Bear with me. The crafty bit will come.
We moved to the UK in 1994. DS was 14 months old (he’s now 18!) and I wasn’t really doing much crafting other that kids crafts, knitting and crochet. We lived in The Barbican and my time was occupied with DS, the Mums and Toddlers group, going to West End plays and not a lot else.
We moved back to the USA after DD was born, and DH went from banking to an internet start-up. In the first year, I found scrapbooking was ALL over the place – TV, craft stores, chat at the bus stop. DS’s best friends mom was having a Creative Memories party and asked me if I would come to help make up the numbers. I did, and got hooked. I converted the spare room into a scrapping space (giving up on scrapping on the kitchen counter, snatched moments here and there and tidying up after every session, even if that was after only 15 minutes), ditched the PC for a Mac, and the next couple of years were spent happily scrapping. I spent a lot of time on 2Peas, and a lot of time in Michaels (humm – at the time I think it was more MJDesigns and Total Crafts, but you get the idea) and built my stash.
We missed living in the UK (and they elected, and I use the term very liberally, GWB) so when the bank called and asked DH back, we jumped at the chance. The problem? How was I going to scrap when it just wasn’t as popular there as in the USA? How was I going to feed my stash habit??
Off to the net I went and had a long search session. I found there WAS a scrapbooking site in the UK! Yay! Scraptastic was run by Mark and Shimelle. I was beyond relieved. We exchanged a couple of emails and I promised to get in touch when we were back across the pond and my scrapping goods arrived. I swear I still have a paper piecing pattern I downloaded from her site, a snowman, in my stash still!
Fast forward a few months and I got in touch to find there was a CROP that weekend. Oh bliss. A 2+ hour drive and I rocked up to the Youth Center and walked in to a small room with just 3 scrappers – Shimelle, CJ (Feel-Good photographer extraordinaire) and Jane (and you aren’t likely to scrap in the UK and not know who I am talking about!) I kept pulling stuff out of my bag, stuff that had been brand new when I packed up, and to every item Shim said Yep, we sell that. or Oh yes, we have that on order. Far from the dark ages of scrapping, it seemed I had hooked in to the group that was “in the know”! The crops were the highlight of my scrapping life.
Flash forward a few years – during which time Bev moved UKS from a Yahoo group to a proper website, Shim won both the Hall of Fame and the PaperKuts Power Team, scrapping took off in a big way in the UK, we judged the Best of British contest with Joanna Slan , I took on UKS when Bev couldn’t carry on due to work conflicts – and still I scrapped.
Meanwhile Shim found her niche as a teacher of online classes, got married to The Boy (and yes, her wedding was every bit as glorious as you would expect from her obvious sense of fun and style) became a Garden Girl on 2Peas, and did many classes for UKS, as well as through her site, some of which I started, with the very best on intentions, but life always got in the way.
We worked on Scrapbook Inspirations together until it folded. Without the monthly deadlines, scrapping seemed to be the last thing I thought of when I was sat at my desk. The kids moved in to their teens. All of a sudden getting photos was a near impossible task. And scrapping took a bit of a back seat for me. I thought about scrapping a lot, had lots of ideas, but made maybe a page a month for at least a year. I just needed something to get me motivated. That is something Shimelle is good at, even when she isn’t directing her super-scrapbooking mojo-booster at you, specifically.
I subscribe to Shim’s YouTube videos. I watch when I find the time and the kids aren’t hammering the home internet. I kept thinking I should play along, but no new photos meant little impetus to actually do so. Recently, looking back at the piles of unscrapped photos I had, I remembered seeing her 4×6 Photo Love classes on her blog. Most of mine were 4×6. I had no other project on the go. Serendipity. I went to her blog and thought Right. Pull your finger out and SCRAP! So I did.
The June 4×6 sketch/class was a good one. I managed to make the layout and am happy with the results (mostly – it’s a bit busy, but that was my choice of papers that made it so) and 8 (yes, 8!) photos are on a layout and the moment captured.
The basic idea is fab, it is a 2-pager, and the original has 6 photos. I had to cobble together a 4 x 6 portrait block from cropped landscape photos, but that’s the thing – you can do what you like and there is never any tutting from Shim. She loves the creative process and embraces your alterations – she’s never precious about her designs.
I also saw one of her sketch-to-scrapbook page videos with some little banners that gave me the idea to curl the edges of the gears to add some extra dimension.
I actually like one page as an option – I think it works equally as well as the double does.
So you would have thought that I would have been following this class from the start. Why ever didn’t I? As a self-led class, one you can dip in to and out of, there is no pressure. History has told me I love Shimelle’s style and can usually pick one of her layouts out of a line-up with ease – it’s the one I love. Well, that is all water under the bridge now. I have jumped the first hurdle, made a layout that I quite like, and I have January – May to go back and catch up on. And the Sketch-to-Scrapbook page bits. And there will be a new class every month, and a new sketch every Wednesday.
I’m off to sort some photos (crop this weekend so the timing is perfect!) and as soon as I get through those DVDs from the stamp show, that is what I will focus on.
To be honest, looking at those old photos gives me such a wave of emotion – seeing my toddler boy, so chubby cheeked and sweet, and my wee free-spirited girl, small enough to sit on Dad’s lap, when now he is a long-haired game-playing drummer and she is nearly as tall as I am and such a teen, blind-sides me like I never expected.
And it makes me remember why I loved scrapping in those early days of sticker-sneeze, cardstock triangles, fugly paper doll die cuts, and cut-out figures from photos. And it makes me all that much more determined to not lose sight of that again.