lundi 31 mars 2014

On my blog name change

So you may have noticed my new header and blog name. Here's the story behind it. My first blog name 'Just call me artsy-fartsy' comes from a university joke. I majored in Fine Arts before changing to Archaeology. Anyway, at my first uni, there was this prevaling 'I'm a super dark and tormented individual, therefore I must be a tortured artist'. So I made a photography project called 'just call me artsy-fartsy' as a satire.

It was an inside joke. Unfortunately, as a blog title, it sort of sounded conceited.

When I signed up for Instagram two years ago, I wanted to have a username that reflected my personality and my interests. I'm an archaeologist and a physical anthropologist, so I study human remains in archaeological contexts. I chose 'dans mon crâne' which means 'in my skull'. I liked that it had an anatomical connotation, but also because it links to the fact that the images and things I share on IG are from my skull / my way of seeing things.

Aside from my IG, I have a Tumblr account, a Pinterest, an Etsy shop, this blog etc. I ended up with a whole bunch of different usernames and such. So I decided to reduce these different social media handles. I kept my original Etsy shop name 'Vanessa's Fancy' because it fits with my shop (which is filled with things I fancy!).

Everything else is now Dans mon crâne, including this blog. I pulled out my watercolor brush and wrote out the title on a blank sheet of drawing paper, edited it in PSE and there we go. Because I really like the idea of this blog reflecting my crafty experiences, I wanted it to have a name that showed that. (As a side note, I realise that the most popular blogs are the ones that have both personal and crafty content. But for me, I feel that I already share a lot of my personal stuff on IG and FB, so this blog is only for my crafty endeavors. That is why I don't go too much into detail when showing my PL pages).

I am also a French Canadian and am proud that I speak two languages (actually three), even though all of my posts are in English. Although at first I thought people may have been intimidated by the fact that it's a French title, I compromised by adding the English translation under my hand written title.

There you have it! You can see my other pages by following the links on the right of this page. Thanks for looking and please don't hesitate to leave me your comments.

Lists 27 and 28

We are in the final stretch for 30 days of Lists!

These recipes have been tested and approved many times over. My family is always surprised when I make any one of these for 'just' the four of us.

For list 28, I have the distinct impression that one of the earlier rounds of 30 Lists had a very similar prompt. And I'm pretty sure my answers are really close to what they were then, too.

vendredi 28 mars 2014

Documenting loss in my Project Life

I've just shared my February Project Life pages. The pages for March (at least the beginning of the month) are of a very different nature. My father passed away on March 4th. It was sudden and unexpected even though he was not in the best of health. My father lived in South Africa, I'm in Hong Kong, my sister is in Sydney, my mother in Montreal. This meant that we were coming from three different continents onto another one to deal with the aftermath of his passing.
It was a very moving and emotional two weeks. I wanted to include them in my PL album because it is a place for what is happening in our lives. It is real life. For my husband and my children (and for me too), those days were not just sad but also happy. It was quite something to be happily reunited as a family but for a very sad reason. Here is how I approached documenting these events.
I took a lot of pictures because I had the feeling that I was not only saying goodbye to my father, but also to this place where he lived. So the layouts are photo heavy, but in a serene way (or at I least I think they are serene). SA is such a beautiful place and it felt so good to breathe fresh air after all the pollution in Hong Kong. I think the pictures convey a lot of the feelings that were swirling in my mind. I did include a few cards, but let the colors or the sentiments guide which ones I chose.
Here is a closer look. The week of March 3 to 9 is on two spreads. On the right are the pictures from Hong Kong. Getting that call at 3 in the morning, coming to terms with what has happened and feeling shocked, confused and sad about it all. The soft flowers on the cards went well with the feelings I was having as we waited to fly out to SA.
On the right, the pictures from Scottburgh, that first weekend.

Snippets from the weekend, photo heavy and color oriented. There is some journaling on a card behind one of the images on the right side.

While we were there, the days all melted in to each other so I'm not really certain of the dates from some of the ocean images. And that's ok, because I've got the major events down. These next pages are March 10 to 16. On the left, the ocean again (we went everyday, it was very healing). On the right, the night we held the wake for my father mixed in with some portraits and old photos of him.

This next spread has some wonderful portraits. I try to show that that week was very intense because it was sad but it was joyful too. And lots of little things happened : my daughter lost her other front tooth, she had fun with the boogie board, my son spent every waking second in the seawater pool and both children were so happy to see their grandmother and auntie.

The next spread is of the Friday morning when we scattered the ashes. I wanted these pages to be a testament to the beauty of that day. I think they convey this perfectly.

And then, just like that it was time to return to Hong Kong. These next pages are for March 15 to 23. The left side is our last day in SA. I love those family shots at the bottom. Since our return, I have been a little blue, but managed a little getaway with my girlfriends and that helped a lot. It gets better, especially since I have such a loving and supporting family.

I wanted to show that documenting loss is also important. To me, this is part of the healing process, part of life. It is better not to pretend it ever happened, to acknowledge it and to give loss and mourning the space they merit. To show that death really is a mix of emotions and that that is ok too. And to pay homage to life well lived and a man well loved.

jeudi 27 mars 2014

February Project Life pages

These pages have been almost done for a while now. At first I was waiting on a paper delivrey and then life got crazy with the recent death of my father and the travel that implied. So here are my completed February pages.
This is Feb 3 to 9th, picking up right after Chinese New Year. Lots of soft hues here. I used products from Studio Calico and Dearest Someday.

This nezt spread holds Feb 10 to 16, which includes Valentine's Day! So a lot of love on these pages. Aside from the afore mentionned products, there are some calligraphy downloads by Jasmine Dowling, some vintage looking valentines by The Black Apple and cards from the Plus One mini kit.

The week of Feb 17 to 23 was busy because I was hosting a big birthday party on the 22nd. So a lot of the preparation, plus most of the photobooth shots were documented and added to my album. The first layout has the events from the week.

And these next ones document my birthday party! Let's go down the rabbit hole, shall we?

Those are dried rose petals that I put between one sheet of vellum and one transparency. The photobooth was a huge success and people really went all out with their costumes. LOVE IT!

 I have to say that Studio Calico's Sugar Rush kit was one of my favorites ever. The colors went really well for all these pages and the ones after. Feb 24 to March 2: my real birthday is on the 25th, so this layout is still about me getting cake and all sorts of goodies! There is an insert on the right, which documents an exhibit that I went to see and that I thoroughly enjoyed.

And that was my birthday month in pictures and words! (Also I'll take another 15 000 of those Kal Bartesky thickers please)

Lists 25 and 26

I thought these two lists were super amusing to do.
At first, I wasn't too sure how I wanted to approach list 25. I love a lot of differen styles of music. Then I started thinking about how songs mean so much to us at different times in our lives because we can relate to the stories they tell. So I decided to list songs that are related to different epochs in my life. Only I completely ran out of room (I don't want my lists to be more than 5-6 elements max)! I would definitely need a double album!
This one is just plain fun.


mercredi 26 mars 2014

Lists 23 and 24

I have to say thst I really love that woodgrain background on the left.

I knew I had the perfect Project Life card for List number 23. It's from one of the recent Studio Calico kits. This List reflects my mood. I'm not into anything too crazy these days, just feeling like I want to curl up, play with paper and not talk to anyone. Alas, income tax papers need to be scanned and sent, such is life.

For list number 24, I took some some pressure off myself. I don't think there are 'best ways to show love', just 'ways you show love'. Anyway, these three sprang to mind right away.

Undivided attention is getting harder to give with all the gadgets we have in our daily lives, don't you think?

mardi 25 mars 2014

Lists 21 and 22

Although I don't do the prompts in advance or organise paper placement according to the themes used, the background papers for these two lists just happened to suit the prompts perfectly.

The chevron made it fun to write down my different ideas for this list.

And it was fun to write down my playlist in the frames. In retrospect, I should have trimmed that Project Life card to fit in the frame that is under it.

The awesome ladies project

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed a change recently in my journaling style. I got a huge creative kick from Kara Haupt's classes and have been on a mini-album / themed journal spree ever since.
Recently, I came across Kristin Tweedale blog post about her Awesome Ladies Project. You pledge 2 hours a month to creating something that makes you feel like the awesome lady you are. That is like right up my alley. Well, I just so happened to have a super cute We R Memory Keepers Instagram album on hand. Plus some printed Origrami pictures that I hadn't used yet.
And a willingness to use what I have to tell a story. Even (especially?) if it's mine. So BAM! I'm in.

Kristin will be sharing her contribution to the project on the last Friday of each month on her blog. That's March 28th friends! What do you say? Want to join in? I, for one, am quite excited.

lundi 24 mars 2014

Mini album in the works

I've got a few projects percolating all at once. One of them is a mini album about Hong Kong and our experience here. One of my friends was inspired by 30 Days of Lists and wanted us to make a 'HK top 5' album. Like '5 things that HK has changed for me', '5 annoying things', '5 amazing places to take in the view', etc.
I decided to do mine without buying anything else and just using up my stash. So I am using a Basic Grey Capture album and page protectors (had them already), some Project Life cards from my big pile, found ephemera and pictures that have already been printed but haven't made it into my Project Life albums. This last gave me a reason to purge my huge box of leftover photos.
The core of my album is complete. Next week we are having a sushi/listing night to get it all done.
Gotta make room since we are moving this summer....

dimanche 23 mars 2014

Lists 19 and 20

List 19 is a good example of how I bust my stash for this project. That 'pinned' card is from Studio Calico's 2013 December Daily kit!

I grouped the pins into 3 categories (although I didn't write them down) : Make something, Sew something and Cook something!

For this list, I remembered being my daughter's age, which is 8. That was 1983 for me. This list reminded me of the 'what my past self would like about my present self' list in one of the earlier rounds.
That first one : 'everything took longer' includes getting your pictures developped, having to wait a whole week to find out what happens next on your favorite tv show, getting money from the bank, school days, etc. It also refers to the fact that when you're a kid, adult stuff seems sooooo long and drawn out, like waiting in line or waiting for supper.
For the second line, I remember that Star Trek was on at 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays. That was the show that marked the end of kids's programming on the weekends and that is how I watched it and became a lifelong fan.
Kickers were the cool shoes. Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Poney and Jem, Care Bears and Keypers, Sweet secrets and He-Man; these are all toys from my childhood.

mercredi 19 mars 2014

Lists 17 and 18

I love the look of the monochromatic left side next to the colorful right side.
When I was young, I used to have many idols, people that I loved and admired, people that I wanted to emulate. As I get older, I realise that that isn't what I want to do anymore. I can definitely admire people and wish I was more like them. But utlimately, I really want to be me and to accept myself as I am.
List 18 is 'my' host list, so you can read all the details on the private blog, for those of you who have signed up to 30 Days of Lists. I'm glad I had the chance to document Hong Kong's highlights before we leave.

Lists 15 and 16

Here is my take on lists 15 and 16

This was interesting. There are only a few items that one buys once or twice. Can you believe that before 2010, I had never owned a cell phone :)

I didn't do list 16 in advance, because I knew that was our return date from South Africa. I'm glad I left it until our return. Basically, this week is all about wrapping up stuff : the fiscal year at work, making sure the kids get back on track and myself too with my exercise program. Also, I forgot to write down : 'get the tax papers all sorted' (probably because I loathe doing that).

Mourning Journal

If you follow me on IG, you know I recently lost my father. It's been quite a whirlwind period, as I live far from him and had to get everything together in a short time. I've had lots of help from so many kind people. Healing words and thoughts too. Before leaving to take care of his affairs, I used Peg and Awl's Anselm Bookbinding kit to make this journal.
I love it, 3 x 4, 40 pages, perfect pocket size. (That is not a picture of my father on the cover)

I decided to bring it along in South Africa where my father lived to use it as a mourning journal. Just a place for thoughts and things I want to remember, frustrations, sadness and laughs too. It has been so very helpful. I feel like I was able to turn something full of emotion into something pretty and meaningful for me. Here are a few pages.
*Some people may find it shocking that I'd want to share these but not me. I've found that the worse thing in life is lies and half truths and I want to live an authentic life. I like to share, it makes me feel happy to do so. I have received nothing but kindness and encouragement on this blog and on social media and I pull a lot of strength from that. That said, the more private pages I have kept for myself*
Under the Instax mini are the details of his passing.

This was my father's nickname. On the card on the right I sprayed some of his cologne.


On the right, not my father, but loved this picture so much.

Some tobacco from his cigarettes

A piece of one of his shirts.

There you have it. Lots of little fragments of paper from various sources used. if you have a specific question, don't hesitate to ask.

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