...and a marvellous Monday to you all. Today I have something different planned for you. It is rather long but for those of you who follow me on a regular basis, you know I have the tendency to be a bit verbose. Okay, fine...I am VERY verbose. That is one of the reasons I set up my design posts the way I do, so as to allow people to skim and just focus on the sections they are interested in. So, I do understand if you decide to close this page and move on to the next blog in your list BUT in my heart of hearts, I hope that you choose to stay. If you've ever wanted to get to know me a little better as a person, now is your chance.
I know that your time is limited but I am hoping that you'll have the opportunity to read my entire
I was tagged for this blog hop by an incredible woman that I am very lucky to call friend--Vicky Fortier from Crafting Vicky. Vicky has been part of my life since November 3rd, 2012, a little over a week after I started my blog. She has been by my side ever since. I have talked about her in my posts many times throughout the past year and a half. In every capacity, she is always there to support me and encourage me and has truly become a dear friend. One of the things I love most about her is that she isn't afraid to slap me around when I need it which is an integral part of all good friendships. Though we are both extremely busy, we always find the time to touch base with each other throughout the week. Very few days, will go by when we don't correspond about something or other. I have learned so much from this special woman. I admire her for her dedication to her family, for her dedication to her friends and her dedication to her craft. She is so talented, and I truly look up to her! I always refer to her as a card making machine. She creates so many beautiful cards each month and is able to keep up with the demands of a number of design teams. I just don't know how she manages it all! We sit on four different design teams together and she is on two other teams that I lead. Then there is the nine other teams she is on (not including the one she co-leads). Oh, and did I mention, she also has a full time job and four children to raise! She truly is one of the most remarkable people I know. Please be sure to hop over to Vicky's main blog Crafting Vicky. She is also the talented owner of The Darker Side Of Me--Crafting Vicky and the co-ower of Open Minded Crafting Fun Challenges. You won't be disappointed.
Vicky tagged me in this post HERE. It is quite an honour to be tagged by this amazing woman. To be honest, at first I hesitated and tried to decline but Vicky wouldn't have it. So here I am and boy is she a tough act to follow. Please be sure to go over and take a look. You'll get to learn a lot more about Vicky's creative process. I certainly found it a fascinating read!
How it all got started...So how exactly did this creative journey of mine start? Well, as far back as I can remember, I have enjoyed creative activities. When I was little, nothing filled my time better than a colouring book or some scrap paper and a set of crayons. Next, I moved into coloured pencils, then charcoal and by the time I was eight, my parents enrolled me in oil painting classes. As a teenager I did quite a bit of sketching with pencils (hence how Flashback Fridays can exist) but also dabbled in pen and ink and then moved into stained glass. If I ever uncover any of my pieces (they should be all wrapped up in the basement somewhere--I hope), I'll share those with you too. As a young adult I got into crocheting and a bit of knitting although I never really got very far in either. I moved on to cross stitch and then added working with acrylic paints on wood to my repertoire.
Then in 2002, my world crashed and burned around me. After I became disabled I had to let go of the person I was and become someone new based on the things that my body would no longer allow me to do. The first several years were very difficult ones and I found myself in a pit of despair for about three of them. Thankfully, I was able to latch on to a bit of hope and with the help of my husband, drag myself back up. I began to adapt and once I let go of the dreams I once had and began to accept this new reality, I did much better. However, I didn't really have anything to do to occupy my mind or my hands. So, I simply lived from day to day, doing what I was capable of around the house (which wasn't much at all unfortunately--still isn't to be honest), watched TV and read. Once I was able to sit for longer periods, I did manage to get back into some painting and do a little cross stitch each evening because with that I could just stretch out on the couch to work on it and take the pressure of my back.
Then in November of 2011, I made my first card and over the course of the next few months created a few more. Shortly afterwards, I discovered the card making world that lay within the Internet. Well, I can tell you, my world has never been the same since. I certainly couldn't have imagined that this is where the main focus of my life would end up. Two years ago I barely knew what a blog was, then during the spring of 2012 as I was able to spend a bit more time at the computer (with lots of breaks for laying down and easing the pressure of course), I began to learn about an online world where the generosity of many abounds and inspiration is metered out daily. So, after seven months of sitting back and watching from a distance, I decided it was time to jump into the foray myself. I haven't looked back.
Some of you may wonder how my blog title came into existence. Well, that was an easy decision for me. I've always been a sucker for alliteration so any time that I would do something creative for the hubs, my parents, my friends, or even for myself, I would call them my 'Décosse's Dynamite Doodles'. It was only fitting that my blog go by the same name. Though I can only imagine how 'Décosse' is being pronounced in people's minds. It tends to get butchered--a lot. So here is a little lesson in how you say my married name. The 'De' is actually pronounced like the word DAY. Then, since I am sure you are already cussing at me for how long this post is, keep that in mind because the second syllable is pronounced like 'CUSS'. The 'e' on the end is silent. So, there you have it, DAYCUSS.
Why do I write/create what I do?That is like asking why do I breathe. Creating is part of me: mind, body and soul. To not be be allowed to expend my energy in a creative way would be a sure way to diminish the light within me. For the first time in many, many years, I once again feel like I have purpose and if you've ever struggled with the question of why you exist, you know that having a purpose changes you from simply living to having a life. Crafting and writing helps give meaning to my life allowing me to live it passionately and sincerely. However, as I'm on the verge of an existential lecture, it is time to move on to the next question.
What do I create?When I started this particular creative journey, the focus was on cards. Then I became fascinated with the idea of creating sentiments and other types of freebies. It was certainly one more way of showcasing my skills and also a great way to bring in readers to my blog. As I became more involved with design team duties, I began to share some story telling based on the wonderful images that I worked with. As time went on, I became enthralled with the idea of designing digital papers as this opened me up to another aspect of the scrapbooking community. That naturally led me to the creation of other digital embellishments such as ribbons, frames, brads, etc. This new world of digital creation is just opening up and there is still so much yet to explore.
What am I working on right now?What am I not working on would be the more appropriate question. Have you seen my 'to do' lists???!!! I've got four cards in the works right at this moment, one for my Scribbles Design midway card that comes out on Friday, one to showcase one of the new releases for Fresh Brewed Designs coming out next Monday and also my creations for two of the progressive challenges I'm part of, Imagine That and Gerda Steiner Designs also due out this week. I'm also working on something digital that I have planned for you, showcasing Nicecrane Designs plus I'm in the planning stages of putting a couple more cards together with ND images.
On top of that, I am working on putting together a special challenge for one of the companies I represent coming out in August that I am not going to say another word about. You'll just have to stay tuned. And of course, I'm busy getting everything set for our next challenge over at the Path of Positivity, which starts next week. Oh and then there is the winners post from the last challenge due tomorrow that I haven't even started yet and the DT Delight post due at the end of the week that I'm in the process of getting ready as well. I'm also working on some digital papers for one of the winners. For Creative Bug Digis, I'm busy working on getting things organized for the team for the remaining challenges this year. That is due next week too.
Then of course I have some story lines I'm working on for the FBD release and also have to get ones that I've completed, typed up for some older new releases over at Scribbles Designs. There is also a promotional post that I am working on for Imagine That Digis by Kris.
Since the end of the month is coming up, I also need to start getting the next paper done for the 12 Months of Christmas and of course get the winner's post completed for that as well.
I'm also in the middle of putting together a digital kit for a challenge that will be coming out on a blog I am sponsoring September 1st. Of course the DT needs it ASAP so it is currently one of my priorities. Then there is the exciting new partnership between myself and Sandy Sommerfeld, owner of Scribbles Designs. We're launching a new adventure called Scribble Doodle Designs where I take her wonderful images and create digital papers and other goodies with them. We'll also be creating what I call hybrid sets were we'll be offering three or four of Sandy's unique digital images along with some of my papers. Our launch is coming later this week (fingers crossed), so please stay tuned for that as well.
Yes, I truly am juggling all those things at the same time and that is just what I'm working on this week! There are tons of other things coming up after that too! To be honest, sometimes I really don't know how I get it all accomplished. My higher power must definitely be looking out for me!
How does my creative process work?One of the things I do, allows me to take my writing skills in a different direction. For most of my career, I put together lesson plans and work sheets and wrote manuals. It is now fun to be able to explore the creative side of writing in order to bring some of the images I work with to life with little story lines. You see, I have a rather vivid imagination. I can literally see and hear little adventures unfolding around me when I look at certain digis. Especially when the digis are images of characters. It all got started one day when I decided that instead of simply listing the new releases in my post for a couple of the companies that I worked with, I'd share the stories that were in my head as well. I was a bit anxious about this because the things that I saw, may not necessarily have meshed up with the ideas the original artists had for them. However, as it turned out, the artists were very happy with what I came up with. So what once started out as just another outlet for my creativity, morphed into an actual additional position as a Strategic Content Developer for two of the teams I am part of. I generally like to take a group of images and mull over them for a while until inspiration strikes and I come up with the perfect adventures. Then it is just a matter of putting it all together and sharing it with all of you. I know that not everyone reads these stories but I do know that several of you get a kick out of them and can't wait to see what happens next. I write for you!
When it comes to cards, the process is a little bit different. Unfortunately, with everything that I do, I don't have to time to work on anything other than DT work and the progressive challenges that I am part of so the creative process for putting my cards together for those circumstances is a little different than if I were merely making a card for no other reason than I wanted to. Don't get me wrong, I love what I am doing and wish there was more I could do to support the particular artists that I work for. So it isn't a negativity that I don't have the time to simply make cards for myself, it is a choice, but it does make the whole creative process different. Therefore I am going to focus my answer on the stuff I'm currently working on.
When I am given a specific image to work with, that is where I start. If I get to choose the image then the first thing that I do is check out the theme. From there I decide what kind of card I will be making. I have a lot of birthday cards that I need to make each year so the first thing I do is see whether the theme and/or image allows me to make one of those. If birthday won't work then it is a matter of finding an occasion that will. I always try to have some get well cards, thank you ones, sympathy cards and thinking of you ones on hand as well. Christmas and holiday cards are a whole other kettle of fish. When deciding what occasion the card will be for, I try to make sure that my needs are going to be covered for cards that I need to send out. From there I decide who the card is being made for. If I get to choose the image, this is where that step would come in. Once I know the theme and the image, then it is time to decide on my layout. Sometimes I may decide to go with something simple and sometimes it might end up being more elaborate. It really depends on what I want the focus of the card to be on. The more the focus on the image, the less elaborate the layout. Next, it is all about choosing the right embellishments. Where the card is being mailed to plays a big part in how I design a card as well. Unfortunately, the more elaborate and thick the card is, the more expensive it is to mail. Especially when it is being mailed outside the country. So, for the most part, that is why I have to keep my cards streamlined. I'd love to be able create elaborate cards but when it costs, $8.00 to mail, it becomes a bit much. I only hope that people realize that the cards that I spend less time on, do not have any less love in them than the bigger projects. A piece of my heart goes into everything I create. It is a good thing that all the cells in our body regenerate so that I can continue to give pieces of myself away!
As far as my digital design work goes, my creative process will differ. It depends on what I need to create and largely from inspiration which I get into more detail below.
How do I become inspired and stay inspired?The first part of this question is relatively easy, the second part, not so much. When it comes to digital design, I can be inspired by anything. Just the other day, I came across the inside of a book jacket that has inspired me to create a digital paper. It isn't the first time either. I am inspired by patterns in clothing and furniture as well. Nature inspires me too. I am also inspired by the beautiful papers and creations that I see around me. I don't know what it is about the paper pads available in New Zealand, but I've found myself inspired time and time again by papers that my friend Suze from Crafting Suze, uses in her cards. I'll see a digital image or a vintage image and get inspired by that as well. Colours, patterns, textures, images and shapes, oh my! My eyes come across a bevy of things to be inspired by on a daily basis. Unfortunately though, creating from scratch is very time consuming. As I am just starting out with digital design it is important that I get some work out there. So thankfully, I am also very lucky to have a plethora of commercial use images, brushes, patterns and templates at hand to get myself off the ground. While I have done some stuff from scratch, a lot of it has relied on the availability of these resources so generously shared by others. With my plate so full, I don't have the time I'd really like to devote to my design work. However, since I'm not willing to let anything go, I'll just have to live and be happy with, what I do get done.
As far as card making goes, I'm mainly inspired by you guys. You my friends are so talented that I'm always seeing ideas to work with or layouts to try. Any time I come across a blog where there is something that catches my eye, I download an image of it. Not only do I have a folder on my computer full of sketches and layouts to try, I also have an exercise book that I draw in so that I can have them at hand when I am downstairs. I also have over 250 folders (no word of a lie), each labelled with the blog's address so that I know exactly where the picture came from. That doesn't include another temporary inspiration file that I've set up with dozens more ideas! I have one book and several magazines but for the most part, it really is the cards that I come across in blog land that give me ideas. A shape here, a pattern there, a button from one and an embellishment from another. It is amazing how it can all come together. Sometimes I can just be inspired by what is available in my stash. It really does depend on the project and the day.
The inspiration for my story telling is an easy one as well. When you work with great artists, it is easy to be inspired to create stories to accompany them. I have so many stories currently in my head that I just need to get down on paper. Once again, it is a matter of time and trying to balance my story telling along with my card and digital design work. If only I didn't need to sleep!
Staying inspired is another thing. At times, especially when I am feeling a little burnt out, and I've got deadlines looming, my mojo will take that opportunity to go on a world wide vacation. Those are the times I definitely find myself flipping through file folders to help find something to motivate me.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?The 'me' a year ago would have said, "well that is easy...everyone else is so much better than I am". However, learning to stop comparing myself to others is something that I have been diligently working on so I won't say that.
I guess one thing about my card making that differs from a lot of designers out there is that I always complete the inside of my cards (okay at least 99% of the time). While there are some people out there that also do this, I've observed that the majority of the people I've personally come across, don't. When I would get down on the fact that it would take me so long to get one card done, Vicky would be there to point out to me that essentially, I was creating two cards for every card she was doing. As always, Vicky was there to help put things into perspective for me.
The second place where I differ is that I am extremely detailed in my post writing which leads to rather long posts. When I first started browsing the posts of a number of card makers, I was often left with questions as to the person's process or what products they used. One of my pet peeves is when I come across a blog where someone has used an image and there is no credit information. Not only is including this information part of the terms that the person agreed to when downloading or purchasing the image but is also just respectful in general. Additionally, I personally want to ensure that I provide credit and links where possible to anyone who has been generous enough to share their digital resources with me, even when they don't require credit. Without these incredible artists offering up their resources for me to work with, I'd never be able to create the things I do. So, the one thing that I decided was that when I started my own blog, I'd include as much detail as possible. I know that some people hate it but I also know that some people appreciate it. I have had many comments stating how much they liked the level of detail I include. So, like I said in my first paragraph, that is one of the reasons I set up my posts with clearly laid out sections and titles. This way people can just hone in on what they are interested in and skip through the rest.
The blog tour continues...
Pat Martin from Patacake's Pages
I met Pat back in the fall of last year through my challenge blog, the Path of Positivity. At that time she had been entering challenges for a couple months and had won as both the Voter's Choice and the Most Inspirational in the September Challenge. We started talking at that time and she let me know how much she enjoyed participating in our challenges. We as a team were always thrilled to see not only her creations but also what she had to say on our theme each month. Often during the month, I'd receive a message from one or more of our team members stating, "oh you have to go and see what Pat has written" because she always had something so positive and incredible to share in her posts. We were very fortunate to procure Pat as a full time team member in January of this year. Since joining she has added another role to her job description as she writes for a special column we have called, "Ponderings Along the Pathway". If you haven't read any of her positive reflections then you are truly missing out on something incredible. Along with a proclivity for writing, Pat also makes really wonderful projects with a focus in mixed media art. You can find all her creative endeavours on her blog. She has the cutest little poem under her blog banner which sums her up perfectly:
Ink colors my fingers, and glitter coats my hair.
My craft room's like a crime scene with Copics everywhere.
I seem to've lost my scissors; I should clean, but where to start?
It really doesn't bother me 'cause my heart is in my art.
Now there is a woman I can relate to!
Gloria Shirr of Purpleglo Creations
Gloria is a wonderful woman who I am getting to know better and better as time goes by. She is a consultant with Close To My Heart and often has give-a-ways on her blog. I've been lucky enough to win prizes in the last two I've signed up for so I always make sure to keep abreast of what she is up to! While Gloria has been a follower of my blog for some time, it is through her involvement as a participant and supporter of the Path of Positivity that I have gotten to know her even better. Gloria has been entering our challenges since I created the separate blog for it back in May of last year. She entered as many of her cards as she could manage, in each and every challenge. Now for most people, it would be so they would have better odds for winning. Not so with Gloria. For her, it has always been about spreading the word about our challenges. She always makes sure that she includes a paragraph or two talking about how her card ties into the theme and about the challenge itself. On two separate occasions, she has also donated images she has won back for other purposes. Gloria is one of those people who I created the challenge for. It is more important for her to spread the positivity and help inspire others than it is to bask in the glory of her creations. I am truly lucky to have someone like Gloria not only as a supporter but also as a friend. She also creates the most beautiful cards that you can find on her blog.
and last but certainly not least...
Sandy Sommerfeld of Scribbles By Sandy, Scribbles Designs & The Scribbles Designs Challenge Blog. Oh my goodness. What to say about Sandy! Like Vicky, Sandy has been part of my life since the first week my blog was in business. She was also the first person to ever give me a spot on a design team for her own challenge blog. What makes this uniquely special is that she had only ever seen one of my cards; yet, she trusted in my abilities enough to give me a chance representing her wonderful line of images. I don't think she realizes how much of a boost in confidence her faith gave me. A few months later, she created a special promotion for me and I became the Strategic Content Developer for Scribbles Designs. Sandy has so much trust in me that she doesn't even want to proof what I have to say about the digis before the posts come out. She prefers to be happily surprised when they pop up on the blog. This act of trust in me has also elevated my confidence.
Sandy also jumped on board the Path of Positivity, first as an advisor, then as a team member and finally as an on going sponsor. If I consider Vicky a card making machine, well then Sandy is a digital image making machine. She is continuously coming up with new ideas and publishing new digis at a phenomenal rate. I can't keep up with the woman. Besides all that, she creates beautiful cards which she shares on her personal blog Scribbles By Sandy.
As I eluded to above, Sandy and I are also starting up a unique partnership together which you will get to read more about very soon. I truly am so lucky to have this special woman in my life.
I truly hope that you will have the time next week to visit each of these lovely ladies. Thanks Vicky for pushing me to do this. It has been an interesting week sitting back and reflecting on each of these questions.
What is next for me?Well, only time will tell won't it?! I have big dreams and big plans. With hard work, perseverance and a little luck thrown in along the way, I just might see some of those dreams realized. I want to thank all of you for being part of this journey with me and I hope that you'll continue to be by my side as my future unfolds. As always, I appreciate your wonderful words of encouragement. Your visits mean everything especially considering how infrequently I am able to go over and visit with you. Thanks for believing in me. The journey just wouldn't be the same without you.
Now, if you've managed to make it all the way to the bottom, I want to truly thank you for sticking in there with me; so, I've got a special treat for you. A freebie that only those who manage to get to the end, will know about as I'm not advertising it anywhere else. Oh and just so you know, the 'Hello' at the top and the quote in the 'why do I write/create...' section above are also freebies if you are interested. The font for 'hello' is Impact Label by Tension Type and the fonts are Jenna Sue by Jenna Sue Design Co. and Kingthings Willow by Kingthings. This extra freebie is a digital paper that I created last year for a winner over at Creative Bug on the Loose for a Saturday Sneak Peek that they got correct. I think enough time has gone by that I can safely share it with the rest of you.
Well guys, it has finally come to a conclusion. Thank you so much for sticking in there and reading to the end. It means more than you'll ever know.
As you read above, it is a rather busy week so I'll definitely be seeing you all real soon!
Until next time,
Credit Notes For Sentiments: