Sunday, October 25, 2015

Family Heritage Scrapbook

I've taken it upon myself to start working on a history of our family in a heritage scrapbook, in between everything else that I'm doing. It is a huge, daunting prospect! Many hours have been spent doing research both online and through conversations with older members of the family.

My fathers' mother on the left
with her brother and sister
as teenagers
I regret not tackling this project sooner. A lot of information has been lost forever with those who are no longer with us. How I wish I'd spent more time with my grandparents, asking questions about their lives and listening to their stories.

Luckily, there are some histories written down from different branches of the family that I will be able to draw information from to fill in some of the blanks. There will, however, be information more challenging or impossible to retrieve at this point. I'm very sad about that.

A LOT of my time has already been spent scanning old photos shared with me by cousins and aunts. I must say that it's been worth the effort though. What a treasure trove of visual reminders of days past and lives well lived! I hope I will be able to do justice to them in the end.

My mother, aged 3-4,  with
her paternal grandparents
Unfortunately, so many of those photos are in pretty rough shape; faded, torn, folded, water damaged, etc. It's a miracle that they are still around, I suppose, but I would love to restore the worst of them for my scrapbook before they are beyond saving.

As I said before, it is a pretty daunting task that I have taken on. I pray that I am up for the challenge. I'll tackle it one page at a time and with luck be able to scan and make copies to share with other members of the family down the road.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Time to Clean Up

When my eldest son, one of the most 'casual' housekeepers that I know, tells me that my office/craft room is messy and needs to be cleaned up...I know it's time.

'Someone Else' aka Me
Seriously, I'm not sure how long the dirty dishes would remain on the coffee table if 'Someone Else' didn't take them to the kitchen. And then they'd sit on the counter for who knows how long after that if 'Someone Else' didn't wash, dry and put them in the cupboard.

And the dirty laundry rarely hits the hamper unless 'Someone Else' puts it there. But I digress, let's get back to the job at hand...trying to clean up my office/craft room.

I managed to get through some of it last night. I shredded a whole bag of scrap paper and filed a mound of paid bills, bank statements and other stuff in my filing cabinet. Not a bad start but still a long way to go. I've let it slide far too long.

There are a few ATC swaps that I want to sign up for but I need to have a place to work/create. The chaos is cluttering my head and my creative energy is stymied by the disorganization.

Ideally, I'd like to have a craft room like this...

...but it is currently more like this.

Okay, I admit it's not quite that bad. I can see it getting that way if I don't tackle it now though. Here's hoping that I can find the bottom of the piles this weekend, so there is still time to sign up for the swaps.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Handmade Halloween Greeting Card

Making my own greeting cards is something I've been wanting to try my hand at for awhile. I've received so many lovely handmade ones from different artistic friends over the last couple of years and I really cherish them. I appreciate all the effort that went into making them for me.

Front of the card
I recently decided that it was time for me to quit stalling and delve into it too. I signed up for a handmade Halloween greeting card swap, then started my online quest for ideas. Normally, I don't sign up for a swap until I have a clear plan in my head of what I want to create. But not this time.

The base of the card is black cardstock, with the yellow cardstock cut slightly smaller and glued on top. The 'netting' is actually drywall tape painted black. The 'sign' on the front is mounted onto the card with double sided sponge dots to give it dimension. The bat sticker in the top left hand corner was an after-thought. The card did not look 'finished'. I knew it needed something else to complete it. A friend suggested that a single bat might do the trick. She was right.

Inside of the card
The design is relatively simple but I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I hope that my partner will be too. *smile*

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Decorated Shipping Tags

I really enjoyed decorating this shipping tag at the mini workshop at Scrapfest in September so much that I bought whole box of them at work today. One thousand blank shipping tags are now waiting for my creative talents to turn them into art! That should keep me busy over the winter months.

Once again, I will be scouring the world wide web for images, videos and tutorials to see and learn new and innovative ways to turn these plain old tags into works of creative genius.

Well, perhaps I'm over-estimating my abilities a wee bit here but one thing is certain...I'm going to have a lot of fun! Maybe I can interest some of my artistic friends to experiment along with me and then we can swap with each other too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Artistic Experimentation

Take my access to YouTube away! I've seen so many fabulous videos lately on various tools and techniques to create mixed media journal pages and ATCs. And I want to try it all!

I've done a bit of experimentation over the last couple of weeks from knowledge gleened from some of these videos. My 'success rate', however, is questionable.

Background #1
Take the homemade gesso I made. Seriously, please take it away! It sounded easy enough to do. One part white glue, three parts water and six parts baby powder...put all ingredients into a jar and shake until blended.

Instead of smooth and creamy, it came out runny and grainy. Adding more baby powder made it worse...sticky and lumpy. Gesso is used in artwork as a base or primer for paint and other materials that are applied over it. This stuff is not going to do the job.

I've played around a bit with mixed media backgrounds, using torn paper, craft paint, stencils, rubber stamps and ink pads. They make it look so easy on the videos combining multiple materials and techniques for fabulous end results.

Background #2
Am I happy with the first attempts at it? No, not really, but perhaps I'm being over-critical of my own work. That happens a lot. Or perhaps I just need to keep working at it, refine my skills a bit. Practice makes perfect, they say, right?

I'm almost afraid to tackle the next project I had my eyes on...making a homemade gelli plate which allows you to create beautiful monotypes without a press, using materials anyone has in their studio. They are available commercially but are fairly expensive and not really in my budget right now

I found a recipe/formula on one of the videos I watched to make one using vegetable glycerin, plain gelatin and boiling water. Once again, it sounds simple enough to make but will it really come out as advertised? I guess there is only one way to find out. I will let you know how this one goes another day. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A New Year Begins

This is me as a Peanuts character
No, I have not lost my mind nor have I been time-warped to January 1st, 2016. Today is my birthday, so technically, I am beginning a new year on this planet.

And how else would one begin their day of celebration but to be at the laundromat at the crack of dawn. *smile*  At least that task was finished early enough that I can enjoy the rest of the day.

One of my goals for this year is to post to the blog more often, perhaps not daily, but several times a week at least. Sometimes it might only be a quote that has inspired me, some days I may ramble on for what will seem like an eternity. Please bear with me through it all.

This year is going to be better than the last one has been; the last two years, in truth. So much has happened to me over that time, most of it less than desirable, unwanted, unplanned and unnecessary. I will not recount the many trials and tragedies I've endured right now, although at some point I may examine some of them for the purpose of improving my situation. Just know that I'm determined things will be different moving forward.

Accept what is,
let go of what was, 
and have faith in what
will be.