I sat down this morning looking for inspiration and this layout came together faster than any one I've done before. I applied clear gesso before adding water and drops of mist to create a watercolor background. Next I applied stenciling and stamps before adding layers of paper and embellishments.
I used three website challenges for inspiration. The first was Rochelle Spears' Tic Tac Toe August Challenge. I used the dry embossing, circle, and chevron patterned paper.
For the colors, I used The Scrappy Friends Color Challenge. This isn't a color combo I'd normally gravitate towards and I wasn't sure I'd participate in this one, but I enjoyed the challenge. Actually, I think that's what helped it come together so quickly.
For sketch inspiration, I used The Scrappy Friends August Sketch Challenge.
My latest layout was inspired by three challenges. The first was Scrap Around the World's mood board challenge. I'll be honest, when I first looked at this board I thought it was beautiful, but I was struggling to find inspiration. While I appreciate elegant, soft, and ethereal layouts, I lean more towards modern, bold and bright. However, I like that this challenge allows you to be inspired by one element and doesn't restrict you to using the colors featured. With that said, I focussed on the image of the thread and decided to try something completely different. I kept it bright and modern, but departed from my typical mixed media style. There's little mixed media here. Instead, I combined my love of quilting with my love of paper crafting. I spent time looking at pinterest for quilt inspiration and then playing with cutouts and paper placement. I will most definitely be trying more of this style and I'm hoping to combine mixed media techniques in interesting ways.
My next inspiration came from the Scrap & Play mood board. I used this board to inspire my colors and the theme of a beach adventure. While the photo itself isn't taken on the beach, that where we were headed. In the journaling, I share that my pup Bruno's favorite place in the world is the beach and we were on our way to Lincoln City, Oregon. We had rented a beach house there during the holidays last December.
My third challenge was inspired another Scrap & Play prompt, the Dog Dayz of Summer, to scrap your dog. I've had this photo of Bruno printed and ready to be included in a layout for weeks. This was the perfect opportunity. My other dog, Lulu is very cuddly, but Bruno likes her space. One of the only times she's a lapdog is when we're in the car and then she insists on sitting in the front seat with me.
Lastly, I placed in another scrap challenge - top three again for my latest entry, Our Home, for Life.Paper.Scrapbook! Awesome.
I've been thinking a lot lately about what brought me to this place of creativity, quilting, embroidery, starting an art journal, discovering mixed media, the creation of this blog, and my renewed appreciation of papercrafting. In light of the sad death of Robin Williams, I've been thinking about mental illness, inner struggles, social media and scrapbooking, and what I choose to share with the world. I realize my scrap pages and my online life often look all sunshine and roses. Many times, this is true and there's much joy to document. I value instagram/facebook/scrapbooking, because in looking at photos I'm reminded of how fortunate I am to live this life. I can archive and remember the beautiful moments, the people I adore, and the places I've been.
However, truth be told, there have been some tough spots, but those ones are rarely shared. The last few years have been filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. I'm always debating on how much of the rough stuff to share, especially on the interwebs. I've had times of incredible disappointment, anger, stress, sadness, and anxiety. There have been dark places where it was hard to see a way through the pain. It's brought me to my knees. I've pushed people away and contemplated running away from this life. It's in those moments where I've learned the most about myself, my resiliency, my ability to heal, and my community of support. I think creativity has become a healing practice, a form of meditation, and a gift to myself. The creativity has allowed me to focus on my gratitude, to feel more confident in sharing my expression of self, to be messy and make mistakes, to feel the good stuff and the painful emotions, and try to have a more optimistic outlook. With an intention to live a more wholehearted life and to be brave, my perspective has changed greatly. I'm trying to unlearn years of socialization, with a leaning towards criticism, rigidity, and doubt. It's a big shift and I'm a work in progress. I'll add that going to therapy has been one of the best decisions I've made in recently years. Seriously, it's saved me again and again. I was once embarrassed to admit that I was talking to someone, but now I share it openly and find myself continually encouraging others to do the same. As a friend said recently, self care is sexy.
With that said, there's some hard shit right now. I feel myself slipping into grief and old coping habits and I need a reminder. I'm recalling the last intention from the Brene Brown e-course: My story matters because I matter. I'm looking back at old art journal entries and I'm reminding myself to continue the heart work. That it's important to live an authentic life. To give myself permission. To be brave. To create clearing and remember my calm map. To set intentions. To forgive, namely myself. To stop letting fear and shame hold me back.
July was hectic in the very best way. After a week in Mexico I was home for a bit and then left for a work/pleasure trip in Boston. I'd started this scrap page prior to my trip and was excited to get home and finish it. I was also pleased to check in on my only scrappy challenge submission from last month to see that I won Paper Secrets top prize (!!!) and an honorable mention from Scrap Around the World.
For this Life.Paper.Scrapbook mood board I was inspired by several elements - the theme of home, the textures, and the colors. Every year the trees in front of our house have vibrant pink blooms, but they only last a week or two. Then, they fall and leave a big mess that we rarely (read: never) clean up and the ick sticks around a lot longer than the pretty. We've lived in this house seven years and I always want to get a picture of them in full effect, but never have. As I was finally taking a photo of these trees in bloom, this goofball ran by and photobombed me. For the texture, I started with a stencil and modeling paste. Then, I added ink sprays and gelatos for background color, sewed burlap fabric as a base, and used lots of paper layers and some embellishments.
Just a quick post to share a couple cards I made recently. For this thank you card I went embossing happy. I used an embossing folder for the clouds and busted out my embossing powders, which I haven't used in awhile.
I made this love card for my sweetheart. Before leaving for Boston last week I surprised him with this card and 7 boxes. Each had a note counting down the days until we saw each other again and gift for every day I was gone. I think I enjoyed the anticipation of him opening up each gift as much as he liked opening them.