Good morning!  It seems that Fridays sort of creep up on me – how about you?  As you’re looking ahead to your weekend, ask yourself how much time you have set aside for your idea of fun.  Today you will read what my friend and co-author in the Heartmind Wisdom Collection anthologies has to say about her hobby of passion.  Her beautiful title “Running With Scissors” has me picturing Jules creating magic by gliding her scissors across gorgeous designs and beautiful hues of paper.  I’ll let Jules do the talking, though.  When people speak about their own passion, their voice is unique and captures the collective’s attention in a way that can’t be done by anyone else.  

Please welcome, Julie!

Paper, pen, and scissors have always been a part of my existence.  I don’t claim to be Picasso, Monet, or Da Vinci but I’m not sure I could live without these classic inspirational tools.  You can take away the internet, television, and radio, and I’ll be alright, as long as I have my imagination with the liberty to express it at will – I can entertain myself.

My favourite creative outlet is scrapbooking and creating custom greeting cards.  One is an extension of the other.  It enables me to expand on other mediums which I enjoy such as photography, humor, writing, and arts and crafts.  This is not to say that I excel in all of these fields but they all bring me joy to some degree.  Through scrapbooking, which includes journaling and creating cards, I have noticed a progression throughout the years:  my ability to capture moments with my camera has improved tenfold; with or without a pen, my wit is sharper (I love double entendres); I can more clearly express and share my thoughts on paper; and I am continually discovering new artistic outlets.

My mother and sister introduced me to scrapbooking in 1999 when they were both involved with Creative Memories (I love the combination of those two words).  I knew it was a hobby I could sink my teeth into.  I got excited by the blank pages, not to mention the pretty coloured paper, the scissors, and the adhesives.  Let’s go to town!

In the beginning, I would attempt to create scrapbook pages that resembled the examples in the books provided.  I found that my mine never quite looked like the model pages.  I would inadvertently put my own twist on it.  I recall being disappointed that my pages did not look “right” because they didn’t match the examples.

It occurred to me that I cannot fit someone else’s mold and that I was looking at it from the wrong angle.  I needed for my scrapbook page to fit ME.  Good-bye diagram and hello to my own ideas!   The photographs themselves are my starting point.  I study them and let them speak to me.  I will play with the colors, the tone and theme of the event, the personality of the people in the photographs, and of course, my own memories of the experience.  The photographs themselves are my inspiration.  I love reminiscing, then sharing, what I felt in that moment.

One of my favourite pages is from my daughter’s first album.  It is not the most beautiful page from a creative standpoint,t but emotionally, it brings me back to what it’s all about.  The pictures on the page are of an exhausted mother and a one-week old baby.  It was one of my most challenging days.  After 12 hours of what felt like constant nursing, I finally begged my husband to take her for a little while so I could get some sleep.  Sean drove around most of the night with Alexandra in her car seat so I wouldn’t hear her cry.  She would sleep only while the car was in motion; the crying would resume if he stopped.  With a few hours of rest I was able to nurse again and those are the photographs which Sean captured. On that page, I shared my feelings about my daughter at the time and despite the lack of sleep, there was a wave of incredible love that was near indescribable. Every time I revisit that page, tears well up.

Alexandra loves to go through the albums periodically.  She gets a real kick out of reviewing the photographs and reading the anecdotes of her childhood.  I know they will mean that much more to her as she enters her teen years.   She can refer to these albums to seek solace and comfort and be reassured of how wonderful she is.  The albums speak volumes of the love her parents have for her as they trace each moment of her life.  It is such a gift to see her enjoy what I created for her.  It also serves as a reminder to cherish every moment and to live in the present.  That’s how I can best remember not only the event but the feelings attached to the memory.  I was THERE, I LIVED it, it’s MINE and I’m SHARING it.

How do I know that I’m passionate about scrapbooking?  The hours can go by without my realizing that I forgot to eat.  I get lost in what I’m creating.  Time is irrelevant.  Unfortunately, the only time I can afford to do nothing but scrapbooking is when I’m at a retreat.  Where someone else makes your meals and your bed doesn’t beckon you, you can create 24 hours a day, if you wish. I also enjoy the camaraderie with fellow croppers.  We feed off of each other with respect to ideas and encouragement. At the end of a weekend crop retreat, I’m on such a high that I don’t want to pack it in – I want to quit my job and just “scrapbook” for the rest of my days.

Through this creative medium, I have learned many things about myself: although I love what I do and can get lost in it, the creative process can become a chore if I am racing against the clock to complete a project.  I abhor time constraints and must learn to work within its confines. Therein lays my challenge.  Also, the best times of the day are the early morning hours when the creative juices flow with greater ease.

Nothing makes me happier than knowing that a personalized card has made someone’s day.  The recipient knows that I am thinking of them and that time and care went into creating their card.  There are no two cards alike.  As each person is special and unique, so is the card I make for them.  My gift to them is to honour their individuality.

At the end of the day, I am grateful that my creations allow me that artistic outlet I crave and give others joy by celebrating them on paper.

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Julie Duciaume is one of 21 co-authors in the upcoming Volume 2 of the Heartmind Wisdom Collection anthologies.   Literature and the arts played a major role in her upbringing.  Julie feels that she and her siblings were blessed to have parents who valued and highly encouraged and nurtured their creativity.  She wishes this on all children – to know abundance within their own unique creative expression.



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