Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sports Fans

Don't ask me how long it's been, I just know it's been a long while since I last created a layout. Just felt in the mood to do some actual "scrapping" last night, so here it is.
I love this picture of my sister, brother-in-law and nephews so I have created two copies of this layout. One for my family album and one to send to my sister for her family album.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Circle Journal - 2012 Part 3

And finally the last part of my Circle Journal... before every one of my wonderful friends has done their bit... my pages.
I ummed and ahhed for a few days as to what to create here. I loved what I'd done with the cover and first page, then didn't know how to actually create my page up to the same level of intensity. I was at the point of resigning myself to having lost whatever spark on creativity I'd found when I stumbled across some art journal page on Facebook and Pinterest and then the light bulb went on.
Just create pages as if this is an Art Journal... too simple and too obvious. How did I nearly miss that?
And that is what I did.
Given my uncertainty as to what to do, I decided to create on other paper, which I could adhere into the journal, rather than risk stuffing up the rest of the journal, especially as one part had to attach onto the back of my instruction page. (I really didn't want to have to re-create that again!) 
I started with acrylic paint in dabber form and liquid with a foam brush. Didn't like it.
I added some stencilled white paint over the top. Didn't like it either.
I added some dry brushed white paint over the top. Still didn't like it.
I added some Distress Stain around the edges of the pages. Didn't like it and was getting ready to throw it away.
I added lots and lots and lots of Adirondack Colour Wash and Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist then dried it with my trusty heat tool. And I finally liked the end result.
Yes I should have taken photos at the various different stages but to be honest I was nearly in panic stage because it SOOOOOO WASN'T WORKING!!
Here's the colourful end result after I then added stamped scrolls and my journalling in Archival Ink - Black. I just love the way it stands out against the colour... sexy!!
"Tools, Products, Pinterest, Techniques"

Page 1 (above) - Backs onto the instruction pages

"Swaps, Colours, Nature, Friends, Magazines"

Pages 2 and 3 (above and below) - are completely hidden when you first look at the layout as page 4, the "flap" is folded over the top of them.

"You Tube, Forums, Blogs, Facebook"

Page 4 (below) - when you first open to my pages you see page 1 and 4 and a little bit of page 2 peeking out underneath. The title "My Inspiration" was embossed in black, whereas the other pages are just stamped in Archival Ink in black.
I know I've said it a hundred times before, but the photograph just doesn't do the album justice. Even my new camera can't get the real subtlety and depth of colour. This really just needs to be seen in person.

Oh... and would you believe that all these pages, the tag and the instruction pages all started out as plain old white cardboard???

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Circle Journal - 2012 Part 2

Having pumped up the cover a couple of notches I then had to do the same with the pages inside. I had always planned on making my journal interactive. I LOVE interactive pages in journals. And often create interactive elements in any pages I create in other people's circle journals - just a heads up in you ever do a journal with me. Not sure why... like I've always said, I just love to experiment in Circle Journals and mini albums.
Rather than just straight pages for my circle journal, I have included pages that can be opened out. Even though the journal itself is 8 1/2" x 6", the page when opened out is actually 8 1/2" x 11 1/2". It's kind of like one of those kids books which go "Who is hiding behind the flap?" and the kid has to flip the page out to see who is behind it.

On the first page, before its flipped open are some interesting definitions of "Inspiration" which I found while googling.
Then here is my instruction page. At the moment the instructions are written onto acetate / transparency which just sits over the colour background and title. I'm not sure if this is going to be the final format or not. I'm not happy with it, but not sure what I want to do instead. I couldn't get the acetate to photograph well at all... so you will just have to imagine what it looks like. Still you can see the background with title... not the same I know, but beggars can't be choosers. It was really hard to get the intensity of the colours on all the pages. Think I need to work on a better lighting set up.
Alas the sign in sheet at the back of the journal is pretty much in its original format and style, though this may change upon the return of my journal. With this page I turned the interactive "flap" into a pocket to hold the sign in tags.
 It just looks so drab...
And then there is the tag, to which I have added ribbons in light and dark blue and green to match the colour scheme.
 I thought about doing the writing in black, like you will see on my actual pages, but I decided it would be too difficult to read especially given the size of my hand writing. The white makes a nice change.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Circle Journal - 2012 Part 1

What can I say... I love Circle Journals and swaps. I also find them easier to do and at the moment, way more inspiring than scrapbooking or any other crafting.
Much of the reasoning behind this is because of my current infliction of "Lack of Inspirationitis". 
There is also less pressure with a swap. They're smaller, easier, less daunting. And I can use them to test out new techniques before using them (eventually) on "real" scrapbook layouts. So what is to dislike about them?
This past weekend was postal day number 1 for my current Circle Journal which I am doing with a number of lovely ladies from the Crafting Passionz forum. This is a forum for scrapbookers from New Zealand and Australia. We have monthly swaps, challenges and of course our annual Circle Journal.
These scrappers are some of the most amazing and talented crafters I have ever had the pleasure to meet (in some cases IRL) and one of the other reasons I love doing swaps is because their creations are just so cool and totally amazing, and I wish I could craft as wonderfully as they do.
I digress...
There are six of us doing the Circle Journal this year. A couple of repeat offenders from last year as well as some ladies not only new to our forum but new to Circle Journals.
This year my theme is "Inspiration". My album is 8 1/2" x 6" (the pages a teeny bit smaller.) The covers are created from recycled light weight card board which I covered with papered paper, added a little distress ink and a glitter title the thought I was done. Simple... but sweet. 
Then I saw some pictures of someone else's journal and knew I needed to pump it up a notch or two. So in true Emeril Lagasse style I added a bit of BAM, BAM, BAM... and this is what the finished cover looks like.
On the outside of the cover, over the top of the distressed patterned paper, I added a 3D relief pattern using texture paste and a The Crafter's Workshop template - Cosmic Swirl. I left the texture paste over night to dry then spritzed the hell out of it using Adirondack Colour Wash and Tattered Angels - Glimmer Mists in several colours. Being my normal impatient self I dried this off with my heat tool. I then added some highlights on some of the swirls using Radiant Rain paint. On the inside of the cover, I just misted, no texture paste.
I really LOVE the end result. It was the first time I'd used texture paste and the first time using a template like this. I'd used them with paint but that was really about it. 
And I really, really LOVE the dark moody colour scheme I ended up with.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rolodex Card Swap

I've seen pictures of altered Rolodex Cards and I love them, so when Crafting Passionz hosted a swap, I jumped in boots and all thinking this was going to be great and fun and it would all slot in so nicely. And then I discovered that not all Rolodex were created equal and that there are different sizes of Rolodex cards. Hmmmmm.
And wouldn't you know it, my Rolodex cards were a different size to those specified for the swap. Oh well... I will see when the swaps all arrive back whether or not they all fit. No point worrying about it for now.
To me (in my humble opinion) Rolodex Cards are akin to ATC's (Artist's Trading Cards) and that is effectively how I treated them. Other than having a defined size and theme (in this case Shabby Chic or Vintage) they can essentially be anything you like. So I pulled out some scraps of cards (left over from my Christmas Cards), a single sheet of patterned paper and got stuck in.
I've probably said it a hundred times before but Shabby Chic/Vintage is not my general style of choice. These are styles that I struggle with, the same with Heritage scrapping. I love the look of them, but they are just not my natural scrapping style. The inspiration moves slowly... the MOJO doesn't always happen as easily as I would like but I know I need to push the creative me outside of my comfort zone so I do this style, albeit sometimes on the outer edge of what might be considered Shabby Chic or Vintage. (I think there may just be too much pastel for my liking LOL.)
I can't say I'm always happy with the end result but then I openly admit to being a perfectionist so I'm rarely 100% happy with anything!

The tickets are from a set of Christmas Printables from Miss Cutiepie which I found on line and have used on several occasions. They just suited even though it wasn't strictly a Christmas theme. The tissue paper is scrap from real sewing patterns (another crafting hobby of mine).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Viewer Requests

Up until now, you've just had to put up with what ever it takes my fancy to write about but I'd like to give you the opportunity to determine some of the content... what is it that you would like to see more of, any of or none of in some of my posts?
I follow quite a few blogs on a regular basis. Some are purely craft related - scrap booking, art journals, manufacturers, scrapbook shops, kids crafts etc etc. A few are cooking related - mainly because I am always looking for inspiration because I really don't think I can cook and I would like to be a better cook. And some are totally out there, off-the-topic, wacky and there just because they make me smile, make me think and one or two that make me laugh so much I have tears streaming down my face on a regular basis.
I also look at a lot of blogs that don't appeal to me, aren't my style, don't inspire me and one or two that have just made my cringe... all of these are in the "Not Followed" list of blogs. 
Over the last couple of months I've read a couple of different blogs (sorry can't remember which ones they are but I would give them credit if I could)... with posts about why we follow different blogs and what inspires us to follow blogs.

Why do we follow... or rather why do "I" follow some blogs and not others?

  1. There must be something of interest in there for me. Sorry to all the animal lovers out there, but I am not an animal person so I probably won't follow your blog if all you are going to talk about is Fido or Fluffy.
  2. There must be something to inspire me. There are a lot of amazing crafters in the world. Some people have a natural talent and are able to create some amazing crafts. I love looking at people who create something different, that I've never seen before. These are the people who challenge me to expand my crafting, who inspire me to step out of the ordinary into the extra-ordinary... these are the people I follow.
  3. There must be a variety. I know I have a short attention span. I also know I like a "WOW" factor in things. I like something that grabs my attention. It may be colour, colour combination, style, styling (yes different from style), techniques, photography, products, visual impact or any of a hundred other things that make me stop instead of just flicking past. I also like a mix of projects - cards, layouts, off the page projects rather than different variations of the same thing. 
  4. They use the same products or techniques as me, but in different ways to me. And I like looking at the creations of people who have a different style to me. I am very much an experimental artist with a definite lack of formal training, so I learn through looking at what other people create then trying to find a way to recreate that look. I'm a "Reverse Engineer Artist" if that's physically possible. I really enjoy looking at creations where people have used products I know I have in my stash because they let me know I can create that too (or at least an approximation). Whereas if someone only uses products and tools I don't have, then I'm less likely to be inspired and more likely to go "meh - not interested". (Yes I know a bit shallow but such is my fiscal reality)
  5. I love step by step techniques and templates. I am a "Freebie Queen". I love freebies, getting something for nothing - refer fiscal reality above. I can't always/usually afford to pay for a class but I can afford to look at tutorials and classes online. I do have an issue with waiting for videos to buffer - I'm so not patient enough, so I prefer tutorials with photos than videos... but hey my preference not necessarily everyone else.
So what do you want to see more of?
  • New products and reviews?
  • More tutorials?
  • More variety?
  • More creations?
  • More pictures less chat? No chat?
  • More links to great website? Blogs?
Have your say...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Organising Embossing Folders

I saw a brilliant idea for storing Embossing Folders, I think on Pinterest. (My apologies to the person with the brilliant idea, I wish I could remember where I saw this, but it escapes me. If I find you again, I will give you the credit you are due.)
It was so functional that I've just set up my Embossing Folders in a similar storage system which I'm sure you will love as much as I do.
Previously I stored my embossing folders in their original packaging, so I could see what they looked like, mixed in with my dies in several shoe boxes. I didn't know what I had and at times had more than a little difficulty finding what I was looking for. In order to find a particular embossing folder I usually needed to pull everything out of the shoe boxes and search through them all one at a time. My storage system just wasn't working for me.
Then I found this idea which not only stored the folders considerably better, it also provided a means for me to quickly check the folders I had to find what I was looking for... like I said... BRILLIANT!!
First thing... get rid of the packaging, well put it into a box for re-purposing at a later date.
Second thing... Sort out all the different sixes of embossing folders and the collate them some how. I ended up with four groups - small (2" x 2.75"); medium (A2 size); large (5" x 7" and anything bigger) and finally borders (any for the edge of a page or a card). 
In collating them, I put themes together (mainly Christmas) and then sorted everything else by type - e.g. words, collages, nature, everything else.
I then cut up some A4 lightweight cardstock into quarters. The sample I copied from had used luggage tags, but I couldn't see any benefit of trimming the quarters down further, that just meant more work for me. Sure they looked pretty, but I'm of the less is more, stop organising, get doing school of thought.
I thought ahead a bit here, and labelled each quarter of cardstock before I embossed it, with the name of the embossing folder (and collection if appropriate) so that I could reference back as to what I had actually used for a project. Doing this before hand mean I didn't have to worry about where I then embossed and trying to leave space for the name.
The next step was to run every Embossing Folder through my Cuttlebug machine with one of the quarters of cardstock to give me a sample of what each folder looked like. I was able to fit 1 medium or large, 4 small or 5 border embossing folders per quarter.
I then labelled both the embossing folder and the embossed sample with a matching number. This means I can flick through my samples, find the look I want, check its number and go straight to that embossing folder as they are all stored in numerical order by size in ONLY ONE shoe box.

Like I said... a BRILLIANT idea!!