Hello lovelies, and welcome to Larkindesign! I am so delighted you are here.
Hi, I’m Theresa of Larkindesign from Kernersville, NC where I live with my four kids, one awesome husband, two cats, a dog, and a bunny. And occasionally our cat brings us pet salamanders. When I am not calming chaos I am in my studio, playing with photos and colors and embellishments. This scrapbooking thing is my passion and I love inspiring others to feel the same way!
My scrapbook journey has been almost lifelong. I have always loved gift wrap, pens and papers, and stationery products, and have always been drawn to color, pattern, and structure. I studied Interior Design at Meredith College, Raleigh, NC, and worked in that field for about 10 years. I worked in healthcare and government, working with clients to develop office spaces, libraries, public health centers, emergency departments; some of my high profile clients included the SARS/Anthrax lab, Department of Education, and the White House.
About fifteen years ago I left the Interior Design field to become a stay at home Mom. I still needed a creative outlet for my love of color and pattern, and I quickly discovered the card-making and scrapbook hobby! One of my former co-workers was making baby shower invitations and wedding announcements, so she brought in some of her amazing creations to work one day and I saw all the beautiful colors, layers, stamping, and made my way directly to the craft store! In no time I was making cards, and then scrapbook pages; my collection of products grew from a box on the dining room table to the third bedroom overnight. I welcomed the opportunity to express my creativity while documenting life as I was experiencing it.
Note: TW sexual abuse and intimate partner violence
These days memory keeping has come to be even more important in my life. I was divorced from my first husband in 2010 and attended seminary for a few years. I knew I wanted to minister to women in some capacity, but was searching for my calling. We studied many of the passages in Scripture where women were treated so poorly by people who claimed to love them – their fathers, brothers, husbands, and even sons. One of my fellow classmates told me he thought I had a gift: that the experiences of those women jumped off the pages to me and I was able to make out the stories of their abuse in ways that others were blind to. In my final semester, I would make the realization that I too, had experienced sexual abuse as a little girl. The realization of that almost destroyed me, and I had to leave the seminary very suddenly so I could practice self-care.
I sought out intense therapy and began the hard work of identifying, speaking, and acknowledging what had happened to me. By now I was remarried to my very best friend, Alan, who sat with me and was present with me through every one of those realizations and sessions, he wept with me and listened to me, he was angry with me, and he helped me identify how those experiences had shaped me, and how they were still impacting my life. We needed a plan to get me through those days of intense therapy, to help me find hope, and the one thing I knew I loved to do was scrapbooking. I sat in my studio day after day and wondered what I was going to do next, what could I even do as this broken person who was feeling so very small? And so I turned on the video camera, opened my albums, and began sharing my work here online.
Out of that Larkindesign as you see it today was born. I began sharing my process videos on YouTube, writing about those layouts here on the blog, and a wonderful thing began to happen. There were some days I still thought therapy was going to destroy me, but then I came home and printed my photos and played with pretty products, and created these beautiful layouts. I began to work on completing albums and realized that I had albums filled with lots of really good, amazing, powerful memories. Oh yes, there were places in my life that seemed unbearable, but in between, the moments I had chosen to photograph, were moments of incredible beauty and joy. My albums revealed to me the width, depth, and breadth of life.
You have probably heard of PTSD, and survivors of abuse are known to experience the symptoms and realities of PTSD much like soldiers who return from war. Recovering involves identifying the triggers of that PTSD and learning how to cope with PTSD so that the survivor can live a full life. Our brain does this pretty amazing thing, if you have ever had an accident you probably know that your brain makes it almost impossible to remember the exact moment it happened, but your body remembers. When faced with the possibility of that happening again, your body might flinch, or the classic fight or flight becomes engaged. Sexual abuse can cause the same type of responses, and because sexual abuse occurs within a context of other abuses, that response can be caused by a variety of different factors, many might be unknown. One tool that is incredibly helpful in managing PTSD is the act of grounding, which is reminding the body and the brain that everything is ok around us. You may have heard of the suggestion to touch something, smell something, hear something, taste something around you as a grounding exercise to help deal with anxiety.
Well, I have found the act of memory keeping to be a sort of grounding exercise for me as well. The act of taking photos, printing photos, creating layouts, journaling, working with all the beautiful papers and embellishments, is incredibly therapeutic. I have found pocket pages hold an awesome power for me because it is a habit, a weekly practice that I do on a regular basis, and every week that I document is another week that I can say, “yes, life is good.”
These days I create memory books for our family and myself and share my projects online so others might be inspired as well. Being a part of this community has been an amazing and empowering experience and I am so thankful to you for being here! It is my sincerest hope that your memory keeping will help you feel inspired, grounded, and creative.