Shabby Miss Jenn

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Catching Up, part 2

And finally, a few more layouts I completed in December.  They were done to give myself a short break from all the holiday preparation chaos.

This one so we can remember our trips to the flea market.  We head down there every 3-4 months, and sporadically during the summer if it's not too hot.

This one, from the December 2009 edition of Scrapstreet Magazine.  A group of us were asked to respond to Stacey's phrase "how can you not?" at our summer meeting.  My response was to document things that I find irresistable. How can you not 1. sigh with pleasure as you slip into a bubblebath, 2. have a favorite color, 3. be passionate about something, 4. play with your kids’ toys, 5. decorate for the changing seasons, 6. want to cuddle a sleeping baby, 7. eat chocolate, 8. love finding the perfect pair of shoes, 9. sing along with the radio, 10. eat popcorn while watching a movie.

And finally, one that epitomizes both boys' dreams for the winter: snow and lots of it.  (To qualify for the northerners reading my blog, "lot of it" here in the south means 1-6 inches, most of which is gone in 2 days.)  These are pictures from last year's March snowfall.  This layout ran in the Pixel Place column of Scrapstreet Magazine's December edition, and featured the digital kit Winter Shimmer.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Catching Up

I thought I'd finish out the year catching up with some layouts I did at the end of the year and have not shared yet.  It's a bit long, so grab a cup of coffee and get comfy.

In October and November, I was a participant in the Last Scrapper Standing contest over at Divine Digital.  There were 6 elimination rounds.  (I made it to the finals, but I was not the Last Scrapper Standing.)  Each of the weekly challenges had 10 requirements, including extensive journaling and some advanced digital techniques.  I'm going to post 4 of the entries here today.

First up, Who Are You, about Jeremy's love of all things costume in the past year. Since this was made, he has added  Captain Rex (Star Wars Clone Trooper guy) to his costume box.

The journaling reads:  Since he turned 5, Jeremy has been especially interested in costumes and make-believe.  This year he’s been a superhero (in a glittery cape that I made for him with fabric he picked out), Batman, and Harry Potter (both birthday gifts from Grandma and Grandpa).  In the last few months, he’s become, well, let’s say obsessed, with all things Star Wars.  He loves getting out his light saber and working on his “Jedi Training”.  This apparently consists of a variety of moves, coupled with a fierce expression and deep, glowering eyes.  Oh! And killing bad guys, of course.  He’s going to be Captain Rex, the clone trooper hero, for Halloween.  I can’t wait to see who he turns into next...

This layout captures our T-ball season in one page. This challenge required use of a shadow box, and extracting an image (removing it from the background).  Both the season and creating this page were a lot of fun!

Journaling: Baseball is our game, and T-ball was a family affair this year. Dad was the coach.  Matthew and Jeremy were players. Mom was in charge of getting the kids into the batting order. Supplies at hand: helmets and bats, gloves and balls, cleats, and the tee.

It was Matthew’s second year playing, and he loved every minute. He made good contact with the ball, ran hard between bases, and made a valiant effort at fielding.

It was Jeremy’s first year playing and he was not so much in love. He exhibited great creativity at the “duck and cover” move when a ball was hit or thrown anywhere near him, kept his eyes closed while batting, and made faces at the coach (Dad) when getting batting advice. Oh, and who can forget him building sand castles in the infield?

I did another page about Jeremy.  He is absolutely desperate to get the dog to obey him, and really worked hard at it this day.  (She hasn't listened to him since...)

Journaling:  Today, you were playing outside while Matthew did homework. Our yellow lab, Ribby, was running around the yard with you. You desperately wanted her to shake with you. “Ribby, sit!” And she ran this way. “Ribby, shake!” And she ran that way. Finally, you asked me to get her to sit. Once she did, you moved in front of her, held out your hand, and said “Shake!” And she did nothing. And you tried again. And still nothing. And again. And eventually she lifted her paw up, and you grabbed it. Success! You reached over to give her a hug and got nuzzled on the side of your head. “Mom! She liked it and kissed me!” At the tender age of three, you announced “I don’t like work,” and you really haven’t deviated from that position in the nearly 3 years since. But today, you worked hard to accomplish your goal.

I hope you remember this accomplishment some day in the future when you think you can’t do something. It is going to take hard effort - yes, work - on your part. You might need a bit of help from someone else to get started. It probably won’t work the first or second or maybe even the tenth time you try it. You are going to have to be persistent. But remember how great it felt for Ribby to shake your hand and give you that kiss.

And last of today's set, but not least, is Creative.  It had to include three identical photos, one original version and the other two treated differently.  My variations included a b/w old-fashioned look, and a sketch or woodprint looking version of the original (top in the layout) photo.  It also required discussing a family trait.


Journaling:  My father was a teacher and a jack-of-all-trades. He was a mason, woodworker (particularly cabinetry), and carpenter. In both of our houses, he built beautiful front steps (both brickwork and stonework) and various cabinetry pieces. In our second house (we moved when I was 10), he refinished all the original hardwood floors, as well as building storage units for the root cellar (yes, we had an actual root cellar!) and re-sided the entire house with clapboard. In this picture, I’m riding in a sleigh he designed, built, and painted. It’s pulled by our German Shepherd, Happy. My siblings and I, as well as a number of the neighborhood kids, had great fun riding down the street in this sleigh during the winter.

Dad knew not only the basic skills of these trades, but the craftsman’s tricks to make a job easier, faster, and/or more beautifully finished. As the oldest, I was his first pick as a helper during the summer months when he wasn’t teaching. He always had number of large projects scheduled. I got to learn why he selected particular woods, or rocks, and which nail sizes, and why those things mattered to the finished product. I learned to appreciate the need for a variety of tools, each to do specific jobs. (I also learned a lot of swear words, but that’s a different topic...) I began to understand the nuances that elevate simple work to an art form. While I never really grew to love any of these jobs, I can handle a lot of basic fixes around the house.

My creativity is expressed in cloth, paper, and pixels instead of wood and stone. I started sewing when I was 10 years old, and from the beginning I was hooked. I’ve spent nearly 35 years learning the sewer’s tricks to make a job easier or faster or more beautifully finished. About 20 years ago I was introduced to quilting, and shortly thereafter to scrapbooking. The use of color, pattern, and design make my heart and soul sing. I don’t know if my creativity is based on “nature” (a genetic inheritance from Dad) or “nurture” (due to the exposure I got to his creativity while I was a child). Either way, I’ll take it and celebrate it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Summer In My Heart

As we sit here in the cold, I can't help remembering our wonderful trip to the Cape this summer.  I had a few minutes yesterday and scrapped this page.  The photo was taken at dead low tide on the Brewster flats.  It was an extremely overcast morning, so there was very little color to the sky, and what there was was an iron gray.  So I ran the photo through a few filters in Adobe Lightroom and got this fabulous look.

The quote, by Rachel Carson, reads:  To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

OK, well, that's a bit of an overstatement.  Actually, it's a complete and total lie.  I really don't like snow, it's one of the reasons I live in the south now.  The south generally has perfect snow:  less than an inch accumulates, it looks pretty for a few hours, and is gone by lunch.

We did dodge the snow, though.  We were just south of the snow line for this monster storm that's raging along the east coast.  While we got a few hours of flurries - enough to put about a 1/2 inch thick layer on the deck and absolutely delight and excite the boys - it changed over to rain last night.  The boys were decidedly not happy to find out that there was nothing left this morning. My former home of Charlottesville, VA (only a 4-5 hours' drive north of here) was not so lucky.  Last I heard they had 16 inches on the ground there.

I take complete and total credit for the lack of snow here in Wake Forest.  Last year, we had a few decent (for here, anyway) ~6" snowfalls, and the boys didn't have any winter boots.  So, with the predictions of a colder and wetter than normal winter, as well as the immediate predictions for this storm, I went out on Thursday and bought a pair of boots for each of the boys.  And thereby prevented any snow from falling.

You *know* that if I had not done so, we'd have plenty on the ground here. Right? 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quilting Secret Santa: House Gift Box

I spent Saturday at an all-day meeting of my quilt group, Cyberbee.  We meet 5-6 times a year, and several of our meetings are all-day events.  We catch up with each other, do some sewing, have a fabulous potluck lunch, show and tell, and discuss future projects.

At our December meeting, we have a gift exchange.  Last year we changed from doing a "dirty Santa", where each recipient in turn could pick either a new gift or one that had already been opened, to a Secret Santa, where you know for whom you're getting a gift.  We keep a little spreadsheet on our website listing any preferences in color/fabric styles, as well as any new toys we'd like to have. 

This year I drew my friend Jean.  One of her gifts was some red and green silk thread for Baltimore applique.  I decided to use this house as my gift box for it.  I used the Home Made template at PaperTrey Ink. It's so easy to put together, and awfully fun to make the windows, doors and other decorations. 

Here is the front.  I used a bit of batting to look like smoke coming out of the chimney. 

And the side and back, where I added a pine tree.  ('Tis the season, after all.)

And, finally, a picture of the house with the roof off, revealing the gift inside. 

Hopefully, Jean will be able to use this little house to store something for herself. 

I'll be making a few more of these houses to hold Zhu Zhu pets for each of my boys.  They will fit perfectly and give the hamsters a place to sleep each night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Look, and Check Me Out!

I still have to decorate the house (and am hoping to start tomorrow), but I went ahead and decorated my blog for Christmas today.  I hope you like the new look.  That picture in the header is of the boys acting like Max in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Specifically, the shrug and wave he gives when he falls behind the sleigh and jumps up on the bags for a ride, and the Grinch catches him.  It's the boys' and my favorite scene!

The new ScrapStreet Magazine is available! Check it out here: December 2009.

This was quite a busy magazine month for me, as I have eight creations in it!  Click on the titles below to see them - you'll have to scroll down on some of them, as there are three images per page.
Check out the calls for the March 2010 issue here: March Calls, due December 31st.