Monday, January 30, 2012

Project Life (or 365) and why it matters

I'm seeing lots of scrappy goodies in all my CHA spying! So far I'm most inspired by what I see from Hambly- I love the bright color, the trendy prints. I'm also super excited by the new Crafter's Workshop stencils and Heidi Swap's Pink Paislee collections. (Office supplies in neon? LOVE!)
Quickie page made with a pad I found in Staples (while shopping for a new computer chair)
75 pages of these awesome mini goal pages- so ready for a mini book!
I wish this notebook was 3 by 5- it's PERFECT for Project Life! Alas it's 5 by 7 so I will be adding these pages to my Project 365 binder sans page protector.
Here are my 2 latest pages for 365.
Week 3- Lola turned to me one night after having spent 3 days indoors due to poor weather and asked- Mom let's go on an adventure. And pointed outside. She's TWO! I blame PBS! So I had a total brain wave- how do I make Lola's idea of an adventure more visual? A wheel of fortune! But mine is made from a View Master reel- (my latest obsession) This also covers visits and phone conversations with Grandma, the birth of a new niece and my visit to the Art Library.
Week 4- This week's highlight was a visit to The Highline Park- a park made on an old elevated train track. (!!) LOVE that place! I feel like I'm in some sophisticated European city without ever leaving the L line!  I also shot Lola eating sushi, journaling about our wonderful (not) trip to the Food Stamp office and the first snow day this season. 
I've been shooting every day and really wish I had pages that allowed for more detail- isn't that funny? I thought I would be hurting for "stories" but to an open mind (rather a blabber mouth) stories are EVERYWHERE. I'm seeing some debates on whether Project Life interests people outside the subject's immediate family.
After all, do you really want to see us brush our teeth?
Here's my theory- my own family doesn't care! Seriously! I couldn't get my Mom or husband to look at my binder come hell (pizza) or high water (beer) so I'm shooting just for me. In fact I think of my binder as my personal diary even if I post it online- here's why:

There are some very real reasons why doing a Project Life or Project 365 type projects is good for you-

1. Commitment and responsibility towards growth in your craft. Yes you can fussy cut, layer and embellish like a mad woman but can you finish an extended project? Why not? Things that make you go: hmmmm. Not a judgy HMMM!!!! Just Hmmm?
Week 1 (redo)- week one always bothered me- the canvas heart I thought was DA BOMB- well- bombed. 
So I took it out and you know what? It's fine! Still can't get photos of this page to focus!
2. Keeps you shooting. Do you think your life is boring? Who's fault is that? Sorry- it's YOURS. Make your life the FUN READ it is! No don't shoot the feet again! Don't shoot that cup of coffee- AGAIN. Find the individuality in your routine! Do you wiggle to top 40 songs while doing the dishes? HELLO? Put that camera on a timer! No kids? I already have one I want to see YOUR kidless life! Lots of kids? I only have one, wanna see how you manage yours! SHOOT YOUR STORY!
Squishy hats- I love 'em! Do you care? Probably not. But that's ok.
3. Gives you "ideas"- I will say it right here right now- your Project Life DOES NOT have to look like everyone else's! Does your LIFE look like fill-in-the-famous-scrapper's name here? NOPE! But does that make it less valuable? NOPE!!! You rock. You are unique and your story IS interesting- use your individual verve and humor. Be frank. Be introspective. I believe your kit can set you free! Just paint outside the lines a bit and you'll see! Uhhhmmm- channeling Dr. Seuss there for a bit.
I got several ideas making my latest page:
This first started as a chart, then turned into a "Ooo let's use that Studio Calico stamp!"
then I thought- here's something I haven't seen yet! I didn't even have to buy anything-
that's a scan from an old View Master reel!  Project Life keeps your creative flow going!
I really wish I had done a Project Life for Lola's first year- it would be SO AWESOME to look back on her first days now with full notes. A kit would have been PERFECT for me then too- I was so confused by all the scrap product choices to be made!
AAA! Look at that perfectly round head!! 2010
Ahh well. That's life.
A long walk- recorded. 
When you're ready. You're ready.

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gauche Alchemy digest- a week of mixed media projects

This will be a quick post to tell you about what I've written up for Gauche Alchemy this week.
 Gauche Alchemy- Stuck?
The first article included a fantastic video by Cheryl on ways to used mixed media items in your regular scrapbook pages- it's a great "process" video that let's you see how Cheryl builds pages layer by layer.  I contributed this page to show off one of the latest kits- the Bare Nekkid Mixed Media kit.
For this page I used the Bare Nekkid kit which has already sold out but the smaller
Nearly Nekkid kit is still available and is just as full of beautiful neutral items.
I also wrote about ways to combat serious creative block. There are many ways to battle flagging mojo but the one I have to keep reminding myself to use is- keep working. Even if the things you make go straight into the garbage. (I throw out my duds quite frequently- it's the one thing I have no misgivings over). Even if you really would just like to sit on the sofa- do not. Get to work.
 Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Here's a GREAT quote from fine artists Chuck Close:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”

Before shot of a scrapbook page I really like but it still looks pretty bare.
I have heard some feedback from friends that it's hard to imagine how to use some of the more eclectic or 3D items in a Gauche Alchemy mixed media kit so a few members of the design team got together and made "before" and "after" projects to show how the mixed media color kits can really jazz up a scrapbook page. Here's the link so you can see the other projects: A very Gauche Before and After.
Items from Scarlet Red Mixed Media kit and some plastic grid material that came with the Black Out Mixed Media kit both of which include things like fabric, wall paper swatches, board game pieces, sequins, and all kinds of tiny objects that can be easily incorporated into any project- even flat scrapbook pages. 
This week Design Team member Maggi wrote up a fantastic post on using old corporate or junk mail magnets to make gorgeous DYI decorations. This will surely inspire you to just have fun with the process of creation:
Using fabric from the newest kit Gauche alchemy kit- Moshi Moshi,  punchinella and
items from various color kits, Maggi made the cutest DYI fridge magnet.
The hardest decision about her process? KEEP IT? Or gift it to a bestie?
So now that you are heading off into the weekend take a few minutes to consider how you can feed your creative soul. I am working on my Project 365 and making a few cards for Valentine's Day. What are you working on?
Which camera is the best? The one you have on hand.
This was taken with my lowly iTouch.
MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ormolu feature today!!!

I have a page featured over at Ormolu's blog today!!!
It's a great time for happy email as our little family is struggling with the January cabin fever doldrums. It's too cold to go outside and we made a promise to avoid all shops other than the supermarket. We're spending a lot of time at Trader Joe's...
I can't even scrap because Lola is so crazed with unspent energy she insists on climbing everything. Anything too small to climb becomes a trampoline. It's a dangerous time of year.
But I digress.
Here is the page:
This is one of my favorite projects! It was made for the True Xoxo Girls challenge blog. The border on the MMBI paper is so great! And HOW can you go wrong with those Ormolu kraft "Go Negative" die-cut tags? Throw in some vintage Sassy bits and you are good to go! I laugh when I see my bushy eyebrows in the BADLY PRINTED photo- perhaps it's time to get them waxed?

Please swing by the Ormolu blog and leave some love?
I was so CHEESED when I got the email! I love this brand! Swing by their shop and check it out.

We had our first snow last Saturday- it was perfect!
Just enough to stick on saturday and melt away completely on Monday- gotta LOVE that! 
MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Project Life- All Caught Up

Project Life- a huge undertaking that can make or break a fastidious scrapper. Thankfully I'm the messy, I don't give a crap kind. In fact, I haven't even been keeping track of which photos I took when.
Big oops!
Title page:
Project Life Title Page: fairly easy- just needed a family portrait- no problem- Photobooth app to the rescue.  Shooting the items through the plastic cover is going to be a very big challenge for me in my no direct light apartment so from now on I'll be taking the items out of their sleeves.
Well I regret that now because unlike my Deceber Daily where I cheated left and right with dates and even used photos from the same day on different days (HORRORS!), I actually have some great memories from the last 3 weeks I want to try to record in sequence.
Alas they are lost in the shuffle- I have photos- I don't have dates.
Like any good business- a family should have a mission statement to focus on what's most important. Please disregard the spelling errors (as per the last line item). I just COULDN'T force myself to retype the whole thing! LOVE the rusty house from Red Led Paperworks!
I actually wasted a week trying to figure out how to get a photo of us all without having to pay a pro to shoot it or ask a family member to hold the camera as I invariably hate the result (mostly because my loved ones couldn't give a crap about proper framing). iPod to the rescue! The Photobooth app works even in really low light.
Art goals sheet. I have a LOT of goals this year- probably too many.  I just jotted down whatever first came to mind but get published is number 1. I love the tags and journaling cards from Ormolu- the arrow die cut tag is a fave.
Oh wait- I forgot the cover!
That photo was taken in NEBRASKA during our trip to Salt Lake City last summer. The road sign points towards Brooklyn (NE). I really wish I had a more frontal shot but we sped past and our ride (YEAH YOU SANDY!!) did NOT want to stop so I could take a billion more.

I got the free My365 app so I could place my fave photo for the day in a calendar on my ipod. I thought about getting a memo/diary app as well but I HATE using the keyboard on my ipod so I will just keep track by writing things down in a small calendar I bought at Staples- I have a feeling those calendar pages will be making their way into the album because I like the ripped edge grid look.
Week One- shot with indoor light- even with the items out of their sleeves we get hot spots on items with shiny surfaces and you also can't read anything due to camera shake.  I really thought I was onto something with that stapled "Love" in the top pocket- it needs some refining or as I like to call it- girlifying. Wish I had more AAARGH! band aids- that was a gift from scrappy friend Dawn- thanks Dawny!
Week Two. Because I won' t be springing for an actual Project Life kit (mostly for financial reasons but I also don't want my stuff looking like everyone else's) I don't have a lot of space for journaling and day to day details. The top pocket will be the "highlight of the week" and the 3 pockets below will have the best photos- that's it.  I'm not a memory keeper- I do this purely for the fun of it and to keep me shooting pix.
Week Three now in production. I will be using a scan of a vintage View Master Reel as a interactive element on my page. Sorry for the crappy photo- again- it's an old iTouch. You know what's good about posting this? I see some of the layout mistakes I made and since nothing is glued down yet I'm gonna be doing some shifting around.
Welcoming Baby Natty Nat (not her real name-lol) into the world.
Oh my goodness! SHE'S SOOOO PRECIOUS!!!
MuChOS SmOoChEs!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Get Picky with Punky Scraps! (and a mini tutorial)

After weeks of wallowing in a no mojo funk I'm glad to say the dry spell is over. Yay!
The key was to get out and go see some actual art in-situ.
How does the light fall on the actual object? How to shoot it for maximum impact?
I needed to move around in space- not just see it online.

The Get Picky items this month are:  (Use at least 3.)  (I used all 8)
*Kerry: Something shiny
*Cheryl: Something to do with books (turning over a new leaf)
*Misty: stenciling or masking
*Jolanda: Use some charms
*Ashley: have some negative space
*Celina: Use silver or gold
*Marie: Use Stickles
*Kat: bubble wrap

May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way
Materials: Studio Calico Scarf paper, Fiskars Large star punch, Recollections small star punch, Delta Creative Happy Alphabet stencil, Stickles in Diamond, Studio Calico Mister Huey in sunshine, Calico Cream and Lemonade, Pearl beads from Art-C, Heart Milagros from El Sol Studios on Etsy and Plaid stencil making material to make a sunburst stencil you barly see here- I covered most of it up- photos below
How much do I love that quote? It's so uncompromising! Yet I sense a note of upbeat uptimism in there as well. It tells me- don't worry about the major ef ups- there's always ALWAYS redemption. Mistakes, no matter how low they bring you and how awful you feel for making them, always teach you lessons.
That's what a girl has to say to herself when she flubs it as often as I do.
Case in point:
Project Life Title page- low rez ipod photo
I worked on this for quite a while. I redid the page many times- never did it occur to me to look at the actual word THRIVE because it's the TITLE right? 
And I had to pick out the stickers right? How could I get that wrong???
I only noticed after I posted this on Facebook, Twitter and
To make matters worst... first photo goes live.....
Story of my life.
I will not be buying ANYTHING for my P365. I will strictly use stash. 
I bought this 12 by 12 binder waaay back in 2010 to house my stamp collection. I even bought some nifty 6x12 / 4x6 page protectors to store them in. 
Then I actually slid one of the stamp packets into the thing. It slid right back out. It slid out for weeks.
There went that idea.  
Now these 20 pages will get actual use. There used to be 30 but I threw a pack out in outrage when I found I couldn't use it as "intended". Another mistake. 

This is an honest admission right from the start that:
A. I won't be shooting every day as I only have 20 pages to fill. Ok I MAY spring for more pages in late summer when they go on clearance.
B. There will be long periods of time between finished pages.

But this ain't no Project Life post. This is a PUNKY POST.
Some close ups!!!
To represent "turning a new leaf" I made these alphas with a stencil and a dictionary I found in the trash outside. Something shiny, bubble wrap, gold all represented. The quote came from Pinterest. I just found it's from uber tool Dylan of "Beverly Hills 90210" fame. My face- it's flaming!
Number 3 is supposed to read: Get hubs to do the actual cutting. Yes- my man helps me out- 
at 1am no less. HOTT! I wish they sold those sheets in 12 by 12 size!! 
The stencil material is from Plaid-
I was gonna use this photo and make the page sweet- but I already did 1 sweet page this week-
check it out below- a chick can drown in treacle- I can prove it!
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Valentine's Day at Paper Issues!

Good Morning!

It's been an awful week- nothing but crap all around and the fact that it's only WEDNESDAY makes me shudder. You'll have to excuse me while I go back to quietly reading fantasy books, eating brownies and downing several Texas size mugs of tea. 
In any case I had to put my Brooklyn girl pants on.
I told myself- self- get a life- a real one- stop living vicariously through social networks.
And got on with my day.

Paper Issues has a new Valentine's Day link party going on. I ordered my Crate Paper Hearts collection pack from the Paper Issues store and I'm so glad I did- budget be damned. 

What I didn't know was that the pack comes with flat die cuts- not the usual chipboard. I actually like the die cuts better since they allow me to layer them in my own way. Unfortunately the collection doesn't have matching alpha stickers. I would have LOVED to have some woodgrain or burlap mini stickers to work with but I have a HUGE stash of Thickers that need using anyway.

Here's the page:
28 Months. (OMG! She's 36 inches tall! Where's MAH BAIIBEE????)
MATERIALS: Crate Paper Paper Hearts line, Sassafras Lass Paper Whimsy flowers, Hambly script washi, Thickers and butterfly embellishments from Midnight Rooster July kit (which I won from the Crate Paper blog- YAY!)
Using up my paper doily and my Stickles stash.
Layering with flat elements keeps the page from bulking up-  I already have a huge storage issue.
Those butterfly pins are SO darn CUTE!!
PS have you seen the Crate sneaks? I LOVE the new Storyteller line! The colors are hella cool and the prints are so eclectic! I can't wait to get my hands on it and get to work! I also LOVE the new Studio Calico wood veneer pieces and ALL the My Mind's Eye collections! Very excited about CHA sneaks!

Swing by Paper Issues and post your Valentine's project!

SNEEKY PEEK at my February True Xoxo Girl's page! What is it about Valentine's Day that makes me wanna scrap? I think it's the red / magenta color palette- one of my fave combos EVER.

Here I am trying out a new (for me) technique- reusing plastic embellie packaging as a snow globe of sorts.
The Instax photo fit this one perfectly.  Dave dressed Lola and posed her B-Girl style- she's too darned cute.

Can you BELIEVE I put that outfit on her and let her out in PUBLIC? Poor kid.
MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Time for a Punk Sketch!

I love the Punky Scraps sketch challenges!

Trying to come up with fresh design ideas is the hardest part of the layout process for me so I gladly hand the responsibility over to Marie who is able to provide something beautiful for us Punky Team members to work with at least 1 every month! Thanks Marie!

Here's the resulting page:
Keith's Playground (FDR Dream)
Materials: Scenic Route paper, Studio Calico exclusive radar stamp (LOOVE!) Studio Calico exclusive woodgrain alphas, Basic Grey Alphas, Tim Holt'z waxed kraft paper, Basic Grey brads, Prima heart button. Fiskar's arrow punch, K & Co arrow die cuts, Smash polka dot tape and tag. Canvas Corp tag baggie. That "T" pin is AWESOME! Got it from a pair of men's pants at Banana Republic. Looks like something Tim Holtz would package at 12 for 4 dollars.
I've always wanted to visit Keith Haring's "Crack Is Wack" mural. He painted it in the late 80's. Ever since his death from AIDS in the late 80's,  folks in the neighborhood have volunteered to touch it up to keep it from disappearing. When I arrived, 3 people had just finished retouching the orange side to erase some punk kid's silver tags. They thought I was Park Police and showed me how they stayed away from the outlines to preserve the original design. Gotta love NYC!

Here's the sketch:

Now please feel free to swing by and add your page!

MuChoS SmOoChES!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When your mojo goes on vacation- shoot photos!!!

The wall- I've hit it.
All my former "no mojo" fixes are out the window.
I'm supposed to be working on a page for Punky Scraps that is due by thursday- so I will TRY to eek something out tonight- it might be hideous.
I'm determined to work through this dry spell!!
Here is an attempt to stamp my way out:
Foiled AGAIN by the ipod's low resolution camera! 
THANK YOU to Adele H. for recommending I check out Nat Kalbach's Creative Jump Start. I joined up today and was rewarded with a GREAT video from fave artist Louise Nelson (YAAYYY!)
If you guys are also hitting a wall, I suggest you swing by and check it out- it's free. (best price ever!)
Today I took photos at a place I have ALWAYS wanted to visit-

Keith Haring's "Crack Is Whack" mural in East Harlem. This is a DREAM COME TRUE! I've been wanting to go for YEARS. It's right next to the FDR so it's hard to get there via public transport but we managed it.

The 80's in the Bronx were like the wild west- with zombies. Burned out apartment buildings, crack vials littering the playground, junkies with half closed eyes walking in circles on the sidewalk. Our neighborhood is actually one of the better ones in the area and my parents did their very best to shield my siblings and I but we still saw a lot. So this mural has a lot of meaning for me. And it's freaking AWESOME.  Can't you just HEAR "White Lines" by Grandmaster Flash playing softly in the distance?

I have to keep reminding myself that there are many ways to stay creative. There's no need to panic. Creativity ebbs and flows- the ebb part sucks.
I also finished my December Daily! YAY!!!
12/24/11 My brother treated us all to the Christmas Ever performance of
The Nutcracker Suite at Lincoln Center- AWESOME!
BY this point the pages had stopped matching- I just grabbed the prints I liked best.
My FAVORITE image from this year's holiday take. I didn't have space inside
so I added it to the back cover.
There's 4 more pages but these are the best bits. Years from now I will look through it and laugh at the first pages being so beautifully detailed and the last so obviously slapped on quickly. I did make sure to take time to journal. I really enjoyed the process of making a holiday mini book. I see many more in my future- if for nothing else- to have a reason to buy KEUUTE holiday themed stash.

MuChOs SmOoChEs!