Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Makin' stuff

Today was fun. I held my first paper crafting get-together, something other than scrapbooking. I guess its just a natural offshoot of scrapping since it was all the same supplies, but it felt different because no photos were involved. Several weeks ago one of my regular scrapbooking students asked me to "teach" her and a few of her friends how to make door hangers. I found a local online shop where I could buy blank door hangers so we had the perfect base to start with. I also found a few sample "layouts" in the online galleries so the ladies would have some idea of what to do. You would think that the canvas being so small and not involving any photos that it would only take a short time. But the class still took 3 hours. Of course we are drinking tea and chatting for a good portion of that time too. Anyway, here are the lovely door hangers that they made. (Sorry for the poor photo quality. These were taken with my Android.) This was a lot of fun, I'm thinking I may just need to try it myself someday....

Last week I showed you a photo of a non-scrapping project that I am making. Thank you to my friends who took a guess at it. Here is what those same items look like after week 2. I'm sure you can make out what most of them are now that they have some color. But what in the world am I going to do with them... I'll let you know next week!

Thank you as always for stopping by. Please come again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guessing game

Take a look at my picture below and try to guess what in the world I am making. I'll give you a hint. It has nothing to do with scrapbooking. Each project takes three weeks to complete, what you see here is the result of week one. Week two lesson is next Monday. I'll try to remember to take another picture and show you.

Any guesses?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something's coming...

I still have not gotten over my enjoyment of making these cute little waterfall albums. Just having so much fun, and they are so satisfying to make. I'm actually enjoying the hybrid ones more because I can make the entire cover layout in my computer, print out and cut each piece individually and have it done in no time. Whereas if I'm just making one from all my paper scrap supplies I need to grab and piece here, grab a piece there, try to coordinate it all and get a nice looking cover layout. What can I say, I love digi. But recently I've been wanting to have the look and feel of a "real" project in my hands too. Plus these make great gifts for Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, etc. LOVE these waterfall albums.

Here's my latest two. This first one I made from the latest collaboration of the Digichick Designers called Shutterbug. Here's the layout and how it looked completely digital.

And here's the finished project after I substituted some paper and crochet flowers with the hybrid papers.

 Shutterbug by the Digichick Designers

The second album I made with the ultra cute and vintage Grandma's Dresser by Sahlin Studio. Again, I made the basic layout digitally, then just substituted a few "real" items instead of the digital elements. I really like how they turned out.

Here's what it looked like completely digital.

 Here's how it turned out hybrid.

Keep your eyes open for this week's releases by The Digichick Designers. I can't say much, but here's a little teaser for you.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please come again!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What am I doing here

Good question. Why are we put on this earth? Do we have a purpose or is life just a big mix of luck and fate? Without getting too philosophical, let me just say that I'm a firm believer in making the most out of whatever I'm given. If I get lemons, I'll try to make lemonade.

I guess you could call it a personal motto, but I've always like the expression, "Bloom where you are planted." I never thought I would be planted in Japan for this long. I miss my home and family so much that on most days if I think too much about it I just can't breathe. I want to go home to them in Colorado. I still have a dream but the years pass on and I wonder if it will ever come true.

Not to say that I don't like Japan. I know I am so blessed to be here, just exactly here in this place in Japan. My husband's family are all nearby and they are all pretty wonderful. I have precious friendships that have grown over the past 10 years of living in our neighborhood. It would be very hard to leave them all behind.

This may not be my first choice of where I want to be, but its a close second. I still dream of going home. I still dream of traveling the world and embarking on new adventures. I'm a pretty patient person - Heaven knows I've had to be since coming here. I'm still "fairly" young and I'd like to believe I still have time to do these things.

So while I am waiting, dreaming of these people and places, I've decided I'm just going to be the best Me wherever I am. I am going to continue to bloom.

This is a page I made that appeared in the April 2011 Artisan Notebook

I'm in my early forties. I'm only in my early forties. I'm already in my forties? How did that happen so quickly? I don't feel quite that -- dare I say it -- "old." I know it’s not old. Forties is the new thirties, right! Women are staying young, staying hot longer, right?! So to say that I'm in my forties shouldn't be such a big deal. I'm still young at heart and I'm still active and, for the most part, healthy.

Then why does it bother me so much? You see, the average life expectancy for a woman is around 80. So that would mean that my life is half over. Half over. How is that possible? High school was just a few years ago! I only graduated university a few years ago too, right? I've only been in Japan for 19 years! What???? That one is the most painful. In a few more years, I will have been in Japan for half of my life. Away from home and family for half of my life.

Sometimes I can't bear it. In my heart I am young, beautiful, wrinkle-free and the world is wide open, full of possibilities. It is still the spring of my life -- in my heart that is. In reality I am in my 40s, still somewhat lovely on some days, have quite a few more wrinkles than I like the world to see, and my future becomes more limited with each passing year. In reality, I am entering the autumn of my life.

There is still so much I want to do, so many new adventures I want to embark on. I still want to bloom in new ways that I haven't yet tried! I'm not ready to quietly fade and wilt just yet. I want to be one of those women who steps out boldly later in life and undertakes a complete transformation of their lives for the better.

When I look at life from this viewpoint I realize that although I may be entering autumn in my life, it is never too late. It will be spring in my heart as long as I say it will be. I have the power to course my life in new directions. I have the ability to bloom in autumn.

Thank you as always for stopping by my little corner of the web. Please come again.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Slow mojo

I've often thought that I don't want my blog to be just a repeat of my galleries. How boring would that be. Without being too personal, I'd like to share a little of myself here. Something that my blog friends may not know about me. Keep it real as it were...

I've been absent from blogging lately. Not that I don't have anything to share, but some days are just not blogging days and I've had a lot of those recently. First and foremost I would say is because I've been busy. My "work" as an English teacher has been going very well these past few months. After 2 to 3 years of losing students due to graduations and busy schedules (ok I guess I should admit that MAYBE one or two who quit my classes just really didn't like learning English from me....), these past two months have brought many new students. One the one hand this is awesome for me. That's how I make my living in the real world. On the other hand, in order to get new students I have had to add an entire new day to my work week. I am now working 4 days a week. I have no idea how my friends who work full-time in office jobs find time for scrapping too. Work, cleaning, cooking, teaching, running children to their activities... by the end of the day I am exhausted and just want to veg out. My mojo has taken a major hit.

The second reason why I have been absent from blogging and scrapping is that I do have some bad emo days when I just feel lost to the world. Instead of writing it all out here, I'll just upload the double-page layout that I made in hopes of getting some art therapy. Things are getting better, slowly, but there are just times when I want to stay home and stay in bed.

Well, since I did enjoy making these other layouts as well I will share them here on my blog as well. If you want to read the journaling on them, just remember they can all be found in my galleries.

I do still love scrapping and there is no way I will give it up. My mojo is just slow right now. As always, thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the web here. Please come again soon.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thank you TIC

Thank you

I need to say a big and belated thank you to the people of the Tama City International Center. A few month ago a friend of mine, Kerry, introduced me to TIC through one of her own students and TIC invited me to come in late May and give a presentation on any topic that my little heart desired. Well, there are only 3 or 4 topics that I think I could talk about for an hour: the first and foremost topic being scrapbooking.

Thank you TIC members all for your gracious and warm welcome to me. I was so very happy to share my love of scrapbooking with you and was thrilled that even the gentlemen in the class seemed genuinely interested. Even I, while preparing for the presentation, learned a lot about the history of scrapbooking. I had a wonderful time sharing it with you.

I was so impressed with the members' level of English. I have to say, that this was the first time I have ever spoken about or taught scrapbooking in English! Up until now I've had to prepare all my thoughts and lessons in my broken Japanese. So this was a welcome change for me.

Thank you TIC for inviting me. I had such a nice time meeting you all!