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.
I just returned from an amazing weeklong vacation in Puerto Vallarta with my love and four friends. We were celebrating our five year wedding anniversary (10 years together!) a little early, because we'll be apart on the actual date in August. Normally when traveling I'm gogogo, but this vacation was far from that. We spent a week at a fancy pants, adults only, all-inclusive resort. Every day consisted of long boozy breakfasts, lounging beach or poolside, swimming and more swimming, amazing (cheap!) massages, drinking many fruity beverages, eating all the foods, and sometimes participating in resort activities such as salsa dancing and water aerobics. It was perfect.
I'm slowly adjusting back to reality before I leave for another weeklong trip to Boston. That one will be part work and part fun. I dreamt about crafting while I was on vacation, missing it, and wishing I would have brought some creative supplies with me. Maybe in the future I'll make a travel pack and bring along my art journal. I know people do it, but I'm trying to wrap my brain around what supplies would work best while traveling.
After returning I was pleasantly surprised to check in on my first month of scrapbook color and mood board challenges. I entered four challenges and did pretty well. One honorable mention from Scrap Around the World, a top 3 for Life.Paper.Scrapbook, and a top five for kreative koncepts! That's awesome and encouraging for participating in more challenges. I'm already working on my next entry.
This page was in honor of Oregon becoming the nineteenth jurisdiction with the freedom to marry for queer couples. We attended the Oregon United for Marriage victory party held at Montgomery Park. It was a beautiful night with gorgeous friends. Inspired by the scrapping of Umenorskan, I started with a mixed media background using a variety of stencils, stamps and drops of spray ink. This is much different than the type of scrapbooking I did years ago. I like the idea of starting with white paper and building layers with ink and paper before adding embellishments. I'm looking forward to much more experimenting.
I have an insatiable need for creativity right now and I'm thoroughly enjoying all forms of paper crafting once again. I've been so focused on other forms of creativity (mostly quilting and embroidery) the last few years that it's been a long time since I've busted out my stamps and dug through my stacks of paper that have been collecting dust. Art journaling helped me rediscover my interest in scrapbooking, only this time I'm integrating mixed media techniques. This is a messier, less refined, and free-form type of scrapping and I adore it. Namely, it lets me use my scrapbooking tools in new ways.
Here's a recent page I made for my friend Katy's birthday in tribute to her two adorable dogs.
Week five of Brene Brown's e-course highlights the importance of music, song and dance in living a wholehearted life. Don't I know it. While my favorites have changed throughout the years, music has always been vitally important to me. I've often dreamt of being a singer, playing an instrument, joining a band, and going on tour. My first career aspirations were to be a singer, namely Madonna. Much to my family's disdain, I loved to sing, loudly, and with lots of emotion. Unfortunately, I wasn't gifted with any musical talent whatsoever. For real. While my voice leaves much to be desired, my enthusiasm for music continues.
Now one of my favorite activities is attending the concerts of the musicians I adore. With summer quickly approaching, I'm particularly thrilled about the onset of outdoor concerts. Portland has some fantastic venues and I have a slew of amazing concerts lined up in the next few months. My wallet cries, but my heart is happiest watching live music, singing along with friends, and dancing as the sun fades.
This week's art journal prompt was to create an authenticity playlist with a song that lifts you up, a song that you love to dance to, a song you want to sing along to, a song to get you through tough times, and a feisty song. Creatively, I believe this is my favorite art journal spread to date and the process came easily. The hardest part of this journal was determining my favorite song for each category. I quickly decided not to limit myself to just one and picked three songs for each. As I was creating the page, I had an actual playlist of these songs on in the background. Our house is typically filled with music, but it was little louder and there was even more dancing this week.
Here's some closeups of the pages and my favorites for each category.
What is my superpower or that thing I'm area I excel? What's the kryptonite or the aspects of my superpower that aren't serving me well? These are questions I continued to explore in week 4 of Brene Brown's art journaling e-course. This is also the week that prompted me to finally share my blog with others. I'd been blogging for weeks, but had only shared it with a couple folks. In declaring that I will own my superpower, I decided I will own my creative expression and share it publicly via facebook, instagram, and pinterest. Here I go being vulnerable and letting my protective walls down. I kept asking myself, what am I so afraid of? Why am I hiding my passion from others? I am an imperfect artist or writer and why does that matter to me so much? What am I losing out on for fear of vulnerability?
I also kept ruminating on this quote from Teddy Roosevelt that Brene shared in Daring Greatly: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I stewed on several ideas (and had a productive therapy session where I explored this further) before deciding upon "leader" as my superpower. I've spent the last few years trying to shy away from being a leader, both socially and professionally, but it's who I am and I'm working to own it. Of course the kryptonite came to me easily.
Week four of Brene Brown's Oprah e-course exploring the second half of her book, The Gifts of Imperfection was challenging. The intention and the art journaling were hard. That said, both the wholehearted work and the creative exploration have really stuck with me. This week's intention was cultivating meaningful work - letting go of self doubt and supposed to. I asked myself a lot of questions this week. What brings meaning and purpose in my life? How do I define meaningful work? Am I already doing my life's work? If not, could I make a living doing this work? Is there other work I need to ensure I integrate outside of my day job? So many questions.
Inspired by Flora Bowley's book, I decided to try some brave intuitive painting of my own. My goal is to take one of Flora's local painting retreats or better yet one of her retreats in Bali. I dream of painting and doing yoga on the beach. One day. Excuse the darkness of the first photo, but this was where I started. Without any clear idea, I began adding acrylic paint to paper with my hands, a credit card, palet knife, spray bottle, etc. She encourages layers up layers of paint, allowing your gut to determine what happens next.
I'm a slow, methodological, over-thinking, planner when it comes to most things in my life, including making art. While I'm trying to let go and be more intuitive, I'm a work in progress. This art journal entry especially stumped me, because I wasn't sure where to go with each step. I was frustrated with my color choices and doubting the process so I covered it all up with with a light coating of gesso. And then I regretted covering it up. And then I had no idea what I was going to do next so I walked away. I had a friend in town visiting, which gave me a welcome reprieve.
Coming back a couple days later, I was able to see some direction and had an idea of where I was headed. The clouds, rain, and the firefly began to emerge. Next, I added more layers of acrylic paint, spray ink, stencils, and stamps.
Lastly, I added the three words that help me to define meaningful work, along with the intention of owning my superpower. I stamped the words on a vintage map, used soft gel medium to adhere it, a light layer of gesso, and a sharpie paint pen to outline the words. Finito.
Continuing with week 3 of Brene Brown's e-course and the intention of cultivating a practice of calm and stillness, I completed the following art journal spread. For the first page we were prompted to share a photo of the place that represents calm for us. That was easy. I could have chosen any beach photo, but I knew it had to be a photo of the ocean. Whether its the Oregon coast or my favorite beaches in Kaua'i, the ocean is my favorite place to find calm. Next, I mapped out my calm practice with core strategies that help me keep my cool. I also included my legend with the guidelines that help me when things get stressful. Truth be told, I can be a spitfire, easily riled and reactionary, and it's hard to change years of learned behavior. The legend represents the essentials that help me stay calm and centered, while acknowledging that there will be times I screw up and have to start all over.
Moving into week 3 of Brene Brown's e-course, the next guidepost and intention focused on calm and stillness. Play (week 2) is a large part of my life already, but I really struggle with slowing down and finding stillness. I am constantly go go go. I make to-do lists in my sleep. My brain has a hard time shutting off and sleep has become problematic in the last few years. I started taking a yoga class in January (Fat Yoga and it's awesome!) and that has helped. However, the last five minutes of yoga, during shavasna, are always the hardest. The goal is to create more clearing in my life and to integrate more moments of stillness.
With this art journal spread I wanted to integrate collage again, but I wanted the paper piecing to be more visible. I painted a bird onto the collaged paper and then added background paint and stencils. Following Portlandia's Put a Bird on It skit, I've heard many a joke about the bird mania in this town. It's true, I love birds. I am that person. I've been making bird and owl crafts (pillows and broaches mainly) for years. I have no shame for my bird love!
During this course we're encouraged to be brave and share our journals with the e-course community via the Courage Board. While I still have self doubt every time I post, it's been really encouraging to see the posts made by others and it makes it easier to share mine. I don't think I would have started this blog if I hadn't started sharing there first. I was happily shocked (seriously, heart racing and HOLY SHIT!) when I went to the website one day to see my journal page above featured on the front page of the courage board! The photo was also included in emails that went out that week regarding the course. Truthfully, I was also a little horrified. I don't even know what I was so afraid of or (the exposure? critiques?), but I talked to my friend Vanessa (who is the greatest of encouragers) and reminded myself that those were shame gremlins and "brave" is my word for this year.