Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Celebrating love…and getting philosophical in the process :)

Last weekend we went to what was probably the most wonderful wedding I've ever been to (except my own, of course ;) ) I don't think I've ever seen a couple so utterly, joyously and unashamedly happy as the bride and groom. And, being two of the most jaw-droppingly creative people around, they made their day exactly what they wanted it to be - a whole-hearted celebration of life, love and family. From the invitations made of old children's book illustrations to the 'hangi'/'hungi' (meat roasted in underground pit for a day and night) reception on her family's farm, and everything in between, it was just amazing. And I still get a wee bit teary - in a good way - when I remember his speech: "The day I met Laura, she ticked all my boxes. And ever since then, she's been drawing new boxes, and ticking them..."

From a what-was-inspiring-and-how-can-we-apply-this-to-scrapbooking point of view (because I know I'm not the only one who does that, hey??), I was really inspired by how authentically "them" their day was. There was nothing that was done simply because they felt they 'should', or because some magazine had said it was this season's "must-have/do". Every little detail reflected something of Jono and Laura themselves - and everybody there LOVED it.

I've been thinking about that and it struck me that while, yes, new products and trends are wonderful and exciting, and while it's good to try something new every so often, at the end of the day what's most important is that I tell my stories in my own authentic creative voice. I can think of several layouts I've done just because a product/style was trendy at the time, and they're definitely not the ones I enjoy going revisting once a bit of time has passed. I guess what I'm really talking about is learning to be satisfied with the way I express myself creatively, rather than letting what's fashionable, or other people’s opinions dictate it. After all, so long as I'm satisfied, that's what really counts, huh? It was a timely reminder (and seems to be an ongoing life lesson for me :-/ )

Enough philosophising! On to Layout Twelve. Here 'tis:

(That illustration below the photos was on the front of their invitations – just gorgeous) This was the easiest layout I've done in a long time, mainly because all the elements (book text, sheet music, scrabble tiles - scrabble tiles! :)  - keys, twigs) were just mimicking the wedding decorations. Too easy! In fact the hardest thing was trying not to think about all the supplies from my still-in-storage-stash I could have used, while I was buying this lot. Missing stash quite badly now - 9 months is a long time... Nearly there!

On a final note, thank you to all of you who take the time to leave comments – they really are very much appreciated! Ooh, and if anyone knows of a company that makes Scrabble style patterned paper, I'd love to hear of it. (I thought there'd be stacks out there, but apparently not...)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A note to self

Hello and happy Friday to you! Blogging has taken a back seat this week, I'm afraid; every spare moment has been spent engrossed in a book. I've been reading "The Sunne In Splendour" by Sharon Penman, and I have a feeling it's set to become one of the old friends on my bookshelves that I return to again and again. It tells the life of Richard III (stay with me...), who's been reviled as one of history's great villains. The book is the author's attempt to "reclaim" him, so to speak, from what she sees as the vicious rewriting of his history by his enemies after his death. It's just wonderful.

Plus, it got me to thinking about just how powerful - and enduring - the written word is. It can utterly destroy a reputation, or it can celebrate, inspire, encourage and heal. (Can you see a link to scrapbooking hoving into view here?) Made a mental note to re-commit to telling the stories of my family's lives. Stories matter. Stories endure. And when it comes to my family, my taking the time to record their stories is tangible proof that they were deeply loved and appreciated.

And so on to Layout Eleven (done prior to this week, obviously!)

These shots were just practising-with-camera-settings ones initially, but when I looked at them, the splash of red in a sea of steel grey seemed to symbolise Mike's personality nicely. They made me smile, and when partnered with some "Alphabet Soup" papers, became one of my "Friday" layouts. Good fun.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thank you, Eleanor Roosevelt!

Was it she who said “do something every day that scares you”? Can’t remember. In any case, that quote was the springboard for Layout Ten. I came across it again and started thinking about what “scares” me in scrapbooking terms. Or, if that’s a little strong, what it is I avoid for being too intimidating or simply “not me”.

Two things sprang to mind: Bright, in-your-face colours and bling. I’m a quiet soul generally, and I think that carries through onto my pages. I love rich colour, but I like it to blend in and harmonise with my photos, rather than contrast. I’ve mentioned my Bling Aversion before now…

So, breathing deeply and with photos in hand, I trotted off to the local store, and bypassed all the sections I usually beeline for.

Here’s the end result:

(I’m not sure that the purple of the paper and rhinestones shows up in the photo here as it actually is; it’s a really vibrant ultra-violet in the flesh.)

First thing I found was that I had to play with my photos a bit. I liked the shot itself, but it got lost when I held it against anything bright. So I messed around with the colour and brightness levels, until I got (what I thought was) an intense ‘arty’ effect. Discovery: You don’t need Photoshop for this – it is in fact extremely easy to do! After doing that, the photos actually preferred the company of the brights.

Second thing I found (and I hope this isn’t cheating) was that I was happiest with a bright + neutral scheme, rather than a bright + bright one. That scheme seemed to work best with the photo – the bright emphasised the intensity of the photos’ colours, while the beige echoed the serenity of the pose. Whatever the reason, it made brights Dani-friendly. J

And so to the bling. Do you know, I actually felt slightly anxious as it started to go on. Had to keep repeating, wild-eyed, to myself, “thematically justified! It’s thematically justified!!”  That’s what made it work for me, along with using it tone-on-tone. That was a discovery – when you use bling in the same colour as the background, it’s there without being THERE!!!!  Ha! Bling for the shy and retiring…
So, this week has taught me that “do something every day that scares you” is still valid and pithy advice. I shall make a mental note and try to follow it – though perhaps just every other day ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New projects – part two

It’s a tired but happy blogger that I am tonight. Last night my sisters and I got together to watch the Oscars – as we always do. Perfect girly fun. Only thing was, we’d planned to record it during the day so we could fast forward through the ads and plastic orange people doing the red carpet interviews, which worked like a dream last year. This time for some reason it didn’t work, so we couldn’t start watching until after 9.30. ’s a lot later than it used to be…. Still, The King’s Speech and Colin Firth both won, so the universe is as it should be. J

Have started another new project. (Very excited by this one, since it’s for my room in our new house.) I love having photos around me, but I discovered during the de-cluttering house-selling process last year that I really don’t like clutter. It felt so good to get rid of stuff!  Plus, a lot of the stuff – especially frames and pictures – I realised I just had up or out because I always had done. It was simply habit. So how to combine the love of photos with the dislike of clutter?

This is my solution:

Several packs of Kaiser’s mini canvasses, and the photos I most adore. Have only done 8 so far, but have 15 planned (for now). These are going in a grid like this on the wall. As I make more I’ll change the configuration around to suit.

I love the idea of it being a work in progress, but looking finished and streamlined now. Completely neutralises that inner sinking feeling you get when you look at a still-to-do pile of stuff. Best of both worlds, frankly!

 Problem solved. Now, to solve the issue of missed sleep….