Friday, March 11, 2011

Winning the Mother LOAD

In my last post I mentioned that I was doing Lain Ehmann's Layout A Day (to be referred as "LOAD" from here on out...that's how all the cool kids say it).  I had this pie in the sky notion that as I completed layouts I'd post them over here, too.  There's even a handy-dandy post-to-your-blog button on Flickr, but I quickly found out that it made little teeny tiny images over here, and what's the point of sharing a layout (or a photo, for that matter) if no one can appreciate its juicy goodness.  So I did one day and then stopped.  And really, I didn't have time to post here and there anyway.

But I thought I'd share share some of my favorites.  I was really surprised at how much true-to-me scrapping I did this month.  I thought that given my time crunches I'd be reduced to slapping a photo on some cardstock and  throwing down some meaningless journaling and call it a day.  I'm not saying that I didn't have my fair share of simple pages, or pages with meaningless journaling, but I also had a fair number of pages that I might have created on a day without the time constraints that LOAD provides.

Without further ado:

I'm nor gonna lie.  This is a total, complete and nearly exact scraplift of Jen Gallacher's page, I'm not even going to take creative credit.  But good Lord.  Is that not the cutest thing EVER?  The reason I did such an exact copy was, well...duh...because it's the cutest thing EVER, but also because I *thought* that by not having to make ANY decisions this would be quick.  HA HA hahaha ha.  Boy.  Was I wrong.  Granted, if I had come up with the entire concept it would have taken me four times as long, but as it was, it still took roughly 2 ½ hours.  Not quick.  But cute!  Cutest thing ever, in fact.  Did I mention??

The prompt for this one was to find a digital page that you liked and convert it to paper (if you're a paper scrapper), or a paper layout and convert it to digital if you're a digital scrapper.  The inspiration layout was 12x12, a boy layout with browns and blues.  I liked the flow of the page and the circular photo.  I usually don't do super girly (contrary to what this post looks like so far), but I really like how it came out.

On the far opposite end of the spectrum...  This was a super fast layout for me.  It came together in roughly 45 minutes, start to finish.  Usually it takes me that long to figure out what photo I'm going to use. Before load I *never* used stickers.   No way, never gonna happen, don't care how boring you think my pages are: NO STICKERS!  But I have to say...sometimes you just have to give in to what's easier.  And I really like the school colors on this - usually I find that color scheme and theme...kind of...overwhelming?  cheesy?  uber juvenile?  I don't know, but it's rare that I see a back to school layout that I like.  By the way, the journaling on this is just about how back in the day we needed spiral notebooks and #2 pencils, and now kids need multiple boxes of Kleenex and jump drives.  How things have changed.

Some one recently asked if I liked myself.  My gut reaction was "No."  First, I was raised in an extreme "Don't brag.  No one likes a bragger!" household. But you know, I DO like myself.  I'm not perfect, I've got my faults and things that I work on almost daily.  But you know...I have some darn fine qualities, too.  There's nothing wrong (Mom!) with recognizing that you're a decent person.  I like so much about this layout.  The way the arrow colors pop, the way the colors of the "good" qualities are happy and the colors of the "not good" arrows are a little more muted.  I like the serendipity that the word "perfectly" ends right at the edge of the picture.  I like the simplicity of the layout and the title.  I need to add another arrow that says "damn fine scrapbooker!"  :P

This one was done on the second to last day of the challenge.  Each day Lain would send out a short but inspiration email with a prompt at the end.  Some were wacky, some were challenging, some were fun, but they all worked...  I read the prompt and my mind started stumbling over itself coming up with ideas for ways to creativity (and me-ly) follow the prompt.  On this day she said she was giving us a freebie day.  She said we deserved it.  I have to say.  I was a little devastated.  I had made 26 layouts already and my creativity was running dry and I was hitting a VERY big wall.  And my own personal cheerleader was doing his thing: "Are you done yet?  Are you done yet?"  Which really wasn't helping too much.  :P  I was dang near throwing in my towel.  I didn't even have anymore recent photos to work with.  Cue the old pics.  These were taken in 2008 on a trip to Colorado with Kerig.  I've had them printed for ages, but I don't really scrap that much and I just didn't know what to say about them.  Somehow, on this day, I figured out what to say.  There's still more from that trip, I hope to tackle them soon.  Just in case you're interested in what the journaling says:

TODAY is the day that I found out that not only am I afraid of heights, but -SURPRISE- the higher the height the greater the anxiety.
Kerig’s mom took us to Rocky Mountain National Park, which boasts the highest paved road in the continental United States. No biggie, right? Only to get to this point, we drove for roughly an hour up an UNpaved road. I guess maybe I knew what a switchback was, but now I’m intimately aware of them. The road was only wide enough for one car – maybe a foot or so to spare on either side, but once you were on the path, you were going up. Oh. And there was no guardrail. And as a pretty diehard flatlander I wasn’t accustomed to the way the air changed. About half way up the anxiety was really kicking in, and I put my hoodie over my face so I couldn’t see how high up we were getting, but that made it harder to breathe. So I’d take it off, catch my breath a little…get scared again, go back under the hoodie…and then I started tearing up. At the top there was a park and when we got out I pretty much burst into tears. Poor Judy either thought I was nuts or horribly ungrateful. She was sooo nice about it though, and asked why I hadn’t told them I was so afraid of heights, to which I pretty much blubbered “I didn’t know it was this bad!” Eventually my knees stopped shaking and my heart stopped racing and I could take in the incredibleness of the scenery before me.
I am only familiar with east coast mountains. Kerig is fond of saying that east coast mountains aren’t real mountains, and I had always been a tad bit offended by this. But east coast mountains don’t have snow on them in August. AUGUST!! See that thermometer pointing at 98ºF? That was taken the same day an hour away. It’s crazy to me to think that snow can exist when it’s that hot at the base of the mountain.
I may be afraid of heights, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the wonder of what an entirely different world it is up there.

Nothing super spectacular design wise here, but I *really* liked doing this challenge, and I got a lot out of it.  I think the journaling really sums up my feelings about what I gained from it:
No.  It’s not going to rhyme.  I haven’t the desire nor the ability.  But I will reflect glowingly.  This has been quite a journey.  To be honest, I don’t think I really had any intentions of actually doing 28 pages.  I figured I’d see how long I could go before I felt I had to stop.  I knew school would be an issue.  But I have always felt that the more I had on my plate, the better I become at managing both my time and my priorities.  One of the amazing things that came from this craziness is the idea of balance. When it comes to school I can drag out assignments, obsess about things. I aim for perfection and beat myself up for putting in too much time.  I’ve found that LOAD has given me a reason to motor through assignments – not do them half-ass, but not to waste precious time second guessing every decision, every word, every answer.  I’ve found that LOAD has rekindled my love of scrapbooking.  It’s always there, but I’ve viewed as a treat – the reward for having everything else done.  An indulgence.  But does it have to be?  If it’s this cathartic, should I really relegate it to a couple of hours every other month? And LOAD hasn’t made me a fast scrapper, but it’s made it easier to avoid becoming mired down in indecision.  Sleeping on a button’s placement is a luxury that one doesn’t have during LOAD.  So here I am.  28 days, 28 pages richer.  Memories, stories, pictures, love,  every day moments as well as a-ha moments recorded.                                          
Yay me. 

I really can't say enough about the LOAD challenge.  It's competitive like golf: not me against anyone else, but  me wanting to be the best, me-est me I can be.  (And by me-est: I mean true to my design aesthetic, writing style, etc...not merely trying to be someone else...although clearly, scraplifting is a-ok on occasion).  If you're a scrappy friend, I'd highly encourage you to check it out at  It costs $30, but we are allowed to share our alum discount, so if you're interested in signing up and would rather pay $25...let me know.  ;)  The next LOAD challenge is in May...and yes, I am insane enough that I've signed up again.

The $25 primary gets you daily prompts, but it also gives you a place to upload your pages, the community is SUPER nice, comments and compliments abound.  There are periodic prizes involved and at the end...there's a GRAND PRIZE.  I'll let you know how juicy that grand prize is....cause...guess what?  I WON!  It was strictly drawn at random of all the people who completed the challenge, but still!  Box'o'goodies is a BOX'O'GOODIES...and I'm super excited about it!

And if you want to check out the duds that didn't make it to this post... :P  Check out my LOAD 211 Flickr gallery here.