Lifeink

The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Ideas for Scrapbooking Changes Over Time September 14, 2010

Have you ever said or heard the phrase “They grow up so fast”? Kids aren’t the only ones who change (quickly or slowly) over time, though. Another great example would be pregnancy – possibly the most rapid and visible change a women will ever undergo! Or, for you green thumbs out there, do you love watching your garden go from a square of black soil, to a lush expanse of greenery, to a colorful crop of ripe goodies or fragrant flowers? Scrapbooking a single photo of your garden in full bloom or your child at age four is great, but scrapping a page about how that child or garden changed over time tells a fuller story. And it’s just so much fun to see those seemingly-small changes week by week (or month by month, or year by year, etc.) add up over time to a much bigger change! In the examples here of my weekly belly photo scrapbook pages, if you compare one week to the next there’s not much change. But looking at the beginning and the end of one trimester shows quite a difference! (Click on images for full credits)

It takes commitment and discipline to track changes over time. I’m terribly forgetful – despite reminders set on both my phone and my husband’s, we would often forget to take a picture until right before bedtime, or even the next day. But even if I was tired, or didn’t feel like it, I made myself take that picture. Often it was in front of my bathroom mirror, or holding the camera out in front of my belly myself!

Here are some other ideas of what you could track over time: child’s growth (daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly), your yard, your garden, a single flower or vegetable plant (from planting all the way to blooming), a room in your house, school classroom, haircuts, your body (especially if you’re on a diet or trying to lose weight – maybe pair each picture with your weight that day/week/month?), holiday preparations (photo a day in December?).

All of these examples are things that may not show a big difference day to day, but it’s fascinating to see that series of photos side by side – a vivid representation of the passage of time.

To help you get started, here’s a few templates I found that are perfect for scrapping changes over time (images are linked!):

Here’s one specifically for babies, but could definitely be used for any pictures/theme!

Scrapping with Liz at Scrap Orchard offers this set of templates to scrap your goals:

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are some other changes you can capture over time? Do you have a great template or other resource you can link us up to?

 

Writing Prompt March 22, 2010

Filed under: Journaling,Writing — ashleybarrett @ 11:04 am
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Hi everyone!

I’m still doing the Spring Cleaning Challenge at Nourishing Gourmet but for me, the challenge this week did not merit a post.

So here’s a new writing prompt. This prompt is somewhat adapted from From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the book and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to write excellent fiction.

Take some brief anecdote from your life and write it the exact way you would narrate it to a friend. Let it sit for two weeks. Then pick it up again and try to make everything as concrete as possible, don’t name emotions, show them. Ruthlessly edit generalizations. Wait another two weeks, do it again.

Here’s my first-time results:

I didn’t learn to drive until I was 18 and I probably still wouldn’t have a driver’s license if  various members hadn’t taught/forced me to drive. One night in the summer, I was hanging out with a two of my cousins and a group of family friends around midnight, everyone decided that I needed a driving lesson and we went to the parking lot of a nearby middle school. My cousin, Amber* had her car, a Chevy Impala and her friend Lucy, had a blue Saturn. I started off with Amber in the Impala. She showed me stuff like how to change gears and how to put my foot on the pedals and stuff. I was puttering around the parking lot at about ten miles an hour, things were going pretty well, but I was still terrified. My other cousin Tim*, was driving Lucy’s Saturn. He was two years younger than me and had just gotten his license. He was showing off by driving circles around me, honking and flashing the lights.

Amber yelled at him out her window, “Stop it, jerkface, you’re scaring her!”

After a few more minutes of puttering, Amber thought I might do better if we switched cars, the Saturn was a lot smaller.

Riding in the Saturn felt much safer. The car was smaller and less powerful, so I felt less likely to crash into something. I could even accelerate to twenty miles an hour. After puttering around for a little bit Lucy said, “Ok let’s graduate from the parking lot. Turn onto this dirt road up here.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about, but I turned onto what looked like a dirt road.

Suddenly, the car thudded and the front end dropped several inches. I thought Lucy was going to yell at me but she didn’t. Her and our other friend, Sarah just busted out laughing at the same time.

Kelly said, “Lesson Three: How to back out of a ditch.”

So I got out of the ditch and drove around a little more, I did eventually venture onto the road. As I was confidently circling the middle school, we passed Amber and Tim who were stopped and standing beside the Impala.

The Impala was stuck. It had been a long, wet summer and the car sat up to it’s bumper in mud.

At first we all cheerily tried to help. Some pushed from the back, others pulled from the front and visa versa. The mud was slick and thick. It sucked out shoes off our feet as we tried to push the car. Then we tried digging it out, it took forever and our moods turned sour. We were all covered in mud, except for Amber who wouldn’t help us dig because she had worn her flip-flops with the big red flower. I wasn’t allowed to help dig, my cousins said if I came home with filthy clothes my mom might not ever let me see my cousins again. So I stood by a tree and tried to boost morale by commenting on the irony of the two licensed drivers getting the car stuck. Few were amused and Tim threw mud at me.

We called multiple people for back up. Amber’s brother came with a pull chain but no one had a hitch on the back of their vehicle. Sarah went back to her parents house and got a van which had a hitch, but the Impala was in too deep. Finally, it was like two in the morning by now, Amber called her friend Chelsea who had a big yellow F150 and rescued the Impala.

We were relieved, but tired and dirty. Amber took her car to an automated car wash. One of the ones with the hoses and washed her car again and again. Underneath and everything. Tim and I were quiet while we helped her. Then we went back to the apartment and everyone cleaned up. Stephanie’s bathroom was filthy by the time we were done, but no one cared. We were all happy to be clean and dry and we fell asleep eating Cheez-It’s and watching infomercials.

*Names changed to protect the guilty, but you know who you are. 🙂

Your turn, feel free to share your early drafts and how they progress!

 

My current writing playlist February 16, 2010

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 7:47 am
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Every time I hear or see people doing the Macarena, I’m transported back to a campground dance in the summer of 1996 and to my sixth grade classroom (where I lost a class-wide Macarena contest).

Why? Because music has a powerful effect on our subconscious mind and songs are linked to memories.

You can use the power of music to enhance your writing. For me, listening to the right music makes writing a first draft much more fun. If I take the time to select a few songs that capture the feel of what I’m shooting for with my writing, the words flow a lot easier.

Although I have been doing this on and off since college, I read an article in Writer’s Digest that makes it an official technique. The article included some useful tips for me to engage my subconscious mind even more, like only listening to that music when I’m writing.

I have to make sure selecting a playlist doesn’t become a mode of procrastination. I don’t need two-hundred songs that feel like a windy day. In fact, the fewer the better so my mind beings to recognize those songs and kicks into writing mode.

Earlier this week, I wanted to write something that felt like summer, since we had a huge snowstorm on Tuesday, my imagination needed all the help it could get. So I created my “Summer” playlist. Feel free to listen to it if you’re writing any summer scenes yourself, or if you need a mental escape from winter.

1. Kodachrome by Simon and Garfunkel

2. Good Vibrations by The Beachboys

3. Green Eyes by Coldplay

4. In My Life as performed by Johnny Cash

5. I’m a Believer as performed by Smash Mouth

6. Honey by Moby

Another good option would be to pick an artist, that has a similar feel to what you’re writing and only listen to that artist when you’re writing.

What songs transport you to different times and places?


 

Overextended Prompt February 8, 2010

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 9:03 am
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Here’s a prompt that most of the USA can identify with. I gleaned it from the current issue of Writer’s Digest.

Write an overextended poem. That is, write a poem about someone or something being stretched too thin. For instance a co-worker with too much work to do or a balloon being filled with air to the point that it is about to pop.


Being in the kitchen most of the day definitely influenced my attempt!

Like salad with too little dressing,

we make our lives unpalatable.

Like Saran wrap stretched too tightly

Ready to split at the next gentle tug.

Please let me know what you come up with!

 

Writing Prompt January 25, 2010

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 10:35 am
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Hi everyone!

I found a writing prompt that was so fun, I had to share!

This one is in The Pocket Muse published by Writer’s Digest Books.

Finish the following sentence in the voice of someone ten years older or ten years younger than you: The only thing I ever wanted was …

Here’s what I came up with:

The only thing I ever wanted was for someone to pay attention to me, to give me more than a passing glance. You know what I mean, the way people look at the ring pops and roses preserved in glass tubes displayed by a gas station checkout. No one ever takes me seriously because of my blonde curly hair and pink cheeks. How seriously would people take you if you looked like an overgrown four-year-old?

Looking back, setting Carol’s bug experiment on fire was probably a little much.

Happy Writing!

 

Christmas Music and Rule Breaking November 23, 2009

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 10:39 am
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I’m listening to Christmas music as I write this post. No, I’m not overlooking Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and I’m thankful for Christmas music.

Sometimes, I get a little rush from breaking rules. Like my rule not to listen to Christmas music before thanksgiving, or to put garlic in meat for tacos. And (only occasionally) not making the bed.

I’m convinced you can get a creative rush from breaking “rules” too, at least in first drafts. One of the rules I’m most fanatic about is active voice. So for my writing prompt this week, I’m going to write something intentionally using passive voice.

Here’s what I have so far:

I was here and she stood there

a little grin played on the corners of her mouth.

She peeked at me from beneath the stairs.

Flecks of glitter sparkled on her hands and cheeks.

A piece of red garland hung in her hair.

The light glinted off tiny streaks of tinsel on her shoulder

and evergreen air-freshener drifted through the air.

“Look Mommy! I’ve been helping you decorate for Christmas!”

So I encourage you this week in writing or life to break one of your own rules, just a little one, and see what comes of it.

Oh yeah and if you’re a rebel like me, here’s one of my favorite Christmas carols.

Maybe I really do have Christmas on the brain…

 

Writing Prompt November 9, 2009

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 1:58 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been participating (sporadically) in the November poem a day chapbook challenge on Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer. I wanted to share my favorite prompt from this week.

I want you to take the phrase “Maybe (blank),” replace the (blank) with a word or phrase, and write a poem using that new phrase as your title. Some example titles: “Maybe we really did need a bigger boat,” “Maybe next time you’ll listen to me,” “Maybe never,” “Maybe baby,” and so on.

Here’s what I came up with:

Maybe Someone Else Should Cut His Hair

As the cat bats dirty-blonde tufts across the floor
soft tumbleweeds
My brother rubs his scalp
surveying the damage
Mom stands with her hands on her hips,
“That was not what I had in mind.”

I’d love to see what you come up with! What do you think of this writing prompt and writing prompts in general?