Saturday, January 30, 2010

Defining moments defining me...

A funny thing happened yesterday when I went to create the cover for the first of my two new creative journals. Let me backtrack slightly... I decided that one journal would be mostly dedicated to me and my life and the other would be dedicated more to creative ideas and thoughts, inspirations, sketches, design concepts, etc. That being said, I set forth to create a cover for the first journal and thought it would be interesting to tear apart my old dictionary and use it as the base for the cover. You know, find words that defined me, tear them out and collage them on the cover. So here's the funny part, I walked to the bookcase and grabbed the dictionary which I have not used since my college days and my thumb slipped into a page when I grabbed is the page it opened to...

I kid you not, my jaw dropped when I saw the title word was craft! I took it as a sign that I was on the right track, despite being a bit conflicted about tearing apart a perfectly good dictionary. It was a defining moment. Needless to say I was now off and running. I started thinking of words I identified with and tore the pages out of that dictionary until I had enough for the cover of my "defining me" journal.

After tearing out the pages the real fun began.  Mod Podge is something I never really used as a kid. It was however, my sisters favorite craft supply as she loved to decoupage. This was because she couldn't really draw so well but she could cut and Mod Podge Holly Hobbyesque pictures onto precut and stained little wooden plaques which were then proudly displayed throughout our home, while my multitude of drawings stayed firmly rooted in my sketchpads due to the fact that nothing, and I mean NOTHING was ever magnetically attached to our refrigerator for fear of scratching that beautiful brown Kitchen Aid appliance, and you could forget about ever using tape  or tacks on doors too! This is not to say my parents didn't applaud my creative endeavors. The most certainly did, and look where it's gotten me today! - oh yeah, where I am today...sorry, I digressed. Anyway I thought, in the case of collaging the cover of my new journal, Mod Podge would work beautifully (or so I hoped) So I found an old paintbrush with bristles pointing every which way and started coating the cover with the podge, positioned pieces and applied more mp as needed. And when all the pieces were placed, I mod-podged over everything one more time until I was left with this...

The hardest part was... WAITING FOR IT TO DRY! - I, of course, cheated and held it in front of a space heater to speed the process :) Once dry, I trimmed the edges and added a few crafty touches including some clear cut frames and words from a program called Love Letters designed by a friend and former co-worker Lori Marek for Little Yellow Bicycle. Although it was a Valentines program, the black elements worked fabulously with the basic black and white of the text and the back cover a black spiral binder. I finished it off by applying a few flocked chipboard pieces and rub ons,  ran a ribbon along the rough left edge along the binder to clean up the look then topped it all off with a few ribbon ties on the binder (noting that I will probably want to completely cover the binder with many more ribbons over the course of using this journal).

Here is a view of the finished cover.

After cleaning up the mess I had made I realized I had a few leftover pieces that I didn't want to lose or forget so I decided to make a pocket for the inner front cover of the journal. I used a gorgeous flocked brocade paper (again from Lori's Valentine program) trimmed it to size and cut a decorative edge on the top edge of it for the front of the pocket. Then I chose a great lined notebooky style paper to complement the flocked piece, cut it to size and sewed the two pieces together then adhered the pocket to the inner front cover and voila, adorable and stylish storage pocket! You can see the pocket below.

This was a super easy project that transformed a standard black sketchbook into a journal that truly defines me.  Now I can start writing again :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A brand spankin' new creative journal

Oh the excitement that comes with the purchase of a brand new journal...I LOVE it! I love them so much that I actually bought two yesterday, mostly because I had a gift card from my nephew from Christmas 2008 that I had yet to use and thought, hmmm what do I want to treat myself to at Barnes and Noble...and after much searching around, it hit me. I don't need another book to read right now, I need a book to write!

So I found the cool journal and sketchbook wall and picked out two. I wanted ones with blank covers to make them my own. Also, I prefer to use sketchbooks for journals because typically journals are lined and I don't  like to write on the lines (again, not a linear thinker... it's too confining for me).  I like the freedom of writing random thoughts anywhere at all angels in fun and crazy font styles combined with magazine clippings, phrases, quotes, art elements, paints, colored markers and pencils etc...I am sooo anxious to mess them up. They're just too pristine and empty right now. See?

There's my shadow, but soon I will put my own personal stamp on them and post for comparison.  Creative Journalling is all about artistic expression along side of traditional handwritten thoughts and ideas. To start I tear apart magazines with phrases that I can relate to and think I will be able to use for journalling prompts in the books. Here are a few I tore out just now.

1.  Guilt is not one of its ingredients.
2.  Any similarities to real life flavors are purely intentional.
3.  Feed their curiosity.
4.  Some relationships are meant to be.
5.  WAKE-UP CALL no. 9
6.  move closer to your goals NOW
7.  Wine needs time to breathe. People do too: How Do You Breathe
8.  Kinda beats stirring fruit up from the bottom, doesn't it?

These were all from ads.  Can you match the phrase up with the Company that placed the ad?

a.  Ray Ban
b.  Oscar Mayer
c.  Special K
d.  Altoids
e.  Danskin
f.  Sun Chips
g.  Jelly Belly
h.  Pepperidge Farm
i.  Turning Leaf
j.  Edy's

Now forget the ad and try to think how you would apply just the phrase to your life and what it would bring to your creative journal. Here's where it gets fun! Yeah, play time, get out the sissors, glue, pens, pencils, ribbons's time to make a big mess!!! Fun Fun Fun. Explore, enjoy, and exercise your mind.

Oh what, you want the answers? alright...scroll down:

(1f, 2g, 3b, 4h, 5c, 6e, 7i, 8j, 9a, 10d)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tale of an Impatient Designer

People often tell me that I'm an extremely fast designer, and there is some truth to that. I design at a full throttle pace that most do not comprehend. Many co-workers and Clients simply shake their heads and say "How do you do it? How do you design sooo fast???"  And I generally say, "I don't know, it's just when I get in the zone, I don't stop".  Translated: I don't rely on others to tell me what to design, or how to do my job, it's something that comes from within and that's why it goes so quickly.

What I design in the beginning doesn't need to be distilled or brought to committee for approval or discussion. It's just what's in my head poured out onto the page. Kind of a visual brainstorm if you will. I do not edit until I'm done designing. Editing and tweaking hinders the childlike energy that accompanies, no, drives the design process. If you tell a child "you're doing it wrong, or why can't you be more like your sister/brother" it frustrates and stymies them. Same is true for me as a designer. Tell me "no, do it my way" and you'll see flames coming from the brakes as I slam into park and pout. If you think you can force me into a linear way of thinking, guess again. If I was a linear thinker who loved rules and order I'd be in another profession.

Some would see that explanation as an admission that all artists are egocentric, over sensitive and flighty, which is not at all the case.  No, simply stated, it boils down to process. The process of design is much like turning on a tap, would you turn the faucet on to dribble so you could wash your hands? No, it's not a useful reasonable way to achieve the end goal. It's a slow and arduous way to get the job done. I think, artists, well, myself as an artist anyway, are all creative taps and we aren't meant to just dribble. I need to let the creative juices flow at full capacity, soak the page with ideas and visuals, and when one page is full I just move onto the next until the well runs dry.

It's not that I design at break neck speeds on purpose, I just don't have the patience to wait for others to keep up with me. The best way to describe it is to say I'm like a kid on Christmas morning, each piece I design is like a present and I want to see it completed so badly that I'm like a child ripping of the wrapping paper to see what lies beneath.

I think it's taken me a while to really put my finger on it. Fact is, I'm impatient. There it is folks, the reason I design so fast is because I lack patience. I do not want to wait days to see what is in my head now, I want to see it now, and if that means skipping lunch and bathroom breaks so be it. I am the Veruca Salt of Design - I want it and I want it NOW!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Valentine Treats

Well, I know I promised to post Valentine Cards and directions this week but unfortunately I've been slammed with the flu/sinus infection so I've been unable to get to that yet.

During my down time however, I've been designing a new Valentines program so all has not been lost. I have posted some sample pieces below to give you a sneak peek.  It makes me smile to see it, I hope you enjoy the program too.

For those of you heading to CHA, have a wonderful time at the show in sunny California! WIsh I could be there but it looks like I'll have to wait 'til July and see you all in Chicago.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Me Time

A while back I made a page that was intended to inspire me to spend more time playing and crafting just for fun. Since that time I have not created another page or project just for myself and the pure enjoyment of losing myself in the process of crafting.

Yesterday I took a photo of the page as a reminder that some of my time should be focused on me. Thus the Me Time page...And although I LOVE designing new and fun programs, sometimes I need to just have fun for me and not for any ulterior motive.  So today I'm taking some time to cut and paste and play. I encourage you to take some time out of your busy day to enjoy something just for yourself too! Drop me a note and let me know what you did for fun today. :)

This week I'll start posting Valentines cards projects with directions. But for today I'll leave you with this quote:
We do not stop playing because we grow old.
We grow old because we stop playing

Friday, January 15, 2010

Meet Smudgie

This darling furball is our only female kitty who is aptly named, Girlie Girl, aka Smudgie or Smudgenik. She's one crafty cat, or at least she likes to think so. Seems everytime I set foot in the studio she's right there with me. (more accurately she's leaps and bounds ahead of me!) And as you can see, she makes herself right at home in the middle of whatever I'm working on. She considers herself the Craft Queen and I will admit, she's a prima donna alright! Not one to sit on the sidelines when there's crafting to be done, Girl gets right up on the table or in this photo on the back of the computer desk chair to oversee everything I do.

It's rather funny because she doesn't bother getting involved with any other activities in the house, you can cook, wash dishes, do laundry, talk on the phone, read a book, really just about anything and she won't bother you. But the second a craft supply comes out she's on it! She also capitalizes on just about every photo op she can, so you will, no doubt be seeing a lot of her on this blog.

That being the case I thought I'd take a minute to show you a few of Smudgie's favorite things.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Welcome to my studio!

Hey There,

Welcome to Krys Caywood Design! Come on in, take a look around. Make yourself comfortable.

Let me begin by saying that I'm new to the wonderful world of blogging, but I love it already - just the word BLOG is fun to say, blog bloggiddy bloggy blog blogger - This is gonna be a blast! Not one of those "blog blog blog (blah blah blah)" types that preach and talk at you.  And definitely not one of those blogs where the blogger is a self-proclaimed expert in all things who will tell you everything you're doing wrong in life and more. Nope, none of that blogging from atop a blog soapbox, no blogging from a high blog horse.  This is going to be a fun, interactive blogoshpere where you all get a voice! I promise I wont get all blogomaniac on you.  I prefer to have this be an open studio where you can share your ideas and comments with me as well as any other artsy blog folk that decide to join in. The only rule that I have is that you play nice. No bloggin' bullies allowed. Mom always said, "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all"!

Now that we have the formal introductions and rule out of the way I will share a little bit about myself and my studio. First of all, the studio is my favorite place to be, mainly because, in here, I can behave like a kid again. Let my imagination run wild, color with the whole box of crayons, mix stripes and plaids, run with scissors, play, shape, mold, create,  AND...make as big a mess as I want to!  I can use run on sentences, express sudden random thoughts, color out of the lines... there are no grades, no standard of measure, no soul crushing conventions to which we must strictly adhere. The studio is the correction-free zone, an artistic playground with a toy box that holds many amazing things.

I have been a product designer for quite some time now. I've worked in many different markets, toys, home and garden, greeting cards and stationery and now scrapbooking and crafting. And as Dorothy said to Scarecrow, I think I love you most of all, well something like that. I just LOVE the craft industry. Designing products that allow others to express their creativity is the cherry on top of the sundae!

So, from today on I will be sharing some of my favorite products (some are my own designs and some are not), techniques, project ideas, journalling starters, quotes and recipes just to name a few. Everything from here on out is about inspiration and letting your inner child come out to play.