Sunday, November 23, 2014

12 Days of Christmas at Papercut Labs

Papercut Labs is hosting a fun holiday event - it is the 12 Days of Christmas Crop and Blog Hop.  They have 12 fun challenges that can be combined for entries for some great prizes.  And I can't resist the chance to win some goodies for my stash, so of course I'm playing along.

My first entry is a layout inspired by the amazing Natalie Elphinstone.  My Studio Calico kit in November included this amazing tree paper.  But I was totally stumped by it.  I couldn't figure out what to do with it.  Then she posted a gorgeous layout at Studio Calico and on instagram using it as her base and I was off.  She mixed patterns and strong colors with the paper for a gorgeous effect.

I had a picture of my 22 year old son standing by a buckeye tree that he picked at a free tree event when he was only 5 or 6.  It was only a twig then, and I love this picture because it captures both that old memory and my life today.  It seemed like the perfect picture of this tree paper.  I mixed it with shades of green, blue, purple and peach (a really different color palette for me).    I added some die cuts (including some amazing vellum leaves from my Studio Calico kit) and a doily.  The doily was too bright when a first tried it, so I turned it over and used the back side which was the perfect pale blue.  Here's what I ended up with.

I used Studio Calico color theory lavender soda ink to stamp on the peach paper and amethyst color shine for the ink splatters.  I also added a few enamel dots and a piece of wood veneer for the finished layout.  And I used some pale blue cardstock from the card kit for my journaling strips.

Don't forget to leave a comment for an entry into the holiday giveaway. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Frustrated .... But Regrouping (and some quick card ideas)

I was - and still am - super excited about blogging again.  But this week was really frustrating.  I had a plan for a series of posts about my December Daily(ish) album this year, and was ready to go.  But winter came early to Ohio and I remembered the challenges it brought.  It is impossible to get good photos of projects and supplies on dreary winter days if before and after work.  So those blog posts ground to a halt.  I apologize. 

But now I've learned and I'm getting back on track.  I will just need to make sure photos happen on the weekend when I have daylight.  Those blog posts are coming this week.  And I am going to extend my December Daily(ish) giveaway til midnight on Thanksgiving.  All  comments on blog posts through Thanksgiving will go into the hat. 

In the meantime, I thought I share a tip for quick and easy cards.  I love to use project life style cards when I need a quick card.  Someone has already thought hard about design -- I might as well take advantage of that expertise.  Here are some examples.

The striped card here established the color scheme and made the rest of the design quick to pull together.

The "Hello Sunshine" Card added the sentiment and set the tone for the card.  A few simple layers and I was done!

The kraft card here created a fun, casual feel.  All it needed was some patterned paper and some sparkly star sequins to create a festive Christmas card.  (And  the star sequins behind and on top of the vellum added lots of dimension without lots of work or supplies.)

So use up those project life cards - or look at the cut apart patterned papers as a quick way to make custom holiday cards this year. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Remember that the December Daily giveaway has been extended til Thanksgiving so don't forget to comment.  All comments on that post and all the posts til Thanksgiving are entries into the drawing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Handbook Diary

 Note:  Today's post was supposed to be about paper choices for my December Daily, but the photos I took over the dreary November weekend don't really show the colors accurately, so I am putting that off til I can get some better pictures.  But don't forget the December Daily GiveawayComments all week enter you into the giveaway.

I failed project life - in fact I didn't even make it a month.  But I am more than a little fascinated with the idea of pocket scrapbooking as a way to keep a record of everyday life.  And I love the Studio Calico handbooks.  So I decided to start a handbook as my personal album. I feel like I am at a turning point in my personal growth, and I wanted a place to document me and my life.

The things I put in my handbook might be about me - like my favorite flower

And they might be about things happening in my life or things I'm feeling

And they might be about things happening with people I love that are important to how I feel about my life.

There are no rules for my handbook.  I do what I want when I want to do it.  I experiment with different techniques sometimes and at other times I do something super quick and easy.  Sometimes the photos in my handbook also show up in layouts for my family albums or my kid's albums.  But when you look through the album you get a picture of the things in my life that were important to me at the time.   It is really turning out to be the perfect way for me to keep a diary. 

My first handbook is almost full.  And I can't wait to start another one.  But I am sure there are other fun ways to use those albums and I'd love it if you would share your ideas.

Monday, November 17, 2014

December Daily - To Do or Not To Do ....and a Giveaway

 Holiday giveaway is extended til midnight on Thanksgiving!  Keep commenting on my daily blog posts for extra entries.

I love the idea of a December Daily album.  But I tried it once, made all my pages and never printed any pictures.  Plus I chose a 6x6 size and used so many layers and embellishments that it didn't come close to closing - even without those photos.  But it was beautiful and it was fun to do.

So at the beginning of the month, I waffled back and forth about the project.  I signed up for the 25 Days class at Studio Calico, but still wasn't sure.  We just don't do fun holiday things that I would put in an album everyday.  But then I realized - it doesn't have to be a December daily to be a special holiday album.  So I am approaching the project as an album to document our 2014 holidays.  I am starting with Thanksgiving and ending with the new year.  And there won't be pictures and/or journaling everyday. 

I looked at all the kits out there - Ali Edwards, Gossamer Blue, and Freckled Fawn to name a few.  Then My Scraps and More put out both an album kit and an embellishment kit.  All of these kits seemed to be a good value, but some of them required a pretty big investment.  And I didn't love every single thing about any of them.  And I have a lot of supplies.  So if I am going to do this, it is going to be with a homegrown kit.

In my first attempt I learned that choosing an album was critical to the project's success.  I knew I wanted a 6x8 album, but which one.  I ultimately chose a kraft Snap album with a black spine.  The size and price were good, it was neutral and easily customizable, there is a large variety of page protectors and it was readily accessible. I got mine at JoAnns.

 Black Snap Binder, 6"x8" - Simple Stories

But what about the kit.  I started with choosing a color palette by pulling out my cardstock and pulling sheets til I had colors I like.  I had done some Christmas layouts lately and think those color choices influenced the colors I chose for my album.. I ended up with pale blue, soft red, lime green, black and pink.

Once I had my color palette, I couldn't wait to get started with the cover.  I knew I wanted to paint it, a pale blue but couldn't find a color that was just what I wanted.  So I mixed a blue, a mint, and white paint til I got just the color I wanted.  I also pulled out my gesso and the Martha Stewart liquid gilding in gold for my cover.

I started by taping off the black fabric spine with washi tape - I'm a messy crafter.  Then I primed the album inside and out with gesso.  I painted the inside with the gold liquid gilding and a foam brush.  aIt looks amazing.  It is shiny and smooth and will provide a perfect backdrop to all my pages. (This picture doesn't really do it justice.)

Then I took on the outside of the cover.  I painted it with the pale blue paint color I had mixed and a foam brush.  I used just one coat because I really like the look (hint - I used an extra piece of chipboard and treated it just like the album cover - that way I could see how it would look with a second coat of blue paint.

The wood veneer tree was from Elle's Studio last year.  The red sequin star is from the Studio Calico Magical sequin pack.  And then a wide line green grosgrain ribbon tied in a bow finished off my cover.

I loved the end result.  It reflects the colors and feel of the products I chose for my kit.  (I'm still thinking about adding the year to the bottom branch of the tree>

Giveway:  While I was making my December Daily kit, I pulled some things that might fit right in with your holiday crafting plans.  Leave a comment on any post this week and be entered to win.  Giveaway closes at midnight on November 23rd.

Here are some of the goodies I pulled.  (This isn't a kit - its an assortment of holiday themed supplies that might fit in with your Christmas supplies,)

I'd love to know what ideas you have for adding the year to my cover - or if you think I should stop where it is.  (I know I will put the year on the spine.)

I'm going to share more about my December Daily kit building and organization later this week.  Hope you stop back. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Illustrated Faith

My intention is to focus this blog on creating.  But sometimes other parts of my life will creep in to provide context for some of the creative attempts I share.  This is one of those days.  I hope you don''t mind.  (Some of you might have read this in the facebook bible journaling group.)

I've never had a very strong or specific faith.  I was raised in the Catholic church and have always believed generally.  But my husband, second son and daughter have always had much stronger, more committed spiritual lives.  So when I was first exposed to the concept of bible journaling on Shanna Noel's blog (she is amazing!), I was surprised that I was so drawn to the concept.  I told my husband and daughter I wanted to try it.  But they were appalled - to both of them it seemed disrespectful and like an excuse to spend more time in my scraproom.  So I let it drop.

But the idea stayed in the back of my mind.  And one Sunday evening when we attended mass at an older church I was captivated by the colors coming in the stained glass windows.  I felt like God was telling me that using my creative side to explore my faith was the path that would work for me.  So I told my husband and daughter that I hoped they would understand, but I was going to explore bible journaling.  I was stunned when they pulled out a bible they had bought me for just that purpose.

My 14 year old daughter told me that she had come to the conclusion that anything that led me to reading the bible was ok.  Out of the mouths of babes . . . . .

So I've begun exploring the bible.  Sometimes I read the church reading for the day, sometimes I am inspired by a prompt from Shanna Noel and sometimes I open the bible at random and read.  Then, if I am inspired, I travel into my craft room and go at it with stickers, stamps, ink, shipping tags, you name it.  Over time I hope my bible is full of color and joy. 

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


No doubt about it - pretty patterned paper is one of my weaknesses.  I probably have more patterned paper, carefully sorted by color and pattern, than I can use in my lifetime.  And there is no question - I continue to fall in love with no collections and add more paper to my stash.

But I hoard my paper.  I hate throwing even small scraps away.  And those scraps go into hanging files, sorted by color and pattern.  I use them as layering pieces sometimes.  And if they are big enough pieces, I use them for cards.  Or I go there when I think a project needs just a splash of a certain color.

But last week one of the challenges during the pinspiration crop at My Scraps and More was to create a layout inspired by a picture of a rubik's cube.  And I challenged my self to use only scraps (other than the layout base).  And of course embellishments were fair game.

So I pulled scraps of 9 different papers - I chose different colors and patterns.  And then I cut 3 inch squares and arranged them in a simple grid pattern.  Once I liked the arrangement, the adhesive came out and I created the base for this layout.

I layered on 3 3x3 photos with a white border from Persnickety Prints and went to town with the embellishments.  The Heidi Swapp color magic die cuts worked really well because I could use my inks to get just the color I wanted.  I also added stickers, paper scraps, enamel dots and buttons.  And of course, a layout is almost never done til there are ink splatters.

 So use those scraps and link me up to your projects.  I could use some new ideas.

Giveaway alert:  Don't forget the blog rebirth giveaway.  There are only a couple more days to enter.

Have a great Saturday.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 14, 2014

An Unlikely Favorite

I am really a pretty simple scrapper.  I love the look of all the mixed media techniques, and even have acquired some of the supplies.  But I really don't play with them very often - I either worry about ruining a project or am unhappy with the results.  Let's face it - ink splatters were a big achievement for me.

So boy was I surprised when one my mixed media purchases turned into one of my scrap room favorites.  Its the Martha Stewart Gold Liquid Gilding.

Martha Stewart 32214 0.75-Ounce Liquid Gilding, Gold 

It is super shiny and dries super fast.  And it makes a huge impact whether you use it in a subtle way... 

Use it with a paint brush to emphasize embossing (see the wood tape in this layout) 

make really unique ink splatters like these where the gold separated from the solvent 
 .....or in a big way

painting a large piece of wood veneer for quick and easy title

stamp with a cork on a transparency for a one of a kind background
I do have a couple of cautions - you need to use it in a well ventilated space and I have ruined more than one paint brush.  So now I have a couple I keep for just this product.  (At my husband's suggestion, I use windex to clean them and it works pretty well, but I think I need to buy some brush cleaner at the craft store).  Or, depending on the project, I use a foam brush and throw it away after I'm done.

And wait til you see my December Daily cover next week - I am so excited to share it.  

Now I have to go shopping - I just found out this product comes in a copper finish - I think I might just need that.

Giveaway Alert:  There are still a couple days left in my blog rebirth giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by!