Monday, June 9, 2008

Mermaids...and Beyond--Where a Hobby Can Take You


You never know where the love of a hobby will take you. For example, through scrapbooking I met the phenomenally talented Shimelle Laine. Let me say that she’s done as much or more than anyone I know to change the way we all see our pages. Shim brings a sense of design sensibility and playfulness to her pages that’s absolutely outrageous. Plus, she’s incredibly generous with her time and talent. In addition, she’s a superb journaler. Shim leads with her heart, and her observations on life and the world are stunning. Here’s a tidbit of Shim to get you started as a fan. Note the apt analysis. So Shim. (She's so cool.)

Joanna Campbell-Slan asked me to help judge the first ever Best of British competition, along with Mary Anne and Bev of UKScrappers. Opening each envelope was great fun and we discovered some talented scrappers who came to be great friends. It felt like the UK industry was starting to become real, as if it had just been a velveteen rabbit in the past.

To read more, go to...

So, getting to know Shim, Mary Anne and Bev was really the starting point for the whole Best of British Contest.


Last week, I had another chance to see where my hobby could take me. I was asked to illustrate an invitation for the World Aquarium and Conservation for the Oceans Foundation Gala, to be held July 23 here in St. Louis. The theme was mermaids—and all oceanic life, of course. I have a real soft spot in my heart for mermaids. Have had ever since I read The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. (Incidentally, as memory serves that’s a lot darker story than Disney’s version. I believe that’s where I first encountered the idea that one must suffer for beauty.)

I have to admit, I was a bit daunted by the project. But soon I found my ideas flowing. There’s a blank space for the group to put in the title because I wanted their typeface to match whatever goes INSIDE the invitation. I created the illustration a half again bigger than what will be its final size, which made it easier for me to manipulate the paper in the layers of the mermaid’s tail and the fish. I used the folded paper stripping method in negative space to create the tail and fish.


My free ezine went out last week. We have in excess of 4,300 subscribers. If you aren’t on the list, be sure to email me at for a copy. We had a lot of people go to and ask for a free downloadable copy of the flame pattern on my book cover. The offer’s still open. Just email me at and put “downloadable file” in the subject line so I know you aren’t spam.


Remember—the first person to email me the title of this post (MERMAIDS will do) at savetales@aol wins my summer fun package: my favorite flavor of Crystal Light, a bag of Good and Plenty, and a copy of Jess Lourey’s Knee High by the Fourth of July.


Okay—and next Monday send those prayers and good thoughts my way, okay? I’m having surgery. Jane Cleland has promised to guest blog on June 16, and I hope to have an extra special guest blogger on June 23. (I won’t spoil the surprise--but I think you'll really enjoy this person and her ideas on art, creativity and our children.)


Where has your hobby taken you? What unexpected pleasures have you enjoyed because you found a favorite pastime?


Camille Minichino said...

I'm lucky enough to have a copy of the newsletter already. Great job, many perks!

We'll all be as "with you" as we can during your surgery, Joanna ... I hope it will pass in the blink of an eye and you'll be back to your 500% energy level!

Jess Lourey said...

Joanna, you're going to glide quickly and healthfully through your surgery, with the prayers of all the people who love you cheering your thoughts, even the unconscious ones! Can't wait to have you back blogging VERY soon.