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.

Christmas Shopping… For Myself

I am absolutely in the full Christmas swing.  Packages from all around the country are headed my way.  Unfortunately, not all of those packages will make it under the tree.  It appears that this year’s shopping is working under the terms of the “One for you.  One for me.” philosophy.  *sigh*  I really should show more restraint.  I am supposed to be an adult by now.

In case you wanted to live vicariously through my purchases, I thought I would share.  First up is Freckled Fawn’s Very Merry Christmas Kit.

Freckled Fawn.jpg

There are both some hits and misses for me in this kit.  I adore the enamel shapes.  The inclusion of some larger hearts and stars won me over.  Oh, and the clear glittery ones are adorable.  I also can’t wait to put that large “joy” and the holly leaves to use.  I’m thinking those pieces are going on the same layout.  The puffy sticker alphabet just screams Christmas, doesn’t it?

To be fair, the misses in this kit were things I knew I wouldn’t love before I even ordered.  The washi tape is cute.  Washi is just not something I grab when scrapping.  The acetate pieces are another trend that drives me a bit batty.  They require much more thought than die cuts.  How am I going to adhere them?  Are they sitting on a solid paper, or is there something that is going to show through?  I just want to glue things down!!! Ahem.

Pinkfresh Studios recently had a box sale that I just couldn’t turn down.  Shipping included, this box ran $35.00.  Inside were 2 full 12×12 paper collections of Felicity and Live Noted, along with the 6×6 papers.  That alone would have more than covered the thirty-five dollar charge.  Additionally, the box had 3 stamp sets, a die, stickers, washi tape, and other embellishments.  I have been wanting to try scrapping with some Pinkfresh Studio papers.  In general, they have a more modern graphic feel than my layouts.  But it is good to branch out, right?  And honestly, look at those cute Christmas Wishes acrylic stickers.  I needed those aqua stars!

Scrapping Rut

I’m in yet another scrapping rut.  It’s not that I’m not scrapping.  I am.  In fact, every week either new cards or new layouts are produced in my scrap room.  That sounds fantastic, right?  So what’s the problem?

I have lost my creativity mojo.  I honestly didn’t even realize I had lost it.  That is, until I was sorting through my layouts to put away into albums.  Here are two of the layouts.  I made one last week, and another about 6 months ago.

Do you see it?  They are essentially the same.  Embellishments in upper right corner, lower left corner, and then to the upper left of the photos.  (They overlap the photo in both!)  A vertical element on the left hand side of each layout.  (Lavender paper in the first layout, photo in the second)  I even have a decorative border sticker approximately a third of the way from the bottom of each layout.

How did this happen?  I wasn’t using a sketch for either layout.  With six months between layouts, I’m fairly certain one didn’t influence the creation of the other.  So, it can only be one thing.  I’ve become predictable.  I have a comfort zone, and stick to it.

Some of the rules of art have been so ingrained, that I just automatically default to them.  The most obvious rule here are the rule of thirds.  I’ve split each of the pages into visual thirds from top to bottom.  I’ve also stuck to the rule of having the eye flow from upper left to lower right.

I think it’s time to break out of my box.  Sometimes you need to throw out the rules and start over.  I’m thinking my next layout needs to be a bit more free form. Perhaps something on a white card stock with lots of room to breathe.  Maybe something messy with lots of ink and stamping.  I make no promises, but it is clearly time to try something new.

Too Many Supplies

I can’t believe I’m about to say this.  I have too many scrappy supplies.  It isn’t just an organizational problem.  (Trust me, that is a real issue.)  The amount of scrappy goodness living in my craft room is more than I can wrap my head around.

It wasn’t that long ago that I could tell you what I had.  For any given project I could tell you what die cuts, chipboard, or matching buttons would work.  Now, I dig through an entire huge basket of die cuts because I’m not sure what I have.  There are drawers that I paw through, only to find something I don’t even remember buying.  All of this sorting through product takes time away from actual crafting.

Luckily I haven’t doubled up on purchasing materials too often.  Occasionally I will accidentally duplicate a piece of paper.  Honestly, I don’t worry much about that.  If I have 2 of the same paper, it just means I really liked it.  Both pieces will get used.

But, it is starting to interfere with my purchasing in another way.  Since I have so much product, I don’t know what I actually need.  (I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking that if you have that much stuff, you don’t need anything!  Basic logic.)  However, that became a problem when I ran out of adhesive.  Have you ever tried to scrapbook without adhesive?  I simply didn’t notice that my tape runners were gone because I had 3 packages of small glue dots where I keep my adhesive.

This issue reared its ugly head again as I was trying to make Christmas cards.  I assumed that I had plenty of 6×6 paper pads that were Christmas themed.  So as I sorted through my pads I was gobsmacked to discover that I had one partial Christmas pad.  It is mostly comprised of chevrons and polka dots that are cream, brick red, or turquoise.  Not exactly the colors or motifs I wanted on this particular day.  Since I have so much of everything, I thought I had what I needed.  Not so.

In the end, I did make a card.  I used some scraps in some not very Christmas colors.  And I vow to buy less, and use more.  Yes, I have said that before.  Maybe it’s a good New Year’s resolution.  That gives me 2 more months to shop.

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