Friday, March 16, 2018

Calvinball Continues

It's mid-March, and we are two weeks into Calvinball.  So far, we are up to 50 "rules," with point perks for each one, and some leeway for those who like to bend the rules, since the basic rule for Calvinball is that there really aren't rules. The rules aren't the point anyway -- Calvinball is really just a fun way to expend creative energies and to rack up the projects by March's end. It's messy and all over the place and kind of brilliant, really.
You don't even have to understand it to jump in the game. It's not too late to join in, as the festivities continue all month long -- as a perk, anyone who starts after March 15th earns a "late bird" point.

It's week two, and I'm up to 124 points, which is far more than I imagined I would have.  Luckily, this week coincided with my spring break, which gave me free time, and my guest designer spot at Pretty Little Studio, which gave me the opportunity to create four projects. Here's the first of the lot, which was featured on the PLS blog yesterday:
I'm pretty sure that this was my first time using Pretty Little Studio's papers. Why did it take me so long? It's possibly because I am heavily kit-dependent, and the papers are 8x8, which may have been why I never encountered them in a kit before. The size wasn't an obstacle for me, though, as I always end up cutting up larger papers into smaller pieces anyway. The papers have an amazing, nearly-glossy-smooth texture and they are color-rich, and the designs come with options: paper, vellum, or clear. Even though my guest stint will come to end in a couple of days, this won't be the last time that I include PLS on my projects (I wasn't asked to plug the products, by the way -- I genuinely do like them!).

I've also been spending lots of quality time with the Hip Kit Club March kits. I combined the main kit and the color kit (which features watercolors!) to create this layout:
We've had a profusion of caterpillars, chrysalises, and butterflies in our yard over the past few weeks, and I love it. It makes me feel like a grade-school kid again, studying the life cycle of butterflies or reading Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It feels magical -- hence the title. 
More details about this page can be found on the Hip Kit Club blog.

I also created a layout with the Hip Kit Club kits for the March 9 sketch feature, using the HKC February kit (and earning some major Calvinball points in the process). It's one of many projects that I've been working on to help my daughter document her travels abroad last semester.
Now it's back to Calvinball for me. I'm hoping to finish a couple more projects before my break ends. Wish me luck! 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tell It True

Should the page fit the story, or should the story fit the page?

Maybe it's both -- page and story converge gradually, with a greater sense of intention and clarity, as the creative process goes along. I usually start a page not with a sense of what supplies or design I want to use, but rather, with a feeling or theme in mind, and both story and page begin to take shape from there. 

Sometimes, however, trusting that the idea that I want to convey will materialize eventually can be a challenge, especially when I am working on a project that asks me to venture into new territory. 

The "funeral page" is an example of that territory. It isn't exactly a common page topic. The tribute page is generally as close as most scrapbookers get when it comes to documenting loss. I've seen threads on forums asking whether it was "weird" to take photos at a funeral, or about whether it was "okay" to scrapbook a funeral. The few funeral layouts that I have seen -- and I've only seen two or three -- included dark and somber colors, as well as understated patterns and fonts. They definitely did not look like this: 
This is the only layout that I have ever made about a funeral, although I suppose "funeral" is a misnomer, as my Uncle Joe specifically requested NOT to have a somber and serious funeral, but a lively party instead. There are no funerary blacks and navys here -- just elements that remind me of my uncle and his Hawai'i roots, his love of the ocean, and his vibrant personality. 

I will admit that I had reservations about creating this page -- not just because of the topic, but because of the approach I wanted to take. I mean, I used the word "fun" pretty boldly here -- was that okay? 

My uncle would definitely say yes, so I'm cool with it. 

I choose to think of this page not just as a reminder of a colorful life well-lived, but of the importance of giving ourselves permission to tell stories in ways that feel real and vivid and true to us. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Calvinball, Day 4

I confess, I got off to a late start with Calvinball, thanks to yet another winter cold.  The digi scrappers each have something like 100 layouts done already (okay, I'm exaggerating -- it's more like 50), but as I am an analog scrapper for the most part, with a compromised immune system (pity points?!), even a single layout can be considered a victory for this weekend. 

So now I am feeling a wee bit pumped, as I have not just one, but two layouts done -- one for Hip Kit Club (to be shared next Friday), and another that I just finished a moment ago.  Because (1) I was having trouble getting motivated and (2) I need to devote what remains of my weekend toward things I have to do versus things I want to do, I set a 30-minute time limit and got to work. Here's the resulting half-hour page:
I grabbed a piece of fabric, trimmed a few rectangles for the photo mat and journaling block, and then hand-cut a variety of circles from some paper scraps (including some "vintage" KI Memories -- I'm still in shock about actually using something that I had been hoarding for years). I quickly stitched a garland together, feeding circles into the machine, and then arranged it behind and around the photo. The journaling was kind of a stream-of-consciousness approach, best composed on my computer so as to correct any errors easily and promptly (except for the use of "also" instead of "always" that I missed and the final period that slipped by me -- oh, well!). The final touch was to stitch everything down on the page (no time for glue to dry). 

Given more time, it might have turned out differently, but then again, it's kind of intriguing to see what can happen over a 30-minute time span. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

So Me

Defining one's style can be tricky. When I first started scrapbooking, I had no idea what my "style" was, much less anyone else's. Some identified their style through labels such as "simple" or "shabby chic" or "freestyle," but over time, I started to understand that the term has less to do with labels and what is trending in the industry, and more to do with what characterizes one's approach to creating. It's similar to literature, in which "style" refers to how one writes. For instance, a poet, like e.e. cummings, might flout the rules of punctuation and capitalization; this is part of his style.

When you think about how you create, do you notice any particular elements that seem to emerge often enough to indicate that they are a part of your style?

My most recent layout using the Hip Kit Club February 2018 kits features at least five elements that make this a trademark "Jill" page.
(1) Journaling in sections -- most often strips or labels -- and usually in a typewritten font. While the structure may vary, I do notice that I often build toward the main idea instead of expressing it outright from the start, often using figurative language. I tend to use a listing approach pretty frequently, and I do so love parallelism. 

(2) Layering. I don't think it is possible for me to make a layout without doing this. Even this simple grid layout, based on a sketch, called for a single square per section, but I couldn't resist adding another layer or two to each of the squares. There are even more page layers here under the white layer. 

(3) Multiple photos, overlapping or tucked into parts of the page, with detail pics included. Although I do make single-photo layouts, they are actually more of a challenge to me than a multi-photo page. I often end up building up the layout with "faux" photos, adding frames and boxes to contain accents and journaling with a similar weight to the main photo. When I include multiple photos, I feel as if more of the story is being told somehow, and detail photos are a part of that. I love "zooming in" -- and not just in the photos, but in the stories that they spark. 

(4) Symbolism. Very little of what I add to a page can be considered arbitrary. I choose elements because they have something to do with the theme or the feeling I am trying to express. For instance, on this page, there is the overt Valentine's Day theme, which explains the abundance of hearts and pink and red, but there is also the Lenten theme of transformation and growth, which is why I chose the flower and butterfly accents. 

(5) Orderly Chaos.  It is difficult for me to create minimalistic, subdued pages with everything in perfect horizontal or vertical alignment.  I am drawn to vibrant colors, telling bits and pieces, texture and dimension, items placed at angles, messy stitching, a little chaos within the order of things. 

How about you? What defines your style? 

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Lately, I have been...

...reading Veronica Roth's Carve the Mark.  You might recall her as the author of the Divergent series.
I'm about halfway through. During the school year, it's tough for me to tear through books the way I do during breaks, so it takes me a few weeks to finish a single book (unless it really grabs me and forces me to block out the rest of the world, which is, alas, kind of rare).

,,,welcoming the return of John Oliver's LastWeekTonight. Finally!

...loving these rainy days we've been having, especially when those days occur on weekends, when the sleeping is goooood.

...getting crafty with the Hip Kit Club kits. This week's HKC sketch was the kind I love -- lots of room for bits and pieces:
I used the February kits above, but because the January kit was still calling to me, I combined both kits to create the layout below: 
And yes, that is a cut file -- I am so happy to finally have a Silhouette again!

...contributing to the latest class at Get It Scrapped. This one stretched me creatively:
It kind of reminds me of a challenge blog that I was a part of years ago (headed by Lana Rapette). We sought inspiration from items around us -- coffee cups, curtains, computers -- and found ways to translate that to the page. For this class, the challenge was to draw inspiration not just from one object, but from a vignette -- a gathering of objects. You can see a peek of my project on the right side of the image above.  

...getting ready for Calvinball! I am so excited! 
This year, Get It Scrapped is bringing back the annual month-long challenge, which runs from March 1-31.  There is a Calvinball section on the GIS forum, where you can read the rules (and suggest new ones), chat with others who are participating this year, and keep track of the points that you earn (including a freebie point for signing up in February) -- it's free, and anyone can join in! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Very Punny

My daughter is a connoisseur of puns, appreciating wholly the little witticisms that make weaker people cringe and beg for mercy. My most recent page using the Hip Kit Club January kits celebrates this trait.
Seriously, though -- what else could I have done with a pic that features a large lobster in the background?  

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Hidden Treasures

I don't mean to be a Judgy McJudgerson, but I must confess that layouts without any journaling (or with vague titles like "Best Day Ever!" and no explanation whatsoever for what made that day the best on record in all of human history) make me reach for my figurative gavel. As eye-catching as they can be, I inevitably find myself searching for the story.  

And yes, I know that photos can tell a story all on their own, and that sometimes people create pages that are all about art for art's sake, but by and large, for me, when it comes to the business of documenting one's memories in scrapbook form, without journaling, something


Thus, I was understandably a little self-conscious about sharing this layout.  Where's the story? 
Lest we venture into pot and kettle territory here, let me assure you that the journaling does indeed exist on this page -- it's just hidden! 
Tasked with creating a layout with hidden journaling, I tucked the journaling into the layers of the page, stitching on a tab to call attention to this particular layer. 

It feels strange to me to look at the page and not see the words jump out right away.  

There is something to be said about hiding one's journaling, not just for privacy's sake or to surprise someone who comes upon that page someday, but also because some designs don't easily open themselves up to the inclusion of journaling. Sometimes they do feel visually complete without additional text, and finding a home for one's story, spatially speaking, can be a challenge. 

I actually liked doing this so much that I did it again on another recent Hip Kit Club layout, this one also using the January 2018 kits. 
Maybe hidden journaling offers a compromise -- though storytelling is as important as it has always been, a layout need not have visible journaling on it in order to feel complete (though I admit, a stubborn part of me is still reluctant to go hunting for it -- ha).