Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Christmas Postcard

My first time experimenting with sending a digital Christmas postcard designed with elements from my own painted designs and family photographs. It's always good to keep learning and keep trying something new! I thought I would share it here now that it has been delivered safe and sound to everyone on my Christmas letter list.

Set your VCR and mark your calendar!!! Jan. 10 at 11:45 AM I will be at our local ABC affiliate (Channel 5) in Des Moines taping a live interview for my upcoming Barnes and Noble book signing. I plan on bringing along my original painted scrapbook pages and demonstrating a quick technique. (It's only 2 1/2 minutes so I have to talk fast-shouldn't be a problem)!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

May you have a blessed and wonderful time of celebration this Christmas! It's Christmas Eve, my kids are all tucked in bed and I have the stockings lined up on the living room coffee table. We've spent the last 3 days with family and are looking forward to a few more days of being together. Some of our family didn't make it home as planned-due to the storm in Denver so we get to spread the holidays out even more-not a bad thing.

This month has been a whirl of activity, planning and celebrating. I feel so blessed. It's as simple as that. God is good and somehow standing in church this morning, dressed as an angel while striking a pose looking down on a fake plastic baby-I was struck by how real it all is. It isn't just a story, it is everyday life-Jesus here with you and with me-an amazing thing that ordinary me was so important he became a child. So simple and yet so complex and beautiful. Revel in that today, tomorrow on Christmas day and every day of the year.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Book Signings

We are in the process of getting our first snow and ice storm of the year. That would be the reason I find myself tucked into my studio with a bit of extra time to blog. All the evening activities in town were cancelled. Sometimes people complain about the weather here in Iowa, but I love a good blizzard. Everything is so beautiful. We are all stuck home together. The regular schedule goes out the window and often times we spend our time creating. I've done so many scrapbooks while "stuck" inside during a long storm.

I cleaned off my family and friends bulletin board this past week. You know-this is the place where everyone's Christmas and school photos get posted for me to see multiple times a day as I walk by. I love this spot in my house-photos of all the people we love but it's time for the new rash of Christmas cards to start arriving. I decided to be pro-active this year and clean off the bulletin board BEFORE all the new photos arrive. I'm never quite sure what to do with these photos when I'm done, but this year I pulled them all off and then quickly adhered them to some pretty Christmas patterned paper. No fancy backgrounds, no embellishments, just laid the photos out quickly and stuck them down. And, you know what, it felt good-really good to have all the people we love safely placed in my family book next to my layouts from last Christmas. I think this is a new tradition I want to keep.

For one of the first times ever, I put my Christmas tree and decorations up the week of Thanksgiving. I am kind of in shock that I actually have most of my Christmas presents bought and wrapped. This is soooo unlike me, but I knew there was lots going on the next few weeks and if I didn't do it over Thanksgiving break it probably wasn't going to happen. I still have Christmas cards and some handmade gifts to go, but I'm getting there.

The first two weeks of December is always one of my favorite times of the year. We go to plays, the kid's school and church Christmas programs, celebrate a birthday and go on Christmas home tours. I love this time of year. There is just nothing sweeter to me than seeing my kids singing and doing all the motions to "Away in a Manger". This December it feels like I'm starting a whole new chapter. Yesterday, Nov. 28 Painted Scrapbook Pages was released by Lark Books. It's been so much fun sharing my new book with friends and family who had been there while I spent hours putting this all together. I've had lots of questions lately about book signings and where to buy the book so I figured I best include all the facts here on my blog. If you really want a personalized and signed copy, you can contact me or stop by one of my scheduled book signings here in Iowa. For those of you who haven't had a chance to see the book yet, you can also go to my website and follow the links to Barnes and Noble.

Book Signing Itinerary

Main Street Book Store
615 Franklin Street Pella, IA 50219 641-628-3235
December 7, 2006
Thursday, 6-8 pm

Barnes and Noble Book Signing & Scrapbooking Class
4550 University Ave West Des Moines, IA
Jan. 13, 2007
Sat. 1-2 pm Scrapbook Class
Melynda will be teaching three brand new techniques from "Painted Scrapbook Pages". Learn to paint your own scrapbook paper with such unconventional tools as old credit cards, bubble wrap and marbles. All materials will be provided.
Call 515-226-0162 to reserve your spot for this free class (class size is limited-call soon to schedule)
Sat. 2-3 pm Book Signing and Question/Answer Session

About Painted Scrapbook Pages:
Every scrapbook is a personal treasury, filled with our most cherished photographs and keepsakes. Don’t those special memories deserve distinctive, individualized background displays? Of course they do! With these creative ideas, it’s simple to produce one-of-a-kind background papers. Experiment with almost 40 techniques, from faux finishing (sponging, marbling, crackling) to brushing, stamping, and lettering. Make impressions of a child’s hand on paper for an adorable handprint border. Produce a stunning tone-on-tone effect by scraping drops of paint across the paper’s surface with an ordinary credit card. Photos of the finished pages showcase the variety of looks each technique can yield.

Hope you enjoy the book!

I'll continue my "Scrapbook Strategies" blogs soon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kids + Art = Creativity Boost

We held a Kids art and sports camp at our church today-Camp Power Play. 40+ kids with half doing a sports track and half creating art. For the art track we planned 4 activities- tie dye, journal making, crayon-resist with watercolors and a canvas painted with acrylics. 20+ kids, 4 projects in 3 hours. I'm tired!

What strikes me now after finishing a week of planning, preparation, buying supplies and organizing- there is something so rejuvinating about teaching someone else how to do what you love. Sharing the knowledge, passing on the skills, inspiring a new generation to create-that fills me up. I was exhausted earlier this week and a bit stressed figuring out how we were going to do this all for the first time. But, now, that it is finished, I am refreshed, ready to tackle my own projects again. And, I think there is a lesson in that. Giving back, fills you up. Gives you a new outlook and a fresh perspective. Because I was shopping for new projects, I found supplies that I hadn't discovered before. I was challenged to do something new, because I had to teach it. And, that is truly the best way to really learn something-teach it to someone else.

I didn't accomplish much in my studio this week. I was too busy planning for the kids, but I have a feeling that something even better, something new is going to bubble up next week, because my creativity was stretched by serving the kids. Their smiles, their excitement, their fearlessness in approaching a new project, it all reminds me how to be an artist, reminds me to set aside my adult sensibilities and get messy making cool stuff.

I'm exhausted, but I feel like a new woman. The "lesson for the day"... GO make ART with some KIDS-messy, wild, gluey, art - you won't regret it!!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Strategy #5 STUFF

You know I really like my STUFF-my beautiful paper, rows of colorful paint bottles, intricate embellishments…the list of treasures goes on and on. I’ve got so many gorgeous things to create with and yet, sometimes, they are the very thing that gets in the way. I hesitate before cutting into that special piece of paper. I question whether I really need to add that one more flower from my stash to a page. I tell myself that is exactly what I bought it for, but I still find myself wondering if maybe there won’t be another even more special project to use that item on so I hide it back away waiting for “someday”.

I’m getting tired of waiting for “someday”. I have die cuts I bought for a project 6 years ago still hanging out in my PSB (Personal Sticker Book). I have sticker alphabets that have lost their sticky. Enough is ENOUGH! Last night I started a new mini-book. I can’t reveal what it is for (Christmas is coming…), but I cut up, painted on and glued down some brand new supplies I just bought Saturday. And, it felt good-–really good. No more hording–just using up, creating, playing–getting the paint out of the bottle and on to the page. Getting the photos out of the photo box and on to the page. Maybe it's a bit like a fisherman who is so enamored by the cool colored lures in his tackle box. They look so bright and pristine fresh out of the package, but if you want to catch a fish at some point you have to throw it in the water. I’m not waiting for tomorrow. I have stories to tell and art to create TODAY!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Strategy #4 Remember to Play

When did all this get to be such “serious work”?!? Scrapbooking is supposed to be a hobby and for many an art form, but that doesn’t mean it has to be HARD! We do such a “mental number” on ourselves when we over analyze and work a layout to death. Do it and let it be…a little tweak here and there “great”, but this OBSESSIVE


My handwriting is TOO messy…

That photo isn’t quite perfect…

I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again “Perfectionism is the #1 killer of creativity”. Remember that the next time the negative lies start playing their show in your head. Now “lies” might sound like a strong word, but I’m calling it like I see it. Instead of listening to those lies, use a great little trick I have taught myself and use all the time. Tell yourself “I’m just playing today. Just makin’ a little something for me because I can. Probably not even gonna ever show this to another person-well, maybe my kids. Just gonna’ DO IT, because I CAN.” And, then-have fun and let yourself PLAY! Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect-it’s just PLAY!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Strategy #3 Break Free from Perfectionism

This is where I can really get stuck. Those thoughts swirl in my head “I’m not as good as …”, “If I can’t do it perfectly, why start?”, “It’s not going to turn out exactly like what I want…”. I know it’s probably not popular to say this but too much media really brings this out in me- too many magazines, too much Internet, too many books. Sometimes, I have to force myself to stay away from the library (I LOVE the library!) and I have to go on hiatus from the computer. I have to hide the idea magazines. I rarely ever scrap with magazines in front of me, but even if they are hidden I will find myself comparing my work to others I have seen. I love the artist who explains this perfectionism delimna by telling a story of the Creator who sits on one shoulder and the Critic who sits on the other. Who am I listening to today? Who do I need to squelch? The fact is there are definitely times when I need the critic to come out and help me make decisions-which piece goes to the gallery? What photo do I frame for the living room? What photos tell this story perfectly on this scrapbook page? But, when I’m in the heart of making something, that is when I need to tell that Critic to “be quiet”. (Actually, I want to use stronger language here because sometimes that critic is literally shouting at me, but you get the point.) I’m telling myself today “There are NO MISTAKES in my studio-only opportunities to be more creative than I imagined myself to be”. Repeat after me “There are NO MISTAKES, there are NO MISTAKES, there are NO MISTAKES”… and sometimes it is OK to create something simple and beautiful "just because" (or because you need a gift for your mom tomorrow!) :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Strategy #2 Make Goals and Celebrate Success (Plus-A review of SCRAPPED-the new movie about scrapbooking)

The flowers have died, the chocolate is gone, but the book is still here. My advance copy of my first book "Painted Scrapbook Pages" arrived two weeks ago today. We celebrated in fine style-ate supper together around the table, did homework, and I started a few new canvases. Really a rather ordinary day as a scrapbooking artist living in midwest small town suburbia-celebrating with the people I love. So, there is this thing-this huge thing- in the eyes of other people- A BOOK! Wow-I've now been published-my life must be revolutionized. You know, I'm so pleased to see it finished, it really does look fabulous, but...

"Being published" seems like such an elusive dream for so many. "If I were published, I happy, be satisfied, feel like a real artist..." the list goes on and on. I AM happy to be a published artist. It is the realization of a long held dream and a bit of joy I will carry around always. It wouldn't of happened if I hadn't made goals for myself-little everyday kind of goals-like try something today with masking tape. It is a wonderful thing in my life to have something finished-something that will last. So many of my jobs are things that I do over and over again without any permenance (fix another meal, wash another load, clean up another spill) but has it made me a happy and contented woman-is the answer to bring me lasting joy?!? NO-that kind of joy comes from the richness of my life-my hubby, my kids, my church, my friends and family and knowing that I am living everyday the life God planned for me. If you are looking for that kind of contentment from a publishing experience, you are going to be disappointed.

I watched SCRAPPED last night. Wes Thomsen, the guy who made this movie about the thing that is scrapbooking, so graciously sent me a copy this week. There is so much I could say about this production, but the heart of the matter is that he got it right. He started the movie with all of the typical scrapbooking stereotypes in full force (why would you spend so much time? Why do you need all that stuff?), but gradually he goes deeper and deeper into what drives us as scrapbookers to record our lives. I was touched, I was motivated, I was inspired-thanks Wes for sparking my passion again. I don’t want to give away the ending of the movie, but I do want to share a similar experience.

In the process of creating my book, I had completed most of the technique pages and was to the point of creating actual layouts with my hand painted papers. I had a beautiful deep toned paper-rich browns and blacks- that was begging to become a heritage page so I went to my grandma’s apartment to ask for some clarification on names of some photos she had given me awhile ago. She gave me the accurate names, but in the process out spilled this story-this amazing story of how my great-grandmother came to America. How at age 18 her father bought her a dress and a ticket to America and told her good-bye– go on with your life. How my great-great grandmother had died when she was young and so she was raised by a step-mother with five children of her own. “From generation to generation” I can see how this life story has filtered down into my own life and all because I asked.

You got it right Wes-the scrapbook is the vehicle that carries us into places we would of otherwise missed-rich, unexplored places of our own history and everyday lives. It’s about relationships and story-not about getting published or "success" as the world sees it-but about digging deeper into this amazing, complex life we lead. There is the wealth, there is the richness, there is the passion.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Strategy #1 Overcoming Fear

Fear- every time I think I’m over this one it pops up again. I’ve read that creative individuals often struggle with an extra high sensitivity to constructive criticism and fear. OK-so I get that-I understand it in the intellectual sense, but why then it is still an issue? Why do I keep going back to this every so many years? Why does it flare up again and again?

In our society we don’t often talk about our fears. It is seen as a weakness-a sign of lack of strength or willpower. A wise friend even asked me the other day “so what EXACTLY is it that you are afraid of?” Hmmmm….difficult question, but I’ve come to know what fear sounds like in my head.

“What will she (whoever that “she” might be) think of this latest scrapbook page I did? It doesn’t have any pictures and I used colored pencils for the background. No one else is doing that kind of stuff?!?”

“What will ‘so and so’ think of my newest painting hanging in the gallery?”

“Do I dare donate this piece of art-will someone think that it is ridiculous, ugly, unnecessary?”

“What will someone think when they walk in the house and see this new paint color on my living room wall?”

These conversations go on and on in my brain and it is so hard to stop.

But, I think the bigger your dreams, the farther you want to stretch yourself, the scarier fears you can dream up. My hubby even said to me that sometimes failure seems easier than success, because if success comes our world might change. Yes, the fear of change, the fear of vulnerability, the fear of “what will other people think”?

My goal is to take my fear (I think we all have it and the secret is just to figure out what to DO with it) and turn it into FOCUS. What one thing do I need to do today? What is my next step? Who is it that God needs me to be today? I know that fear is not from Him. He made me creative and He expects me to use the gifts I have. I have been coming back to this verse of the Bible over and over thru the years-anytime fear rears it’s ugly head in my direction.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Yah-I need to kick that “self-discipline” into focus. That’s called time management and goal setting and following through in our modern culture. I need to plug into a bit of that God-given power that says “if it’s OK with God and OK with you-go for it-don’t let other’s opinions, perceptions and questions stand in your way”. I need to wrap everything I do in love-love for my husband, my kids, my friends, and love for my art. That’s FOCUS and that’s going to change my day-today.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Strategies for Actually Getting it Done

It's easy to be passionate about your hobby. It's easy to think about it, dream about it, shop for it and read about it. What's not so easy some days is to actually DO it. What gets in the way for you? Why do you think about it, shop for it and all the rest and still have a pile of photos and supplies staring at you? Scrapbookers everywhere seem to struggle with this-I struggle with this. What gets in our way and keeps us from doing our craft? What keeps us from avoiding our art? I LOVE scrapbooking, and yet sometimes I'll admit I just don't do it. I can't get started. I dream about the "someday when I have an entire weekend or a whole week to myself" while the photos and supplies keep piling up.

I have taught scrapbooking, stamping, painting and art classes for years. I have taught or experimented with about every technique out there and still I struggle with "getting it done". Every time I get together with scrapbookers I hear this same frustration over and over. "I can't get it done". "I don't know where to start". "I'm just not sure what to do with this." "I don't have time". "If I had more space or if I was more organized or if I had this cool tool-then I would get my scrapbooking done." I'm quite certain that more supplies isn't the secret to actually getting it done. I think the real problem is the story line playing in my head.

How can I change the story line in my mind? How can I actually start to get things done? I think this is such a crucial question-not only for me personally, but for the scrapbooking industry at large. There are only so many supplies that any one room (or bag or closet) will hold. Eventually, we will get on overload and what happens is not a burst in creativity and actual creating..."overwhelmingness" takes over. We give up.

Strategies-other industries/businesses have strategies-plans for "how to get things done". But, I think there are some different realities for the craft world as a whole and my own personal studio in specific. I'm going to use my blog over the next few weeks to share some ideas and thoughts that have helped me in the past to actually get things done-hopefully you'll get some new ideas and I will get some more motivation myself. Maybe together we can scrapbook with passion... without all the junk getting in the way.

Strategy #1 Coming Monday...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Excerpts from my quickly jotted notes Sunday AM before heading to last day of market...

It's all just a swirl-the colors, the people, the conversations, the hard to stay focused. Asking myself "What do I need to see? Who do I need to talk to?" Interjected with "look at this", "sit down try that"...too much to absorb-overloaded senses=artist on overdrive.
overheard comments
random thoughts
paths to walk down
doors to close
rapid fire machine gun style
idol worship "rock star" scrapbooking divas
money-lots & lots of money
it's just buisness
passion & soul
bohemian & gypsy
tired sore feet
old friends new friends
brilliant reds-soft watercolors
packaging, marketing, huppla, cheerleaders
FREE this and FREE that
sell your soul to the marketplace
almighty dollar
books-how to-technology-over my head
how do I do that?!?
how will I ever afford that?!?
rebates/coupons/desire/covet/plan for future
What is FUTURE???

Where do I go from here?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Summer is supposed to be a time to slow down, savor, enjoy and soak in the sun. I feel I should apologize for my delinquency in updating my blog, but seriously we've been having so much fun "living life" there has been little time to record and savor and share the latest. It seems such a cliche to say our summer has "flown by", but it really has. Here we are-half way thru and my head is still spinning. We had a blast at the 32+ (not sure I should of counted...) Little League games we attended-we were averaging 4 a week there for awhile. Brenda and I have started "Art Camp" once a week for 6 weeks this summer. We have 20 kids painting and drawing every week. Check out our "foot painting" day-what a blast, but I'm quite sure it will be a very, long time before all the paint is gone from my backyard bricks!

The real benefit from teaching kids art is that I think I learn more than they do. Watching their energy and experiments, jumpstarts my creativity every time. They have NO FEAR and just dive in and MAKE STUFF-I sooo love that!

Last week I was gone from the studio everyday because I had the priveledge of spending the entire week in the Amana's attending a watercolor class with Master watercolorist Wendall Moore. I went last year, but it seems to me that I soaked up even more info. this year. I really played with color and learned how to use watercolor to get the bold, brilliant colors that I love. The best part of the week-my name was pulled out of the "hat" and I got to pick one of Wendall's paintings to come home with me. Yes-it's mine-all mine :)

Here is Wendall doing one of his daily demonstrations-mesmerizing really to watch him in action.

One of the other reasons June has been such a crazy, busy but wonderful month-I also shot my first wedding ever! My cousin got married here in Pella and asked me to be her photographer. It was a gorgeous summer day with a reception out at the lake. The light was beautiful. Totally fun reception with dancing and great food. I took so many photos-couldn't resist with such fun subjects. Everyone was having such a good time it wasn't hard to get incredible photos. What a beautiful bride...

Tomorrow is a day I have been anticipating for over a year. The GEMS Girl's Club Counselor's Leadership Conference is being held here in Pella, IA. I have the privilege of sharing my thoughts on creativity and doing a project with over 100 of the attendees. Can't wait! Here is the cute clipboard project we are going to do with the "True Blue" Scrapbook with Passion paper.

I have boxes of clipboards, bottles of Plaid paint (BIG bottles!!!) and yards of cut ribbon all boxed up and setting on my studio table ready to go.

I thought you might all like the instructions and supply list, so here is a little special treat from me to you...


Clipboard Instructions-Melynda Van Zee

1 5 x 7 clipboard
7 six in. pieces of ribbon
Plaid Folk Art Sterling Blue #810
1 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 piece of “True Blue” Scrapbook with Passion paper (from Sugar Tree)
1 clothespin
1 small blue flower
1 pop dot or glue dot
1 GEMS tag
Mod Podge
Foam paintbrush

•Paint front of clipboard and topside of clothespin with Sterling Blue paint. Tip edges of GEMS tag with small amount of paint.
•Tie ribbon with double knots on the clip.
•Apply Mod Podge to clipboard and place paper over top. Smooth with hands.
•Use pop dot to attach flower to tip of clothespin.
•Apply Mod Podge to back of GEMS tag and adhere to paper.

2006 Melynda Van Zee

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Galerie opening

There are somethings that are on my "someday when" list...that list that you really hope will happen, but you are just not sure it really will. One of my top things was to "someday have work for sale in a gallery". I'm so excited to report that last week the "Galerie" in Pella opened its doors and I am one of the featured artists. I signed my name to the gallery wall and watched as my work was hung all over the gallery. She accepted my tulip photography, a watercolor piece and over 10 acrylic paintings. Tulip Time was this weekend so the gallery was swamped. Several pieces sold so I couldn't be more pleased! The really double cool thing about this gallery is that it happens to be located in the same store front that was the scrapbook/stamping store I taught at for years. There is now a new scrapbook store in town (owned by uber-talented Gail) located on a different side of the square. It just seems so fitting to have more of my work in this space. I've displayed layouts and projects here for years, and now that I'm taking my "next steps" into more fine art work, I have the opportunity to share it here as well. I couldn't have done it without the help of my friends and family-THANKS!

Photography Copyright 2006 Melynda Van Zee

I couldn't post without adding some quick shots from the weekend. Tulip Time is one of my favorite times of the year for taking photos. My hubby even volunteered to put on his costume and scrub streets this year :) It's taken me a few days to recover, but I'm glad to report I have all the costumes washed and hung away for another year. Yah!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Circles of Women

I spent the day yesterday in Newton speaking to the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I brought tons of photos and pages and shared photography tips for capturing the "decisive moments" with their kids. I always start my talks on photography/scrapbooking by sharing why it is that women need to create. We were made to create. We can't help it. It rejuvinates us in ways that are hard to describe. I had a conversation with a new friend who described it this way "When I stopped creating I started getting fearful. Fearful of all the bad things that might happen to my family. And, once I started creating again-the fear went away." Why as women do we feel the NEED to justify our creative time???

The amazing thing was that I spent the morning encouraging and inspiring the women at MOPS to celebrate where they are at right now in life and then I go shopping with 2 boys in tow and I am encouraged by a store owner who tells me she was the mother of 3 boys. So, as I'm carefully directing them through a "pretty shop" (they needed to use the bathroom in the back of the store), she is smiling and encouraging me. Telling me her boys are in college and graduating from high school now. These days are going fast she reminded me. Put me in the right frame of mind to see my youngest son coming out of the bathroom with an entire strip of toilet paper wrapped around his head (he was trying to stop a scab from bleeding on his forehead)! Circles of women-helping each other out during the time of life they are in-whether they are bring a new baby into the world, planning a wedding, sending their youngest to preschool or saying goodbye to a college freshman.

The tulips are up. Spring is here. Gotta get out the costumes. I'm put together these pages with my new Scrapbook with Passion paper and brought them to the scrapbook store in town to prepare for the masses of tourists that will be descending on our town in the next two weeks. I love Tulip Time!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Life is FULL

My "to do" list is long, my studio table full of stuff to finish, I need to drive kids to ball, and school is full, but oh so good. The sun was wonderful yesterday. After much begging, I took off with the little boys to a local park. They played in the water, found some sticks and just had "boy fun". Maybe I shouldn't let them take photos of me with my digital, but when they ask I couldn't refuse. Looks like I'm really "working hard"!!! If you would of seen their clothes and boots after this little adventure-you would KNOW just how much laundry gets done around here! Can't wait to scrapbook some of these photos!

Tulip- Melynda Van Zee Copyright 2006

I spent the morning sharing my newest artistic creations with a local gallery owner who is opening "The Gallerie" in my hometown in just a few weeks. I'm just estatic that she is willing to hang my newest tulip paintings in the gallery, so make your plans now to head to Pella for Tulip Time 2006 and when your here getting bakery yummies stop in at "Times Remembered" (the COOLest scrapbook store in town)to pick up some Scrapbook with Passion paper, and stop in the gallery to take home a "Melynda original" :)

Yes, I keep getting "Scrapbook with Passion" paper sightings :) So FUN! For those of you here in Iowa, I know for sure that the paper is now available here in Pella at "Times Remembered" and "Scrap This, Crop That" in Des Moines, IA. Let me know when you spot it in other stores so I can keep everyone updated. For those of you not in my local area, Sticker Planet (a mail order and internet scrapbook supply company) just released the Girl and Boy lines as part of their Summer Sneak Peek

I found out this week that the offical release date of "Painted Scrapbook Pages" will be 11/28/06-just in time for Christmas. You can check out the front cover and read about my book here Painted Scrapbook Pages.

My thought for the day from my Luci Swindoll journal "Live fully every moment. If we don't live in the moment, we'll lose it and it'll never come again."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

proud to be a scrapbook artist...

I am proud to be a scrapbook artist. I will stand up and admit I love to take photos. I will admit I spend way too much time playing with paper, pens and paint. This is my family, my life and my art. It is who I am and who I might want to be in the future. It is who I love and what I think...

"An artist is one who looks at life. She's interested and interesting. When a person is interested, she asks herself questions about life. She's curious about her own philosophy. She studies what is in front of her and sees deeper than the outside shell. She wonders. Ponders. Hunts. Turns things over to see what makes them work and what value they are in the overall scheme of things. And when a person is interesting, she talks about what she has learned in an enjoyable way." Luci Swindoll

That's who scrapbookers are-artists interested in looking at and pondering their life.

Embrace your artist viewpoint today.

Wonder about your life and the life of those you love.

Play with your paper and tell your story.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

dreams, plans, hopes...

I've been reading a new book-it's all about asking for what you want. Now, I'm an Iowa girl. Born and raised in small town Iowa with a cornfield in the backyard, school next door and a baseball diamond up the hill. Iowans work hard, stick together, and follow the rules. Iowans are not "in your face", we are giving, we think of others first, we know where we come from and don't always dream big about the future. Now, I LOVE living in Iowa. I love the sunsets, the rows of corn, the gently rolling hills. I love the tulips that bloom every year all over my hometown. I love the natural beauty that surrounds me. I love the people. Good people, who really truly care about you and love you. I love being near to our extended families. I love raising my children in a safe place with excellent schools and a vibrant church.

But, this book, encouraging me to ask for what I want and expect that I will get it. Learning to not take NO for an answer. Learning to plan specifically for the future. I have so many thoughts, so many ideas, and such a rich life already. I was not taught to ask for what I want. We were grateful, thankful, and humble for all we had been given. And, yet I have found as I have embarked on this business and art career that everytime I truly had a vision for the next big step, God has been there handing it to me. I may have worked hard, I may of asked lots of questions and placed myself in new "out of my comfort space" situations, but the reality is-my dreams of a paper line-happened. My dreams of a book-happened-much sooner than I ever dreamed. My dreams of bringing my classroom teaching to a bigger audience-it's all happening before my eyes. It's happened because I dared to dream bigger than I thought possible. It's happened because I asked. I asked my family and friends to help me. I asked to show my portfolio to people I had never met before. I asked people their name and what their job was. Asking is one of the hardest things in the world for me to do. We think we need to be able to do it all by ourselves. But, that's not the way this world works. We were created to live and work in community.

I feel compelled to keep revising my plans and thoughts for the future. I've been wanting to put together a visual dream book. A plan with pictures-what I want my studio to look like, the house of my dreams, dreams for my family, the path for my artistic future...but you know that seems so bold to me. It would be asking-thinking outside the framework that I currently know to be my life. It might push me out of the familiar, the "way we've always done things" and if you know anything about Iowans they love to do things "the way we've always done things". I'm used to scrapbooking the past-where we went, what we did, what I felt about that event, but today I feel led to scrapbook with passion about my future. Where do I want to go? What will it look like when I get there? Recording the past helps me to reflect on my life and prioritize what is important to me-that's what I love about scrapbooking-it focuses me. But, this book, this "my future life" book, might take me places I've never been, it might stretch me to new heights, it might challenge me to be exactly who God meant me to be-rather than concerning myself with who everyone else thinks I should be. Now, I really probably shouldn't have told you all about this book, but one motivator I have learned over the years is that if I tell someone I'm going to do something, it actually gets done. And, so I'm going to keep painting (working on a series of tulip paintings right now and finishing up final edits of the book), and I'm going to focus on my future-with pictures in a scrapbook. Wanna make one too? I promise to show some peeks at "My Future Life" book on the blog in the future, but I want to see your pages/book. If you email me, I will post some "My Future Life" pages right here on my blog. Like always you can send me any cool stuff at

Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Birthday!!!

It's what we call "Birthday Weekend" around here. Two of my closest friends and I all have birthdays within 3 days of each other. We celebrated together at my house Sat. with cheesecake & more!!! Brenda designed this adorable clipboard as my birthday present. It says "True Blue Friend"-I was so excited when she showed it to me-of course she was teaching the class how to make it last weekend and I was sitting in on the class and raving about it and she finally said "Well, it IS your birthday present!!!" A girl couldn't ask for better friends... :)

And, just because I is what I made for Brenda. We were actually scrapbook store shopping together when I found the jumbo letters and I showed them to her. "Look here is a Big 'B'!" She looked at me and said "What would I do with something like that!?!" Well, I bought it anyway...simply because once I get an idea in my head, I just need to carry it out. She said she loved it...guess you'll have to ask her for sure (sometime when I'm not around!!!!)

I'd show you photos from the party, but I can't. Yah-we have secret parties around here. Drew said to me while I was getting ready "Mom, are you having a girly, girl party?!?" Oh YES we did!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

JDRF Crop for the Cure

We had such a blast in Des Moines this weekend teaching classes at the Crop for the Cure event. It was FABULOUS getting to meet all of you and sharing the new papers with you. If you didn't get to make it this year-this is definately an event to mark your calendars for next year. Brenda and I taught 2 classes each. She taught the adorable Big and Small Clipboard classes and I taught a Scrapbook with Passion Photo Canvas class and a layout class where we completed 3 one page layouts. I promised to post some samples from our classes so HERE THEY ARE...

Big Clipboard using the new Girl papers...

Photo Canvas class-This layout is adhered to a Fredrix 12 x 12 canvas.

Scrapbook with Passion Layouts

I had lots of questions this weekend like "where can we buy the papers here in Iowa?" "When are they going to be here?" and
"When are you teaching more classes???" Everything is so NEW that I just got the paper myself on Monday!!! Hang tight...papers and classes will be coming soon to a scrapbook store near you!:)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It takes t i m e ...

I was listening to an interview with Angie Peterson on the Designer Zine site this week. She was telling the story of writing her first book. I think she said she signed the contract in late August and had to have everything done like 2 months later-including all the scrapbook pages for her "Book of Me". WOW! So different from my experience...I've been working on my book with Lark for over a year now! They met me and expressed interest last Jan. at CHA in Atlanta. I worked up a book proposal, which I sent in March. By late April, we finalized the contact and I wrote my first chapter in the summer. I remember sending my first pages to be scanned right before summer CHA in Chicago. At that same summer CHA, I met the guys at Sugar Tree and they expressed interest in doing the paper line. They came and visited the studio in September and I had the first lines to them in early Dec. By January I was sending off the last of the layouts and the last painted papers.

And now, it is March 1. The paper came Monday-a box landed in my garage. I sent off the last chapters to be edited on Monday as well. The photo shoot for the book is scheduled for March 6 & 7 and I have a convention to teach at this weekend. (Can't wait to teach my first classes with the Scrapbook with Passion paper!!!!!!!!!)

The point of all this storytelling is that "things take TIME"! Yes, when designing in the scrapbook world you have to keep working, keep doing what you do and things will happen. The thing that is great about this is that I can design and still "have a life". I think balance is so important. I don't want to be one of the "tortured artists" who has a lifestyle and family out of control. Not that I've always got it together around here-that is SO FAR from the truth (I DO have 3 boys in my house!!!), but I work hard for balance. I don't want my kids to suffer because I'm too busy for them, but I also refuse to stop creating just because I have a family. Scrapbooking, painting, paper are a part of who I am. It helps make me "me". Everyday is a delicate balance-a push and a pull from all the different facets of my life wanting and needing my attention.

Enough introspection...I have some class samples to do, and a visit to the studio of one of my favorite local artists-I can't wait!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006


Whoooo!!! It was a blast to see the Sugar Tree catalog the first day of the show. You all keep asking about it so I scanned it for you my "out of town friends". You see if you lived here-you would of seen it by now because either my mom, best friends or hubby (he actually took it to work!?!) would of made sure to show it to you :) Who needs a Marketing Dept. when you have your MOM!!!???!!! Anyway, here is the cover and because you begged...the collections too!

The papers will be shipping in the next two weeks so you should be able to find them in your local scrapbook store around the beginning of March!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


What can I say!!!!!! We DID Vegas! The view from the Eiffel Tower, the Bellagio fountains, the SHOW, the PAPER LINE!!! Parties at the Tao (Venetian), PF Changs, the Hilton, the Convention Center. (I ate way too many hors d'oeuvres). I have so many photos...I will be adding more photos the next few days as we swap our favorite photos around. I haven't blogged yet, simply because I have been sleeping! Can you say EXHAUSTED!?! Two hours of sleep in 36 is NOT ENOUGH! There is just so much to see, so much to do and so many people to talk to at these shows that it's almost impossible for me to describe it. I totally LOVE shows-the excitement, the hype, the people and the over stimulation, but then I have to come home and just DECOMPRESS for a few days. I am not the “party every weekend, hit the town“ type and then to go to Vegas where you walk miles every day and have 2 parties every night-well, this gal needed some serious unwind time.
"Fuzzy photo alert" I think my photographer was so excited the camera shook!
I have to tell you that it was totally cool to see my paper line hanging on the wall in the Sugar Tree booth. The guys did an awesome job featuring the papers front and center and it was just so wonderful to meet so many people as they came to the booth. It is just really an unbelievable thing to see something you have worked so hard for, dreamed about so long, and then to see it "live and in person". Oh–one of the other TOTALLY COOL things was to see the Sugar Tree catalog. Ed (bless you Ed!) picked my design for the front of the catalog. They put together a beautiful 2 page spread of all 16 papers on page 2 and 3. I couldn't have been more pleased with how they put it all together!

I also got to spend some time meeting with editors from magazines, meeting fellow artists, catching up with my 2 Peas friends, and checking out all the awesome new scrapping stuff. One of my favorite things to do at these shows is to spend some time buried in the booths of the paint companies that come to the show. I LOVE paint and I learn so much everytime I walk in a booth and ask them to show me what's NEW. I was so inspired and can't wait to show you all some new painting tricks and supplies.

I'm in the midst of planning and gathering all our needed supplies for the JDFC Crop for the Cure in Des Moines. It's coming up-only 3 weeks away and I can't wait to meet the likes of Donna Dewberry and hang with painter extrodinaire (who is organizing this feast of creativity, scrapping and painting) Laurie Speltz herself. I had the awesome privelege of taking a painting class from Laurie last April-this girl ROCKS! My mouth drops when I see her work (and the great thing was she actually taught ME how to do some of it!)

Entry into the Tao restaurant where we went to a party thrown by Sterling-book publisher.

Close-up of the gorgeous floating flowers and candles that lined the entry.

My highlight-going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I "know" it's not Paris, but it's as close as I've come...unbelievable view!

Me-pretending to be in Paris!!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Imagination Celebration Projects

I just finished up my projects for the Imagination Celebration Silent Auction. The wonderful Z Becky Brown sent me this gorgeous purse to design.

Back View
Side View
Front View

Where Your Heart Is/Imagination Project sent me the lamp to design. Both designs make me happy!!! (And, isn't that the key to anything we make...does it put a smile on my face or on the face of someone I love!?!)