Sunday, January 31, 2016

Layout Share 1.0

Part of my goals for 2016 included starting to share my work and hoping to inspire others. I have posted a few layout sneaks on Instagram but haven't found the time for a layout share. So today is the steps, right? 

My family loves adventure! We have been blessed (or cursed) with the travel bug that is for sure. However, we have three kids schedules, work schedules, and a million other obligations just like most other families. It isn't always realistic to travel to foreign lands or hop on an airline so we try very hard to create new adventures in our own backyard. This layout was inspired by one of those adventures where we went to a new restaurant called the "Sasquatch Kitchen." Now, my kiddos and husband are all super into the bigfoot mystery so we knew we had to go. This layout is about their massive Jenga competition and coordinates with another 12x12 layout that I created about the decor at the restaurant (tons of bigfoot carvings) and the crazy oversized menu choices. 

Here is the layout in its full 12x12 version. 

I started with a plain white background and knew that I wanted to create several layers of patterned paper to mimic the different colors and textures in the wooden Jenga blocks. There was a pop of orange in the background of the photos so I want to incorporate some orange accents into the embellishment clusters to help draw the viewer's eye back to the photos. Arranging those in a visual triangle allowed the eye to stop and see my adorable kiddos in the pictures as the center of focus. Around the paper edges, I added some Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Distress Ink in order to emphasis the woodgrain of the blocks. 

The layers I chose were using primarily the Crate Paper Boys Rule 6x6 paper pad and I just arranged them at different angles to add visual appeal. Then, I created a few embellishment clusters using a variety of little bits and pieces that I had in my stash. I even punched those little hearts from woodgrain paper and tucked them in. The "Memories" tab is actually a repurposed project life card from the Boys Rule Value Kit! 

I hope you enjoyed my first layout share! If you have any questions about products or want to leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Scotch Tape and a Simple To Do List

   When I was young, I collected little pieces of daily life in a scrapbook of sorts. I had one of those old bound books with the blank pages and a trusty roll of scotch tape and in went everything from badges to receipts to postcards or bracelets we had made. Two pieces of tape a little handwritten note later and I was thrilled to have my own version of memory-keeping and saving the important stuff.
   When I started scrapbooking again in college, it was because it was fun. I was pre-med in college and needed a creative outlet that would let my brain's right side get in on the action a little bit. I even managed to get a part-time job in a little local scrapbook store to pay for gas and college textbooks. I started teaching classes there and even managed to get published in scrapbook magazines a time or two. It was fun and the scrapping industry was booming!
   Fast forward to now and here I am married raising three children and the opportunities for photos and scrapbooking are more than I can manage most days. Not to mention the products...oh my do we keep up?! New collections, the newest trend, design team this, and YouTube that. Not only do we scrapbook now but we decorate planners and art journals and even our daily to do lists. Where does it end?! Since when does my grocery list require a work of art depicting every item? Why can't my to do list be just that...a to do list and a messy, marked up success story for what I accomplished today?
   I think that in this world of too much it is important to remember why we document and why we memory keep. It isn't just to keep up with the latest trend or embellishment. It isn't to learn the packaging technique or have to start watercoloring when we hate messes. We all document for different reasons but the foundation still remains the same as it was when I had my scotch tape as a child. To remember. To preserve. To leave a trail of bits and pieces that shows how our lives develop. So, in the world of You Tube videos and design teams and the never-ending pressure to create magnificent works of art, I challenge you to remember that the most important thing is just to document. No matter your style, no matter your talent level, no matter your life reality. Don't feel intimidated because you don't think your work will be "as good" as someone else. Sometimes inspiring others in the way that I want to means telling people to breathe and remember that if you are documenting that is truly all that matters. Your families, friends, and even future generations will care more about your stories and your trail of memories than the visual triangle, embellishment clusters, or exact shade of enamel dots used. I promise!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Finding the Perfection in Those Imperfect Photos


  One of my main goals over the past year was to try to improve my photography skills. When I really looked the layouts I loved and the instagram inspiration that mimicked the feelings I wanted to create on my pages, it always came down to amazing photography. So, I studied composition, learned a few new tricks, and surprised myself a little along the way.

My First Lesson: Shoot More and Pay Attention to the Details: What I learned was that I could get better at photography if I paid more attention to the small details. For example, my son is eight and plays on a little league baseball team. The customary shots of him in his uniform are of course always going to be there. But then I started to look closer and snapping without a worry as to how many images I could create. I shot photos in larger quantities to find hidden jems. Take a look at how I evolved.

My Second Lesson: Imperfection is OKAY.  Okay, what?!? Here all the things I reflected on edged towards improving my photography skills but yet I learned that imperfection is okay. I want my photographs to speak not just to me and the creative world out there but to my kids and my family as well. One day in California we spent the day playing in the waves at the beach. I was using my first lesson and shooting photos like crazy but just didn't feel I was getting that "perfect shot" that I wanted. The normal beach photos were fine...they documented our great day but the emotional draw was missing. That's when something happened. My 8 year-old son asked to take his own selfie with his brother. He looked at his brother and said "Let's make this epic!" because I never hand over my phone for picture taking. They got the most excited look on their face and started snapping away, making crazy noises and living it up. When I got my phone back, my gem of the day emerged. Taken by my son capturing him and his brother being boys. It is by far their favorite picture of the day. Every time they see it, they tell me how awesome and fun that day by the sea was for them. Just because I didn't take it or it didn't have the perfect composition or artistic feel didn't mean it didn't create the emotional response that I was looking for in my children. So, I learned it was okay to love those imperfect pictures if they spark the memories of your family to remember the true emotions of the day....because isn't that the whole point?

My Third Lesson: Step Back and Try a Different Angle. Okay, last lesson for today. This is an important one. This year, I learned to step back and try new, different angles. I crawled on the floor, I rested my phone on tabletops. I looked up, down, and all around! The perspectives are all so different but all tell a different part of the story or give a different point of view. But each of those things plays into the feel and the depth of the story that I want to tell. Your regular straight-on pictures are great but there is much more to the story to be discovered when you step back and try new angles. Just take a look at my son fishing....

Alright....three big lessons for me and a lot of new perspectives. My photography isn't perfect but I'm getting better which makes my stories more complete. As I step out of my comfort zone and look at new perspectives, I feel like the emotions that I want to portray become easier to show. I want my scrapbooks to be full of meaningful stories and memories that last my children their entire lifetime and so I want to give them the best pieces of these memories that I can.

I hope these tips help you to try something new or even embrace the imperfect!  Please leave a comment with your favorite photo tip or a picture that you are especially proud of yourself for capturing.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Let's Do This!

    A New goals....and a new journey. It seems everyone sits down and pours over lists of things they want to change, experiment with, and grow into over the course of the year.  Even my six-year old decided to set some reading goals for the new year since his older brother was shooting for 100 novels.  Last year, at this same time, here I was trying to think of goals and my own personal journey ahead. Working full-time and raising three kids doesn't leave a lot of room so I have to be very strategic with my time. I love being creative although I often struggle with that little voice in one's head saying that my talent isn't strong enough. I have sat back and watched You Tube videos and blog posts with design team call after call and could never bring myself to take that step to put myself out there. Then, you run into the problem that everyone wants to see your blog or media posts sharing your work. It is a little overwhelming but yet my heart remains consistent in wanting to be a part of that creative world. I vowed to try more techniques in 2015...check. I vowed to work on my photography skills...check (although still not exactly where I want to be).

    So now, here we are reflecting on 2015 and goal setting for 2016. This is my time to take control. To put my work out there and hope against hope that I can inspire someone. That I can join a design team or get involved. I used to teach classes and I miss it terribly. I want to get back to a place where I have something creative that I do for me. To push me to grow. To push me to document. To push me to inspire others. we go!  The recommended blog and social sharing...The necessary steps to try and jump head-on into the creative world beyond my little scrap space!

    Let's make this a place to chat, learn, and grow together. I want to make new friends, grow my techniques, and just relish in the journey of discovering my creative self. Let's go 2016!