Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Project Life 2012: January part 2

And on the last day of January, I give you the second part of my January PL entry, ta-da!

The layout features one of my new favourite things - a photo collage (of Chloe in her outfit) using a Tiny Template from Cathy Zielske, which are available from Designer Digitals. This is a 4x6 template but she also offers smaller Tiny Templates to fit into the 3x4 spots. Expect to see some of them in a page very soon!

I'm also loving the very cute Tweeting journal card, which was a fabulous freebie from Wild Blueberry Ink. I used this card to describe what is probably my favourite photo of the month:

In my continuing effort to make sure I feature in at least the occasional photo, I've included a quick snapshot of me taken from the webcam, when I was feeling full of the cold and sniffles. I gave the photo a quick blurring in Photoshop elements to represent the fuzzy way my head felt, and typed some journalling straight onto the photo. Sick is not my best look, but it's real!

This layout also features some handwritten journalling:

I don't particularly like my handwriting, but I think it's important to include this part of me. The same goes for Chloe - so I got her to fill out that cute little 'Favourite Outfit' journal card from My Minds Eye, which I then attached to a PL card by cutting a slit in the' Love this' circle to turn it into a flap to hold the smaller card, before embellishing with some jewels.

I'm finding that my stash of 7gypsies stickers are making a great addition to my PL layouts. They're sized just right.

Every time I slip something into one of these pockets on a PL layout, I get a little 'hurrah' feeling inside! Capturing these special and everyday memories has never been so simple, meaningful and fun.

Can't wait to share more PL goodness with your next month!

I'm linking up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday again - there are a lot of PLers from all over the globe linking up which is fab as you get to see how everyone is using PL and get some inspiration and encouragement.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Creative chaos and career conversations

After the usual website trawls for job vacancies to apply for, today I will now mostly be making cards. And jewellery. And gift tokens. Not just to keep my jobless self busy - I do actually enjoy all this crafty creativity, but also I've been commissioned to make the goodies. I also want to make some extra samples to put on the website and Etsy shop that I'm in the middle of setting up.  As a result, my desk is a little- shall we say- busy? If there was an award for desk which most closely resembles a Blue Peter make it special, I'd be collecting my badge right now! Card count so far = 3. Not my most productive day so far, but they were very unusual personalised ones so they took a lot of work. Honest!

But I can't stop thinking about the conversation I had this morning. In the midst of my cutting, sticking and glittering spree, my phone rings. I answer to discover it's one of the recruitment agencies I'd contacted last week who wanted to have a more detailed chat. I've already spoken to and met with a few reps from other recruitment agencies and found them all to be on the ball, polite, full of ideas, and actually quite helpful. Today's caller? Not so much.

Firstly, she wanted me to talk her through my CV. Which she'd left in the other office. Then she called me the wrong name. Twice. Then she asked what I'd be interested in doing next. I explained that I loved the kind of work I do, and that I'd be interested in doing similar work, in the same sector or perhaps in a different sector and indicated that I was also keen to look at comms or marketing roles in the NFP (not for profit) world. There followed a silence. A long silence. Eventually, she gave her response to this: "Seriously? At your age? Don't you think you've moved on from that?"

I asked her what she meant, and she said that people of my age and at this stage in my career, working outside the corporate world amounted to career suicide. "I mean, most people get this idealistic thing out of the way at uni or in their gap years," she said. "Then they get over it, get real and get proper jobs."

Now, I'm assuming she may be fairly young or inexperienced - firstly if she was more experienced, she probably would have put this a bit differently, in perhaps a less confrontational manner.

Secondly, she should really acknowledge that there is some kick-ass Marcomms work being done in the NFP market. Really clever, innovative and user-centric campaigns and materials, in an environment that can sometimes offer a lot more freedom than the often more locked down, corporate world. So it does have a lot to offer for someone looking to do real creative work.

She did make me think though. I know in the past when I'd mentioned to acquaintances that I'd perhaps like to work for a charity or a community organisation, they looked at me with puzzlement. They questioned why, with the lower pay? The lower profile? The lack of career opportunities? Was I some weird do-gooder?

It seems that if a teenager or student or recent graduate is passionate and cares about a cause or charity, it's tolerated in a 'they'll get over it' way. It's expected that they do an internship, do a gap year volunteering, do something temporary and then get back to 'real life'. As if caring is a temporary madness; one that stops when you become a proper grown up.

Don't get me wrong, I left my teenage idealism back in uni with my Grolsch-bottle-top-adorned DMs, my purple hair streaks and my youthful conviction that I was going to marry Rob Lowe. I understand the world a lot more than I did then, I understand the complexities of economy and politics, and I know about the practicalities of living life. I left my impractical idealism behind, but I didn't stop caring.

I'm not saying I'm against the corporate world. Far from it. I need to find a job that is interesting, gives me challenges and allows me to learn new skills, and also that brings home the bacon. (I'm a vegetarian - should that be bring home the vegeburgers?!) If that same role also happens to be working in a charity or cause that makes a positive difference to my small part of the world, all the better. It's highly likely that my next job will not be in the NFP sector, simply because there aren't that many roles around that will fit me.

All I was trying to tell that recruitment consultant is that I was interested in those kind of roles too and would consider them alongside everything else. Her reaction that working in that sector was immature or career suicide really shocked me. Apparently, she believes there is an age limit to caring!

Ok, rant over. Back to the glitter.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

I blame Hitchcock

Fact no 1. Birds scare me. Big time. (Except penguins - how could anyone possibly be scared of penguins?)

Now before any animal-lovers out there protest, and try to persuade me to become an avian advocate, I know they are beautiful and clever creatures, I know they are powerful and magnificent in flight, and I know they are not evil. I know this. I can even admire them in tv documentaries or in real life from (very very very) afar.

However, when confronted by a bird - or gulp even worse birds plural - I don't think about any of that. I just see those staring cold eyes. And when they decide to move as one with that group-think phenomen, well that really freaks me out.

Fact no 2. This was the view from my window on Friday.

Fact no 3. I have not had a relaxing weekend.

Hitchcock, you have a lot to answer for.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Kitchen Time Conundrum

Now, I'll admit I'm no scientist; in fact the closest I come to Science these days is my passionate watching of The Big Bang Theory (my blog post title was inspired by TBBT episode titling) and Brian Cox programmes.

But, I believe I have identified a new anomaly in the time continuum; ladies and gentlemen - I present to you "Kitchen Time". Time behaves differently in the kitchen, and not just because of my clock which stubbornly remains five minutes slow, despite being reset and fed new batteries on several occasions. No, when you enter the kitchen and begin to cook, Time takes on new and mysteries properties, where twenty minutes can have no impact at all, but one minute can have surprising and devastating effects.

Let me explain further. I have witnessed this phenomen on many an occasion, but it's perhaps most evident in the following examples:

Case study 1: a minute by minute commentary on making toast - white bread, still white bread, still white bread, still white bread, black toast?

Case study 2: the anxious peering through the oven checks when cake-making - not ready, not ready, not ready, not ready, burnt?

How does that happen? I can spend an hour checking every five minutes on something I am cooking, and nothing is happening, yet I turn my back for twenty seconds to answer the phone and my creation magically transforms from raw to burnt.

Well, I'm stumped by this one. Does this only happen to me? Am I the common denominator in the equation? Perhaps it would be best if I stay out of the kitchen. Or at least  stick to using the microwave - it seems to be immune to the Kitchen Time Conundrum!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

It's all about the choices...

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  Eleanor Roosevelt

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it." Groucho Marx

Two very different people, very similiar messages. What happens to me is my choice.  I know from experience that circumstances can be thrown upon us, circumstances that we can't control. But what happens next is our choice.

Circumstance has brought me here. A few months on from my redundancy and I haven't yet found quite the right new role for me. The job market doesn't look especially inspiring. So many people keep asking me if I have a new job yet.

I'm sure the Jules of old would have been panicking by now, and second guessing decisions she had made, and asking why this had happened to her. Today, I'm not panicking. Today, I absolutely know that decisions I made were the right decisions for me. Today, I can look at the big picture and be grateful for the extra time I have had over the past few months to do things and be with people that make me happy.

I'm making the choice to be happy with my life right now, right here.  Yes, that is also choosing to take care of myself  and to embrace being 40 - I may just be a proper grown up now. I'm choosing to make the most of the time I have right now to be at home and be creative, because I am confident that a job will come along soon. I know that the first job may not be everything I wanted and in fact may be something I never would have seen myself doing, but if I take it, be thankful for it, and do it well; you know what, it may just lead to that job of my dreams.

And now for a completely different choice - peppermint or lemon & ginger tea....

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Project Life 2012: January part 1

During my online travels so far this year, I've been so happy to see so much love for Project Life out there. I totally get why so many people are participating! There are so many blogs and sites with bunches of inspiration and some absolutely gorgeous pages. Lots of PLers are doing weekly pages, but I know that right now that wouldn't work for me, so I'm sticking with the monthly + special occasion approach.

So here's my PL album so far.

Title page - this isn't definitive, more like a placeholder. As I continue throughout the year, I may come back to this title page and do some tweaking to make the title page best reflect the album. But for now I'm pretty happy with how this turned out.

January - part 1
Of course, as January isn't over yet, this is only the first half of the January spread (apologies for photo glare - I've still to work out best room and light for taking these photos):

As well as the title card, there's a photo of me contemplating a new year, a snap capturing Chloe in one of her favourite pastimes and also a combo photo of Chloe taking Poppy dog to her Puppy (or Poppy) training classes.

January - extra insert
Already in January, there's been one special occasion that I wanted to make it into my PL album - my 40th birthday! (Yes, I am THAT old now!) So I took another page protector and filled it front and back with the photos, details and journaling that captures what I want to remember about the day. This page will sit smack bang in the middle between my January left hand page and, when it's complete, right hand page.

In the UK we're waiting (hands clasped with glee) for the PL supplies to be available on Amazon.co.uk - thanks Becky and Scrapbookers Inner Circle for making that happen!

So, in terms of supplies, I've been using some "leftovers" from last year's PL turquoise edition as well as some digi supplies that I bought from the Jessica Sprague and other sites and printed out, and some bits and bobs from my stash. I'm kinda liking the way this looks, so unlike last year, I'm not going to stick with one edition. I'm just going to use whatever supplies fit with my mood when I'm updating the album. Most of the journaling so far has been typed, but I'll be aiming to include some handwritten journaling from both me and Chloe, as well as the bits and bobs of everyday life.

So far, so loving it!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Queen of the New Year

Hands up, I did a very bad thing. I abandoned my blog. Sad face.

In revelling in the newly found freedom from working life last September, I seemed to lose all impetus for any kind of sitting at a laptop doing anything. Facebook, Bejewelled and photo editing aside, that is - always exceptions. My poor blog was thrown aside as I rediscovered the joys of:
  • free time to travel (NYC was A-MAZING, baby!);
  • shopping during the week;
  • housework - yes, you read that right;
  • doing nothing but sitting thinking and smiling and being grateful;
  • lunch not out of a lunchbox or bought from M&S;
  • reading while not on a bus or train;
  • sleeping past 6am; and
  • cardmaking. 

However, let's not dwell on my past neglect. I'm reclaiming my lovely little blog.  But in a moment of catch up, here's where I am - it's 2012, I have just turned 40 (still coming to terms with that one), I'm looking for gainful and fulfulling employment, and you know what? I'm happy.

Join me in 2012 as I hang onto that happiness. It's gonna be fun!

P.S. Here's me embracing 40 - almost literally!