Monday, October 31, 2011

Inspiring Myself

Now that I've finished scrapping my Seattle/kayaking vacation pictures, I decided to use the prompts from Shimelle's scrapbooking class to work on my Christmas pictures from last year.  So, get ready for a bunch of holiday layouts!  Today, Shimelle suggested finding one of your own layouts that you liked and using it as inspiration.  I chose the layout above (from a previous vacation album).  What I like most about the layout is the bold contrast of the colors and the way that bright blue print is featured prominently.  I looked through my Christmas papers and found a bold green print that I loved.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a full sheet of it. So, I adapted the idea and made the following layout:
I used a more subtle gingham print where I had used the blue flower print and then used the green print as an additional, smaller layer. I love how it turned out.  As always, you can click on the picture to see a larger, clearer picture of the layout.  The pictures are of my family's annual Christmas baking party. It's so much fun to get together with my brothers and sisters, and my kids love spending time with their cousins.
So, did you do Shimelle's Inspire Yourself challenge? If so, leave me a link.  I love seeing the inspiration and what you did with it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Resolutions Catch-Up and Things Still Undone

For 2011, I selected a "one little word" (health), an intention ("to be fabulous at 50"), and created a list of resolutions or goals. I've been tracking these in three separate art journals.  I recently posted my September page in my intentions journal and you can click on the label "2011 intentions" below to see more pages.  Today's art journal page is about my resolution to "organize, purge and don't buy supplies."  I've been very good at not buying supplies this year - I quit the monthly scrapbooking club I've belonged to for ten years and have probably only shopped for crafting stuff three times. And I still have more supplies than I could ever use in my lifetime! I haven't been quite as good on the organizing and purging front, but I think I will be able to do a major clean our once my semester is over in early December.
When I look at the list of things still undone on my resolution list, I have to admit that two of them are things that I have been putting off for too many years: finish settling my parents' estate and create my own will and estate plan.  I'm not sure why these are so hard for me to accomplish.  I don't think they're technically hard or even that time consuming. But something else is keeping me from checking them off my list. Thoughts?
Which brings me a page from my one little word journal:
As good as I have been about getting healthy this year, there are three things that I have been avoiding:  finding a doctor; getting a bunch of tests (you know, all those ones I should be getting every year); and going to the dentist. Not sure why I keep putting these off. I really want to do these before the end of the year.  Any ideas for motivation?
All suggestions appreciated!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Let's Talk Arenas of Consumption

Here's the last of my scrapbook pages from my vacation to the Seattle, Washington and the San Juan Islands.  It was inspired by a prompt in Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party scrapbooking class that called for using a border punch.  She mentioned that pulling out a tool like a border punch was a good way to try to get your money's worth out of it. I don't have any border punches, so I pulled out another punch instead.  
The prompt did get me thinking about some of the recent popular tools in scrapbooking that I have avoided:
border punches;
copic markers;
texture folders;
die cut machines;
anything that requires sewing.
In each of these, I've congratulated myself on avoiding a large "arena of consumption" where I could easily find myself collecting one of everything in a given set (and then, too often, letting them gather dust). 
There are, however, many arenas of consumption in which I dabble:
spray inks;
Over time, I've tried to find my style so that I only dabble in those areas where I know I will use the products.  I'm not perfect, but who is?
So, what arenas of consumption do you enjoy dabbling in? Are there some you now wish you avoided? 
"Let's Talk" is a semi-regular series to discuss interesting topics in scrapbooking, photography and paper crafting. I'll leave this up for a few days, in hopes of getting a good discussion. I use this label when I am sincerely interested in seeking people's opinions and input. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Converting a 1 page sketch to a 2 page layout

Thanks to everyone for your nice comments on the scrapbook layouts I've been posting lately. Many of you have commented that you like how I fit so many pictures on a layout, and I really appreciate it. One of the reasons I scrap is because I like to have all my photographs in scrapbook albums, so I scrap A LOT of pictures.  My style is also very linear and fairly spare, so I can put a lot of pictures on each page.  I also almost always make two page layouts, and I usually have 7-9 pictures on the two page spread. 
Today, I thought I'd share how I took Shimelle's Scrapbook Starting Point Sketch from this week and converted it to a two page layout.  Her sketch is here, and it formed the basis for the page up top. I don't have any border punches, so I used a Heidi Grace chipboard border (Frost Blvd. line) instead.  After following her cutting directions, I took the left over piece of blue patterned paper and put it on a matching piece of green cardstock for the right hand side of the layout:
I added more photos from my father-in-law's birthday party and used more of the chipboard for embellishments on both pages.  Here's the finished two page layout:
The color scheme was inspired by a prompt in Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party class on using a neutral (I chose cream) with two brighter colors. So, there you have it - 9 pictures on 2 pages, plus room for embellishments and journaling. Do you usually make one or two page layouts? How many photos do you usually use?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Last Taste of Summer (Scavenger Hunt Winners)

Thanks for everyone's patience in waiting for the winners of the Summertime Scavenger Hunt. All-in-all, there were 23 people who participated.  Here are some of people's favorites:
Amy's Rain
Sian's graffiti:
Yvonne's Castle:
Helena's Political Protest:
Karen's Someone Sketching:
Deb's Decorated Mailbox (A party inside):
Alison's Self Portrait (because she looks so fabulous!):
Mel's Wooden Bridges:
Jacky's graffiti:
An assortment from Debs (including a museum, cemetery, rooster and building made of glass):
Karen's Rain:
Jo's Stitched Together Forest:
The Mann Castle:
Ginger's montage (including her favorite, the flag):
Fiona's Building made of Metal:
Cindy's Hand Lettered Sign Giving Directions:
Irene's roadside memorial:
Miriam's fair (her whole flicker stream, here, is worth checking out):
Mary's Unicycle:
And, finally, my pirate:
Thank you to everyone who participated! I was thrilled by the response, and I will definitely do another one in January (but shorter and smaller) and a similar one next summer.
Now, on to the winners:
The Overachiever Category Prize goes to Mel! I'll be gifting her a Shimelle class.
The Snapshot/Team Category Winner is The Mann Family! They got all 21 pictures.  I'll be sending her a gift card to get her photos developed and an album in which to put them.
There were three people in the photography category who got all 21 items: Yvonne; Jo and Marian.  Alison found 20 and several people came in at 19.  After a random draw from the top 3, the winner is:  Yvonne!  I'll be sending her a gift card to choose her favorite photo and have it enlarged onto an 8x8 "standout" from MPIX. 
Finally, I put everyone else's name into a hat (Amy; Helena; Jo; Sian; Karen; Deb; Alison; Jacky; Ginger; Stacey; Fiona; Irene; Mariana; Laurie; Debs; Cindy; Mary B; and Karen) and pulled a random winner.  The lucky girl is Stacey! I'll send you a gift certificate for some large format prints as well.
Winners, please email me at, so that I have your correct email address. Also, please include your mailing address. Thanks again to everyone for playing along!

Monday, October 24, 2011

How do you "use" an online class?

Shimelle's current class, Pretty Paper Party, has been going on for a few days, and it has really helped me find my scrapbooking mojo and given me some nice blog content. As the class has proceeded, I've begun to think about how I "use" an online class and to wonder about how others do the same.  
1. For me, I rarely follow the prompts precisely or follow a sketch exactly. Part of my issue is that I have a very distinct style - it's very linear and it incorporates a lot of photos. I almost always make two page layouts.  This is very different from Shimelle's style, which tends heavily to pages with a single photo.  Instead, I tend to use the prompts as a jumping off point or inspiration to create something.  Today's layout, for instance, was prompted by a post about mixing polka-dots and stripes. I didn't do the mixing on this layout, but I did use her sketch to build the page on the left-hand side.  The rest of the layout flowed very easily from that starting-point.
2. I also use classes as major motivation. I'm not sure why participating in a class gives me the freedom to set aside time to craft, but it does. And I'm really happy to be making progress.
3. For some classes, I use the class forum a lot to meet people and to discuss ideas. I haven't done that so much with this current class so far. But I really want to (and will this weekend) because it helps me connect with others and make new blog friends.
4. Some on line classes give great instruction via the PDF's or videos. I think that Shimelle's description of putting together a "kit" or "collection," for example, was fabulous!
5. Finally, I love using classes as blog fodder. Since my blog focuses on my art, it's nice to have new artwork to share. It's also nice to discuss the various prompts in the blogosphere with others who are taking the class.
So, I'm curious. How do you "use" an online class? And for those of you tired of the vacation photos and this kit/collection, take heart! I only have one more layout left to go!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Intentions Catch-up: September Style

During 2011, I chose a "one little word," an intention and a list of resolutions.  I've been tracking these in three art journals throughout the year. If you click on the label "2011 intentions" below, you can see the pages I've created. I've fallen a bit behind in the project, but I'm catching up.  My intention for the year is to be "fabulous at 50." My September journaling reads: "In September, I was fabulous because I embraced my curly girl self, I believe in the  'five minute face,' I love my jewelry wardrobe, and I know how to dress my body.  In short, I have found my style - one I can live with - and I love it."
It's taken me quite a while to really embrace having a style. For most of my life, I just thought it was too much trouble and would take too much time to put the effort into looking nice. But I've watched lots of hours of "What Not to Wear" and I've gotten my body back into good shape (see the self-portrait in my art journal page).  I purchased some new clothes at the end of the summer and purged the clothing which was outdated or didn't flatter me. I have realized that, at 50, a little make up really can go a long way to making me look better, and I've learned how to apply it in a quick and easy manner.  I have a few key accessories - a great jewelry wardrobe of about a dozen pairs of earrings, 8 rings and 4 bracelets, plus a few scarves.  So, now, I put in a little time every day before going out - it really doesn't take much. And you know what? I look fabulous!
What about you? Have you embraced a style? Are you willing to put in a little time and effort each day to make yourself look nice? Or do you let the world take you as your are?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mixing Polka-dots and Stripes and Other Patterned Paper

A recent prompt in Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party class involved mixing polka-dots and stripes. Easy-peasy! I'm a pattern mixer from way back when. I can actually identify the "when." It was when I bought Ali Edwards' book, "A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking with Patterned Paper."  I think the book might make my blog friend Amy break out in hives, but I found that it really transformed how I viewed my stash. For the layout above, I cut apart some polka dot paper and added it to the striped paper with the whale and also layered it onto the plain card on the left.  (Remember, you can always click on a picture to enlarge it and see details). A few things I particularly liked about the layout was the extensive journaling, the use of ephemera, and (of course) the picture of the pirate. It's a fairly subtle mixing of patterns.
Want something bolder? Check this out:
I'm willing to admit that it's pretty bold. But I think it sill works. I don't feel like the pictures get lost in the patterns. And, since it comes from the kit I assembled for my vacation pictures, it "fits" with the surrounding layouts.
So, what's your comfort level in mixing patterns? Are you more like Amy or are you more like me?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scrapping with Kits and Collections

One of the recent prompts in Shimelle's current "Pretty Paper Party" is about putting together a kit or collection of patterned paper and then using it to create layouts.  This approach makes some people, like my blog friend Jacky, very nervous. For me, this is second nature. I've been playing along with the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog for quite a while, and they do this exercise every month.  In fact, all the layouts I've been working on the last few days come from this kit, which I put together in response to a CKC prompt, to scrap my vacation pictures:
You can read more about the process at this link.  I did add a few papers and embellishments that I found later and which were travel-related and themed for Washington state (yeah, I know the picture is upside down, but I can't help it!):
Check out yesterday's layouts (and today's and the next few days to see the collection in action).  
I'm also quite comfortable creating blank layouts and filling them in later, like this:
Or this:
Or this:
So, are you more like Jacky? Or more like me? If you're intrigued by the idea, I would definitely recommend checking out the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog and seeing other examples.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Confessions of a Paper Hoarder

I have paper - lots of paper. So, I signed up for Shimelle's new class, "Pretty Paper Party," in the hopes that it would get me back in into the scrapping groove. And it has, which is a good thing, because in addition to lots of paper, I have lots of pictures to scrap. The layout above was inspired by one of her posts about using a pop of color with neutrals.
And this layout responds to a prompt about scrapping on a background of patterned paper. I believe that all the papers in this layout have a pattern (although I flipped one over for the yellow journaling block on the right hand side). Both of today's layouts feature pictures from our family vacation to the Pacific Northwest because I decided to work on finishing these up during the beginning of the class.  You can always click on a picture of a layout to see more details.
So, now it's confession time.  If you took all your paper and stacked it up, how tall would your stack be? All your paper - patterned, cardstock, 8.5x11, 12x12 - everything.  I stand 5'5", and I think my stack would be just a smidge shorter than me! Is that awful? Or is that wonderful? How tall is your stack?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Trip to D.C. (and what I'm reading)

I don't think I mentioned that I traveled to my nation's capitol last week.  Most of the time, I was stuck in a hotel working, but I did manage to get out a bit.  One of my favorite things to do in Washington, D.C. is to visit the monuments at night.  The newest monument honors Martin Luther King, Jr. 
We went after dinner and had to wait a few minutes before we visited because President Obama was there for a private viewing! If my father were telling this story, it would be all about how he visited the monument with the President, but, truthfully, all we saw was his motorcade parked and then eventually driving away.  The monument is stunning. A large carved sculpture with a wall full of quotations leading up to and away from it. I found it very moving, and I made this art journal page, featuring one of the quotes, to remember my visit.
You can read more about the Memorial at this link
The plane ride is about six hours, and I put the time to good use doing some reading. I finished my current book group book, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. It was very good (I gave it four out of five stars). It's written in a lyrical, almost poetic way, in the first person plural. In a mere 130 pages, it manages to convey the experiences of a group of Japanese picture brides coming to America in the early 1900's up until the time of their internment during World War II. I also read The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. It was an interesting but overly ambitious novel about a family of women in Salem who can see the future and may or may not be related to witches. I ended up confused and a little frustrated at the end, but there were many aspects of it that I enjoyed. I gave it 3 out of 5 starts for being flawed but worth reading. I also gave 3 out of 5 stars to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, a nonfiction book about the woman whose cells were the first to be "grown" and used extensively for cell research. It was an important story to tell, but I don't think it was very well told. My biggest complaint was that the author spent too much time talking about herself and had a somewhat condescending view of the subjects. It also could have used an editor. Up next for my book group is The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.  Have you read anything good lately?

Getting Back on Track

It's been so long since I've blogged or done anything creative. I feel like I've been in a long pit stop and wasn't sure about how to get back out onto the track. Do you ever have that problem when you've been away from blogging or art-making? What do you do about it?
I've decided to start with baby steps. After enrolling in Shimelle's new class, I decided that the easiest thing to do was to make a few cards using her ideas. My card using paper strips didn't turn out so well, but I do like this one. And, you know what? After making the two cards, I scrapped four pages! I like them, and I'll share them tomorrow after I get a chance to photograph them. 
And, I'm starting back with a really simple blog post. Baby steps. Because they work for me. What works for you?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog Amnesty and Quick Party Prize

I have been terribly busy lately! As a result, I have made very little art. And, I've neglected my blog and blog visiting. Luckily, there's nothing bad going on around here. I'm just a bit overextended and terribly busy. So, I'm extending myself a bit of what my blog friend Mel calls "blog amnesty." I'm going to do a quick breeze through my reader and then clean it out to start from scratch. And I'm going to relieve myself of blog guilt for lack of posting.
Because I'm hoping there's a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm hoping to be getting back to making art. And blogging. And visiting. Because I still have a lot to share . . . some class reviews, the last taste of summer (and scavenger hunt prizes), some scrapbook pages, wonderful mail art received, and some new adventures in art. 
And I have on more thing to share - a free pass to Shimelle's newest class "Pretty Paper Party." If you've never taken a Shimelle class or if you passed on signing up for this class and are now kind of regretting it,  here's your chance to take the leap. Simple rule - the winner is the first person to comment who tells me that they are not already enrolled in the class.  The class starts today, but I know we'll be able to catch up!