Hi guys :o) SP here with our newest GALLERY GIRLS feature!! As you know, it is one of my favorite blog posts to work on, as I enjoy getting to know everyone better…and am always overjoyed by the talent we have in our little community here at the Shoppe! Of course, this month is no different and I’m thrilled to share our next ‘gallery girl’ with you! For this feature, we got to work with Valerie…though you might know her better as nana_vg :o) She has been a member of the Shabby Shoppe gallery for quite some time…always inspiring us with her incredible pages and her love of journaling! She has lots of adorable scrapping ‘subjects’…as you’ll read more about below (seriously…how gorgeous is that photo?)! But, before we get to the interview…how about the first of many brand new layouts that Valerie created just for us and this spotlight :o) Be sure to scroll down for more…and check out her GALLERY for larger images and more info (soon)!
As mentioned, Valerie worked on bunches of new layouts for her Gallery Girls feature…and I have to say that this two page spread is among my favorites! Maybe it’s because I just returned from vacation (though mine looked nothing like hers, lol)…or because I just LOOOOVE all of that pretty blue and the gorgeous ocean…but had to share this with you first, lol!
Before we see more new layouts…let’s learn a little more about Valerie!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF…
I am 61 years old, the mother of four adult children (one of whom, our eldest, passed away in July of 2007), and a grandmother of 7. The two oldest grandchildren live with us and have been since December of 2002. They are now 18 and 13. My husband is a retired military officer and currently works as an investigator for our local school district. I am an HR manager and I’ve been in the HR field for over 25 years. As much as I’d love to be retired, raising children and the abysmal housing market preclude that option. My oldest surviving child, Andrea, and her husband and two little girls, 5 and almost 4, live here in Nevada where we get to see them often. My son, Steven, recently went to work for a company in California and his wife and son, 6, will be moving there once school is out. My youngest daughter, Melissa and her husband and two children, 7 ½ and 5, moved to Africa in February. She is a Chief Mining Engineer for one of the largest gold mining companies in the world, and she is now the chief mining engineer for a property in Africa. So we’re learning all about Ghanaian culture. My husband and I, and hopefully the grandchildren who live with us, plan to visit Africa at least once during the three years they’ll be there as well as meet them on a couple of their R&R trips. So, we’ll get a little bit of world travel in. Family is extremely important to us, and we make sure we spend as much time with our family as possible. Knowing that our daughter would be moving to Africa, we scheduled a photo shoot for our entire family the day after Thanksgiving. So, the picture you see (above) is of my husband and me with all of our grandchildren. There is a layout in the Gallery that has a photo of the entire clan – all 15 of us – and it’s about my passion being my family.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SCRAPPING DIGITALLY…AND DID YOU EVER GIVE PAPER SCRAPPING A TRY?
I started scrapbooking with paper in January of 1998 when my second grandchild was six months old. Then, in late 1999 a friend and I started an online scrapbooking business, Fox Tales. We specialized in pint-size (5.5×8.5) scrapbooking kits based on alphabetical themes. Unfortunately, we were before our time, and small theme albums weren’t yet popular. We dissolved our partnership in 2001 and I took it on myself. But, in mid-2002 when we relocated to Reno, I closed down the business. I started digital scrapbooking in 2005 when my third grandchild was going to be two. I wanted to make him an ABC album (which is one of the theme scrapbook kits we sold at Fox Tales in paper), but I thought if I designed it digitally, then I could easily just replace photos and dates for each subsequent grandchild, and I have. And that started the revolution. I’m still dabbling in paper only because my daughters wanted their children’s first-year albums in paper. I now have three granddaughters, 5, 5, and almost 4, whose paper albums aren’t completed. The two oldest girls’ albums are almost done, but the youngest granddaughter’s album still has a long way to go. If I’d done them digitally they would have been done at least two or three years ago. So, I have become an addicted digital scrapper. I love that I can do a layout once and print as many times as I want, and in a variety of sizes. I do layouts that feature more than one grandchild and I can print a copy for each album. I also print all the new layouts each year in 6×6 size and put in little albums for my adult children so they can have something portable to show off.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR SCRAPPING STYLE?
That’s hard to say. I often tend to digitally scrap in a paper-scrapping style; that being said, I also enjoy using brushes and I’m doing more and more blending photos into the backgrounds. In my next life, I’d like to come back as great at layering and clustering embellishments as many of the creative team and gallery posters are. Digital offers everything that paper can, and then there’s a whole new level not achievable through paper.
WHAT IS THE FIRST COMPONENT OF EACH PAGE YOU CREATE…OR DOES IT VARY FROM PAGE TO PAGE?
Most of the time I start with the photos, and then choose papers and embellishments. But, if I have a lengthy story to tell, I start with the journaling as I want to make sure I can fit it on my layout.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LAYOUT (TO DATE) AND WHY?
I have two favorites posted in the SP Gallery, both made with challenge templates. I love TuTu Cute because I love my beautiful little ballerina, the black and white photo faded into the background, and the comparison between her and her mom and dance. I also love Daddy’s Girls because it’s so soft and feminine and it features a tradition I’ve started of taking photos of my daughter and my two granddaughters on Mother’s Day. I love how they interact and it shows how much they’ve grown from year-to-year.
WHAT TIP/TECHNIQUE DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED SCRAPPING DIGITALLY?
In the very early days of paper scrapping, I didn’t journal as much and 99% of my layouts were event-type layouts, all double-page layouts. Now, I still scrap the events, but I love the everyday moments and the stories that need to be remembered, and I’ve embraced single page layouts when they work. When I moved to digital scrapping, I was learning on my own for a long time and mostly replicating paper scrapbook pages. I love that I’ve learned to use brushes and blend photos into the background, both things you cannot do with paper.
WHAT IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR SCRAPBOOKING?
As I mentioned, family is very important to me. I love seeing my children struggling with the same issues we did when raising them, but from the perspective of a grandparent, many of those struggles are funny to me. So I am inspired by my family’s everyday life and their stories (like my Spwashing in my Pee Pee layout). My journaling has become much better from the inspiration of family and family stories. I’m also inspired by the creativity of others and I love going through the gallery and getting ideas for layout subject matter, layout design, color combinations, layering and clustering of papers and elements, etc. There is so much inspiration to be found from both the creative team and the wonderful community at Shabby Princess who so willingly share their fabulous layouts with us and let us take a peek into their lives.
TECH STUFF :o) Tell us about your camera and software!
Gosh, I’m such a lucky girl as my husband willingly feeds my techo-junkie addiction. I’m on my third DSLR. He gave me a Canon Rebel for Christmas of 2002. It was stolen in 2006 and with the insurance money, I replaced it with a Canon Rebel TI. Then, when I was having trouble taking photos of my grandchildren as rapidly as I wanted to, he purchased the Canon 7D for me Christmas of 2009. I’ve yet to even scratch the surface of the features of this camera. I would give anything for the ability to add more hours to the day so I can spend more time with my camera. I have an18-135 mm kit lens and a 300mm telephoto lens as well as a 50mm f1.8 lens. I did tell you he spoils me, didn’t I? I also carry a Panasonic Lumix with 10x optical zoom in my purse so I have a camera with me at all times. When I started digital scrapping, I used PSE2, upgraded to PSE4, then to PSE6, and PSE8. I usually do every other upgrade. But PSE9 added a layer mask and I was taking a class at Jessica’s Sprague’s site and thought I just have to have this new version. After purchasing, I learned they’re coming out with PSE 10. But, as much scrapbooking as I do, the software is important. I’ve never taken the plunge into the full Photoshop arena because I haven’t found things I want to do that I can’t do with PSE. I’m never going to design and I can buy text paths. So for now, at least, I’m a happy girl with PSE 9.
FAST FIVE FACTS!
fave color: It used to be blue, but looking at my closet, I’d have to say red and blue today.
fave food: I wish my favorite food was healthy, but alas it’s ice cream, followed closely by golden Oreos.
fave movie: I’ve loved the Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia series as well as many of the “chick flicks” (which my husband mostly won’t see, so my daughter, daughter-in-law, and I go see them), but I think my favorite all-time movie is Pretty Woman.
fave song: I love Country music and Celine Dion, and the Lion King soundtrack is a favorite as well. But currently, I think my favorite song is Sissy’s song by Alan Jackson. It’s about the loss of a loved one and it resonates with me because we lost our oldest daughter in July of 2007. And, her nickname for much of her life was Sis and Sissy.
fave memory: My favorite memories are intertwined among family and my husband especially. We will be married 44 years in July. Early in our marriage I lost my wedding ring. He bought me a wide gold band to replace it, and at that time gold was $32 per ounce (held at that price by the government), so the ring wasn’t horribly expensive. A few months later I found the ring caught in the crocheted cover of a trivet. So the gold band ended up in my jewelry box for years. But, fast forward about 15 years, and that gold band was now worth a lot more and it was still sitting my jewelry box. My sweet hubby took the ring to a jeweler and had a beautiful ½ carat diamond mounted on it. This is the same guy who planned a spectacular surprise party for my 40th anniversary and the same guy who arranged for my daughter and her family who lived 300 miles away to surreptitiously arrive in Reno while I was out shopping and surprise me with the entire family for my 60th birthday party. There are so many special moments and memories – all of them connected with this wonderful man and our family.
THANK YOU so much for being a part of the Shoppe’s community…and for having fun with us on your Gallery Girls feature, Valerie - we appreciate it so much! o) I know that I always look forward to each and every layout that you share…and feel quite sure that we are all inspired whenever you add something new!
As always…I’ll be bringing you guys another new GALLERY GIRLS post next month…don’t miss it :o)
THANKS bunches and bunches for stopping by…have a wonderfully blessed weekend (i’ll be unpacking and trying to get back in the swing of things, lol)…we’ll see you back here on Monday for LOTW! xoxo –SP