My life is really, really good right now. I have two dream jobs, a secure and comfortable home, and incredible friends and family who love, support, and delight me. My health is better than it has been in years and I’m able to do so much more than I could five years ago that it’s hard to remember the years when I could barely get out of bed.
How does this relate to my new scrapbooking bundle, Already There? Well, there’s a bit of a story there.
One thing I’ve always seen as a gift of my long illness is that it taught me about boundaries and how to say no. Whether I said it with regret because I was too sick to do a yearned-for activity or with relief at skipping some perceived obligation, I became a pro at “No.” The people in my life were initially taken aback, but eventually the folks who stuck around came to realize that my developing forays into limit-setting opened up greater permission within them to set their own boundaries. I am definitely the friend to flake on in order to stay home and do some self-care. Far from taking it personally, I’ll be cheering you on.
But an interesting realization has been emerging over the past few months. By developing my ability to set boundaries in conjunction with learning to listen and care for my body, I never actually learned about other kinds of limitations. Like, you know, time. When you can only do about one significant activity a day, you don’t have to worry too much about schedule-juggling. And even people who are well still have physical limitations – there’s only so much you can ask even a healthy body to do without sleep and food and all that good stuff. (And as much as I’d like to be, I’m still a good distance from “well.”)
So recently I came to see that I don’t know how to say no to “good things.” If an opportunity for something good comes along, I figure, hey, I’m not stuck in bed so why not add it to the mix? And lately that’s been catching up with me and biting me pretty hard. But I couldn’t seem to stop – it felt like I had no mechanism for moderating my “yes.” I spent so many years feeling deprived, watching as so much of the richness of life passed me by. Some part of me feels like I’ve suffered enough, and like a loving and indulgent parent, I don’t want to deny myself any opportunity for enjoyment and growth. I was telling a wise friend about this dilemma, and what he said to me was, “If you keep adding to your life – even good things – you will eventually lose the ability to protect and maintain what you already have.”
My friend’s words had a huge impact on me. He got right to the heart of the matter, and I realized I was risking compromising the many parts of my life that I already love in order to pile on more and more good things. It was a wake-up call for me to look around and realize I’m already where I want to be. And if I don’t take time to rest, practice self-care, and actually integrate my experiences, I won’t be able to protect this life I love from my own go-go-go mentality.
And from deep personal insight – a scrapbook kit was born! Ha! Well, kind of, yeah. I’d been excited for a while to make a kit built around the color theme mint + copper. What a gorgeous, clean, modern combo those are. (And from the number of great images I was able to find for my mood board, I’m gonna say the internet agrees with me.) But I thought maybe this time I wanted a more specific theme than I had for Bright Days, which was mostly built around color. As I started assembling my ideas, I knew my recent insight and my yummy dreamy color palette would be perfect for each other.
I think the kit has a good mix of themed and non-themed items. I know not everyone is at the same place in their lives that I am, but as I started working with the idea of “Already There” the significance of the idea expanded for me. Spiritually, we can get so caught up in self-improvement, striving to be a better meditator, a more evolved being, that we lose sight of the fact that, as Eckhart Tolle said, “You get there by realizing you’re already there.” Emotionally we’re all under so much pressure, influenced by a society that places way too high a value on what people produce and accomplish. As someone who was forced by illness to step off that hamster wheel I know all too well how much our identities can get wrapped up in achievement and success. I love this quote from Brené Brown, who is so awesome at telling it like it is: “Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute.” Yes!
I had so much fun making this kit. The colors are so delicious to me, and getting to play with so many different copper textures was a delight. That confetti made of little triangular bits of copper is probably one of my favorite things I’ve made, ever. Speaking of elements… I think I made a scrapbooking kit! I mean, yeah, of course I did, but I think I made a traditional scrapbooking kit, rather than one focused mainly on pocket scrapping, which is something I thought I’d never end up doing (since I almost never scrap outside pockets). But I just followed where inspiration took me, and this is where I ended up. There are still plenty of journal cards, stickers, cool stacked frames, pocket-sized elements and a whole bunch of new pocket page templates, though, so our pockets will not go empty!
You may notice there’s more illustration in this kit than in previous things I’ve made, like that amazing Vespa and those gorgeous flowers above. I am extremely lucky to have Paddy Wolf, one of the world’s most creative digital scrappers (in my humble opinion) on my Creative Team, and she’s a talented artist on paper as well. I commissioned several pieces from her for this kit, which was an incredible opportunity to go beyond my own technical limitations (as I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a designer/assembler/magpie rather than an illustrator). We even spent the final part of my kit creation process in an almost constant collaboration, passing ideas and designs back and forth. It was one of my favorite design experiences ever – I’m such a relational person, and being out of the “design vacuum” and able to get a real-time opinion from someone whose eye I trust was invaluable.
I think that about wraps up the long tale of how I got from here to “Already There.” (See what I did there? :)) I have a couple of freebies to accompany this kit, one today and one that I’ll be putting up in a little bit. It needs some finishing touches and right now I am wiped from finishing this bundle! That image below is not your freebie (sorry to tease!) but I wanted to show you how the actual freebie, which is a style set, looks when applied. You can see the ombre grey enamel style on the chevrons on the left-hand stacked journal card.
Today’s freebie will only work for Photoshop users, unfortunately. It’s two sets of styles in the dreamy palette colors from the kit – a glossy enamel set and an ombre enamel set. It’s my first style set that I’m offering to the public, rather than just making for my own use, and in addition to my complete ignorance on how to make them work in Elements, I will admit I have no idea how to test them to make sure they work in all circumstances. Or even really what to do to them in the first place to make sure they work in all circumstances. So I’m giving them away for you to play with, and if they work well for you as they did for me, hurray! And if not, it didn’t cost you anything 🙂
Manoluv on deviantart
Scratzilla on deviantart
InsipidStock on deviantart
Alleca on deviantart