Wednesday 7 January 2009

A shining example!

This little book of quotations [which made a brief appearance in Scrapbook Inspirations Magazine: Issue 48 ] is, quite simply, one of my favourite paper-crafting projects ... ever. I just love it!

Whenever I look at it [and stroke it ...and prod it] I feel such a sense of satisfaction. It's that feeling you get when a piece of work turns into something so much more than you could have ever planned or hoped for. Yes... that feeling! So I really wanted to share it with you in more detail.

It started life as six chunky price labels from the 'Mantaray' clothing brand, much frequented by James: I usually recycle price tags in the usual sense of the word: by dropping them into our recycling bag alongside the cereal packets, tea-bag boxes and loo roll tubes. But these, with their scrolling stamp-effect designs and yellow felt adorned eyelets, seemed just a little too perfect to be discarded along with the household waste! So I decided to save them to use in some unknown scheme. From then on, each time James bought something new from Mantaray, he dutifully handed the tags over to me for safe-keeping and future use!

It must have been that tiny touch of yellow felt which inspired the whole colour scheme for the book. That piece of felt and the fabulous yellow polka-dot fabric which Brass sent to me - we both have quite a thing for spottiness. I'd been desparate to use the fabric and it seemed an ideal starting point to begin constructing a single, bright, cheery place to contain my favourite 'light' related quotes, which I'd had stored inside various notebooks ... and my brain.

(Cover) Over the top of the polka-dot fabric I used a scrap of chocolate brown American Crafts 'Hey There' PP with a cream Jenni Bowlin 'Definition' rub-on. I tore and sanded the PP before sticking it down and after a life spent accidentally tearing, denting and scratching things, I'm so happy to have found a hobby in which I can say I did it all on purpose with a specific 'look' in mind! Without the growth of shabby chic I'd be nothing!

(1) The first quotation [below] is a traditional Maori saying: 'Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you'. I've also heard a similar quote from Helen Keller who said 'Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows' which inspired me to paint a set of abstract canvases a few years ago, [you can see them here on my Flickr gallery].

I find both quotes so inspirational as metaphors for facing life with a bright attitude whenever you can. The fact that this isn't always simple is precisely why quotes like this mean a lot to me.

(2) 'Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness' [below] is a great phrase to think about just before you let yourself wander into 'self-pity valley'! I used lots of circles on these pages with the Scenic Route rub-ons, the lines of turquoise rhinestones the spotty paper and the cork dots. [Visiting me at home for the first time a friend commented on how I obviously loved circular imagery as there was so much of it evident around the house, from the art-works to the wallpaper on the landing. And honestly, until that moment, I'd never actually realised that before.]

(3) 'A candle loses nothing lighting another candle'. This quote reminds me of something my Dad says about a certain type of person who becomes good at something or who achieves a respected level of competence or skill in a job. He says that rather than being happy to share their knowledge with others who are still learning, they want to keep it to themselves and hold on to it to maintain their own status. It reminds me that if you're secure about who you are, than you shouldn't worry about sharing your skills with others. It's something I try to act out when I'm asked for advice.

I used up more scraps on these pages; cut and then bent some sections upwards to reveal the reverse of the double-sided American Crafts 'Allo' PP, layered it over some October Afternoon and used some Basic Grey 'Obscure' behind the glittery turquoise frame on the right.

(4) 'I don't mind if you don't mind, 'cause I don't shine if you don't shine' / 'the stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun ... when you read my mind'.
Compared to the previous quotes these are just a bit of fun - lines that always stick in my head when I hear 'Read My Mind' by The Killers. Having said that though, it was while I was writing these particular lines down in my notebook that I recognised the pattern I'd created in collecting quotes on light.

I used the rest of the scraps of American Crafts paper which were left over from a Crafty Templates Kit, handwrote onto vellum [which I adhered with Diamond Galze] and added the little yellow file card which part of a Karen Foster embellishment I found in a bargain bin!

Overall, this project cost me next to nothing as I made use of lots scraps, existing stash and things I'd swapped with friends.[James, on the other hand, had paid for all those clothes which the tags came from!]. Despite this, the value of the elements was, to me, far greater. Part of the reason Ilove it so much is that I loved every thing I put into it. It's amazing how we hang on to bits and pieces because we really like them. Why is it we feel that using them will somehow spoil them? Surely if we love them in the first place, we won't be able to help loving them in the finished project? [That's the plan anyway!].

Come to think of it, the fact that it is just that: a finished product, is another main reason I'm so happy with it! The only regret I have about that is that I didn't include another wonderful light-related quote which I've discovered since completing it: 'We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own'.

Speaking as someone who has only ever worked within the field of Education I find this quote particularly meaningful. I've always said that when I used to work with children that I recieved as much [if not more] from the experience with them as they did with me, despite it officially being intended to be the opposite way round! I did however pass the quote on to Brass, who said she'd used it on a LO, so it wasn't entirely lost to the scrapping world after all!

I really hope you've enjoyed looking at the pictures [the colours make me think of ice-creams on a sunny day - which is a useful thought right now while it's 3 degrees out there.] And if they, or any of the quotes brought a glimmer of sunshine into your dark winter days then I'm delighted to have been of service.


  1. Your little junk tag books inspire me so much, Julie. I am planning one for the future... hopefully sometime soon rather than remote!

  2. What a great shop to have those fab tags! Love what you have made with them Julie.

  3. You know, I've had some similar tags before myself, stuffed them in a drawer and thought "when I have time, I'll do something with them". I like the "something" you've done with yours :)

  4. love the quotes in this mioni book, really love them super

  5. This is a gorgeous little book, Julie! Now I KNOW I was right to keep hold of all those tags I've been squirreling away for ages. I WILL make something of them.. very soon! :D

  6. Hi, I love your quote tag book, it's so bright and cheerful. I really like the quotes too, inspirational.


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