Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Window to My Soul…21st Century Scrapbooking

In a world where we are bombarded by technology and “always on” with social media, I find myself appreciating a new way of sharing and preserving an old fashioned way of life.

A Monarch in the making.

I am a romantic at heart.  That is to say I like to take the simple and routine and embellish it with what I’ll call “life trimmings” to make it more memorable.  Take gardening for example.  I love to garden and can vegetables and jam.  But if you ask me what I liked best about these little pleasures, it would be easier for me to show you than tell you.  Because I trim my life in ways that make me happy.  Let me explain…

A day in my garden rarely begins and ends in a single visit.  Life is busy and I work and have teenagers in high school.  That’s why I planted my garden in the front yard next to my driveway.  I am always on the go and in and out several times a day.  And every time I’m leaving or coming back home, I find it almost irresistible not to walk over and pull a stray weed or take a peek at my tomatoes or squash.

Southern Pumpkins

My favorite moments are in the evenings or weekends, when I can kick off my shoes and walk barefoot in the middle of the garden.  The straw mulch gives me a soft bed for my feet and I can more gingerly walk around the cushaw vines trailing around in every direction.  I have a woven hat, with a lime green band.  It’s mandatory attire for sunny days and makes me smile when I see it in my kitchen hanging on a chair.  I feel happy when I grab it on my way out the door with basket and nippers in hand.

Another mainstay I keep in the kitchen are aprons.  I have a few really pretty vintage ones from the 1950’s and a few more functional ones for messier work.  I pull up my unruly hair in a ponytail and am instantly reminded of my Granny shoo-ing me out of the kitchen as a kid to put my hair up before entering her kitchen.  In my kitchen, I survey the assortment of pots and pans, canning jars, and supplies.  Like me, it’s a work in progress.  It's roomy and has potential to store all my kitchen staples for baking and canning in some organized way.  For now, I make it work with a banquet table and Rubbermaid tubs underneath.  And I’m always on the lookout for an oversized buffet or cabinet that could be re-purposed into a work center that can accommodate more storage.

I see potential in most things in life and enjoy the journey in seeing a dream or vision coming to fruition.  It’s like looking at a blank canvas and instinctively knowing what needs to be added or something that would complete the picture.  Sometimes it will be days or even weeks before I figure out what’s missing from a shelf or a mantle in my home.  But it eventually comes to me…often at a yard sale where I find a small vintage treasure.  You can be sure it will be cheap enough not to break the bank and easy enough to swap out without any sentimental value.  I used to be a huge collector of things.  I still appreciate and have a fondness for antiques, but have also learned to appreciate a more minimalistic environment…from surroundings to thoughts to everything in between.  I enjoy “props” that enhance my setting and help to set the stage for my romanticized way of life.   I recently picked up a scarecrow at a yard sale and added it to the garden.  I have included him in every picture I take while measuring my growing produce and enjoying the view.

Which brings me to my last “must have” accessory…something I take with me wherever I go.  It’s not old fashioned and lacks the beauty and character of an old Mason jar with a zinc lid.  It hasn’t been hand sewn or trimmed in lace.  In fact, it is the opposite of antiquated items I typically gravitate towards.  But this gem is what fuels and powers my creativity and passion for every day living.  As incongruous as it may sound, my i-Phone has become a mobile scrapbook of sorts.  I used to cut pictures from magazines and glue them into journals.  I’d write and mail letters to family and friends to share things happening in my life.  And while I will admit there is a tradeoff in leaving behind a good stock of paper or stationery, the benefits and ease of sharing far outweigh the downside for me.

My kids get aggravated when I want to take a picture.  They can’t understand why I don’t just enjoy the moment.  But for me, it’s all about capturing the moment and remembering why it was special.  And I get that not everyone will understand the importance of a photo shot in portrait mode taken from an i-Phone camera, depicting a basket of freshly picked tomatoes...or why I'll position the leaves of my squash, so that the plump and rapidly growing cushaw can be shown surrounded by a frame of straw.  It’s my way of scrapbooking in the 21st century, utilizing all the tools of a different sort of revolution than that of the industrial age.

But please don’t try to pin me down to a generation or type.  I’m just tech savvy enough to be dangerous.  I can’t master Snapchat, however, Facebook is my friend for sharing the moments I capture.  Instagram and Twitter are close seconds.  I think like the industrial revolution, the mediums and channels for making and doing will always change.  What remains a constant for me is a love and passion for living in the moment and appreciating the natural beauty that abounds if you take the time to see it.  And if I embraced a tech-free existence, I’d miss out on a lot of moments I want to look back on and remember.  It may sound funny, but it’s true.  My i-Phone is the window to my soul…see for yourself…