Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Project Life 2012: March part 4

Linking up to The Mom Creative who hosts a weekly link party for all us PLers to display our pages and get inspiration and encouragement from the PL community. If you're visiting my blog from there - thanks, it's lovely to see you; and if you haven't been there yet, do take the opportunity to hop on over.

Hurrah - another page in my now looking quite healthily full album! I'm having so much fun already looking back at my pages from last year and so far this year, I can't imagine how much better it will be to look back on when Miss C is my age!

Anyway, back to my usual one page week entry after last week's out of the ordinary two page spread! This meant I was presented with a Design E protector as I'd used it for last week's second page. Before breaking away from my beloved Design As, I'd worried about making other designs work. But now I've remembered: I'm a scrapbooker and my words and photos can fit anywhere! I actually really enjoy Design Es - these little 6x6s are just like mini layouts.

So here's the usual page overview:

The top left section is all about our joy at the official arrival of Spring on 20 March, and all its newness and renewals. I wrote a little about what I feel about Spting, and backed that with patterned paper of Spring colours, and included a little dog jumping (or Springing) for joy! I also included a mini screenshot of Google's first day of Spring icon - so cute.

With the arrival of Spring, came a good few sunny days. (Yes, we do get them in Scotland. Occasionally.) As I have had skin cancer, and burn very easily, I'm not a sun worshipper - you'd never find me basking on the beach - but I do enjoy the warmth and the feel-good factor that comes from the sun. I do need to stick to the shade when I can though. Combined with my need for shade, and the fact that Chloe had to study and didn't want her papers blowing away in the breeze, we decided to enjoy the sun in a different way rather than hitting the park or garden. We opened the front door, and built a little den at the front of the hallway- we had blankets and cushions and pillows and a little table. Chloe studied for a while, then lay back with her music and sunglasses and enjoyed the sun streaming in. I enjoyed sitting a little further back, in the shade, with a good book. Simple pleasures. I made a little collage and matted it on some happy flowery paper.

As I was watching Chloe listen to her music in our den, it made me reminisce about how I used to listen to music - I was a teen in the original Sony Walkman cassette era. I had the bright yellow Sprts version which was considered cutting edge at the time. How I remember carrying round a heap of cassettes in my bag and feeling oh so cool to have music wherever I went! Now I look at Chloe's superslim, supermemory,superfeature iPod in awe - I wonder what Chloe's children will listen to music on?!

Lastly, I really enjoyed the first of the new show The Voice in the UK this past weekend. I'd heard about it in the US, and was looking forward to it coming here. I wasn't disappointed. I loved it, and am already anxious to see what the next show holds!

A fun week, in which I was reminded that all that really matters is being together, and appreciating what we have. I am really very grateful for all my family and friends, including all the lovely, funny, creative, caring friends I have made online!

Have a great week ahead, all.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The power of simple

In my continuing quest to find the new job (I say 'the' new job because I know it's out there just waiting to be discovered), I have many phone calls with recruitment agency consultants. In fact, not so long ago, I blogged about a horrific example of one such call.

Thankfully, these bad calls are in the minority. Yet today, I found myself having another of those bad calls.  Really, it should have all gone so well. The ringing of my phone not only signalled my first chance to speak to another human being that day (twittertalk and fbfriends excluded) but it pulled me away from the mountain of ironing in which I was stuck. So, you know I was very enthusiastic when I answered the call.

The gentleman on the other end of the call was someone I hadn't spoken to before; I usually have very enjoyable conversations with his colleague, but she was on holiday today. But while she was out, he'd looked on her candidate database and thought that I might be suitable for a role on the opportunities list.

As usual, we had the chat first - the weather, the how are you, the what have you been doing, applied for much lately lines - and then it was down to the business. He proceeded to sell me a role. He talked for ten minutes. Straight. No pauses, no questions, no invitation to comment; in fact, I'm not even sure he stopped to breathe. I tried to interject a few times, but was ignored, so I let him talk till he stopped.

Now I listened. I listened really well. It's something I'm actually reasonably skilled at after years in the comms industry, teaching and pastoral work; and not to mention being a mum.  But after his ten minute speech, I had no clue about what this role was. Really. Not a clue. So I did what any good comms professional does. I asked questions. When I didn't get the answers I needed, I asked the same questions using different phrases. I asked for examples. I gave choices. You name it, I did it. But every question  led to more confusion, with lots of acronyms, and 'erm, I think that's just something they say/do in X sector; it's complex' types of answers.

Mr Talk- without- Breathing could tell I was getting a little frustrated here, and eventually said, "Look, it's obvious you don't understand what I'm talking about, and if you can't pick it up after me going over it so much, this role probably isn't for you."

While he is probably right, that role is more than likely not for me; it's not because I didn't understand. And not just because it's me. (Although - and please note shameful self promotion coming up, if you'd like to skip a few lines here - I'm good with words. Words are what I do. I love words. I love long, winding, seductive sentences. I delight in descriptive analogies filled with metaphor and magic. I thrill at poetic words. I  enjoy lexical injokes and imaginative wordplay. But, I know how to use all of those linguistic tools. I know they have their time and place.) But because it was his job to explain it to his audience. When I'm trying to explain something new to someone, whether that's at work, at home, in the classroom or in the pub, I aim to explain it in a way they can understand it. I've always believed that's the purpose of communication - to express, not to impress. As a communicator, it's my responsibility, my job to make the audience 'get it'.

Mr T-w-B didn't see that; he thought I'd be impressed with his technical jargon, and I might have been had he had the knowledge to then explain it to me. He didn't understand the role himself, and so he just read and repeated to me.

This is a valuable reminder for me as I prepare to go back to work in the comms world; but it's useful for everyone. You can't sell what you don't understand. Even when it's complicated, make it uncomplicated. It's often said that the plot of every bestseller in the world, of every film, of every song can be accurately summarised in four sentences.

Simple (not simplistic) works. As Albert said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Project Life 2012: March part 3

Linking up to The Mom Creative who hosts a weekly link party for all us PLers to display our pages and get inspiration and encouragement from the PL community. If you're visiting my blog from there - thanks, it's lovely to see you; and if you haven't been there yet, do take the opportunity to hop on over.

Is it just me or are these weeks flying on by? Good thing we have our PL pages to help remember all the moments and memories.

Unusually for me, I wrapped two pages this week. And neither of them were Design A. Way to break out of my PL routine! The two page layout was needed as there have been a few special occasions this week, which I'll explain as I do my normal show and tell!

First up, here's the overview of the two page spread:

And here's the first page in close up:

In the top left we have a little photo collage I made about the busy week I had card-making. Been lots of commissioned cards to create, so I thought I would include some photos of some of my cards.

Next up is a card with a couple of photos of some lovely pink roses I received, as a surprise. Don't you just love surprises, especially when they're pink?!

At the top right is a photo of One Tree Hill DVD box sets I've just added to my collection. I'm a OTH-aholic (teen dramas are totally my weak spot), and as we watch the final season, I'm preparing for the end by collecting the DVDs, so I can always get my OTH fix.

Under that, in recognition of St Patrick's Day on Saturday, I added some journal cards with some quotes about luck.

Moving onto the second page, which was my first time filling up a Design E page:

Another special occasion this week was Chloe getting her school report in. She scored 'excellent' across the board - you can't beat perfection. I am so proud of Miss C!

St Patrick's Day wasn't the only celebration this week; the UK also celebrated Mother's Day on Sunday. Chloe made me the most adorable card, so I wanted to include this:

The bottom two pockets are filled firstly with a story about me and my contemplation of Warhol's 15 minutes of fame theory:

Secondly, that when Chloe does something that surprises me, I tell her that she is strange and unusual child. I tell her this so often she finishes the sentence for me. She knows that it is a compliment; I love how unique she is, and I hope she never loses this individuality.

And that, readers, is the week that was. Phew. More to come next week....

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Project Life 2012: March part 2

Hurrah, it's Project Life Tuesday again! Linking up to The Mom Creative who hosts a weekly link party for all us PLers to display our pages and get inspiration and encouragement from the PL community. If you're visiting my blog from there - thanks, it's lovely to see you; and if you haven't been there yet, do take the opportunity to hop on over.

Another week. Looks a bit different from my usual pages this time, huh? That's because for the very first time ever, I've used something other than Design A. Begin the drum roll...Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my very first Design B page. Ta-da!

I really had fun changing things up a little, and it does give a different look. I'll definitely still be using Design A for a lot of my pages, but I'm looking forward to more mixing it up with other designs soon.

Anyway, here is the whole page:

At the top left is a snap of my mum's dog, Poppy, who just adores Chloe, and looks out for her every day. It is the cutest thing.

Next to that is a 4x6 journal card with a snap of a leaflet about a craft show Chloe and I enjoyed attending this past weekend. I added some journalling, a title, a PL elements stamp and printed it out. And right alongside this, you'll see...well nothing at the moment! I'm holding this blank space for a photo from the craft show. Chloe and I got our photo taken with a brand mascot at one of the craft stalls, which will be available to download from their website next week, so I've just added a post it note to remind me to download and add this here.

In the second row, at the far right is a card that I picked up from one of the craft stalls. I liked the sentiment on this card about being creative, so clipped it to size and popped it in here. I also added a small screenshot of my blog with a note to myself about blogging more. I've found so much joy, encouragement, and even new friends, blogging, so I really want to keep on blogging. That sounds like the title of a song - I may just have to write it!

Also on this row is a little card with a quote I found on Pinterest. I loved the quote but didn't like the artwork it was shown in on Pinterest, so just quickly created this quote card on PSE and added to my page.

Chloe and I both love music. Big time. Whether singing ourselves, or listening to a CD, or plugged in to an ipod, music is a constant presence in our lives; so I wanted to document some of our current playlists. These will be fun to look back on in a few years, and see how many of these we are still listening to!

Lastly, now that she in S3 and studying towards her exams in 2013, Chloe has more homework. I'm happy to report that Chloe's teachers all say she gives her best in all subjects and tackles her work both in class and at home with enthusiasm and commitment. I caught her on film deep in thought about her Business Admin homework.

So that's been our week. Still loving capturing these moments so simply!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Project Life 2012: March part 1

As always, linking up to the wonderful The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday - be sure to visit her blog for all sorts of wonderful as well as links to a whole host of PLers and their pages. You can also find lots of inspiration at One Happy Mama! If you've just come from either of those blogs, thanks for making the jump over to my little corner.

I had trouble writing this blog post title as I couldn't believe it is March already! But it is - I have the PL pages to prove it!

Following my February focus on things we love, I've gone back to a non-themed entry - just bits and pieces of everyday. You know, the random moments that make it all worthwhile. I do, however, have a bit of a green colour theme going on here. At first it was accidental, but then I liked how it looked and just went with it. Here's the overview:

So, alongside the title card, you can find a 4x6 journal card describing these two snaps that Chloe added to facebook. This journal card is one of a Splendid Fiins camera themed set. Super cute. There will be more in other posts, I'm sure:

At the bottom right is a photo I took in excitement at the arrival of new stash. Adorably, it came wrapped like a present in beautiful black and while floral tissue paper, with a little gift tag. Of course, you know I was going to keep that tag, and journal the moment!

Next on from that in the middle row is a quote I saw and loved, as well as a little card describing my 'not quite me' day. We all have them, so as a part of my life, it's now part of my Project Life.

Lastly, is a card about Saturday night when my best friend came to visit. As well as the usual chat and giggles, we decided to go old skool and dig out the PS2 and get our groove on with some Singstar karaoke. We had a blast, and at the end of the night, we were wondering why we don't do this more often. So far, I haven't had any complaints about the noise from the neighbours! Luckily, both Chloe and my best friend can sing really well. Me, not so much these days - I was in a band at uni but that's a very long time ago - but I do give it all I've got!

Putting this page together has been as much fun as each of the moments and memories I'm documenting. And I just know that looking back on it in a few years time will bring both the memories and the smiles back again. Yay for Project Life!

Another big Yay for everyone who stops by this little blog of mine, reads and even leaves lovely comments. Your encouragement means a lot to me and I really do thank you each of you.

Till next time...