Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life with dirt on its knees...

Hello again!

This week's layout was inspired by one of Al Hannah's - I think it was her first one posted for the year. Her "Booger" page made me realise it's been a while since I've done one of those fun, not-so-'pretty', kind of life-but-with-dirt-on-its-knees layouts. So I dug out Joel's first lost tooth (or teeth) photos and had a play. Here 'tis:

The other shots from this day were all fairly average; there's "artistically blurred", and then there's just plain out of focus. Try as I might, I couldn't convince myself they fell into the former camp. So since the one good one had, by happy chance, almost a colour blocked background effect, I thought it might work as a repeated vertical image. Plus, it reinforced the "multiple" theme. That was the idea, anyway.

Very much enjoyed limiting the colour palette to neutrals, too. Ah, neutrals...the multitaskers of the scrapbooking world! Love, love, love them.

We're just weathering the final days of school holidays here. I think everyone's ready for the regular routine to start up again. Our youngest is going to school for the first time, and is both enormously excited, and touchingly proud of his new uniform and shoe-tying capabilities. Love this, given to him by my mum yesterday:

Just gorgeous. It's taken pride of place on the fridge. :)

Have a wonderful week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Week Three Layout

Another week, another layout! This 52-layouts-in-a-year challenge is really kick-starting the creativity drive; I’ve done more in three weeks than I did in the last three months of 2011.

Here’s Layout Three:

I haven’t used this colour much before, but I think I’ll have to add it into the repertoire. It’s not as adaptable as the neutrals and earthy tones I love best, but with the right photos, it can pack a real punch.

Have a wonderful week :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Refining the One Little Word

Late last year, long before I’d finishing mourning the demise of our local Borders store, a new bookshop opened in its place. It’s one of those discount ones, where (almost) everything is only $5. I’ve spent many a blissful hour wandering around in there, and have the satisfyingly burgeoning pile of books-yet-to-be-read here at home to prove it. (I maintain to Husband that books don’t count as purchases. They are Investments. Come to think of it, the same argument could be made for scrap supplies...)

The only drawback to this little piece of heaven is that, apart from “Fiction” and “Non-Fiction”, there is absolutely no logic nor order as to what goes where. Jackie Collins cuddles up next to Charlotte Bronte. The Shining is sandwiched between Great Expectations and Atonement. If you like organisation and alphabetisation, this is not the place for you. In fact, I know someone (and you know who you are, my charmingly self-proclaimed OCD friend) who, in protest, won’t even go in there.

Not me. I treat it as a treasure hunt, and am duly rewarded – every single time.

Yesterday, as I floated out of there, hugging a John Banville novel, while trying to flick through my new book on art journaling without colliding into too many strangers, I had a One Little Word epiphany (see, there was a scrapbooking point to all this). And it was this:

Seeing isn’t a passive activity. Just as I’m prepared to spend time hunting through the thousands of books in the shop for the possibility of unearthing a gem or two, so too if I’m going to really see and discover moments and opportunities this year, I’m going to have to be ready to pursue those moments and opportunities as I catch a glimpse of them. Simply noticing without responding does no good at all.

For example: two days ago, my son asked me to play Monopoly with him, “just the two of us, Mum.” It did actually occur to me at the time that this was exactly the kind of opportunity to play or connect that I’d anticipated - also, that nine times out of ten, I’d probably feel there was something more pressing to do first. So I played, and it was great. (Especially since I won convincingly. There’s no mercy in Monopoly).

Now, if I’d just thought, “Wow! This is exactly the kind of moment I anticipated! I’m so glad I picked up on that," and then did nothing about it, I would have completely wasted the opportunity. I may as well not even have seen it. So, genuine seeing has to be active, with some kind of response, or it’s meaningless. Which reminds me of that Brooke Fraser lyric, “Now that I have seen, I am responsible.”

Went back and added the word “actively” under “see” on the layout, just so as not to forget. No excuses now!

Philosophising over. The second week of the year is complete, as is my second layout:

For some reason, Joel layouts always seem to come together quickly; maybe because my preferred style of working, with minimalist clean lines, seems to echo and express the meticulous, logical aspects of his personality. Don’t know. But it’s fun.

Have a wonderful week; I’m off to curl up with a book. Ah, Sunday afternoons…

Monday, January 9, 2012

One Little Word

Have decided to forego the traditional new year’s resolution list this year. Looking back over previous years, it seems to be that my resolutions can typically be divided into two camps: the ones I really want to do, and the ones that could be prefixed by the phrase “I really should...”. The ones I want to do I do anyway, and the ones I ‘should’ do usually fall by the wayside (or are actively jettisoned) by about mid-February.

So, I’m going to try out Ali Edwards’ concept, “One Little Word”. For any of you unfamiliar with this, it just means picking one word that sums up what you want to focus on for that year.

My word for 2012 is “SEE”. Decided on that after a passage in a book I was reading late last year jumped out at me:

“It takes close attention to see what is happening in front of you. It takes work, pious effort, to see what you are looking at. He was mesmerised by this, the depths that were possible in the slowing of motion, the things to see, the depths of things so easy to miss in the shallow habit of seeing.”
                                                                              Don De Lillo, Point Omega

It was the last phrase that did it: “the shallow habit of seeing.” It struck me that I do tend to live through a day without often stopping to really see what going on around me. It’s surface-level living, I suppose. When you stop to think about it, life’s full of wonderful, surprising, transient moments, and opportunities to play, appreciate, or connect with people (especially family); I want this to be the year that I start to notice – and act on - them more.

Made this the focus of the first layout of the year. This isn’t for any album, this is to go on the wall as a reminder for me through out the year. Here ‘tis:

I wanted a really striking visual image to go with the word, and this one (which started out life as playing with aperture settings) seemed to fit the bill nicely. I deliberately kept the whole thing very simple, just words + photo, since it’s meant to trigger reflection. Plus, to me anyway, the image is embellishment enough. Actually, as I started to jot down ideas that the word “see” inspired , I was amazed by how much is in it – this could be my One Little Word for the rest of the decade…

Good start to the year. Am going to try and follow Al Hannah's example and finish a layout a week, so so far, so good! (That's not a New Year's Resolution, by the way, that's an intention...Besides, it's a "want to do", not a "should do", so it doesn't count. ;) )

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting a new year, and finishing an old project.

Happy new year to you and yours!

I’m feeling pretty excited about finishing off a work-in-progress, and even more excited by how it turned out. I posted some shots of my photo wall way back, and had assembled it on the study wall. Family loved it, but pointed out that I was the only person who could really enjoy it (which was my original intention, actually). Husband suggested an extended version would be just the thing for the dining room wall. And it was so!

Here ‘tis:  (photos are a bit dark, sorry – only photographable at certain times of the day when the light’s not hitting them directly. In retrospect, I probably should have used matt photos…)

The great thing about making it a family wall, rather than one just for me, was hunting out photos that reflected or symbolised our family life. There were unexpected gems everywhere! The photos with our names, for example, I didn’t even take – found them on my phone, after my girl had had a play with it. She’d formed the names out of  Silly Putty and then photographed the results. (Dreadful stuff, Silly Putty. Non-staining? Ppfftt…). And look at these!

Bottle of wine Aaron had in the pantry, and a fence post at a playground. (one of those fences where you can ‘donate’ a paling and have your name or business recorded as a sponsor). Brilliant. J

I’ve got enough tiles in waiting to put another row on each block, but I’ll wait till I have the right photos, rather than filler ones. Plenty of time, and in any case, it’s fine for now.

Off now to pack for family camping holiday. The plan is to leave by . I’m predicting ….I’m sure it will be wonderful, but it’s 41 degrees today, and enthusiasm is waning somewhat. On the plus side, at least we won’t be cold…