Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Create (your internal script)

Ok so I've had a post on the brain for months regarding...
The headline was going to be in bold italics just like that and get all heavy on how human memories are evanescent. I was gonna to use that 5 dollar word and EVERYTHING!
Materials: Scenic Route graph paper (I really wish I had bought 20 of those),  Vellum paper, Tissue paper,  Sunrise Thickers in Natural, Glitz minis in yellow, Studio Calico Mister Huey in Sunshine and bluegrass, Maya Road kraft, Martha Stewart doily punch
I recently listened to an NPR story about how a memory changes each time you recall it. How photographing a moment "for posterity", talking about it with others or even writing it down totally transforms your memory of it. So the act of scrapbooking to preserve a memory is essentially destroying it. This KNOCKED ME OUT MAN! I sat down and went WHOA.

But now I can't remember which NPR show or the exact study so I can offer it up for your consideration. Isn't that ironic?
Why am I babbling on about this?
A bad thing (not that bad- gotta keep things in perspective) ALMOST happened to me tonight so I decided to write it down and screw the memory up forever.

I thought I lost my iTouch! "Uhm ok- Soooo?" you say. The thing is that my ipod might as well be attached to my arm! It's become more important than my actual computer or cell phone. I have photos of Lola in there that I love beyond all reason.
Like this one:
I know it's fuzzy. Her expression makes me smile each time I see it.

And this one:

Eating rocks- yes I know- EVIL MOM!
What would I do if I lost my iTouch??? CRY! Which is exactly what I did. I also went out looking for it at 10pm on the waterfront. It's not as scary as it sounds- everything is now well lit and there are families walking around taking in the cool night air- which reminds me- we need to get out more at night! But I digress.

Here is the WHOLE POINT of this loooong story. I remember using my ipod at home. I remember the new photo of Lola I simply HAD to look at when we got home from the park. I remember sitting on my couch, showing it to Dave and hugging Lola because she's so freaking cute. So why am I running through Brooklyn streets AT NIGHT asking people id they saw a pink ipod touch?

Because I don't trust my memory. I've been teased so many times about my "flakiness" that I've internalized that script! I disregarded the internal picture of me enjoying the ipod AT HOME and immediately became convinced I was an ipod LOOSER. Aah the INHUMANITY!

Don't do this to yourself! Self? Pay attention please! Don't do that again. Don't let other people's ideas of you enter the blood stream- it's harder to resist than anything but TRY. Try to remember me running down the street frantically looking for a pink iTouch which was under my desk the whole time- or try anyway- reading this is creating and destroying memories as your eyes run over each word.... create.... destroy.... Create!    Destroy!!!
CREATE!!!! (your own internal script)
Favorite Lolster shot of the year! Almost lost!

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Inspiration/Innovation: Discovery and Creativity

I cannot BELIEVE it's already June 27th! I spent all winter yearning for summer, now summer is here but I'm not taking full advantage of it. Part of it is the sharp shooting pains in my lower back. I can't really carry Miss Lola's stroller up and down the 4 flights of stairs to my walk up apartment. I really REALLY wish we lived in an elevator building. I say this each and every single time I leave and return "home". I am SO ready for a huge change in lifestyle!
Whatever. Today is Monday and so I am determined to SIEZE the day!
Here is a page promised last week:
Materials: Jillibean Soup Monsters paper, corrugated alphas and scallop frames, Sassafras Lass papers and Entwined Blooms, Maya Road star pins, clouds from American Crafts paper, Bird from Paper Issues Etsy store kit
Over the weekend I saw a FASCINATING documentary on Origami. I've always loved the mathematical and transformational nature of that paper folding art but the practitioners in this documentary take it to a whole new level. what they do is simply AMAZING and their work is not just decorative- it's being studied by NASA for possible use in transportation and fueling projects! I was floored. But it reminded me of the tiny line that exists between artistic creativity/ inspiration and scientific discovery.
Check it out: Between The Folds. We streamed it on Netflix and let me tell you- it was the most though provoking hour I've spent in a long time.

Two artist quotes to ponder:
First- "(Referring to his Origami work) It always feels awkward and like it's not gonna work and then it does".  This dude is saying this while literally twist smashing his 3 hour long project to make it swirl- it was excruciating (fascinating!!!) to watch!

Two- " The process of making is the object. The object (your project) looks good if the process of making it felt good" This guy had a very meaningful quote about how people tend to value paper "eliphants" that look like real "eliphants" and how people get caught up in the literal and ignore abstract art's ability to make you see the world differently but every time he said "eliphants" I busted out laughing.

Yes! It's the journey- the discovery- the working that matters- not the actual final product. This is why I take photos! This is why I make unpretty pages (sometimes)! It's MORE than the final product for me- it's about playing and discovering and communicating.

Is it the same for you? Do you like loosing yourself in the process? Or is the final product what you want? Both are equally valid and good if you ask me.

So there you are- a clue on how to follow your nose into the great dark that is "creativity"- wise words from paper obsessed men.

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My crazy craft desk

Not sure what happened but Lola napped for 3 hours yesterday! After I was done cleaning and cooking I almost got bored!
Thankfully I came to my senses and got to work. (YAY!)
Here are the results:
Imagine part 2
: Jillibean Soup Monsters paper, K and Co Amy Butler  Sola paper,  October afternoon journaling tags,  Sassfras Lass doily sticker, Making Memories Paper Reverie butterflies, Tattered Angels Mist in Patina

I have a second page I will save for later as this post will be more about my lack of scrappy organization. After 2 hours of scrap time my desk looks like this:
I am not ashamed! 
Living in a 400 square foot apartment (Yes, I live my whole life in a walk-in closet's floor space) makes organization a CHALLENGE. I don't have the space for organizer shelves to keep everything in view so when I have a productive day it takes several more days to clean up. The result is I rarely clean the desk. My favorite products are all in pampers boxes under the desk. It's a crazy way to innovate but it will have to do till we Escape from New York.

I do keep my Studio Calico kits together and organize my papers by manufacturer. The countless stamps, alphas and other embellishments are all kept in 12 by 12 boxes on my book shelf. Giving my books away was traumatic.
 I know how it looks. I imagine the shuddering. I have stopped shopping for 2011. It will be hard when Summer CHA products come around. I've already spotted the new Pink Paislee Mistables Collection that will make it into one of my Pampers boxes. I just can't buy the whole collection like before.
Little steps people- little steps.
Look! It's Sassafras Lass' Sunshine Broadcast!
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the concept Beauty

Conversation and Reaction
Materials: Pink Paislee Hometown Summer borders,  Studio Calico Design/Create stamps, Maya Road Lightbulb stamps, American Crafts Zing in black, Prima chicken wire background stamp, Bazzill paper- white. Studio Calico crickets card that came in the kit (LOVE that print!)

Last night I had a great conversation with my Aunt Cuca. She's recently discovered scrapbooking. (YAY! New partner in crime!)  To encourage a raging habit I sent her a box of "things I love but will not use"- i.e- pretty paper. She was so happy! One thing I did not send was most of my flower and butterfly stash. I'm hoarding those even though I’ve changed my style.

I've actually started scrapping differently to use them up. Here's a sneaky sneak of a page I made for ARTastic Challenges. I was honored to be their July 2011 guest designer and let me tell you I agonized over this page:

ARTastic Challenge Blog July Guest Designer sneak.
ARTastic uses paintings as inspiration for scrapbook pages- you can be literal and lift the whole design or concentrate on specific elements such as the color palette. There are lots of RAK opportunities- swing by and check them out.
My Aunt went bananas over the flowers and ribbon I sent. We got into a convo about what we like and I swear I felt like I was talking another language. I told her I like grids and fonts and woodgrain- she was like- well everyone's light shines different. Amen to THAT sister!

But WHY give away my flower stash? Am I CRAZY??? I don't use the large 3D flowers anymore because they are too precious, too widely used, too... MUCH! (And on a practical note, 3D pages take up crazy amounts of storage space.) My idea of "beauty" has shifted. 
The Child's Bath (The Bath) by Mary Cassatt, 1893, oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago 
It's like this painting. Beautiful and something I would have aspired to a year ago. Lately I have tended to admire work that makes me think and see the world differently.  Cassatt was a ground breaker. She made the personal public by focusing on intimate family moments before it was considered ok for women to do that. She was a female painter in an era where only men were considered artists- women were mere hobbyists. Hmm... that's still the case! The  “high art” versus “hobby/craft” value system is especially apparent in the scrapbooking community. Say “I am a Scrapbooker” here in Brooklyn (ironic Hipster central) and watch the smirks. “Oh NO girl! You sit for hours playing with PAPER?  For fun? There are babies in your "art"????”

And so begins the struggle for someone like me. I love complicated, brainy or modern art. But I also love beauty for beauty's sake and traditional ideas of representation. So how do I be "me" in a field where traditional is the ideal? Where, if it isn't a baby or a cute pet or a positive feeling, it's a hard to grab attention? 
Well get ready for the uphill battle. 
Hey- I'm loosing you- here's a CUTE DOG to get you to read some more :)
 The scrapbook community is one that values the positive because the focus is on preserving memories- who wants to preserve the memory of their commuting to work frustrations? Who wants to spend hours trying to figure out what a page “means”?

The balance needs to be struck between the beautiful and the real.  Between the traditional and the cutting edge. After all- adding a bunch of beautiful Prima flowers to a page will not make an unfocused design suddenly come to life.  The opposite is also true- if the subject matter is not cute or beautiful then you have to spruce up those design skills because the work will depend on the eye loving what the heart rejects.   

One of my all time favorite shots of Miss Thang.
You can't see her face and  she's slightly off center-
a photo who's meaning can change according to mood.

I had an experience recently where someone lifted one of my Xoxo Girl designs and posted on their blog that my page "was not her style- let's leave it at that". I was so conflicted! I was flattered because the effort showed that there was something worth exploring in my page but what did "let's leave it at that" mean? I'd like to know!  
True Xoxo Girls April Challenge page
One of the biggest blocks I'm facing right now is lack of critical feedback. I know most of it is the "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all" ethic. Plus everyone is updating their blogs or their galleries and making and photographing their work- these are BUSY people! So the page needs to speak and speak LOUDLY in seconds. But without going to art school or having graphic designer friends it's very hard to learn about design. Everyone can teach you a new technique but that DOESN'T mean it will be used effectively.
I see some major improvements. Her design has focal points and symmetry- the color palette is more cohesive. I have photos on my page but they are tiny and get lost in the over all mess- hers are easier to see. Considering this is a scrapbook project- her page did it’s job- mine was an experiment. So my "take away" (that's corporate lingo for what I learned) is this: Keep looking. Take notes. Notice- what do those pages or projects or paintings have in common that you like? And most of all- DO NOT look for outside approval. Happiness needs to come from within and if it's flowers and butterflies or graffiti and grid lines that does it for you- it's up to YOU to develop your eye and your artistic voice.
Love this photo too.  It's in a page for my July True Xoxo Girls challenge page.
Have you uploaded your scraplifted creation yet? You have plenty of time so swing on by!

MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Punky Scraps Challenge 1,2,3,4,5

Eeeeeyy- How you doin'?
For this Punky Challenge I knew I wanted to do 3 things:
1, Use my Studio Calico filmstrip stamp- LOVES it!
2. Feature my Brooklyn bridges pix (There's 4 featured here, some are detail shots)
3. Start early (Failed)
Materials: Bazill cardstock, Making Memories metal rim heart, Tiny attacher, Top Boss Watermark ink pad,
Blue Jeans Zing embossing Powder, K and Co Smash tape and sticky note
The challenge for this week is to use
5 photos
4 alphas (All Sassafras sticks)
3 print papers (Ripped page from the black Smash book and a couple of Studio Calico prints)
2 colors of mist (Tattered Angels Patina and Emerald)
1 stamp- SC filmstrip FAVE STAMP EVER!
You also have to incorporate blue into the layout.

So this was a fast page but took all week for me to figure out how I wanted it laid out. I think the design could be more cohesive. Perhaps the film strip needed to be on the other side with the words running down the side.  I'll probably redo this page. I'm still trying to get a handle on misting and dripping- here I did those first and they dictated where all the other elements would go.

Ok so hop on over to Punky Scraps and give the challenge a try. The pages by my fellow teamies are AMAZING and put this little number to shame but there's always next week.
Chinese Scholars Garden- Staten Island
MuChOS SmOoChEs!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scraplifting with us at XOXO

WHAT? It's June 16th!!!! Is it me or is time speeding up?
And you- dear reader- have you checked out True Xoxo and tried to lift one of the pages there? There's a fantastic prize just WAITING to be snatched up!

This page was intended for May but has been moved up to June. Perhaps it inspires you to make one of your own?

Xoxo went through a transition but now we are back. A team of wonderfully diverse pages awaits the adventurous scrapper.

I know my page could use some improvements- like a plain colored background on those photos which currently get lost in the Crate paper stripes.
But I digress!!
Check out the other challenge page s here: Xoxo Design Challenge 19

Someone PLEASE explain how plain water in the bottle is YUCK
but plain water in the bottle cap is ok. As long as she's drinking....
MuChoS SmOoChes!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weddings on the BRAIN!

Ahh June! The scent of flowers in the air and the need to shop for just 1 more pair of shoes- you have a great excuse! You have a wedding to attend! YAY! The media is trying to convince us that the average American thinks marriage is passe. Do NOT fall for it! Marriage for ALL I say!  Where else will you get to dance the Electric Slide with your 90 year old Great Aunt AND your 5 year old nephew????
Dave and I celebrate 3 years this July!
MATERIALS: Echo Park For The Record paper, Scrap FX scrolls, Paper camellias from my wedding stash- bought 300 of those babies and still have a few, K & Co flower and leaf die cuts, Pink Paislee Daily Junque number tag, Prima Hydrangea petals,  EK Success daisy edge punch
I LOVE me a wedding! And so does Paper Issues! For the next couple of weeks you can upload all you wedding projects- go go GO! And don't forget to stop by the Paper Issues shop to pick up some verily well priced bits for the mini books you'll invariably make (or MEAN to make- ya'll know how it is).
Here is a quick detail shot:

This is last year's page- one of my favorite pages ever.
2nd Year anniversary. Our wedding colors- green and white
Materials: Basic Grey basic paper, Prima flowers Ek Success and Fiskars punches
Did you notice Lil' Lola on the edge there? Too cute!
Go on to Paper Issues- you have lots to share I'm sure!!! Who doesn't love a June (or July) wedding???? Congrats To CHERYL and to Leticia (my sister)! Wish I could throw down for mine again- there is nothing more awesome than donning a huge white dress and declaring your love in front of all your friendz and famz! (And then dancing for 5 hours straight)
Letty's dress unveiled!
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Social Network overload!

I'm expanding my "social networks" to see if I can find a new job- it's amazing how many leads now come from social networking websites. I'm totally overwhelmed- if ya'll have any tips on how to deal with digi info overload please leave a comment- I'm just trying to keep up.
Here's my latest page:

Central Park Zoo
Materials: Martha Stewart polka dot paper, Bazzill cardstock, Studio Calico mists in Sunshine, lemon and Schoolhouse, Making Memories polka puffy alphas, Glitz Design woodgrain alphas, Crate Paper buttons, My Mind's Eye woodgrain paper, K and Co handmade line flower pin, Elle's Studio Love This Moment tag (made into flag), Hearts chipboard used as a mask- thanks Queen Kat!
This was a rare moment of fun with chipboard and spray mists this week. The old mojo is out on vacation big time. I have a few assignments due so I will force them. Usually it helps to work on deadline but right now it just causes me to wig out and give up. I'm feeling lots of pressure from the job search and everything else that's going awry right now- the scrap should be a distraction from all that (but true to form I just make it into another freak out moment). But please PLEASE let me NOT complain! There is always a solution- always personal evolution!

It's sunday! Go forth and picture take!!!
 It's Puerto Rican Day Parade time in NYC! WUEPA!
 Boriqua PRIDE! Hola mi gente!
Yellow Balloon, Empire State
MuChOs SmOoChEs!!!