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.