Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Special Delivery: Out of the Box WriteItDesigns.com Video!

I've been using a planner religiously for the last 8 years or so... I say religiously, because, in much the same way my church attendance wavered through those years, my need to record life's upcoming and occurring events has also come and gone. I know after I quit working to stay home with Rainier, it felt really naked to not have that big hunk of bound paper journaling stuck in my oversized purse. Somehow I managed to show up on time to the places I promised to be... so stressful for me though! Just like when I forget to turn to my congregation in times of prayer need, I have a times allowed my brain to convince me that it knows how to take care of everything. To which I say, Brain, I know you're trying hard, but please allow for assistance!
These amazing planner pads were created using WriteItDesigns.com- a site that is so fun to play on, you practically forget something is coming in the mail for you (or maybe that's just me). I'm working on another video that shows the actual ordering process, because it is super easy too. With an intuitive, step by step site,  it is easy to place an order for your own customized notepads and planner pads featuring high quality papers and vivid colors. There are many different sizes to choose from, too!
As you can see in the video above, I've got a full week ahead of me- yesterday I started a project for our preschool classroom, today I'll be teaching another session at the Red Barn youth center out here, and then on Friday I'm returning to the library to guide our local Home School Association youth  through an interesting fall mixed media home décor piece! To cap off a week of work, this weekend will bring a celebration that is 10 months in the waiting- my mom's last radiation treatment!
In November she was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast Cancer. Then came surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. There is still some surgery on the horizon, but life is on it's way to resuming normalcy- hip hip hooray! I know that the prayers of our friends and family have not only been a big support during this trying time for her, but it also helps to know she is not alone. So, we are going to have a wonderful time for all of those people who want the best for her <3
Thanks for taking the time to open yesterday's mail with me! If you're interested in getting a package with completely customized pads of pretty paper, click over to WriteItDesigns.com and have a good time yourself, or leave a comment below and you could win a pretty delivery from my CraftWithAnna card stash... Have a happy, well-planned week!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Finishing Touches for Fall

 Here's another page I've made recently using a photo of Rainier dressed for the outside. It must have been taken in the beginning of Spring. She's got on a knit cap made by my Aunt's mom... it's so nice to have a warm cap of love to top off an outfit!

The theme of this post concerns my ongoing trials in journaling and title creating...and as the Virginia Slims of the past proclaimed, I've come a long way, baby! You can see that the layout was completely perfect as it was in the top photo. But it really comes alive when the sentiments are added, as you can see in the photo below. Like the hat Rainie wears, the difference is not overly obvious.  She could just as easily be wearing something from Target. My page could just as easily have been included in an album sans additional embellishments.
What area of scrapbooking could you leave out of the creative process and not miss too much?
I would usually choose to avoid the finishing part. The thinking of what to say. The figuring out a summarizing phrase that invites further reading into the story of the photo. The finishing touches that sometimes seem to take away from instead of adding to the over all theme of the project.  
I'm terrific about creating page kits! Paper hoarding, I get an A+++ in! Even putting together patterns and textures, balancing my layout with proper photo placement, adding more bling, tape, buttons, etc with abandon, and of course, enjoyment to the umpteenth power; all these come quite naturally and I could immerse myself in doing so for days (and have)!

I would still be satisfied, but would future generations, or even those reading through my albums now, be able to read between layers of pretty paper to find the reasons why I put these particular photos in between plastic sleeves of protection? I don't think so. And that is why, despite my underlying reluctance to share, the heartfelt sentiments I feel so passionately end up on show. I do it for "them." And me. And even you :-)

Just like that warm cap on her head, the journaling and title contain the warmth, show my love in written form, and invite the reader to participate in the art of story telling. Just as winter's chill brings on the extra accessories of coat, hat, and scarf, these words add a layer of love to my albums. And that, I can not do without...

As the weather changes, the boots and sweaters, knit scarves and caps come out, take a moment to add an additional layer of sentiment to your next scrapbook page or creative project- and yes cooking counts as being creative (I've been told)!

Warm thanks for stopping by today!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Let Me Tell You A Story

These pictures show a family out for a brisk afternoon walk. Pretty unremarkable, even with the balanced posing and picturesque background. What they don't show is the story of a mom attempting to capture her darling girls against that lovely brick and wrought iron background while completely blocking the sidewalk. They don't show the group of Gig Harbor visitors trying to make their way past us without interrupting the shot. These pictures don't show a kindly member of the group offering to include mom, her deferring, and his insistence that her smile reflecting those of her children also be captured.
Ah, stranger, thank you for prompting this photographer's joy to be thus recorded!
You know, there is something about this fresh face showing up in my album- having no make up on does not detract in any way from the brilliant beam of my trademark mega watt smile. The selfie "beauty," i.e. softly blurred, filter is missing; all my blemishes (real or imagined) are evident only to my internal knowledge, not in the picture itself. The redness of my cheeks matches my children's and shows that indeed, this spring day had shining skies but a brisk chill still...
Thank you, strange but kind gentleman, for preserving for us the beauty of our happy trio, thoroughly enjoying our day trip to town!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Birthday Card Bonanza

Just had to share these coordinating birthday cards my family created this morning. My cousins son is celebrating his ninth birthday at a football themed party this afternoon. With a couple dollars tucked inside, I'm sure he'll appreciate these even more :-)
Not every family has the time or desire to get scrappy so early in the morning, but my girls and I have no such restriction ideas. Dad, on the other hand, is not so generally inclined. I was happily listening as he misinterpreted my prompt to assist Rainier with her desire to draw a wolf... help her, I reminded him when I saw his hunched form and tightly clutched penciling! She and I were pleasantly surprised by the outcome. He thinks it looks part coyote, but we say, it's 100% awesome!
Her card at top left is turned out so great- I love her use of the sticker at the bottom, the tilt of the vellum birthday cake, and washi tape border with twined buttons layered at the top. Rainie has learned how to interpret the designs of cards she likes pictured in magazines... a great skill for getting past that sometimes monumental task of deciding, What To Make? How many times have we let that question stump us huh?
For my card with the purple background, I turned to a design I use often- that look of a polaroid photo through matting.  I then had the amusing idea to place a square of matted football print paper over a background image of one of those persons. By mounting that scrap in the place of a belly, I was able to tie in with my sentiment inside about not knowing what the future will bring when we hold our children within. This card is for Lil B's mom and dad; I think the parents need to be honored for their dedication to their children as opposed to the kids getting a prize for staying alive another year lol. Both can be considered feats of accomplishment though, of course!
Now we're off to pick up my grandma, who the kids call GG- great grandma :-) She's really excited to join us for the festivities. Getting older, giving up her car, becoming more forgetful... as we celebrate the advncement in age for one member of our family, we remember that she is traveling cautiously but continuously down the other end of that road we call Life. We cherish the times we can spend with each other so much, I know this day ahead will contain fits giggling, barely contained joy, and a lot of hand holding hopefully.
Enjoy your day of Labor free loving!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Family Time

I've received a few invitations to some upcoming Craft-the-weekend away retreats this fall. My fearless artist daughter Rainier has even been invited to accompany me to one that's set in a amongst the hiking trails of the Cascade Mountain range. Interestingly enough, the other takes place in the foothills of the Olympics. The people I've met while attending these events are all really sweet and it's an awesome feeling to be in a room with like minded, artistically inclined women. Sharing the stories that go along with the projects we work on is all part of the fun, and then there are all the snack options too.
 While I'm looking forward to accepting and planning for what I'm bringing along, there is this strange compulsion...to scrapbook as much as I can BEFORE I go! Now, why is that? This is not a new sensation, folks. I mean, if you read 2-5 posts on this blog, you soon realize that the need to create is serious in this artist. And that memory keeping and telling tales to go along with the thousands of photos I take each year comes naturally high up on my list of desired projects.
Year after year, my DF and I travel to the Creating Keepsakes Convention for 2-3 days of papercrafts immersion. And more years than not, I bring a long about 20 premade kits complete with photos, sticker sheets, cardstock, patterned paper and other embellishments like brads, twine or bling. Do I use any of those kits? Sometimes! But more often than not, I end up using the items acquired in the vendor faire or during classes I learn and assist in. If you haven't seen one of my movies before, I've got one that includes a lot of the tips I've learned over the years about packing for a "crop!" Just search for CraftWithAnna on YouTube.
 This layout features pictures taken while chatting
long distance with the East Coast grandparents
Perhaps it is this knowledge that leads to the compulsion I mentioned before. For some reason I now want to eliminate every unused kit in my collection so that I can a. create more kits for these coming events- I gotta use that stash! b., I have to use the stash! lol including photos that I haven't seen for years because they are hidden amongst the plastic bags full of goodies that I also have forgotten I own. c. because the memories fade as quickly as ... hmmm, I know I was going somewhere with that one. :-D

Now, sometimes the pages I end up making don't turn out to be what I would consider award winning presentations. This page I created is really just a bunch of off cuts or scrap pieces I've cut from the other layout I had already made from this homemade scrapbooking kit. The pictures aren't great; they are unedited, feature poor lighting, high contrast of shadowing, and are even blurry. But you know what? They are now in an album. They can be seen again! They tell a tale! And best of all, they have the perspective of appreciation for moments we won't get back included in the journaling.
Another point to this post- I said this layout isn't great... but why isn't it? When I texted this image to a scrappy friend of mine, she thought it looked like it was quilted... what a splendid interpretation. Patchwork becomes patchwork! With a little stitching, either with my pen, or (gasp!) the sewing machine, that look will really come to life.
Oh who am I kidding; this page is already in it's protective cover, and I'm digging through my stash for my next goodie bag of old memories. Hoping you are partaking in a labor of love on this Labor Day weekend- thanks for taking a moment to muse with me!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pre-Funk Friday Family Flashback

 Earlier this week, my younger cousin Daniel left a very sweet message for our family on my facebook timeline... did that message inspire this 8.5x11" layout? Not entirely, but it did prompt me to ponder what a treasure this sometimes misunderstood young man is to our family. In my head I responded with similar praise for him. I came up with flowery sentiments that expressed how much I value his healthy way of interacting with others, how the lifestyle he has may not be what I have in my life, and yet in many ways parallels the choices we make in our natural approach to existing.
You know, to be an original takes guts. It also takes a positive attitude about oneself, lacking in grandiose illusions. It takes research. It takes initiative. It takes follow through. Sure, there are small ways each of us can rebel against "the man" and what society tells us we must have for success, but to live a life that recognizes rebellion as a stance for ones own life, well that to me is no a rally cry for anarchy lol. I guess I'm trying to say that thoughtful living is a trait I've learned is worth admiring.
Alas, I wasn't running to post my thoughts and with the usual living we do around here, the flowery sentiments slipped away... I was still able to post a quick and reciprocal "thank you for being part of my family," yet, this feeling of strengthened kinship lingered. And then it happened: this tiny photographed picture of little Danny and our cousin David out front of grandma's house surfaced from amongst the paper piles in our craft room. Well where the heck did that come from?! Serendipity!
I'm still working out of the kit featured in my August YouTube videos, EmbellishKits.com's Alternative 17 scrapbooking kit. It features the Legacy collection from Simple Stories. I also have the 6x6 paper pad from that line, so I cut out some of those smaller patterns and added them to a piece of that creamy textured Bazill cardstock to build this old-school-sized layout for our family's album.
 I love how the vintage tones compliment the '90's vibe of the boys all dressed up for school. I love that I can see my grandma's neighbors yard looking vibrant in it's hey day. I love that I knew the picture was at grandma's house right away! I love how the boys are posed; the special relationship they shared at the time and how it reminds me in an instant of seeing them with my brother, who is their same age, grouped together in matching outfit as infants.
I love that although the paths of the lives my cousins and I have taken have led us in different geographical directions, led us to alternative career followings, have introduced new ideas about eating healthy to our aunts and uncles, and yet still intersect in this same photographed location: grandma's front yard, the doorway to our Happy Place.
Thank you for making this a Family Flashback Friday, folks <3 Love you, Daniel!