Friday, October 31, 2014

The Invitation to CREATE

I guess I began writing as a fifth grader. I entered a play in the Bicentennial Fair about Betsy Ross and the American flag. I can still remember the two Davids playing the roles of American Revolutionaries as they acted out my play on the stage of the Astroarena in Houston. The following year I took creative writing with, of all names, Ms. English, and that segued into newspaper staff in the 7th grade with Mrs. Blanscet. I cannot recall easily if I wrote my 8th grade year, as I know I was an officer on the Student Council. But, as high school beckoned, I decided to follow my journalistic flair.

I tried out for and made the staff of The Gauntlet. It was heaven. I was made for yearbook staff. I loved the grid paper, the large rub-ons, the smell of the chemicals coming out of the darkroom, the dusty layer of all things paper on every conceivable surface. I was assigned the Underclassmen section of the yearbook, and set out to paste tons of little headshots down on paper, and type the names out via one of the Smith Coronas lined up underneath the shoulder high windows. The yearbook room was at the end of the last hall, as if forgotten, or relegated to the fringe, but it was the perfect spot in my book. We had easy access out to our cars to go sell ads, and swing by Jack in the Box on our way back.

I stayed on yearbook staff for all four years of high school. I was offered and accepted the position of Editor-in-Chief for my sophomore year, and kept that position until I graduated. The Gauntlet became my baby and even though I worked with three different yearbook advisors, I was able to be the voice of continuity and help vision cast the themes each year. I recruited friends to the staff. By my senior year, the staff had morphed from students that needed an elective to a staff of honor students and close friends, friends that I am still in the loop with to this day. And my first yearbook editor, Ms. Bryce, is a jewel to me and I am thankful that I am still in touch with both her and Mrs. Blanscet. Teachers are amazing inspiration touch points.

High school ended and even though I was offered a journalism scholarship at a state school, the powers that be determined that I attend a private school in Arkansas. I left behind my vision for being a journalist and took on the accountant cap at my alma mater that would now be at the foothills of the Ozarks. I did dabble with yearbook there. My freshman year I was on Petit Jean staff, once again on the Underclassmen section, but it didn't feel the same at all. I didn't connect with any of the others, and the goal set for me of graduating in three years didn't really allow the time for it. I set it all to the side.

As a young stay-at-home mom, I was introduced to scrapbooking. That was perfect timing, because I had actually created a TO DO list after leaving corporate America, and organizing and dealing with photos was at the top of the list. Sadly, 20 years later, the rest of the list remains untouched. Maybe I will get those recipes organized after I retire. Again. :-) Scrapbooking filled my creative void, and awakened in me all of my journalistic love that I had set to the side, much like the letter jacket, the Jack in the Box runs, and the schoolbooks themselves. I had a good but wild scrapbooking ride with Creative Memories, and then moved to the Dallas metroplex. In the big city, much like the physical transition itself from the Rio Grande Valley to Big D, I left CM behind, back in the dust of the valley, as I grew ready to embrace all of the ideals that glittered in the posh Dallas skyline. 

Much like leaving AOL and finding the "real internet", I parted ways with CM and found a whole "real scrappy world". One thing led to another, and I eventually morphed my style of scrapbooking completely, led by the ideas and inspiration I was finding in that scrappy world.  I found Creating Keepsakes in 2005 and had - as what I consider a pipe dream, super lofty, basically unattainable - the goal of being published. I didn't want the publicity per se, I just wanted my work to be "that good". Having won first place at state UIL in writing, I was accustomed to pushing myself and pursuing excellence. {Now, I am not saying by any measure of degree that I believe I have attained that now, or will ever attain it. I am saying I like to learn and love to improve.}

My scrappy world led me down the road, or should I say up the road, to Scrapbook Generation in Springfield, Missouri. Missouri really did become the SHOW ME state. I found their sketches in 2010 via some friends on Two Peas in a Bucket, and it was the marriage of my high school journalism love to my young mom's love of all things paper and photos and pen. Their sketches helped me refine my layouts, define my style, and experiment with new angles of inspiration. My husband has always supported my crafting. He doesn't always understand my "need" for so much paper, but he never questions it, and has been known to go out of the way to help me pull off a hair-brained idea. 

I found out that Scrapbook Generation held a mega crop twice a year. And in the summer of 2011, I decided I wanted to go. And I convinced my husband to take me. And I convinced a bunch of gals from Two Peas to go, too. We had a wonderful time. I made it back for a second one. And then I segued to their retreats, all the while loving on their sketches and using 'em like there's no tomorrow. Since discovering their sketches in 2010, I could probably count on one hand the number of layouts I've done without one of their sketches. I just find them to be such a foundational grid that lock me in for a beautiful layout, and set me up to be able to create outside the box of that grid something that will work, that will be fun, that I will enjoy. 

And having met the female family of four that IS Scrapbook Generation, I can tell you they are women of honor, women with family values, women with amazing and unending creativity, women that care, women that serve, women that have succeeded in the business world, women that will laugh with you, women that will cry with you, women that you are blessed to know. When they launched CREATE last year, I was blown away by the free electronic monthly magazine, and I was, honestly, a tad jealous of the inaugural design team. Even though I have drooled over every issue of the 2014 magazine, when the design call came out for 2015, I wasn't sure I would apply, unsure of whether I could make the cut, unwilling to open up my heart to hope, unwilling to be left out, much like the photos that don't make the page. I waffled back and forth, and on the last day, I did send in my application, knowing if I didn't try to be again a part of creating for these SG women that embody so many traits that are also embedded in my core, that I would be full of regret.

I did apply, and then I doubted myself, and I fretted, and I had resigned myself to not making the team, and I talked to Steve about it almost nightly while walking, trying all the while to breathe and not obsess...and on the very night that I had given up all hope, Steve walked in to Scrap Central at the exact moment that my iMac flashed an email bubble at the top right of my screen, and in that second that I could see him in my peripheral vision, I could also see Debbie's email address and the words "Welcome to the CREATE team" on that email bubble. I was so excited that I wanted to shout and jump around and cry and breathe big sighs of relief. And I blurted out some jumbled words to him, and opened the email and read some of the sweetest words a gal can see when she has striven for so long to be a creative wordsmith.

I won't be the best, and I won't be the most creative, and I won't have the work that is over the top, but I can tell you I will give it my all. I can tell you I will love it. I can tell you I am honored beyond measure. I can tell you I love to create. Thanks, Scrapbook Generation, for the inspiration, the ideas, the friendship, the amazing online store, the over the top sketches, and the invitation to CREATE. I am looking forward to 2015 with eyes wide open, photos at the ready, and paper scattered everywhere. Come create with me, come CREATE with us.


Scrap-a-Palooza ~ Scrapbook Generation Mega Crop ~ June 2011
Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Pebbles
Letter Stickers: American Crafts


  1. Congratulations again! I can't wait to see your work regularly in CREATE. I can't believe you were never published in the scrapping magazines or on a design team before!

  2. What a lovely post! Thanks, Penny...the SG gals are glad our paths crossed, too! -- Debbie