Friday, June 6, 2014

Blogging is Scrapbooking? Who knew??

Lain Ehmann knew!

It has been 1,767 days since my last blog post.  Thanks to Lain Ehmann, however, I have the perfect reason to shake off the dust (with a leaf blower) and post an entry

CreativeLive Reception
Two months ago, my good friend, Cindy DeRosier, asked if I would like to attend a scrapbooking workshop called, “Scrapbook Your Story with Lain Ehmann”.  The workshop would be filmed by CreativeLive and we would be audience members.  I pictured being one of 25-30 members and thought it would be fun.  It turns out that we were 1 of 6 members of a very interactive audience.  Yikes!  No flying under the radar with this workshop!  At least I was right about it being fun.

The workshop focused on storytelling and covered a wide range of topics such as barriers to scrapbooking (when did I let embellishments take the place of journaling?), design, process, photos, and, of course, telling our story.  We discussed what gets in the way of completing our pages (too many product choices, expectations from design teams, time restraints, perfectionism, etc.).  Lain is a marvelous teacher and this workshop brought me back to my roots in scrapbooking:  telling my story.  My family gives me endless stories that are worth capturing on paper.   Our history can be preserved forever on layouts (check), in photobooks (I’ll get there), mini-albums (check), pocket scrapbooks (check), smashbooks (check) and yes, even on blogs. 
Lain Ehmann and Chris Jennings

 I learned that there are services that will print blog posts in a single photobook.  Sweet!!!   Before this class I knew that I wanted to scrap my previous blog posts.  I had thought of printing them out onto cardstock, embellishing them with the latest and greatest products, and tweaking each page to perfection.   It was a big project in my endless to-do project list.  Basically, I was overthinking it.  All I had to do was upload to a service, make a few choices, whip out my credit card, and voila!  My blog posts easily become part of my scrapbook collection.  Niiiice!

Scrapbooking my blog posts were not the only things I have been overthinking.   Lain made me realize that it is OK to scrap everyday events using the products I want to use and scrapping as quickly as I want.     My paper and embellishments do NOT need to match perfectly and I do not need to come up with a new and creative design for each and every page.  Will every page be perfect?  Nope.  Will every page be cherished?  Yep.   There was a time when I could put together quick layouts that brought me joy every time.  That time was long before design teams and long before I became friends with, and cropped alongside, some of the most amazing, talented scrapbookers in the industry.   Seriously, having uber-talented and published friends is intimidating!

Bottom line….what matters is that I tell my story.    In the end my family won’t care about the techniques I used on my pages, if I chose Bo Bunny paper over Basic Grey, or what font I used for the title.  They will care about the stories, though.   While they might be mildly interested that a particular layout was published on some now-defunct online magazine, they will be more thrilled to read about that time Dad got stuck on the pool slide at Disneyland (a Nenni classic!).

Somewhere along the line I had become so used to selecting the perfect papers and embellishing my pages carefully, that I was very remiss in leaving any room for journaling.  I had managed to wander into the “Forest of Products” and fall down the “Dark Hole of Design.”  While there is nothing wrong with the “Forest of Products” or the “Dark Hole of Design,” they were no longer working for me.  Lain so graciously pulled me out of that spot and set me back onto my personal path to scrapping fun.

Now I can’t take credit for the terms, “Forest of Products” and “Dark Hole of Design.”  That credit goes to either Lain or the cohosts of the workshop.  I can’t remember who first coined those terms, but they were used often as the workshop progressed.  I can’t even take credit for knowing that it’s been 1,767 days since my last post.  That was a gem that came up for discussion during one of the workshop discussions when Cindy mentioned using as a resource for her layouts.   More credits are due for the photos in this blog.   Cameras were clicking away both days and I have included photos taken by myself, Cindy and classmates.    I apologize if I've missed a credit where credit is due.
Finding my roots in this workshop was only half the fun.  The filming of the workshop itself was a blast!

Day 1: 

Day 1 began with the 2 hour drive to the CreativeLive studios in San Francisco.  We needed to allow for a 90 minute trip in order to arrive in time for our pre-production setup.  No, my math isn’t wrong.  Ninety minutes was plenty of time, but there was something wrong on the Bay Bridge and it took us over 2 hours to arrive at the studios!  I was very calm, cool and collected, although I was concerned that Cindy would freak out at any moment, jump out of the car and run ahead of me.  It was viable option.  Seriously! I suppose I can attribute my calmness to 10+ years commuting to San Francisco from the East Bay, or perhaps I just need to dial back my anti-anxiety meds a notch.  I suspect the latter.  

A quick selfie of Cindy and me, right before our first segment.

 So….we arrived late and missed the pre-production meeting.   Vanessa, our line producer, gave us a quick mini-tour as she quickly recapped the instructions we missed.  We had to be set up with mics by the audio guy, who was later dubbed as the “audio violator.”  He got very up close and personal with those mics!!  Fortunately he is very professional and felt as awkward as we did, or at least had the sense to pretend he felt that way.

Our late arrival caused us to miss a spectacular cooked-to-order breakfast of crepes, and we scarcely had time to freshen up before we had to take our seats.   The hustle and bustle, combined with the fact that I really had little clue as to what to expect, was a bit overwhelming to say the least.  The cohosts, Chris Jennings and Sally Dominguez, were enthusiastic, energetic, and very relaxed in front of the camera.  They had us introduce ourselves one by one and then they introduced Lain.  It was all so wonderful but almost too much for me.  I was ready for a break just 15 minutes into filming!  However, Lain is so wonderful that I was eventually sad to see the first 90-minute segment end so quickly.  I got over it, though, when I saw delicious goodies prepared for us by CreativeLive.  We were a bit spoiled!

Day one included food.  Lots of food.  In addition to what looked like an amazing breakfast, we had an incredible lunch of sandwiches, salads and homemade chips.  They fed us snacks and led us to a refrigerator fully stocked with juices, coconut waters, and sodas.  Sally mentioned more than once that CreativeLive will teach us, feed us and play with us.  Yep!!  They certainly did.

Lain’s guest speaker for our first day was Katrina Kennedy.  Katrina is the creator of “Capture Your 365” and has taken a photo a day since February of 2008.   She is witty, talented, and is an absolute master at capturing everyday moments on camera.   Katrina reminded me that I used to take pictures every day and I am once again enjoying documenting everyday moments with my camera.

To compliment my renewed enthusiasm of taking photos, I now use Groovebook.  Groovebook was one of the workshop sponsors.  It is a handy smartphone app that provides a monthly, inexpensive photo printing service.  After uploading 40-100 photos on the app, they are mailed directly to my home in a really nifty book.  The location and dates of the photos appear in the margin of the book (so clever!).  We were asked to bring our Groovebooks to the class.  While Cindy and I ordered ours with plenty of lead time, they did not arrive until AFTER our workshop.  Oy!   After that experience I was ready to dismiss Groovebook altogether…..until I actually received my first Groovebook.  I. Love. It.  I can easily get the photos off of my phone, easily order duplicates, and always have a supply of scrapable (yeah….that’s a word, in Jenland, ha!) photos on hand for layouts or just to reminisce with.  If I want to scrap a photo, I simply remove it at the perforation.  I now click away with glee, snapping photos of all sorts of stuff, knowing that they will arrive in my Groovebook sometime in the next month.  Awesome.

The first day of the workshop flew by so fast and I couldn’t wait for day 2 to begin!
Denise and I, with Lain and crew in the background.
Photo by Cindy DeRosier

Day 2:

Our second day had a much smoother start.  Cindy and I left my house at the same time as we did on Monday.  Vanessa had assured us that Monday’s commute was unusual, and she was right.  We arrived nearly 1 hour before our call time.  That left plenty of time to have a tasty breakfast in the CreativeLive kitchen and to visit with our cast mates and crew. 

Chris Jennings and Sally Dominquez. 
Photo by Cindy DeRosier.
Lain continued to impress us with her ability to motivate and teach.  The cohosts and crew continued to shine.  The audio violator did his thing.  Food and snacks continued to flow.  As with Day 1, we continued to share our stories and interact with Lain and our cohosts.  One of the best interactive features of the workshop came from the chat rooms.  Chris and Sally would interject comments and questions from the chat room.  Interaction from the viewing audience was a fantastic experience.   

The day began with goodies from the sponsors.  Gossamer Blue provided one of their monthly kits and Simple Stories provided a beautiful album and letter stickers.   Unlike the usual “Forest of Products,” these items were already coordinated for us, taking away the frustration of scrambling to find the perfect products to use. 

My stab at Scrapbook Improv
In one segment, Lain introduced us to something she calls Scrapbook Improv.  She calls it one part stand-up comedy, one part scrapbooking, and all parts fun.   It was definitely fun!   Using a handmade spinner and some audience input, she selected what title to use for our layouts (“Say What?”), what paper to mount the photo on (plain cardstock), what type of embellishments to use (wood veneers from our kit), what journaling method (song lyrics), and a chosen technique (doodling).  A timer was set for 30 minutes, and off we went.  We each did our own page in 30 minutes!!  It was a blast.   I didn’t have time to overthink anything.  I had to quickly choose my photo from a stack I brought with me, quickly grab a piece of cardstock, some patterned paper, and select my embellishments.   I was very pleased with the result.  I actually improv’d the improv.  I couldn’t think of song lyrics for my photo, so I wrote a few sentences instead.  I’m such a rebel.  I furthered that rebellion when I went back later and added a song lyric.  What can I say?  I had a shower revelation a few days later and the perfect lyric popped into my head!

The guest speaker for Day 2 was Jen (such a cool name) Gallacher.  She was brought into the studio via Skype.  She talked about how to scrap difficult subjects and she spoke about the loss of her son.   While I have scrapped the death of my friend, Beth, it was very helpful to hear Jennifer’s approach to scrapping such a sensitive topic.  Scrapping a loss or a difficult period in one’s life can be very therapeutic, but often difficult.    As with Katrina, Lain was spot on in including Jen in this workshop.

It’s a Wrap:

The best part of ending any filming?  The wrap party!  I was excited at the prospect of an actual wrap party with the cast and crew, and I was completely thrilled to learn that it would be on the rooftop!!  Having spent many, many afternoons on sunny San Francisco rooftops, I couldn’t be happier.  Beer, food, new friends, beautiful city views and sunshine on top of a San Francisco roof.  How awesome is that??!!!
Cindy, Angela and me. 
Photo by Denise Lachowsky.

I learned so much from this workshop.  Some of the listed items are things I already knew, but had drifted away from over the years.   In a nutshell:

·       Follow my mission statement (Lain provided the format and I filled in the blanks):  To me, scrapbooking means preserving memories.  I scrapbook for my family so that they will remember our family life together.  I scrapbook so that future generations will see what life was life for their parents and grandparents

·         Get the story down.

·         It’s OK to scrap quickly.  Yay!

·         Embrace imperfection.

·         Give myself permission to scrap what I want, when I want.

·         Limit my product options.  Too many choices can be overwhelming.

·         Keep a list of ideas for times when an extra 30-minutes of scrapping time pops up.

·         Have a stash of go-to designs; it’s OK to repeat designs.

·         Cardstock color/choice doesn’t have to be a perfect match for the photo/story.

·         Get photos off the camera.

·         Use screen shots from texts, Facebook, Twitter, etc. in my layouts.

·         Use online Photobooks for those times when I want to quickly scrap several themed photos.

·         Upload blog posts to create a photobook.

·         Ask myself, “Will *this* embellishment add value to or detract from my layout?”



My takeaway from this experience:  

This is MY story.  My layouts, my blog, my projects, and my mini-albums (or as Lain’s daughter calls them, “minial-bums” ha ha), are MY story to tell.    The bottom line is to scrap what makes me happy and scrap in a manner that makes me happy.   The rest will follow, and in the end, what gets put down is what matters most to me and hopefully to my family. 

Interestingly, this concept has overflowed a bit into my non-scrapbooking life.  I find myself paying attention to the things that matter most, no matter how big or how small.   If I’m having a bad-hair day, my eyes are puffy, and my double chin is showing, who cares?  It will pass (well, except for that blasted chin thing).  Tomorrow is another day and life is too short to fuss over the small stuff.

 I’ve always known many of the things that I have learned in this workshop, and Lain’s motivation and reminders have been priceless.

Thank you Lain, CreativeLive, Chris, Sally, the amazing crew (yes, even audio violator guy), and thank you to my wonderful, lovely and talented classmates: Cindy DeRosier, Jane Erickson, Angela Gordillo, Denise Lachowsky, and THE Traci Reed.
Cast and Crew

Lain, with Chris and Sally showing off their Scrapbook Improv Layout.

Links to the fun stuff:

Lain and me. 
Photo by Cindy DeRosier.


Heather D said...

Welcome back to the world of blogging!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience at Creative Live. So happy that you're feeling so much more motivated now.

Di Willcox said...

Reading your blog post has set me thinking and inspired me, thanks! Sounds like you got a lot of inspiration from it and look forward to reading more of your posts in the future :)

Cindy deRosier said...

Fabulous wrap-up! It was so much fun and I'm so glad we were able to do this together. I love the mental image of me in my heels, five tote bags in hand, leaping out of the car and running across the Bay Bridge. I certainly felt like doing that!