Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sketch Book 2012 - Pages 3

Last few pages for a bit, but I will show you the rest before I send the completed Sketch Book to Boston.
"Blind hope faces a blank wall waiting for a door to open.
 Doors might be nearby, but blind hope keeps you from locating them."
Rebecca Solnit
The brick wall was made by running scraps of craft cardstock through my Cuttlebug machine using the Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades "Bricked and Woodgrain Set" embossing folders.
I then inked both the bricks and the door with Distress Inks - AMM Caramel & Chocolate Paper Stain Inks; Tim Holtz Distress Inks - Mustard Seed & Fired Brick. The colours were all layered on and blended until I was happy with the finished result. I adhered the cardstock to the Sketch Book pages. I then added details to the door using a fine tipped brown journaling pen before adhering this with photo splits on one side and foam squares on the other. I hand drew in the door hinges.
Finally I attached the blue and green patterned paper scrap to kind of look like a jumble of sky and leaves. I hand wrote the quote onto this.
 Close up of the wall (above) and door (below). The colours here are more realistic than in the picture above which looks very red compared to the actual page. I really LOVE the finished result. Not sure if it's because of the embossing or the inking... either way this is definitely an effect I will be trying again!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sketch Book 2012 - Pages 2

Some more...

"All it takes is one bloom of HOPE to make a spiritual garden."
Terri Guillemets
 Plain blue scrapbooking paper. I sanded the paper with a scalloped template underneath, this gave the outline of the clouds. I then added coloured chalk to add highlights and dimension before adhering the paper to the Sketch Book pages. I hand cut (eyeballed) the curves for the hills and fore ground and adhered these as well. I hand wrote in the quote and added some more chalks to give the fore ground more dimension and interest.
 Close-up of the cloud detail. I'm really pleased with the way these came out. Before adhering the flower I gave the pages a light spray with hair spray to set the chalks so that they wouldn't rub off.
The flowers were all white, so I added pink and purple chalks onto each layer. I then sprayed these with hair spray as well before layering the flowers and adding the bling brad. The hair spray not only set the chalk, it really intensified the chalk colours especially on the flower. Way brighter than I was expecting but I love the finished result.

"Learn from yesterday;
 Live for today;
 Hope for tomorrow.
 The important thing is not to stop questioning."
Albert Einstein
The is the last page in the Sketch Book and I kind of cheated a wee bit. I did the calligraphy and writing directly onto the page. No patterned paper its all just pen and ink (so to speak). For me it was just about playing and experimenting, as the whole journal has been so far. Me trying out a whole of of new techniques or techniques I haven't done for a while. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sketch Book 2012 - Pages

As the postal date draws ever closer for me to post my Sketch Book away to the Boston Art Library, I thought it would be nice to show some of my creations in it so far. (I also wanted to prove I haven't got so caught up in getting organised that I haven't had a chance to get crafty.)

Here are a couple to check out... more to follow.

My chosen theme is "HOPE". I found some amazing quotes on the internet and have decided to scrap my sketch book with what these quotes mean to me.

"Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all."
Emily Dickinson
 I dry brushed pink and yellow paint directly onto the pages before spritzing with Tattered Angels - Glimmer Mist - Pearl. (It doesn't photograph well, but looks so delicate in person which is exactly what I wanted.)
Hand written quote in gel pen as well as some musical notes. (Does it show I never studied music!!)
Hand-made feather wings with chipboard topper covered in patterned paper. The "Hope" was embossed on with a pearlescent embossing powder that shows  from certain angles only.
 Close-up of the feathered wings. I pulled off clumps of feathers from dyed craft feathers and then individually attached them to the wings. The feathers are mainly white interspersed with various pastel colours. The recycled chipboard heart was cut from some leftover packaging. I covered it with scraps of patterned paper I received in a card swap.

"The deepest dark, reveals the starriest hope".
Gerald Massey
 Believe it or not this is Bazzill Black cardstock (even though it looks decidely grey). Very simple treatment on these pages. The quote was handwritten with a silver gel pen. The "Hope" was embossed with silver embossing powder on calligraphy letters I created with an embossing ink pen. The stars were embossed with the same pearlescent embossing powder I used on the heart and feathers wings. I wanted the hope to stand out more than the stars. I wanted the stars almost to be hidden unless you stopped to pause and look at the word hope and took a close-up look at the page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and Bathrooms

Don't you hate it when you realise that you couldn't see the wood for the trees, and instead of being happy that you finally saw the trees, you are instead annoyed at yourself that it took so long for you to change your perspective so your could see the trees. And the smaller the change in perspective from before until now, the more annoyed you are with yourself.
It just hit me this afternoon how to summarise my New Year's Resolutions into something meaningful to me. I've been thinking about it few a couple of weeks and I knew I was close... I was in the forest, but I just couldn't distinguish one tree from the other. What was important and what wasn't, what did I want to commit to and what wasn't important enough to do it right now. I should have known that all I needed was a light-bulb moment in my usual light-bulb producing location... the bathroom!
Yes I know it is a bit weird, but the bathroom has always been my go-to location when I am struggling. I can remember being only 9 or 10 and coming to this realisation and since then it has always been true. If I am stuck on a problem, struggling for inspiration, questioning the best path or the optimal solution I don't "Go to the mattresses" a la The Godfather... I go to the bathroom. Some how I can't see this being the inspiration for a movie, nor one of the more memorable lines that people will quote, but it works for me.

Moving right along...

This year my word is "Organisation". It is a common theme for a lot of people because it seems that wherever I look, everyone is talking about getting organised. Some people favour an intense go for broke, hell for leather, all in one month approach. Others, like myself, have a made a 12 month commitment to get organised. Personally I think the later is a more realistic. I know I can't devote such an intense amount of time to get organised... I have a life (believe it or not). The other reason I prefer my version is that realistically I don't expect myself, let alone my family to make such wholesale and dramatic changes to the habits we currently have and then stick to them if I make a whole lot of changes all at once. At least if I make smaller, more subtle changes, then I have a chance of some of them sticking and being followed by the family. I am a realist.
I wanted my New Year's Resolutions to reflect my commitment to getting organised this year as well as all the different aspects of my life that I am focusing on - Household, my business, my scrapping area and my studio. I also wanted to ensure there were some challenges built in in terms of my scrapping and crafting to make sure that this did not go by the way-side in deference to everything else I am trying to do.
There was one final thing I needed to do... make sure that whatever I came with was not so overwhelming that I would give up after a week and wouldn't stick out the whole year.
So here is the double page layout I've created to record my Resolutions for 2012. Once again I have gone for a simple colour scheme - black with one colour with a simple page style as well.

Each week I will:

  • create at least one meaningful scrapbooking layout
  • do one thing that inspires the organisation of our household
  • learn one new scrapbooking or crafting technique
  • do at least one thing that strengthens my business
  • create at least one card
  • do one thing that contributes to my personal development
  • do at least one thing that improves the organisation of my scrapping space and studio
  • make progress towards the completion of my monthly Off-The-Page project
Oh and can I just say... for a change I really love my handwriting on these pages LOL!!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and other stuff

Despite the fact I already feel so much more organised this year and I have some great new tools to help me, I still feel a little like I haven't achieved much craft-wise.
I know part of this is because I was so crafted-out after the Christmas Craft Challenge that I didn't want to even thinking about crafting for a wee bit... 24 blogs about 24 different craft items... I was due a break. Unfortunately it's also that my craft studio is such a mess that I dare not start anything until it is returned to some semblance of order.
The reasons for this are many...

  • My craft studio was destroyed for Christmas Day. As we had Christmas Day at our place, with all the family, we needed extra tables and chairs so some of those in the craft studio were borrowed but not put back exactly where they had previously been.
  • I also had great plans to do a complete overhaul, clean out, rearrange, revamp over the Christmas holidays but that didn't happen for a couple of reasons... 1) because the weather has been so miserable that there was no way I could open the studio door and take everything outside to then rearrange and clean and stuff and 2) because in the last week or two before Christmas I tore the ligaments off my bicep so I am on a strict NO HEAVY LIFTING policy for at least six weeks. My physiotherapist has been very strict about this. Even if the weather had been good, I still couldn't lift everything to move it around and as much as my family love me... I couldn't see them doing all of it for me. (At least not without considerable grovelling, begging and significant money payments being made.)
I am in the process of planning a Studio Clean-Up which anyone can join in with. It will be running along the same lines as the 52 week household cleaning challenge I am participating in and will be based on a wonderful scrap clean-up and organisation challenge I found online, though with a few differences. I need to consider things not only from a personal scrapping point of view, but also from a business point of view in that my scrapping space is not only used by me, but also by my customers who come here to buy products, and attend crops and classes.

Despite my misgivings about it, I will be taking some photos before I start to clean up, so I can share the "Studious Horribleness" with some before and after shots.

But has this got to do with my New Year's Resolutions. The past couple of years I have scrapped double page layouts of my New Year's Resolutions. I didn't blog 2010 but here is the 2011 layout. So far this year I still haven't been able to suss out what my resolutions are. I've started but they are still not in a workable format... if that makes sense.
I'm an accountant by trade, which means I think in dollars and cents, numbers and stats... boring I know. It also means that I have to have things in terms that are measurable... far too many performance management seminars in my past for me to ignore the concept.
Some things are easy to measure. This year I want to complete the following scrapping/crafting targets...
52 layouts in 52 weeks
52 cards in 52 weeks
12 off-the-page projects in 12 months
These are easy to measure. I've even made a special chart to record my performance which now has pride of place in my Annual Planning Folder.
It's just everything else I'm having trouble with. I'm sure I will suss it all out before the end of the year!!

Has anyone else set them self a target for layouts, card or OTP's for the year?
Does anyone else scrap their New Year's Resolutions or "Manifesto"?
And is anyone interested in joining in the Scrap Organisation Challenge? 
I will post some more information about this in the next day or two. You are welcome to join in for the whole thing or just bits and pieces of it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Organisation - 52 Weeks Organised Home Challenge - Week 1

Okay, so technically I actually started on week 52 of the organisation plan on the Home Storage 101 website I am following but then the instructions did say I could start anywhere, so I'm still following the plan.

Keep a Family Calendar:
This week's challenge was to organise a family planner or calendar where you and the rest of the family could write up what is happening so you can plan car pooling, mum's taxi, meals, sports practices, dance rehearsals etc etc.
You can buy calendars like this with columns already setup for multiple family members. I know Kikki K does one each year. I received one as a gift from my wonderful cousin Alison a couple of years ago. I'm sure other stationers and printing companies have them as well. However as I have a laptop and an A3 printer and know how to use Microsoft Excel, I decided to make my own.
It really didn't take long to design and print - maybe two hours altogether, and that was starting from scratch as well as adding personalising touches such as family names, birthdays and public holidays etc.
I have set the calendar up with six columns - one for each member of the family. This gives everyone space to put in their appointments, practices, work commitments etc. As we currently play taxi to the three kids at home as well as my mother-in-law from time to time, using this will allow us to plan better our taxi services as well as when we are unable to play taxi so people know when they have to organise their own way to and from work or where ever.
I've also added a larger column to include things that relate to the whole family. This includes family birthdays, public holidays as well as family dinners or trips. 
I have done this for each month and printed them out. I stapled all the pages together then punched holes across the top so I could hang my calendar. The pages need a little stiffening to prevent them from folding in against each other, so I adhered a strip of heavy card board across the top of the pages and punched the holes through this as well. (The cardboard is at the back,so you can't see it... sorry).
I had a piece of dowel left over from my Photo Booth Christmas Craft. It was the perfect length (by good luck rather than good design). To craft it up a bit, I wrapped jute around the length of dowel. Thinking back to my days as a Girl Guide, I was able to wrap the jute so as to not use any glue including tucking the trailing end underneath as well. 
You can just see it at the top of the picture. (Sorry the better photo was too blurry to show the detail.)
I then added loops of jute through each of the holes as well and tied these to the same length. I slipped the jute covered dowel through the loops and then added a hanging string from one end of the dowel to the other, so I could hang over a pre-existing nail in the wall.
The finishing touch was a pen which I attached to a LONG piece of jute, so that hopefully it doesn't walk!!!

And now in a first for me (fingers crossed it works)... I have attached the template for the Family Planner. You can download it here.
Remember it is set up to be printed on A3 paper, but if you don't have access to an A3 printer all is not lost. Download the file, personalise it with your family's names, birthday etc, then save to a memory stick or disk and take the file down to your local copy shop or stationer to get it printed. 
And here is a tip - you only need to add your family's names to January and this will populate the other 11 months of the year.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Annual Planner

In my 2011 diary, I added some pages to help me with planning my blog as well as remembering what birthday and anniversary cards I needed to create. I loved that it was always at hand so I could see at the drop of a hat what I needed to get done for when. Unfortunately by the end of the year my diary ended up double its original size and just about in need of its own zip code.
When I covered this year's diary, I didn't add the extra pages but instead put them into a separate folder - my Annual Planning Folder.
I started with a plain green A4 folder (the cheapest I could find at Warehouse Stationery). I personalised it with some black vinyl word and flourish rub-ons and wallah... a sexy new folder to inspire me to be creative and organised.
 The folder opened out to see see both the front and back cover.
Another step towards my annual challenge to get organised.

Getting Organised

If you read my last post for 2011 you would have seen my bold announcement that my word for 2012 is ORGANISE. So to show that I am walking the talk I want to share with you my first tool to help me organise.
But before I show my first creation for the New Year I have to ask a question and share my thoughts. For obvious reasons I have been pondering the term "Altered" and how it relates to off-the-page projects. To me "Altering" an item means that not only do you alter the way it looks, but you also alter its purpose or the way in which it functions. For instance if you turn an old book into a shadow box by cutting out the centre of the book, then it can no longer function as a book so it's purpose has changed, so it is an "Altered Item". If you decorate an item but it still retains its originally purpose and functionality then I considered that not to be altered as such but personalised.

What does everyone else think? Agree, don't agree? Or am I just talking semantics and it doesn't matter and no one really cares?

My first OTP project year is personalising my diary. This is the third year I have done this, though I only blogged last year and not the year before - sorry. Last year I added some extra pages - cardstock monthly dividers which I loved and found them to be a really useful planning tool, but to be honest by the time I got to the end of the year, I swear my diary ended up double the size it started!!!
This year I've re-covered the diary covers but created a separate Planning Folder for all those extra bits and pieces. OK it means I don't quite have the portability with everything in one location but I don't have the bulk (which was definitely an issue last year - and it weighed a ton!!!) and I think the new planner will be able to have more functionality once it is fully set up and operating smoothly. And it fits the bill of getting more organised!! (BONUS)
I know most people know how to (re)cover a book or journal but here is a step by step with pictures anyway. It's always useful to see how other people do things.

Personalising a Book/Journal/Diary:
Diary - fresh from the shop
  • Remove the front and back covers leaving the pages intact and still bound. If you intend to add other bits and pieces you will need to remove pages as appropriate.
    • Cut patterned paper for front and back covers. My diary is 8 1/2" x 6" so I cut the main patterned paper 10 1/2" x 8" (1" wider on all four sides). 
    • Cut the coordinated secondary patterned paper (for the insides of the covers) I cut 8 3/8" x 6".

    • Adhere main patterned paper to the outside of the front and back covers. Take care with this step if you are using a patterned paper with a right way up. I used Helmar Acid Free Glue whenever I am covering hard board like this because it dries reasonably quickly and holds on well and truly. It also dries clear which is a bonus in case you get some glue somewhere you shouldn't. I drip a trail around the cover (not the paper) then spread it evenly over the cover using an old credit card. Leave to dry, though this may not take too long if you have a nice even and not too thick coating of glue. You can roll with a brayer to make sure there are no air bubbles though I usually just run my hand across the page to make sure it has stuck properly.

    • If you are re-using the existing cover which has punched binding holes you need to re-use, manually cut one hole out of the patterned paper to give yourself an alignment hole. If you plan to use your Bind-It-All or similar you only need to cut one hole. If you are cutting your holes manually, then you need to cut all holes. If you skip this step, it will be MUCH HARDER to align up where your holes are to match the binding wire if you are re-using it.

    • Cut the mitre corner across the corner of the patterned paper but be sure to use either an off-cut of the hardboard used or an approximation (e.g. multiple layers of cardstock to same thickness as cover) to measure the distance out from the corner to cut.

    • Pre-fold the overhang around the side and onto the back of the cover and finger press into place. Try to make this as tight and crisp as possible.
    • Glue down either the top and bottom overhangs or the two sides. Using your thumb nail or a bone folder, press the mitre corner hard against the edge of the cover to give a nice tight and tidy corner fold.
    • Glue down the other two sides and then repeat for the other cover.

    • Sand the edges of the backing paper slightly if desired.
    • Glue the backing paper so as to cover the overhangs on the inside of each cover. Glue using the same methodology as mentioned in step 4 though put the glue on to the paper instead of the cover. Check your paper direction if appropriate. Leave to dry before attempting the next step to avoid clogging up your binding machine. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of this step... doh!!!
    • Line up the paper stop guide on your Bind-It-All with the hole that you cut manually under step 5. Use this as your guide to align the new holes in the covers. Punch holes along the binding side following your Binding machines specific instructions. Repeat for both covers.

    • Re-attach your covers back in place.
    • Embellish as desired. I have attached die-cut numbers using my Xyron. After I had run the numbers through the Xyron, I coated them with Glossy Accents to give them a bit of added dimension.
     The top "1" is plain paper (scraps from the patterned paper used on the inside of the covers). The 2012 is the end result after coating with Glossy Accents. For a tutorial in more detail (inking foam letters) check out this earlier blog.

    • Add any additional embellishments such as a ribbon page marker if desired.
    The diary with the pages open to see both the front and back.
    I received a present bought from Kikki Stationery and gift wrapped in store complete with their personalised ribbon. I loved it so much so kept it to use eventually. The colours worked perfectly with the papers I had used to personalise the diary covers. I'm stoked I finally got to use the ribbon and I get to enjoy it every day.

    Step 1 towards my 52 weeks to get organised.