Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Stories (and Story Play)

"We tell stories because, in order to cope with the present and to face the future, we have to create the past, both as time and space, through narrating it." 
These words, from W.F.H. Nicolaisen, are always among the first that I share with my students as we begin the year together in our English class. I want them to think beyond "story-as-assignment" and consider why storytelling matters. 

Related to this idea of why we tell stories is another of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite authors, Angela Carter, who writes, 
“...As the past becomes more and more unlike the present, and as it recedes even more quickly in developing countries than it does in the advanced, industrialized ones, more and more we need to know who we were in greater and greater detail in order to be able to surmise what we might be.”
Storytelling, for me, is not relegated to the English classroom. It is so much a part of the hobby that I love, scrapbooking. In fact, I would argue that it is at the heart of scrapbooking.  In our scrapbooks, we "create the past...through narrating it," and doing so actually does allow us to "cope with the present and face the future." Through the process of telling our stories in our scrapbooks, we really do "come to know who we were in greater and greater detail," and as a result, we are increasingly "able to surmise what we might be." 

Scrapbooking is storytelling. 
Earlier this month, the Masterful Scrapbook Design class "Story Play" premiered at Get It Scrapped. The class is based on a series of creative challenges involving storytelling through scrapbooking.  I created the layout above in response to a challenge to use a rebus puzzle.  
Can you figure it out? 

Let me help you decode it if you find yourself scratching your head: 

thumb - mb + future + sew + bright + eye + go + two + where + shades


The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.   

These days, my daughter has college on the brain.  She's excited and bewildered all at once. Why is it that high school seniors feel pressured to decide on their future careers already?  Maybe it has something to do with the cost of college and the fear of entering a job market that is already saturated. In any case, she is at a crossroads, caught between what she feels she should be doing and what she truly loves doing. She's very much aware that she is in the process of composing the story of her life, and she wants it to be a page-turner. 

She'll find her way. This layout is a reminder of my unwavering belief in her. 

This weekend (at 8 p.m. EST), I will be chatting more about my class layouts and my sense of "story play" during a Get It Scrapped/Masterful Scrapbook Design webinar.  I'm really looking forward to it!  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Things That Shine: Flower Dream

Today I spent some quality time with some Things That Shine kits and tidbits.
This layout shares my "flower dream" -- that is, the dream of owning a green thumb instead of a black one. For someone who adores flowers as much as I do, it is a downright shame that everything I plant seems to die. Right now I am attempting to keep some succulents alive, and so far, they are still relatively green, so that is a hopeful sign. However, at the same time that I brought those home from the nursery, I also brought home three green pakalana vines, which have, sadly but predictably, returned to the soil from whence they came. Maybe Hurricane Iselle's winds had something to do with their demise, but I ultimately blame myself and the aura of floral despair that surrounds me. I'm like the kid who shouts "KITTY!" with arms outstretched and then squeezes the cat too tight, if you know what I mean.

Luckily, I still scrap flowers to life, which is what I did with this layout and the Things That Shine lovelies that grace the page.
A florist I will never be, but my love for flowers, though somewhat unrequited, will endure.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

And the Giveaway Goes To...

Congratulations, Cristina! :) Email your address to me, and I'll have your goodies to you soon!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly Round-Up + A Giveaway

I will be honest: I miss Two Peas in a Bucket. I miss it every day.  Once the site closed, I put off removing the link from my bookmark bar, but eventually, I had to do it. I kept clicking the link out of habit -- a habit that was reinforced multiple times daily over the course of ten-plus years.

Although Two Peas is no more, however, the former Garden Girls have been keeping in touch, and because we hope to keep in touch with YOU as well, each week, we take turns putting together a "round-up" of projects from our blogs.  Here's what we've been working on this week:

Top row, L-R: 

Paper-piecing powerhouse Paige Taylor Evans creates her own kind of alphabetical order, using Shimelle's new American Crafts line. 

Inspired by Marcy Penner's Studio Calico mini-book workshop, Stephanie Bryan shares a gorgeous summer album (trust me on this: you will want to take a closer look at the contents of this beauty of a book). 

Speaking of She Who Inspires, learn how to dig into diamonds and shape them into triangles with Marcy Penner.

When Wilna Furstenberg says, "You Will Fly," you kind of believe it's going to happen. Check out this layout from her new "Art and Design" class. 

Bottom row, L-R: 

In the midst of a cleaning binge, Lisa Dickinson shares a lovely JBS Mercantile layout with a swoon-worthy sentiment. 

Melanie Blackburn shares her first October Afternoon design team layout (Congratulations, Mel!).

Watch newlywed (!!!) CĂ©line Navarro's video tutorial for how to create a fun and vibrant page. 

As for me, I have a new layout up on the October Afternoon blog, featuring my take on a junk-mail challenge.  Join me in converting trash to treasure! 

If there's something you've been working on that you'd love to share, please include a link to your project in the comments below.  In fact, if you decide to share a project created and posted in the month of September, I'll sweeten the deal with a little giveaway.  Just be sure to add your link before Friday at 6 p.m. HST (that's midnight EST), and I'll pick one lucky winner from the mix! 

Have a great week! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014


The word "frisson" has been on my mind lately. It came up in class the other day, as my students discussed the following poem by Hsueh T'ao, one of many in our study of early Chinese poetry by women. 

Spring Gazing Song 
Blossoms crowd the branches: too beautiful to endure.
Thinking of you, I break into bloom again.
One morning soon, my tears will mist the mirror.
I see the future, and I will not see.

It is difficult not to react to these words. One way to describe the sensation brought on by reading these lines is "frisson" -- a kind of mental and physical shiver.   

When I got home that day, I created this layout, which brings together a series of "day in the life" detail shots and reflects on the moments of "frisson" in teaching and learning -- moments that can be epiphanic, that can lead to a hunger for more shiver-worthy experiences.  

The selfie included in the mix is of a pretty haggard me at the end of the day. Initially, I wasn't going to include it, but it's that exhausted teacher who is exhausted for a really (truly) good reason who needs to be on this page, just as she is. 

More details can be found on the JBS Mercantile blog

Monday, September 1, 2014

JBS Mercantile September Reveal

The JBS Mercantile September kits are now available! Over the past few days I've had the pleasure of working with these beauties:
September Antiquarian Kit

These kits are versatile, as I discovered after creating three layouts that range from a little bit of pretty to a lot of silly.

More details can be found in the gallery at JBS Mercantile. 

Even though I've pretty much rendered the kits into remnants at this point, I'm not done creating with them yet. I think I can still get at least one more layout out of them before the long weekend ends!  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

JBS Mercantile September Sneaks

After one of the busiest weeks of my life, I found sweet relief this afternoon in immersing myself in the September JBS Mercantile kits. Here are a few peeks: 
When I opened the kits a few days ago, I had to smile, as it was like a trifecta -- three wins in a row, featuring my three design teams: JBS Mercantile, October Afternoon, and Crate Paper. That might explain why working with these lovely kits has been such a delight so far.  

The kit reveal is tomorrow at midnight at JBS Mercantile.  I'm off to start my third layout now!