Friday, 29 May 2009

Yet another class

I know that I have told you that I am addicted to classes. And I know that I have told you that I am a huge fan of Cathy Z. So if you put them together, you get a fantastic online Cathy Z class over at BPS that is just so much fun because it is totally different from what I would normally do.

I am not a digital scrapper. It's unlikely that I will ever be. But the whole digi side of things is very interesting and I really want to improve my photo editing skills and incorporate a bit of hybrid into the process. Added to this is the fact that digital pages using templates and simple Cathy Z styles are incredibly quick to complete.

The class is based around using Twitter or Facebook. I decided that Twitter is enough of a commitment for me and set off on a new journey using Photoshop Elements to create some pages for a mini album designed in the class. 140 characters of text, a date and a small cropped picture printed out and mounted onto gorgeous pink cardstock. What could be easier? Pop it all into a mini album by AC and cover it in wonderfully quirky BG and it's all but done and dusted!

I love it.

I have completed a few pages but as I have only been tweeting since the beginning of the month, I am going to continue this throughout the year.

As part of this week, a digital template was provided for a layout that could become more or less of a digital page. Mine ended up without any PP at all, just three small maple leaf brads in the bottom corner as embellishments and mounted onto cardstock. While I love the layout, love the speed (I think it took me about 45 mins including finding pictures and working out how to get the larger size printed ok) and the simple style, I know that I will not be converted to this style of scrapping in any major way.

I love to get mixed up with a dozen different papers on the desk, ribbons and buttons and all sorts of bit and pieces. This seemed just too clean! But it's never wrong to try out something new and see if it fits.

It's now officially weekend for me and a long one at that (Monday is Whit Monday) so here's to some fantastic sunshine to take away my holiday blues!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Blustery scrapping

I don't know how the weather has been with you the last few days but blustery is most definitely the description I would use round here! I try and air the place every morning and this morning was no exception, except that as I was sitting here in my workroom, it felt as if I was sitting in some kind of wind tunnel. I even lost one or two scraps of paper off the desk as the air whistled past. Not normal!

Anyway, Libby had offered me a challenge and so I sat down and did it. She collects Momiji dolls and wanted to scrap on that, so I chose our Starbucks bears that have been known to take over the house from time to time. Currently, I only have two in residence (all the rest are shivering in the dark and cold cellar) from Valentine's Day and Easter but of course, photos can always be found of our friends.

I think it might still need something to finish it off but at least it encouraged me to pick up the scissors and get to work on something after a bit of a dry spell. And to use up just a few pieces of my ever growing collection of die-cut sheets of paper - MUST. STOP. SPENDING....

It's basic but to the point and I can't wait to see what the girls come up with on the Momijis. I bet they are totally creative and put me to shame! And I might have to look into these adorable little dolls for myself. They look so sweet and I love collecting things.

Got to dash. I have to go and practice my swing!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Change of tack

ETA: LOL I just noticed that I had the idiom "change of tack" wrong! I had it as "change of track" which also makes perfect sense but is wrong! I've obviously been living in Germany too long! I'm losing my English!!!

Some time ago I started making a travel journal for our planned Canada trip this year. I had loads of product and plenty of time to get creative but somehow, it just didn't come together. I made a cover, cut out the pages, planned a bit of what I wanted and then left it. Every time I thought about it, I just lacked the inspiration to do anything with it.

I should have read the signs!

The holiday (which would have begun yesterday) was cancelled at the last minute! Long story...

Yes, I am sad. Yes, I am even broken hearted. But you know what? Life is pretty hard for so many people at the moment (so many sad stories about money, jobs, illness etc) and I know that I should be grateful for what I have. It's time to really dig in and realise how much I have to be thankful for. I don't want this to turn into a sob story for me. I am not fishing for sympathy. I want this to be something connected to my ongoing quest to become a more positive person. (My glass is certainly not half-full yet!!!)

So, I changed tack, took my travel journal apart and re-purposed it to be a gratitude journal. I intend to complete this every day for the next two weeks (the time we would have been on holiday) and find something great about each and every day.

It helps!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Get it done and move on...

I found myself with lots and lots of time to myself over the last days but somehow, never really got into sitting down and getting the paper and glue out. I wanted to, but it didn't happen which somehow showed that I was not really motivated. But I did plenty of other stuff such as finally organising my category drawers for my Library of Memories (Stacy Julian) system. The drawers are actually lovely boxes and they look really pretty up there on the shelf and they are still pretty empty right now as I have still to trawl through my printed out photos to pull and store photos for the different parts of my system. But that will come. I really work in baby steps!

What I actually spent most of my time with over the last days is sorting my old printed photos. Some time ago, I collected them all (thousands and thousands of them) into chronological year-by-year boxed storage with the intention of scanning and photo albuming them. Yes, of course, I only managed the first step and some "random" scanning! And there the boxes have been sitting for the last X years. Well, this week, I picked a year - it didn't matter to me which year - and got going.

Now this might sound odd to you, but I just started with 1988. I think this was because I had done a layout recently (here) on my Orient Express day out which had entailed a few scans and that was in 1988. So there I started. I figured that I can work forward from that and back. It was a good, manageable year to start with - nothing too major but still, quite a few life events. This was the year I turned 21 and the year I opened my little dress designing business (just one of the lives I have lived!). I scanned, and sorted and scanned and sorted some more. Then I went through the photos that I had in my hand and THREW some away - yes, in the bin!

Have you ever looked back over photos from the past and noticed just how BAD they all were! I never had a really good camera and just snapped here and there - a lot. I have always loved taking photos but I think that at least a quarter of them are out of focus, the other quarter chop peoples heads off etc and the rest, well, they are OK I guess, but not up to today's standards! (At least I hope so.) Yet at the time, they were wonderful photos! And with the years, you get a better feeling of those photos that mean something vs those which have people or places in them that you can't even name any more - they were important at the time but just haven't stood the test of time.

Then I started getting them into albums. Just the photos I think tell the story that is still important to remember. All the other photos are going back into those chronological boxes as cold storage. The one thing I made sure I did this time around (sorting my photos seems to have been a life work...) was not to be precious about the albums. I simply took a pen and wrote anything I wanted to note such as the date or the place or perhaps the occasion right onto the page. Made a mistake? Just crossed it out and wrote it again! I have reached the point where it is more important to me to get these into a viewable situation than to have them perfectly presented. And I really don't think that these are photos I want to be scrapping. But if I do, then I can see them in the album and have a scanned back up to print out and use. A perfect system I think.

I think that I sometimes get so caught up with the idea of the process (ask Jac - I am such a control freak, process driven person), of getting it perfect, of doing it "RIGHT" that I cannot move on. And this week has been a week to just jump in and work with it. I am sure that I will come across memorabilia or odd photos that should go in with album sections I have already done, but I am not worried, I will just put them in another album. And MOVE ON!!! Lesson learnt!

What have you learnt this week?

PS. I did manage to get these two layouts done. They certainly won't win any prizes for style and design but the Easter one used up some old product that I had lying around, and the photo is super fun and the second is my 12 on 12. And do you know what the date is today? It's only the 13th! I got my layout done right away. Another "get it done and move on" - tick.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Blue skies

Sorry to have been a bit melodramatic yesterday. I was just feeling a bit down and melancholy.

I do appreciate that I have it easy in relation to many, many others out there who are really suffering right now.

Anyway, I decide to do a layout from that post (although it is totally coincidental that Cathy Z posted a layout directly created from a blog yesterday, it does have a certain Z influence to it!) and came up with this:
And today the skies are blue, the birds are singing, the sun is shining and spring is back again. You can actually feel that everyone is in a better mood. When I am feeling a bit low, all I have to do is raise my eyes upwards on a bright sunny day and I can feel better in a moment.

I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. I know this. I think about it every day and it is most definitely part of my attempt at becoming a more positive person and even this year's word, calm, fits into this too.

So I produced this. Love this photo so much, for so many reasons. It has a certain poignancy to it, even more right now.

I'm also really proud to be dipping into my scrap box a lot at the moment in an attempt to get through some of the mountains and mountains of stash that I have! I have been doing a lot of scrapping recently, but most of it can't be shared just yet. And I am bursting with ideas of topics to do pages on - just have to capture these and get them done rather than procrastinate like I do.

The weekend is nearly here - yipeee

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Feeling a bit lost

I teach English lessons to business people. My week is pretty much mapped out and I usually have the same routine on certain days. Often for years and years.

And then it changes and I feel lost.

It's Wednesday. Wednesday has been my Daimler in Düsseldorf day for the last 7 years. I even had some of the same students over that period of time. This may not sound a lot of routine for some, but for me, this is a LIFETIME!
The journey was long and tiring - two hours in each direction. To begin with I went there for 4 two-hour lessons taking my day from 6am to 6pm with travel. This got easier and easier over time and recently it got even better when the 8am class stopped, meaning I only needed to leave the house at 8am. Sometimes, the journey was terrible if the weather was bad or cold or miserable or if the trains played up and let me down. But I always knew that at the end of the journey, I would be met by lovely, wonderful people who were friendly and welcoming and good fun. Some of these students became real friends and I love that!

Well, these classes were brought to an abrupt halt two weeks ago. I did not even get a chance to say goodbye to these lovely people in person - email can be so impersonal.

I can't say that I am not enjoying the chance to get up later in the morning or some time at home while I look for more work to fill the day, but somehow the routine is missing. My Wednesday was always hard work and tiring and I knew that once that was over, the end of the week was coming. Now I feel a bit cheated! I had such an easy day today - a late start to the day, a single class just down the road and then the chance to do a scrapbooking assignment for a magazine. I am sure for many, this would be heaven. I certainly live a somewhat easy life these days. But I miss the classes all the way over there in Düsseldorf. And I miss my friends there.

These are the sights that have greeted me morning and evening every (or almost every) Wednesday for the last 7 years. They may not look very special but it's amazing how attached you can get to the familiar. I enjoyed looking down at the railway tracks to see all the Sprinter vans getting ready to go off around Europe ...

or looking down to the lines and lines of vans waiting to be finished by custom fittings or company livery...
and even though we have many of these Smart towers all over Germany, this one greeted me from the train window each week (and was next to McDonald's which provided me with hot coffee most mornings and a cold drink or a McFlurry very often in the summer!).

Soon, my Wednesday will have a new routine and this will just be in the past, but for now, the silly little things are just missing!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

One of those days

I had all day to myself. One of those lazy, quiet days with nothing to do. I was alone and could not wait to just spend ALL day scrapping. It was National Scrapbooking Day after all. Libby was at a crop in the UK so I would attend virtually and join in on the fun.

THAT was the plan.

Nothing ever quite works out that way does it?

First there was the monthly invoices to produce and send off. Of course, this is important and I sat down to do this first and foremost like the well-organised girl that I would love to be. Oh, I forgot to put the washing in, so off I trundle downstairs to do that first. Back to the invoices, bit complicated as I had 5 to do to 3 different companies - multiple files, papers, address labels, inserts etc. I always get myself into a bit of a mess! And it needs to be right - food on the table after all. Finally done. Mmmm. Need to get them in the post right away. Better go right now and make copies and get them in the post. Also a bit complicated as some originals need to go in and not others while other copies need to be included and some not! Must make sure right ones go in right envelopes. And I am feeling a bit disorientated so that is never easy. Had a laugh while I was copying watching some rather technophobic people trying to use a customer loyalty card to get a printed voucher out of the machine. How many OAPs does this procedure take? At least 10 all with an opinion on how hard to press the screen, to remind each other what their postcode is and generally poke their noses into each other's business! Right, copies done. Down to post box. Yes, done and posted. Sigh of relief. Ok, while I am out, I really should do the round-trip to get some drinks. Off I go, collect the car, load up the empty bottles (deposit system here in Germany), off down the road I go. Of course, Saturday is Flea Market day so the traffic is at a standstill. 20 minutes later (for a 2KM journey) I unload all the bottles and pick up new. It's hot. Think I will just pop back in and get a lolly. That's better. Now, off to Lidl to drop off the water bottles and get more. More traffic of course. Horror roadworks allowing two cars through at a time. I am surprisingly calm and relaxed. The sun is shining after all and I have Elvis blaring out of the car stereo. Ok, drink bottles deposited and new water bought and in car. Oh yes, we need bread. Better get that too. Ok, everything back in car and home. Unload all those dozens of bottles in at the front door and drive the car back round to the car park. Back home, manage to trundle up our 70 (yes! and no lift!) stairs with about 20 kilos of bottles (not even making a dent in the piles of crates downstairs but patience is needed...). Everything in the fridge or freezer. Ok, now I'm hungry so I better make myself a couple of sandwiches and a couple of drinks. Sit down and eat this. Right, down to business. Desk a mess, better tidy all those papers away first. Oh and I must check out the Simple Scrapbooks blogs and post a few comments for the chance of a prize. Good, the washing is done, need to hang it out. It needs to dry and be ironed and back on bed before we go out tonight. (You can see where this is going can't you?!?)

FINALLY, I looked at Libby's SMS and decided that I could try her challenge (shaped cardstock, stitching and wings). I cannot believe it but my time is now quite short and I better really get on with this or it will be time to go out and nothing will be done. Quick decisions made and sewing machine taken out and threaded up. Thereby followed about 30 minutes of me cursing the stupid machine as it just would not stitch properly. Finally got it working and then whizzed the layout together in about 20 minutes. Second challenge from Lib - use stamping. Boy, by this time I was flying and pulled this one together in about 30 minutes. But that was it, my time was over and I had to get back to that washing - ironing it all and putting it back on the bed before slapping a bit of make up on to go out.

My grand involvement in National Scrapbooking Day? About an hour and a half. Amazing that I got two layouts done. It normally takes that long to pick out a photo!

How was your day?...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...