Too Busy

No, I’m not talking about myself.  I’m referring to the background of my latest layout.  It isn’t unusual for me to use patterned paper as a background.  I actually use it quite often.  However, I will generally opt for a nice tone on tone or polka dot.  I like a little pattern, but nothing that screams, “Look at me!”

So why did I choose this as my background?  I decided to take on a dare.  Okay, it was a challenge.  It’s a crazy challenge.  Essentially you go into your paper supplies and blindly choose 3 papers that have to make it onto a layout.  In this case I chose that background paper, the pink polka dot, and the paper I used to mat the photo.  Given those parameters, this is what I came up with.  Honestly, I think perhaps I should have switched the polka dot and the background papers.  When I had the floral next to the photo, it just didn’t look right.

happy

This really was an interesting challenge to attempt.  I was lucky that 2 of the 3 papers went together well.  Two of the papers had pink that matched almost perfectly.  That third piece of paper behind the photo is yellow.  Why did I hide it?  This yellow was heavily distressed with a grunge feel.  It absolutely did not match the pristine nature of the other papers.  So I lopped up most of the heavy grunge and let just a small slice show.  The rest of the papers I pulled from my scraps.  I let the flowers in the background determine my color choices.  Perhaps using more cardstock would have helped with the pattern overload.

I don’t do a lot of product reviews, but today I just have to.  See that butter yellow cardstock behind the pink polka dot paper?  I’m in love!  It’s so difficult to find the perfect soft yellow shade.  So often when I order cardstock online, the color is much brighter than what I need.  This is the yellow cardstock I have been searching for!  It is the My Mind’s Eye yellow classic cardstock from the My Colors line.  This is the perfect light yellow with a little bit of texture.  I’m in a bit of a panic because I’m seeing places putting it on clearance.  It looks like I may need to buy it in bulk and hoard it for future use.

So are you up for the challenge?  Can you close your eyes and pick 3 random papers to make a layout?  May the odds be with you.

Not Quite Me

On occasion, I make a layout that is not quite me.  This happens to be one of those layouts.  Though I’m not quite sure how I would categorize my style, I know it isn’t this.  In this case, I’m fairly certain it is the flowers and a bit of the color scheme that doesn’t feel right.

There are parts that I love, and others that I am not so crazy about.  That embellishment cluster in the lower left is hands down one of my best.  Embellishment clusters are my kryptonite.  They always seem awkward, with disjointed pieces or placement.  For once, I feel like I nailed it.  The part that I dislike the most is my choice of papers.  In this case, I really should not have mixed bright whites and creams.  I was not as intentional as I was on Let It Snow, where I mixed the two successfully.  I think my desire to use up some scraps overrode my artistic sensibilities.

cle-elum-sunset

I also think this particular layout is disjointed because it is a combination of my style and a more heritage style.  Prima and Petaloo flowers are beautiful.  I purchased them when I first started scrapbooking.  Yet here they are, years later, still in my stash.  Why?  Because I realized early on that I am not a heritage style scrapbooker.  In order to do them justice, I really should have stuck to an older photo with distressed papers.

So why did I use them in this layout.  Well, first of all, I am cheap.  I paid good money for those flowers.  I am going to use them all… eventually.  A much more legitimate reason is that they matched that background paper fabulously.  I really didn’t have much in my stash that did.  With as many products as I own, that shouldn’t have been a problem.

Which brings me to a small rant.  The scrapbook industry provides collections with very specific color schemes.  You can find masses of pink and aqua.  Navy has become more common.  (Thank you for that!)  Purples and lavenders are far and few between.  A collection with these colors may only have 1 or 2 papers with lavender represented.  Additionally, the purples and lavenders in one collection do not match the purples and lavenders in another.  How is it that you can give us 5,000 aquas and teals that work beautifully together but never purples?!  (Ahem, sorry about that.)  I think this is a hole that needs to be filled.

Sometimes You Need a Sketch

I have been complaining about how all of my layouts look the same.  It is so easy to fall into artistic habits.  You have even seen me attempt to break out of those habits and fail miserably.  It just seems that once I start creating, I end up repeating what is familiar.

Finally, I found a way (for now) to get out of that scrappy slump.  I chose a sketch that is decidedly not my style.  In this case, I pulled up an old sketch from the My Mind’s Eye Blog.  You can find it here.  It is a bit minimalist in that it doesn’t use a lot of patterned paper.  You know how much I love patterned paper.  I usually use it for the background as well as whatever other paper layers are on the page.

Now don’t get me wrong.  You will see lots of different patterned papers on this page.  It’s just that they are in smaller bits.  This sketch is absolutely perfect for using up your scraps!  That is exactly what I did.  Everything except the white cardstock background came from my scrap bin.

the-rock

In this case, I started with the triangle paper from Pink Paislee’s Memorandum collection.  I have to admit, that is one of my favorite collections.  As this particular paper shows, the collection included just about every color in the rainbow.  It made it very easy to pick out coordinating scraps.  Just about any color was fair game.  It allowed me to mix brands quite easily.  I believe I see Simple Stories, Bella Blvd, Echo Park, and American Crafts represented here.

Really, this page came together pretty fast.  It didn’t need a lot of embellishing thanks to the many different patterns.  I pulled a few chipboard shapes from the Posh line.  In order to repeat the circles, I also used some brads.  You can’t even believe how happy I am to use some brads.  Buying brads is a special talent of mine.  Using them is not.  For once, I really enjoyed the free form style and just went with it.

Do you want to know what I really like about sketches?  You can use them over and over.  I’m already thinking about turning this one on its side and using a horizontal photo.  Oh the possibilities!

bird

Summer in January

In the midst of the shortest days of the year, I find myself craving the sun.  I want to feel the warmth on my face.  I want to go outside and enjoy the day.  I want to hang out with friends and play frisbee golf badly.  (Just to be clear, *I* play badly.)  Instead, I’m looking out the window at overcast skies and freezing temperatures.

One way to fight those wintertime blues is to scrap like it is summer… or at least scrap those summer pictures.  I like bringing back memories of summer vacations and lazy days.  To be honest, I also like scrapping with a summer palette.  Nothing says summer like bright colors.

In this case I decided to grab the “We Are Family” collection by Echo Park.  It was that vibrant green I needed.  I know it’s a tone on tone B side.  But look at how happy it is!  I matched it up with a dusty blue polka dot for contrast.  Then I chose the multi-color chevron for the background. I have a lot of chevron patterns in my stacks, but there is nothing like this paper.

the-best-day

When it came time to embellish, I knew I needed a bit more drama.  That red scallop border sticker at the bottom really helped.  Then it looked funny when I didn’t have any red on top.  (I really think scrapbooking is the act of fixing the problems I create.)  Though I didn’t have any more red border stickers, I did have some red Bo Bunny ribbon that I purchased ten years ago.  (This is why I don’t purge my unused supplies.)

clouds

The rest of the embellishment is pretty straightforward.  I looked through the sticker sheet that came with the collection and pulled the banner as well as the title.  No, it probably wasn’t the best day of my life, but it was a good day.  (There are so many supplies that refer to something as being the best day.  Really, don’t you only have one best day?  So sometimes you just have to use those supplies on a good day.)  I added the little gnome and the “happy” from the Simple Stories “Bloom and Grow” collection.  Then I dug out the chipboard clouds and butterfly.  A few sequins scattered around, and I was done.

This layout is clean and simple.  Still, it makes me happy.  It’s my little ray of sunshine to look at as I sit here drinking my tea.

Let It Snow

I love photos of snow.  Let’s be clear.  I hate when it actually snows.  Either I have to drive up and down windy hills hoping I don’t crash, or I’m housebound.  And, newsflash, snow is cold and wet.  Those are two of my least favorite states.  Still, snow is beautiful.  Photos of soft white flakes falling and covering the ground are beautiful.

I had a photo from a few years back of a late night snowfall.  It came to mind as I was looking at that Silhouette cut snowflake.  (I know.  My pages begin in the weirdest ways.)  Immediately, I knew I wanted to do a white, cream, kraft layout.  It isn’t something I normally do.  Cream and white don’t always work together.  This was going to take some thought in order to balance everything properly.

I chose the cream die cut paper as my background.  It is well past time for it to get out of my stash.  The scalloped edges also seemed perfect for the soft look that I was going for in this layout.  I went with some aqua papers that I had in my scraps, as well as some kraft cardstock and corrugated paper.  I did end up pulling one white scrap paper later, to help put more white on the left hand side.

Originally, I was going to keep this layout neutral and aqua.  That all came to an end when I ran across that deer die cut from the Sugar Plum collection from MME.  I don’t know why that deer had to make it onto the page.  It just did.  That little dot of pink was driving me crazy.  I couldn’t have just that one pink bit.  So, out came the pink stars.  That pink poinsettia was NOT going to be the only pink on the page.

I really love the final composition of this page.  It has all kinds of texture thanks to elements that are far from flat.  Corrugated paper, chipboard, buttons, and twine all help to give it dimension.  The final result is the soft mix of materials that I had envisioned.  It is rare to get what is in my head down onto the paper.

Something Simple

Sometimes I just run out of inspiration.  The creative juices stop flowing.  Yet, I feel compelled to get something made.  When you have a room full of supplies, you tend to feel guilty when you don’t use them.  So today’s layout is just about getting something made.

In this case, I knew I wanted to use that lovely Maggie Holmes paper from the Bloom collection.  The scallops were just begging me to cut them.  So I snipped them out and thought, now what?  Yes, I cut paper without any plan in mind.  After rifling through photos, I discovered that none matched the colors in the paper.  Oh well.  Who needs to be all matchy matchy anyway?

I ended up picking out two pictures from my birthday trip to go see Wicked.  My husband surprised me with tickets to see my very first professional musical.  It was an incredible day filled with food, drinks, and an amazing experience.  Sadly, none of my photos are amazing.  Still, it was a trip worth documenting.

Most of the embellishments on this page  were pieces I had cut out on my Silhouette eons ago. They are rather simple.  The Silhouette is capable of cutting such beautiful, detailed designs.  My problem is that would take actual planning.  If you haven’t already figured it out, I don’t plan.  *sigh*  One of these days I will sit down and pre-plan a page.  Maybe that will be something I try in the new year.  That should give me plenty of time.  (I know, that means that roughly around December 28th I will start thinking about it.)  Still, I got a few things off of my desk and onto a page.

My favorite part of the page is the title.  Oh how I love the New England use of the word, “wicked.”  It is entirely under used in this part of the country.  Perhaps that will be another goal for the year.  I need to get others to channel their inner Bostonians and begin using wicked more often.

Midnight Scrapbooking

I am the queen of insomnia.  Some nights I don’t get to sleep until 3:00 in the morning.  Sometimes I just wake up hours early.  Last night I had the fabulous experience of doing both.  One thing that sometimes helps me get my mind to stop spinning is to get up and work on a page.

Last night I managed to complete a page from start to finish.  Well, in all honesty, I already had the papers and photo picked out for this layout.  My goal is to use some of my die cut papers.  Remember when they were all the rage?  This one is from Bo Bunny’s Block Party collection.  2010 is in the house!  The other papers were in my scrap basket.  I cant identify them all.  If I had to guess, I would say there is some Pebbles, Fancy Pants, and DCWV mixed in there.

Paper placement was pretty easy on this one.  I started with the light blue chevron to mat the photo.  Then I flipped the off-cut over so the navy blue with the white stars was showing.  The brown, red, and green strips were pretty much just stuck down at different lengths to add interest.  I also rescued the quote from my scraps bin.  It was perfect for a page about my dad looking at vintage cars.

As far as embellishing went, I first grabbed for stars since the background paper features stars in the upper right and lower left corners.  It gave me a chance to pull out that American Crafts star garland.  At first I was only going to put one string of stars below the photo.  It just looked awkward.  So, I arranged a second messy line below the first.  That helped fill up the space and made my chaotic placement look more deliberate.  (It was!  I promise!)

Cork stars were also carefully placed in order to frame the photo.  Really, I was also trying to cover some of the square corners of the papers.  It’s a good trick to soften some of the “boxiness” that occurs with lots of rectangles on a page.

I also sprinkled in some stickers.  I may be a bit obsessed with Shimelle’s puffy hearts.  I’ve used them so often lately.  They have some nice masculine colors, something that can be difficult to find when searching for sticker hearts.  No, not all hearts need to be pink and girly.

For something that got thrown together in the wee hours of the night, I’m really happy with this layout.  Die cut papers with printed embellishments in the corners are not easy to use. The photo and papers were placed just perfectly to show off this oldie but goodie.  Now I think I need to do all of my scrapping in the middle of the night.

Christmas Cards Finished

I’m done.  Okay, I am pretty sure that I’m done.  I haven’t made a list and checked it twice, but I’m somewhat confident there are more cards than people I need to send them to this holiday.  (And yes, I know I need to get them in the mail!)  Sadly, I start way back in the summer with my card making.  It’s the only way that I’m not tearing my hair out in December.  After all, I do have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to a large project such as this.

My first two cards feature the Winter Trees set from Neat & Tangled.  I *adore* this stamp set.  I’m not quite sure what it is about those whimsical trees, but I’m in love.  I stamped the trees on watercolor paper, then again on white cardstock and patterned paper.  I also stamped stars on the background of each.  You can’t see it on the card on the right.  I used a clear embossing powder with sparkles that simply doesn’t show up in the photo.  Then I used some Tim Holtz distress ink to add color on the background.  This is where I flubbed up a bit.  The black ink didn’t have enough time to dry, so you can see where it bled.  The last step was cutting out and gluing down the trees.  The center tree in each is raised with a bit of dimensional adhesive.

By the way, the inspiration for the second card came from the Sooner Rather Than Later blog.  Miriam made a gorgeous tag using the stamp set.  It was only after I was done that I realized my background patterned paper is the same paper she used for one of the trees.  You can find it here!

tree-cards

My second set of cards is just a rag tag bunch of scraps.  You know me.  I get itching to work through my scrap basket or use up old product.  If it doesn’t get used, what is the point in buying it?

random-cards

The first two cards are made entirely with scraps and old chipboard, die-cuts, and 3×4 cards.  They aren’t fancy, but they get the job done.  The last card was a bit of an experiment.  I just got the Hero Arts Coffee Cup stamp and die set.  So this was my first attempt at using it.  I really love the floral cup.  I’m torn about the tan cup holder.  It covers up so much of the pretty cup.  Still, it’s a perfect place for stamping the sentiment.  I think I have more playing to do in order to get it right.

Trying Something New… Or Not

I had every intention of doing something completely new.  It was time to break out of my box.  The comfort zone had become too comfortable.  So before starting my next layout, I tried to make sure what I did was new and different.  I pulled materials that I don’t generally use.  I started with some stamps to create a background.  Then I pulled kraft cardstock as a base, something I don’t typically use.

And then this happened.  *Sigh*  Yes, it looks just like my other layouts.

my-robe

You see, I started digging through my scraps.  I found that green paisley.  (Oh how I adore a paisley.)  That resulted in more digging, which led me to all of the other papers.  The papers practically laid themselves out onto the page.  And the next thing I know, I have a very familiar layout with no stamping.  (The stamps are still sitting forlornly on my desk, waiting for a little love and attention.)

I chose to embellish this quite simply with hearts.  The cork hearts live on my desk.  It seems that I purchased not one, but two packs of them over a year ago.  I keep them within reach, hoping that some will actually get used.  I also had a pack of Shimelle’s puffy hearts handy.  So I added in some punched hearts, and one giant natural wood heart to form my embellishment clusters.  It still needed something, so I sprinkled in the green pearls.

Honestly, it still needs something.  It is a simple design.  No trumpets or fanfare to be found here.  I think it is a lot like me… straightforward and gets the job done.

The next project I make will really be different.  Wait, haven’t I said that before?

Using the Old

I am currently working on using up some older collections and products.  I decided that MME’s “On the Bright Side” was a splendid match for this flower photo. Really, I think this combo was just meant to be.  The yellow and orange are almost perfect duplicates to the colors in the photo, and the turquoise is a lovely contrast.

kind-soul

I did run into one itsy bitsy problem while putting this layout together.  This collection is 4 years old, and I didn’t purchase embellishments with it.  Also, it seems that I don’t really buy yellow or orange embellishments either.  So once I got my papers laid out, I was a bit stuck.  Finally, I decided to dig through my Silhouette cuts.  I keep a pile of random cuts in a bin on my desk. I had the layers cut to build the white flowers.  There were also some random leaves.  A little time curling some petals, and I had some decent 3 dimensional flowers.

I also found some orange rub ons from Bo Bunny, but they were ancient.  We all know how bad rub ons age.  They just don’t transfer well when they are old.  But these were so pretty, and exactly what I needed.  So I tried that small orange one (beneath the bottom flower) on a white piece of cardstock.  It worked!  That gave me the courage to place the one running alongside the journaling.  Yes, it was risky.  It could have messed up an almost finished layout.  Still, I went for it.  I’m glad I did.  That little detail is one of my favorite parts of this layout.