle on the patterned paper - I have no matching solid cardstock.  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?????  I have 37 different shades of blue but none that match my new Bo Bunny Winter Wishes paper?  Really???!!!  hahahha!

Do YOU have any good tips for me on getting organized and catching up????  I would love to hear them!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Starting a new adventure....

Happy Sunday!

Is everyone having a good weekend???  I am exhausted BUT it's because I have been having some fun so that's a pretty good deal right???  If any of you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know I am NOT a nightowl.  Nope.  Not even a little.  I am a morning person.  Morning is my sharpest, most productive time and I am mostly useless after 6pm.  But my good friend and neighbor, Heather, was having a 31 Bags party Thursday evening so I headed out for some girl time and socializing.  I did not get home until after 11!!!!  And of course Bubba, my kitty, was right there to wake me up at 4:45 on the dot like every morning EEK!  But so worth it.  And then yesterday I went to an all day crop to benefit the PTO at Pezza's school and got to sit with my sweet sweet friend Amy Sheffer (Pickled Paper) - I just adore her!  I am going to share more about my plan to catch up with my scrapbooking this week in case some of you might find it helpful!

I HAVE been spending a bit of time in my studio too but I wanted to take a minute today and let y'all know about a new adventure I am starting.  Because as you all know I have SO much free time... :P  I have NEVER done any sort of home party/direct marketing type thing in my life and have maybe gone to 3 parties of that sort in my lifetime other than stamp club for Stampin' Up.  BUT I came across something several months ago that I really love and after much thought and debate I signed up and I can't wait to share it!  Have you heard of Origami Owl Living Lockets?  Here is the one I wore for my crop yesterday:

So how do they work?  The locket opens up like any locket and the little word plates and charms inside are interchangeable as well as the dangling items above the locket.  You can use the locket and charms to tell your story - everyone has a story to tell!

I just adore the concept and I think the products are fabulous.  Great quality and reasonable price.  If you want to see more and are curious about the products you can visit my Origami Owl website and take a look.  The company is fairly new and was started by a 14 year old girl named Bella who wanted to save money for a car.  It grew into something much bigger than she had ever imagined!  Want to earn some freebies to build your locket and tell your story with?  I am booking parties both in person and online so let me know if you would like to schedule one!