This is a very different post today
My friend MaryAnne … yes THE MaryAnne of UKS … invited me to take part in a blog hop tour. I have admired MaryAnne for so long. Her work is super creative and unusual and she inspires me so often. I remember meeting her for the first time at a crop years ago and being very in awe of her. She runs what has to be the best paper scrapping forum in the world (sorry to all of my American friends as I know you have some biggies but UKS is very special to me). If you haven’t ever checked out U K Scrappers do go and visit. You will find a warm welcome and plenty of inspiration and support.
It’s a little different to the usual blog hop, because the posts are a week apart and the hop spreads OUT as it goes. My task was to answer a set of questions, then link to three fellow bloggers. MaryAnne’s answers from last Monday are here. You’ll find my linked bloggers at the end.
So here are my answers to the questions and some pictures along the way.
1. What am I working on?
I always have something on the go, but I am also a great finisher. I tend not to have unfinished projects as I like to finish one before embarking upon the next. I am also a great tidier and after every single project, be it a page, a card, an altered project, I clear everything away and start over with a clean desk and nothing out.
Photo of my scrap desk - pretty much looks like this every time I leave it as I always tidy everything away.
I am not sure if that shows I am very organised or just very anal! However, unusually for me, I do have one unfinished project and it has been handing around for ages. I wanted to do an A – Z album of the Caribbean Beach Resort as we visit so often. I made a different sort of album following a style I have never used before. It was great fun to construct the alum and then I ran out of steam.
I took pictures of the gathered supplies and the various stages of the album’s completion.
Every few weeks I pick it back up and do another few pages and then I get fed up with it and move on to other projects.
In the picture below the picture at the top left is upside down - it's becasue it folds the other way and is a flap ont he previous page - complex to explain.
I have now completed all but the cover. Maybe owning up to the fact that I have been working on this since January and have not finished will spur me on to complete the cover and have it done and dusted once and for all.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I am not sure my paper work differs from others in any great way, other than I think I am quite prolific. I do try and do something creative every single day. It may not be much but, as a headteacher, my life is busy and stressful and scrapping is the best sort of de-stress therapy I have ever found. I have an innate need to be creative and so even if it is only for half an hour I do create daily. Consequently it is not unusual for me to complete 30 – 40 projects in a month … a mix of paper and digital pages, cards and mini books.
My pages are quite simple. I like balance and symmetry and they tend to be light on embellishments. MaryAnne quite rightly identified titles. I don’t tend ever to scrap without a title on my page and it is often the title that comes first. The titles are usually quite prominent too. Words are also important on my pages; journaling, quotes, text bites etc. Oh and I guess sewing. Most of my pages have sewing somewhere.
a couple of paper pages I kind of like as examples
I guess I also differ in that I tend to scrap less about children than many other scrappers. My family, apart from Nigel, is fur covered and so they do feature a fair bit. I don’t have children – other than my god-children and their families – and so whilst they do feature, they don’t feature that heavily. I tend to scrap a lot of ‘visits’ and ‘places’. I have so many holiday albums it is not true. I also enjoy making annual albums and have them for most years since I started scrapping in 2003. They are great to look back on. And some of the nicest are the two ‘photo a day albums’.
I guess I am quite tenacious and the photo a day project is a good example of that. I completed the first in 2009 … a photo every single day for 365 days, each uploaded to my blog, and then a page each week, so 52 pages showcasing the photos and recording daily life. They are not stunning pictures and many are very very mundane, but it is a record of my life. It was great fun for the first few months, brilliant in the summer when we did lots of things and hell by November when I struggled to bother. So it was even more remarkable that I did it again in 2012, which as a leap year meant 366. It was driven by Nigel who loved the album for 2009 and wanted me to do it again. It was a joint project as I said I would only do it if he also took some photos, which he did. 366 photos and a beautiful hardback book I had printed of the 52 weekly pages form the year. Another great souvenir.
My digi scrapping I often very different from other digi scrappers and I think Dawn Inskip, who I CT for, summed it up. She said I was a paper scrapper first, like she was, and that both of us digi scrap like paper scrappers. I can totally see that. I also never scrap with stock photos – the pages are all proper memories of my own. It’s not that I think working with stock photos is wrong – they form some of the most stunning and creative pages you will see – but for me it has to be a memory of mine. The only time I use photos not my own are if I have to get something of the internet to support something that interests me that helps make me what I am.
so a couple of digital pages
And digi or paper? I couldn’t give up either. I enjoy them for different reasons. I love the versatility of digital scrapping. I love that there are things I can do that I could never do with paper. I love that I can use the products over and over and in different ways and I love that there is no mess. But I love the tactile element of paper scrapping. I love the glue and the dimension, the pretty embellishments, the hidden elements, the sparkle, the reality. So I love both and I am sure will always do both forms of the craft I love so much.
3. 3. Why do I write/create what I do?
I have already said I feel the need to create every day. My life is busy and often very stressful and it really is great therapy. The opportunity in a bust life to stroke paper, to put elements together, to play and paint and stamp and decorate is one I cannot resist. I NEED to be creative and as I can’t paint or draw very well, as my sewing skills are largely sewing paper pieces together and as I rarely knit or crochet much these days, scrapping is as creative as I get. So one reason I scrap is as that restorative therapy.
The other reason, which is just as important, is an inbuilt need to record my memories. I have no idea why – but it is incredibly important to me. I like to record where I go, what I do, what I see and perhaps most importantly of all, how I feel.
I am very much a heart on my sleeve sort of girl. It’s just the way I am.
And as well as creating I blog – every day pretty much.
My blog serves many purposes. It showcases my work – I just like to have it out there.
It advertises my work. I have been very blessed over the years to have been on a huge number of design teams, from companies and magazines, to designers and forums. That joy of being on design teams comes – I believe – with responsibility to advertise and showcase the people you are designing for. At one point I was on so many design teams and had such magazine commitments that it all started to feel like work. I do this to de-stress not to build more – so I cut right back. Now I am on just 4 teams. I design, occasionally, for Charmed Cards and Crafts and Karen is brilliant, just using me occasionally so I don’t feel overwhelmed. But I will publicise her whenever and where-ever I can. I was also invited recently to be on the design team over at Scrapology where there are such talented girls and hence why I have chosen two of them as my tags (see later)
Then I CT for Dawn Inskip. Dawn has been a friend for years – I met her in my first year of scrapbooking in 2003. Dawn was a paper scrapper I admired incredibly and when she moved to digital work and designing she was equally as stunning at that.
I was thrilled to be asked to join her original CT in 2008 and have been proudly creating for her since then. As I said – I feel my responsibility when I am given so much lush stuff to play with is to promote her products whenever and where ever I can and so I blog to do that too.
some of the CT pages for Dawn
In 2012 I was invited to be part of the Pickleberrypop Creative Team. Pickleberrypop is a store which features over a dozen stunning designers, all of whom I get to create for. There are challenges and competitions and an amazing gallery. I am as thrilled to be a part of the team as I was the day I was invited and, as with Dawn, I try and promote and publicise their creations as much as possible.
and a few PBP pages
But my blog is far more than just that to me. It is like a huge scrapbook where I place all sorts of things, including many of my photos taken whenever we do anything. I post all sorts of random stuff from my daily LOL cats, inspirational and amusing quotes, humourous and moving stories, video excerpts and, vital for me, my daily gratitude. I started keeping my gratitude daily in 2010 and have posted something to be thankful for almost every single day since then. Some days the thankfulness is easier to find than others, but it is always there if you look.
One of the things that has moved me greatly over the years are the people who have e mailed or commented that my comments have moved them, have helped them through a tough time, have brightened a dark day. It’s not WHY I write, but it is lovely to have that feedback. I write for me. Sometimes I think it must be the most boring thing in the world for someone else to read; it is my ramblings written for me. But it is lovely to have many regular readers and it means the world to hear that it had mattered to others.
I also like to give back so I often have classes or give fre templates ands sketches and downloads. People int he crafting work are so generous and I feel it is important to be generous too. If you want to see what I have for free then look in the side bar under Freebies
or under digital work and downloads
4. How does your writing/creating process work?
My blog is a bit of a brain dump. I never plan it. I just write. OK – so you can probably tell that! I just pour out whatever is on my mind, from how I feel to interesting things I have done or seen on the web. Things that move me, things that make me laugh, things that make me cry. And it is raw and full of errors but that is fine too. In my real life I have to draft and redraft everything to ensure there are no errors. Typos on my blog should worry me, but they don’t. The fact that if there are errors I don’t care is so freeing in comparison to my work life. So apologies if they irritate the hell out of you, but I guess they will always be there.
The title will be one of the last things I write, often driven by what I have rambled on about.
In my scrapping I guess I also use the ‘brain dump’ approach, unless it is CT work. For CT work it obviously starts with the kit. I then think about what the kit means to me and search for appropriate photos. BUT unlike some digi scrappers it has to be a proper scrapbook page which for me means a memory. I cannot scrap with photos that are not mine or memories that are not mine, so I don’t use stock photos of gorgeous children etc. I scrap my photos and my memories, warts and all.
My paper scrapping happens in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it may be driven by a challenge on UKS, sometimes it is driven by a photo I have taken and just want to record, sometimes it is driven by an event or experience. But always it is an evolving process with little or no planning. My pages are rarely thought out in advance. Stuff gets ‘aimed’ at the page and it sort of evolves. I will often think of a title first and that helps me create, and always, absolutely always even if it is hidden, there will be words. Words are crucial to every paper page I make.
I don’t scrap chronologically. I have dozens and dozens of albums, in all sorts of sizes, though most are 12 x 12 and quite a lot are 8 12/” x 11”
I will often scrap a holiday if we have just been on one – so I have made 12 pages so far of Bruges and the surrounding areas as a result of our trip just over a month ago. But the Bruges album will get added to for ever, whenever I feel like making a Bruges page. I have cat albums but am just as likely to scrap them as kittens as I am to scrap them now and whilst the page goes in one of the many cat albums it doesn’t worry me that it is in the ‘right place’ chronologically.
I scrap things I love, places I have been, people I share my life with and experiences I have had, all with complete abandon and little forward planning. I love the freedom.
I will also make endless mini books about anything and everything. I love trying different formats, different ways of binding a book, making interesting pages with flaps and pockets. Many are for gifts but I have several dozen that I have made for us.
I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into me.
My three tagged bloggers, all of whom I follow on line but have been blessed to meet two of them in person too, are as follows:
Debbie is one of the people who has inspired me so much. She is an amazing crafter, a superb cook, a veritable domestic goddess and is now, officially, from just a couple of weeks ago, a mum of 6 children. Yup 6! When I first met Debbie she was known as Mumofthreeboys. She now has 4 gorgeous sons and 2 beautiful daughters. Her blog, a Country Heart and Home is just amazing, full of all sorts of deliciousness-ness (yes I am sure it is a word). She is also an incredibly sweet and kind person who has been a very good friend to me over the years. I hope you enjoy visiting her blog – it is one you will want to browse around for sure.
Lynn is one of the Scrapology team – I believe a founder member and her work rocks – in every sense. She is an amazing crafter who created scrapbook pages with so much depth, wonderful cards and she knits and sews and crochets and is just so talented in so many areas. Her blog, A Moment in Time, is another you are going to love.
Linda, another girl from Scrapology, is an amazing crafter too. Her blog Crafty Moments by Linda is full of gorgeous creations. Her work is so detailed and dimensional – I am truly in awe of what she creates.
I do hope you enjoy checking out MaryAnne’s blog and reading her answers and that you enjoy seeing my three tags and the wonderful things they each share on line.
And well done for making it to the bottom of what must be one of my longest posts in a while.
Finally today I am thankful for
- Online friends who inspire me so much
- The fun of blogs of all sorts that bring so much joy (and clearly create a time vortex as you can lose hours!)
- The joy my scrapping and my blogging bring me. They both enrich my life.