Friday, 26 June 2009

He was here to change the world

Millions of words have already been written and, no doubt, million more will be written about the sudden death of Michael Jackson. He touched so many lives (not always in a good way) and he was simply the most famous person on Earth. He was also a part of my life in many ways.

When I was a teenager I idolized the man, like mostly everyone else did in the 80s. One of my first scrapbooks was all about Michael Jackson! My dream then was to see him in concert and I would have done except for my inability to get good grades in Math (long story...)

When my family finally got satellite TV and I discovered MTV, the very first video I saw was Thriller and I was amazed. It set the bar very high for all other videos and I remember at the time being very disappointed that other videos weren't 15 minutes long and had movie-style credits at the end. And the dancing: WOW. I loved the whole thing and of course bought the Thriller album, like millions of people did.

His connections to Disney are well documented and of course his most famous was the Captain EO 3D video that played for a long time in Epcot. It was some amazing piece of film - directed by Coppola, written by George Lucas and starring music by Michael Jackson himself. How cool is that? I know that a lot of people didn't quite rate the video but I loved it. I also remember watching the "making of" show on the Disney Channel more than once.

I could identify with his Disney obsession, after all, if I had the money I probably would also try to build Disneyland in my back garden! Recently there was that auction that never really happened, of items from MJ's house and within it there were hundreds of items made by Disney especially for him, like a gorgeous Peter Pan installation that was designed especially to fit the space on the inside of the house, with characters flying all around the ceiling - I loved that. I was also so jealous that he owned so many priceless pieces of Disney art!

As I got older I suppose the obsession tapered off to appreciation and while I still loved the music, I didn't quite get the person that he was turning into, with all the weirdness and the court cases. It was the mid 90s and was then when I moved to Florida to work at WDW for a year. I did in fact see Michael Jackson while I was working in Disney, in his disguise as an arab woman and while I wasn't allowed to approach him or even show that I knew who it was, it certainly was an exciting day for me. I was also struck by how small he was in real life. And how big his entourage was.

While living and working at Disney I met a lot of lovely people and among them was this guy who was very cute and also happened to like Michael Jackson. On a trip to the mall he bought the History album (2 disc set) and as he didn't have a CD player, I suggested he come round to mine so that we could listen to the album. It turned out to be a memorable evening, where we heard the whole thing twice (remember, 2 disc set!) and talked about everything and anything. That night things changed and we went from friends to a couple... all because of a Michael Jackson CD.

We got on so well that we eventually got married and I moved to the UK to be with him! One of the first things that we did when we moved to the UK was to go to Wembley and see Michael Jackson in concert - finally! It was an amazing show and I am almost embarrassed to admit that I too cried when he came out, just like you always see his fans do on every concert... it was very emotional and the show blew me over.

So Michael Jackson has always been there, sort of moving my life along. Every year we celebrate our 'anniversary' on the 25th June - the date that we got together to listen to History. We celebrate by listening to the album again and chatting like we did then... and we were doing just that last night... and then woke up to the sad news that the dude is gone.

So lots and lots of words will be written, some good, some bad but there is no doubt that Michael Jackson was a talented artist and perhaps a little bit weird; he was the most famous person in the world and also the most famous Disney fan of all; he was Captain EO and the father of 3 children. He was weird and wonderful and, like it was said of Walt Disney when he died, we shall never see his like again.

RIP Michael and thank you for the music.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Teacher presents

It will soon be the end of the school year and time to get creative and put together something nice for my son's teachers... and this year I am trying to be organized so I've done them already!

I always try to make something (rather than just buy it) and also try to get my son to participate or at least to have some sort of input into what we're doing. This year I had the idea to make photo note cards but I thought that using a photo of my son would not make these note cards incredibly useful to the recipient. I mean, my son is cute but why would any of his teachers want his smiling face on a note card?

So instead I scanned a picture he made in school, which had his name written on the front, and used that as the artwork in the note cards. To make my life simple, I simply uploaded the image to the Kodak Gallery and ordered the note cards there, as I bought quite a few they were very reasonable. But I could have also simply ordered prints and then glued a photo to the front of a blank note card. Or even cheaper is to make my own note cards and envelopes but to be honest, I was into saving time.

Once the note cards arrived, I had to think of a clever way to present them and I had the idea to make some sort of note card holder. After some searching I found this video tutorial on how to make a very cute and easy note card holder
(the tutorial also has instructions on how to make cute postcards for the inside, which is another cute idea). So I quickly whipped up a few of these holders using supplies I already had and voila! Teacher presents all sorted out. All I need to do now is slip them into some clear plastic wrappers, add a nice gift tag and present them to the (hopefully delighted) teachers.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out - they are all different as I'm using different papers and ribbons so the one pictured on this post is just an example. I think I may use this idea more often as it makes lovely presents that are easy to post!

Monday, 15 June 2009

The 80s are back! Or are they?

Last week I was in the shopping center and when I went to one of my favorite stores, I was amazed to find an incredible amount of neon clothes - just like I remembered from the 80s! They had the lot: the legwarmers, fingerless gloves, bangles, head bands... everything in bright pink or orange or yellow. It sure took me back to my younger days.

I know that the 80s are big right now (and I'm not looking forward to shoulder pads again, but apparently they're on the way back) and like all fashions, it will eventually give way to another revival and that will go and another take its place... and so on. In fashion everything old is new again, eventually.

In the scrapbooking world it is often the same thing: trends come and go but somehow the 80s never really come back. I know not many scrappers remember those heady days when we cut photos into shapes, used bright patterned paper for everything and put together paper piecings. Sure, the trend for brighter colors seems to be making headway into the scrapping world, but what about the more embarassing 80s scrapbooking trends? Were they really that bad (like poodle perms) and bound never to return? Do I have to get rid of my Paperkins and page toppers?

To be fair, horrible 80s trends like blue mascara and enormous hair are NOT making a comeback, at least not this time around and the trends focus instead on a more 'refined' version of what we wore in the 80s. I guess as time goes by, we pick the good bits and leave the bad ones behind, and scrapbooking is simply doing the same. But I would just love to see someone cutting photos into cutesy shapes again!

I went into my pile of old scrapbooks to find an authentic 80s layout to use as illustration on this blog post but, like my embarassing 80s photos with huge hair and blue lashes, I think it's best to keep them where they are...


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