Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Michelle's Crafty Year in Review post! 2012 Edition

Well it's almost the end of 2012.
For me this year was full of frustrations and growth.
I joined my first manufacturer design team with Scrap FX and got published in several publications I deeply admire.

I also had to leave a several beloved challenge design teams due to time constraints posed by a new job.

Where am I going for 2013?

  • I aim to expand my published work.
  • I would like to guest DT in more places.
  • Developing friendships with other craft bloggers will be my number 1 priority. That is the most rewarding part of this blogging adventure and I feel I've ignored it too long this year.
  • I will also try to write more "How To" posts and expand to video in some way.
  • I will be severely cutting back on the craft shopping. Too much of a good thing- even paper- is awful- especially in a tiny apartment.
Here are my favorite projects from 2012:
2012 Brought on the insanity that is Project Life and my complete FAILURE to keep up.
I made it to week 7 but the need to constantly edit and print images was too much for me.
This is a project that requires a lot of planning and some major workflow streamlining.
I'll try it again in 2012 once I get that mini wireless printer I had my eye on.
I discovered postcard exchanges in 2012- I loved what I made (above) but what I got in return was disappointing.
I still can't believe I was asked to Guest DT for Cocoa Daisy in September 2012.
How in the WORLD? The kit was gorgeous and the opportunity a dream come true.
This page made in haste and almost trashed was published in Scrapbook Trends
(Whaaa?) and pinned more often than anything else I've made. Go figure!
I was thrilled to be accepted to the Scrap FX design team!
I used Twitter and Instagram to get technique ideas- using my scoring board to
make lines on this page came from Melissa Mann.
I joined Julie Balzer's 2nd floor challenge (now over) and loved what I made.
My pages got super clean and simple once I started to work full time.
Sometimes (like here) the design was really satisfying but most of the time I just felt my work was bland and uninspired. 
This page came out of nowhere- vellum and pop dots are favorite tools.
I was also asked to be part of the A Flair For Buttons DT and it's been an honor-
nothing but fantastic product and incredibly inspiring pages from fellow dt members.
I made this minimalist shadow box for Scrap FX in order to get rid of some buttons in colors
I don't use much- amazing how pretty they look when used together.
I made this Olympics inspired page for True Xoxo Girls
which is a great challenge site- swing by and join the fun!!!
I love this card using a kraft paper themed kit from a former kit club I resigned from due to
unnecessary drama.  Sometimes you have to say enough is enough.
I love this page- shopping your own stash is SO worth it! That Pink Paislee print is 4 years old.
A page for the  Die Scrapperin Magazine August 2012 Issue. The prompt was graffiti and
 the Scrap FX "awesome" wordlett and polaroid frame made things super easy.
I was honored to Guest Design for German art Scrap Magazine Die Scrapperin twice this year.
This was for their November 2012 issue and I had such a hard time with the prompt which was color my world.
I decided to just play with my neon ink pads and paints.
This page using a Scrap FX frame won honorable mention over at the Skissedilla challenge blog.
I've always wanted to join in but always forgot to turn my pages in on time.  
I  joined the mass Instagram freak-out in late December that got the company to roll back changes to it's Terms of Service agreement. Lots of people said "Meh! I don't care. My photos aren't good enough for sale."  I contend that a service can always decide it wants to turn a profit but not without my express permission and not without cutting me in on that action, it's my content after all. Hey Instagram- I love you but I don't NEED you. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Have a happy, healthy and wonderful 2013!!!
Chells out!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! My first 2012 December Daily Mini Album Post

Merry Christmas everyone!
It's 4:30pm and Lola FINALLY decided to take her nap.
I had to drag her through half of Manhattan before she finally gave in.

I spent a lot of time dragging various family members through the cold streets of this city this week.
I didn't get a lot of actual crafting done but I got lots of photos so next year I'm GOLDEN.

Here are the three pages I've managed to finish for my December Daily album.
Never mind they are out of sequence- my printer ran out of ink so I used what ever photos came out with the least amount of streaks.
December Daily 2012- Day two. Thai chicken noodle soup.
6 by 8 paper from Paper Source. Crafter's Workshop stencil,
Wood letters and snowflakes from Studio Calico. Scrap FX chipboard design.
December Daily. Day 3. Visited Rockefeller Center during the day.
Crate Paper vellum numbers, Paper Source peppermint coaster, fabric tag and home flag from Ormolu.
Day 19. With Dad working 7 days a week, we treasured the moment he got home.
Fabric swatch from Ormolu, Red tag from Scrap FX, Maya Road transparency,
hello word bubble from Freckled Fawn.Date stamp from American Crafts 
I could write something deep and introspective but I lack the brainpower and energy.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful, meaningful and safe holiday.
I hope you get snow if you want and wine if you'd like and LOTS of sleep.
Never got around to painting these.
Ornament sized wood bird houses from Michael's.
30 cents each on clearance!
Thank you for your continued support and reading this year.
2013 will be AWESOME.
Newsprint wrap from Home Goods- I get the look without the negative headlines.
I finally used my triangle punch on one of the presents.
Letter stickers are fast and fun!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas gift tag love- A scrap FX design team post

Hi everyone!

I'm having SUCH a hard time creatively!
I haven't made anything in well over a week except for THIS:
Those clear acrylic beads are from Joanns and they rock my scrappy universe.
 The chipboard is from Scrap FX out of Australia.
A little bird tells me they are having a design team call soon!
I am very proud of it.
It's proof that I can make multiple mistakes,
mistakes UPON mistakes,
and still come out with a tolerably good looking Christmas tag.

I had this whole long Instagram post ready but deleted it.
Who wants to read about that?
Exactly- NO ONE.
Most people have decided to stay, including little old complaining me.
This is what I have decided:
I love IG.
I need IG to stay on top of scrap trends- it's the most immediate social media platform out there.

And if I want to get on ANY design teams I need to STAY on IG because that is the future of craft media and marketing.

So my compromise is that I will only post scrapbook related photos.
This is probably better in the long-run anyway.
Who wants to see each and every "cute" Lola shot I take?
Other than my Mom...
Who doesn't have Instagram.
I'll keep posting more family oriented images here.
Rockefeller Center.
There were a billion people here at this time- LUCKY SHOT!!!!
NYC street food. Roasted Chestnuts! SOOOOOO delicious!
Ferrara Chocolate and pastries at Central Park.
Off to see The Hobbit next- WHIRLWIND I tell you!
Chells out!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Going dark on Instagram. A Protest Post UPDATED 12/26/12

Instagram has now posted a new ToU that reverts to it's 2010 language. This is great but rest assured mayhem is to follow.
Parent company Facebook NEEDS to recoup the billion dollars they squandered on purchasing this app.

Here is my new take on things:
The ONLY reason Instagram is worth anything is that they managed to get millions of users by making the app FREE.
Now that they think we are addicted they decide to claim everything and anything posted in their app.

The going sentiment is "this is a company and companies exist to make money".
How completely disingenuous.

Unlike Facebook which allows for in-depth conversations and relationship management.
Instagram is a purely superficial social media platform and one that can be easily copied.

Insult the hobby groups (scrapbookers, graffiti writers, jewelry makers, cooks and wood carvers- whoever has a hobby and uses instagram to show their work to others in the same hobby), the artists, the photographers and the businesses- and they leave.
Who stays?
The people who take photos of their feet or family members (that no one else but their own family cares about).
These same users will go wherever the artists go because THAT was the main attraction to Instagram in the first place!
It may take a year or two but pretty soon you have a ghost town or as I like to call it-

Yes please figure out how the to make money before you insult us with outrageous power grabs- respect is a two way street.

Now back to my previously written post.

So it's come to this.
I will no longer be able to participate in Instagram.
I am also seriously considering deleting my Facebook account.
Not only have they become a great way for me to procrastinate (and aggravated my already nasty shopping addiction)
they have both just passed new User Agreements that do not allow me to decide if I want to have my photos and profile information sold without my prior consent and compensation.

I love seeing everyone's latest news and sharing my own but I can no longer abide the way these two websites take advantage of my participation.

Facebook has been a problem for a while.
It's a disjointed mess with too many ads and opportunities for individuals to offend each other.
When I first joined back in 2004 I immediately connected with long lost high school friends and we talked regularly.
It was great!
I got to see their wedding and new babies.
Now I'm lucky if I see the occasional rant!
Forget getting new friend requests and having my work get any kind of attention there- everyone has  battened down the hatches.
Facebook is too large and too overwhelming.
It's partially my fault for joining too many commercial scrapbook business pages.
It's not fun anymore.
And their new User Agreement means I HAVE to agree with all the clauses in their crazy User Agreement.
I can't opt out of certain sections I find objectionable- like if I want to "ignore" commercial content they push at me.

Instagram recently changed it's user agreement as well.

Instagram will be able to sell whatever photo, profile information and meta-data you post there.
They will not need to ask you permission or compensate you.
If your minor child posts a great shot, the new User Agreement states those photos are open to advertising exploit and that you give explicit permission for that use.
Anyone appearing in your photos ALSO gives permission to appear in an ad.
As of January 16th you will no longer be able to opt out.
Images posted BEFORE this date will not fall under the new User Agreement but everything after that date will.
This is wildly encroaching, not to mention ethically disgusting!

I have no problem with being paid for my photos. 
I want to make money from my "art".

But I certainly don't want to see my face or worst- my daughter's face- gracing some random ad without having the power to say NO.
How can they possibly think this is ok?
And before you think I'm being alarmist- it's not that my family is oh so fascinating.
This is not about money.
It's about power and your right to your work- even that fuzzy photo of your latest chicken diner.
I believe the power to retain all imagine rights resides with the content creator.
It's been that way since photography became possible.
Why do these techno-media geeks think they can suddenly wrest that power away?

Before you dismiss this think about the entirety of your photo stream.
We don't know what content will be needed.
Perhaps they are looking for images of "abused" or "third world"children and my kid's face will be the poster child.
Maybe they want "fat chick" faces for the latest weight loss drug campaign.
Who knows?!
Any kind of disgusting or dangerous product can be sold with your face all over it.

With the proliferation of online advertising and fly by night digital start-up companies, the need for cheap imaging content is extreme.
How about your face on that Russian Dolls "dating" service?
Fun right?
That's what you will be exposed to if you choose to participate in Instagram photo sharing.

You can read more about this from reputable news websites:

Here's my call to action:

  1. Although I KNOW this will hurt- join me in going dark on Instagram. 
  2. Save all your photos to Flickr or some other image sharing social media platform. 
  3.  Let's support each other by joining each others accounts and leaving the same love we left on Instagram.
  4.  Let's let Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom know- 

This ain't ok dude.
It's a power grab.
We won't stand for it.

Perhaps she's the new face of some ineffective and dangerous energy drug.
The company is a shady outfit from take-your-pick country so I can't sue to have the ad taken down.
Chells OUT!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Inspiration Elevator Guest DT- In memoriam

Hello everyone
Please bear with me through this long post.
Today I am a guest for a challenge group called Inspiration Elevator.
Thank you so much for hosting me ladies!
Below is the text for the challenge as well as a blog hop for the regular design team members.

The purpose of this challenge group was to take our scrapbooking to the next level, to stretch our creative process and to grow as artists by embracing challenges that make us think, work and grow. 

This month, our challenger was the super talented Sue Sykes. Sue writes an ongoing article for Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine called Leaving Your Legacy and her challenge this month for Inspiration Elevator was also featured in the Winter edition. This is what she wrote:

"The idea of “Leave Your Legacy” first came about in 2007 when I was sorting through some vintage photos of my parents. I realized that while I knew most of the standard information about the images, the profound information about my parents and relatives was missing - information that would give me a glimpse of what they had been like when they were younger. 

To me, scrapbooking is, of course, a means of artistic expression, but more than that, it is a way to leave a little piece of history for future generations in each layout. And so, it amazed me, in talking with friends who scrapbook, to learn just how seldom they scrapbook about themselves. All of these incredible people, and their families may not really know anything personal about them: their hopes, dreams, habits, likes, dislikes, fears and accomplishments. With this article, I hope to encourage fellow artists to scrap more about themselves to avoid that from happening.

I think it's important to document your fears as well as your happy times and accomplishments. Many times, things of which we are FEARFUL, often characterize our personalities. It's also rewarding to be able to look back, once you have overcome a fear, to realize how far you have come. On the heels of my husband's heart attack, this was an obvious choice for me, but it's difficult to put into words the FEAR that you feel when faced with the possible loss of your partner. I want to remember the fear that we both felt, so that it will help us to stick to our commitment of living a healthier, less stressful life.

So what is it that you FEAR the most?

Not only do I want you to scrapbook about a FEARFUL topic, but I also want you to include at least ONE product that you have avoided using. Maybe it's because you are hoarding it and are FEARFUL of using it all, or maybe you are intimidated by it. Whatever the reason, spread your wings and challenge yourself to use it."

I hope you will stop by and see what the designers on this adventure have created:
Michelle Hernandez, Guest Designer
I simply have no words for the horror visited upon us as a nation yesterday.

I am a parent.
My baby is three years old.
She is my shinning light,
the reason I strive to be a better person each day,
the proudest moment of my entire adult life.
To imagine her cowering in terror, confused and wanting desperately to be home,
to imagine her gone,

Today I attended a vigil for the lives we lost yesterday.
I made a special effort to go and keep those lives foremost in my mind because they are all that should matter in this vast stream of politics and speculation we are now witness to.
Keep those lives first.

When I made my page for this wonderful group of inspiring women, I was watching a comedy show about parenting and laughing.
The content of this page came easily.
I knew immediately what my darkest fear was.
I had no idea it would visit people who lived so close-by only three days later.
I feel like I should apologize.
I feel like it is insensitive to post.

Materials: Kraft paper, Crafter's Workshop stencil, Heidy Swapp Bronzer mist, Instax print. Wood veneer
letters from Studio Calico, American Crafts date stamp, tape from Target and punches from Ek Success
But to be true to the challenge I will post this and admit my biggest fear is that I will fail my daughter.
I will not be there for her and she will perish.
I will not be there for her and she will turn on others.
Like one young man did yesterday.
So I write these words and make the promise I made when my baby was first born.

I will not fail you.
I will listen to you.
I will fight for you.
I will put you first.
And if the time comes when we, as a family, are faced with a mistake you made,
no matter what that mistake is,
I will set aside judgement and think about what is best for you.
It is the only thing I have control over and the most meaningful thing I can do.

Keep your loved ones close.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12/12/12 Day of Complete AWESOME! (A photo post)

Good Morning folks!
I hope you had a great 12/12/12 yesterday!

Along with some great news that I will have a page in the May 2013 Scrapbook Trends Magazine,
Lola and I went on a day-long adventure trying to capture 12 images of totally awesome things- we only got to 8- it's hard to be that awesome when you're three and your legs are short.

Awesome item 1: Polish Napoleon pasties- FOR BREAKFAST!

Awesome item 2: Street Art
Picfx is my new favorite camera app!!!
Awesome item 3: Sticks

Awesome item 4: Chicken Noodle Soup
Still looking for a good Bokeh filter. This one from Snapseed is ok.
Awesome item 5: Paper Presentation on 18th street.
Laser cut snow flakes at the Paper Presentation store front on 18th street.
I LOVE this place!!!
Awesome item 6: Wonder Woman and Michael Jackson pressed tin ornaments
From Mayan Dreams
Awesome item 7: Book stores- real ones.

Awesome item 8: Empanadas in the dark WITH Mexican Coca Cola

This place- Union Square Christmas Market
New York City Park Christmas Markets are all amazing.
If you visit, make these a priority. They are the best bets for affordable and original crafts in NYC
Today we are going to experience the mountain of totally awesome that is Central Park.

Wish me luck- I had to go to bed at 10pm yesterday after all the awesome. My brain couldn't contain it all.

Have a great day folks!
It's the little things.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You're KILLIN' me smalls! December mojo blues.

Here we go again.
I don't know what it is about December that just SUCKS the energy out of the right side of my brain- is that the creative side?
Whatever, I don't have the time to research it on the interwebs.
Just imagine a big empty cavern where all creative brain cells used to reside.

For the last week I've been shuffling paper around- the scrap corner is full of messy piles as I try to find materials that will somehow form themselves into an idea.
And that's the problem.
I'm sick of everything I'm making right now!
I SEE where I'm going wrong with my work- the bland color combos, the unbalanced design, the lack of crisp technical skills.
In one momentary respite, I made this:
A family tradition- get the craziest patterned paper you can find and wrap the front door. I found this AWESOME triangle and snowflakes print at TJ Maxx for 3 bucks. The wreath came together in about 2 hours- I got all OCD about the ribbons and wrapped it 6 times before I was ok with the result. Everything is attached to the foam wreath form with pins- I want to use all these materials again on a future project.
Materials: Foam wreath form, cheesecloth, yarn ribbon ball from Anthropologie (I got it for free with my purchase of a couple of ornaments- it's awesome), glitter pine cones and ball picks from Michael's, silver glitter reindeer from dollar store, 2 large feathers from ??? found them while "shopping my stash", large red/white twine from target dollar bin, gold leaf and ball ribbon from Etsy.
I'm insanely proud of it.
Perhaps I need to go 3d for a while and stay off scrapping till I get percolating again.
You know what makes it SOOO much worst?
I see the kick-ass work others are making and it makes me feel even MORE dull and obvious.
Comparison truly is the enemy of happiness!

My Mom has a saying in spanish that is making sense feeling right now:
Al que no quiere caldo se le dan tres tazas.
Those who don't want broth get three servings.
Which is my life right now- everything I didn't want is happening 3 times over.
Cavity? Sorry chick you need a ROOT CANAL. Another one.
Husband working during the holidays? New job has him 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.
Working furiously to keep up with deadlines? NO NEW IDEAS FOR YOU!

I think I'm going to spring for a class at this point.
It's obvious that I've reached a creative plateau and need community and the exchange of ideas to help me spark up the thought machine.

If you have suggestions for a good class or method to get your creative juices flowing please post a comment- I am willing to try almost anything at this point.
This little guy- in my brain! Stat!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A story well told. A Flair For Buttons Post

Happy thursday folks!
I've been running around all week trying to get good photos for my December Daily so I've been too tired to actually scrap.

I found THE PERFECT cover embellishment for my album!
I tried working with it last night- nothing doing- I just shuffled layers around for a while and then went to bed frustrated.
Flat dime store glitter deer! How lucky am I? The pin is a freebie from
JC Penney. The striped Recollections divider is perfect.
 Deciding what fabric and paper I want for layering is taking a while.
This is the starting point. I will be using the kraft chipboard I saved from a package. I put it there so you could see I will be using a transparent binder divider and realized it was awesome.

QUESTION: Can you put gesso on plastic without it sliding off when it dries? I will be experimenting with later today.
I took Lola to visit Santa at Macy's for the first time. She was not amused.
This was as close as we ever got to the dude.
I also wanted to share a quick page I made for A Flair For Buttons last week.
I had a couple of hours and Pebbles "Seen and Noted" to work with- I love the bright colors in that collection!
Here's the page:
I encourage you to swing by the Flair For Buttons blog to read the story behind the photo in this page.
It's the central story of my scrapbook life- the reason I started scrapping and one of the proudest moments of my life.
Smash Flair set from A Flair For Buttons
I used one of my favorite Scrap FX chippies on this page.
I used Prima's Brick Wall chalk ink pad to color the tree in.
It's the perfect shade of red for the darker tones of chipboard.
Sorry for the disjointed post!
I'm off to the 14th street Christmas Market before work. Gonna try to score another Amirugumi squid for my tree.
I really need to learn to knit! I love these cuties! 
Chelle's out!
Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Daily- A photo post

Every year I struggle with Christmas themed crafts.
I just started thinking about DYI ornaments and a family card.
It's December 4th!
Then there's the shopping or lack thereof.
Last year's DD album cover- Ormolu tag, American Crafts Thickers,
Crate Paper printed chipboard (the stocking are my favorite. I wish
 they had different versions!),  Fancy Pants coffee filter paper (LOVE!)
This year the color palette will be red, white and silver.
Every year I promise "THIS year I'll start early!" and every year I end up a wreck with 20 unfinished projects.

2012 is no different.
Except for one project I love above all.
December Daily.
I'm taking the photos.
I have the transparent dividers I will make into covers for my book. (At SOME point!)
I have an idea of an abstract and paint friendly layout which is more about emotion and craft play than actual recording of events.
I let the photos do the talking for me.
I'm waiting for my Christmas themed collections to arrive- no amount of pre planning was going to get those to me on time- the hurricane totally screwed up the postal system here in Brooklyn and deliveries are taking even longer than usual.

Day 1- We put up the tree on December 1st. Lola fell in love with the lights. Some unexpected "Bokeh" from the lights reflecting off the flat cover over my iPod camera lens. 
I'm using the "Hispstamatic" app which has both "lens" and "film" filters and allows for more variety in effects. I'll be using the "Jane" lens which is a "no effects" filter and BlackKeys B+W film" which adds that funky marker border, date and washes out all color except for the very brightest shades. I can then add saturation in Photoshop, giving the photos a painted holiday movie look.
Day 2- Chicken Soup on a cold day. I could do a smiling shot but I suspect when I look at this later, Lola hardly reaching the table, clutching that soup spoon for dear life, opening her mouth the widest possible, this shot is gonna make me laugh like a LOON!
Day 3- Lola and I went to Rockerfeller Center with NO STROLLER. !!!
The stroller was locked in my MIL's house along with my spare keys. Well Miss Thang was a TROOPER. We walked for 3 hours straight and she only tried to run into oncoming traffic 3 times. I will need a child tether (BABY LEASH!)  if I am ever to do this again- my sanity requires it.
Day 3- Legoland was a HUGE hit. She played here for an hour - never mind there were
hundreds of people walking around her private kingdom. 
Day 3- Encountering the tree- she liked it but this didn't yield the appropriate shot.
I will bring her back at night for the full effect. This year it will just be Lola and I  running about for photos since my husband is working over-time (Yay! or Booo! depending on the day of the week).  Last year's family December will be cherished. I must remember to count my blessings- paying bills is a good thing.
Day 3- This might be my favorite shot. She only sat for half a second before freaking me out by standing up and running along the fountain edge but here she looks positively introspective.
It truly is a wonderful life- sort of- I WILL IT SO.  :)
So off to the scrap desk to make this year's album cover...

How about you?
How are your plans shaping up?

Have a great holiday month!