Happy Spring


 Love seeing the dewy tulip buds in the morning, then the flowering petals reaching up to the sun in the afternoon.


Some old, some new...my go-to products...

Here are a few of my favorite products that I am currently using...

My favorite tool I own is still my DYMO Label Buddy label maker.  I often use these labels on my layouts for titles or even to add journaling.  I love the embossed, block lettering {love the process of winding the little wheel around}. I’ve had mine for so long, it got me thinking maybe I should pick up a spare in case it ever breaks, not sure if they plan on making these forever, but I hope they do!  I mainly use black tape but sometimes blue works too.

7gypsies has been around for some time, and I still love the nostalgic look of their products.  These 97% Complete stickers I’ve probably had in my stash for about 8 years or so?!  And there’s still so many themes and pieces remaining to pick from.  I like them because they are flat enough to be flat when you need it, yet they have a little cardstock-like sturdiness to them if you want to pop them up or add them to enhance another embellishment.  They include versatile phrases, song lyrics, famous quotes & tabs.

I love these black & kraft photo corners from Recollections (you can get at Michaels). Photo corners may be a little outdated as actual adhesive, but I use them now for aesthetic reasons.  I was primarily using black for the longest time, but recently found the kraft which I wanna try in my kraft artist book (fancy pants).  Sometime I use them on all four corners, sometimes just one or two or combined with rounding corners.  I like the finished look & it gives a vintage feel too, almost inspired by the filters of Instagram.
Using a pencil eraser to stamp dots was a technique I learned in a Quick Quotes class at CKC years ago, and I still love the look of these polka dots.  With a sturdy pencil eraser you get a nice sized dot, as well as a faded look because the ink kind of pools wherever.  It works especially well for a lot of my “boy” pages when I just need a little embellishing.  
I’ve tried dozens of types of ink and ink companies over the years, but for scrapbooking and edging purposes, I still like chalk inks.  I tend to grab for the Quick Quotes Powder Puffs or ColorBox Cat Eyes most.  Quick Quotes colors are a little more muted to me and sort of rustic, giving that vintage feel.  Cat Eyes seem to do better for bolder accenting.  
I’ve always loved staples on layouts, and discovering Tim Holtz's Tiny Attacher has been an absolute delight.  The mini staples, which measure a quarter of an inch (0.25"), are much more appealing on pages and embellishments.  Again with my “boy” pages, I tend to reach for metals and rougher things to embellish with, even though I love adding ribbon and flowers.  When you use a staple to attach those  “girlier” embellishments it seems to work!  One of my go-to enhancements are these ribbon “V’s” as I like to call them, and they are perfect for corners or page edges.
On this layout a Label Buddy title was added, along with 1 photo corner combined with rounded corners.  And the Tiny Attacher was used to add ribbon V's.


Keeping the Creative Flow

   I recently rejuvenated my passion of traditional scrapbooking, and I have found I turn to my old sources of inspiration, including Ali Edwards, who I have admired for years.  I was excited by the newsletter she started regarding "Creative Lifts" which is a weekly subscription and chock full of ideas and resources.  If you aren't doing so all ready, you should def check it out.  Check out her blog post

   This week she dealt with the topic of how to keep creativty flowing and deal with creative blocks.  Being that I've done a number of creative activities for many years I am all too familiar with this struggle. And of course, its just when I actually have the free time or a "deadline" project, in which my creative blocks like to pop up.
   I used to really struggle with this and almost get down on myself when I couldn't come up with my normal, creative solutions.  Creativity generally comes extremely easy to me, and I'm held on somewhat of a pedestal in my social circle as the "creative one".  However, I found that esteem almost worked against me as pressure for some time.  There was a time a few years back where I had many creative "demands" and was pushing my limits as far as the number of projects I took on at once and the time I took to complete them.  Some were self-imposed, others were requests from family & friends.  Luckily, I went through a major life change, which ultimately led to postive growth within and affected all aspects of my life, including the creative one.

   In turn, I've come up with some of the ways I now deal with creative blocks and how I keep it flowing...

One....I don't force anything.  I've learned it just comes and goes like the wind, and I need to allow it to happen, but not get upset or feel "less than" when its not as easy or as brilliant, shall we say.  I probably have gone a week or two at a time without doing any creative project with my own hands.  In those times I ususallly turn to seeking inspiration through magazines, photography and surfing the net (Pinterest).  And sometimes I just need to sort of "veg out", watch some of my fav dvd episodes of Ally McBeal, eat some CheezIts, curl up in my favorite furry blanket and relax.  After doing that for a little, I find that I'm just dying to get up and do something more hands-on.  So basically, I "wait it out".

Two....I agree with Ali, in that I maintain multiple projects.  Because I have several interests, if scrapbooking is boring me, I go back to a sewing project or embroidery.  I keep a small binder which is tabbed with all of my interests, and I use to it jot down ideas, sketches, store magazine clippings or websites where I saw a neat idea.  I generally just have to glance through that to be reminded "Oh yea, I wanted to try this product or that technique", and I'm off again!

Three...I make something just for the heck of it!  A lot of my projects are structured in some way...With scrapbooking, its a way to maintain memories chronologically, other projects are made for gifts or decor items.  I find when I'm down on my creativity flow, I need to just let loose, get out a bunch of mediums and play around.  Make something unusual, or some type of craft I would've made as a kid.  A lot of times maybe it turns into something I can use a scrapbooking embellishment, a decor item, or I just set it on my desk to look at.  The challenge is a mental one, in not looking back & feeling as if I "wasted" valuable creative time for something that really had no purpose or destination.  If it keeps me going, then its all OK!

Robert Frost "Desert Places" quote 
Four....Probably not the best solution, but shopping helps me too.  Whether its for supplies or color inspiration, getting something new usually gets the creative juices flowing.  Especially if I place an order online, the anticipation of getting my new product helps build up my imagination of all the possibilities once I have it in hand!  If your on a budget, it works too, because my favorite place to find inspiration or get unusual supplies is the flea market and yard sales.  I get up early on a weekend, grab some coffee and go in search of treasure.
A serving tray I bought for $1 and turned into a chalkboard with some 
chalkboard paint. I call it "My Wall" (like that social networking site I don't use)
Five...the final thing that does help me (& Ali too) is getting organized.  Cleaning up.  Re-sorting. Literally just clearing the counterspace so I have a nice stark white surface...(I even use 409 to get it bright & shiny)  Just like she says, it helps clear the mind, clear the clutter and gives me a place to start fresh. 


Work Space Organization

  Throughout my many years of scrapbooking I've had various desks, spaces & rooms.  My current space has been in progress for almost a year now... (yikes! time flies) 
  I will share more details about it here & there, as I'm always finding new ways that work for me to store supplies.  
  Being that my space is also located in my bedroom it had to be functional and aesthetic, & I try to keep it neat, altho that's not always the case.  
  After consideration, I decided to go with a counter height desktop as I usually end up standing and moving around to get supplies.  I generally think of supplies I can use as I go, my creativity is very spontaneous.  
  I've had the jetmax storage cubes for about 5 years and they have worked well for me.  I've moved the configuration around from time to time.  
  I love my Making Memories tool carousel which I have stocked with all of my important pieces.  
  My Papertrey Ink stamp collection is right in front of me in CD cases since these are generally my 'go to' stamps for card making.  And my ribbon roll holder is simply just to brighten everything up!  I like being able to get a dual-use out of my supplies by also using it as display/decor items.  


12 on 12

One motivation for getting my blog finally up and running was a photo challenge posted by Elizabeth Kartchner (dear Lizzy).  Improving and learning more about photography is another thing I want to commit (OLW for 2012) to this year.  I have ambition to do photography as a living or maybe a part-time one eventually.  I feel like I have a good "eye", and composition, but the tech side gets me sometimes.  I'm really working hard to understand my Canon 60d, learn more about lighting and aperture.  

For my dozen photos they are a mix of iPhone/Instagram shots and shots with the 60d.  

From top left, clockwise:
~*new* DD turtle flavor iced coffee...yum-o
~dad putting up a new fence around yard
~cleaning up my scrap supplies from weekend crop
~my fav handmade embellie on an xmas LO (still need to add a middle...either a big brad or covered button...decisions)
~*new* wedges from ShoeDazzle (so ready for summer)
~Finishing Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played with Fire"

Finally hung my homemade chalkboard...going for natural lighting, except I didn't have too much!  And a glimpse of my messy desk, with my snack stash...cannot operate without box of cheez-its within reach. 

First signs of spring...tulips.  Having unseasonably warm temps.
budding tree
Cars puzzle started w/nephew                        
my crazy old dog afraid of the tile floor

fabric: reminding me of projects-in-waiting

I prefer naturally lit photographs, even over-exposed better.  Sometimes inside it is hard to get the right lighting with window glare.  Like the contrast of the black dog against the white kitchen, but maybe ISO could have been less sensitive and need to work on getting her details to show better.

anyways...fun challenge with lotsa reminders ~ thanks dear Lizzy
check out dear Lizzy blog for 12 on 12

Crop Success!

Attending embellish IT's Play All Day was a fun experience & a huge success!  embellish IT owner, Shelby, who I have attended classes with her previously, taught two classes with scrapbook layouts and cards.  The amount of supplies received was more than enough and I had a lot leftover for other projects.  The mood of the crop was relaxing.  We had the first (& only, fingers crossed) snow storm of the year in Jersey that day, so it was perfect for just hunkering down and getting some scrappin' done. 
 I was happy with what I accomplished, I got about 14 double sided page protectors about 85% completed...I had to go back to fill in some journaling or reprint other pics.  I also did some pages in my artist book (by fancypants),  & completed a few birthday cards with the Simple Stories Happy Day collection.  

Overall I was happy that I decided to attend the crop & now I am looking forward to more!  I even signed up for the next Play All Day event in September.  

(this was in the bathroom, what a nice painting!)

Crop Supplies

Packing up my supplies for the crop was a little tasking but I think it all worked out considering I don't own a lot of traveling storage.  My tools were stored in the pink & green Amy Butler bag (a.c. moore)

I don't have a 12x12 rolling storage, but I do have a Samsonite carry-on that I love love love.  I was able to store one 8x11 container (target) with all my inks, stamps, tapes, some other embellies, and a 12x12 Iris scrapbook case with my pre-loaded page protectors.  

The other 12x12 ArtBin case with handle I found at Joann's for 50% off, which was a steal.  It came with the tabbed dividers and is very sturdy.  It held all of my paper, paper scraps, stickers/quotes, and even a few 6x6 & 8x8 paper packs in the bottom.  I really want to get another one of these when I catch them on sale again.

The little blue caddy was my solution for tools on my table top and wanting a spot for my drink.  Its actually a shower caddy I found at HomeGoods for $6!  I love re-purposing cheap finds!

Preparing for my first crop

I was excited at the thought of attending my first crop. I dont really have any specific reason why I never did one before, I've seen them enough to know what they are about. I think I was intimidated by the thought of having to pre-plan so much because my style is very spontaneous, and I was probably right in that. I signed up months ago for the Embellish It sponsored Play All Day. I am a fan of Basic Grey papers and have taken Embellish It classes at CKC before.

I waited until a week before to finally look up some pointers on going to a crop and what to take. Upon my first few articles and blog entries, I started to panic at the notion that some scrapbookers plan for a crop for weeks! I was down to a few days. I knew what photos I had to scrap, so I got them out and at the advice of what I read, started putting them into page protectors. I divided out which photos I wanted to a have a full, traditional layout with and others that would be put into divided page protectors. I like this sort of hybrid style of scrapbooking and photo keeping. It takes the pressure off of creating a magnifcent layout everytime and also keeps from getting "too behind". When I completed that task I felt much more confident in being prepared.
Next step was what supplies do I bring? Tools is pretty easy as I have packed for classes before, but trying to pick through all the paper and embellishments proved more challenging. I had been primarily digi scrapping for a year, so I sort of forgot how much physical supplies one has to go through to get the best combination for a given layout. And being a scrapper for 10+ years, I certainly have a buttload of paper & embellies. I tried to at least get more specific for the one page layouts and then find paper pads that would be versatile for the divided page protectors.
I also forgot about titles! Back in the day it was all stickers, then when I got a Cricut, it was all die-cuts. Now I like to have a balance, I don't always go for massive, one-thought titles, but I needed to have some sort of plan to make sure I had the right letters. I got out the trusty Gypsy, and after getting re-acquainted with its functions I whipped up some titles i would proceed to print out in black, white or brown. I figured I could customize colors in other ways.
Now that most of my ideas are ready to go, I have to physically pack it up! Lets see how this goes...

...and begin!

It’s always a little scary to start something new, but I have found the most success in life out of the things that I was scared to do at one time. One of my goals for 2011 and now 2012, is to maintain a crafty blog and so here I am! I’ve spent many months brainstorming, planning, designing, re-designing, getting frustrated with html code, and finally decided I just need to take the plunge and work it out from here...so here it goes.

To most, scrapbooking is a punchline about women who have nothing better to do. Scrapbookers know different. The art of scrapbooking to many of us is a form of expression, a way to tell our story and that of our family, a record for generations to come, a process of taking different artistic mediums and putting it together in one place. Not only this, but scrapbooking is also a gateway to other crafts...like stamping, card-making, photography, sewing, needle crafts, and more...

I would classify myself as having been a modern-day scrapbooker for about 10 years, but I have enjoyed crafting since I was a kid, especially those crafts that included photographs, collages, and memory keeping. I feel like I’ve scrapped long enough to have learned a few things along the way (ie stacks and stacks of patterned paper will get you nowhere), yet there are still so many artistic goals that I have set to achieve.

So with this blog, I am hoping to share my love of arts and crafts, keep myself motivated to learn new things and inspire anyone who may care to stop by.