Friday, February 26, 2010

Experimenting With Home Decor

I've been mixing it up this week. I've seen other crafter's do really cool and interesting things to decorate their homes using traditional scrapbook supplies. Up to this point, I've been leery of attempting this. My initial response is fear. I guess I'm still not fully trusting my own creativity and inventiveness. I would see these really neat ideas and finished projects that other women had envisioned and immediately think "How did they every come up with that?!?" which would then be followed by "I could never do that."

Well, the time has come to end that kind of thinking. Fear is a killer of so many things, but it definitely stops creativity in its tracks. Lately, I've been actively trying to approach every area of my life with more openness and less fear. My initial thoughts when I encounter really inventive projects or ideas might be "How did they do that?" but I am working on my next thought being "I could do that, too."

In that vein, I have had this 7Gypsies Artist Printers Tray since before Christmas. I bought it on a whim thinking I might be able to do something cool with it but I really had no firm ideas. At the same time, I have been slowly working on my wedding album. I really love how it is shaping up and am so thankful we invested our money in two great photographers. There are so many gorgeous pictures and they spark vivid memories of one of the happiest days I have ever had. Showcasing them in a special keepsake album is wonderful but I also want them displayed throughout our home.

:: experiencing an eureka moment ::

Obviously, I came on the idea of using the Printers Tray as a home for a collage of wedding memories. I focused on using papers and products that evoked the joyful, carefree feeling of our beach wedding. I love how it turned out & now I get the chance to see it on my wall every day. So cool.

Hope you enjoy this project. I included an overall shot of the tray and also two close-up shots of some of my favorite aspects of the project.
click on any of the images to see larger

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's All About Hope

This year I decided to focus celebrating the life I have been given. I feel that too often we focus on what is negative or lacking in our lives. We agonize over things that are going wrong, dissecting what we don't have or can't afford. And there is certainly something to be gained from honest assessment. But as with all things, if you focus on the negative then what you see first in any given situation is the negative.

And I just don't want to do that anymore.

So this year, I'm actively trying to see the positive in life. To really focus on all the gifts that are already present, the blessings already bestowed, the good stuff. But more than this, I want to know that more good stuff is out there. I want to take the time to appreciate the beauty that is in front of me everyday. I believe that I have the power to affect the course of my life. The trick is how...

For me, it all comes down to hope. It is the energy that fills my heart. It is foundation upon which I am building my future. It is the binding between me and my family. It is the language I speak in my innermost thoughts and dreams. It is my one little word.

I hope to grow in strength, love and trust in my husband. I hope to support my son and hold his hand in his journey toward wellness. I hope for peace in this family. I hope for excellence in my work. I hope for laughter and joy every day.

What do you hope for?
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Friday, February 19, 2010

So Very Out of Practice

I got to spend nearly all of today taking care of an absolutely, totally precious angel baby named Alyvia. Who happens to be 5 months old. Who is a bit unfamiliar with Auntie Jenn's house. Who completely kicked my patootie. That's correct - today I faced off with an infant. And the infant won.

Please let me explain.

I do not mean to imply that she was badly behaved or bad tempered. No, not that at all (I mean, she's only 5 months old - how bad could she be?). She was perfect. But taking care of a baby is inherently a lot of WORK, especially if one's only prior experience with this happened to occur, like, 16 years ago.

I am exhausted.

I commend every parent out there with a child (or, God forbid, children) under the age of 2. For relatively inert beings, babies are the ultimate energy suck. I don't remember doing anything particularly arduous or exertional, yet I feel like I got run over by a Mack truck. Not good...must start exercising...but that is another blog post all together friends.

I am ready to fall into bed and dream deeply. For probably the next hour or so. Did I forget to mention that Miss Alyvia is spending the night?
Jenn & Co

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Evolution of Hair

So, I am currently taking Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life class online. I really love this class. The focus is on design theory and concepts and it is broken down into weekly lessons. Each lesson is demonstrated via video, handout and assignments. We've worked through symmetry, asymmetry, repetition, white space and unity. This week's lesson deals with contrast/emphasis. I used one of this week's assignments to create a scrappy page documenting some of the many evolutions of my hair.
I offer it here for your viewing pleasure.

click to view larger image
You're welcome.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Wishing I Was There

I don't know about you but I am ridiculously excited about the Olympics. I love the intensity, the national identity, the competition and the commentary. I totally wish I was living the dream in Vancouver right now.

Instead, I am obsessing at home and watching every possible event at home. I am amused at how Jim & I get so wrapped up in sports and competitors that we have never heard of prior to seeing them profiled as part of a 'very special Olympic montage'.

Once again, Grand Master B has been foiled in his attempts to return to school. The van picked him up at 8:00am and they called to say they were turning back at about 8:40am. The roads and wind made interstate travel too dangerous. He will try again tomorrow - but I am grateful for the extra time.

So tonight, I am taking a break from all things creative. I am sitting with my guys and getting entirely too involved in pairs figure skating. For some inexplicable reason, I am feeling hostile about the heir apparent gold contenders Shen & Zhao from China. I just want one of them to fall so that all those experts are proved wrong...must be my innate love for the underdog rearing its head. And I am so over the former-Japanese-now-turned-Russian chick - some people will do anything to win but you can't change who you are!

I leave you to ponder these deep thoughts. You're welcome.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Mini-Book Revealed

So it's been a really low key V-Day around this homestead. Jim worked all day and the winter weather interfered with Grand Master B's plans. He had hoped to have a special girl come over for the afternoon but it was all for naught. I felt so bad for him. On the plus side, his ride back to school in Seward was canceled due to snow, snow & more snow so he gets to stay for another night.

B brought home a beautiful silk rose for me and Jim picked out the loveliest card. I feel so special today. In return, I made both of them mini-books celebrating my love for them. As promised, I am sharing the finished product.

It's hard to tell from the (poorly) scanned photo but the cover is actually an acrylic piece shaped like  a bracket. It allows the reader to see through to the patterned paper underneath. I used elements and pages found in the House of 3 printable sweetie mini book and then added bits & pieces from my stash. 

The reverse of the acrylic page has the same element grouping as the front so as to completely hide the adhesive. I love how these Pink Paislee chipboard letters mix with their mini sticker letters. I am going to post the remaining pages below. If you have questions on technique, check out this great tutorial the Heidi Swapp posted on her blog.

I don't have a great supply of crepe paper or thick ribbons to place in between the folds along the spine, but I did have a super cool roll of gaffer tape by 7 Gypsies that features handwriting. It looks all fancy & vintage-y - very cool. I used this to strengthen the binding folds. Thanks for looking & let me know what you think. 

Here's looking ahead at the next week. Despite it being President's Day, I will be working bright and early. Hope you all have a wonderful Monday

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Preparations for Valentine's Day

I am so excited that Grand Master B will be coming home for the weekend! We haven't seen him in two weeks & I've really been missing him. This whole 'sleep away school' concept is overrated...but I do see positive changes in his attitude and behavior which is the whole point. I will just be glad to have him healthy and back at home.

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. To celebrate B's visit, I am making a cool garland to hang over the doorway in the dining room. I am also making mini-books for both of the men in my life. When I talked to B on the phone yesterday, he told me that he had a present for me - which is nearly unheard of! I cannot wait to see what he has come up with. The design of my projects is complete. I plan on spending the rest of the afternoon putting it all together. I am also distributing cards & treat bags to the Bad Mommies plus children. Should be a totally great weekend.

Stay tuned. I'll post the finished products later. I'm using this as the base for my mini-books.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Greetings from Studio Jenn

I am so excited to debut my brand new blog! You might remember my previous blog Just a Couple of Chippies that I shared with my BFF Deana. Or maybe not...since together we suck at blogging regularly.

So I wanted to start a blog that was wholly my own. A place that I could note my thoughts, but also post my crafty creations and DIY projects. A collection of things that inspire me. A portfolio of my own artistic offerings. A home for my everyday musings. An interactive journal, if you will.

I've been putting a lot of energy into scrapping lately. I took Ali's Yesterday & Today class at Big Picture Scrapbooking this past fall. The focus of this class is telling your stories using words + photos, a concept that I love. I have already been attempting to do this when I create layouts but the lessons I learned from Ali have taken my ideas to the next level. I enjoy delving deeper to tell my story. I have discovered a passion for creating that has been untapped. And I am wanting to do more like this. I want to share my art and my stories. I want to do this work as my main work. I am still exploring a way to make this dream a reality but I think it has to start with getting my work 'out there' so to speak. Here's my favorite layout from Y&T:

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