Saturday, October 03, 2015

Blog More in October: Your inspiration

Ok, inspiration. We all need it, we all love it, we all use it, we all lose it. 

And, what is inspiration, anyway? That magic spark that inspires and drives and gets use revved up to make -- whether that making is dinner, pictures, paintings, or pages. I'm sure we all know that inspiration can take many forms. Here are a few of my fave ways to be inspired:

1. Quilts, quilting, and quilting fabrics. Quilters combine colours and patterns, each in their own unique way, and often quite differently than in the scrapbooking world. Not only does the surface design in quilting inspire me, but the longevity and tactile nature of actual quilts does, too. 

Sometimes when I scrapbook, I take inspiration from colourways I've found in my fabric stash, or sometimes design ideas from quilt blocks or stitching, and sometimes I just want to make a page that's as homey and cozy as a broken-in vintage quilt.

Some of my quilt-inspired pages: hey girl, cool; nin-nin; chili when it's chilly.

2. Parties and pretty paper things. I love a party, and all of the niceties that go along with it. You may even recall me saying right here on this very blog that I like to make my pages feel like a party -- and by that I mean, the excitement and happy energy of a party, and also the look and feel of a room all decked out with streamers and confetti and garlands.

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to parties, and frequently scroll through it for uplifting ideas when I'm bored or stuck.

Sometimes I use party inspiration quite literally -- like adding confetti, garlands, or paper rosettes or fans. Sometimes s I go with colour inspiration, or just aim to make a page that feels like a fun, happy place, likre in these pages: she did it, and, Addie Blue and the serious art of being a princess.

3. By collections of stuff, especially paper. I love the natural, shuffled, cobbled assemblage of paper and bits and pieces collected over time. There's something deeply satisfying about seeing the way unrelated items meld together in a collection-- the interplay of old and new, the uniting ability of a single colour. I try to recreate the feeling of paper collected over time, either in the layers I add under photos, or in the bits and pieces I make for layouts and mini albums. 

This mini album, dance real graceful, has an example of the collected feeling I try to achieve. 
Other examples of this technique can be seen here: she has a lightness, return to Kienuka, when she was 8.

What are your fave ways to be inspired?

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Blog More in October: Meet the blogger

I am Ashley.

I like a lot of things. And, I guess, I am a lot of things, too. I feel like a "meet me" post should flow easily from a basic foundation of explaining who I am -- like the first sentence should say, "first and foremost, I'm ____", but I'm not first or foremost in anything.

Right now, this very second, I'm sitting in my lab at work, wearing blue gloves and typing awkwardly on a keyboard covered in a rubbery protector, while texting about the kids at home and what I'm missing out on so I can be here, instead of there. Maybe that's what I am.... a person divided between loves. Home and work; heart and science.

I traded my pen and ink on paper, for keeping memories, for indelible marker on test tubes, to keep things organized. I replaced my full and busy and wonderful and dreary days at home, for long and busy and wonderful and boring days at work. Instead of napping on the couch, afternoons in the sun with a cat, I drift and bob and snap awake at sudden halts, groggy mornings on the bus with strangers. I leave my heart at home, to fill a neglected brain (and, in full honestly, bank account, too).

I've been blogging here for a good long while... looks like a decade of published posts. I had no idea. In that time I've gone from being a student and mother, to a SAHM to two; then it was back to being a student, albeit in graduate school that time, and then a SAHM to three, then four! And now I'm working a lab. See? Home and work, heart and science.

My stints as a stay at home mom were filled with walks, school pick-up and drop-offs, cupcakes and parties, holidays and dinners, cats and quilts. My life as a student or scientist has always meant being away from home during our waking hours. While at home I scrapbook and makes things and do things, all the while questioning my productivity and greater contribution to the world, yearning to do something quantitatively meaningful with my life. While not at home, all I want to do is return.

Perhaps this blog post was not intended so much for you, dear reader, as for me. I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I struggle with balance; it's an all-or-nothing game for me. BALANCE. Such an elusive state. And it's one of those  hot, trendy words right now.. everyone and their sister is reaching for balance. I thought, just a few nights ago, that the tense of this word and the resulting goal is all wrong, for me. Balance is a solid-state; it implies that one has arrived, and achieved. BALANCING is an active state.. the state of doing, the state of trying, the dynamic state of living.

Let me try this again: I'm Ashley, and I'm balancing.

(Here's the basics for those that prefer that sort of thing):

  • Ashley
  • blogger
  • scientist
  • scrapbooker
  • lover of fabric
  • maker of partial quilts
  • published author (in scrapbooking and science)
  • lover of paper
  • wish I could paint nice things
  • collector of postage stamps
  • non-committed reader of books
  • would like to run
  • baker of cupcakes
  • bus commuter
  • lunch packer
  • married to a tall guy named Paul
  • petter to three cats
  • mama to four lovely girls

how to make a divided page, layered, home-y style page for the holidays

Hi everyone!
It's Thanksgiving season here in Canada, and although our days aren't terribly cold yet, there's something about this holiday that just makes me want to get cozy with a pumpkin pie. And, I want my Thanksgiving layout to feel that way, too! Read on for some tips on making a cozy home-inspired layout that remains clearly organized by a striking page divide.

5 tips to make your holiday layouts cozy and layered:

1. Divide your layered background with a bold title. On this page I've kept the layering to one side, while keeping the left side clear, with just a photo and a bold title. The title is lined up along the centre of the page, where the two photos meet, making a very clear line of division. The book page layered background keeps the whole layout feeling cohesive while the strong dividing line keeps the busy clustering to one side and not overwhelming the page.

2. Get personal. What feels homelike to me may not seem that way to you! And so, the reverse is also true. If home to you means bright colours and clean lines, then that's the direction your layout needs to take, too.

3. Identify icons. What reminds you of home, or family? Even if those items aren't present at your holiday celebration, including them in your page will evoke feelings of nostalgia and love. For me, this meant including paper patterned with canning jars, including little bits of string, and eclectic bits of paper and tags. These things all remind me of treasures found in my grandmother's cabinets or great aunt's basement.

4. Make it seasonal, your way. I'm not a terribly traditional person (I know, right? I bet your SHOCKED!) so instead of including more typical red, orange, and other autumnal hues on this page, I went with bits of pink and gold. My watercolour oak leaves are a reminder of fall, but I patterned them in a way that suited me, instead of a more traditional take. 

5. Be the family story-keeper. The title of this page is a long-time favourite family phrase, and although I've never scrapped its origins, I feel that by including it on this page, I'm doing my part to keep it alive. I hope that even if I never scrap the story of "will there be pie?" that just having this layout in my album will keep it alive through re-telling when we see this page in our album.

Leaves and gold paper doilies and buttons and tags, oh my!

When making a page like this, I just have fun tucking in little bits and pieces until I feel like the page is full. Here I've layered an embossed leather patch under a house cut out of woodgrain vellum... plus there's fabric buttons, an adorable acorn charm, and lots of old book pages!

Products used in this project include:
celebrate summer: scrapbooking embellishment kit
set of 6 vintage book pages
leaves are falling: fall scrapbook embellishment kit
scrapboooking embellishment kit: first days of summer

Like Things That Shine on Facebook for more ideas, sales, and coupon codes!

Friday, September 25, 2015

An inspiring class: stretch your cut files

I just finished taking Juliana Micheals' class, Stretch Your Cut Files, over at Big Picture Classes! I'm totally inspired... Juliana covers nine techniques in four lessons, and  I'm brimming with ideas. I especially love her tips about saving your cut files scraps -- as a thrifty scrapper, this is something I often do, and I appreciate seeing her take on repurposing these little bits of paper.

The topics Juliana covers are very versatile, and include:

  • metallic foil
  • stitching 
  • sketch pens and watercolour
  • custom patterned paper
If you've taken my Die Cut Background class, Stretch Your Cut Files is an awesome complement to it! I'm ready to fire up my Cameo and use some of my cut files (free with my class!) and Juliana's ideas to getr making.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ONE MONTH FREE at Big Picture Classes

Sign up now at BPC  and get access to over ONE HUNDRED classes, FREE for an entire MONTH! Use promo code STARTNOW. Be sure to check out my die cut background class while you are there -- it is worth signing up just to download the SIX free cut files that come packaged with the class.