August 21, 2009

a good start...

okay, so these pictures aren't new, but I don't have the camera right now, so... I thought a lot about Jackie's comments (thanks, Jackie!!) on my last post, did some internet searching on scrapbooking sites, and got out my stack of albums and took a look at them, to see what I actually have.

I started out scrapbooking with Creative Memories, which is a home-consultant company... they were very much of "the pictures are the focus" school of thought- by this, they meant not overwhelming the photos with patterned paper, embellishments, etc. They also had strap-hinge (a type of binding) albums, and white paper pages. The pages above were photos of my parents and sister graciously helping me with the very messy job of removing the carpet from my first house, and restoring the hardwood floor that was underneath. Not much in the way of embellishments here, but the photos help me to remember how hot it was, how much dust there was, how much I appreciated, their help, and how satisfying it was to have it done!

The layout above was made with a template for cutting and arranging the photos- the photos were all taken at Anderson Gardens, in Rockford, IL, a very beautiful public Japanese garden in the middle of the city. I didn't do much embellishing at all, except for matting the photos and making the origami crane. The photos are definitely the focus here, and I very much meant it to be that way.

This layout doesn't even have any photos, but I wanted to remember some of the (many) big changes that happened in 2005- we got a dog (Sedona!), Tom sold his car, we sold our house, and we moved from Illinois to Arizona--- no pictures needed, really.

One thing all these layouts (and most of my layouts, actually) have in common is that they're pretty linear and simple... in the past, I haven't gone in for overly "cutesy" or "busy" layouts- maybe that will change with the art journaling influence, we'll see.

The internet searching that I've done the past few days led to some revelations in regards to the "guilt" that can be associated with scrapbooking (guilt from mountains of photos not scrapbooked, or even printed); the feeling of not being "caught up" and feeling like scrapbooking is a "chore" rather than a fun hobby. My searching led me to the site Big Picture Scrapbooking- they offer online classes, and a totally different philosophy that is about scrapbooking the memories, not necessarily the photos, not doing "event-based" layouts, and not having to do things chronologically in order to capture the memories you want to keep. Now, I need to find a couple books related to this at the library.

I had actually been thinking about ripping my photo albums all apart and re-doing them, but I decided NOT to do that; they're okay the way they are-- that was my style at the time. I also went thru my boxes of stuff, and found pretty much another whole album's worth of pages that are all mostly done- maybe it's not a creative block after all, but an organizational block!

Anyway- I got over 60 photos printed last week from a trip we took over Christmas, and we'll see what happens to them. And lastly, a quote I just found that seems to sum up the whole "scrapbooking" and photo album thing- to use the photos and journaling to keep track of events and memories for the future: We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection. Anais Nin

August 19, 2009

notes on creativity...

I love this post from Ali Edwards' blog on "Working Through Creative Fear." I have it permanently bookmarked on my favorites, and read through it again today. It's worth clicking the link and reading the entire post, but the first part of the summary (wording taken from Ali's post) is:

What are we afraid of in our creative lives?

1. Messing up

2. Thinking this is the one and only chance to tell this story so it simply must be perfect.

3. People not appreciating what we create.

4. Being seen as selfish or extravagant for indulging yourself in your creative endeavor.

5. Not getting anything done because there is simply not enough time.

I've also been thinking about a couple other posts on Ali's blog, one being Shimelle's Tuesday Tutorial about her travel journal, and Ali's original thoughts on art journaling, posted back in April 2005. She wrote some things about art journaling that are really resonating with me lately- about how she was obsessing over them, reading about them, thinking about them, but not creating them...

I totally relate to these thoughts, but for me it is for the opposite reason- lately, I have been reading, thinking, and obsessing about scrapbook/photo albums, but not creating them. I started out "scrapbooking" years ago in a pretty simple, geometric style, stopped that, then recently got into art journaling. My art journals are a place to just be creative: a place to cut, paste, collage, and paint, and sometimes for adding written journaling, but they are primarily for me, not for anyone else- I like sharing my results sometimes, but it isn't important to me that anyone else like it; for me, the creative process of the pages is the thing.

The photo albums will be "for public consumption" so I think I'm still stuck in that "will they (whoever they are) like it" and "are the photos good enough (for them)" mode... one of the other things I get stuck on sometimes is "taking part in the action" vs. "documenting the action thru taking photos" thing- I get caught up in having a good time and stop taking pictures- having a good time is a good thing, I know)- but then later I spend tons of time thinking "that would have been a great shot" or "I wish I had taken a photo of XXX." It's interesting how different people have creative issues with different things- I'm stuck on photo albums and photos, but other people (Ali E.) get stuck the other way about art journaling... no particular point to this post, other than I just wanted to get this written down- it was really interesting to see Shimelle's travel journal in progress (I'm interested in seeing the finished product including the photos, after her trip in September) which combines artsy, photos, and journaling.

August 17, 2009

more links and eye candy...

I turned on the computer on my way to my art studio, and I am still here, not there...

so, I thought I'd at least have something to show for it:

The Green Frog Studio- Celine Nevarro (more scrapbook inspiration!)

Sassafrass blog- fun scrapbook paper company!

Kenner Road- online monthly SB kit company, loads of fun stuff in their kits!

Kenner Road's blog- more cool ideas! Shimelle Laine's website, found thru Ali Edwards' blog (this post in particular) about travel journals. (good inspiration to get working on mine from our Midwest trip- gotta get those photos printed!)

August 14, 2009


if you love luscious, multicolored scrapbooking paper and all the other embellishments that go with it, then you must visit this blog: More Paper Please ...oooh, the eye candy, and the wonderful rainbow colors of paper-- yummy!!

now, I'm off to clean out the hummingbird feeder and vacuum the living room (how can two medium-sized dogs shed soooo much hair, and not be naked?!?)

tomorrow, we have plans with our friend Dennis to finally see the newest Harry Potter movie, and catch up over dinner--

have a good weekend!!

August 13, 2009

more journal pages

...more journal pages from the past few weeks, during the process of moving into our new house. the page above isn't much to look at, but I wanted to remember having to teach Bisbee how to go down the stairs!
My art studio was (and still is) pretty chaotic, but one night soon after we moved in, I couldn't sleep, and found myself working at midnight in a 6 in square of space on my table- these pages pretty much capture how I felt about the whole process of moving! scribbling and gluing was theraputic (although my studio still isn't much cleaner).
another entry about moving- the fact that the movers were 1 1/2 hours late getting there, it was 115 degrees, there was a dust and rain storm while they were packing the truck, and we didn't get to bed till 2 am.

August 12, 2009

travel journal pages

The car was packed with lots of stuff when we drove back to Illinois; two bags were mine- one full of books to read, and one full of journals and supplies- paper, glue stick, markers, etc. etc. I didn't even try to journal while we were in the car, but I did spread out the supplies once we got to the cabin at Tom's family reunion, and spent a few minutes here and there (between relaxing in front of the campfire) gluing and doodling. I took along watercolor crayons, my usual arsenal of markers and pens, and lots of paper and glue-stick... I mostly collaged pages, since I didn't have any acrylic paint with me. The page above was started before the trip, with a background of collaged pattern tissue and a layer of acrylic paint. The flowers were cut from a die-cut scrapbook paper that I bought originally to use as a stencil for painting, but I like using the flowers better.
This page is pretty simple, but I like it alot- the shading was done with a charcoal pencil, and the paper is Basic Grey (from the Ambrosia line), from my sister's stash--she lives about 1 1/2 hours away from Wisconsin Dells, and I spent the day with her while we were in Wisconsin. I love the look of Basic Grey paper, but sometimes the patterns seem sort of overwhelming- Judy has alot of it in the 6x6 inch papers, which are the same patterns as the 12 x 12 only smaller, so they're not quite so busy- I like this idea, and will have to remember it next time I go paper shopping!
this page is pretty simple- just a background colored with watercolor crayons, and strips of scrapbooking paper.
another collaged page using watercolor crayons, scrapbook paper (the blue scribbly paper is from Michael's- a kit of SB paper in the $1 section!), some acrylic painted paper I took with, and a couple magazine images... (the butterfly was glued on to cover up a glue-stick blotch, but I like the way it turned out.)

August 09, 2009

midwest road trip, part 1

We decided this year to drive from Phoenix to Illinois and Wisconsin, rather than flying. We usually fly into Chicago, where we rent a car and drive from Chicago to central Wisconsin, which runs into a week of rental charges plus the airline tickets... so we thought driving would save us some money, and be a nice change of pace. It definitely was a fast pace- since our driving wasn't the actual vacation, but mainly a means to get to the Midwest, we drove pretty much straight through. Of course, we didn't really pack till the last minute, and were rushing to get out the door, but what else is usual?? We dropped the dogs off at the sitters at 5 am on Sunday July 26, and headed north to Flagstaff, then went east to Albequerque, to eventually get up to Santa Fe early in the afternoon. This is the Art Museum (where we did not go, unfortunately- not enough time!), to give you an idea of the "Santa Fe" style of architecture which was everywhere... very beautiful adobe buildings. We headed downtown to the historic square, which is famous for its art festivals- as luck would have it, we hit Santa Fe during the Spanish Market and the square was teeming with shoppers and over 300 artists in EZ-up white canvas tents, selling traditional Spanish colonial artwork. It would have been nice if we had all day to look, but we didn't, and the white tents obscured the architecture of the square, which was unfortunate... but, I do know I want to go back to Santa Fe when we have more time.
This R2D2 mailbox was just off the square- it caught our eye, and we had to get a picture of it!! Tom has been to Santa Fe a few times on business and wanted me to see the Hotel St. Francis, where he has stayed on his trips- unfortunately, the hotel has being renovated and is no longer the quaint, homey, building full of comfortable, cozy upholstered furniture that he remembers- it is now "Monk-inspired" decor, which is very spare and austere (it didn't look comfortable at all, to me). He was sooo disappointed when he saw what they had done to the lobby, he couldn't believe it. After that disappointment, we had a very tasty lunch at The Burrito Company, and walked around a bit. I did find a rubber stamp store just off the square, but restrained myself, and only bought two pieces of paper.
From Santa Fe, we headed north into Colorado- this picture was taken just over the border from New Mexico, in Hudson Colorado. We watched the storm clouds swirling out in front of us over the landscape, and eventually drove right into this huge storm, and thru torrential downpours and awesome (in the true sense of the word) lightning and clouds- sometimes the rain was so hard you couldn't see the car in front of you on the highway! We knew if we stopped to wait it out, we'd just catch up with it again, though, so we kept driving throughout the night. We (more correctly Tom) drove till about 5 am Momday morning, then we stopped to rest for a couple hours in a truck stop parking lot. After that, I drove for part of the way thru Nebraska and Iowa, through massive amounts of road construction- every time you thought you were getting out of it, there was another orange sign on the horizon... it never ended! (the economic stimulus plan, I guess, but did they have to do it all at once?!?) We finally got to my parents' house in northwestern Illinois Monday afternoon, and spent a couple days visiting with them...
We took a drive through the local countryside on Tuesday, and toured the area around the new wind farm... over 60 giant windmills dominate the rolling hills and cornfields- you can see them over the hills for at least 10 miles. It's an interesting juxtaposition of the old, traditional landscape of farms, pastures, and fields with the huge (300-ft tall) windmills and all the technology that goes into running them. Tom and I both found them fascinating, especially after watching a television show about how they're built (the top part where the blades connect is as big as a bus!), but it does seem kind of strange to reconcile this view with the memories I have of the countryside growing up.
We drove through one of the local state parks, Lake Le-Aqua-Na, and stopped to take in the view of the lake... it was a beautiful afternoon, and I was really wishing we had a fishing pole. Of course, we didn't have any fishing licenses, so that would have been a problem, but it was a perfect afternoon for sitting and watching a bobber floating across the water. We did get a couple photo ops- this pic is me with my parents, John and Barb (if you look really close, you can see the wind turbines behind us in the background). It was great to spend time catching up with them- living 2000 miles away from them, we make do with plenty of e-mailing and talking on the phone, but being with them in person is so much better. Of course it couldn't last, since we had more driving to do(!), so on Wednesday afternoon, we headed north to the Wisconsin Dells area in south-central Wisconsin, for a few days of relaxing with Tom's family.

August 04, 2009

we're back...

and once we get the pics off the camera, I'll post again- now, off to do laundry...