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Ugly Ducklings and being a beginner

I do this every year in January .  It’s a ritual that gets me feeling vital and able to contribute.  This process inspires me. As you can see my books ….(almost 30 to date)  include notes, photos, memorabilia, ideas, but never judgement.  When I grew up I loved new notebooks, clean pages and once I had written in them they felt scarred somehow because I didn’t do it perfectly.  Yes I had serious perfection issues that kept me from starting many projects.  I didn’t like being a beginner and going through the ugly duckling phase.  With that in mind,I encourage you to do this but not with judgement.  I start with a blank journal nothing to precious cause that can also keep me from starting. I combine photos because it was the way I chose to scrapbook, more informally , more integrated into my lifestyle.  If I waited for perfect moments and perfect layouts I would never do them.  So I choose to keep them in my working albums where I am more inclined to see them. These books become working reference books that I go to for color and product ideas and inspiration.The blessing for me is that my daughter loves to look through them also.  I find that she really really loves the visual tool and gets excited by the juxtaposition of form and shape.  These books are so helpful to helping me focus, as I cut and glue I am thinking and exploring my world.  I am deciding what I choose to place on the pages, they have merit to me and they excite me.  So cut things out, print things off the internet, no criticism.  I love felt and sequins and to embroider so I created something from the inspiration in these books and  I’ve even included it here for you to see.  It’s an ugly duckling somewhat but I wanted to show you it’s ok to be a beginner and  there is no right or wrong way to proceed.  My french knots have a ways to go but I could see by taking baby steps they were getting better.  That’s all a result of not judging the actions I take and telling myself it’s ok and it’s a process.  Go ahead laugh at those loosey goosey french knots, I did!! Try to do something you’ve always wanted to do and let me know.  I’m standing by. xo

9 Responses to “Ugly Ducklings and being a beginner”

  1. Melissa P says:

    This is such a difficult hurdle to overcome–the fear of failing, of being less than you envision. The feeling of a blank slate, white pages, all waiting for their transformation–it’s paralyzing. I cannot tell you how many blank books I have sitting around. Thank you for the encouragement! Beginning, however halting those first steps, is the only way to get to your dreams and fulfill your inner vision. You set the best example!

  2. AlyGatr says:

    How funny that you write this today! Lately I’ve been feeling so…icky…that I haven’t really been creating. I have SO much craft “stuff” that’s been just sitting there. I’m exploring a ton of crafting ideas and among them is starting to do mixed media art journaling. It’s a little scary because I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing, but I’m willing to play…and you’ve just inspired me to really, really give it a try!

  3. Jennifer, you are such an inspiration and a great influence in my life (as well as hundreds upon thousands more). And today of all days, I needed to see your wonderful post. It’s frustrating to be a beginner but everyone must start somewhere right? I have notebooks filled with many “worse” than ugly ducklings. Every time I pull out my sketch pad and try to begin, I feel like such a kindergartener trying to write my name for the first time. Thank you for your words of encouragement. And thank you for being who you are. You are a very kind, loving , caring and sharing kinda gal and don’t ever stop being who you are or what you are. And I will never stop believing. Believing that I CAN and Will accompolish my Dreams. I will reach for the stars and will hold on tightly once I have them in my grasp and reach. You are my rockstar Jenn! Love ya bunches.

  4. Monique says:

    I love your inspiration books! I love your embroidery, too! I am trying to hand stitch things as well and can get frustrated that my stitching doesn’t look like what its supposed to, but I really enjoy the process and end result of creating something is worth it! I think if I got hung up on perfection I would never make anything because I’m not perfect!

  5. jenny fish says:

    Yes! I am paralyzed at EVERY project I start. Even if I have a vision or it’s something straightforward I have a hard time making that first cut because what if it’s, gasp, WRONG! But really, I think you have said this before talking about mixing fabrics, if it looks good to you, then it’s good. That was freeing for me when you wrote that. I am not creating these things for others, although of course I like the validation, as much as I am creating something as an expression of what is floating around in my mind, what I find beautiful. It doesn’t always turn out as I held it in my mind, but that’s okay. It’s a process. It’s also not always something grand, it might be a detail that I love like a certain hem, edge, button that makes the creation for me.

    I am so glad you shared these. Of course you know how much I love them.

    Oh and my two cents on the french knots, no they are not text book, but they are fairly consistent so from here it looks intentional and a break from tradition. I am glad they make you giggle but I see beauty in them too! I see both sides.

  6. Beautiful, and so well put. The day when one can see life as a process, and actually feel that within their soul, life changes. It took many years and a lot of failures to open my eyes to the process side of learning. I now LOVE mistakes and LOVE working with beginners because I can learn so much from watching how they put things together. And the glimpses into your notebook made my day….french knots and all! Thank you

  7. Lori Porten says:

    Love the idea of these books! Great idea of what to do with all the little snippets I save of this and that… and for my daughter to start too, for all the little things she saves. (no pack rats here, no siree….!) :)

  8. Nancy says:

    You can tell you had fun with these!

  9. ok, those pages are just so wonderful to look at, and they do draw me in to see where you are exploring! I cant wait to try the knots again! I couldnt find a needle where I was over the weekend, so now that I am back home in thread land I will try it again!! and, what is that wonderful orange and white print I spy along the edges of this scrap book. I am crazy about that!!!!xoxo

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