Sunday, March 26, 2017

Black and White

If you visit here much at all, you know that I love mixing colors, patterns and textures.  It is my favorite thing about scrapbooking. But sometimesa challenge helps nudge (shove) me out of my box.  This week I came across two challenges that would take color (mostly) out of the mix. 

One of the March "Layout A Week" challenges at Studio Calico asked that you make black and white the focus of your project.  And one of the challenges at the Paper Issues Spring Crop called for a monochromatic layout.  So I went for it.....

I limited myself to black and white (and a little gold) for a layout.  And to be honest, I kind of love it.

I focused on mixing patterns and textures while trying to maintain a "light" feel.  The black plastic grid was from an ancient Studio Calico kit and had been hanging on my peg board forever.  When choosing papers I used two vellums (because they add lots of texture without adding much visual weight) and patterns that were predominantly white.  A chalkboard shipping tag added a different texture and a pop of black.  And the black and white photo really pulled it all together.

I'm not giving up all those pretty patterned papers but this was a fun exercise with a great end result.  And that nudge out of my box is the reason I love creative challenges.  It pushes me to try something different I never would have tried.

I hope you're finding your own scrappy time.  Try something new the next time you sit down to play.  You might just love what you make.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


Every once in a while a collection features a product that I fall in love with.  When American Crafts first introduced the Hazelwood collection (designed by 1Canoe2), the 12x12 sheet of wood veneer with the floral pattern caught my eye.  It was beautiful, but I just wasn't sure what I would do with it.
Naturally that didn't slow me down a bit - I got my hands on a piece at my first opportunity. My first thought was that I would use it as the base of a layout.  And honestly, I think that would be beautiful.  But in the end, I tried cutting it.  I used a box cutter in my craft room against a ruler to score it and then found it broke off quite nicely.  And that means I can use it as a unique layering element on my layouts - perfect to add dimension and texture.

But when I tried to use a piece on this layout, I found that the color didn't work well with the yellow patterned paper.  I was setting it aside when I thought about how Joanna Gaines is always treating wood and brick to maintain texture when refurbishing houses. (I am addicted to Fixer Upper lately and wish she would come fix up my house.) So I pulled out a tube of white acrylic paint and an old rag.  By squirting the paint directly on the piece of wood veneer I wanted to use and immediately wiping it off with a rag I created a whitewash look that made the veneer more neutral and a perfect layer for my project.

You still see the pretty floral pattern, but the effect is much softer.  After the paint was dry, I used a soft olive chalk ink on the edges to help add definition to my layers.  Here is the finished layout.

The wood adds all the dimension and texture I was looking for and still works well with the yellow tones in the patterned papers.  I knew all that time I spent watching HGTV would pay off.

I am planning lots of crafty time this afternoon.  I hope you find time to play today too. 

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!