Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love and thoughts and stuff

Valentines Day was yesterday and it's always a day we celebrate. My non work situation has meant I don't have the expendable income that I'm used to, so Dear Bunny didn't get a gift this year. As his wants are few, he was fine with that, and because he'd forgotten our wedding anniversary last year, felt it was more important for him to do something for me than to receive a gift. I did make a card for him. I'd bought one several weeks ago, but the girls gave me a hard time for buying one rather than making one, so I quickly made card on Friday night as I was packing up. Thanks to Barbi for throwing me the bits of paper, ribbon and the card. Actually, the card, though simple, came up rather nice. Using a black card rather than my usual white or ivory, was a nice change too. Peter bought me a beautiful perfume, bath gel and body lotion set. I was very happy with his thoughtful gift. Even moreso because he'd ventured out of the Bunny Zone and rarely (read never) goes to the coast to buy me a gift. So I was very impressed and touched. The perfume isn't something I would normally buy, but it smells beautiful on me, and he chose it which makes it special. He knew that my Sarah Jessica Parker 'Lovely' was nearly empty. We had a nice evening together, listening to music, eating good food and celebrating Valentines Day how it's supposed to be celebrated (wink!!).

On Friday night, and yesterday while I was scrapbooking I was thinking about things. I hate it when I lose my mo-jo which happens so frequently to me. Not 100% sure why it happens, but I know that it passes, eventually, although this slump has been a long one. Not buying new goodies, means there's not new inspiration right in front of me. I'm scrapping on a shoestring at the moment, so will 'make do'. In the end, it's about the photographs and the stories I need to tell. In years time, when my children enjoy the books, the paper will probably look revolting anyway will date, like all things dictated by fashion and taste, so it will be the photos that have the enduring attraction. I did a layout a couple of years ago and it was titled, something I don't often do - 'I am therefore I scrapbook'. That's it in a nutshell. I am a pragmatist who likes to create. I like my things to serve a purpose as well as fill the need that I have to make something. Ever since childhood, I have always made things. Actually made should be in italics because the stuff was often very bumbling and childlike, but I felt the need to create. I've never been artistic, so it's not an artistic thing within me that is trying to break free. Unfortunatley my ability to be artistic has never ventured past about grade 3 standard. Even when I studied Art at university as part of my teaching degree, it still looked very childlike.

As a kid, I would knit, crochet, patchwork, make dolls clothes. I loved sewing things for my dolls. I enjoyed teaching myself how to crochet from a womens' magazine, and for months and months I was busy crocheting circles and squares. I can remember sitting in bed on winter's mornings on the weekend, busily crocheting a tablecloth for my Mum. I was so excited about this. In typical Jenny fashion, it was all the colours of the rainbow and everything in between. It became quite large, and fitted out picnic table. Mmmmm, what was I thinking, who'd want a wool tablecloth lol..... I would ask my Dad to buy me some wool. It was a secret between he and I. I only found out late into adulthood, that it was my Mum who actually bought the wool. My Dad worked long hours, and worked shift work, heading out to the wool shop wouldn't have rated on his daily to do list. He would give it to me though, so I was very happy. I had long hair at that point in time, so the tablecloth had more of me in it than just my time and love. My Mum's gratitude was worth every stitch I'd crocheted. She showed the gratitude and happiness that only a mother could show a child who has made her something can. It would have served far better as a knee rug, and something very useful in the cold miserable winters of Geelong. Why I decided it should be a tablecloth is beyond me lol.....

In my adult years, I still knitted. I was totally self taught, and without the internet, that was no mean feat, and I was very proud of my knitting. I could even knit a fair isle which was not an easy project to tackle. Since I've moved to Qld, I've only knitted a couple of things. I still like to do it, but our winters just don't need jumpers or heavy cardigans. Plus I'd hate to think how much it would cost to knit with what I'd like to use. Even 20 years ago, I'd pay around $50 for a jumper for myself. An expensive hobby, but a practical one as I always wore what I made. I also sewed, although my sewing was never as good as my knitting. I'd had lessons at one stage, and made a beautiful woolen suit. A wool, box pleated skirt and a lovely fully lined blazer to go with it. It was gorgeous, and I did a fantastic job on it. My problem was always fitting myself. I couldn't fit myself and as I used to be large busted and small waisted, all the patterns needed adjustment, a skill I never mastered. When I moved here I continued to sew a little, but I missed the variety of fabric that I was used to in Geelong. Nowadays I limit my sewing to repairs and my layouts. I am planning on making some new cushions for the lounge. I want to use a heavy brocade type fabric with a black velvet swirls. I know it won't be cheap, but I'll pay for four cushion covers, what one would cost me if I bought it ready made. Sewing isn't a cheap thing to do anymore. For the kids, it's so cheap to buy their clothes, so no need to sew. I had made the odd pjs, and dressing gowns, because they were cheaper made than bought, but that's about it.
Enter scrapbooking - centre stage. I'd seen a freind's album and thought it was just the best thing I'd ever seen. She told me I could do the same. I said, no, I am not artistic and I just wouldn't be able to do it. She made it her life's work to convince me otherwise. After my first Creative Memories party, I was hooked. This was a practical hobby that I could actually do. I love photo albums, but have always found something lacking because of the void of details. Scrapbooking, would allow me to showcase my photos and to add my thoughts and stories to the pages. My early foray into CM, made me do things which I wouldn't dream of doing now with a photo, but it was all part of the creative journey. It was as simple as, buy these pages, buy these stickers, buy this packet of cut triangles, use this idea book and voila you can create a beautiful page. The craft was very prescriptive and yes, even I could follow it and create lovely pages. My kids love those early books of their babyhood. I love them too, but not for their design elements. Why was every photo cut to within and inch of it's life lol........and to add insult to injury, why cut them all in ovals and circles. And if we didn't do that we went crazy on the corner rounder. I loved the cuting tools, I loved all their stuff. And one day I crossed over to the dark side! I entered a scrapbooking store and another whole new world was opened to me. I saw background papers, which filled an entire 12x12 layout, gorgeous stickers, and just so much much more than I'd ever dreamt of. I'd only just had the internet and was niiave enough to wonder if there was anything on the net about it. When I googled 'scrapbooking' for the first time I was astounded, and I spent hours and hours searching scrapbooking stores and just looking at all the lovely layouts within galleries. That was over 9 years ago.
Not long after this was when Barbi and I decided to start our own business, and Daisy Chain Scrapbooks was born. We didn't like the exclusivity that CM touted. We wanted to make scrapbooking accessible to everyone, and let everyone know, that it's okay to venture out and try new things, and that everyone's work has value and is beautiful.

While I still don't consider myself artistic, I do have an eye, and I know what elements work well together. I know when a layout works and when it doesn't. I find it easy 'fixing' other's layouts. I can create a balanced page. I love playing with the papers, cutting, sticking down, rummaging through my stash for other matching embellishments. I also write much more on my layouts now than I did in my CM days. I often write large amounts on the back of my page.

While scrapbooking fills that need within me to create, while serving a purpose by creating a visual journal for my children, there are other facets which are an integral part of my life. Scrapbooking has opened up a whole new sphere on the internet, and not just looking at pretty layouts, but by following blogs, following and learning from other lessons. Whether they are life skills or photographic, editing, or scrapbooking, they're all valuable, and willingly shared over the 'net. Through scrapbooking we can share our lives with our closest friends. Through scrapbooking I've managed to meet the most awesome bunch of women who are my closest friends. Having moved to a new state in adulthood, I had many lonely years. I always had family around me, or Bunny, but true, close girlfriends fill an important hole, that really no one else can fill. Scrapbooking started as a practical hobby, was my work at one stage when we started the business, so I was able to pass that love onto others, now it's a crucial cog in my social life. Every Friday night, even if I'm dog tired, I head out to spend the night, not really to create, but to debrief and spend time with the most important people outside of my family. By Friday I'm often just hanging for that gal pal company. I can fully be myself, the professional facade of work can be dropped. I think it's therapy for us all. We are all busy mothers with families and husbands and the demands of that are often quite overwhelming. Nothing more grounding than spending the evening with my closest friends.

So yes, I still need to create. It makes me fill good, to stand back and admire something I've put together. I'm working with the things I love dearly - photos of my loved ones, my family and friends. It doesn't get much better than that. Scrapbooking has helped me be 'present' and to be grateful for all that I have. I live in the here and now, and it's an empowering thought. No longer do I count days down to events, or feel that I will be happier when, I have that, or do that. I'm happy now, and for the large part, scrapbooking has helped me realize that.

Next weekend is another retreat. Yes I want to create layouts, but it's a time to just chill out, and feel free. I get to spend time with my girlfriend whom I don't get to see often enough, so it will be lots of fun. She is always so inspiring and encouraging of my work, so who knows what delights I can create this weekend.

Now I'll just have to pray for a day or two of work this week, that would just be wonderful, and take the pressure off, and give me a little extra to spend this weekend.
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Jenny said...

Testing blogger.

Teddyree said...

So glad that we are now in touch in 'blogland.' Had the most wonderful weekend of sharing, caring & scrapping at retreat, can't wait to do it again!


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