Bohemian Breeze ~ Pixel Scrapper September Blog Train

It’s about that time – time to say “Goodbye, Summer” and “Hello, Fall.” I took a design hiatus this summer and I think it was much needed. I went into the switch from passionate amateur scrapbook designer to neophyte professional scrapbook designer with a lot of ideas, ambition, and excitement. I have had tremendous support from Marisa & Jordan, owners of Pixel Scrapper, the site I design for, as well as from the other Pixel Scrapper designers and my wonderful creative and uploader teams. And yet just in terms of sheer energy expenditure I ended up getting in over my head. I was tired all the time and worst of all the fatigue led to near-total creative burnout – can you imagine, after designing just a few full kits? It was disappointing to say the least!

Everyone has been so supportive and understanding, I really appreciate them all so much. And when one of the other designers took a design hiatus I realized, “Oh, I can do that, too, instead of feeling guilty every minute that I’m not designing.” I feel super restored after three months away (or mostly away, I did make contributions over the summer to the Good Day and Work Day designer collabs as well as August’s UK-themed blog train) and ready to get back on the design wagon. I do want to make sure to pace myself better this time, though.

How to do that is a puzzle for me right now. When they hired me, Pixel Scrapper asked for a certain rate of contribution, and I, having my chronic illness and another career, asked if I could contribute less frequently. Marisa & Jordan said sure, because they’re awesome, and yet I still managed to burn myself out. So the question now becomes how to balance my desire to show up and support this wonderful community that supports me while still managing my energy carefully so that I don’t dip too low. I thought I had it all figured out – when I agreed to join the PS team I felt like I had tons of extra energy – but clearly there’s more to the equation than I realized at the time.

One thing I know for sure, that I’ve mentioned here on the blog before, is that the admin tasks associated with this job really kill me. The designing is one thing, but it’s the organizing, renaming, uploading, tagging, and so on that always cause a rush and a slog at the end of every project. That’s the part that led to two (TWO!) consecutive all-nighters when I released Already There (yep, the kit about resting and not pushing, oh the irony). I wonder if I am going about it wrong in some ways because I never hear anyone else complain about that part!

Ok! Enough of me babbling on – I just wanted to fill you in on where I’ve been and what’s coming next. If anyone has any tips or advice about how to design more efficiently, I am all ears!

This month’s blog train palette is so pretty – I feel like it’s perfectly on the border between summer and fall. The palette is so delicious part of me wishes I could have made more with it, but as it is officially still summer I am officially still on hiatus. 🙂 The theme is great, too – Bohemian Breeze conjures up images for me of lots of scarves and funky jewelry and wandering wherever the wind may take you. (And, of course, people dying in garrets of tuberculosis.) It seemed like a perfect pairing for my “painty bits” style, and I sure do love making painty bits! They add an instant art journal quality to any page.

I did want to be cautious as I worked with this theme to avoid cultural appropriation – some of the imagery conjured by the name took me too far into the “tribal” or “gypsy” realms. If you’re unfamiliar with the issue of cultural appropriation, please check out these links on the appropriation of Native American tribal symbols and sacred regalia and why “gypsy” is considered by many Romani to be a slur and the romanticization of the Romani lifestyle can be deeply problematic. I just started reading about a week ago about the appropriation of Native war bonnets by fashion, photographers, and festival-goers, and I was kind of blown away by how popular it seems to be to throw a war bonnet (an item of sacred regalia created with specific intention and prayers and worn only by certain honored individuals) on a naked or near-naked girl, often with “war paint” added on as well. Yikes.

At any rate! I made some pretty things. Please download them, and use them to make your own pretty things! The Bohemian Breeze Painty Bits Flowers and Bohemian Breeze Painty Bits Borders will be available for download here on the blog through the end of September, and after that they can be found at Pixel Scrapper.

Put together a giant coordinating bundle for yourself with the fabulous contributions from all the other blog train designers – find them all here in this thread at Pixel Scrapper.

Blog train freebie links only stay up for the month of the blog train (though you can still find older blog train goodies if you explore the blog). My Bohemian Breeze Flowers and Bohemian Breeze Borders are no longer available here on the blog – you can now find them at Pixel Scrapper.

Bohemian Breeze Painty Bits Flowers for digital scrapbooking, art journaling by Scrumptiously at Pixel Scrapper

Bohemian Breeze Art Journal Page Border Overlays for digital scrapbooking, art journaling by Scrumptiously at Pixel Scrapper

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My first art journaling page

I don’t really ever scrapbook outside of my Project Life pages. I’ve done a few experiments here and there, but just doing PL I’m barely keeping up (okay, I’m not keeping up at all, if you want to get technical). But I’ve been intrigued for a long time by art journaling, on paper before I knew about digital scrapbooking, and now in digi form. So when I realized I had a LOT to say about the practicum application process I’ve been entrenched in for two months, more than I could comfortably squeeze into some little 3×4 journaling spots during my regular weekly layouts, I decided to devote a full page to my thoughts. I could have scrapped it pocket-style, I suppose, but I chose instead to use this as an opportunity to try something new.

PS_2_18practicum

I recently downloaded a gorgeous art-journal style mini from Christine Smith (an incredible art journaler) as part of DigiShopTalk’s most recent blog train. I also came across Mon Bijoux, a delightful quirky font that just screamed “art journal me!” Inspired, I set out learning how to make an art journal page. I read through some of a great blog series on art journaling over at Captivated Visions and watched a video of her making a page step by step (although I’ll confess, I stopped watching in the middle because I was so excited and full of ideas, and just went and made my page).

This page only took me an evening. Still several hours, but it was really fun to be doing something new. It was also an opportunity to appreciate how much I’ve learned in the last year, since I started this whole digital odyssey. I remember being confused and intimidated by brushes and layer masks and blending modes – even downloading and installing fonts was pretty stressful for me when I began. The facility that I have now pleases me so much – the sheer number of techniques I know dazzles me when I remember how much I despaired of ever remembering the things I would have to repeatedly google and follow tutorials to learn.

I’m a little bummed to be presenting this page with so much blurred out. Unlike the PL pages I do think that it really breaks up the visual flow. But this is a pretty detailed personal tale and I do like to retain the illusion of a little privacy when posting online. I’m also trying out not sharpening my layout jpgs before posting them online (inspired by this thread at PixelScrapper). I think this looks kinda blurry! Let me know what you think?

UPDATE: I decided to hold off on posting this page ’til I got the news from my school clinics. I heard this morning that I wasn’t accepted to either of the clinics I applied to. I’m pretty bummed. I do trust that the Universe has put me where I will benefit most and be of most benefit to the world, but it still stings. To be rejected, to watch some of my classmates move on to an opportunity together without me, and most especially to have the magical feeling of connection I experienced turn out to have been one-sided.

Credits
Everything unless specified is Christine Smith ~ Brighter Days Ahead Blog Train Freebie
Paint border: HG Designs ~ Frames
Christine Smith ~ Spray Mist Brushes
Just Jaimee ~ INSD Mixed Media Prints Brushes Freebie
Doodles: Yellow Butterfly ~ Neon Love Kit Freebie
Newspaper stamp: Sissy Sparrows ~ March Freebie
Stenciled numbers: Photoshop Tutorials ~ Market Stencil Brushes
Paint: CathyK Designs ~ Bright Days Ahead Blog Train Freebie
Fonts: Mon Bijou, Batik Regular, Sketchy