Why I Champion The Boy Scouts Expansion

This week, The Boy Scouts of America announced that they are expanding their program to include girls. And this includes a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. 

Now, a lot of people think this is a controversial move - but before you start arguing about it, let me share my story and my personal experience with scouting.

I remember growing up and being jealous of my brother when he was going high adventure camping - he got to do so many cool things!

I remember I was upset when I had my Boy Scout knife taken away at girl scout camp - while my brother at the same age was allowed to carry and use his. I remember doing crafts and singing songs at our camp, while my brother was scaling a high ropes course.

I remember selling cookies and then having to pay out of pocket for a week at camp, while my brother used his popcorn selling money (which was deposited into a personal account) to be able to go to camp on the cheap.

The comparisons were large in the differences between our two experiences as young scouts. I dropped out of Girl Scouts at age thirteen because I was frustrated with being unable to do so many things within my Girl Scout Troop. I eventually joined (and took leadership positions in) Venture Scouts and an Explorer Post, which are co-ed high-adventure camping groups, but it's a shame that I had to wait until I was fourteen to join.

This is a longtime coming, and the expansion of the BSA to include girls is so amazing. I'm so excited! Now girls can work towards earning their Eagle Award, which can lead to scholarships and other opportunities. Comparibly, the Girl Scouts has a Gold Award, but it does not hold the same high esteem as the BSA counterpart, unfortunately. 

Here's a note from my Dad I received this week, an Eagle Scout, and longtime leader of the Boy Scouts: "I feel bad for you Jenna, as you would be a fine Eagle Scout like your brother. I guess the organization and I did not move fast enough to make this happen."

And he's right, I would have made a fine Eagle Scout, but never had the opportunity.

In Germany, they just have a group called "Scouts" and ANYONE of any gender and age can join - isn't that a wonderful idea?

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DIY ORG PROJECT FOUR: KID'S CRAFT SUPPLIES

For this challenge, we’re having you use craft supplies normally associated with children. Crayons, fingerpaints, adhesive googly eyes, pipe cleaners, stickers, Crayola markers, glitter, popsicle sticks... whatever you can think of! We want to see you take these simple supplies and elevate them to create something amazing. You have to use at least one craft supply that would normally be associated with elementary school art. You may of course use more if you like! You can also incorporate more traditional supplies into your work as well - but we need to see a minimum of one supply from the childrens art section of the store. When you submit your project for judging, please also send a list of the ‘kiddo supplies’ you used in your project.
As always, there is a $10 budget for this craft. (For that, you could buy that big box of 64 crayons with the sharpener on the back that we all pined for as kids... or, maybe that was just me LOL) and we’re hoping to set a deadline of Tuesday at 5:00 EST for projects to be due. (But, of course, we’re always kind of loosey-goosey on that. LOL!) We’re back to single elimination this coming round, and two of our judges still have saves they can use if they like....
This one should be a lot of fun, y’all! Go back to your childhood and have fun with it!

Again, I feel like I have a disadvantage as I was away all week without access to internet. (I was participating in a week-long Survivor-esque challenge, I'll probably write a blog about it later, but for now, I'm glad to be back in civilization!) So, I had just a few days to think about this and work on this project.

When I first began thinking about this, my mind went to thinking about children, and how children create. But moreso, how children are. They are wild, creative, care-free, and selfless. A child often has very little responsibilities and little to worry about - JUST PLAY! Sometimes, in this busy world, it's very hard to revisit these good warm n' fuzzy memories, when we have work, money stress, our own children to worry about, etc.

One of my friends is having a rough time lately. I won't go into detail, but she's been having a hard few months. I thought I could be selfless and creative and introduce some "warm-fuzzies" into her life and to let her know that I'm thinking about her and support her entirely. I wanted to create a sort of "Emergency Care Package" to uplift her thoughts and cheer her up.

Let's see how I did it!

For this project, I looked at it from a different angle than my past projects. Instead of creating something brand new, I wanted to take ordinary items from the dollar store, beautify them, and turn them into something REALLY special. The budget is the important thing here. I sat down and I made a list of a few items that I would like to receive or need when I'm having a hard time in life, and then I set to work.

1. Sweet Marbleized Heart-Shaped Crayons in Repurposed Container (CHILD CRAFT SUPPLY!)
First, I chopped up a bunch of old crayons and put them in some candy molds. 230 Degrees in the Oven for 15 minutes and PRESTO! Beautifully marbled crayons, shaped like hearts! How lovely! 

For the container, I dug out an empty pimento jar from my recycling and cut out a circle from some patterned paper I designed and printed from work. Then, I modgepodged the circle and decorated the outside with glitter. That's right, I said GLITTER. Apparently, I haven't learned that glitter is STILL THE HERPES OF CRAFT PRODUCTS and now everything in my apartment is GLITTER. It's like a unicorn threw up in there or something.

Anyway, to finish off the jar, I found some gold/yellow jewels at the dollar store and finished up the trim to make it more polished. SO CUTE!

Crayons: FREE (already owned)
Jar: Recycled
Paper: FREE (work perks)
Glitter: FREE (already owned)
Jewels: $1

Running Cost Total: $1

2. "Let It All Out" Journals
I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling icky, sometimes drawing or writing helps alleviate stress and pain. I put together these simple little notebooks of various sizes for my friend to use with her heart-shape crayons and to fill with dreams and feeling and happiness. I love these so much, I printed out some extra for myself! I used scrap paper from my work to create these, and bound them with a simple staple.

3. A Bright n' Beautiful Bouquet
Next, I thought a cheery bouquet of flowers would definitely make my friend feel better! I found all of these items at the dollar store, and with a little TLC, I made a perfect little centerpiece to brighten up a bedside table or desk! I'm feeling better already making these things!

Flowers: $2
Vase: $1
White Rocks: $1
Ribbon: FREE (already owned)
Running Cost Total: $5

4. Extra-Special Self-Care Box
Everyone needs a pick-me-up every now and then, and I thought I would compile a few superlatives and words of encouragement for my friend to read if she's feeling low!

I found this wonderful cardboard heart-shaped box at the dollar store and gave it the same treatment as I did the crayon container. I cut out some patterned paper, modge-podged some glitter, and trimmed with jewels to make it a little bit extra. On some scrap paper, I wrote some special uplifting notes, and have also included a few strips for her to write her own self-affirmations. 

Self-love is TRUE LOVE, BABY.

Box: $1
Paper: FREE
Glitter: FREE
Running Cost Total: $6

5. Made with Love Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ummmm, what's a care package without chocolate, right? This was the easiest DIY out of the entire package. I found an unused canning jar in my cupboard, and cut a circle of patterned paper to dress up the lid. After the cookies were cool, I stacked them inside the jar and wrapped the whole thing with a pretty little ribbon. SO EASY!

Jar: FREE
Cookies: FREE (in cupboard, finally put to a good use!)
Ribbon: FREE
Paper: FREE
Running Cost Total: $6

6. Our Holy Mother of Beauty, Fierceness, and All That is Glamorous Prayer Candle
This part of the care package is by-far my favorite. I'm actually thinking of making more of these, it turned out so wonderful! I created a kind of tongue-in-cheek prayer candle for my friend to have to put a smile on her face, and of course, pay homage too these old hollywood greats. I found this plain religious candle at the dollar store and modge-podged an image directly onto the glass. To dress it up a bit, I added those jewels from before (they were really easy to apply, the jewels came strung on a glue-y line, it make it SO EASY to apply), and IT LOOKS AMAZING! I can't wait to make more of these! Think of the possibilities!

Candle: $1
Running Cost Total: $7

7. Positivi-TEA
And what's a care package without a little pun humor? Sometimes, just repackaging or wrapping a simple gift makes it so much more special to the receiver. I simply made a little label out of the patterned paper and found some vinyl mailbox letters in my craft stash to create some new packaging for this $1 Tea Box I found in the food section of the dollar store!

Chamomile Tea: $1
Running Cost Total: $8

Now to put it all together! I found this sturdy hot pink basin with handles at the dollar store to hold my nifty gifties, and garnished with a bright yellow sheet of tissue paper! How could you not smile seeing this?

Hot Pink Basin: $1
FINAL Cost Total: $9 (UNDER BUDGET WAHOO!)

DIY ORG PROJECT THREE: Photography

This week, our projects are all about photographs and photography! This is similiar to a challenge we ran last season, and it was such a hit - we decided to bring it back!
You have a couple options here. You may choose to do a photography project. Keep in mind, cell phone cameras are amazing nowdays, and with several FREE photo editing apps, you don’t necessarily need a fancy, expensive DSLR camera to produce quality pictures. (Of course, if you have one - feel free to use it!) If you choose this option, we would like to see at least 3 finished, edited pictures in your final project.
OR! You may choose to create a project from photos you already have. It could be framing and matting, creating a scrapbook, build a gallery wall.... the only limits are your imagination! Everyone has special photos lying around - put them to good use and make something amazing!
As with all projects, there is a $10 budget for new supplies. Projects due at 5:00 EST on Tuesday. And you’ll have a judge buddy to help you out again if ya need it!
Next round is a DOUBLE ELIMINATION, so we’ll have our first two jury members!
Good luck everyone!!!

Okay, for this week's challenge, I was in a time crunch. I will actually be without internet/phone service for an entire week and I had only a few days to work on this, and am actually writing this blog post Saturday night.

Given this disadvantage, I'm not going to let it deter me or to make me stressed out or not put as much thought and effort into my past projects. This week is also a double-elimination as aforementioned and I'm not ready to go home yet!

I'm also going to not give up on anything this season - even if it makes me nervous or uncomfortable. I'm not much of a photographer but I have worked a lot with photography being a graphic designer. I'm pretty well-versed in computer editing software and decided to use that to my advantage this round.

Even though I wouldn't consider what I do necessarily "crafting"...I'm on the computer almost 8 hours a day and when I come home from work, I like to step away from a screen and just MAKE with my hands. I didn't want to shy away from using technology, but I didn't want to use it as a crutch this season. When I first started working as a professional graphic designer, it was oftentimes challenging to create personally. I would be SO BURNT OUT every day that I found it hard to be creative in my own time.

I think I've mentioned before that participating in these challenges has awoken personal creativity within me - I've learned to LOVE actually MAKING things in my spare time, and what's even better, I'm actually MAKING SOMETHING FOR MYSELF. Not a client, not an art director, not designing some boring form titled "REMOVING A CORPSE FROM A BUILDING" (which, no lie, is a real thing I've had to work on.)

When I design, I actually have a different process, which is why you won't see any inspiration board for this week's challenge. I usually have to work as quick as I can on projects at work because I'm often given very quick turnaround deadlines (not unlike this project!) and there really isn't time for a mood board, and if there was, clients would refuse to pay for it. (typical, though...my biggest pet peeve when it comes to people's attitude towards graphic designers is when they say "it's easy! it should only take 15 minutes!" Right...)

For this week's project, I decided to create a triptych digital collage series. I'm not too much of a stranger to collage art - its probably one of my favorite mediums to create in, and when someone asks me what kind of art I make, I usually tell them I make "mixed-media art collages". Although, I've only recently been creating them 100% on the computer. I usually physically cut/paste images from fashion magazines and use acrylic paint.  To create these, I used photos from Unsplash and have given credit to the photographers below for the use of their beautiful work.

This series is untitled, and it's meant to be as such. It's more artistic and up to interpretation by the viewer. Art should be arbitrary and mean different things to each person - it should help you feel something you haven't or connect to the artist some way. You should be able to learn something or have questions, or maybe just be really confused.

Maybe you could write a comment below and let me know what this triptych means to you?