Thursday, May 26, 2016

How Do I Balance Work, Life and Scrapbooking?

Is there such a thing as the work/life/hobby balance? I have to say that I've really been struggling with it lately. As most of you know, I work full-time as a Sales Assistant in the construction industry. My job, along with maintaining a household and a relationship with my wonderful boyfriend, leaves me only a few hours a week to work on my blog and scrapbook my own projects. Just like everyone else, I do spend time on social media during the day. My amazing Facebook community at Our Happy Scrappin' Place and my other crafting challenge, blogging and scrapbooking groups keep me busy with engaging discussions. Add to that, all of the female entrepreneurial groups that I'm learning from every day and the mastermind groups that keep me accountable and my hours just disappear! Somewhere in there, I manage to eat, sleep, shower, watch the San Francisco Giants and spend some time relaxing on the couch with my cat! Whew!

In our busy world of getting things done in record time, where do we find time for ourselves? When was the last time you stopped to literally smell the roses? I remember admiring the flowers as I was waiting in the Starbucks drive-thru on my way to a scrapbooking event. Does that even count? In this crazy world of instant gratification and thirty second attention spans, we need to STOP. Going at this super speed is making us sick, tired and angry. We get mad when cars are too fast or too slow. We never get enough sleep. We don't eat right because our schedules are all over the place. It's all about quick, easy and convenient. Everything gets out of balance and we wonder why we can't get things done in the twenty-four hours that we all have every day.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting really tired of being tired. I know that I stretch myself too thin and I'll be the first to acknowledge that I need to scale back on the amount of activities that I commit myself to each month. My health has told me that loud and clear lately. Anxiety is my middle name these days and it's all because I'm a people-pleaser to a fault. I hate disappointing people. Hate it. But, I've had to learn the hard way that you can't please everyone. Period. That's all there is to it. So, I need to find something else to focus on and get on with what I want to do to make myself happy.

Step One is lightening my weekly overload. I tend to back myself into a corner when it comes to my own deadlines. My procrastination is my own self-made misery. So, I need to incorporate a block of dedicated time each week to getting my blog posts done. That includes outlining, drafting, editing and scheduling. I waste too much time thinking about what to post the night before I need to post it. For being such a detailed planner, I seem to really suck at this when it comes to my blog. But, a conversation with a fellow entrepreneur made the lightbulb go on and I realized that I need to have a stockpile of outlined posts to choose from on any given week. Writing comes easy to me once I have the idea picked out. I need to simplify the process of choosing the idea by having a bank of topics already available. Brilliant!

Step Two is establishing boundaries. This is another thing that I seem to be horrible at because of the whole people-pleasing disease. I can't seem to say "no" to anything up front, even when I know that I shouldn't get involved with certain activities that will eat up more of my time. I tend to say "yes" and then end up backing out at the last minute when I realize that there is absolutely no room in my schedule to realistically fit it in. Then I feel horrible and guilty - all of my own doing. Saying "no" at the start and genuinely saying that I don't have the time would be so much easier! Duh! But, who am I to take the easy route? I never have. Ask my mom.

Step Three is relaxing, exhaling and getting away from technology. Being glued to our screens just isn't good for the creative soul. We need to get out and experience things with our own eyes and ears. We need to dip our toes in the ocean and feel the sunshine. I'm so thankful that I live ten minutes away from the beach. I don't spend enough time there. I need to take in deep breaths of salty air and collect sea shells for the collection I have in my living room. My soul needs it, now more than ever. I'm so out of balance. When you can feel it, you know it's time to refocus. I'm there right now and I need to make changes in my life that bring my creative soul back to its center. Being creative is in my blood and I need it to exist happily.

I know balance is out there somewhere. I just need to find that tipping point that sets me straight again. That point that makes me feel good on the inside and lights my creative fire.
Thanks for reading this far and taking the time to get to know me a little better. Sometimes I need to step out of my scrapbooker shell and let my soul stretch out a little. I appreciate you being here more than you know.






Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tipsy Tuesday - Ten Ways to Washi!

TODAY'S TIP -  TEN WAYS TO WASHI
Washi tape is all the rage now and it's so addicting! 
You can do so much with it. Check out these ideas!

1) Decorate bottles for gifts or centerpieces.
This bottle was decorated with Glitter Washi!
It was filled with Hershey's Kisses 
and used as a table favor at a retreat.
Project by Sue Pershon

2) Decorate your envelopes or packages.
3) Create tip-ins for Bible journaling.
4) Reinforce pages in your art journals or travel notebooks. 
5) Designate sections in your Bible or art journal.

6) Mark/label your scrapbooking supplies.
7) Embellish your Project Life cards, layouts or cards.
8) Decorate light/switch plates in your home.

9) Use as a designated divider on a table.

10) Use to fasten signs, announcements, schedules, etc. on your walls.

How do you washi? 
If you have additional ideas, please comment below!
I'd love to hear from you!
Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interview with Ken Oliver

I can't tell you how excited I am about this interview! If you're into the current watercolor trend, then you know who Ken Oliver is. If you don't know him, you will now. Ken was gracious enough to take time out of his world travels to give us this awesome interview. In July, I actually get to meet Ken in person and take a watercolor class from him. Have no doubt, there will be another post about him after that class! But, until then, enjoy his interview here.

1) For my readers that don't know your background, please tell us how you got started in the mixed media/arts & crafts industry?
I got my professional start in the craft industry almost by accident.  Although, I've always been a maker and an artist, after college, my career was in consumer packaged goods...in sales.  At some point, a few years ago, the company I worked for was launching a few products into the craft industry.  I started attending the trade shows in my sales role...we soon discovered that I could demonstrate the products very well, and because I had a background in art, my role soon developed into product development and education.  
2) Your Color Burst products are all the rage right now. How did the idea for these watercolor powders come about?
Powdered paint pigments are among the oldest mediums used to create art. In fact, prehistoric cave paintings were often created with powdered pigments. So, I really didn't have the idea, originally.  But, I thought there would be something interesting, fun and creative to offer powdered pigments in a dispensing container that makes them easy to apply. There are many powdered pigments available, like tempera and others, but they come in jars or little pots...and can be very messy when used, especially if you spill some of the pigment.  Color Burst's unique little bottle, with it's applicator nozzle makes using powdered pigment paints much easier.   
3) You also have a wide variety of other products, such as double sided papers, stamps and mixed media mats. Do you do all of the designing for these or do you work with a team? Can you give us a peek into your creative process?
The creative process we use to develop product is collaborative. I work with a couple illustrators who help me bring concepts to market.  Some of the art I draw, photograph, or paint myself, other products I collaborate with our illustrators to get exactly the look I want. And, much of our work is research.  Its important to be current on trends with regard to color and style.  We also research "needs" for the crafter...are there ways to improve the crafting experience for the end user?  Out of that type of research, we developed The Best Ever Craft Mat, Stick It, The Tool-It-All, and Roll Away.  
You know, I think my creative process is probably much like everyone else's...I doodle...I doodle with pencil,pen, crayon, pastels, what every is available and within reach.  I doodle compositions for projects, I doodle packaging ideas...I doodle and draw.  I also like doodling with Color Burst and a wet paint brush...very often, some nice work comes out of my water doodles.   Part of my creative process is observation...I like to look at things for inspiration; it could be flowers along the street where I live, it could be driftwood by the river where I live, or the color of spring leaves.  For me, the skill of observation is a very important part of the creative process.  
4) Being a male artist in a predominantly female arts & crafts industry, what are your biggest challenges, if any? Do you see it as an advantage or disadvantage?
I've not really thought about working in the craft industry in terms of gender, because I know that there are lots of men in the craft industry, many working behind the scenes.  In every company where I've ever worked, there are plenty of male artists whose contributions are business critical. I believe the craft industry is like any other industry, it's highly competitive, and if you want to succeed, you have to do the work...regardless of gender.  I do feel like I have a couple advantages...for years, I worked in sales, we continually reviewed market research to understand our consumer, how she thought, and what influenced her buying decisions. For me, that experience is invaluable as we're developing products.  Also, I worked in corporate training for a few years, and because of that experience, I really love to teach people...I love the teaching process.
5) What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?
That is an interesting question and my answer is not what you might think. Years ago, when I was a teenager, I entered my art in fine art shows, both local and regional. They were juried shows and I got accepted to fine art shows all the time...it was a big honor.  As a result, I learned that I could sell my art and I loved it. I think I loved the idea that people reacted to my artwork and that they bought it for their own collections.  I actually hope to get back to a point where I can submit a few pieces into fine art shows again.
6) What is a typical day for you? Do you spend time creating in your studio every day?
I really never have a "typical" day...my schedule is always changing especially when I travel, and I travel a lot. It's early in 2016 and I've already been to California, Germany, The UK, Japan, and I've made numerous trips to Chicago.  I actually thrive on my unpredictable schedule. When I am at home in Southern Indiana, I like to start my day with a quick walk along the river where I live, it's just outside my front door. And, typically, the first part of my day is filled with answering consumer questions online, emails, and product development work.  When I am at home, yes, I spend time in my studio every day in some type of creative pursuit. It might only be sketching or trying some watercolor technique...I learn the most by just trying things.  
7) Besides art and mixed media, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I am a gardener...I love growing things.Usually in the spring and summer I grow, tomatoes, basil, all kinds of herb and a few flowers.  I absolutely love gardening, and to me, that is also a creative endeavor. 
8) What pieces of advice do you have for crafters that want to get into watercolors? 
One of the most important things to learn if you're planning to use watercolor is color theory. Watercolor is transparent, you can see through it...and it does not layer like other products like opaque acrylic or oil paints. So, understanding that you can see through each layer of color that you paint is key to achieving the best results.  Find a color wheel online, and study it. I'd recomend that beginners start with analogous color schemes. Analogous colors are beside each other on the color wheel and look great together.  It's very easy to paint with analogous colors and not get "muddy" colors.   
9) What's next for Ken Oliver Crafts?
I am super excited about our new stamps and dies that will be available in April. It's the first release of stamps and coordinating dies that I've brought to the market and they are very beautiful!  The stamps are mandala images and are especially designed to be colored with Color Burst. They are really unique and I think they will be popular with cardmakers, coloring fanatics and mixed media artists too.  Ask your local retailer as they should be in shops soon.  
 10) Which artists have inspired you throughout your career? 
I think this is a really hard question, because as visual artists, we're inspired by everything we see.  I think the artist whose work I am most drawn to and find the most inspiration in is Henri Matisse...and there are lots of reasons for that answer.  I love the way Matisse worked with color...his color palette is bright and unexpected.  I can remember the first time I saw his painting, Madame Matisse. I just marveled in the striking image, she had a green stripe down the middle of her face and one half of her face was chartreuse, and for me, it was sheer magic.  I also love the work he did with cut paper shapes and pattern and find it inspiring for the work I do now.

Huge thanks to Ken Oliver for taking the time to let us get to know him a little better and enjoy his passion for these beautiful colors. I hope that his work will inspire you to try the wonderful world of watercolors. I can't wait until I'm able to take his class and see him create amazing works in person.
You can find Ken's blog, "Ken's World in Progress" here. His projects are always beautiful!

Please let me know if you enjoyed this interview and if you're interested in using watercolors in your projects. I'm just getting into them and I love the effects that you can get from them. I'd love to hear from you. Thanks for hanging out at California Scrappin'!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tipsy Tuesday - Distress Me Out!

TODAY'S TIP - DISTRESS ME OUT!
Distressing has been a stable trend for quite a while now. It means to give something simulated signs of wear and tear. Tim Holtz is the king of distressing. He has his own line of Distress Inks, Stains, Paints and Stickles. All of these can add a vintage look to your projects, along with tools and techniques with rips, tears and inked edges.

You can use a number of tools and techniques to achieve the distressed effect:
CTMH Distressing Tool - This round tool has several openings with blades used to tear the edges of your paper. You simply run the tool down the edge and it rips the fine edge away to give it a rough look. 
Sanding block - Tim Holtz has a sanding block in his Distress arsenal as well. You can attach all grades of sand paper to the block and use it to sand the face or edges of your paper. 
Nail sanding pads - These can be found in any beauty supply store and come in various textures. You can also use them to distress your paper edges or sand off a layer of paint for a worn look.
Inking - I love inking the edges of my distressed paper. I typically use Vintage Photo Distress Ink or other shades of brown for my inking. I think it adds to the vintage look very well.
Tearing - Distressing can also mean tearing your paper to expose the white edge underneath. Any type of ripping or tearing can add to an aged look to your project. After tearing, I like to ink along those exposed edges. Each layer of this layout has been distressed and inked around the edges.

Give your projects a bit of a vintage look by using one or more of these tips & techniques!
Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Color Me Happy!

Remember how you felt when you got a brand new box of crayons? Remember the smell of the wax? Remember how it felt to color a page till your heart's content? Why did that experience have to end in our childhood years? Well, it doesn't have to. The adult coloring book craze has taken hold and now there are TONS of coloring books for US! I'm absolutely loving the fact that the craft industry is embracing how therapeutic coloring can be for people of ALL AGES.
As a child, I had dozens of coloring books. I would get lost for hours in all of the colors and possibilities to make a blank page come to life. I loved getting those wall posters that they sold at grocery and drug stores. They only came with three or four markers, but that was okay because I had a myriad of markers and crayons at home. Those geometric designs made me dizzy with happiness!
Then, somewhere along the way, my crayons and markers were retired to a shelf or a bin. Why? Who made the rules that I couldn't color anymore when I went to high school and college? Why aren't we allowed to play as adults? I think that it's when we need it the most!
For Christmas, my sister got me a new coloring book and a pack of colored pencils. I was really excited! I can't wait to find some more dedicated time to get lost in the pages. There have been some recent articles all about the adult coloring craze. OMGFacts.com has a very creative post all about the amazing things that happen to your brain when you're coloring. Woman's Day has an article about coloring tricks. DIYCandy.com has their "Coloring for Adults 101: Your Complete Guide."
 Independent crafters have created their own lines of color books. Jamie Severtson Dougherty's books are ones that I really love. You can check out her line of books on Amazon here.
Many crafters have also started making unique items that incorporate designs that can be colored and used as home decor. Through one of my Facebook groups, I came across Christina Greer and her Etsy site, Bookishness Crafts. She creates Mandala Magnets that you can color and put on your fridge or file cabinets. I absolutely love these! She also has a coloring journal for recovery from eating disorders. I think it's wonderful that Christina is creating ways to help others battle their inner demons with coloring. You can check out her Recovery Journal here. Her next book, "The Optimistic Addict: Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder", will be published by MSI Press in late summer 2016.
No doubt about it. Coloring is back with a vengeance. I hope it's here to stay for a while. I think that we all need to get back in touch with our inner child and get lost in coloring again. Ditch the digital world for a while and get back to the basics. Just you, all the colors and your imagination!

If you've discovered the world of adult coloring, comment below and share your experience.
I'd love to hear from you and how coloring has brightened up your life!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tipsy Tuesday - Support Small Business!

TODAY'S TIP - SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS!
In the age of big box stores and online stores, we need to protect the integrity of small businesses. It's important to remember that these small business are the backbone of what our marketplace is today. I do my very best to support local businesses and small business owners, especially when it comes to scrapbooking supplies. It's sad to have seen so many of my local scrapbook stores disappear within the last few years due to skyrocketing rents and having their prices beat by the buying power of big box stores. Before the small business owner becomes extinct, please support them any way you can!
My mom and I visiting Laurie (middle) at her awesome store!

Although I don't have any local scrapbook stores in my immediate area, I do travel to Los Gatos to visit my wonderful friend and small business scrapbooking queen, Laurie Jimenez at The Island's Creative Escape! Her store is located at 14090 Blossom Hill Road - Los Gatos, CA 95032. You can contact the store at (408) 402-3581. She has amazing classes coming up. Her store carries a wide variety of scrapbooking and mixed media supplies. I spend hours roaming the aisles! 

If you have a favorite local scrapbooking store, please feel free to comment below and give it a Small Business Shoutout! Let's all support small business!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

National Scrapbook Day Online Crop POSTPONED

Due to an unexpected change in plans, our National Scrapbook Day Online Crop will be postponed to a later date. I apologize for the inconvenience. A new date will be announced soon.
If you are scrapping on Saturday May 7th for National Scrapbook Day, please feel free to post your projects in the Our Happy Scrappin' Place group and keep the creativity flowing!