Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Winning Creating Keepsakes HOF 2008 Portfolio

What a better way to start blogging than by tackling THAT project that I've been putting off for some time. Not sure why it took me so long to post these layouts (?)
After winning the contest, I just about dropped off the english speaking blogosphere radar. I felt a calling to introduce scrapbooking to my native country Lithuania.
Recently I got the feeling that this purpose has been served; I've made some really close friendships and I'm excited with a child-like giddiness that I will get to meet a few of these ladies when I travel back 'home'. I've bult the 1st lithuanian scrapbooking blog which I plan on maintaining simultaneously with this blog.
Now I am ready to work on my inner artist, to continue in the pursuit of advancing my creative skills and vision; I'm ready to blog, get lost in the visual candy land of other blogs, and get back on the publication submitting wagon :)
Funny thing to look at this body of work for the HOF contest; It's dear to me for sentimental reasons, and I dare not change or redo anything. However, It's evidence of growth perhaps, that evaluating now, I find myself saying: "I would have done that differently...., or I would not have added that embellishment there". Do any of you nit-pick at your creations when looking back on them?

Here is my winning HOF 2008 entry: (listed in order of assignments)
[You may click on each image to enlarge]

Assignment A: Journal your Passion
Title: I Was a Really Good Mom before I had Kids
This assignment concentrated on in-depth journaling. Even though this double spread was not picked up for publication (now I have a few ideas as to why), it still remains one of my favorite layouts to this date. What makes it my favorite is the stark honesty of the many challenges we women face as mothers. I invite the reader to get a glimpse of my real life: the piles of laundry, a sink full of dirty dishes, kids watching cartoons (when I 'should' be providing them with educational activities). This was a day that I felt I'm drowning - the messes of life were piling up at a faster rate than I was able to remedy them.
Here's the journaling: It was at Target I had an epiphany. I was trying to steer a double stroller holding my Starbucks cup in one hand, and a grocery basket in the other. Adam’s escalating screams gained a few comments regarding him being hungry (I did feed him well before this shopping trip). I noticed that Omar has chewed the foam off the stroller’s handles out of boredom. I was spilling coffee everywhere and not steering straight. I felt hot tears welling up in my eyes. Is this out-of-control woman really me? I was supposed to have kids that never throw a temper tantrum in public. The bounce in my step would be an unmistakable sign of the passion I have for life. My kids would be engaged in educational activities and barely watch TV. My home would always be guest-ready. How did I get here? Just then an elderly woman next in line tells me: “Enjoy this, it will pass too quickly…my boys have grown and left”. Ever since, I thought about her words often. The key to finding joy in the everyday is not to escape it, but to live with your eyes open to the present. Hearing my children laugh or say: “Love mama!”, is far more important than chasing control of the chores. I live in the moment!
Technique/Meaning: I've used a lot of symbolic elements in this piece: the series of rub-on numbers between photos to signify the quick passing of my days - which seem more like minutes; the days of the week die cut paper which I stapled on a cork-strip to symbolize lists and chores, the metal key accent to be a part of the title: "Key to Escape", the title of this piece is a photo of an actual book's title, and so on.

Assignment B: Photo Extraordinaire
Title: I Catch Light (as seen in Creating Keepsakes: 101 Expert Solutions for Scrapbooking p.25)
It was a requirement for this assignment that all the photos must be taken by the entrant. The auto-portrait was taken with a rigged-up contraption of a chair and a mop to focus on, while I set a point-and-shoot camera's self-timer, ran, kicked the mop down and got in it's exact place with my Canon 20D...all in 10 seconds. It took quite a few shots (too many to mention but I got it :). After this effort, I got a remote shutter release.
Journaling reads: Always looking for that perfect light. Have often lost track of conversation because the speaker is bathed in golden light, and I wish I had my camera. Challenging myself to see things from a new perspective. Setting up impromptu photo shoots with the boys, as the house goes to ruins from neglect. I love this way of life – LOVE photography!

Assignment C: Inventive Technique 
Title: his eyes
Inventive technique process: For my title on the photograph, I wanted to create a clean outline of letters without the risk of smearing ink as I trace them, or having staples or glue show through acetate letters. My solution was to etch around each letter with a hole-piercing tool:
Step1: Place letters of choice on photo (on a darker area of photo).
Step2: Firmly holding each letter with one hand, trace around it slowly with a needle or a hole-piercing tool.
Can you guess what that green grass cut-out is made of? (hint: it comes in a sushi box :o...whoever said that scrapbookers have hoarding tendencies- or as I call 'creative accumulating'- was totally right).
Another technique that is not apparent in the photo is that I stiched over the hat with matching wool fibers because the pattern and texture was overexposed in the photo.

Assignment D: Designing with three or more photos
Title: Autumn Whisper (as seen in Creating Keepsakes: 101 Expert Solutions for Scrapbooking pg.114)

Journaling reads: Sure, back then silly girl thought, “when I grow up I really have to succeed in whatever is of the upward nature”…Now she wants to be Mom who knew how to enjoy sunshine, laughing, little treasures of Love, and just being together for the best of now.
Cool journaling technique: I challenged myself to come up with a journaling block using only the word stickers that I had remaining on the word sticker sheet. The result was even more meaningful journaling than I wanted to write initially.
Group 2

Assignment E: Color Watch (use a color scheme that conveys an emotion)
Title: Glass Shatters (As seen on Creating Keepsakes website-my introductory HOF piece)
Journaling reads: Incident witnessed at subject’s 2nd Birthday party. Symptoms observed were: screaming, flinging of arms, refusal to consume cake. Probable cause is fatigue, over stimulation, and lack of a nap.
Technique: To convey shattered glass, I cut up shards of transparency and outlined each edge with a Sakura 3d Souffle pen. The sound waves were cut out with Coluzzle template.

Assignment F: Crafty Combo
Title: A New Life
(photo [taken by me] is of Adam, thus the "A" in the title is also my son's initial).
For this assignment the challenge was to create a piece of artwork that was made of scrapbooking supplies, yet the piece can not be a scrapbooking layout. Since I have plenty of experience in designing and making jewelry, this seemed a perfect challenge for me.
One of the greatest aspects of this pendant-necklace is that it lends itself to customization. The photo in the frame may easily be changed to another photo, mini scrap project, painting, etc. For example, I'm planning on including a small-scale mixed media piece with the word 'beautiful', so the finished piece would read: 'A Beautiful Life'. I think that's a great mantra for the everyday--seek the beauty in life!
Another bonus to this pendant is that it's removable from the necklace since it's attachment is a lobster clasp; This way it would be a cinch to clip it on to any other necklace or chain.
Group 3: Four of your Favorite Layouts

Favorite #1: Title: Time Machine (As seen in Creating Keepsakes September 2008 pg.75)
CK focused on the stitching accent of the silver cord attached to the astronaut.
*The technique to get stubborn rub-ons to transfer (featured in this layout) was mentioned in Creating Keepsakes October 2008 issue "Tips & Tricks" column titled: "Rub-ons won't stick" pg.114
Journaling reads: I held Adam on my lap in bed having just arrived in the maternity ward. I watched you across the room as you shut yourself in the closet, and then opened the door and looked at me ever so serious. Repeating this over and over…almost as if you wished the closet was a time machine and you could travel back in time when you were the only baby, and the center of our world. You’re still the original baby, Omar. Love, Mama (July 20, 2007).

Favorite #2: Title: Wisdom of the Innocent (as seen in Creating Keepsakes 101 Expert Solutions pg.154)
The idea of using proverb strips (by K&Co. "Proverbs to Go") came to me as a result of trying to find elements that would echo the theme of "Wisdom". Provers and a chipboard laurel wreath was the perfect symbols of 'wisdom". As a bonus, the manila yellow of the proverbs perfectly matched Adam's outfit. Although not very apparent in the scan, this piece has some serious gold leaf usage; I gilded the edges of the paper as well as adding gold leaf to the laurel wreath. Gold button (from Ralph Lauren sweater), also features a laurel leaf.

Favorite #3: Title: Letting Go
This layout is sentimental, nostalgic, and is one of my favorites. It's a farewell to having more babies; It's a final goodbye to all the outgrown baby clothes and toys; It is the realization that our family is complete.
I cleaned out the closet, and packed everything up to give away. It was very emotional to accept the finality of that decision. The ducky outfit that is hanging in the closet was the homecoming outfit worn by both of our children. A part of me wanted to put everything back in the closet, just in case we'll have one more. Yet a wiser part of me realized that I can't collect kids like some crazy cat lady collecting cats. We know our limits, and two is all that we can handle at this stage of our lives.
Techniques used: This is the only layout that when scanned, looked nothing like the original, thus I photographed a macro shot to show the fluffy texture and softness of this piece. Lots of random sewing & machine stitching; The letter 'O' of the word 'go' is cut out from a gift card and framed with a silver frame.

Favorite #4: Title: You 'r Bold
I had fun coming up with a title which was very random and inspired by the supplies I had in my hands at that moment.
My sister just had landscaping done in her yard, and if we didn't live so far apart, I'd be going there for many more photo shoots.
*** *** *** ***
Thank you sooo much for taking a peek into my HOF entry! Your comments mean the world to me, and if anything is unclear, or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave me a few words.


The Lonely Scrapbooker said...

I had no idea you were from Lithuania when I saw you in the CK book. I guess because you mentioned Target?
Are there a lot of scrapbookers there? Where do you get supplies? I am also trying to spread the scrapbooking love here in Jamaica. So far I've had a few converts, and I will keep trying to introduce others to this wonderful hobby.

Irma said...

Hi Lonely Scrapbooker,
(btw, I hope you're not lonely for long, bc. even if your IRL friends don't scrap, there's a huge virtual community that will "get you") ;)
I live in the USA fo 20+ yrs., but I was born and raised in Lithuania.
I introduced SB there through a forum for has a art/craft subforum, and someone posted a (?): "what is scrapbooking?" I stepped in to explain, introduce, share tips, ideas, techniques, etc. Then I opened up the 1st Lihuanian blog in my native language
Through the blog I recruited even more people.
In the beginning, the ordering of scrap supplies from USA was organized through various "middle-men/women", later people there noticed the lucrative opportunity to open local scrap shops there, then SB was featured on the news, and the rest is history :) I'm so proud that Lithuania has caught the scrapping bug. It's not just a hobby to be- it's a way of life!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your HOF entry. I was wondering if you can share how you created the picture of the baby outfit hanging in your closet? Did you use photoshop to change it? Thanks again and I am so glad you won.-Heather

Irma said...

Hi Heather,
thanks for your sweet comment.
The photo has a special effect on it called "Posterize" (I have Photoshop CS3, but I think other PS versions will have this function. You open the photo in PS and click on Image-->Adjustments-->Posterize. Then adjust the sliders until the image looks to your liking. Besides this filter, I did not do anything else with the photo.