Friday, May 30, 2014

Ten Amazing Years

Ten years ago today, this happened.





It was, without question, the best day of my life.  (Obviously, Trevor's birth was a great day, but a day that starts with abdominal surgery probably doesn't qualify as "best day" no matter how well things turn out.)

Our wedding was absolutely perfect.  I never wanted the day to end.  We lingered at the reception and then headed out on a 3-day mini honeymoon to Santa Cruz.  It was perfect too.


Now, ten years later, we're back in Santa Cruz (technically Capitola, but close enough) to celebrate our anniversary and to attend the wedding of Steve's college roommate.  A lot has changed in the past ten years, but one thing that hasn't changed is how happy I am that Steve and I are married.

 The third of the mosaic cards I made during our Mystery Crafting.


Happy anniversary, Steve!  I can't wait to see where the next 10 years take us.  I love you!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

CreativeLive: Day 2, Part 2

After lunch on Day 2, Lain's next segment was about problem-solving and trouble-shooting. During this segment, we had our second guest.  Jennifer Gallacher talked about scrapbooking incredibly difficult subjects.  She shared her thoughts and struggles with scrapbooking following her son's death.  It was very powerful and we all appreciated her honesty and willingness to talk about it.

The final segment of the day was about alternative scrapbooking - mini albums, blogging, photobooks, pocket scrapbooking, art journaling, and Smashbooks.  And then suddenly it was over and the cameras were off.  It absolutely flew by.

Our microphones came off...


... we took a group picture of cast and crew...


.... and then we had fun with the overhead camera.




But the fun wasn't over yet!  Time for the Wrap Party!


We grabbed food and drinks and headed onto the roof.  It was a perfect day in San Francisco.


Check out these views from their rooftop.



It was so fun to just relax and chat with everyone.





All too soon, it was time for goodbyes.


I had an absolutely amazing time.  A huge thank you to everyone at CreativeLive, my fellow audience members, guests Katrina Kennedy and Jen Gallacher, and most of all to Lain Ehmann. You all made this an experience I'll never forget and I'm so incredibly grateful.

P.S.  When I got home that night, my Groovebook was in the mailbox.  Sigh.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CreativeLive: Day 2, Part 1

Day 2 of CreativeLive got off to a much better start than Day 1.  Traffic into San Francisco was normal-heavy, as opposed to insane, so Jennifer and I arrived a good hour ahead of our call time.  There was plenty of time for photos in the lobby...


... a leisurely breakfast....


... and photos on set.  I was taking a photo of Jennifer when Denise leaped into the frame yelling, "PHOTOBOMB!"  


We were all ogling the goodies waiting on our tables - a Simple Stories album and page protectors, a Gossamer Blue kit, two packages of Simple Stories letter stickers, plus cardstock, scissors, trimmers, and adhesive.  I couldn't wait to dive in!


After a segment about Design and Process, we moved on to my absolute favorite part of the two days: Scrapbook Improv.  Lain started with lists of page ideas (generated by us and the crew), materials, art techniques, journaling techniques, etc.  For each, she used a spinner to announce what our requirements would be.  We would have five requirements and only 30 minutes to FINISH a page.  I knew that Lain could do it, thought that some of my fellow classmates might be able to do it, but was positive that I couldn't do it and produce something I actually liked. Especially with the cameras on me!

She spun for the first item.  Our topic would be "Say What?!"  Uh oh.  The stupid Groovebook still hadn't arrived (21 days after I ordered it) and I didn't think I had any photos (or stories) that would fit that topic in my envelope of random prints.  I rifled through my photos and grabbed the first one that sort-of fit - a picture of Trevor at the dentist with an expression on his face that he'd rather be anywhere else.  I started digging out the letters to spell "Say What?!" when Lain did the next spin and revealed our background had to be cardstock.  OK, that's good.  Well within my comfort zone.  I pulled a piece and went back to sifting through letters.  Next spin - doodling.  Ugh.  I matted my photo and doodled around the edge, tucked some patterned paper behind it, and adhered it to the page.  

Meanwhile, Lain had done the final two spins.  We had to incorporate song lyrics on the page and use wood veneers.  I went back to my title.  I noticed that by putting back a W and a T, I could spell "Say ah"... which made a lot more sense with my photo AND is part of the lyrics from the dentist song in Little Shop of Horrors.  I moved on to the wood veneers.  They were all travel-themed, so I turned two upside-down and added stickers.  Then I wrote out my journaling on a cardstock scrap and tucked it under the photo.  With two minutes to go, I added some enamel dots.  I was absolutely blown away that I had met all the requirements and produced a layout I loved in 29 minutes.  


Sally and Chris scrapped along with us.  They are creative, artistic people but they aren't scrapbookers.  So what they made was pretty remarkable.


When it was time for our 45 minute lunch break, none of us left the room for a good ten minutes.  Instead, we walked around admiring each other's work.  Everyone did an amazing job.


Lunch was so good.  I took a tiny bit of almost everything because I couldn't decide what to have. I'm glad I did because it was all delicious.


Tomorrow I'll be back with Day 2, Part 2!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CreativeLive: Day 1

After all my preparations, I was ready for Day 1 of Lain Ehmann's CreativeLive class, "Scrapbook Your Story." I set my alarm for 4:30 am. No need - my allergies had kept me up most of the night. I showered and dressed, but decided against putting makeup on my itchy allergy eyes.  I decided not to style my hair either. There would be plenty of time for both when we arrived at the studio, as we'd allowed nearly 2 hours to travel 32 miles. I grabbed my things and drove to Jennifer's house, 25 miles away.

Traffic was light and I got to her house early.  e got on the road toward San Francisco and were making great time. And then suddenly, we weren't making any time at all.  The traffic that had been light was suddenly completely stopped. No problem though - we'd allowed PLENTY of extra time. We were 8 miles from our destination with 1.5 hours until we HAD to be there. Thirty minutes later, we hadn't moved an inch and we were starting to worry. The radio announcers were saying it was the worst traffic they'd seen in awhile. We called in to CreativeLive to say that we were stuck in the MacArthur Maze making no progress. Jennifer was calm and collected, but I was freaking out. I HATE being late for anything, but there was nothing I could do about it. Finally things opened up. We got to the parking garage 20 minutes after the absolute latest time we were to be at the studio. Ugh. We parked, grabbed our stuff, and ran. We zoomed into the studio, having missed breakfast, the orientation meeting, and the audio prep. The sound guy grabbed us and put on our mics, then we had 5 minutes before we had to be on set. I ran to the bathroom, threw on mascara, and decided my hair was good enough. I stored my stuff and zipped to Studio D. Whew! Time for a quick selfie before heading in.


We had assigned seating, so I didn't end up next to Jennifer. The other audience members had met at breakfast and the orientation, but since we'd missed that, I didn't have more than a second to introduce myself to my tablemate Traci. I didn't know it at the time, but she's a big-time designer. Lain calls her "THE Traci Reed."  


Jennifer was on the far left, seated next to Denise.


A minute or so later and we were live. The hosts, Chris and Sally, introduced the workshop and then had each of us introduce ourselves.


They introduced Lain, then headed over to the host desk to my right, where they monitored the chat room and fielded questions for Lain.


One of the first things Lain had us do was think about our own definition of scrapbooking. I wrote that scrapbooking is the union of art + photos + writing. I know not everyone will agree, but for me, if one of those is missing, it isn't scrapbooking. It's still valuable and awesome, but it isn't scrapbooking.

Next, we wrote our scrapbooking mission statement. Mine is: "To me, scrapbooking means creative memory keeping. I scrapbook for myself and my family so that we can remember all the wonderful things we've done, places we've gone, and people we love." I was surprised by the variety of answers. It's fun to hear why different people scrapbook.

I wasn't sure if it was OK to take pictures during filming, but once I saw others doing so, I snapped a few. None of Lain, as I didn't want to distract her, but a few of my fellow audience members. Here is Denise sharing her mission statement. You can see the red light on the camera indicating that it is live. (There were 4 cameras.)


When the first segment ended and a 15 minute break was announced, I headed to the cafeteria in hopes of finding a snack and something to drink, since we'd arrived too late for the amazing breakfast of made-to-order crepes (one of my favorite foods). When I returned, I took this quick photo of the empty studio.


... and then one of the lobby that we'd ran through earlier that morning.


And then it was time for the second segment. I snapped this quick photo of Lain and Chris just before we went live.


When that segment ended, it was time for lunch. The food was amazing. I had a mozarella and tomato sandwich that was to die for. The salads and homemade potato chips were awesome. It's worth it to be an audience member at CreativeLive if for no other reason than the food!


Our next segment was called, "Journaling - The Key to Capturing Stories." I've never had a problem thinking of stories to scrap or what words to use. If anything, I have to edit my thoughts to fit my story on a page. That's part of what I love about blogging - no space limits!

The fourth and final segment for Day 1 was about photography. Our guest presenter was the amazing Katrina Kennedy. Here she is (on the left) with Lain and Chris, minutes before the segment went live. When I think about the components of scrapbooking (photos, design, journaling, etc), photography is my weakest by far. So this segment was especially valuable to me.  


Then, just like that, the day was over. It went so quickly! My mind was a blur - so much inspiration. Lain is an amazing teacher.


Since this was Katrina's only day with us, we wanted a group photo with her in it. From left: Jennifer, me (Cindy), Jane, Lain, Katrina, Denise, Angela, and Traci.


What an incredible day!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Preparing for CreativeLive

My experience with CreativeLive began in February when Lain Ehmann announced on the Paperclipping Roundtable that she would be teaching a 2-day class in San Francisco. I knew literally nothing about it except for that it was local(ish), taught by a scrapbooker I've long admired, and that it was free. I decided that if I could find a friend who wanted to go with me, then I would apply. In general, I am not a person who is afraid or reluctant to do things alone, but I knew the experience would be even better with a friend to share it. That, and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of driving to an unknown location in SF during rush-hour traffic without having a navigator.  

I asked my friend Jennifer if she was interested in going. She was, but wouldn't know for quite some time if she could get the time off from work. When she finally got the thumbs up, we both filled out our applications. The application process wasn't bad- just some questions about our scrapbooking history and style, social media presence, and things like that. I turned in my application. Almost immediately, I got a message saying that the 6-person studio audience was already filled. 6 people?? I'd been picturing 50-100.  hen, a few days later, another message came saying that one spot had opened up. I turned it down, saying that Jennifer and I had been planning to do this together and to keep us in mind if there was a second cancellation. Thank goodness there was. We were both in!

There was a catch, however. We had one day to open a Groovebook account, order 100 photos (using the provided free coupon), and send the receipt to the CreativeLive staff. If you are not familiar with Groovebook, it is an app that takes the photos off your phone and automatically sends you a printed book of photos for $2.99/month. It's easy to use... assuming you take photos with your phone. I have taken exactly zero photos with my phone, ever. Steve helped me figure out that I had two choices: take 100 photos on my phone in the next few hours and use those, or move existing photos, one by one, from my computer to my phone. I chose option 2, even though it took over 2 hours to do the transfer. I didn't want to bring junk photos to a scrapbook workshop. It was worth the time and stress to bring photos I wanted to scrap. I placed my Groovebook order on April 30 and waited for it to arrive.

Meanwhile, I had other preparations to do. I had to find something to wear that was TV-appropriate (no patterns since they cause strobing, no logos, etc), suitably dressy, and warm enough for the chilly studio. Everything I owned was out for one reason or another (mostly because it wasn't a solid). I HATE shopping, but headed out on two occasions and found some possible items.  

The next step was accessorizing. I had a mental picture of what I wanted, so I headed to Beads on Main where the always-helpful staff guided me through making this necklace.


Here's a close-up view:


With my outfits and accessories set, I took some time to think about the topic of "Scrapbook Your Story." I wrote this blog post about some of my older layouts that do the best job of storytelling.

As the big day got closer and closer, I became increasingly worried because my Groovebook hadn't arrived. Jennifer's hadn't either. On the night before Day 1 of CreativeLive, I checked my mailbox... still no Groovebook. I grabbed a random envelope of printed photos and threw it into my bag without any clue what was inside.  

Jennifer and I made last-minute arrangements, agreeing to meet at her house (25 miles from my house, and 32 miles from our destination) by 6:15 am.  San Francisco traffic can be bad, but 1 hr 45 minutes should allow plenty of time to travel 32 miles and arrive at the CreativeLive studios before our 8:00 am call time.  I set my alarm for 4:30 and went to bed...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rhubarb x 4

I am so happy with my freezer full of rhubarb! We've been enjoying rhubarb a bunch of different ways. Rhubarb Sauce is amazing, and incredibly fast and easy to make. Rhubarb Bread Pudding is fantastic, one I'll be coming back to again and again. Rhubarb Crisp is delicious and also very easy. Rhubarb Slush Punch is really time-consuming, but it's so good that it's totally worth it.

Here are four new ways we've tried rhubarb. Three are drinks and one is a cake. First up, Rhubarb Milkshake. I used my standard 'recipe' of approximately equal parts vanilla ice cream and fruit (in this case, rhubarb I cooked in a tiny bit of water and then cooled), plus a few tablespoons of milk to get the perfect consistency. It was tasty, but not amazing. I'd definitely have it again, but I'd increase the amount of rhubarb.   


Next was a Rhubarb Vodka Cocktail. It wasn't good. We ended up adding a ton of rhubarb juice to improve the taste. There are a lot of recipes for rhubarb cocktails out there, so I might try again with a different recipe. Or not.


This Fizzy Rhubarb Lemonade was delicious! I made a standard lemonade base but used sparkling water instead of regular water, then drizzled in sweetened rhubarb juice (made by straining rhubarb sauce). Yum!!


I served Rosy Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake when my friends came over for Mystery Crafting. I omitted the lemon extract since I didn't have any on hand. The cake was good and I'd serve it again. None of my friends who tried it had had rhubarb before. I'm happy to say they liked it a lot!  


I've done a scrapbook layout called "Geocaching Evangelists"... maybe I should make one with the title of "Rhubarb Evangelist!" Have I managed to convince any of you to try it yet?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mystery Crafting - Paint Chip Mosaic Cards

Once a month, my MOMS Club friends and I get together for brunch while the kids are in school. Sometimes we meet at a restaurant, but more often we meet at someone's house. When we're at a house, we usually craft while we chat and eat. When I hosted this month, I invited everyone to either bring their own craft or participate in my Mystery Craft.  Everyone opted for the Mystery Craft, as it sounded intriguing (either that, or it sounded easier than lugging their craft supplies to my house).

So what was the Mystery Craft? Up until two days before our brunch, the Mystery Craft was a mystery not only to them but to me as well. And then, while continuing my efforts to clean out our file cabinets, I came across a huge collection of paint chips from the house I lived in before this one. Yes, not only had I saved a 1.5 inch stack of paint chips after painting all the rooms in the house I bought in 1998, but I filed them neatly and moved them into this house!


As my friends arrived, I told them we'd be using paint chips to create mosaic cards. No further instructions - just create whatever you like. I set out paint chips, card bases, glue, punches, and trimmers.

Sheena used grays to make this beautiful ombre card.


Kelly used reds to make a this card base. She planned to pop up a sentiment in the center.


Kristen made a butterfly!


My fourth guest, Gina, snuck out before I could photograph her card. I'm wise to you now, Gina! We joked that I should put up a sign on my front door that something along the lines of, "Entering the premises means you give permission for your likeness and that of your artwork to appear on Cindy's blog." Not a bad idea!

I made three cards. Because mosaics are so mindless, it was easy to create and chat at the same time. Here's a birthday card:


Then I played with ombre.

 

My third card is an anniversary card for Steve.


So much fun!