Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Making Wild Things Happen


photo credit

An interesting article about "creativity" popped up on my blog feed yesterday- and its timing was a little uncanny. The basic premise was that a creative work that you can be happy with really only comes about after many, many failures.  It is the constant effort, refinement and practice that makes your work strong.  And by work, I don't just mean layouts and photos- really I think this can be applied to so many areas of our lives.  Luck doesn't just walk through the door, you have to put a whole lot of effort into opening the door so that it welcomes luck.

I say that the timing of this good read is a little awesome because I am just finishing up a design that you could say is about 5 years in the making. When I first decided to give graphic designs a go- I was luckily unaware of all that needed to be done to create a design that other would actually want!  I was an avid scrapper-  just discovering the world of digiscrap- and the designers I loved made it all seem so effortless. Their work was amazing- and it seemed to come naturally from the pure love of creating and a free flowing talent. I loved to create- and believed myself a little blessed with talent- why shouldn't I try this new endeavor? Like a wide eyed 18 year old- I believed I could professionally live on love alone.

So, I set to work taking a few classes in Photoshop- studied all I could about design and put stylus to pad and created my very first digital scrapbooking kit. Like someone who cuts their own bangs, I was unaware of the hot mess that was the reality of my efforts, and believe it or not, I packed it up and sent it off to one of the top digital shops at the time, hoping for a chance at a designer position. (Yeah- I know!)

Here's where the luck comes in- the owner of the shop was an amazing person. Amazing. She did not know me- and could have easily ignored my email.  But she didn't- she took the time to actually review my sad little files full of jaggies and stray pixels and gave me a detailed letter of advice and critique and support. And her warmth and sincerity made me believe that she saw a spark there in my work. She some something- and that was all the fuel I needed! And so I picked myself up and gave it another go.  I worked harder, and learned more. A few months later I joined a competition for a spot an internship at another digital shop, and met yet another talented and supportive shop owner and designer. Week after week, as the numbers whittled down, I actually let myself believe I had a shot at becoming a designer! It was going to happen! And then- ouch- I got cut. By now, I was really addicted to design- and facing the hard fact that I wasn't good enough was a punch to the stomach and ego.  But-  I went back and asked for 5 things I could do to get better. It hurt hearing all my shortfalls- but I am glad I steeled myself. I worked on those skills - and kept working and submitting.

Dreams come true one decision at a time. Don't quit, never stop learning, always get better, ask for advice, listen to advice and work no matter what. Work even if you don't feel like it.  Work if you are  not inspired. The effort becomes a self winding engine and before you know it, you'll be looking back and smiling so proudly at how far you've come.

I  wanted to share with you a peek at my first design- which of course was inspired by most very favorite book of all time, "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak, His work has long been in my heart- and I was lucky enough to see a full exhibit of his art at a museum in the city  this summer. It was like seeing a rock-star! I had eyes as wide as saucers and a permanent smile on my face for the whole afternoon. Just awesome.






It's always been a design I've wanted to complete- a full circle kind of thing.  I tried at least 3 other times to get the colors and mood down- to make it inspired as opposed to outright mimicry- and each time, the design fell short. 

Well, this week, I picked myself up again, and gave it another go. I can truly say I am so pleased with how it matches what I had hoped for! I hope it looks like it was effortless to create- but you and I know the truth- *wink!


artwork by motherbear



artwork by farrahjobling






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Monday, September 08, 2014

Adventures in Teen Photography

Apparently, my skills as a photographer have decreased in direct proportion to my son getting older.  While there was once a time that my uplifted camera would elicit funny faces and jumps off the highest perch available, now that my boy is approaching 16, even a slightly raised phone (with camera app on stealth mode) will elicit a groan, eye roll, the baritone siren of "Mommmm" and a loud declaration that this, in fact, is a photo free zone. I have lost my photog-swag to such an extent that my taking photos of a subject will more than likely drain them of their swag as well. 

Consider the following examples:

This photo was taken in 2004. Apparently, I was a much better photographer then. The subject is enjoying the shot and actively participating in telling the story of the day. That raised finger is in fact a prop- the subject is entering into First Grade.

Another successful shot. Note that the subject enjoys looking directly into the lens and even humors me with unsolicited funny faces.  The joy is free flowing. Life is good.

Fast forward 10 years. Here, I can not make myself visible to the now teen subject.  My camera makes me invisible and silences my voice requesting him to look up.  I am considering selling this cloaking science to the Military. Assuming of course, we find ourselves facing an army of cool teens.  (A video game console and barrels of Pizza pockets may however work just as well in distracting the enemy...)

This photo was taken just last week. Sadly, in the 10 years since the first photo was taken, despite advanced equipment, Lightoom skills and classes, my proficiency as a photographer has deteriorated. Before the shot was taken, I was reprimanded for being way too slow and a bit "lame". I was reminded that this was not a necessary shot- and believe that the subject felt inconvenienced at best. I found that the best tool to use to get the subject to stop moving and pause for a shot was a combination of 1 part Mothers Guilt + 1 part "The Look".  I believe the subject did feel some pity at seeing me a bit of an emotional mess as he walked off into Junior Year High School and gave me a half hearted smirk. 
I am determined however, to capture the awesome spirit of this teen creature- and will work on perfecting ways to catch him on film.  It may be dangerous- but it's worth it. And if all else fails, and the mission proves futile, Mama can always take more photos of the little guy!

Thankfully, the Little One has not yet learned that selfies are lame, especially ones taken with the Mother- and will happily smoosh his face next to mine in public. 

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Friday, September 05, 2014

Now in the Shoppe | HOMECOMING

I can't believe that it is September already- but the mums on my front porch and book bags and football gear that have taken over my mudroom do not lie. Nor does my way too quiet house... I miss my guys! But the one consolation to summer ending is the promise of Fall. 

I adore this time of year- not so much the going back to school- but the weather and the colors and the change in mindset to settle down a bit more at home.  Less barbecues, more roasts and baking, a return of the afghans to the couch and a little slower pace. That's the feeling that inspired my designs this week, "HOMECOMING"- a bright and cheery celebration of settling down a bit more- and spending time at home together.


HOMECOMING  is part of the September *BYOC at the LilyPad. I designed Paper, Pretties and Felt Banners that not only play well with each other- but with all the other pieces of the BYOC collection- and The Lilypad offers Buy More Save More discounts you may want to check out! 

*What is BYOC? On the first  Friday of every month, The LilyPad has an amazing Build Your Own Collab (BYOC) - a mix-and-match set of products that allow you to put together your own kit- and all products in the category are discounted for the premier weekend!







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homecoming by foreverjoy | lo by ellent
homecoming by foreverjoy | lo by enjoyyourpix


homecoming by foreverjoy | lo by iowan 
homecoming by foreverjoy | lo by kalamae

homecoming by foreverjoy | lo by motherbear


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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Returning to the Shoppe | Funtastical

One of my very favorite designs is returning to the ForeverJoy Shoppe tomorrow- and the bundled collection will be 50% off the retail price! I love this kit because it is so playful and versatile.  Just by swapping out the Main kit papers with the Kraft set- you can change the entire tone of your story! And of course, the design holds a special place in my heart because I am a big Dr. Seuss fan! Remember the graduation party I threw my big guy? You can check out those posts here and here.) In fact, you'll find one of my most favorite layouts in my collection below- and a few beautiful samples of the collection in action from the Creative Team.

artwork by tronesia (@ the lilypad)
artwork by foreverjoy
artwork by sunflowersbaby
artwork by arumrose (@the lilypad)
artwork by iowan



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Friday, August 29, 2014

Hello September!




I can't believe it's almost time to flip the calendar page to September- and time to pretty up the desktop with a new wallpaper! This one is going out as a freebie to FJ newsletter subscribers today thru September 1. Not signed up yet? There's a link on the sidebar- you will receive a confirmation email- followed by the latest newsletter as soon as you sign up!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Whole Lotta Hoopla!




There's lots of good stuff happening at ForeverJoy this weekend! You can play along HERE in the Lilypad challenge forum with a fun "scavenger hunt" of my shoppe for an (easy!) chance to win a $2 gift certificate to my Shoppe (and a chance for a $10 Prize!) Come on over and play!

And-
 not only is there something NEW on the ForeverJoy Drawing Board- ALL ForeverJoy Designs are 30% off During the Lilypad Store-wide Quarterly Sale including new releases! 



artwork by mrivas

artwork by ellent

artwork by andrea 4376

artwork by 3littleks

artwork by enjoyyourpix

artwork by iowan

artwork by laluna

artwork by loni
artwork debbie
artwork by jill
artwork by roxanamdm

artwork by nietis




And just because this is such a special weekend, ForeverJoy Newsletter Subscribers will be receiving the coordinating Journal card set as a FREE download in this weekends newsletter! Not a Subscriber yet? No problem- Just sign up and you'll be sure to never miss any of the extra savings and promotions subscribers enjoy!



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