Sunday, May 12, 2013

Double Take

Sometimes commercial and manufactured time-savers can be anything but.  That's not exactly a fair statement.  I've never used die-cuts or Creativity Systems. I've never even used a border punch.  If the idea is to get a page done in what little time you have, you don't want to spend a ton of time rutting around looking for exactly what piece you need and setting up your system.  Sometimes, a stencil, a pencil and an assortment of scissors is all it takes.

For the outer part of the balloons, I used 1½" circle stencil and cut it out on the outside edge with a pair of scallop scissors.  (I'm sure once you have your "creativity system" set up, it probably could have done these three circles in a blink of an eye, but I just keep thinking of how long it might take to set it up and then put it away.  With scissors, the cutting may take an extra minute or two, but then all you have to do is put them back into your caddy or (in my case, in the soup cans that have been decorated by my kids).)

For the inside part of the balloons, I used a 1" stencil and cut it with a straight edge pair of scissors.

A quick dab on the inside circle edge gives the piece definition and depth. 

I love these cats-eye ColorBox fluid chalks.  They come in so many colors and at about $1.99 each, you can really load up on a rainbow of colors.

 My workspace is never tidy while I'm working.

I frequently place all my elements and rearrange them until I'm satisfied.  I never glue anything down until I'm 100% sure.  Too many times, in the beginning, I learned the hard way just how permanent of a hold Glue Dots can be (if you don't buy the removable type)!   Here's a good example of why -- look at the balloons in the picture below.  Now go back up to the top and take a look.  They're different, aren't they?  

I was just about to finalize everything when I discovered that "2" sticker in my collection.  It was the perfect addition to emphasize the fact that this was the boys' Second Birthday!  Somehow I had left that off.  

Something I've learned, too, over the years:  Sometimes you can't find exactly what you're looking for when you go to a store.  Or, you don't want to run out to the store again to find a certain something or other.  You need to be able to improvise.  Get creative.  

For my title, I used elements from two other embellishment kits.  "Double" originally said "Double Take" from a twins set, and "Birthday" used to be "Happy 1st Birthday." Sure, I could have used alpha stickers, but why not use what was already there?  Besides, the colors were just right!

Another reason I loved this page?  I got to use my scrapping scraps!  I never throw away any scrap that is larger than 1" square.  So many times I have raided that envelope to find just the right pop of color for a page, or in this case, the solid green balloons really stand out on a page so pattern heavy.  I also let my boys raid the scraps envelope when they have a school project or need to make homemade cards for someone.  I also keep a separate "kids" sticker envelope.  Sometimes I have a single left over element that would probably be out of place and lonely if I used it on a page by itself.  So, I keep those left-overs for the boys, too.  

In fact, as I was about to clean up the table, Jon came in and discovered the left over scraps of the twine I used for the balloon strings.  He asked for them for a craft of his own.  Kids are the ultimate recyclers! 

 My Inspiration for the page:  I stuck to this one pretty closely.  When I saw this layout with the balloons, I remembered the pics I took of the boys holding balloons on their birthday.  It was a perfect match.

Scrapbooks etc. April 2012
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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy National Scrapbooking Day -- Score a Touchdown with this Layout

Since it's National Scrapbooking Day, I wanted to post one of my favorite layouts.  Again it's a borrowed design.  It looks time-consuming, but believe me, the part that will take the longest is deciding which photos to use!  

I opted to scrap the boys' first Superbowl Sunday!  I really kept with the borrowed design, mixing color accents with black and white photos.  I threw in two color photos to to emphasize the event.  

I loved how I was able to use scrapping scraps to create the circles and the straight accent on the top.  A simple circle template.  I then found the Superbowl logo and a football graphic from the computer and printed them on photo paper as well.  

I printed the photos and cut them out, keeping a (relatively) uniform white border around each.  I then glue dotted these onto strips of black cardstock, creating a "film-strip" effect.  
For the journaling, I just started typing away on the computer, used double-spacing and a 16 point hand-lettering font.  I then cut the narrative into strips and started piecing it together in the space available.  

Page 26

My Inspiration:

Scrapbooks etc. April 2012
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Year in Review Time-Saver

The best way to get the biggest bag for your "time" buck?  A summary page!  (Not to mention that this layout was a great way to use up extra supplies!)

The 12-month year is perfect for this grid.  You can go 3x4 or 4x3 (like above), depending on your embellishments and journaling.  Whatever photo-printing software you use, just ensure that your photos are exactly the same size and neatly trimmed.  When you use this grid, any little shift or error seems magnified.  I used a gridded background (resembling graph paper) to emphasize the effect, as well as to ensure my own photo-placement steadiness.  There is no such thing as "eye-balling" it for me.  (I'll let you in on a little secret -- I suffer from vertigo, so everything I look at is a bit skewed!)  So, just like with carpentry -- measure twice, cut once.  Otherwise you will use up a lot more printer ink and paper than you intended.

I chose a photo from each month that best represented that time.  At times, it was difficult to pick just one.  Some months are more busy than others.  For example, the boys' birthday is in August AND we went on a family vacation.  Should I use a photo from their birthday, one of our hikes, or the cabin we rented?  In this case, I went with a photo from one of our hikes.  It was so summery and bright that it just begged to be used.  Remember too, because you're placing so many photos on one page, don't make the pictures too small.  They should be clear enough to you don't have to guess what the subject is.

I think it's also important to make the title eye-catching.  In this case I used a different type/font for each word.  This grid layout can be used in many different situations:  a vacation in review; a single event (like a birthday); twelve years of schooling, etc.  Sometimes you just can't rely on the pictures doing all the talking for you, especially if your page is meant to be viewed by others.  I emphasized the topic by using the "months of the year" vertical border as well.

For my journaling I kept it simple and simply created a bullet-point list of the months and the main events (even if that event wasn't represented by a photo).  Remember, this layout is supposed to be a time-saver.  You can go back and scrap an event in detail later.  Right now, you're just trying to capture your memories as expeditiously as possible.

So, here's my inspiration for this page.  I took a double-page layout and made a one-pager.  (Note:  I hope I'm doing the right thing here.  I've scanned in the pages I used from a magazine and have given you a copy of the cover page of that issue with a link to their site.  If I am stepping on toes, violating copyrights, whatever, please let me know.  I don't want to offend, steal, or inadequately cite my sources!)

As you can see, I very loosely based my page on this layout.  They don't have much in common, actually, but you can see how just a single idea can create a spark of inspiration!

I hope I've given you that little spark today!

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Update - Brotherly Love

Guess what?!  I was prepping for some upcoming posts and scanning the pictures that have been my inspiration for many if not most of my pages, and I came across this print-out from the internet.  It's the actual inspiration for my Brotherly Love page which I thought I had tossed long ago!

I'm really glad that I found it so I can show you how this sparked my interest.  I see that I printed this sheet on February 17, 2006.  My boys were exactly 6 months old (to the day) when I knew just what I wanted to do with this template.  Of course, it took another year or two to actually execute on it.

This is also a great lesson in keeping notes on what you do.  One day you just might want to start your own blog and will want these notes and printouts.  Another idea -- tape the inspiration for your page onto the backside of your page along with the date you actually complete your page.  These are memory albums, but they are as much of a diary or journal as anything else you do!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My First Scrapbook Page Ever -- Brotherly Love

I made my first scrapbook page several years ago.  I was working part-time and at home during the afternoons with my twins.  Nearly every day I watched a show on HGTV called DIY Scrapbooking with Sandi Genovese.  I loved the show!  I would get on-line and see some of the featured layouts, as well as ones that didn't make it onto the show, but were provided nonetheless. This page evolved from one of those layouts.  Believe me, hers was more refined.  But I liked the implied simplicity of it as well.  I sketched the general layout and placed it in a folder and there it sat for about two or three years.  At that point I had accumulated some supplies and cardstock.  I had an adorable pic of my boys taken on the day they came home from the hospital and it had been sitting in a frame on my desk.  I thought back to this layout and thought that it was perfect for it.  

How I did it:

Using a die-cut frame ( Embossed Die-Cut Paper Frames from K&Company) 

I severely cropped my photo so that only their faces (the main focus) fit inside the frame.  

Glue Dots are my absolute favorite adhesive.  They come in different sizes and in permanent and removable varieties and I would be lost without them. 

I generally place a dot in each corner (and maybe one right in the middle) and that provides more than enough holding power.  I used a bit of green floral wire bent into a rough angle and glue-dotted the two loose ends under the frame.  The effect reminded me of the wires that were exposed from every portrait hanging on the walls of my grandparents' home.  A copper square brad acted as a tack. Placing the frame at a jaunty angle added a little more personality to the project. 

The cardstock (12x12) (and I apologize - I generally don't keep notes regarding the artist/maker/company of my supplies) was a very understated, almost watermarked-styled, paper.  Just enough color and graphics to stand out, but without having so much that it would take away from the impact of the photo.  

For the title "Brotherly Love," I used italic-fonted black alpha stickers.  Looking back after all these years, I see that title is the weakest part of the entire layout.  I wish I had used something that used up the space a bit better, or complemented the frame a bit more.  I didn't place the letters very evenly, nor are they spaced appropriately.

Journaling has always been the hardest part for me.  I keep a private journal and I blog, but I find it hard to combine the two.  My thoughts about my boys tend to be very personal and I know that my scrapping albums will be seen by more than just me, so I tend to "over-think" what I write.  In the pages to come, you'll see that my journaling is usually kept to a minimum.  This page probably has the most I have done to date.

I typed it and printed the entry on textured bond paper.  I used a denim blue font color to match the matting I placed behind it to make it pop a bit.

Now -- this is no masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a great start.  All in all, it took approximately 20 minutes to create.  Really.  That's all.  Most of that time was me sitting down trying to journal the page.  I went through several edits and experiments with papers, fonts and colors.

Who doesn't have 20 minutes?  Really?  When you are pressed for time, it is important to keep it simple.  Forget making distressed flowers or accordioned borders.  Let your photo speak for itself.  Use cardstock that has a design already on it in order to minimize the need for embellishments.  Keep to a single color template so you don't have to worry about finding complementary accents.  Don't stress about the journaling (like I did).   

Give it a try and let me know how it turned out.  Send me a photo of your results and I'll post it.  Let's share and scrap together!
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Monday, April 8, 2013


Hello and Welcome!

Scrapping has rather recently become an important part of my life.  I've never considered myself an artistic or creative sort, though I've always enjoyed writing and needlework.  I started my scrapping life when my boys were born in 2005.  My mother bought me two blank albums and a few scrapping tools to get started with.  Well, unfortunately, having twins turned out to be quite time-consuming and I didn't get to actual scrapping experiences until they were a few years old, but even then I only made half-hearted attempts at pages, but nothing I really took pride in. 

Then I discovered scrapbooking magazines, blogs and tv shows.  I was hooked.  I started spending my time exploring these resources, though I still wasn't putting what I was learning into practice.  I was starting to amass a veritable stockpile of supplies, embellishments, papers, and layouts, but I just didn't have anything to show for it.

And then, suddenly my boys were six!  Where the heck did all that time go?  I said "enough is enough -- I'm not going to lose any more memories," and I sat down and did a real page using what I was learning from the scrapping library I had collected.  I still love to buy the magazines and project books, but it in no way compares to the actual feeling of accomplishment when I place that finished piece into its album sleeve.

Now, I still don't consider myself an overly creative person, but I am very proud of my creations.  I can't say they are original ideas, though.  I have a very specific technique ... I'm a copycat!

I will open one of my scrapping magazines and pick the first layout featured.  I then browse through my digital images and find just the right event for that layout (rather than the other way around).  Then I use whatever supplies I have on hand that are similar to what was used in the published version.  (I'm currently trying to use up what I have before heading to the store (except in exceptional circumstances -- like a really great coupon from Archivers).)

Perhaps one day I'll get to creating my own templates and layouts, but right now, I'm still exploring my own creative style and crafting techniques.  I'm wary of getting into inks and distressers, but I know it's just a matter of time before I'm hooked on those as well. 

So.  What exactly am I trying to accomplish with this blog?  I want to show you, as well as myself, that no matter how busy you are, you can still find time for a little artistic flow.  I work full time and my boys are almost 8 years old.  I can't wake up any earlier, and I can't stay up any later, either.  But I still find time for a little "me-time."  It may only be once a week.  Sometimes twice a week, but I've promised myself not to let that time slip by.  I also want to share my experiences with new supplies, tools and techniques.  I plan to link to great stories and great bloggers.  I'd like to review items as well. 

I hope you enjoy this blog and that I'm able to provide a little spark of creativity in your life!

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