Fall Outings...

Paul and I love taking spontaneous mini outings. We just decide to get up and go. Last night we went to Stone Mountain not realizing they were already on their off season hours so the attractions were closed. We took a nice little walk up part of the mountain and just stood and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

We then had fantastic Sicilian Pizza at Enzo's. We had never been before but I will certainly be going back! It's the only place I have seen in Atlanta where you can buy by the slice at dinner time. We sat on the porch eating and reading the news paper (such as it is in Atlanta). My only wish was that we could have been closer to the outdoor fireplace. It is definitely beginning to feel like fall is finally here!

Then home to snuggle up with my latest obsession- the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I finished #5 last night. At this pace I will be done with the series before Friday. lol

All in all just a perfect way to end the day.

Stories in Hand

Jessica Sprague is offering a free online class all about capturing the stories of our lives. Since she described her reasons so eloquently here is the story behind the class in her own words:

"So here’s the backstory.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting down looking through my albums. They’re disorganized. They’re out of order. There are photography tags and shipping labels on the page protectors. Not user friendly at all. As I was flipping through the pages, I realized that I have spent a lot of time on the pages that are there. And I’m proud of them, don’t get me wrong. But there are so many other stories I have to tell, and want to tell. So many stories for which I didn’t have a picture, or the picture wasn’t good enough, or I ran out of time and went on to something else, or whatever other reason kept me from telling it.

I actually asked myself as I looked through my albums, “If I disappear tomorrow, and this is all there is, is that enough?” And I’ve been haunted by the answer to that question.

This experience was part of a process I’ve been going through this summer, while I’ve been working on other projects, traveling and teaching (photo editing, digital scrapbooking, etc). I’ve been realizing that for me, there needs to be a way to capture little stories that can either be made into scrapbook pages, or not. There needs to be a way to fill in those gaps for which there might not be a full-blown 2-page spread that took me 4 hours. But that is a story worth telling nonetheless.

For example, I’ve never told the story of how my beautiful bridesmaid and her fiance and my wedding photographer all gathered together at my wedding reception, produced guitars and a bongo drum, literally out of nowhere, and played us a set of love songs. A story worth telling? You better believe it. And this might otherwise go unscrapped, because of course I have no photos of it.

We all have stories like that. Everyone. And I’m here to tell you that what you have to say matters, whether it makes it onto a scrapbook page or not. Whether you took a picture of it or not.

So I began devising a system. For capturing the stuff that lives in between the Big Events that we tend to scrap more often. For recording the little things that make life rich and fulfilling and unique. I am really excited about it. I hope that this new system will give me a lot of freedom to spend time on the projects I want to spend time on, without stressing that stories are going untold otherwise. AND, most importantly, that it will gives me Stories in Hand when I am ready to pick a new project to work on.

So are you ready to gather some stories, so you can have them in hand?

In class, we will learn:

  • Techniques for capturing memories from our own lives and from others
  • Dozens of prompts for stories you might have forgotten
  • A cool system for capturing the stories happening in your life right now, AND for listing the stories you have yet to tell
  • Printable goodies that will make your “capture” system work, AND keep it cute! (you know we gotta keep it cute - there’s nothing in life that’s not better with a great design)
  • “Next steps” video tutorials for turning your stories into pages
  • Technologies you can use to help you gather your stories together with photos, video, your blog, or any other media you have that gives a peek into your life
And we will make a REALLY CUTE project! (You’ll find out the supply list when you register). You are not required to have Photoshop to complete the project.

Oh yeah, by the way, this class is COMPLETELY FREE.

All you need to do to register is follow the links that will appear here, on the home page at JessicaSprague.com, and in the email I’ll send to everyone on my newsletter list on October 20, and type in the code we’ll give you. You’ll be added to the class group and have FREE unlimited access to the class materials. Everyone who is interested will be IN. There is no class limit.

So, why? Why THIS class? And WHY FREE?

Partly it’s because I feel strongly about the concept here. I think starting from stories is a unique approach that is independent of the actual means we use to capture them (for example, I have a good friend who is WAY into video - you’ll be meeting him in a few months - and he has captured all his stories on film and DVD. Amazing.). I think that’s a powerful way to connect with other people and begin capturing, collecting, and sharing stories.

“There was this one time when I …” Doesn’t that sound awesome? I can’t wait! I LOVE stories. And I am anxious to work right alongside everyone in class to list and catalog some of my own stories that would otherwise have gone untold.

And the other part is this. I want you to see what the JessicaSprague.com learning experience is like. There’s never been a better opportunity to check out what the videos are like, to participate in a private class message board, and to have access to top-of-the-line class materials than the Stories in Hand class.

So consider this my invitation to you.

Come on in, and tell some stories. Make a cute project. Change your life.

Registration begins at midnight eastern on Monday, October 20. Links will go live, codes will go out, and you can register yourself for FREE!"

So I have registered as of first thing this morning. The more I scrap the more I realize I'm not an event scrapper but scrap more to tell my story- like a visual journal. This class is just perfect for me. And even better - It starts on my birthday :) I hope to see some of you there!

Happy 60th Birthday Obata Sensei!

While I am not currently active in Shinkendo due to scheduling difficulties, I wanted to take a moment to with the founder of Shinkendo, Obata Kaiso a very happy 60th birthday.

He is truly a living legend, and I was privileged and honored to have the opportunity to train with him during the course of my studies. He has such a unique outlook on life and his influence will remain with me for the remainder of my life.


Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu!


As I have been in sort of funk over the last year, I have been on a mission to try to get inspired by other people's work. Well ok- Ive been looking for cool gals to scraplift. I spend my mornings perusing various galleries and when I find a piece I like I explore their portfolios and blogs.

Every once in a while I find a person who is just so amazing I am actually awed by their talent. This chick Dina is just such a woman. Here is her blog - Ponderings.

Her work is just so original and innovative and yet is what I see in my head when I envision a layout. Of course mine don't ever look like that. lol

So I am going to try to actually sit down this weekend and WORK. Work at being creative, work at defining my style, just work at being the creative person I know is in here somewhere.

He who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once. -Robert Browning

Somehow I had gotten away from listening to music. well my music anyways. I had forgotten how much richer my life, my feelings my creativity are when accompanied by a soundtrack.

I know I know how can one forget such a passion. Well it isn't so much that I had forgotten it's that my life has just been inundated with the music of others. Which I thought was fine. Paul and I have enough crossover in our libraries that I thought I was ok. (The fact that there is any crossover is sort of amazing given how eclectic we both are). I am stuck listening to regular commercial radio in my car and haven't really turned any music on in my studio either.

Then I stopped being lazy and actually organized my giant iTunes library. and OH.MY.GOD. How in the world did I think just getting by was ok. Now I listen to my little ipod constantly. In the car, while at lunch, in my studio. Any spare moment I get where I don't need to be listening to other people. If I thought I could somehow listen at work I would in a heart beat.

The music has filled this giant silent void I didn't even consciously realize was there. In the words of Nietzsche "Without music life would be a mistake." It's a mistake I won't soon repeat.

Just back from the Happiest Place on Earth

Ok well mostly it was the happiest place on earth. It was also one of the hottest. I think I have learned that the only safe time to go to Disney world is mid November through Mid March. I also learned that even the tiny amount of aerobics I have been doing this year since March makes a huge difference when you get out there and start walking 5+miles a day.

Luckily I got to see and do just about everything I had planned to. I also took pictures. Lots and Lots of pictures. About 25 GIGS worth. Sure a ton of them were crappy but some weren't bad at all. This was my first real trip with my Rebel and I tried to take full advantage of that.

I have just started culling some of the photos: Here are some decent ones so far (no I'm not going to post more than a few so don't worry about being trapped in someone else's vacation slide show hell. lol)

Now I have to get back to the reality of laundry and housekeeping. Sigh.....

PS: a HUGE THANK YOU to Krissy for allowing the Atlanta peas to use her DVC! Without her generosity we wouldn't have gone!

My New Obsession

I love every little thing about the TV show (and am devouring the books as quickly as I can buy them). After being a devoted Ann Rice fan and thoroughly enjoying the Twilight series, I was eager to find more Vampire stories. I have always been attracted to their tales and the very folklore itself is just so pervasive across so many cultures part of me has always wondered if it was just a teensy bit possible. I even know several people who claim to be Vampires (hi Vi!)

And so now I have a Tivo loaded full of the first 6 episodes and I watch and re-watch them. From the opening theme song (which I think has the best visuals to ANY TV or movie ever!) to the the scenes from next week clips, I am transported to a world just this side of my own, and I love every minute of being there and am often loathe to leave it.

I figure this latest obsession will tide me over until the Twilight movie comes out November 21.