Thursday, November 20, 2014

Weak Days, Birthdays, & Schooldays with HomeMade Shimelle

It's Thursday. It's Thursday. It's Thursday.  I have to repeat this to myself because so many weeks go by and I have no clue what day it is at any given time.  Our days are measured by doctor's appointments and, as appropriate, getting kids to and from school.  It's easier during this time of year due to that very fact...except on weeks like this where GiGi missed Monday and the week started on Tuesday; and yet, this week seemed so long that Wednesday felt like Friday.  It's odd how your sense of time changes when you don't work; or when you really can't remember if something happened last week or yesterday as it all seems the same.  I don't like it.  This passing of time makes it feel like your life is passing by and you're not even noticing. And yet, it doesn't really pass - sometimes it feels like the same day with a nice pajama nap in the midst.  It's when days-on-end pass in this manner (what I call 'weak days') that time passes without notice.  Truly, September and October passed and I don't think I knew the date more than 4 times...and, when you stop knowing what the date is, time stops passing.  I think sometimes that's how my blog sits unwritten for so long.  I have entire posts written in my head but by the time I get to the computer, hours/days/weeks have passed without notice and I can't really remember what I wanted to say.  I used to keep notes on my phone, but would forget they were there!  Another thing about this matter of time-passage is that when one day runs into another, you don't realize you're not getting anything accomplished.  For instance, I've been watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel for a couple of weeks (it's really one of my favorite things to do! even the same movies over and over - especially A Dog Named Christmas). but by watching movies hour after hour (or Kitchen Nightmare reruns, or whatever) it feels like "I'll get up and scrapbook after the movie's over" but, because I watch movie after movie, the movie is never over! I know that doesn't make sense unless you've lived it, but it's kind of like eating a whole box of cookies when the intention was only eating 3 out of the box.
What it comes down to is that I miss the structure of going to work everyday.  When I started this blog I had every intention of it being a job.  I would scrapbook and then blog at least 5 days a week. If my diseases flaired, it would be one thing; but there would be 5 days per week of productivity.  I have failed miserably.  And every night that I go to bed without having accomplished anything that day, makes it easier to do nothing the next day.  This lack of productivity and accomplishment adds to any and all other Depression factors and the vicious cycle begins.  I know there are women who are SAHMs that don't have these problems because their lives are so full of obligations, friends and a sense of importance. But I also think that I can't be the only one who has ever been forced out of a work environment into just a state of existence of which we're just not suited.  When I worked, I worked very very hard...the primary force behind all that working was simply this: I liked the sense of importance and accomplishment.  So I am preparing my New Years Resolution early... to accomplish a sense of importance.
Now, truth be told, I completely believe that scrapbooking is extremely important.  This is another matter that can totally depress me... but that's for another discussion.  What is for this discussion, is the fact that I find everything I need in scrapbooking - a sense of importance, accomplishment and creative outlet for stress.  However, understanding what scrapbooking means to me is shared by very few people in my life...actually GiGi has about at 90% understanding, Starr about 75% and my mom about 1%.  Since my mom's 'bread ain't baked', she is the main deterrent in my scrapbooking.  She completely thinks its a waste of time and money; I suppose she thinks it's so much better to sit and watch mindless TV all day as that costs virtually nothing.  While I absolutely love my mom, unfortunately I have surpassed ambivalence and gone on to antagonistic due to this issue, resulting in an attitude of it's easier to just not do it than deal with explaining it for the 1,000th time.  But, because I have a pretty good attitude about being awaken at 1:00 in the morning to deal with her anxiety attacks and changing my dad's Depends after not making it to the loo in time, I have decided that Scrapbooking is about to become a priority in my life.  I can't be a good person for anyone (exemplified by how unbearable I am becoming to live with) if I'm not living a life I feel good about.
So, I'm thinking it will probably take a few weeks to retrain myself and that's why I'm starting now to work on my New Years Resolution.  And gosh knows that I need to retrain myself! But if I can create a new work ethic as far as scrapbooking, that will surely bleed over onto my blogging.  It's a no-brainer.  Besides, the first of the year is coming up and that means my purchasing power will increase a bit (in lieu of the current no-spend situation due to modeling competition, birthdays and Christmas) and I may expand my horizons in the paper area.
But as it is, I'm still absolutely infatuated with the AC Shimelle collection.  As you are aware, I have at least 6-8 ongoing subjects comprising 18 albums.  What that means is that I can create layout after layout of the same papers and never ever will it look monotonous or duplicated.  No one ever goes through every single album in one sitting! And really, how wonderful that I can continue to use the same supplies over and over until I get totally sick of them!!!
Today, I've got several layouts to show you.  First, it's two sets of layouts - the same birthday pics created two ways: one layout created with AC Shimelle, the other with Pebbles HomeMade. The layouts are of my mom and my birthdays this year and one each will go into our annual family album and the other into individual albums.  As you know, I do this alot, but this is the ultimate demonstration:

Thickers; Tags/Stickers/Flowers: CP Maggie Holmes; Enamel Dots; Everything Else: AC Shimelle

Resin: Fancy Pants; Pinwheel: Crate Paper; Stickers & Bow: CP Maggie Holmes; Tag & Bag: Hobby Lobby; Twine & Straw: Doodlebug; Stamp: Amy Tangerine; Enamel Dots; Everything Else: Pebbles HomeMade

Thickers; Flowers, Tags: Maggie Holmes; Glitter Tape: Pebbles; Everything Else: Shimelle

Thickers; Flair, Bow, Sticker: Maggie Holmes; Resin: Fancy Pants; Wood: Studio Calico; Everything Else: Pebbles HomeMade

If I love a collection - like MH Flea Market, Pebbles HomeMade, AC Shimelle - I try to purchase the Project Life Mini Kits. I don't know why...I don't Project Life at all, though if I really had a life I certainly would...there's just something about the convenience and beauty of the title and journaling cards that make the collection complete. Well, the Shimelle PL kit, "Lovely" and the HomeMade kit, "Dazzle", each have the best cards to include embossing, glitter and foil (as shown above).

Next, three layouts for Back-to-School.  There's something about school layouts that I always want to have globes and numbers involved...just one more of those freakish things about me.  These three layouts will be divided into the Annual Family Album, GiGi's Album and JCs Album:

These two layouts are made primarily with Simple Stories with Crate Paper number vellum and a few other things by Paper Studio, Studio Calico with October Afternoon and 2Ps flair.

This one is primarily Shimelle to include the die used to create the globe. The flair is 2Ps Exclusives and say 'punch today in the face', 'but first let me take a selfie', 'every damn day' (the 2x2 wood veneer version of these sayings are in GiGis SS Snap Album). The stickers are Maggie Holmes, Pebbles and Jillibean. Everything else is Shimelle!

Okay, I'm just going to admit it...GiGi's Back-to-School layout is one of my faves as far as just looking at it in person.  I don't know what it is - always love bits of shininess, the pink/raspberry/aqua color scheme is my fave, the super-simplistic composition makes everything pop - but truly, there's just something so pleasing to my eye and mind when I look at this layout that took all of 15 minutes to throw together.  You just never know what's going to do it for you, do you?!!

You probably are very aware of the brands of evey.single.bit. that's on the layouts, but in the event you're wondering about something I missed naming, just ask.
And I just want to say, that I am so honored that you've brought me into your lives.  Thank you for giving me this gift and understanding my shortcomings.  I am so very fortunate.
Now I hope you're all well and have been living the scrappy life!

Stay Safe and Scrap On!

PS. Tonight's quote refers to writing; but, I feel this way about any creative outlet.  Specifically, I feel this way about scrapbooking.  Would I die if I never scrapbook again, probably not - but my life would only be a 'half-life'.

“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Babies, depression, my hoard and a bit of Shimelle

I am not offering excuses for my extended leave of absence.  But needless to say, 01 September came and went as did October and most of November.  Many things have happened in our household since that last post, but nothing too dramatic or out-of-the-ordinary.  I will say that I'm so happy to see you on #Instagram!!! It's been especially fun following in the adventures of @hikercynthia as she tours state parks along the east coast and into the midwest; and sharing in sightseeing with @furrypig while she was on vacation and on the coast of my obsessed-over UK as well as being a bit envious of the wine and cake.
I did finally get my scrap area moved into my dad's office as well as a place to lay my head and watch TV.  This actually started a downward-spiral of my mood; and, honestly, that unexpected catalyst to my bi-polar issues had a great deal to do my inability to get anything done.  While the room is bright and Hairy Pawter loves it, it definitely is not ideal for a loner with privacy priorities (mom has always said that I am the most private person she knows) and wishes only to be left alone.  Let's face it, I rather enjoy the fact that I can hole up in an RV or even a room and not see anyone for a few days/weeks - especially when I'm not feeling up-to-par or am trying to get into my own little world of scrappiness.  Well, guess what?! This room is right next to the front door, across the foyer from the kitchen, very open close to the living room... and it has no doors!!! It seems that not only do I get to hear every conversation in the house, but also that no one has a qualm about randomly (and frequently) stopping in the doorway to engage me - regardless of what I'm doing or how I feel.  I really, really hate this.  It has not only kicked in my depression but has caused me to feel some animosity toward everyone... especially in view of the fact that they often 'don't feel good' and retire behind the closed door of their respective rooms, but I am not allowed to have the luxury of feeling unwell.  If this sounds like whining, it is.  But as a caregiver I feel that I have no option but endure the situation, which not only causes me more grief, but also guilt over these horrid emotions.  My motto has always been 'it is what it is' but these days that comes with 'heavy sigh' and sometimes tears.  
Anyway, I have occasionally scrapped throughout the past few months (and used a BUNCH of AC Shimelle).  In addition to those layouts, I have also been working on some Simple Stories Snap albums for GiGi that I am entitling 'High School Chronicles' with one for each summer and each school year from 2013-2017.  These are great for all those photos she takes during the day or at school events that are not going into her 'annual album' (which is already full without Oct-Dec!) or are an expansion of those events.  Getting the photos printed in various sizes takes a little more work, but not really as I have found that developers often warp photos into their standard printing sizes (i.e., a square photo is 'made to fit' a 4x5.5" paper) so I have taken to editting them all onto 4x6 layers in PhotoShop before sending them anywhere to be printed in any case.
One of the things I have scrapbooked over the past couple of months are some baby photos of my brother and my daughter.  While I really enjoy scrapping baby photos and especially want to get them all done, the layouts of my daughter put me into a rather dismal funk after a bit - so much so that my depression deepened, I wasn't sleeping well and my MS flaired.  You see, there are long stories about how we really try to do what's very best for our children - especially as single parents - made even more complicated when our children are diagnosed with chronic illnesses.  These photos brought a serious case of the 'if only's' and I had to stop scrapping those for a while.  Maybe that is very much a part of my 'scraperapy'... not to just keep the depression, anxiety and stress at bay, but to make me think about the stories that have created the life we are living.  I know that when I scrap photos of my grandparents, there is a bit of melancholy in the process; and so it goes that there would be the tinges of regret and what-ifs when scrapping photos of Starr.  Therefore, I am putting those photos back in the box...maybe I will pull them out and do a few at a time - or maybe I will find a time and place that I can be alone and work on them. But right now, I cannot continue to do more as long as I have to 'function as normal'.
Well, here they are - some of those baby layouts - created with both hoarded supplies as well as new ones. One thing, I do always add a least one star to each of my daughter's's her name, it's her thing. Also, I always use original photos once I've scanned them.  (These layout photos are exceptionally bad, I know.  I really can't tell you why they're so fuzzy; maybe a slight tremor or just bad eyesight. But I've taken them four times and each is as bad as the last..if I quit I will never blog again and truly I miss it.  I'm asking Santa for a tripod just for this purpose so maybe the new year will bring lovely layouts - keep your fingers crossed!).

A little Shimelle on a cardstock background with both Shimelle and Dear Lizzy dies to accompany the Maggie Holmes, October Afternoon and Studio Calico embellishments & HS ColorShine.

These are almost all hoarded supplies - with the exception of the Dear Lizzy dies and journaling card. The fabric and glitter papers are both DCWV.

Shimelle, Maggie Holmes & ColorShine working great with 'years & years' old embossed cardstock, vellum and chipboard letters. (wish I could find more of this embossed cardstock!!).

More Shimelle!  The glitter paper is Pebbles HomeMade, the 'ribbon' diecut is Maggie Holmes and the stars are SC with some ColorShine in Blush.  These DL Fox Thickers are my all time faves and I think I have them in every color available...the font is perfect!

And as we know, it's awesome for boys too!!!  And I am in love with all the shades ColorShine is available in.... they're perfect!!!!!

These layouts make me snicker...that stiped strip of paper being on both is just plain bizarre.  I created these layouts at two totally different times possibly weeks apart and wasn't aware that both had those strips until I took the photos today.

While these layouts will be spread among two albums, I'm sure I could fill up a complete album with Shimelle and never have two layouts the same. So many other lines have embellishments, etc. that coordinate with these papers that I never run out of possibilities; but my faves are all Maggie Holmes and Pebbles HomeMade.  And there are so many more layouts to come... remember: there are at least 5 other on-going albums to fill!!!  Oh, and the fact that a new collection is most probably on the way to be debuted at CHA! Can I hear a great big WOOOOHOOOO?!!! 
Unfortunately, to be quite honest, I haven't fallen in love with anything else lately - actually in a long time.  Other than the summer lines (due to all the beach photos), for everyday scrapping things have become hit or miss.  While I didn't like DL PDP, I loved DL Daydreamer.  Loved the first two MH lines, but not so much Styleboard. (Embellishments are always the exception to this, the embellishments I usually just love.)  So I have become much more cautious with my purchasing power, buying a 6x6 pad to preview before jumping head-first into the entire paper collection.  That being said, I have found quite a few of the new MH Open Book to love, and quite a few to ignore...but all the embellishments are spot-on in my book. And I keep looking at DL Serendipity but can't quite commit yet...I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Well, as it's taken me about 7 hours to write this little blurb, I'm closing it out now.  I hope to do this again tomorrow with more exceptionally bad layout photos...we'll see.  I hope each of you is wallowing in scrappiness! I hope to actually get online tonight or tomorrow (computers been in shop, and then I really can't blog and then go blog-hopping all in the same day).  I miss you all! But again, am so happy with seeing you in action on #instagram!  

Stay Safe and Scrap On!

“Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” - walt disney