Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Counterfeit Kit Layouts

While using my Counterfeit Kit this month, I had three goals in mind:
          #1 - mixing patterned paper from different manufacturers. 
               (Echo Park For the Record and Fancy Pants It's the Little Things)
          #2 - using smaller photos
          #3 - working with lots of patterned paper and cutting it into smaller pieces
Sometimes a black background is so perfect, and this one really makes me happy! There's nothing like black to make colors pop.
I'm on a bit of a kick to scrap my childhood photos. The smaller size and black and white make them a change from my usual 4x6 color pictures. I like the challenge.
I'm pleased with all these pages, so this style should be something I return to in the future. How about you: are there a few go-to design elements that you lean towards when you scrap? Please share!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shooting A Layout

.....with my camera, of course. Not that I haven't been tempted to do violence to a page that just isn't coming together. But I digress.

Getting a layout from scrap room to camera to blog post is a pretty simple process for me. I just don't have the time to attempt anything too complicated. When shooting my layout, I'm looking for three basic items.
#1 Natural Light - Fortunately I am blessed with some wonderful windows in our great room, so even on a cloudy day I can usually get enough light for a photo shoot. So I open the blinds and head for my next item...
 #2 A Flat, Level Surface - I've tried the standing-on-a-chair overhead shots and never been happy with the results. Our stair railing and some tape finally solved that problem. Now I'm ready for my third and final item....
#3 Optimal Camera Settings - which for me includes no flash, an ISO of 400 and daylight setting if it's sunny, or an ISO of 800 and cloudy setting if the sun is hiding. A steady hand is helpful. I end up with a photo on my camera that looks something like this. I tend to shoot anywhere from 3 to 6 layouts at a time. This batch method is more efficient for me, as I perform the same tasks repeatedly.

I download to iPhoto, select the best shots, and perform three more tasks before exporting:
A. Crop (using the constrain to a square setting for a 12x12 layout)
B. Straighten
C. Enhance (sometimes not even this if it makes the colors too bright)

And the finished product you see on my blog looks something like this....
I add a few close-ups and call it a day.
Do you have a quick and easy system to get photos on your blog? Is there anything that's a struggle? Do you have any tips for me? I'm always open to suggestions!

Speaking of suggestions, if you haven't taken my blog poll, I'd sure appreciate a minute of your time!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Survey Says....

If you're here from Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers, welcome! And if you're not, you are just as welcome! Today is a quick little poll about my blog. I am a little slow to post this, mainly because:

a) do I really want to know the answers? (yes, I think I do!)
b) what if nobody likes something I really like? (we'll all get over it)
c) am I willing to make changes to my blog based on this information? (maybe...)

Okay, time to throw caution to the wind. I really appreciate anyone taking a minute to click a few buttons. Comments are always welcome as well! Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I am in the midst of yet another scrap room re-organization project. This time the re-do is taking baby steps towards becoming a mixed manufacturer scrapper.
After several years spent in the comfort of single-product line, everything-coordinates land, it's time to venture out of my comfort zone. Starting with embellishments.
I gathered everything, broke up kits (with fear and trembling), and have begun the process of separating my embellishments into bright colors, cool colors, and lighter colors. For now, it's an easy starting point.
I'm not willing to break apart paper kits yet, but I want to start gathering a list, at least in my mind, of which manufacturers tend to mix well with what other manufacturers. So I'm asking for a little help. Two simple questions, feel free to answer one or both or just leave a comment!

Question #1 - Do you mix manufacturers when you scrap or stick to a single manufacturer and paper line for each layout?

Question #2 - If you mix manufacturers, what are your favorite companies that seem to consistently mix and match well for you?

"What's On Your Workday Wednesday" is a weekly event where over one hundred crafters show and tell what's going on in their corners of the world. You can go to Julia's blog for more glimpses of our creative endeavors.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Before and After

Here's a layout I completed about six months. ago. It was for a sketch challenge, and while there's nothing wrong with the sketch, I let it totally drive my process and was never happy with the final result. Here's what I want to change....
#1 The Colors - I just don't care for the color scheme. Not really sure why. Maybe it's too dark or too busy, but it does not make me happy to look at this page.
#2 The Photos - They don't have a focus. Am I supposed to look at the people or the book display? I wish I had cropped these but I followed the sketch rather mindlessly. My bad.
#3 The Journaling - This is the biggest problem. I had a book published and dedicated two little journaling strips to telling the story. Seriously?
I finally decided to give myself a do-over on this page and am much happier with the result the second time around. Here's why....

#1 The Colors - I lightened up the color scheme and kept it pretty simple. Even though the photos are smaller, they stand out much better on this page.
#2 The Photos - I cropped the pictures and put them on a separate mat. The book display is still there, but now the focus is on the people.
#3 The Journaling - I allowed plenty of space for a fun title (think Monsters, Inc.) and lots of room for journaling. And yes, you could find this book on amazon, but unless you are a piano teacher, you really won't be interested!

I have other pages in my albums I'm not crazy about. Don't we all? But I have no intentions of getting carried away re-doing layouts. Since an important story (to me) was not being told, this page merited special consideration. Have you ever re-done a layout? Is there one you might consider giving a re-do?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

1 Sketch, 2 Ways

Here's my latest adventure in stretching a sketch. Layout #1 is a 2-page spread, using a design from Sketches for Scrapbooking, Vol. 2 by Allison Davis. The photos show my family working off Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of my sister's Wii. We'll do just about anything to amuse ourselves and let Phil take pictures of us doing it.
Loved making these little blocks for the title and smaller photos. I wanted to do that again! So...
...I took the second page, flipped it a quarter turn and voila! I now have the template for...
...Layout #2 about the hawk we discovered sitting on our deck one morning last fall.
I got to make these little tags again. And that made me happy.
Do you ever finish and layout and think that was just so much fun, you'd like to do it again? Well, go right ahead!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Break & Counterfeit Kit

Spring Break has come and gone so quickly! We drove to Asheville, North Carolina and toured the famous Biltmore House and Estate, something I've wanted to do for a long time. Phil gave me over 300 pictures for my iPhoto library, but I've managed to narrow it down to just six to show you. My favorite shots of the house...
...and down in the gardens, where the trees were flowering and the daffodils and tulips were in full bloom. Mine are just barely above ground.  So I get two springs this year!
I'd go back any time. A trip during each season would be wonderful. Even winter.

Since we've been back, I found time to create my Counterfeit Kit for April. Again, a fantastic choice from a new kit club, Front Porch Kits. I own 7 sheets of patterned paper from the actual kit, so I guess I didn't really counterfeit that, I just plain old copied. I also own the Fancy Pants Journal Cards. But everything else I pulled from my stash.
My Counterfeit:
1. ribbon - one black ribbon with a white edged scallop
2. hearts and butterflies - Slice Design Cards, Applique and Tag Maker (6x6 paper pad)
3. buttons - a selection from BoBunny
4. alphabets - Fancy Pants, Cosmos Cricket, October Afternoon, Pink Paislee
5. chipboard tags - shipping tags from Staples
6. flowers - Creative Memories and I forget, maybe Prima?
7. other stuff I felt like using - Tim Holtz tissue tape and mini paper clips

I've already made a couple layouts with my kit, which I'll post later in the month. It was great to have this project to come home to, and got me back into the scrapping mood. Now to find time to choose which photos to print from our trip!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bring In the Sunshine

Here is my design team layout for the April Scrap Our Stash Challenge. You can see the complete post on their blog here and the complete challenge info here. After a warm, sunny trip to North Carolina and returning to a rainy, cold Michigan, I really could use some sun! (more on spring break coming Monday - if Phil has some pictures ready by then)

Yes, that little girl in the pictures is me. A long, long time ago. Back when that new outfit for Easter was a big deal. I'm surprised I'm not wearing gloves.
On another topic, Scrapbookers Anonymous has a National No Housework Day Blog Hop posted through this weekend and a Design Team Call! I urge you to check out both. These ladies are really fun and a pleasure to work with, the upcoming challenges are great, so why not join us?

Friday, April 1, 2011

"April Is A Promise...

... that May is bound to keep." 
A very true quote here in Michigan. But I say, Hurray for April! Spring finally comes in April. Can't wait to see my daffodils again. My husband and my dad have April birthdays. Better get going on those masculine birthday cards. Easter Celebrations. So much to be thankful for. So much to look forward to. Yes, April is looking pretty wonderful.

I have three items for you on this first day of April. No fooling.

Item #1 (with three subheadings) The three design teams I am privileged to be associated with reveal their monthly challenges today.
Journaling Junkie: Challenge #101 is to create a layout with the title Most Likely To. Such a great idea! I scraplifted the design for my layout from a page by Stephanie Baxter that appeared in a recent issue of Scrapbook Trends Magazine.
When I make a layout like this, I like to include a companion page for my husband. Phil was more than cooperative! Notice how each item on both lists begins with the same word. Wouldn't this make a fun family project?

Scrap Your Stash: The April Challenge is to Bring In the Sun. It can be a layout, card, album - anything you want to create that has something to do with the sun. I've got a layout that I'm excited to share with you later this month. It will be posted on both the Scrap Your Stash blog and here on my own little blog.
Scrapbookers Anonymous: The April Challenge is to use your eyelet stash! Remember eyelets? Confession: I have no eyelets in my stash. I used them briefly, realized they were just not for me and got rid of them with no regrets, until now. But the kind ladies at SA have excused me for this month. So even if you're like me, still take a peek at this challenge blog. There is going to be a Blog Hop on April 7 and a Design Team Call!

Item #2 I've had the honor of receiving another Blog Award! Many thanks to Stephanie, Jade and Michele for this one!
The rules are: choose 15 fellow bloggers and share 7 things about yourself. For the 15 bloggers, I kindly refer you to my sidebar of Blogs I Follow. Every one of these crafters is deserving of your attention! And for the 7 things, I kindly refer you to the Most Likely To layout above! 

Item #3 Today is the official start of my Spring Break! I am so ready. This little vacation time will also include a break from my computer. Happy Spring - see you later in April!