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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Layers and More Layers

I love the look of clean and simple pages.  But when I start to create a page, I just can't help myself - I want to add lots of layers and details.  And when I started following the Lovely Layers class at Big Picture Classes, I just wanted to create even more layers.

So when I saw this week's sketch at Studio Calico, my first thought was that I would pass.  The inspiration layouts (both the original by Mandie Pierce and the one Maggie Massey created using the sketch) are gorgeous, but they definitely fall within the clean and simple design perspective -- and that's just not my thing right now. 

But the sketch was stuck in my head.  So instead I challenged myself to use the sketch to create a layout that used all those layers I love so much.  I came up with this:



Both the inspiration layouts featured a black and white photo. I chose to use a black and white photo also - it was an easy connection to the inspiration pieces and I am increasingly drawn to the simplicity in black and white photos as a counterpoint to all the color and texture of the layers.  And, as a bonus, a black and white photo can be effective even when photo quality isn't as good as I would like.

Next I focused on the design and pulled out the elements that I liked.  I decided to focus on a relatively large rectangle as a base, building a layered element at the bottom corner, using a horizontal piece at the bottom of my photo bloc and creating an embellishment block to one side of my photo.

I started by creating some patterned paper layers on top of and under the large rectangle base to support my photo.  I tried to vary the colors, patterns and textures while keeping the feel light. The dark strip at the bottom of the page helped to balance all the light colors.

Then I dug into my ephemera stash to add detail.  My favorite thing about the whole layout is probably the embellishment cluster at the bottom of the layout.  Its a mix of some favorites that have been in my stash for a long time.  And I love that the stitched border echos the scallops in the original layout.



This was a great exercise for me - the trick with sketches is to make them your own. 

I'm hoping to spend some scrappy time this weekend.  I hope you find some time to play to........


Saturday, January 28, 2017

It's All About the Feelings

I scrap for lots of reasons - and I often say that the biggest reason is that creating makes me happy.  It is essentially my substitute for therapy.  But sometimes life reminds me that the art of memorykeeping is really about capturing feelings - whether they are the feelings generated by little everyday moments, milestones, or even really hard things.

Recently my mom got some scary health news.  And while I am 54 years old, I have never imagined life without my mother (even when she makes me crazy).  I live several hours from her and when she called, my first instinct was to find a recent photo.  It made me smile and it made me cry.  But I knew I wanted to scrap it.

The photo sat on my desk for about a week while I thought about the story I wanted to capture.  I knew I wanted to create a pretty layout that featured a black and white photo, but I wasn't sure about the feelings I wanted to capture.  I finally just started - and then the message was clear:  "You Will Always Be Mommy To Me."

Most products are from the December Citrus Twist kits - added maggie holmes chipboard, alphas and cosmo cricket tissue
I didn't add a lot of journaling, but the act of making the layout helped me process everything I was feeling.  Because that's what it comes down to - she's my mommy and I will always need her.   (I really recommend using a creative project to help work through hard things.)

I had just finished listening to the first lesson in Raquel Bowman's class, Lovely Layers, at Big Picture Classes and put lots of things I'd learned to work on this project.  All the little details she suggested added so much impact to the design.

First I added a little bit of stitching to one of the layers.  I don't have a sewing machine and am not a great hand sewer, so I went for a bit of stitching on one layer instead of stiching a complete frame around one or more layers.


 I tried to add lots of textures to the layers - I used lots of patterned paper, some vellum with gold, a tag, and some old Cosmo Cricket tissue that I crumpled to my layers.  And I added a bit of chipboard between some of the layers to add dimension.

And I tried to create different edges on the papers used for the layers.  The doily obviously had a pretty round lacy edge.  I tore the edge on the vellum and tore the bit of tissue.  I distressed the edges of some of the layers and inked others.  And I don't have any border punches, so I used a corner punch to add a bit of extra detail to one of the layers.




I'm ready now to support my mommy in this chapter of her life.  I will no doubt be scrapping my way through it (even if the projects are unrelated) as a way to cope with the stress and worry.  And if you could find a minute to keep her in your prayers, I would sure appreciate it.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend - I plan to create and appreciate little moments.  This weekend I want to "TRY" to find the joy in the everyday.  I hope you do the same.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's All About the Brads

I joined a "support group" on the Studio Calico website for my fellow crafters who are trying to spend no money or only a little money on crafting supplies this year.  Pam started the group and is really working to keep us on track with weekly challenges.  And this weekend she challenged us to use some of those brads in our stashes.

I totally bought into brads as an amazing embellishment and have a basketful - even after a couple of big purges.  They really can be a great way to add color, pattern and dimension to a layout.  But it turns out that I hate using them.  I move things around so much while I am putting a project together and don't want to create a hole for the brad (just in case I change my mind again) until I am absolutely happy with the way a page looks.  But without really attaching the brad it is really hard to see how it looks.

But I remember someone telling me you can take the prongs off  brads and use glue dots to attache them.  And you know what - it works like a charm.  I can move brads around to my heart's content and know how they will look.  I used 8 brads on this layout inspired by the Sunday sketch at Studio Calico.

Supplies from January kits at Citrus Twist kits and my stash.

The layout is bright and fun.  And the brads add lots of detail without a lot of fuss this way.  I just might be inspired to use up more of those brads.

I'm hoping to scrap some more this afternoon.  I hope you have some more creative time planned too.  Happy Sunday!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Watercolor Splatters

Every Sunday Paper Issues posts a scraplift challenge on their facebook fan page.  The inspiration layouts are always amazing, but I'll be honest - I don't take the challenge very often.  But this week, the challenge was stuck in my head.

This is the inspiration layout by Michelle Arseneault Gallant - her design is simple but the color choices are really striking.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

So I decided to do my own version of the layout.  - I had a single photo of my dog (one of my favorite subjects lately) and used this layout as inspiration for my own design.


I maintained the general design but added more layers under the photo - I love mixing patterns and colors in the layers under a photo. I started with the papers and embellishments in the January Citrus Twist Scrapbook and Pocket Life kits.  I found a neutral strip that worked well at the top of my page - no cutting needed.  I added a few extra embellishments (the blue heart clip, the gold heart, the too cute die cut and the wood stars) from my stash.

Then it was time for some ink splatters.  If you visit here much, you know that just about every project has some ink splatters.  I usually use spray inks on a round paint brush.  But I really wanted to match the dark blue in the paper and die cuts -- and I just didn't have an ink that worked. I pulled out my cheap set of watercolors from Michaels, got the brush really wet and picked a blue that matched the papers.  I used the paint to create the splatters and it worked perfectly!

So today was a win - I finished a layout, tried something new with my current stash and fit in some crafty time for the seventh day in a row.  I'm feeling pretty good about sticking to my resolutions and "trying."

I hope you're having a good week too.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Stuck?! on an Angle

I am trying to get back to some of my creative habits that helped keep me scrapping.  One of the best of those was following the challenges at Stuck?! Sketches.  They publish two sketches each month and they usually provide lots of opportunity to play with layers and details.

So while I am wrapping up my amazing 4 day weekend, I decided to check out the current sketch.  I was excited to see that it was a fun diagonal design.


My layouts tend to be either horizontal or vertical in design so this sketch provided a fun challenge.

I started with the January kit from Citrus Twist Kits (my last one for a while) and a photo that brings back all those summer feelings.   I added lots of bits from my stash and created this layout.  There are quite a few pieces from Crate Paper Wonder, an older Crate paper line, Simple Stories, Dear Lizzy and Studio Calico kits mixed in with the pretty supplies from the kit.


I stuck really closely to the sketch and used layers and embellishments to tell my story.  And my tip for the day - check out the packaging - that fun yellow piece with the blue scalloped edge that is one of the bottom layers - that was the backing in the die cut pack from the Fancy Pants Joy Parade collection.  It is so cute and perfect here. 

I will be returning to work tomorrow but am definitely going to squeeze a little scrapping time in.  And you never know - maybe another blog post.   In the meantime, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This Year ......

Last year was a rough one for me - in lots of ways, including creatively.  I lost all my inspiration and motivation in late spring and never managed to get started again.  And I pretty quickly gave up - I would go weeks without making anying.  But that didn't stop me from continuing my three kit subscriptions (2 at Citrus Twist and 1 at Studio Calico) plus buying lots of extras.  So needless to say, my stash is totally out of control.  I wouldn't use it all if I scrapped nonstop til I was 100.

And the reality is - I really am happier if I am having regular creative time.  So I decided to set some creative goals for myself this year.  My One Little Word this year is "TRY" - because I want to challenge myself but I also need to give myself permission to fail, to have bad days, to be less than perfect.  (That's a story for another day.)

So here are my goals:

1)  BUY LESS AND MAKE MORE!  I really admire all the ladies I know who are taking a no spend approach to this year.  But I know that I don't have that kind of willpower.  So instead I'm going to try to use more than I buy.

To this end I cancelled my Citrus Twist kit subscriptions - both the scrapbook and project life - and kept just the Studio Calico subscription.  To be honest I can't exactly explain why I chose to keep the Studio Calico subscription instead of the Citrus Twist subscription - I think the Citrus Twist kits are probably a better value.  And I reserve the right to buy an occasional Citrus Twist kit that I really love.



I am also trying to buy fewer extras with my kit subscription.  In January I ended up with only the scrapbook main kit, the 4x6 pad, a piece of Moonstruck vellum, and an extra pack of the kit die cuts.  And instead of add-ons, I pulled some items from my stash that coordinated with the kit supplies.


This seems to be working pretty well (but I am going to try and pull less next month or with my January Citrus Twist kit (I didn't cancel til this week) so that I might use up more of what I pull.

2)  Try new things or things that I don't do often.  I am not hugely addicted to tools, but I do buy things and not use them.  I've experimented with my fuse (almost a year after buying it) and done a silkscreen project since the first of the year as I've worked on my December album.  I also managed a little handstitching on a layout yesterday.

3)  Find at least 30 minutes to create every day.  Experience says that I am a generally happier person if I create every day.  And I have found that the more regularly I create, the easier the process becomes.  And since I am lucky enough to have space where I can leave projects in process, I really have no excuse to not pull this one off.

4)  Finish at least one in process project.  I have December albums for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 started.  My son's senior year album (he graduated in 2013) is half done. And there are some other things.  So the goal is to finish one of these things.  Honestly, it is probably going to be the 2016 December album, and then I might try to tackle a second one.  But regardless, the goal is to finish one thing.

5)  Put layouts in albums!  I have a nasty habit of letting layouts stack up instead of putting them in albums.  And before long, it becomes a huge job.  I spent a weekend this fall putting more than 100 layouts in albums - and that wasn't fun.  So the goal is to not let that happen again.

6)  EVERY DAY IS A NEW START!  This is a big one for me (not just creatively).  I tend to get caught up in what I didn't get done the day or week before, and never get started at all.  So the goal is to start each day thinking about what I will try to do instead of what I didn't do or can't do.

So here's hoping 2017 is a great year for you and for me.  I scrapped my hopes for my daughter, but they are really my hopes for all of us.


Just Start, Live in All Caps and Have a Fabulous Year.  Happy New year.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

I've Been Stuck.........

I haven't been around much for the past several months. Honestly, I didn't have much of anything to share.  The spring and summer months were super frustrating for me creatively.  At most I think I made one or two layouts a month.  I just was uninspired and actually avoided my scrap room.

But creating is my happy thing and I really missed it.  So as time went on, I tried to push myself out of my slump.  I took an online class based on sketches .... that actually provided the inspiration for the few layouts I made, but it didn't really provide a jumpstart.  I tried a big purge, but that didn't do it either.  And I just got more frustrated. 

Then last weekend Paper Issues hosted an online crop .......and I was suddenly all in.  I made 15 layouts in 4 days!  (I'll share some of my favorites in the next few days).  And when I went back to work after the long weekend, I kept scrapping. 

Sketches have always been my favorite inspiration.  So when I finished the crop challenges, I went to Stuck?! - it's one of my favorite sketch blogs.  The current sketch is right up my alley with opportunities to layer and play with lots of embellishments.


I pulled out the November kits from Citrus Twist Kits and went to work.  Here's what I came up with.


I added a couple of doilies,, a label and a piece of vellum were from my stash.  Every thing else came from the kits.  The pack of Jillibean Soup die cuts in the project life kit is incredible.  It included all the die cuts on this page and I have tons of pieces left. 


 
The exclusive veneer and chipboard worked perfectly with the die cuts.......


And that little dog was perfect for the story I was telling.....


The exlusive puffy hearts and the enamel dots in the kits were just right too.

I am anxious to get back to scrapping, so I am going to say good-bye for now.  I will be sharing some of my crop layouts and hopefully some new creations.  So I will be back soon.  But for now, enjoy your weekend!