Big news! Big news! Remember way, way back in… um… October, when I said I’d gotten an offer to “go pro” as a designer but I didn’t feel ready? Well… take one excitable insomniac night of planning and scheming, add … Continue reading
I recently participated in a fun Designer Challenge over at Pixel Scrapper. It was called “Pass the Kit.” We signed up for the challenge, were put into groups by level of experience (I claimed “advanced” – yeah, I’m ownin’ it!), … Continue reading
Greetings, blog train passengers! Have you been enjoying the ride so far? It’s been a while since I felt inspired to hop on the train myself as a designer, and I’m pretty excited about what I have for you today. My offering is broken up into three parts which you’ll find interspersed throughout this post.
I posted earlier about my recent foray into the world of art journaling, and this month’s blog train theme, Autumn Art, and its rich, vibrant color palette were a perfect fit. I am particularly smitten with my Painty Bits, which were inspired by the work of designer Lynne-Marie, whose artsy designs I’ve been creating with lately. I experimented and came up with a bunch of new techniques I’d never tried before, which is always a fulfilling process. The Painty Bits download also includes a stencil, and a tutorial on how to use it to turn any patterned paper into your own beautiful falling-leaf painty bit.
I’m in sort of an awkward period right now as a designer. I was approached by someone I really respect about designing things for sale (super flattering!), but I feel like I currently rely too heavily on other people’s commercial use products to qualify as “real” designer. There’s a popular “computer generated” look to many digital design materials that just isn’t my cup of tea, and so then we’re in the realm of extractions of real-life objects, and of Illustrator and Photoshop and just plain artistic skills I don’t (yet) possess.
I recently had the opportunity to beta-test a class for beginning designers offered by Marisa Lerin at Pixel Scrapper. I thought this could be a perfect chance to start honing these skills, and the papers I have for you today were indeed generated as assignments for the class (still using some CU resources for textures, etc.). But when I got to the elements portion of the class… well… it turns out that it’s not just about skills. There’s a big dollop of patience required to fiddle endlessly with layer style adjustments, trying to find the exact bevel height and angle and shading to make something look “real.” And it kind of bores me. I want to be making the things I see in my head, and when the fastest way to do that is to be a “magpie,” pulling resources together from here and there, that’s what I’m inclined to do. My thinking for now is that I’m making stuff to give to people for free – I want it to look awesome, I can allow myself to not be worried about some kind of professional pride.
Maybe when I have more time, when I’m not doing grad school and practicum and chronic illness and house-caught-on-fire all at once, I’ll have the spaciousness required to get to this next level of design-independence. And I don’t want to sell myself short – I am always learning and gaining new skills. This month I made my first-ever flair and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. The wooden leaves and gear were new forays for me as well. (Lesson learned from wooden leaves: something looks “off” and computer generated? Slap some paint on it! I think they turned out pretty well in the end.;))
Thanks, as always, for reading (I’ve been wordy as usual) and for downloading. I love knowing my designs are being enjoyed! (Does anyone actually scrap with these things, or just enjoy the deliciousness of the download? The sheer pleasure of the digital hoarding is totally legit, but I find I’m so curious – have any of you made anything with a design you downloaded from me? Let me know in the comments!) (Edited to add: I am absolutely not trying to imply there’s shame in hoarding, I use the term affectionately to describe the great pleasure I get from collecting, unpacking, and organizing my mountains of digital supplies. It’s a different aspect of the hobby, but one I think is a ton of fun!)
Finally, here’s a look at the stencil that is included in the Painty Bits download. It’s based on a cool set of brushes from Lileya and will allow you to turn a patterned paper into a pretty falling-leaf design (could be great to use on other interesting papers from this blog train that catch your eye). (Edited to add: The tutorial included with the stencil walks through how to use the stencil in Photoshop. If anyone uses it in a different program, leave us a comment here so others know they’ll be able to use it, too. I imagine it will be usable in most.)
Alright, blog trainers, thanks again for stopping by and now, onward! To find the whole list of Pixel Scrapper Autumn Art blog train goodies, check out this thread at Pixel Scrapper.
I’ve mostly stopped taking pictures. I’ve completely stopped Project Life-ing (although I am still making desultory movement towards getting something done for 2012 and 2013 – mostly learning Lightroom so I can wrangle my photos before PL-ing them). I’ve felt mostly too busy with school and practicum and house stuff (only now really starting to recover from the fire) to design for blog trains. Plus being tired all the time puts a damper on creative inspiration.
So when I saw buzz going around about a mysterious new art-journal-ish project that was starting up at digital scrapbooking store The Lilypad I followed with interest but no real idea that I’d participate. I don’t have a lot of disposable income, and I pretty much only spend digital-designs money on commercial use products so I can keep making more & varied freebies for y’all. :) But I am super interested in digital art journaling and was looking for something to give me motivation and structure to make things again, so when the big reveal came and it turned out to be a subscription to a monthly mixed-media/art journal style kit made by four of the most creative, high-quality designers in the biz, and that the project would be supported by a private forum with weekly challenges and a community of people sharing their creations, I decided to try it out for a few months. (I’m not trying to be an ad for this, but I’m also not trying to be cryptic; if you want more info you can find it here on one of the designers’ blogs.)
It worked!! I have been making pages again! I’m still pretty new to making pages that aren’t pocket-scrap style, but I’ve been having a ton of fun. Art journaling is compelling to me because it traditionally allows for expression of the full spectrum of emotion, introspection as well as celebration. Some of the pages I’ve made are too personal to post, but I wanted to share a few here. Each of these was made for a particular challenge in the M3 forum.
This one might need a little explication. I’ve been intrigued by a new layout style Sissy Sparrows has introduced, called Pocket Journals. You make your whole layout on an 8.5×11 page, print it, and then fold it so it becomes a little physical booklet. So cool! (A brief sidebar here – I love Sissy Sparrows so much, I collect their freebies avidly, and I’ve been inspired by them in my own creations many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually bought anything from them. I was feeling kind of bad about that until it turned out they make throw pillows! I had over a dozen I needed to replace from the fire so I am now the proud owner of this awesome owl pillow and my guilt has been assuaged.) The above version is how I laid it out to print, with the back and front covers over on the bottom left. I’ve rearranged the pages below in case you want to actually read stuff that’s not upside down. Incidentally, another reason I love art journaling is that I feel like I’m allowed to say things like “when I lost you I lost a piece of my heart” which I would never normally say due to aversion to cheeziness and melodrama. :)
I am apparently full of feelings once the art journaling gets rolling:
All materials except those listed below are from Mixed Media Monthly ~ August 2014 (Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, and Little Butterfly Wings).
Papers and elements were used from main kit, Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits add-on, and Mixed Media Monthly Sampler.
Template, incl. stitching: Captivated Visions ~ Yes You Can
Brushes: Captivated Visions ~ Mishmash stamp stash, Marisa Lerin ~ Gesso
Confetti: Crafty Button Designs ~ Feminine Touch Mini
Vines: Idees De Christine ~ Mixing It Up
Photo filter: Sparklestock ~ Instant Hipster Retro Actions (Hudson)
Lyrics: Fidelity by Regina Spektor
All materials except those listed below are from Mixed Media Monthly ~ August 2014 (Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, and Little Butterfly Wings). Papers and elements were used from main kit and Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits add-on.
Book binding by Mercurycode on Deviantart.
All materials except those listed below from the Mixed Media Monthly M3 August collab by Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, & Little Butterfly Wings.
Materials used from main M3 August kit and Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits.
Raindrops: Maya de Groot ~ Zen & the Art of April Showers, Just Jaimee ~ Painted Newsprint
Fonts: Special Elite, Edwardian Script
Another blog train, hurray! I haven’t felt inspired by the colors for Pixel Scrapper blog trains lately (which is for the best since I’m in a perpetual state of “swamped & in over my head” these days), but this month’s palette felt fun and bold and bright, just the thing to inspire some springtime designing.
I was heavily influenced this time around by my enduring love of my new(ish) Silhouette, which I continue to adore although I’ve had only a handful of chances to play with it since school started up again in January. Something about this palette and my beginning forays into print-and-cut just called out to me for flat, textureless hybrid-ready designs. Me! The Texture Queen! Who once wrote the sentence, “If papers look ‘flat’ in the preview, just like squares of digital pixels, I probably won’t download.” Just goes to show how things change!
That’s actually one of the fun things for me about scrapbooking. I’m not a trend-follower in general, or even exposed enough to popular culture that I know what most of the trends are. But scrapbooking (and digital designing) has been for me a novel experience of seeing other people’s designs, both commercial and personal, and having those influence my own tastes and ideas. Once I got the Silhouette and decided to do Project Life in paper form this year (SIGH, the update on that process is a post for another day) I started delving into the world of hybrid scrapping, and now bright colors with no texture look awesome to me!
Both the colors and the theme – Hello! – felt playful and cheerful, so I thought some lighthearted stickers and rubber elements (hello trend!) would be just the thing. I also have been wanting to do some interview-type pages in my Project Life album, where I ask the kids in my life to fill out cards about their interests and favorite things right now. I looked around and didn’t see what I wanted, which was fun journal-card sized cards on a variety of “All About Me” topics, so I decided to make my own. When I realized I was going to be using several designs from my new Miss Tiina Everyday card templates, which are okay for commercial use, I figured why not make my interview cards in blog train colors so I can share them with all of you!
These cards were my first time doing print and cut with Project Life cards, and it was very satisfying to see my designs come to life in three dimensions! I used special fancy paper (Epson Premium Presentation Matte paper) and the print quality is beautiful, much nicer than I expected (the color is truer than it looks in the photo up above). The kids had been involved some with choosing the topics and weighing in on the designs, and so it was fun once the cards were printed to see how they interpreted the cards and filled them out.
Without further ado, here’s what I have for you this month…
First up are those interview cards. I made these because I couldn’t find quite what I was looking for anywhere else. They’ll be great for “All About Me” pages about you, your kids, or anyone you want to commemorate in your pages. Some are open to interpretation (A “Celebrate” card for documenting favorite holidays; the kids decided to title the what-I’m-good-at card, “Talent Show!”). There are two cards with a spot for a QR code linked to a video, one for “My Signature Move” and one for “My Signature Phrase.” I made little videos of the kids doing their moves/saying their phrases and will paste the QR codes for the videos onto those cards. **For all you Silhouette owners out there, this card set comes with Silhouette studio files ready to print and cut!** There is also a printable PDF of all the cards, with both squared and rounded corners (digital folks get to round their own corners – I figure they’re likely getting clipped to a template). The versions that are for printing (PDF & Studio files) are sized to actually fit into Project Life page protectors, so they are slightly smaller than 3×4. And as a secret bonus, this pack of 25 cards also comes with 4 hybrid-ready papers, just for fun! Download is linked below preview (you only need to pick one of the two options).
Next up is an adorable set of rubber elements. They’re very thin rubber (I mean, they’re not any kind of rubber, they’re pixels, but you know what I mean) so that you can shadow them however you like, having them be more like puffy stickers or more like thicker pieces of rubber. I’ve really been enjoying this particular look lately, and used a fantastic style set by Mommyish to make these for you. Little rubber name tag just kills me for some reason! Download is linked below preview (you only need to pick one of the two options).
Finally I have a sticker set for you, inspired by these cool digital/printable sticker sets by Amy Jaz, who is one of my favorite designers. I had so much fun with these – as I said above, for me the color palette just cries out for stickers! The stickers come as individual PNGs and also on a PDF or JPG printable sheet (just print it out on a sheet of label paper and you can cut out your own stickers), and I’ve included Silhouette studio print and cut files. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed right now? :) Download is linked below preview (you only need to pick one of the two options).
Don’t forget to keep hopping along on the rest of the blog train – there are over 40 contributors this time! You can find previews and links at this Pixel Scrapper thread.
Wow, it feels so good to finally get a page done. Grad school and practicum are incessantly all-consuming this year. Which is a perfect segue to the word I chose for 2014, grace. There are so many meanings to the word, and they all resonate with me to one extent or another. The meaning that is foremost for me in choosing this word is the one I focused on in my layout below. I started 2014 scared and overwhelmed about how I would get through the coming year. Grace is the aid and support that comes from God, the Universe, the Divine Mystery. When I looked up definitions, I read that divine grace is “free and unmerited,” which at first seemed harsh to me. I continued reading and realized that “unmerited” doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the blessings of grace, it means that the whole question of deserving or not deserving is not part of the equation. There is nothing you can do to earn grace, no way you have to be in order to be worthy of it. How beautiful.
Template: Nettio Designs ~ One Little Word Template
Unless otherwise specified, all papers and elements are from the OScraps ~ Time to ParTea collab
Buttons: Sheila Reid for Pixel Scrapper ~ Vintage Buttons
Just Jaimee Nov 2013 Storyteller Alpha stamps
Gold texture by aplantage on deviantart
Just Jaimee ~ Painted Newsprint
Nadine Pau – Lace Mix Brush
Design Fruit ~ Mellow Mess brushes
Shabby Princess – Happy Go Lucky Rickrack
Alamama’s Pressed Petals – Facebook Freebie lace
Fonts: Calamity Jane, Lobster, Bebas Neue
This month I made a bunch of designs for Project Life title pages and layouts about the new year. I had such a great time searching the web for inspiration, checking out people’s title pages and other annual-style layouts for 2013 and 2012. I’m a magpie of a designer – I find stuff that inspires me and replicate it. Sometimes it ends up very different, sometimes so similar it’s more of an “homage” than a “scraplift.” :) I want to give credit to all the creative minds whose designs dazzled and sparked me, so I’ve created a Pinterest board specifically to showcase people whose creations inspire mine. Go check it out – there’s some amazing unique stuff out there! My favorite inspiration for this round was this elegant, two-tone title page by Rachel Swartley. Just beautiful. I pretty much replicated the whole thing, for myself and for you guys, which was extra fun because I was translating a paper design into digital.
Speaking of paper, I’m leaning towards doing my own Project Life album in paper form for 2014 (I’ll write more about that in an upcoming post), so I wanted to be mindful of hybrid scrappers as I designed for this month’s blog train. I sought counsel from the hybrid scrappers of the Pixel Scrapper community and got all kinds of great tips. For this time around, I made non-textured versions of all the papers and many of the cards and elements, for cleaner home printing. Some of the designs would have made great cut files, and I had high hopes of making SVGs, but I ran out of time. Since my sweetie surprised me (and I mean utterly bowled me over, since before he encountered it at Michael’s a few days ago he’d never heard of it) by buying us a Silhouette Cameo (I KNOW!!!) I am sure there are plenty of cut files in our future, so stay tuned…
On to the goodies! Most of what I made for you this month are journal cards of various types and sizes. I think the best way to preview journal cards is neatly laid out, rather than all bunched up and overlapping, so I went to town and made a ton of example layouts. I had a great time and it’s just awesome to have 5 layouts made by the second day of the new year, though I’ll probably redo them eventually since for these sample layouts I pulled pics quickly from wherever I could find them most easily. There’s a preview for the papers, and another one for the “extras.” The extras are a few things that didn’t make it into the layouts and the actual kit-versions of some of the cards that I stamped and wrote on in my layouts, so you can see what they actually look like.
Here’s a layout made with the cards inspired by Rachel Swartley’s elegant 2013 title page. The white cards come in both textured and non-textured versions. The kit version of the grey card with the frame is blank on the right side for you to add your own caption.
Next up is a colorful layout with some fun pieces. The quote card is from the Frank Sinatra song, “The Best Is Yet To Come.” The map card comes blank and eight glitter map pins are included so you can show where your grand 2014 adventure will be taking place (if you live in the US). The wooden numbers come in shadowed and unshadowed versions, and the “Hello” element comes in several colors and is large enough to fill a 4×6 spot but also looks great when shrunk down to fit a 3×4.
One thing I did last year that I’ll be doing again this year is to pick my “word” for 2014. One Little Word is a really cool tradition started by Ali Edwards (or popularized by her, seems likely people have been doing something like this for ages, setting intention, etc.). At the start of the year, you pick a word; that word serves as intention, guide, reminder, prayer – there are so many different ways it can manifest in your life throughout the year. On the Ali Edwards site you can find tons of people in the comments talking about their words and how and why they chose them, if you want to try it but need some inspiration. I haven’t picked my word yet for 2014, so I made a layout using my 2013 word, which was “Engage.” The OWL cards I’ve designed for you are quite simple (just cream cards with a word on them, and one blank); I think there’s more room this way to make your layout relate to your specific word. I particularly liked reflecting on the reasons I picked the word (the “because” card) and some of the things I was hoping for in choosing this word (the “invitation” card). There’s also a “goals” card if you have more specific goals in mind related to your One Little Word. (And bonus points to you if, upon seeing my word, you immediately thought of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise! :))
Here’s another title page layout, this one with some sparkle, another example of how the map card can be used, and a different variant of the grey frame-card. The butterfly is not included, sadly, that’s just something I used to gussy up my personal layout. I wish I knew how to make one for you, but that kind of illustration is beyond my ability right now.
A final title card layout, this one more photo-heavy. The “life documented” card is a 4×12 card spread across four photo pockets. I like this look, though I rarely do it. The photo cards are kraft PNGs with washi tape and space for your photos; the monograms I added myself afterwards, so you can use that space for anything you want. One title page I saw had autographs from every family member, which I think is a super cute idea! The cutout “Best is yet to come” card also comes in a clear PNG version so you can overlay it over anything you like.
Here’s the “Extras” preview with all the other goodies that didn’t make it into the example layouts. There’s a ledger paper with a great quote and space to list your goals, hopes, dreams, and wishes for the new year (the ledger paper also comes blank). There’s a fun typewriter 3×4 card that comes in four versions, “This is my/our/the story” and blank for whatever message you want. (I am disappointed sometimes that so many PL cards say things like “This is our story” and “The story of us” on them – I’m not married, I don’t have my own kids; my PL is about me and the many people I love, but it’s ultimately my story.) Other goodies in the extras preview include a sketchy title card, a shiny gold title card, a stamped “Let’s get started” 3×4 card, wooden “Hello” and “Hello 2014″ elements, a super sparkly scatter, and then the unadorned versions of some of the cards that show up in my example layouts. Not shown are a set of patterned 3×4 cards in scaled-down versions of the patterned papers you’ll see below, and nicely textured 3×4 cards in each of the palette colors, like the teal and blue cards in the middle row of the first layout I showed you.
You’ve been very patient. Here are your downloads. You only need to choose one of these two links. Everything is Personal Use only.
Direct Download Link (may not be available due to bandwidth limits)
DOWNLOAD JOURNAL CARDS & ELEMENTS
DOWNLOAD JOURNAL CARDS & ELEMENTS
Finally, here is the paper pack that goes with everything. I thought this was quite a feisty palette, so I included some super bold patterns. The ledger paper shown above is actually in this paper download, despite being in the preview for the journal cards and elements. There is an additional folder inside the download with hybrid (non-textured) versions of the papers.
Here are your downloads. You only need to choose one of these two links. Everything is Personal Use only.
Direct Download Link (may not be available due to bandwidth limits)
Okay, this is me signing off for the month of January! I’ll probably skip February and hopefully be back with more treats in March. If you use any of these designs to make your title page or any other creations, let me know! If you’re thinking about trying Project Life but are unsure or want support, leave a comment for me here; I’m considering starting a PL support group over on Pixel Scrapper and would love to have you on board if I do.
Speaking of Pixel Scrapper, don’t you want the rest of the incredible designs from this blog train? I bet you do! You can find all the previews and links right here in this Pixel Scrapper thread. Enjoy!
As Favorite #1 on this list says, I have taken a deliberate break from my Picture a Day and Video a Day projects. There is just so much going on in my life right now and I was finding it a chore on the days I did take pics/vids, and a source of guilt and regret on the days I didn’t.
I’m having lots of fun with these Nettio Designs Fave-o-Rites templates, and so my compromise is to make one of these for the month. As an added bit of fun, I’m using the current Pixel Scrapper blog train goodies to make my page. I’m not as smitten with this month’s page as I was with September’s, which seemed more vibrant and energetic (partly due to the palette) and just generally turned out more how I wanted it to. I also didn’t have a single picture of myself from October (though that allowed me to happily put in a pic of my best friend and her new baby). At any rate, it’s nice to have a record of the month in some form, so I’ll take it. :)
Template: Nettio Designs ~ April Favorites
Washi template: Brooke Gazarek ~ Tape Templates
Fonts: Quattrocento, Andes
Paint splatters: Eva Kipler, Just Jaimee
All other materials from the November 2013 Pixel Scrapper Vintage Blog Train
Papers: Arizona Girl, Isa’s Place, Abloom, Scrumptiously, Sheila Reid, Sara Paschal, Bits O’Scrap, Brandi’s Creations
Elements: Arizona Girl button, Cajun Diva Scraps flowers, Catherine Olson doily, Little Big Designs flower spray, lace, Abloom ribbon, Sheila Reid butterfly, Lady Bug Designs flower, Brandi’s Creations charm, leaves
Glitters: Marisa Lerin
Speed Scraps supply tracker used in making credits
Pixel Scrapper has increased our blog train timing from once every two months to once a month. Whoa! I barely have time to function these days, so I can tell that is going to be way too much for me. My blog already has become almost entirely blog train posts, I haven’t had any time to do my own scrapbooking since starting practicum. But this month I loved the theme (Vintage!) and the pretty palette, so I went for it anyways. But I will be so happy to sit out for the next one and see what fantastic goodies my fellow Pixel Scrappers come up with.
“Vintage” makes me think of fashion first and foremost. I used to be pretty into vintage clothing and had quite a fun collection (it helps that I live in one of the thrift store capitals of the country). Since getting sick I tend to want to be comfortable more than anything else, and a lot of my vintage clothes are fairly fragile and need to be worn with care (they’re not for lying around in bed, that’s for sure) so I rarely end up wearing vintage these days. But I had fun geeking out with some fashion design this month, and hopefully ended up with some things you’ll have fun playing with as well.
The licensing for my contribution for this round is pretty confusing. This is in large part due to the fact that I cannot – for free or for money – find 12×12 book page images that are CU4CU. I LOVE the art journal look of using printed pages as backgrounds for papers, but the only ones I have been able to find have been limited to use for making PU materials. Because of this and other resources that I used what ended up happening is that even within packs some items are PU and some are CU. I explain it pretty thoroughly in the enclosed TOU and everything is well-marked, so hopefully it won’t be too tough to navigate. The way to simplify it would be, of course, to just make everything Personal Use Only. But I really want to pay forward the favor of all the fantastic folks who make CU freebies that I use in turn to make stuff for you guys, so this is the best I can do until I get so amazing in my Photoshop skills that I never use any outside resources ever. (Ha! That day will never come. I’m a magpie – I am happiest when combining bits and pieces from here and there.)
And hey, if anyone comes across some nice big high-quality digital book pages (they’re so rare in 300 dpi, which makes sense, since book pages tend to be a lot smaller than 12×12) that are ok for making CU products with, please let me know!
First up are a set of “paper transfers.” There’s this great technique I love in paper art journaling, called paper transfer or image transfer, where you get an image to transfer onto your page, so that it’s like collage, but there’s no separate layer; the image is just blended onto the page. The digital designs I’ve made will give you the same look on a digital page, and would be fun for heritage scrapping, art journaling, and and just generally adding a bit of fun retro or vintage atmosphere. I’m especially fond of the Christian Dior “New Look” design because it’s one of my favorite pieces of fashion history. After the war years when fabric shortages demanded scaled-down silhouettes, Dior designed the New Look to be a celebration of fabric extravagance, with plenty of pleats and wide hips and shoulders. Download is linked to below preview.
Next up is a little minikit. Five patterned papers, two frames, two pieces of vintage fashion-related ephemera, and four stickers. I hate making previews for kits (I like it better when I can lay everything out super neatly) and these just looked so cluttered to me. I made two previews, and couldn’t choose which was the least annoying, and realized hey, it’s my blog, I can put up both! Download is linked to below previews. (The previews say PU only, but there are several pieces in this kit that are CU OK, and each item is labeled accordingly.)
I really love making journal cards. Even more, perhaps, than I love downloading them! So for all my fellow JC-junkies out there, here’s a pretty collection of 12 journal cards to match the Vintage blog train, some with a fun little fashion flair. Download is linked below preview.
I adore washi tape, but the thing about it is that it’s always so specific to the colors of a particular kit. In a giant kit like a blog train that’s not a big deal since you’ll probably get a ton of use out of the tape, but I tend to be drawn to washi in more neutral colors, and I have a particular penchant for washi with an ephemera theme. So here’s a big collection of tape, some in the kit colors, others with fashion references, and some in more neutral ephemera designs that will hopefully serve you well in many scrapping situations. Download is linked below preview.
Finally, who doesn’t love solids? These solids are wonderfully textured and have some nice heft to them, if you can say that about digital files. :) They’ll hopefully help you as a base for all the many marvelous parts of this blog train – somewhere around 40 contributions at last count! Download is linked below preview.
And of course now it’s time to hop back on the train and see what other wonderful delights await you! Previews for each portion and links for where to download can be found in this thread at the Pixel Scrapper forum.
Jodi of MCP Photography wrote a wonderful post a few days ago. The topic is “What happens when a photographer gets photographed,” and the post is a tender and honest exploration of how Jodi hated being in pictures because she didn’t like how she looked, then forced herself to be in them for the sake of her kids (so they’d actually have pics with their mom in them), and now finally has come around to a place where she’s been able to see what is beautiful about her.
I really appreciate this post. It’s such an incredibly vulnerable thing for a woman to say out loud (especially in front of other women) that she thinks she’s beautiful. It’s the opposite of that tradition we have as women where I put myself down and all my friends rush to reassure me that I am indeed attractive. We’ve been conditioned to pounce on people who think they look good (perhaps we pounce only in our heads if we’ve been raised to be polite) and tear them apart. “How dare she think she’s beautiful? She’s fatter/zittier/shorter/skinnier/hairier etc. than I am, and I’ve been pummeled by media until I think I’m not attractive. So where does she get off delusionally thinking she’s beautiful?” That’s what I’m worried is going on in other people’s heads when I say I think I’m beautiful – that it will actually prompt them to look for my flaws. But I keep on doggedly saying it, and then I tell them that I think they are beautiful, too, and that I want us all to reclaim the power that feeling confident in our looks can give us.
I have a few stories from my own history with this that I wanted to share.
The first is that never once when I was growing up did I hear my mom criticize how she looked. And it would never have even occurred to me that she might criticize how I looked – she never told me anything other than that I was beautiful to her. And now I’m a rarity among the women I know – I’ve never had an eating disorder, and I have pretty good self-esteem and body image, despite being definitively not the celebrity ideal. Now that I’m an adult my mom complains sometimes about the things she doesn’t like about her body and looks, but I am SO GRATEFUL that she somehow managed to keep from expressing that in front of me when I was young, and to keep this attitude from being instilled in me. I think that’s another important thing to think about when we avoid being in pictures – it’s not just that our kids won’t have pictures of us – we’re actually raising girls who will follow our model and grow up to be women who don’t feel good enough about themselves to be in pictures!
The second story is how I became beautiful. I remember one day in my early 20s saying to myself, “What would happen if I just decide I’m beautiful?” It felt very daring and transgressive, but I tried it out. The effect on people I was potentially interested in was fascinating – they found my unusual confidence attractive in itself. The effect on myself was even more fascinating – I saw so clearly that I was gaining NOTHING by disliking how I looked. Nothing by feeling like I needed improvement. It didn’t encourage me to exercise, or do anything else healthy. Feeling unhealthy might do that – but not liking how I looked wasn’t actually an aid in that department. Feeling beautiful, however, made a huge difference. I felt happier and more peaceful, it contributed to a general sense of self-esteem beyond my looks, and there was this big area of life I didn’t stress about as much anymore. I realized it doesn’t matter if I am conventionally attractive or if a stranger on the street would agree that I’m beautiful. I am beautiful to myself and to the people who love me – romantic, family, friends; the beauty they see in me is both part of why they love me and called forth by their love for me.
This whole worry about whether or not we are beautiful or pretty or attractive is so ingrained in us we never stop to question what PURPOSE it’s serving. Maybe to attract a mate, but I know so many people in secure, satisfying relationships who still don’t want to be in photographs or don’t like this or that about their appearance. The main purpose I can think of for worrying about this in our modern society is that this fear is what drives consumerism. I think it’s pretty well agreed upon that advertisers cultivate this feeling of lack in us so we’ll buy things to try to fix it or make up for it. Well, I reject that. I can’t actually remove from myself the desire to look certain ways (that would take a lobotomy or something, I think) but I can decide whether or not to feel beautiful right now, looking the way I do.
So my last story is that there was a final hold-out to my whole “I am beautiful” self-campaign. Circling back to the topic that started this piece, I’ll admit that even years after my whole transition to feeling beautiful I still hated photographs of myself. I tried to be all sneaky and get around this by bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t “photogenic.” Like, I look in the mirror and see beauty that just isn’t captured in a photo. And that may be true, but once again – WHO CARES? When I started my photo-a-day project four years ago I set a goal of trying to be in at least one picture every week. Suddenly I was constantly looking at pictures of myself. And yeah, I still delete my fair share of awkward shots. But something about just giving myself over to the reality that there were going to be pictures in my albums where I didn’t look perfect eventually helped me to widen my range of tolerance for seeing myself in photos. Maybe I don’t have to look pretty in every photo. I can also look goofy, or in motion, or sad, or even exhausted (because that’s the reality of my life a lot of the time). And then there are the shots where I’m incredibly happy with people I love and smiling so big and when I do that my chin does this weird thing and… And you know what? I have pictures of myself where I’m incredibly happy with people I love. When I look back, will I be sad to have so many awkward chin photos or grateful to have captured so many fun times?
There is power to be had in claiming our beauty. There is peace there, too, and a certain kind of freedom. And it doesn’t take a makeover or liposuction or plastic surgery to get us there, because we’ve already arrived; we just have to look around and notice where we are. So I invite you to join me in this experiment. Look in the mirror and let what you see there be beautiful. And then notice what, if anything, changes for you. What becomes absent from your life, what enters it? Without making any assumptions, really peer closely at this part of your life – is worrying about how you look helping you to accomplish things, be a better parent, a better partner, more the person you want to be? If it is, I’m surprised, but more power to you, you’ve found something that works to motivate you. And if it isn’t, maybe you can try letting it go. It’s not something that happens all at once, it takes dedication and frequently remembering to come back to those three little words, “I am beautiful.” But I can promise you that the rewards are totally worth the work. Imagine what the world would be like if we all felt okay about how we looked. It would be beautiful.