Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Plunged into Project Life

I had been keeping a monthly mini album, but with the release of the Kraft Edition Project Life kit, I knew I was in trouble. My intention was to start fresh in January, but as the weeks went by, the Kraft kit was soon joined by the Midnight kit and I had to put them to use.

I dismantled my mini album and replaced everything in PL style spreads. For each month I have a calendar that I fill in, and then I use a variety of divided page protectors to summarize the month with much journaling and some photos. As you can see, I have no problem mixing square and rounded cards, but I know others prefer one or the other. I am really happy with how the pages flow with my regular layouts, and I'm even happier that I can keep everything together in my 12"x12" albums.

As I work on my pages and read blogs and forums, I see the need to for products that are very specific, which is not at all cost effective. Since snippets from each day, week, or month are being captured, you need to be creative so you can title, journal, and embellish your stories. Hopefully the free printables I create and share will make your {Project}life a little easier.

*Note: the preview in Google Drive does not present the image in the highest quality, but I can assure you your download will be just as the image above looks! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

CHA Summer 2013 Challenges

I really enjoy doing challenges, not because of the chance to win goodies, but because the criteria really pushes me to be more creative by taking me out of my comfort zone. I had a ton of fun participating in much of what Two Peas in a Bucket had to offer last week for CHA Summer 2013. A special forum, chats with Garden Girls, and videos of new products kept me glued to my computer.

I completed 5 of the 10 challenges and will try to do the others as time allows, even if it's after the deadline. You have until Tuesday, July 30th at 11:59 pm CST to play along if you haven't already. There are great submissions as always, so it's a good thing winners are selected at random!

Challenge #2 - Two People
I used Fancy Pants, Basic Grey, and Studio Calico papers and embellishments from Doodlebug, Studio Calico, Basic Grey, Little Yellow Bicycle, and many pieces from the American Crafts Dear Lizzy {5th & Frolic} die cut shapes.

Challenge #4 - Four Elements from Nature
This was my first time putting feathers on a layout and I gave them have more texture by cutting the stickers. I put together an eclectic combination of papers from Simple Stories {I (Heart) Summer}, My Mind's Eye {The Sweetest Thing}, Glitz {Uncharted Waters} 6x6 pad, and brand new Jillibean Soup {Happy Camper Stew}. I kept the embellishments very simple and gave the title extra dimension by layering Echo Park {Here & Now} Alphas on Studio Calico {Abroad} Thickers.

Challenge #7 - Seven New Pieces
I had just gotten an order from Two Peas at the end of last week, so I had brand new goodies to work with. I used 4 papers from My Mind's Eye {Find Your Wings and Fly} along with the multi-pack of alpha and word stickers. Carta Bella's {Hello Again} line is gorgeous as is the pinwheel washi tape from Freckled Fawn. In my most recent Studio Calico kit, there were silver stars from Basic Grey that I paired with resin stars from them as well.

Challenge #9 - Nine Older Pieces
I have a fair bit of older paper that I've stopped being afraid to cut into, and so this challenge was perfect for me. I gathered some very old Basic Grey {Lilykate} paper and {Porcelain} letter stickers, Echo Park {All About a Boy} and My Mind's Eye {So Sophie} scraps and green decorative tape. October Afternoon {Woodland Park} chipboard and label stickers paired with some Prima flowers and Doodlebug mini pearls and brads took care of the embellishments.

Challenge #10 - Ten Photos
I do traditional double page layouts on occasion, but it's much more common for me to make two layouts that coordinate and use the same supplies, but don't have a direct line of contact if you were to put the pages directly side by side. I have never done a layout with so many pictures, so that was a huge challenge to me. I struggled for a long time moving the elements around the page and feel only ho-hum about the end result. Most papers are from Echo Park {Beautiful Life} and {Sweet Girl}, with some Basic Grey {Knee Highs} and My Mind's Eye 6"x6" Chevron paper pad thrown in. Staying true to form, I made most of the embellishments, used Thickers for the title, and added sequins here and there.

Good luck to everyone that participated in the challenge, again there are so many awesome layouts!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our Fly Drive Holiday

When I scrapbook, I don't use many items that are themed. My wedding album has nothing that would lead you to believe the photos are from our wedding, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I tend to pick a couple of collections that I feel provide the best vibe for the photos, then build a kit from there. I don't often go back into my stash as I work on a project and I use the scraps and the same embellishments throughout the album to maintain continuity.

For our vacation this year, I changed my kit process a little and selected a different set of patterned paper for each place we visited. Oddly for me, I used a lot of pink on these layouts, but it really worked.

National Scrapbooking Day fell in the timeframe that I was working on this album and so I got to enjoy creating layouts for my album while doing some fun challenges. I was not a winner, but my album is complete, so I'm a happy camper! You can see the layouts I created for challenges at my Two Peas gallery, but I wanted to share a couple more here.

For the title page above, the journaling card from Simple Stories {Urban Traveler} was perfect for the bullet points of our trip. I had bought pieces from that collection as well as picking up some Studio Calico {Abroad} on sale before we'd even left.

Not only do I love the story behind this photo, I love how 4 different lines worked so well together! There is Fancy Pants {Park Bench}, Glitz {Uncharted Waters}, My Mind's Eye {The Sweetest Thing}, and Simple Stories {Urban Traveler}

Visiting Bryce Canyon was absolutely stunning, and though I scrapbooked several large pictures, this layout was one of my absolute faves! Some more My Mind's Eye {The Sweetest Thing} and {Miss Caroline}, and some simple embellishments were all that was needed!

Do you buy (and use) themed products?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Free Printables

I wanted a 3x4 card to put with my June Project Life spread (yes, I broke down and started PL) that was food related. I've seen some for sale that are super cute, but the entire set didn't apply to me, so I decided to make my own. Since I went to the trouble, I wanted to share them, in case you find yourself in the same predicament.

While I was at it, I created an additional 3"x4" card, four 1-1/2" round tags, and four cut apart shapes, all in the same color scheme on an 8.5"x11" page. These are free for you to download and use as many times as you'd like, all I ask is that you do not pass the items off as your own or sell them.

Enjoy and happy crafting!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Scrapbooking Just to Scrapbook

Recently, my mother-in-law was gracious enough to let me scan my hubs' baby photos. There aren't many and in return, I provided her with digital copies of all her children's photos.  A few really caught my eye, and I knew I would be scrapbooking them. This is one of those occasions where it isn't my story, so I am creating just for the sake of creating. I really wanted the photo to stand out, so I created my background and then muted it by putting vellum on top and then adhering the picture.

As soon as I saw this photo of the two of them together, I knew which paper I would be using from my stash. Inspiration for cutting the paper came from Evelyn Pratiwi Yusuf and it worked out that I can play along with Lilith Eeckels' Summer Colour Video Series. I loved watching Lilith add the embellishments to the page, she sure made it look easy!

The products I used were: white vellum - white cardstock - My Mind's Eye {Find Your Wings & Fly} Sky's the Limit Tiled 12x12 paper, In Bloom 6x6 paper pad {The Sweetest Thing} Together Stickers - Echo Park {Everyday Eclectic} Cameras 12x12 paper and Journaling Cards - Studio Calico {Sundrifter} Vellum Frames - Cartwright's Sequins 5mm Iris Mix - Heidi Swapp Stickers  - Doodlebug Designs Bumblebee Twine

Does making embellishment clusters come naturally for you? Sometimes it's a struggle for me.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Assemble the Minions!

Last weekend we celebrated my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. We had a casual backyard barbecue with lots of family to help reminisce about what has been a true triumph of love. Also there to provide smiles were a small group of Minions, including Dave, Stuart, and Jerry.

I have yet to create or find a vanilla cupcake that can be my go to for all occasions. This time I tried a recipe from Sprinkles Bakery that I found here. It's for their vanilla peppermint cupcake, but I just left out the peppermint. I've made her strawberry cupcakes and they were super delish, so I had high hopes for these.

The cake had a nice vanilla flavor and they came out of the wrappers well. Sadly, I was disappointed with the texture and I will continue my hunt for a no fail, taste great, vanilla cupcake. If you have one, please share it with me, I will be eternally grateful!

For the Minions, I used Little Debbie Cloud Cakes (since Twinkies weren't back on the market), candy googly eyes and black icing by Wilton, and my favorite buttercream recipe. I cut the Cloud Cakes in 2 pieces, not always evenly since some are tall and some are stubby. I used the black icing to hold the eyes in place and then added the band for the goggle and some hair.

I also made lemon lavender cupcakes, using the vanilla cupcake as the base, and my mom made her pound cake and a chocolate cake that I made a whipped ganache for. It was a long day, but so worth it and one they won't soon forget!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Simple Typography

Along with my love of fonts, I love seeing what the creative minds come up with in the world typography. It's amazing to see the powerful images that arise from arranging words. Since I have no educational background in typography or type design, this post at tutorial9 for Photoshop was a helpful starting point for creating a simple shape. I made the above for a Valentine's day project earlier this year to show my loves.

You can also achieve the same basic design on your Mac in Pages by creating a shape with no fill color, and then using text boxes to arrange your words and then removing the shape. My apologies that I can't provide firsthand information on how to do this in Microsoft Word, but I imagine it is a very similar process. I also couldn't find a well written tutorial, everything was directing me to Word Art.

If you don't have a lot of time, or these programs, there are a variety of online applications, some of which are free for use. This article from Tripwire Magazine provides a link and a brief description of several programs. I hadn't tried any of them, so I popped over to image chef and took a quick look. It appears that you can enter a string of text and it arranges it for you in an instant in your chosen shape. You can then save it, embed it, or share it with others via social media. Not too shabby!

I created the below to go along with a scrapbook section about my hubs with some of the reasons why I love him so.

If you create your own piece of simple typography, I'd love to see it and know how you did it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

That's My Spot

Earlier this year I had seen this card and knew that I would eventually use the quote on a project that would be pop art and comic book styled. I don't print my photos at home and Walgreen's was having a sale over the weekend on orders of 75 prints or more. I was already at 62, so I decided to play around with some pictures and created the one for this layout. I used two photo editing tools in Picasa, one is a comic book layer, which applies a half tone design over your photo, and the other was the vignette layer. I then used PSE to create my title, journaling box, and main embellishments.

Have you ever worked pop culture into a layout?

products used: We R Memory Keepers {White Out} Frenzy Joy and Rumble - white cardstock - My Mind's Eye Red Decorative Tape - Freckled Fawn Stars & Such Wood Chips - Basic Grey {Basics} Yellow Candy Buttons - blue & red brads - Plaid Pure Gold Acrylic Paint - Sound FX dingbats - Crimefighter font - Titan One font

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love This Life

I have been playing around with different photo sizes lately in Photoshop Elements (PSE), so that I can have fun with squares and collages, but still order prints at the 4x6 size and price. Using PSE, create a new blank file that is 4x6. Then open the picture you want to resize and edit, crop, and fine tune as you see fit. Drag and drop the new photo onto your 4x6 canvas, adjusting the size as needed to fit on your canvas. Once you get your printed photo, just trim off the white. Alternatively, you can leave a small white border around your picture, or depending on the size of your picture, turn it into a Polaroid style photo.

I am not a fan of iPhoto, and so I use Picasa for my photo storage. It is free to download (for Windows or Mac) and includes a basic range of photo editing tools. It also has a handy one-click function of making a collage out of your selected photos. I selected 88 photos for my collage and once it was created, I opened it in PSE and copied sections to a 4x6 canvas. I may not have done it in the best manner, and it took some trial and error, but I finally got it all sorted out. I wasn't sure if I wanted the photos in black and white or color, and created both formats to be ordered. (I'll share the color collage layout as soon as it's done.)

If you don't have PSE, but do have or try out Picasa, you can create collages directly onto a 4x6 print size (or larger) by selecting as many or as few photos as you want. You can adjust the grid spacing, change the background color, and shuffle the photos. Once the collage is created, you can apply effects to it, such as turning it black and white. It is also a great way to print photos for pocket style scrapbooking! Do you print photos in sizes other than 4x6? What works best for you?

products used: white and black cardstock - white vellum -Echo Park {Everyday Eclectic} Alpha Stickers - Basic Grey {What's Up} 6x6 paper pad - Dear Lizzy {Neapolitan} Roller Date Stamp - Cartwright Sequins 8mm Crystal Opaque Mix, 5mm Iris Mix - My Mind's Eye {The Sweetest Thing} Bluebell Tiny Word Stickers - Studio Calico flat gold sequins - pop dots

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Tail of 3 Kitties

Earlier this year, we lost our Mini-Tiger to kidney failure at the age of 12. When I moved in with my now hubs, she was of course part of the package, and he came to love her just as much as I did. Not very long after her passing, we discussed and then adopted 2 girls that we named Pound Cake and Peanut. Unfortunately they couldn't get along, and so in order for them to have the best quality of life, we had to return Peanut back to her foster mom. It was difficult situation to be put in, but after Pound Cake got physically ill, we knew what we needed to do. All 3 girls are always in our thoughts, and of course I have to scrapbook them!

It is no secret that I am immensely inspired by Shimelle Laine. I've learned so much from her blog, videos, and hope to partake in her upcoming Scrapbook Concentration Class. For these pictures, I used two sketches that Shimelle recently posted (here and here) and am really pleased with the outcome.

Do you like to use sketches? Do you stick closely to the design or loosely translate it?

products used: Simple Stories {Vintage Bliss} Give Love, Pink Floral, Live Simply, and Green Dot 12x12 paper - Amy Tangerine {Yes, Please} Life Alphabet Stickers - Studio Calico {Darling Dear} Wood Veneer Alphabet - Freckled Fawn Stars & Such Wood Chips - Freckled Fawn Lovely Bit Stars -My Mind's Eye Turquoise Decorative Tape - My Mind's Eye {The Sweetest Thing} About Me Word Stickers - Dear Lizzy {Neapolitan} Date Stamp

products used: kraft cardstock - Simple Stories {Vintage Bliss} Yellow Grid, Live Simply, Green Dot, and Give Love 12x12 papers, Vertical Journaling Cards, and Fundamentals Cardstock Stickers - My Mind's Eye {Find Your Wings and Fly} Sky's the Limit Alpha & Word Stickers - Studio Calico {Darling Dear} Wood Veneer Alphabet - Freckled Fawn Stars & Such Wood Chips - October Afternoon {Woodland Park} Chip & Stick and Shape Stickers - My Mind's Eye Turquoise Decorative Tape - October Afternoon {Midway} Pink Balloon Sprinklers - Dear Lizzy {Neapolitan} Date Stamp

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Beautiful Things

I've always had a fondness for a good quote, and this is one I believe we all can relate to.

The way our office is set up, my desk actually faces a wall, so since I don't have a view, I have this hanging up above my big monitor. It is a constant reminder and boost of encouragement during the times when I doubt, question, and pay for that next shopping order, of why I do what I do.

Who or what inspires you?

products used: black, white cardstock - KI Memories Lace Cardstock Flower - Basic Grey {Sultry} Citron 12x12 paper - EK Success Small Retro Flower Punch - syncopate font

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Plum Galette

I am thankful to live near my parents, and one way we take advantage of spending time together is for the hubs and I to have them over for dinner. My sister is in town as well, so even more of an incentive to gather and feast!

I'd picked up some plums recently that were so sweet and delicious, I knew I wanted to make my dessert with them. A quick internet search brought me to an older recipe by Martha Stewart for a plum galette. I've made a couple of her recipes before and after reading through this one, I felt confident it would go over well. I was not disappointed, except that I sent home the last 3 slices with them!

What I loved:
  • it came together easier than a pie
  • that I forgot to let it rest 20 minutes before baking and it made no difference
  • no juice from the plums leaked out of the crust, which was flaky and golden
What I changed:
  • hazelnuts instead of almonds
  • sprinkled turbinado sugar after brushing with cream
  • baked for 65 minutes on convection
Since I used whipping cream to brush the galette before baking, I then of course had to make my own whipped cream. I whipped 1/2 C of cream and then added 1-1/2 tsp of confectioner's sugar and 1/2 tsp of vanilla and whipped until firm.

If you are headed for a barbecue this summer, this will be a crowd pleaser. It is easier than it looks, honest!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Challenge Yourself

I love a good challenge. It gets me motivated to be productive, and I feel a larger sense of accomplishment once I've finished. I also like seeing what other crafty ladies come up with, because a different perspective can be so inspirational.

I've recently begun making cards and have found I actually like it. I get to try out a technique or idea that has caught my eye, but may not fit my scrapbooking style. Also, it is a great way to use up paper scraps, oddball embellishments, and leftover letters. Win, win!

This fab new online magazine hit the digital newsstands the other day called Jot and is put together by Kim Archer. They have a few challenges in the magazine and also a mood board challenge on their blog, which is what I chose to do. I love the cool color combo and was inspired to put this card together. I did go with more of a teal than aqua, but I think it still counts! :)

Have you ever made cards? Do you or don't you like making them?

products used: kraft card - white cardstock - Basic Grey {What's Up} 6x6 paper pad - My Mind's Eye Red Decorative Tape - doodlebug design {doodle twine} boy assortment - My Mind's Eye {Collectable} Enamel Dots - Echo Park {Everyday Eclectic} Alpha Stickers - 1/2" round punch - white and teal cupcake liners