Monday, January 26, 2015

LOAD215 TIPS FOR THE WORKING GIRL...and we are all working girls!

Let me start by saying - working 5 days a week (not four...or three...or two) is new to me in the past 3 years.  I was blessed with more controllable time margins in my life when our sons were small. I KNOW that every mother is a working mother. The days are long and exhausting but the years are short and fly by fast.  Guess what? I didn't get to scrapbook as much as I wanted back then either! Still, working full time has changed my schedule and my previous "full time job" is now my "second shift" one. What am I thinking signing up for LOAD215?  Right?

I am here to encourage each one of you that thinks "I do NOT have time" to make a layout a day.  I am here to tell you it can be done!  I am scrappy proof.  Our fearless leader-"Lainfusious" has a very freeing style of scrapbooking.  Scrap what you want...when you want...and in the order that makes you happy.  Not every page has to be "perfect". How many times does a page never get made for fear of not getting it right? As Elsa would sing..."LET IT GO".  How many memories have I lost because I couldn't commit to getting it down on the page?  

For those who really love this art from the actual "artist's perspective" -we are sometimes crippled by getting it just right. Scrapbook pages are meant to be fun and meaningful... not stressful. I will be eternally grateful to Lain for freeing me from the "I will never be caught up" curse. Lain says I scrap what I want to scrap...and she is the boss of LOAD!   I wait for inspiration and tell the story on my heart.  Now, I get it down...and can always add (or remove) more later. Lain says we can even use the same picture these examples.  

For me...the JOURNALING is my FAVORITE part (they have tried to have me committed but no one will take me). I know many of you fear that part the most.  I'd like to invite you ask me ANY journaling questions here.  If you have ever dug through an old box of photos and wondered who, what, when, where and why...then we need to "chat". I'd love to help you. 

Have you ever had a story, but didn't have a picture of the moment?  Tell the story anyway. One of my favorite pages was a bit of a "Red Herring" story of my Dad "going to jail". 

Now that the story is down - my kids can even go back and try to find newspaper articles related (I have not done that, yet.)

What if I don't seem to connect with the prompt? That is OKAY! is your scrapbook.  The prompts are meant to be fun.  They have uncovered stories I didn't know I had in me and I have found connections with some of the greatest gals on the planet. Girls (and guys are welcome, too) who love this medium of creating and this method of preserving the days of our lives.  

Now for my tips for the working girl:
1.  Have a sketch ready.   I don't always use them but having one gives me comfort if I am stuck.
2. Prompts go live at 12am EST in the US.  That is 11pm in my time zone. If I am awake - I watch and then ponder myself to sleep. If I have a quick idea...I get it started (or done) to minimize my time the next day.  
3. You are in charge of your layouts! If I have a deadline (like my son graduating in May 2015 and I need his books ready for viewing)...I scrap what I want and need to scrap... and then do my best to twist, mold and stretch that prompt to fit the page I made.  You would be surprised how often it works. Prompt matching is always optional - but I enjoy it so I make it my mission to make it fit.
4. Forgive yourself if you miss a day. I am an over-achieving, word wrangling, people pleasing, first born child.  I am driven to complete a layout a day... but in interrupted...and I just couldn't complete every day. Life happens...and death. Family comes first. Still- when I counted- I still managed 18 or 19/28 layouts.  Did I really fail LOAD?  Not meeting my personal goal is not the only measure of success.
5. Prep a story: Journal a story ahead of time...and use it when the prompt or the right mood strikes.
6. Try something new that increases your speed. Sketches, templates, "scrap-lifting" (totally encouraged...but do give a shout out to the "artist who inspired you" as it shows good manners and kindness), put "kits together" from your stash with photos and last but not least...KEEP IT SIMPLE. I am a huge fan of simple layouts where the photos and the stories are the stars.  I adore supplies - but like any great accessory- they should compliment and not be the "star"(just my opinion... you get to write your own rules).
7. Change mediums! What? Why not? Give Digi a try if you are a paper scrapper (simple apps are out there and great for a traveling scrapper).  Give paper a try if you are Digi scrapper and need to do a layout a day while traveling for work but your PSE is on the home computer. Take a "Smash" book and a handful of supplies and works. I always say LOAD drove me to Digital Scrapbooking and I haven't looked back.  I haven't given up my traditional supplies, either!   Here at ScrapHappy...we  all live in harmony. Traditional Scrappers.... Digi Divas... Project Lifers...we all share, play nice, encourage and inspire each other.  Some of us spell COLOR  differently...and we love the diversity. We use all the COLOURS in the box and make beautiful things together.
8. Don't let anything (or anyone) steal your joy! This is a special neighborhood in cyberspace.  Only encouraging words, please...and we do love "comments"!  If someone asks for a critique...that is different...after all...there are experts in our midst. Don't let one missed time deadline discourage you.  When you look at your "stack" at the end of the LOAD, your gratitude cup will overflow.
9. Include YOUR stories, too. Your loved ones want to know about you, too.  I really "met" Lain through "Your Story Matters". I had rows of albums and my heart and voice was on every page - but there was almost nothing about me (unless it was an anniversary) and I was rarely in the photos.  Stuck for a page idea? Tell YOUR story.  It does matter. 
10. Relax.  You are going to exhausted on 02/28/15 - but it is the best kind of tired. At the end...if you have only completed one win!  You will, also, have 28 ideas to refer back to and more layouts than you will have time to view. 

One last thing... "The Stack" is our pile of finished pages or digi-images. It is a quick snapshot of all we accomplished during load. We post them on the last day. I hear there has been a resurgence in the popularity of look of "Pin-up" know the curvy ones from the 1940's? They were immortalized in war films...and "stacked" referred to certain physical female attributes. Scrappers come in all ages, shapes and sizes...but at the end...we are all "Stacked". (wink) Here is my stack from  LOAD214. I was working on Sr. Pictures and an album for my niece.There is a real mix of pages.

I am glad you are here.  Thanks for taking the time to visit me.  "Once Upon a Time" is going to be great! I can't wait to read your stories. 

(Valerie's Point of View on Flickr) 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy Birthday DeAnn!

My dear friend DeAnn is celebrating the anniversary of her arrival on the planet.  What a treasure she is to me.  She is one of those special women who doesn't seek drama, she treasures her friends, her love is unconditional and she is very real. She will never dominate a conversation unless you ask her to take center stage -but we all can learn from her wisdom if we take the time to listen.  

DeAnn is the same age as my little sister...two years my younger.  I like to think that if April had lived long enough, we would have a relationship like DeAnn and I have shared.  I am so very blessed to call her my friend. I treasure her more than she knows - even though we do not get to see each other as often as I would like.  

DeAnn came to me through PTO volunteering.  We served together and our friendship grew. Our mutual friendship with our Kim and my "sisterhood" with my girlfriend Jill, brought us all together. In fact, Kim eventually chose to worship with Jill and I and DeAnn's boys were all part of our youth programs - while they continue to attend the lovely church DeAnn grew up attending. Together...DeAnn, Jill, Kim & I made a fabulous.... foursome. 

Faith...friendship...fighting cancer...Photos (that is almost an "f"...finishing each other's thought and sentences... and finally finishing up our years in PTO has been a very special 18 years! 

The reason my blog has been neglected has been due to a full plate. The love of my life had a motorcycle accident 8/24 breaking both wrists and cracking his sternum. He is doing well, but it was a long haul to healthy. At the same time - my best girlfriend and "sister" for the past 27 years was finishing her battle with cancer...finding her deliverance from suffering on 09/07...and in between those events.. a very special, Godly man who coached both my sons in tennis died suddenly in between those dates. I can't even begin to describe those two weeks and months to follow. Blogging was what I had to let go.  So I did. 

I've spent the past few months healing...and finding my gratitude sweet spot to bring me back to the joy of  my "art" and daily life.  I am so grateful for my husband's healing hands and chest. I am grateful for the years Jill and I shared from meeting at college(ONU)  in 1987 to our deep friendship of the past 27 years. I am grateful for the gift of the boys coach..for every minute they spent under his instruction in tennis and in life. Joal was only 35... but he impacted more youth for Christ in his short time here than some will given twice as many years. He lived his "dash" to the fullest.  I am savoring my friend Barb posted yesterday to Facebook..."When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." 

I have not stopped scrapping.  I completed my daily layout in October's LOAD.  I continue to post my daily gratitude on I have for the past 2 years and 25 days. Scrapping and seeking gratitude have been my direct ticket to the throne of grace and peace as we have encountered some difficult days.  I hold tight to my life verse - "Be still...and know...that I AM...God. Trust that...and the rest works itself out. 

If you are visiting for the first time...or are back after my sabbatical...I am glad you are here. Journaling is my some of the tough stuff gets included, too. I find it healing.  I journal in light of my faith - because without my faith...there would be no light and hope.  

To bring it full circle...I am grateful for DeAnn.  I am grateful God gave her another year.  I hope we increase our shared moments in 2015. Here is a layout I made of the four of us at DeAnn's son's wedding. We had no idea what the next two years would bring.  And to that I say - THANK GOD!  I, also thank him for this craft/hobby/art that lets us capture special moments, friendship and stories before they are gone...and before we forget. This layout is actually about me(I am learning to include myself in my albums these past two years )but they are a apart of the story.  It is one of the best I have of me and "The Girls" as DeAnn's grandson calls us.  From left to right...the Birthday Girl DeAnn...Me...Jill...and Kim. I love these ladies. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Walk"er Like an Egyptian

As I re-enter the blog world  and prepare for another "LayOut A Day"...LOAD as we call it at ScrapHappy...I grabbed this layout from October's LOAD stack. It is not my best layout ever - but it certainly gets the story on the page and ready to share.

Doing a LayOut A Day in February, May (I know...nuts!) and in October has been life changing for my heart and my art.  I am a completer (except one due to uncontrollable circumstances)  with one layout a day for 28 and 31 days, depending on the month.  We are doing a Pre-LOAD blog hop and I don't want to repeat myself so I will keep this short.

As I look at this page...I could pick it apart...but I'd rather tell you why I find it share worthy. It tells a story - the boys will both look at this and remember the Egyptian unit in 6th grade. Walker will remember my endless stash of costume pieces (due to 20 years of Halloweens in a pediatric cancer clinic).  Even today, they know my costume tubs may NOT be considered for donation. They will realize that Walker's sense of humor and fun never changes.  They will remember the home decor of the time and Walker's size in perspective to the banister.

They will not care that I used brads, washi, gold paint and ribbon...popular items of the day. No - they will squint to see the details in the photo and they will hear my voice in the journaling.

This is why I love this hobby/craft/art or whatever it means to you. Do it because you love it.  If you are finding it a chore...change your focus. Think outside the box.  Everyone has stories to tell.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back to the Blog...

I have neglected my little blog since July. I had to let something go. Time to get back up...and try again.

It is a new year and I am about to start another LOAD with my Scrap Happy Family.  I just adore those gals. They are proof that the friends we meet who share our love of scrapbooking, paper crafting and story telling are not just online friends - but something real.  They have been so kind as the last 6 months of my life brought the lost of my closest girl friend who was my sister in every way but blood.

I have not let go of my "Facebook" daily gratitude post and I just might move some of that here.  My one little word for the year is "Courage" and I am still figuring out how to apply it to my daily life.  I know I need more of it. I know I still have stories to tell...and I love to share them.

This layout was a response to a prompt on "lockers". I had no idea when I started that it would bring me to reflect on my Jr. High and High School locker buddies. They were two great guys who made every day more tolerable during those challenging Jr. High and High School years.

Story idea - what or who made those teenage years more tolerable for you?