Studio Calico Snapshot Class: Week 1

Let me start off by saying I have never done a photo challenge before in my life. Despite Monday’s decoration to join the #365craftingtime challenge, I am usually very wary of such things. I hate committing to something I can’t give my all, I hate doing something because it’s cool or a fad (apposed to doing something because I enjoy it) and most of all I believe in walking my own path. I don’t need others to stretch me. Then a funny thing happened, The 1st of September rolled around and my wonderful husband presented me with a new camera, then my dear friend Emma of ‘Title goes here‘ gifted me a Studio Calico voucher for just over the amount of the class. A sign maybe? I figured I had nothing to lose and at the very least I’d get a chance to practice with my new camera. So shall we have a look at the first week of prompts:

Words:

Adow_SnapshotPrompt1_WordsCanon EOS D60. Edited in Photoshop.

I am so insanely lucky to have talented friends. As a left hander with an aversion to mess, I pretty much knew from the the get go that brush script wasn’t for me. I do, however, REALLY like the look of it. Enter Jodie from Polka Dot Creative. In August I had commissioned 4 pieces from Jodie for a project I was working on. This is the one that sits on the sideboard at the end of my bed. Everyday these words remind me to push myself just that little bit further and they are possibly the words I repeat to myself most during the day. It seemed only fair that they should for-fill the word prompt too.

Together:

Adow_SnapshotPromt2_Together

iPhone 5S. Edited with VSCOcam.

I had seen a picture somewhat similar to this on Pinterest months ago and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try and recreate it. There where just a few problems with that idea: 1. I was never going to convince my husband to have the big camera in bed. 2. Even though we typically sleep late, I still wasn’t keen on getting out of bed and opening the blinds for more lights. 3. Taking a photo from this angle is really hard and finally 4. When it came to editing I got a little shy about what was shown. I over exposed it so you can’t actually tell my leg from the sheet anymore. Given all that, I still really like this photo. If anything it’s more ‘us’ than the original.

Noise:

Adow_SnapshotPromt3_Noise (2)

iPhone 5S. Edited in photoshop.

I figured this would be my most challenging prompt so far. I live a very quiet life, unless you ask my husband, who will flat out tell you I listen to my headphone at a volume that will eventually make me deaf. It just so happened though, that on the day this prompt came up I was picking my god daughter up from school. I was just walking though the gates as the bell rang and the hoards of children spilled out of their classroom, all competing to be heard by one another. I had forgotten what this noise was like and quickly grabbed my phone to take a picture.

Grow:

Adow_SnapshotPromt4_MogsCurls

Canon EOS 60D. Edited with Photoshop + Florabella Luxe II Actions.

Mog stayed with us on Thursday night and had a curriculum day Friday, so there was absolutely no hurry to get out of bed. Not that Mog has ever stuck to that. I usually get up at 7 to check on her, give her the iPad and toast and we agree that she will stay in bed until 9:30. This particular morning though she wanted to tell me a few things. Mog asked me about my birthday and what I had got, so I showed her my camera. I took a few snaps while we were talking. She has grown up so much since she lived with us last year. Not only in maturity but her curls have got so much longer too. I think this might just be my favorite photo of Mog.

Now:

Adow_SnapshotPrompt5_Twilight

Canon EOS 60D. Edited with Photoshop + Florabella Luxe II Actions.

Saturday was a crazy day. I was run off my feet running errand for my family. I went into town to pick out fathers days presents for my Pa. I had to print some photos for my sister, pick up my Pa’s dog from the kennel and dog sat until he could come home a church gathering. It wasn’t until right on dusk when I got a moment to myself. I took my camera from the shelf and head outside for a walk, but I didn’t get very far. After maybe 100 meters I could still feel my mind racing with my to do list and stopped dead in my tracks. I took a couple of deep breaths and made a conscious effort to look at the world around me. That when I saw the shot. The last light of the day was just peaking though the trees and finally for the first time that day I was in the ‘now’.

Loaded:

Adow_SnapshotPrompt6_BrunchFathersDay

Canon EOS 60D. Edited with Photoshop + Flora Bella Classic Workflow Actions.

Anyone who has followed me on instagram for more than a month knows: Sunday is pancake day in our house. I take pictures of pancakes more than any other object. In fact I intend to make a photo book about it one day. This Sunday was a little different. It was father’s day here in Australia and we invited Pa over for brunch. I really went to town on the spread: Blueberries, Strawberries, Lemon, Sugar, 3 flavors of Ice-cream and genuine Canadian Maple syrup. I can guarantee you we all left the table feeling very loaded. What I like most about this photo is depth. My regular pancake shots on my phone are somewhat 2 dimensional.

Guilty Pleasure:

Adow_SnapshotPrompt7_Cookies

Canon EOS 60D. Edited with Photoshop + Flora Bella Classic Workflow Actions.

There is a bit of a story behind this one. You all know I can’t get enough food styling shots. I consider it the sophisticated selfie, but very rarely do I ever take process shots. The light in my kitchen just isn’t very good after 11 A.M. but in April’s caption for this prompt she asked us to consider including our hands. I haven’t really mastered taking photos with my tongue yet and I don’t have a remote, so it was going to have to use someone else’s hands.

The opportunity for this prompt occurred somewhere around 2 on Monday afternoon. My husband was banging around in the kitchen, so I went to investigate. He was in the process of gathering all his ingredients for his peanut butter cookies. Over the past year I have become more and more familiar with this recipe. It was born from a reprimand I served after he was repeatedly busted eating peanut butter from the jar with a tea spoon. His way around his disgruntled wife was to find a cookie recipe which is, at it’s core, is just peanut butter, an egg, sugar and salt. That’s it. Now I know how bad that sounds and part of me might even be willing to let him go back to eating peanut butter from the Jar, but they really do taste amazing. These cookies have well and truly earned the award for our guilty pleasure.

Well that wraps up the first week of class. If you wish to join me you can still buy the class here. I don’t get benefit from you buying the class other than your company in the gallery and message boards, but I still would highly recommend it. Despite my opening paragraph, I have been stretched to try new things and it has made me think of my photography in a different way. Also if you would like to commission a piece of Jodie’s brush script you can email her at: jodie@polkadotcreative.com.au or you can check out the wonderful variety she already has in her store. Oh and it goes without saying, these image’s belong to me. If you wish to use them please ask first.

Well, that turned out to be a long post. Until next time.

Aimee xx

The Long-awaited Blog Tour

Oh Lord, this post has been coming for a LONG, LONG time. I can’t lie, I have been putting it off. I just didn’t think I would have answers anyone would want to read.

It all started back in July when I was tagged by Shell from Getting her craft on. Shell wrote the most wonderful things about me and I really admire the way she’s always out there in the scrap community. I did intend to write the post, but then we had a death in family and the Monday slipped away. Then on the 11th of August, I was tagged by the ever-so-lovely Lisa from Blackbird Darling, then the SUPER talented and stylish Catherine from The Green Fingerprint. Honestly, I thought that would be the week, but nope. The moment passed again and I got stage-fright. In the weeks following, I was asked by one of my scrappy BFF’s – Beshka from BCKueser and Chantal from Paper Filled Moments - who was the first digital scrapper I ever followed (her work with paper is even better).  Alas, it was not to be. Last Monday I was tagged twice more. This time from a long standing Instagram friend, Kat from Schrottvogelchen and finally, my ever-faithful sounding board, Emma from Title Goes Here. Told you it was a long time coming… The way I figure it, if I don’t write this freaking thing now, I am just going to keep getting tagged and I will have no one on my list to tag back :P

Aimee Dow Studio

1. What are you working on right now?

Wow, um where do I start… I typically try to only do one thing at a time, but at the moment, I am all over the place.

  • I am working on a couple of digital pieces for One Little Bird.
  • I have another Black and Yellow layout on my desk.
  • I’ve just passed the half way point in April Foster’s Snapshot Class.
  • Working on my 30 Days of Me mini album when I get the chance.
  • Project Life (as always).
  • Still working on perfecting the new studio.
  • Hubby and I are in the process of a blog design overhaul.
  • And because that’s just not enough, today I am starting Sabine’s #365Craftingtime. Yep, I am going to create something every day for a year, because clearly, I’m nuts.

Here’s today’s piece made with One Little Bird’s brand new kit – Who Am I.

Adow_LittleBirdCT_WhoAmI_LiveBeautifullyCan you tell I REALLY love my new creative space?

2. How long does it take you to create a project?

Alright, I’m going to be brutally honest because I think people look at my work and think “why can’t I do that?”. Well, in short, you don’t have the time. I take FOREVER.

A digital spread is 1 – 2 hours. This really depends on how many shadows need to be put in. I hate that part.

A paper layout is usually 4 – 6 hours, but in the case of The Winter Garden it was more like 12. That, my friends, is why you have never seen a process vid.

Project Life is the worst. It’s much closer to 8hrs by the time I edit and print all the photos. There is a whole lot of ‘moving things around and moving then back again’ going on. I think maybe this one was my quickest at a little over 6 hours.Aimee Dow Week 10 Full Spread | Betwixt & Between Blog3. What are your favorite things to create with at the moment?

Actually, It’s just one. For my birthday, the world’s greatest husband bought me my first real camera – A Canon EOS 60D. I am so freaking in love with the thing (almost as much as my husband). Up until that point, I was strictly an iPhone photographer. The things I have learned in the past 22 days! The creative control I have with a proper lens just blows my mind. It might sound weird, but I feel like I am better able to tell a story with my camera pictures. Here is one I took for the snapshot class.

Adow_SnapshotPrompt6_BrunchFathersDay

4. How does your writing/creative process work?

Umm… poorly? No, that’s probably the wrong word – inconsistently? I’ve always said that my best work has roots in my heart. It’s not hard to find inspiration, but I then need to find the fire inside that sustains the actual process. I consistently binge on a certain process or technique until I feel I have it nailed down and then I tend to move on. I am always looking for a new challenge.  I LOVE to push the envelope, but if this is all you’re ever doing, it can really become exhausting. I am working on the problem. This is exactly why I’m taking up Sabine’s challenge. Good, bad, the same darn card every single day for November, I will create every single day for a year. I’m sure after a year, I’ll have worked out all the kinks, right?

5. How do you become inspired and stay inspired?

Aimee Dow Design Board

I feel like this is a trick question. Isn’t the answer always Pinterest? I, like everybody, have my own secret stashes in my Design and Inspiration boards.  I don’t know why, but I am rarely inspired by other scrapbookers. Oh my god, I feel like I have committed a sin by writing that. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their amazing talents and skills, but I realized a long time ago that I can’t do anybody but me, especially in matters of design.

As I said before though, the spreads that work the best often come from my heart. It could be a particular picture I take that evokes a really strong emotion when I look at it. I know right now I have four pictures in particular that I am absolutely chomping at the bit to scrap. All they are waiting for is the design spark. All those pics on my Pinterest board are design sparks. I just have the right design to match the feeling and after that it all becomes SO easy. 

6. What’s your signature style?

ROFL! What, you haven’t figured it out yet? In my very early days of scrapping, I used to wonder about this too. Turns out people are always more than happy to tell you. When ever I do a guest post or someone writes something about me on the internet, they always use the same three words: Clean, Graphic and Innovative.

Right, Now to the fun part. Who to nominate…

Let me just say the women I am nominating are being nominated not only for their scrapping ability. I am nominating them because they have amazing talents in many areas that really resonate with me.

First: I nominate the lovely Sabine from Moments to live for, who I have name dropped throughout this entire post. Sabine does the most amazing mini albums – a skill I am yet to acquire. I consider her a fellow innovator who started the whole one year of cups phenomenon and now #365craftingtime. I am also a huge admirer of her photography skills. Maybe one day we can go on a photo walk together.

Second: Tania from Petite Pixel Design. A super-talented Project Lifer, but possibly even more importantly, an arbitrator of style, awesome food photographer, professional writer and fountain of useful information and hot spots. I might also be sucking up a little because she is lives locally and all that stuff is really useful to have on hand.

Finally, Marie from Letter 25. If that girl in the photo looks familiar, well that would be because she is my sister. The page, however, is my mother’s. I’d like to argue that getting into scrapbooking had nothing to do with my Mum. I may even be successful given that I did project life before her and that is officially my start point, but my love of food and baking totally came from her. Her tea cake will forever be burned in my brain as a happy childhood memory.

Be sure to check in with them next Monday to see how they tackle these tough questions. I know I am really looking forward to reading their answers.

Lots of Love,

Aim xx

Project Life: Week 29

Hi! I am back today with the ever so eagerly anticipated Project Life spread – This week’s Society 52 challenge. The first part of the challenge was to create a monochrome layout, the twist was to add a die cut. Shall have a look? Project Life Week 29 by Aimee Dow Full Spread Here is the left side in more detail: Project Life Week 29 Left Side by Aimee Dow and the right: Project Life Week 29 Right Side by Aimee Dow I had the idea for this spread long before the challenge was announced – only prior to the challenge I had thought I would be doing a yellow and pink spread. I love the photo of the pink books and it just so happened there were quite a few more pops of pink as the week went on. That was the predestined to be my monochrome colour I guess – white and black being the very ends of that scale. The spread was actually harder to put together than I had anticipated. With such a strict palette any imbalance becomes very clear. I tried to at least have one of each shade on each side. Two really good examples of this is the neon on the title card vs the neon on the happy place card or the pink heidi swap ‘sweet heart’ circle on the left vs the ‘pretty’ cut apart on the right. Project Life Week 29 by Aimee Dow Detail 1 The twist in the challenge was to add die cuts. In total I added 4 – 1 to the left page, 3 to the right. This is a very old die cut file from Studio Calico that paired with the Front Row kits last year. If you would like to see the layout before the die cuts where added you can see them here on my instagram account. Project Life Week 29 by Aimee Dow Detail 2Another visual trick I used to pull the layout together was the repetition of a single shape. There are an awful lot of circles in this layout…and just when you think you have added enough… there is always room for an enamel dot or two. Project Life Week 29 by Aimee Dow Detail 3 I didn’t use any pattern paper for this layout which is really rare for me. I did use a cut apart sheet from Crate Papers new ‘Notes and Things‘ line, the rest of the spread was made up with old Studio Calico Kits and the Plus One Mini Kit. Project Life Week 29 by Aimee Dow Detail 4 I even broke the mist for my little die cut star. Such a cool effect don’t you think? Project Life Week 29 by Aimee Dow Detail 5If look really closely at this little camera die cut you can see it has the lens embossed.  As you can see I had a lot of fun with with the die cut twist. I hope you have enjoyed this brief look inside my Project Life. If you promise not to give me stick about the time between my last PL post and this one, I’ll make sure there is another one in the next fortnight. Better yet you pick the PL post! What would you like to see from me? A process post? A blue spread? Nothing to big or small. I’ll pick one from the comments to do in the next fortnight. Have a fantastic weekend! I’ll be back on Monday with a very long awaited creative blog hop post just in time for my 30th Birthday. Aimee xx

A Girl and a Dog

Today, I spent the day attempting this weeks Society 52 challenge on instagram. Many of you will be very happy to know that it was a Project Life spread. I know, right. It’s been forever. I’ll post it here early next week after the twist, but since I am here (and your here) I’ll show you last week’s challenge piece.

Challenge 7 was to create a layout with floral paper. I had paper in mind. I recently bought a Basic Grey’s Fresh Cut Collection on clearance – the thing is, it’s a bold collection even for me. I knew I would have to use it sparingly, so with no design in mind, I went to the fountain of all scrap knowledge: Pinterest. This layout is inspired by A New Ride by Kinsey Wilson.

A girl and a dog by Aimee Dow before the twist

This is how it looked before the twist. I had been saving these photos for something really special. Mog’s first day living with us was a huge milestone. I didn’t know if we were going to be any good at being fill-in parents until Benson (my Pa’s huski) came to visit and we both discovered we could have fun! I wanted this layout to be fun. I intentionally only used my favorite products in it’s creation. I was also really proud of myself for not creating something with a defined structure. Well, that was until the twist

A girl and a dog by Aimee Dow

That lasted all of 2 days. The challenge was to add stripes and while I could have easily added a few more blocks of striped of paper it didn’t seem like it was in the spirit of the exercise. So with two inked up strips of cardstock and some Amy Tangerine washi, this is where we ended up.

A girl and a dog by Aimee Dow Detail 2

I built out the blocks to the line and added the detail on the right to add a bit more balance to the layout.

A girl and a dog by Aimee Dow Detail 1

I also when a little nuts with the embelishments.

A girl and a dog by Aimee Dow Detail 3

I’ve said it before, but it really does remind me of the cutest little Korean restaurant I went to years ago. It was so happy and so is my layout. This would have to be a personal favorite of mine and if I could ask just one small favor from you. I know this is going to sound totally nuts, but would one of you do me the favor of liking it in the Studio Calico gallery right here. 30 Likes in the SC gallery and I am happy. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s been stuck on 29 for DAYS! I’ll remember you, whoever it is that puts me out of my misery. As always you can leave your love below.

Aimee xx

Winter Garden

Okay, let’s get a few things out in the open… I’m not dead, I am not pregnant, I have no serious illnesses (that I know of), I am just a terrible blogger. It’s not that I don’t love you all. I REALLY do. I love reading all you have to say and having a conversation with you all. I love to create, I love to share and I am currently in the process of reshuffling priorities so I can do more of all of the above. It’s coming soon I swear. Thanks so much for sticking with me though. I WILL be worth it in the end. I promise.

Today, however I have got something a bit special to show you. Lately I have been experimenting. I’m trying to test my limits of exactly what it is that I can achieve. I am participating in more challenges to see how far I can stretch ideas. I am trying new techniques (Caylee if you still holding out for Art Journaling you are STILL sh** out of luck but you can always keep hoping *wink, wink* ). Anyway, I recently stumbled across a local online scrap store that has a pretty rocking blog. I instantly fell in love with their mood board challenge:

Sassy Scrapper August Mood Board Challenge

Isn’t it pretty! Colour is my thing. I told a good scrappy friend that I really wanted to give it a go, to which I was promptly laughed at. Apparently I don’t make for good competition. Actually, to paraphrase, I was told that my standards make it unfair for everyone else. Well, my Mumma says it’s not about winning it’s about being part of it, about making friends, being exposed to new things and people, but most of all – having fun. And that’s just what I did. For the whole 12 hours it took to create this layout. I am not even kidding a little.

Winter Garden by Aimee Dow

As you can see, some things stay the same, but there is a whole lot of new about this layout.

Same: Still love geometrics, still can’t pry the metallics and glitter from my hands, still a truly awful embosser and still like hacking up my photos to tell a story – We all remember Harvest right?

New: Well, all the die cuts are my design. It was the first time I have ever done a 12×12 cut of my own design and I was so stoked about it, until everyone started looking at me weird, so I have curbed my enthusiasm a bit. I also used this tutorial by Cayee to turn my hand drawn vines into die cuts too. Same principle, but with a black sharpie drawing.

Winter Garden by Aimee Dow detail 2

Then there is my attempt at painting. I must admit I have tried to do it with mist before on two occasions and both were dismal failures. I’ve since discovered why – for some reason I thought since the mist was already “wet”, no more liquid would be needed. Yeah… no. Wetting the paper first made all the difference and really helped to blend later on after the base colour was applied. Lesson learned.

Ah, while we’re on lessons learned, I have an absolute new appreciation for what Paige Evans does. Designing your own cuts and then piecing them all together is so time consuming and it isn’t until all the pieces are in that you know if your layout is going to work or not.

Winter Garden by Aimee Dow Detail 1

I think what I love most about this layout is the amazing shadows that all the dimensional elements create. For this reason I am entering it in this week’s Studio Calico Challenge too. Check out the shadows the vines throw in the photo above – I think that’s wicked. Yes, yes, I am getting excited about everything today. Even the kale and couscous salad for lunch. I think my hay fever is cutting off my oxygen supplies and making me delirious.

Thanks again for checking up on me and to all those who gave me not-so-gentle prods to get back to blogging – much appreciated. As always, all comments and questions are so welcome, just leave them below.

Aimee xx