Under the Weather (and Under Construction)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

All those sinus troubles that were bugging me last week have finally caught up with me, and I feel a bit like death warmed over right now. I'm hoping it'll be gone in a day or two so I can get back to being my usual geeky self (I have a HUGE geek post in the works).

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a sneaky peek of something I'm going to be showing more of this weekend. A couple of weeks ago the holiday scrapbooking bug bit me, and I dove headfirst into putting my December Daily book together for this coming Christmas. I decided to go super simple this year and do a 4x6 mini album (I'm so in love with those lately) so that it doesn't become this crazy elaborate project like it has the last couple of rounds. I was working on 2009's album into February!!


While I was making my own kit I made a few extras and will be putting them in my Etsy shop (which is getting a new name) this weekend. I'm super excited about this kit- it's a simple format, but I've filled it with handmade trims and embellishments, labels, journaling spots, and other fun goodies. Check back on Saturday for the whole scoop! You can subscribe to my blog feed or my Twitter feed if you want instant updates.

Oh, and you may have noticed some changes around the old blogeroo- I've finally switched over to Blogger's template designer and I love it! I'm working on creating and adding buttons for categories. You can see a bunch of them now, though they're not all hooked up to content yet. Over the coming weeks I'm going to be going back through my old posts and re-tagging them to make them easier to find.  The old blog archive is still available in the nav bar under my blog banner, and I plan on keeping it there permanently.

Okay, off to sniffle some more! I'll be back tomorrow with Friday Favorites.

School's Out!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The post title makes it sound like I feel more enthusiasm for the end of May Flaum's Use Your Stash class than I actually do. It's sad that class is coming to an end, and she won't be teaching another one until February.::sniffle::

I love that May's class taught us how to make the most of all of our scrapbooking stash, whether old or new. A lot of the items on this page are actually fairly recent purchases! I have a bad habit of letting things "season" in my organizational system for a while, so it was a big change-up for me to use something right away.

little beauties

My stash also includes a large number of unfinished projects, so as part of the class I made a list of all my incomplete items and am slowly working my way through them all. I started with a page that I began way back in March, and surprisingly it took me a whole 10 minutes to finish it (it just needed journaling and a few embellishments). Why did I procrastinate for so long?

independence day 5

independence day 5k left

independence day 5k right

To update on yesterday's post, I didn't work on my State Fair mini last night. I did have about an hour of scrapping time available, and I chose instead to watch Paperclipping Live, photograph the two layouts above (along with a new mini kit I hope to list in the shop this weekend), and work on another layout for class. It's all about choices and how we decide to spend our time!

Keeping It Real

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

As much as I'd love to have this blog be filled with perfectly composed prose and photos every day, I have to face reality and realize that it's just not going to happen. I have a life, and a job, and a million other things going on in any given day, and some days I have no time to breathe, much less scrapbook, photograph what I made, and then compose a post about it.

I snapped this photo with my iPhone on the way out the door this morning. I spent two minutes at work (shhhhh, don't tell them) editing it in Photoshop Express in my phone, then sent it to upload to Flickr. It's not pretty, but it's real.

I really, really want to get this 4x6 mini album about my trip to the Tennessee State Fair put together, and I'd love nothing more than to sit down and take an entire night to do it, but that's just not going to happen right now. So I'm taking the incremental approach. Last night I had 15 free minutes, so I cut my papers (from October Afternoon's Thrift Shop and Fly a Kite lines) into 4x6 blocks. Tonight if I have a few minutes I'll lay all the papers and photos out and put them in order. The next night if I have a few minutes, I'll start taping the pages together. 10, 15, or 30 minutes at a time, this album will get done. I may come back here from time to time and post iPhone photos of the progress. I'll definitely take proper pictures and post them when it's finished. :)

If you find yourself short on creative time with too many ideas and not enough hours to complete them, take a deep breath, see where you can work a small block of time into your schedule- even just five minutes- and start a project or do something small to advance a project already in progress. Little by little, I promise you'll get it done.

And if you're wondering what's keeping me so busy, it's nothing bad. We've started working on the Christmas program at church, which means orchestra rehearsal sometimes runs a little long. Also, my Taekwondo instructor wants me to test for my second degree black belt the first weekend in November, so I'm in lots of extra classes right now. 5. days. a. week. And one of those classes is two hours long! And studying forms in between (that's a whole other iPhone app). So it's all fun stuff, but even fun stuff can equal BUSY!!

Friday Favorites

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Friday, everyone! It's been an adventurous day here. I went kayaking this morning, grocery shopping this afternoon, and then had Taekwondo class this evening before settling in to watch an episode of Doctor Who. Tomorrow morning I have another 2 hour TKD class since I'm getting ready to test for my second degree black belt. It's like boot camp!

I still plan on crafting up a storm this weekend, and I've found a bunch of inspiring projects to share with all of you.

From left to right:
  • These beautiful bound books of all kinds of "found" paper can be found on Lovely Design.
  • Learn how to make this cute gift box and wrap (it's easier than it looks!) at SEI Lifestyle.
  • I love the colors and the design of this scrapbook page by Danielle Flanders, featured on the Studio Calico blog.
  • Oh my holy goodness, did you know that you can freeze cupcake batter? I had no idea until I stumbled across this article from The Kitchn.
  • I always enjoy The Paperclipping Roundtable podcast, but I found Episode 35: Memory Go Round, to be an especially good listen.
  • Find details on how to create this cute set of Halloween mini cards at Ally Scraps.
  • Laura Vegas shares her approach to her children's school albums. My parents have boxes of our old school memorabilia in their attic- I think it may be time to start getting it down and putting it in albums where it can be enjoyed.
  • Wondering why Burn Notice is included here? Check out Kayla Lamoreaux's post about creative burnout on Scrapbook Update to find out. And Lain Ehman's response article on cures for creative burnout is also a great read.
  • Kristina Werner has posted a series of articles on her blog on cardmaking basics. Her Make a Card Monday and Finally Friday videos are also great resources for cardmakers. 
Have a scrappy weekend!

    Last Week of Class

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    It's always sad when an online scrapbooking class comes to an end. We actually have a week of May Flaum's Use Your Stash course left at Big Picture Classes, but the last handouts and presentation have been posted and it's starting to feel kind of final.

    I've had a lot of fun with this class and dug out some seriously old stuff to use, both photos and supplies.

    I made this page about my brother's college graduation with some old-ish (but never out of style) Basic Grey paper and some seriously old embellishments that I picked up long ago for $1 each at Big Lots.

    jons graduation

    I created this layout with photos from my very last hiking trip on my very last trip to Colorado Springs. I've been hoarding this paper from the Chateau line by Chatterbox for years. It's literally probably my favorite patterned paper ever, and I have tons of it.

    colorado hiking

    Detail shots of the left and right pages...

    colorado hiking left

    colorado hiking right

    I continued to pull from my Chatterbox stash for this next layout. For this set of pages I scrapped some fencing tournament photos from long ago (also in Colorado).

    nick toth fencing tournament

    If you're wondering why I have so many photos from Colorado in these pages, it's because May's classes center around 4x6 photos. Once upon a long time ago I used to just order stacks of 4x6 prints and then decide how to scrap them later. Some time in early 2009 (right after I stopped traveling to Colorado...hmmm...) I started to choose photos to scrap and a sketch to use with them at the same time. Now I print photos to the exact size I need. For May's classes, though, I reach back into my still unscrapped 4x6s in an attempt to get them onto pages.

    nick toth fencing tournament left

    nick toth fencing tournament right

    This last page also used a sheet of old Chatterbox paper (I really liked the red and green stripes with the photo). I also used up all my red Chatterbox brads in that row below the picture. I kept thinking that I needed to add something else to the page, but after looking at it for a couple of days I've decided that I like it just the way it is.

    darren's mower

    May's not teaching another class until next February, so I'm going to use the intervening time to catch up on pages that I have in progress from both this and her previous class, plus I did finally sign up for Elsie Flannigan's mini album class. I'm hoping to make it a productive fall and winter!

    Woohoo Wednesday!!

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Ummm, ummm, ummm...can we just say that today might have been a little hard on my bank account? Okay, not *that* hard since everything I bought fits into the monthly budget, but still...

    I started with Jessica Sprague's One Buck Wednesday. There are some awesome goodies for just a dollar each, and you still have a few hours left in the day to get in on the deals!

    I bought this Cosmo Cricket "Girl Friday" digital paper pack...

    ...and this awesome blackboard digital paper pack from Kitschy Digitals...

    And Echo Park's (love them!) Abundance Paper pack...

    and Elle's Studio's Halloween Journaling spots!

    I got a lot for my $4. :)

    Karla Dudley is moving her digital shop to a new site and discontinuing a lot of older kits. I couldn't help picking up this Joy kit for just $1!

    I would have bought her Spring mini kit, too, if I didn't own it already. :)

    And then Darren emailed me with what is probably seriously the coolest Star Wars print I have ever seen and told me I should order one to hang in the living room.

    That was it for the actual purchasing, but then I read that Elsie Flanigan is having a mini book workshop, and I'm seriously considering signing up for it.

    And then, to top it all off, I read this post on Stamps Alive and found out that the Martha Stewart Cricut Cake cartridges are no longer going to be exclusive to HSN, starting in mid October!! Yay!! It paid off to wait and not pay HSN prices for them, I think. :)

    Remember these pictures from when I was drooling over them in July? I so can't wait to get my hands on them!







    Scrapbooking Tools From Harbor Freight

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    I'm not a hardware store kind of girl. There, I said it. I enter Home Depot and immediately start yawning because, unless I'm there for something for a specific project, there's really not much there to interest me. Oh, sure, I love tile and hardwood flooring, but after ten minutes of browsing the current offerings I'm back to sitting bored at the end of the plumbing aisle waiting for Darren to finish his shopping.

    I always thought that Harbor Freight was worse (because they don't even have a flooring section to keep me amused), but then I started looking around at the tools, and some of them jumped out at me. And then some of them did the strangest thing- they jumped into our shopping basket and somehow made their way into my scrapbooking room.

    So, what could a hardware-challenged girl possibly find at Harbor Freight that she can't live without?
    My first ever Harbor Freight purchase was this set of files. Remember all the rage about that little $6 Basic Grey file set several years ago? Well, I picked up this whole set of files in all shapes and configurations on sale for $3.99 at my local HF store. Yup, $3.99. And they're metal, so they don't wear out nearly as fast as their BG counterparts.

    After that little find, I was suddenly not quite so averse to picking up the Harbor Freight sale papers that magically appeared in our mailbox. That's a huge tip about shopping at HF, by the way- wait for a sale. Sign up for their email and snail mail lists and keep an eye on their coupons (they usually have coupons for specific items instead of dollar amounts off a purchase)- don't pay full price for anything!

    My next big score at Harbor Freight was this awesome craft knife set. I've had it for almost three years now, and to this day I use it almost every time I scrapbook. It has an amazing assortment of blades and handles, plus it includes a several paper piercers. Gotta love tools that multitask. The price with a coupon? $3.99.

    This past weekend I made yet another scrapbook shopping find at Harbor Freight- a pick set that's vaguely reminiscent of dentist's tools. These should be great for working with some of those teeny tiny pieces I seem to be creating with my Cricut these days. I also see a future for them in helping me position little bitty bits of bling. Plus, they just look wicked cool. Oh, and they were $1.99 with a coupon. :)

    Harbor Freight also has a pretty good selection of organizers and tool totes that could be useful for keeping your scrap gear in order. They stock a collapsible rolling crate that I've thought about purchasing to help get my stuff into and out of a crop. But, again, I'm waiting for a coupon or sale on that one. :)

    If you want to check for Harbor Freight stores in your area you can go here to their Store Finder and enter your zip code. They have tons of locations, and chances are you have one nearby.

    Darren said I'd get bonus points for this post if I could figure out how to use our HF power auger in scrapbooking, so now I'm trying to figure out how to clog the sink using only glitter and tacky glue...

    Scrapbook Trend Watch: Halloween Glam

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    It's been very exciting for me to see the newest crop of Halloween scrapbooking products as they are released. In the past supplies for this holiday have ranged in theme from cutesy to kitschy to downright scary, and, while there's nothing wrong with any of these (and I've certainly bought enough of each type of product to prove that), I have to admit that the current trend for scrapbooking this holiday about all things spooky and sweet is probably my favorite- I'm calling it "Halloween Glam."

    First thing, right up front- I totally stole that phrase from TomKat Studio. If you're not familiar with Kim's work, I suggest that you head on over to her site right now and browse all the gorgeous party supplies that she creates. Her latest creation is called Halloween Glam, and it's pure eye candy (for more photos, check out Hostess With the Mostess).

    I was nearly drooling in my keyboard the first time I spotted that lovely gilded pumpkin, the fab damask patterns, and all the rich, punchy purples mixed in with traditional Halloween oranges and blacks.

    Kim's creation immediately made my mind wander to the lovelies that Miss Martha Stewart creates every Halloween, especially her over-the-top gorgeous glittered pieces (because, come on, who doesn't love Martha's glitter?). Those bits of sparkle make even the most sinister of skulls look sensational.

    A combination of silver and black glitter lends a touch of elegance to this tiered pumpkin centerpiece.

    The Halloween Glam look isn't just for parties, though. This year it's also extremely prevalent in scrapbooking supplies, where elements from fashion and home decor have fused with traditional Halloween themes to create some fabulous new lines.

    Case in point: the Midnight Spell paper stack from Die Cuts With a View.

    This stack is packed full of gorgeous designs, like this set of intricate scrollwork frames housing Halloween silhouettes.

    A common theme for this year's papers is to take a typical home decor icon, such as the damask below, and replace elements of it with skulls, bats, or pumpkins for a subtle Halloween look. Of course, the jack-o-lanterns interspersed among the scrolls make it a bit less subtle. :)

    Here we see another home decor inspired sheet- tables, candelabras, and chandeliers float above a purple damask background.

    And these chandeliers are beautifully glittered- in fact, half of the sheets in this collection are glittered or foiled.

    House of 3 is always on top of the trends. They recently released their new Halloween line, including these gorgeous Phantom digital papers. Again, we see damask and strong architectural themes in these designs.

    This Haunted Borders brush kit is from House of 3's Halloween line from last year, but it coordinates well with their new papers. Lots of scrolls and spooky elements here.

    Pink Paislee's Hocus Pocus line features a rich color palette to complement its intricate scrollwork, skeletal damasks, and ghostly chandelier.

    The Haunted line from My Mind's Eye presents a simpler take on the Halloween Glam theme. It starts with a pared-down palette of kraft, white, and black, and then builds with the same scroll, damask, and home decor themes. There are argyles and houndstooth patterns thrown in for good measure, as well.

    Anna Griffin's designs are always timeless and elegant, and her very first Halloween line, Esmerelda, is no exception. While it sticks to a very traditional orange and black color scheme, it outdoes itself with intricate designs and that fabulous lace paper.

    Provo Craft's Cricut gets in on some of the glam action with the new Happy Hauntings cartridge.

    While this cartridge has many traditional cute and scary elements, it also contains a fantastic set of ornate frames, complete with spooky silhouettes. There are a lot of possibilities here for Halloween home decor, cards, and scrapbook pages.

    And, finally, the October issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine reminds us that we don't have to break the bank buying lots of new products to get the Halloween Glam look.

    The article Pretty Spooky shows readers how to get a fabulously spooky look by using supplies they already own (think damask stamps, black color mists, black scroll patterned papers).

    For a non-girly girl who still likes to bling it up from time to time, the Halloween Glam look is a chance to play with pretties without having an all pink, all the time color palette. Bring on the costume photos, I'm ready to play!
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