Jodie L. Wright
Creative Memories Consultant
Memory Evangelist
Creative Coach
Digital Artist

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To Scrapbook or Not to Scrapbook...

Any serious scrapbooker will tell you that it's not a hobby, but a lifestyle.  I've been scrapping for over a decade now and have even "trained" my children and husband to collect items for our family books.  My desire to scrapbook never wanes but the time I have available to do so fluctuates.  My full-time job, service as chair of two hard working committees,  parenting of three boys, cultivation of a marriage, and care of our home don't always afford me the spare time to exercise my creative muscles. And lets not forget our menagerie of pets who are always looking for a lap to curl up in or who think nothing of walking through a tray of glitter.

Art has always been my release and it has taken many forms over the years.  I am in love with the creative process and before kids, marriage and life's responsibilities, I pursued many forms of artistic expression.  All of the tools of which are boxed and binned in my ever bursting craft room.  The creative process is a stress reliever for me and it's how I decompress.  Lately, I just haven't had time to sit down and complete even one page. And I miss it...  If I put goals around it, like completing a certain number of pages in a month, I'm afraid it will become just another to-do in an ever growing, never ending list of to-dos.

So, this weekend after a week filled with work and committee obligations, I will take a break from caring for our home.  I will still parent, I will still have conversation with my husband but I will do it in my pjs and big fluffy bathrobe, from the comfort of my favorite chair while I CREATE.  If I don't carve out the time to do this for myself, I won't be worth a darn for anything else. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's In A Face?

Everything!  A face can tell a story better than anything that can be written, scrapbooked, or embellished.  Ever since my boys were small, I have been taking pictures of everything they do to chronicle in their scrapbooks. …and I do mean everything.  Getting those pictures on pages has proven more difficult as our family has grown in numbers and I’m here to tell you that I’m way far behind! Yes, it happens to all of us.  Out of all the pictures I’ve taken and all of the pages I’ve completed, my favorites are those where a face tells the story. 

Sometimes, as scrapbookers are prone to do, we want to preserve an event or milestone by using all of the pictures we took of that event.  We might even create an entire album around a single event just to use all of our pictures.  Been there, done that, but as I’ve matured in my scrapbooking, I look for the best photos that truly convey the emotions and activities of the day.  If I didn’t, I would be even further behind because scrapbooking, even digitally, takes time.   

To illustrate, I want to share some of my own digital pages with you. 

For this page, I utilized a quick page called "Chin Up" (Anna Aspnes -  While there were other pictures taken that day, I really felt that this one captured the moment.  Poor little guy!

Sometimes, there's no need to embellish at all. If you have a picture that you just love, why not make it the focal point of your page...the only focal point.  This was page two of a two page spread.  The other page showed a few pictures of our sons playing in freshly raked leaves but I just loved how this one turned out and didn't want to do anything to distract from that sweet little face.

And that same little sweet face likes to play in mud puddles. Again, this was part of a multi-page spread.
Soon enough, he's going to be grown and he's going to lose that baby face.  I want to hold on to the memory of it for years to come.  No embellishments were used because I didn't want to distract from the photo itself.

Again, I used a quick page for this because let's face it, with three little boys, and one full-time working mommy, I need to save time whenever possible.  This particular page is from the Keep on Movin' set by Denise Liemert.  We had spent the day at one of those blow up amusement places and I loved the bright colors and happy vibe of this quick page.  There were other pages filled with photos of my kids having a great time but I really  have an appreciation for the simplicity of having one picture on a layout. 

One of the things I've seen happen with my scrapbooking brethren is that they only want to capture the happy feel-good moments.  For example, this less-than-happy photo may have ended up on my hard drive forever except that I moved away from "Polyanna" scrapbooking a long time ago.  Childhood is such a fleeting thing that I find myself wanting to preserve it all - the good, the bad, and yes... the ugly.

Scrapbooking is truly about telling the stories of our lives.   My challenge to you is simple. When you have decided on a page or a series of pages you wish to complete,  look at each picture and ask yourself what story it tells. If it doesn't add to the story you are telling, file it away.   There is absolutely nothing wrong with not using every single picture you take. 

A trick I like to do if I have a lot of photos is to use the very best ones, even if that's only a handful of what was taken, and put the rest on a photo CD. I just create a space in my design, adhere a CD sleeve (Creative Memories) on the page, and insert the CD.  All of the photos are still preserved but I'm using only the very best ones for my layout.  This is a huge time saver!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and happy scrapping! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today I'm going to share with you something I've known for awhile...

Scrapbookers can be a little crazy when it comes to capturing the perfect shot or gathering items for the perfect page. To the non-scrapping world, we are a nutty bunch at times!

I’m reminded of the time several years ago when my scrapbooking buddies and I were trekking from Virginia to New Jersey to attend a scrapbooking expo.  Now, there’s a lot of difference in the fast paced, gotta-get-there-NOW Jersey driving style and the more laid back, slower-paced, I’ll-get-there-when-I-get-there Virginia driving style. No sooner had we arrived in the Garden State than our rental SUV was rear-ended by a local as she was attempting to save her purse from flying off of the front seat.  Per the direction of New Jersey’s finest, we all pulled into a grocery store parking lot to exchange information and complete the officer’s report.   At this point, most people would be upset or angry.   But scrapbookers aren’t necessarily “most people”. The five of us peeled ourselves out of the SUV with cameras in hand and started snapping pictures. Pictures of the rental SUV bumper and its broken reflector. Pictures of the other vehicle which didn’t fare too well. Pictures of the “Welcome to Jersey” sign. Pictures with the police officer.  We even made sure that each one of us had a piece of the broken reflector as memorabilia to include in our layout.  After the business of the accident was complete we headed to the Expo and shopped for the perfect embellishments to complement our new material.

There’s also the time where our group went to the mountains for an annual weekend retreat. We took a break from scrapbooking to go to the various overlooks for scenic pictures.   A nice samaritan offered to take a group picture of us and looked really puzzled as we handed him ten different cameras.  He may think twice about offering photographic goodwill in the future.  

I am the mom of three boys, four if you count the husband, which I do.   Needless to say, we’ve had our share of trips to the emergency room over the years.  As all self-respecting scrapbookers do, I carry a small camera in my purse at all times.   This comes in handy for impromptu memory gathering such as that which occurs on visits to the hospital.  I have sufficiently recorded every visit complete with appropriate diecuts, stickers and even memorabilia, such as hospital arm bands.  Most recently my husband fell fourteen feet while on a ladder.  Once I knew he was ok, I whipped out the camera and took some pictures of him laid out on the back board, as well as, pictures of his badly sprained ankles and bruised calves.  After all, it’s important to record moments like this so we can remind our loved ones of some of the not-so-smart moments…such as climbing an extension ladder which was secured only by a throw rug. Really?   Those are moments that our kids, their kids, and so on need to learn from.

Tomorrow, my eight year old returns from his first sleep away camp.   This camp has a service where they take lots of photographs of kids throughout the week and place them on their website for purchase. It’s a really good idea and one that I jumped on.    Confession is good for the soul and I must confess that I did consider contacting the photographer to “direct” him on the photos I would like for him to take of my child.  Basically, I wish he’d just follow him around and snap endless pictures so I’d have a great assortment for crafting the perfect pages to commemorate this rite of passage.  I don’t have a lot of restraint when it comes to things like this but I’m proud to report that I did control the urge to make a fool out of myself and embarrass my young son!

My name is Jodie, and I’m a scrapbooker.   Scrapbooking has taught me to extract what is memorable from every experience and to tell the stories of our lives that can be passed down from generation to generation.  If my actions appear nutty at times, if I whip my camera out at what seems like an odd time, or if I simply get in your way as I try to capture the perfect shot,  please chalk it up to passion!  Passion for wanting to preserve those fleeting moments that you only get once. Passion to capture my children doing the things that children do because that time period passes in the blink of an eye.  Passion for protecting what has sentimental value.  Passion for living a life that memories are made of.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Welcome to my Blog

Hi and welcome to my blog!  I want this to be a place where scrapbookers or scrapbooker hopefuls can gather to be inspired.

Scrapbooking is way more than a hobby to me or a way to make money, as I disclose up front that I'm a consultant with Creative Memories. Scrapbooking is a way of life and it changes your perspective on things.  I have always been very sentimental and I've always saved things throughout my life... show programs, ticket stubs, letters, cards, and pictures.  I always collected these things in a box or glued them into those terrible scrapbooks that had the absolute worst pages for preserving memories longterm.  (It really was our only option back then!)  A friend from work invited me to my first crop and I have been hooked ever since.  That was almost thirteen years ago and I can honestly say that scrapbooking has changed the way I approach life.

At the time I started scrapbooking, I was newly married and didn't have children.  I spent a lot of time scrapbooking my furkids!  On 9/9/99, at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was devastated and that was a really difficult time, but I scrapbooked the entire experience. Why? Because it was like therapy to put down the thoughts I had that no one else could truly understand and because I wanted to persevere the cards and letters that people sent to me. The words they wrote brought me great comfort and really meant the world to me.  I captured all of it in a scrapbook that I can pull out now and see how far I've come. For generations to come, my family can know of that experience and hopefully better understand the stuff I'm made of and ultimately, the stuff they are made of.

I have three beautiful little boys who all came to us through the miracle of adoption.  For two of those adoptions we worked with a wonderful agency, Bethany Christian Services.  At Bethany, birth families peruse portfolios created by adopting couples.  Those profiles come in all shapes and sizes but typically they are typed up, contain a few pictures and are put in nice presentation folders.  Being a scrapbooker, I just couldn’t go with the flow on that one!  I spent a lot of time putting together a scrapbook about my husband and I, our jobs, our home, our faith, and our heartfelt desire to have a child.  In both cases we were picked very, very quickly and each family said that our book stood out to them because it told the story of who we are.

Isn’t that what scrapbooking is all about?  When I say scrapbooking has changed my perspective it’s because when my family and I are together, no matter what we’re doing, I enjoy capturing and recording the events that make memories.  When my kids look through the many books I’ve completed, they giggle, they remember, they tell the story and they know that their mom must love them a whole lot.

Scrapbooking has also enhanced my life by putting in my path some of the best people I’ve ever known.  I have found a sisterhood of women who have been my strength through the cancer experience,  who have supported me through the ups and downs of adoption, who have cried with me over a failed marriage and celebrated with  me over new found love.  We laugh together, we cry together, we support each other, and we are silly with each other.  We share a common love for what we do.

Scrapbookers are storytellers. It doesn’t matter if you create beautiful masterpiece pages…it really doesn’t.  What matters is getting memories down on paper and passing those memories on through the years.  Whatever stage you’re in, whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro, I’m here to help. Email me, find me on Facebook, come crop with me or call me. I’d love to hear from you!