Thursday, January 28, 2016

Digging for the Scrapbooking Story

I wanted to scrap these photos from last summer with a story beyond the obvious "we went for ice cream, isn't she adorable?" I sat, staring and staring, until one little detail  caught my eye. Our granddaughter is holding the spoon in her right hand in one photo, then her left hand in another. And a personality page was born.

So she is experimenting with which hand she wants to use, but that happy face is not just because she is eating ice cream. She loves to go out in public. She love to see things and meet people. She is, so far, a social little girl.

I'm glad I took the time to dig for that and record it on a scrapbook page.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Finishing Touches on a Scrapbook Layout

From my last couple of posts, you would think all I'm doing these days is knitting. And you would be so wrong. Here's proof: this layout I made using the July scrapbook kit from Cocoa Daisy. I created most of this in one sitting, but something was missing. So I let the page sit on my desk for the day, came back the next morning and knew what I needed to do.

Even with all the cute tags, the layout did not feel complete until I added bits of hand stitching. I just need my frames, I guess. And little pops of kraft here and there. Now I'm finished. Do you ever walk away from a scrapbook page and finish it later?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ShotBox Review

I was setting up to photograph my most recent scrapbook layouts and suddenly realized: I own the new ShotBox and have not posted a review! So I'm here today to rectify the situation. If you need to know what a ShotBox is in the first place, here is their website. If you already know about it and are wondering whether you should purchase one, read on.

I posted a review on their website when I first received my ShotBox, and still agree with my initial assessment. So here is that review:

1. The Shotbox came very well packaged, yet easy to open and quick to set up. I was pleased with the quality of the product. Plastic, but sturdy. Nothing to put together, except plugging in the power cord. Simple instructions and everything worked right the first time.

2. The power cord is not very long, maybe about 4 feet. So you better be close to a power source.

3. There's a dimmer switch on the front to turn on and adjust the light. There is another switch to turn each side of lights on or off. I need to play with these more. I was getting some glare on my photos, but played with the lighting a bit and was happy with the results.

4. I used my iPhone to take pictures of a layout. Found out my small Nikon CoolPix doesn't zoom out small enough, so the phone it is. That's not a problem. I used the square photo setting on my iPhone and took some photos, which automatically show up in my Photos program. Love that!

5. Now for the real test: cropping. The ShotBox passed with flying colors! I might have heard singing. This is by far the least I've ever had to crop off a layout to get a good square crop. I purposely chose a layout with a skinny border at top and bottom and had no problem keeping them. Paper scrappers, rejoice!

6. If you struggle with good lighting, especially this time of year, your troubles are over. Rainy days, cloudy days, night time will mean nothing now.

7. Overall, I am very, very pleased. I think (hope) the quality of the layouts I post online will be about the same or a bit better than before, but I'm achieving these results with less time and frustration. This was a worthwhile purchase for me.

The photo glare is still an issue, but I'm able to troubleshoot and overcome it in most cases. I think a very flat layout is the key. Turning one set of lights off helps, and once I turned my layout sideways and that took care of the glare. I have no idea why. So do you see a ShotBox in your scrapping future?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Memorandum Monday

Memorandum Monday is the brainchild of fellow CT member Sian. Her premise is delightful: On Monday, tell something you did over the weekend FOR THE FIRST TIME. Or something you learned and DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE.

I like it.

 This weekend I finally finished my Scoreboard Cowl, all 7 and 1/2 feet of it. Whew! The last step was binding together the two ends of the open tube using a technique called Kitchener In The Round. I've closed plenty of sock toes using the Kitchener stitch, but never joined and closed a tube. So I sat down Saturday evening to do just that.

 A few hours later, (I'm not a fast knitter) here is the result. Very warm and cozy. Just in time for the Arctic temperatures we're having this week.

My husband and I have agreed to share it. Whoever is shoveling snow gets to wear it. I'm glad it fits him too, as I am not fond of shoveling snow. Happy Monday!

Monday, January 11, 2016

On My Needles: Welcome 2016

I am excited to welcome a new year of knitting! I have Big Plans in store for 2016. Just look at my Ravelry queue. When I queue a project, that means I have the pattern, I have the yarn, and am waiting for an opportunity to cast on. See? Big Plans. Currently I have two projects on the needles. 

This is my Scoreboard Cowl, which I described in this post. It has grown into something enormous. I'm in the home stretch, with only 37 rounds to go. Then I get to join the two ends of the tube by executing a maneuver called Kitchener In The Round. Thankfully, there's a video for that. There's a knitting video for anything, I think.   

Here is my first sock for 2016. The pattern is Hickory from the Knitter's Book of Socks. The cuff is finished and I'm ready to do some chart reading to start the leg. The yarn is String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn in a blend of merino, cashmere and nylon. It's a dream to knit up and the color variation is amazing. Is it too soon to be in love with these socks?

As part of my Big Plans, I'm attempting to knit a pair of socks every month in 2016. Coincidentally, the Just One More Row podcast has a Knit Along for that. Their rules helped me get organized and the thread in their Ravelry forum is inspiring.

That's it for now. I hope to do lots more casting on this month and finish a few things along the way. Happy knitting!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Design Skills for Scrapbooking: Alignment

As a clean and simple scrapbooker, I love it when things line up. Everything so neat and tidy. Then I love to break out and over those lines, as in this layout.

This page is about our visit to a historic home just outside Akron, Ohio. I created a strong vertical axis with my portrait photos, patterned paper and journaling, separating the design into two columns. The title and embellishments break outside the lines to add variety and interest, while the overlapping ampersand unites the two sides. How easy is that?
There are more examples in this article over at Get It Scrapped! In addition, you can
1. watch a 9-minute video from "Design Principles for the Scrapbook Page"
2. sign up for a new class, "The Confident Designer", which starts on Jan. 18
3. download a free  design guide, "5 Scrapbook Page Starting Points"

All good stuff. Happy scrapping!