I arrived in Pennsylvania late Wednesday night, so I wouldn't have to rush Thursday morning to make my 10:00 appointment at Ursinus College. And so we begin…
Thursday was almost a blur thanks to the oppressive heat and humidity and the Pennsylvania roads. I will preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I normally don't get lost, in fact, I consider myself quite the "navigator", but someone must have slipped Jack Sparrow's crazy compass into my car, or into Google Maps…, because I ended up everywhere but where I needed to go. I'd turn one way only to find a dead end. I'd think I was back on the right track only to find that the street I thought I could use was one way – in the wrong direction. Let's just say it got to the point where I broke down and made a $12.95 investment in a Metro Philly map, and yet… that didn't even seem to help, so I guess I'll chalk it up to good old O.E. (Operator Error).
I did make it to Ursinus, but with just enough time to walk across campus to the library, where I was to meet with the school historian to go over some of my ancestor's records. The experience was amazing. To quote Jack Nicholson, reading about my great-great grandfather, "…makes me want to be a better man", or in my case, woman. He had an amazing, though short, life and made such a contribution to his community. It made me think seriously about what I could do to "make a difference", if even just to one person, so we'll see where that takes me, but for now I'll concentrate on my two little buddies. Despite all the information I was able to gather from the school records, a few inconsistencies remain, so my search continues.
By the time I had finished in Collegeville, I had a little extra time, so I headed towards Valley Forge, hoping that the hotel would let me check in early – they did. I only had two classes on Thursday evening….CK's Block Party and Monogram Madness.
CK's Block Party (3 out of 5)… I can only describe the instructor for this class as the Energizer Bunny on a sugar high. I don't know if she was nervous, or just wasn't a good instructor, but she was talking so fast and taking breaths so infrequently, that I felt out of breath by the time our class was over.
Out of all the classes, this was the most design based and focused on how you can use squares and rectangles in your layouts to create movements and symmetry. The layout was pretty cool, but we got so wrapped around the proverbial axle (at all the wrong points) that we never got very far, though we did have the instructions, so I am in the process of finishing it up.
Tips from class - You can use the index prints from your developed film as additional space fillers/embellishments on your layouts. Also, you can stamp an image on a square piece of paper, cut it into four pieces and then used glossy accents over top of each piece to make them look like tiles – very cool effect.
Monogram Madness (2 out of 5)… This class was slightly misleading. I figured we'd be making one of those super-cool chipboard monograms that are embellished to the hilt, but alas, this class focused on stamps and we spent the first 10-15 minutes cutting out stamped images. The layout that we made was OK, but I found the most beneficial information came in the form of some cool tips that our instructor shared with us. For those of you that stamp a lot, this was probably obvious to you, but to a "non-stampers" they were some pretty neat tricks.
For example, to add a pattern to stamp, you do the following:
You can "kick this up a notch" and add a border around your image by taking a dark marker and coloring the edges of the stamp (kind of like you would do to a piece of paper and an ink pad).
Who knew stamps could be so versatile?!
Friday started with a bang…literally – courtesy of Mother Nature. A line of violent storms came charging through Valley Forge during the VERY early morning hours on Friday. It woke me up and, as I would find out later than morning, knocked out power to the convention center and adjoining hotels. Let's just say we were all a little worn out by the time the day actually started.
More to follow…