Sunday, February 25, 2007

Look What I Found!

Scrap shopping is always exciting for me. What's even more exciting is when I find scrapbooking items in the most unexpected places and at very cheap prices.

Big bags of multi-colored foam die cuts - alphabets and numbers, animals, shapes and flowers for only P55 each. Buy one take one packages of multi-colored buttons and wooden flowers at P55. Dome alphabet stickers for P55 too. No, I didn't get these from the 55 peso store, if such even exists.

The best find? Acrylics in various shapes and colors. Each bag contains 28 acrylic pieces. At P88 per packet, that comes down to P3.15 per piece. Even my DH can't afford to complain at that price.

Look at the many designs available. And I should mention that these weren't meant to be used for scrapping. They're really parts of a DIY curtain pack. How cool is that?

It was actually the @ sign that drew my eyes in at first. The price made those same eyes open wide. I have seen an LO titled "Where I'm @" and I have always wanted to make one just like it. The flowers, musical notes, bears, pac-man ghosts, hands, feet, L-O-V-E, chicks, and diamond shapes filled my mind with endless possibilities.

If you want to know where I found these lovelies, leave a comment or read this entry again. The answer is right in here. :-)


Thank you to My Little Attic (MLA) for bringing on a challenge that encouraged us to look at ourselves and what we are grateful for.

When Nette Madero, the always gracious owner of MLA, announced the parameters of the challenge last January, I knew immediately what I wanted to create - something about where I am now and how it's not so bad. You see, I recently found myself unemployed. I have been working for 15 years, the last 12 years with an international philanthropic organization. It was the perfect job, made sour only by the commute that I had to endure going to work and back. Because of the traffic situation in Manila I would have to leave the house really early and return home late enough to find my kids already in bed. Some days I was just too tired, I'd just hit the bed, too.

Losing a job. At first I could only think of the derailment in my career and the income that I lost. Thanks to the challenge, I can focus on what I gained instead.

Here is my entry, titled: Job Lost. Joy Found.

Journaling reads:

I lost my job of 12 years five months ago.
For some people, that is not something to be thankful about.
Instead of an 8 to 5 job, I HAVE:
•Time to linger over my eggs in the morning
•Hugs and kisses from my children before they leave for school
•Naps anytime of the day
•No traffic, no rush. Just ME, marching to my own drummer
•Spontaneous lunch dates with my husband
•The pleasure of tucking my children into bed
•No worries about being late for work even if I stayed up all night scrapping and watching TV
•Books that I can finally get to reading
•The luxury of growing my hair long

Materials used:
We R Memory Keepers Restoration PPS - Drapery, Upsholtery Tacks, Jacquard, Bed Linen; Prima flowers attached with faux eyelets; photo corners, acrylic stamps, mini-pop up dots.

The process:
I am a slow scrapper. I let things brew inside my head. Usually, the title and journaling happen first. I always have a small notebook with me to jot down my thoughts. The journaling this time just flowed easily because it's so true. Originally, my working title was Job Lost, Self Found. But then I had a eureka moment while pounding on the treadmill in the gym and it was revised to Job Lost, Joy Found. I thought I would use We R Memory Keepers Diner papers but I knew much still depended on the pictures I will use.

I don't have that many photos of myself, so a photo shoot with my DH was in order. But I wanted a new haircut before the photo shoot (vanity is thy name) which I didn't get around to getting until three nights before the deadline. My DH took my photos the next morning, but then he brought my printer to his office so I didn't get to scrap (or chose not to?) until Tuesday afternoon. I started photoshopping two pictures around 6 pm, six hours before the deadline. When I finally printed out the pics neither went well with the Diner papers which were too bright. I went with the Restoration papers instead, which had a distressed shabby look. After that decision was made came the toughest part: commiting to a sketch. Since I knew I had no time to waste, moving things around endlessly, I took a deep breath and started cutting and adhering. I didn't dare second-guess myself anymore. Finally at around 11:00, I finished and uploaded my LO in the MLA gallery. I missed watching Desperate Housewives, but I felt very satisfied and happy with how the LO came out. It really reflected my thoughts and feelings at this time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Future Scrapbookers

I had the privilege of interacting with the gradeschoolers from my kids' school last February 12. I volunteered to teach them how to scrapbook as one of the school's Literacy Week activities. I was initially being drafted to be a parent representative for Family Day which involves games, cheerleading and lots of running. I figured I would do better with scrapbooking. I was never any good at games and our family track record for Family Days is lousy. The team we are in always loses. (This year was a happy exception!)

I decided to teach the kids how to make a mini-album about their families. It will make a for a nice Valentine's gift for their parents. I had extra paper from my slabs and stacks (each design usually comes in threes or fours) so I didn't ask the children to bring anything except for their pictures, glue, ribbons and other art materials they wanted. I just bought these long linen cartolinas to cut for folding into an accordion and I was all set.

Special mention and thanks have to go to Nita who helped me cut the papers the very night before my "class." I swear, this lady's brain is like a ruler. One look at the papers and she knew exactly the sizes to cut to avoid wastage. Left on my own, I would've used a system that was far from efficient and would've taken me the whole night to make. I had to prepare 18 kits - 10 girls and 7 boys. Thank God, for scrapbooking friends.

I was quite excited on the day, no, wasn't nervous at all. I think my kids Diego and Sarah who are in grades three and one, respectively, were more nervous than I was. But basically, I think they were proud to have their mother there. There was some moment of confusion though with how they would address me. Sometimes I was Mama, at times, Teacher, more often, Teacher Mama or Mama Teacher.

The session went well. We went through the kits page by page. The kids could follow. (More so than I could say for some of us during scrap workshops). A little slowly for the grade 1 students. The grade 3 students, specially the girls were far more advanced, as expected. The best part was when I let them do their own thing - add their pictures, decorations, messages, etc. I set up three stations for stamps, decorative scissors and punchers. Finally, my supplies and tools put to really good use.

I was really touched with what the children wrote on their albums. One 7 year old girl asked me if I thought her Mom would like her message which read: "Dear Mom, You really nice. You are the nicest Mom in the world." A six year old boy stamped "I love my family" on the cover of his album. Not quite content, he further wrote, "very much." It wasn't the precision work of adult scrapbookers but these kids had fun creating something all by themselves.

The class gifted me with a scrapbooking album afterwards, but really, the experience was reward enough.

Bright curious creative innocent minds. I am so honored.

(Digital kit from Refresh Collection)

The basic kit for the accordion mini-album

Cover pages of Diego and Sarah's masterpieces

Sarah's message - so sweet

Diego's message - so practical

I love how they personalized their works

Proud of her handiwork

Proud of his album and recycled robot in the background

Friday, February 02, 2007

Challenge Yourself

Last December, I joined the Scrappin Mom's 1-2-3 Challenge. It proved a liberating and rewarding experience. I learned to let go of my fears and insecurities (well, at least, some of them) and was rewarded by a layout that I would never have done otherwise.

This January, the challenge is to scrap your travel photos. Hmmm...where to start? Too many travel photos. Finally, decided on a photo of me and DH in front of the Taj Mahal, drafted the journaling, printed out the photo, planned the layout (not necessarily in that order). I had even chosen the patterned papers. 7 Gypsies had papers called Mumbai, Sultan, etc. Just perfect for the olde worlde feel that I wanted my layout to exude.

Meantime, the deadline looms larger. On the last day, I finally stopped delaying and put my plan into action. I was so frustrated that the papers I had in mind didn't work with the photo. I wasted hours trying to make it fit, it just didn't. Maybe if it were in black and white. But I didn't want to print another copy. Sayang naman the photo I already have. So I literally threw my hands in the air and grabbed the few SEI paper I had (special prize goes to the best LO using SEI products). I don't have that many to choose from, so that was easy. Took me less than an hour to put everything together once I made a commitment.

So, here is how it came out. So different from what I had in mind. It won't win any awards, but just finishing it and sending it in was a big enough reward for me. This is LO #10 of 10. Wow! I'm in the two-digits.

Materials Used:

SEI Stitches cardstock; SEI serenity vellum; AMM Twill ribbon; phrase cafe sticker; Deja Views Fresh Verse; charms; MM foam stamps for the corner design (added some prisma glitter); acrylic stamps for the title. Photoshop CS2 for the Taj Mahal photo with text prints. The texts are actual descriptions of Taj Mahal written by poets and historian through the centuries. Scanned my Philippine passport and Indian visa.

Journaling: Standing on the bank of the River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal stands tall and beautiful. Built by an Emperor for his princess wife, it is truly a tribute to beauty and love. We were lucky enough to be there on a full moon. Like a jewel, the Taj sparkled in the moonlight when the semi-precious stones inlaid in the white marble caught in the moon's glow. It was, like our love, truly magical.

A bit of background. My DH and I had a chance to visit India last November 2003. I went for a work-related conference in New Delhi. My DH got bored just hanging around so he took the train to Jaipur and stayed there for three days. On the weekend of the conference, our office brought all the participants to visit the pride of Agra - the Taj Mahal. My office paid for everything, except my husband's personal expenses (Jaipur trip included) and his airfare. He was seated in economy so I just threw him cocktail peanuts from my lofty perch in business class. Haha.