Friday, September 26, 2014

Inspired By...Fall Card Share!

Recently I was listening to a piece on NPR about how depression and art "go" together... hmmm, being an artist who doesn't think of herself as being clinically depressed, I was intrigued enough not to change the channel. In summary, there was a correlation between the surges of creativity or highs, that a depressed person might cycle through, and how being medicated can actually impair a creative (but depressed) person's ability to, well, create! Of course there was a lot more information and examples given, but this is the basic idea that continued swirling in my head.
The idea of the highs and lows of being a creative person got me thinking, reflecting really, and questioning my own spurts of activity. Sure there are times when I don't feel creatively productive, but I was asking myself, do those lows have anything to do with my being stressed, anxious, or even mildly depressed? No. As in, I have no idea!
It is a concept that I've considered before, and even witnessed. I have a dear friend who lost her son in a car accident, and there was a distinct period of mourning (of course), but I remember thinking to myself, "she's going to be as OK as she can be" when I noticed art coming from her craft room once again. It's scary, thinking that a life altering event or even just a bad case of the baby blues could interrupt what has become my therapy, my go to feel good activity! I have also considered, what would I do to lift the funk if I didn't have that outlet? Again, I have no idea yet.
Here is a handful of cards I made a couple of weeks ago.
On the other, more positive side of the craft room, I got a little personal insight it is that I can spend all night up with the kids and tossing and turning myself, get up at 4:AM to participate in a triathlon that is an hour an half's drive away, complete before mentioned tri, lead a five hour crop at Michael's (completing a two page layout) and then come home only to stay up late creating a total of seven cards before finally retiring to bed again. WHEW! It was exhausting just writing that paragraph long sentence!
Part of my seemingly endless motivation comes from the friendships I'm blessed to enjoy. My coworkers daughter will be competing in her own Tri- Iron Man style in AZ soon. Since she is a high school mate of mine I felt it was appropriate to support her efforts with a collage card (#1 Encouragement) reading "Give 100 & 1 % .
My mom is part of Women's Drinking Team -did you know those actually existed? Complete with custom jackets and Octoberfest attending, how fun! "Dancin Donna" can give the Danke! (#2 Octoberfest) card for her next Designated Driver! Using a few cuts from the cricut to dress up the front, Queen & Co. pearls and a bead strung on bakers twine, there was still something else needed to complete my card front. I found the answer in a bottle of Liquid Glass! I also added one small orange gem to the sentiment and included a die cut on the inside of the card which peeks out at the bottom. That die cut was printed with a pumpkin, so I didn't have to do another thing in there :-)
When I first started dating Ray, there were many examples of his past wander lusting interspersed with our futures plannings, and although we have not traveled as extensively as I had imagined, I would still go anywhere in the world with him if asked. I think. See the gold chevron on that card (#3)? and again on the inside of that top encouragement card? It is a new product from the K & Co, Smash line, and it is actually a rub-on. Very easy to use and it adds instant drama- something we are never in short supply of at our house!
Finally, to honor my triathlete Hall-of-Famer friend , I made a card with a .50 stamp picked out of the bargain bin which reads, "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Dedicating part of your life to fitness takes commitment, one that some people have a hard time relating too. I admire his enthusiasm for racing, and this card will be a nice thank you for all the "You can do it!"s he's given me over the years.
Thanks for stopping by and reading through my musings today! I based many of my card designs above on a flyer for Embellish It!s monthly card kit club. If you're looking to spend a little time crafting with me, check out my process videos link above. I've got a Halloween Card Magic three part series coming out over the next couple of weeks starting TODAY. Happy fall!   

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First Day of School

It's hard to believe but today was Rainier's first day of school. Preschool, that is! She is only three and a half years old and I guess that seems kind of early to be in school to me. Good news is, she loves it~ in fact the first thing she said to me when we got in the car this afternoon was, "Mom, why did you not leave before we started learning today?!"
I explained that today I was lucky enough to be allowed to volunteer in the classroom. I'll admit that my excitement level increased when I saw that my duties included monitoring the art project! The kids were given paper and paint: blue and yellow in big cups with even bigger paint brushes.
Watching the kids create was a nice reminder that, in art, there are no rules. And, that you can do whatever your creative spirit is leading you to make! Now, can you imagine how hard it was for me to just stand there and WATCH and not have a chance to put paint to paper myself :-)
Of course, as soon as I got home, I fixed that feeling and made one of my October Die Cut Crazy projects. I'll have time to take photos and submit it before the submission deadline for once, in part because we hare hosting my beloved in-laws this week! They are always happy to take care of the kids and I cherish both the time with them, and the time they give me for myself too.
So, what are some of your creating memories from school? I can still visualize the large sheets of paper which had lines at the bottom for a sentence and an empty space above for our illustrations. I'm sure I still have some too, thanks to my mom doing what all good moms do; saving my incredible artwork!
Since we have two prolific artists in home (not including myself), I have to try to be selective when I'm saving... not an easy task for a gal who thinks every bit of awesome should be savored for tomorrows memory loss heehee.
Hoping you're finding some time to capture some fall flavor in your crafting,
xox Anna

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sons of Scrap-archy

You may have read before that I am a big fan of late night scrappin... well, if you've read enough of my blog to know that, you probably know that I'm a fan of anytime scrapbooking lol.
Earlier this summer I found that one of our tv trays works perfectly for creativity in the living room. On the one hand, I am forced to gather a limited amount of supplies to work with. This challenge can help me to focus and also flexes my brain to come up with alternate ideas. My craft room is 30 feet away, too so it's not like I can't go and find the item I think will make a layout perfect!
On the other hand, I get to spend some quality time with Ray after the girls are asleep. By "quality" I am referring to the type of interaction couples nationwide experience nightly- zoning out in front of the boob tube! We hardly watch any tv in our house, so binging on some Netflix can really be a treat. One of our favorite shows is the Sons of Anarchy. We also enjoy House of Cards and the Orange is the New Black- or, the Orange and Black as my hunny refers to it.
Well yesterday I was griping to a friend that I've been doing altogether to much house cleaning and that it is really interfering with my creating! It was no surprise to me that such a build up of not making had me in the mood to really crank out some craft last night, and I was able to create three layouts in their entirety. Go me!
Often times the lack of supplies on hand will have me making most of a layout or card, and then finishing it up the next day or sometime later in the week. Last night I managed to get pen to paper on all three pages as well, and tucked them into my brand spankin' new red canvas fall album. A much better feeling than the one I had the previous day, when the only crafting I managed was putting a completed page into the same album. Not working on the page, just putting it away... lame!
So, often times I'm asked how I'm able to whip out the pages so fast? A lot of times it is because I'm working out of a pre-assembled kit I've made. Have you ever seen  a collection of items on your desk and thought, gee that's pretty! Well, when I do that, often times I will enclose said collection of goodies in a sheet protector. I keep between ten and twenty of these on hand to grab and put with photos at a whim. By adding a few more embellishments, or sometimes just an additional piece of background paper, I can sometimes stretch these one-page kits into three or more layouts, like I was able to do last night.
For September, my challenge product of the month is going to be using my stash of pre-made kits. A lot of them have photos in them that I want to include in albums already moved out of viewing, and seeing what I wanted to scrap with last year is like having my own Throwback Thursday any day of the week!
If you'd like some tips on how to create your own scrapbook kit, check out this movie I made last year. Grab a pen and paper, jot down some notes, and then go shop your stash (or favorite scrappy outlet) and then go to town! Or, go to town, shop, and then stay up late making something awesome :-) The choice is yours, of course.
Thanks for choosing to spend some time on my blog today, and if you've got a good show for me to watch I'd sure like to hear of it... the Sons had their final soap opera style dramatic conclusion last night and Survivor is merely on the horizon of my viewing schedule!
Hmmm... anyone else extremely disappointed that "Jax" is no longer being considered for the role of Christian Grey...? He does bad boy gooood! I'm not saying he's a great actor, but I believe it when he gets into a heap of trouble episode after episode all while wearing his custom baggy leathers :-D

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Let It Fly!

There is a crispness to the morning air that lets us know fall is on the way in and summer's on the way ...out. Waaahhh! Gosh we certainly enjoyed a beautifully sunny summer though here in the Pacific Northwest. There were only like five days of rain? That's all I remember anyway lol.

There is a lovely banner which reads Family hanging in my craft room that I see everytime I enter the room. It was pretty easy to make, and I've always wanted to make another, so decided the change in season was the perfect occasion. Love the way it turned out! I used a sample pack of Close to My Heart papers for the backgrounds and for the strips of paper that were transformed into 'yo-yo's- the fanned circles behind each letter. One way to almost guarantee your project will have a cohesive look is to use papers by the same designer or company. The colors will all be very similar and the paper will share the same weight as well.
The girls accompanied me on the way to drop off these banners and stock up my card rack at Gig Harbor's CopyIt..MailIt on Judson Street. Once we were done we had a little time to explore the waterfront while we waited for dad to take us out to dinner at the Peru restaurant by Fred Meyers. The dock at Jerisch now has life jackets available for every size person and the kids enthusiastically donned water safety gear. Ray asked later, why did they have those on? And I responded, because they could! Truth be told neither of them can swim and on top of that there is a big sign on the dock explaining that most people who drown don't intend to get wet... so yeah, get those life preservers on if you can!

While my cricut does make mass producing a breeze, I made the most of my time and cut all the triangle banner shapes for another, even cooler banner at the same time, and used up the rest of that sample pack of papers. Yea! Another something that I don't have to put away :-)
Living in Washington my whole life, I'm a big Hawks fan, and ever since their Super Bowl win last year, it seems like the whole states got Blue Fever. What better way to show off some spirit than with a cute banner!? On this one there are sparkling green letters and sequins in grey and green too. The banners were still looking a little plain so out came the decorative edge scissors in scallop shape, and added silver glitter paper strips to the top.
Gotta make one of these for my Pops in Jersey!