Mosaic Windows

mosaic_window

As you probably know, my studio is in the corner of my living room beneath huge picture windows. When I sit at my desk, I look out over several vacant lots and woods owned by my husband’s parents. “The park,” as we call it, is filled with my mother-in-law’s flowers and a huge garden. I have a bird feeder in front of the window and I love my view … even though I live on a small lake lot, I feel like I live in the country when I look out my window. I’m used to seeing a variety of songbirds, crows, turkey vultures, squirrels, chipmunks, and the occasional bald eagle, or neighbor’s cat or dog.

But this day, when I looked up, I was surprised to see two deer in the yard!

For a few seconds, those deer and I locked eyes. I was afraid to move, but I really wanted to capture the moment. Telepathically, I suppose, I sort of asked the deer if he would stay put. Figuring I was no threat, he stood in place while I snapped a few pictures with my phone and called my in-laws to tell them to look out the window (they weren’t home, which made getting pictures even more important).

The pictures on my phone were way too far away, but my camera was, of course, nowhere near my desk. Again, I silently “asked” the deer to wait for me and took off to my bedroom. I ran back to my studio, removing the lens cap and turning on the camera as I went, but expecting them to be gone when I got back.

Amazingly, the deer were still there, slowly exploring my mother-in-law’s flowers.

Getting over “deer fever,” I was able to get quite a few photos of the two. The female wanted to head back to the woods, but the male was insistent that she stay and he kept encouraging her to come back to the park to play — until something spooked them and they both ran back into the woods.

It may have only lasted a few minutes, but it was the first time I had the opportunity to really observe deer being deer — outside of captivity. It was an incredible moment and although some of my photos didn’t come out (I was shaking beyond my camera’s stability control), I did get some great shots through my dirty window!

I wanted it to be obvious that these photos were taken while I was inside. One of the dies from Mosaic Moments reminded me of a window and I knew it would be the perfect way to visually show that the photos were taken through the window.

I made a video to show you how I made this page. Click here to watch it

Have you had an opportunity to photograph animals in nature?

(NOTE: I get paid to make videos for Mosaic Moments).

Where are the animals?

mosaic_wildlifeup

When I planned my trip to the Upper Peninsula, I went to see the animals. I had visions of hiking a trail for a mile or so, finding a big rock or log to sit on, sitting still for a few minutes, and then watching the birds and squirrels play. I thought, perhaps, I might even see an eagle, moose, elk, wolf or bear. (Well, I really didn’t expect to find one in the woods, but maybe along the side of the road or something …)

I spent a week and was along the shore and in and out of the woods. And I saw less than what I see in my own backyard. No songbirds. No deer. No rabbits. No squirrels. No raccoons. No foxes. No skunks. No coyotes. Not even any roadkill!

Honestly, I’m starting to think that whole bear and moose thing are myths! Probably something they tell us trolls (those who live below the bridge) to get us to travel up there and spend money.

I was extremely disappointed. And, since that was such a big part of our trip, I had to document it … so I scrapbooked the few animals I did see using the Mosaic Moments system.

Want to see how I did it? Click here to watch the video …

Mosaic Monday: The Octagon Die

mosaic_ola

When my son came home from Hawaii (and the U.S. Navy), he brought a fiance with him.

Her name is Ola. She was born in Tonga, a Polynesian Island in the South Pacific. Her family moved to Hawaii when she was small and she became a United States citizen. She has embraced many U.S. customs, but has held on to many of her Tongan customs, as well.

I’d say Ola is the perfect blend of cultures and she is absolutely ideal for my son. She complements his personality by accenting his strengths and compensating for his weaknesses. She gets his sense of humor, isn’t at all bothered by his lack of neatness and is a genuinely nice person! She seems to make him very happy, and given that they have been through some stressful situations — including living in a hotel, living with his family, and living through a few blizzards — I think they will be together for a long, long time.

I didn’t get to spend much time with them … they only stayed in Michigan for a year before heading to NYC to pursue their dreams — him as a vegan chef and her in the fashion industry. So now I am missing them and decided to finally scrapbook the engagement photos I took of them last fall.

I used a soft gray Mosaic Moments Grid Paper, with black cardstock accents and some really old fall paper I had in my stash. To accent the page, I used the Octagon Die from Mosaic Moments. It comes with tiny photo corners and fits perfectly on the grid paper. I’d have to say this is one of my favorite layouts ever … the colors just work so well and subjects are just adorable!

I made a short video to show you how to cut and use the Octagon Die. You can watch it by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy the video and the page … and if you’re in NYC and see my kids, tell them their mommy loves them!

Mosaic Monday

mosaic_BigBay

This was our second time staying in the Big Bay Point Lighthouse. My daughter, knowing I love lighthouses, did a little research online and found this place. She bought us a gift certificate for a stay there for Christmas. What she didn’t remember was that we stayed there on our honeymoon, when she was just 11!

I cried when I opened our gift and realized all of the time she took to look for something really special. I mean, who would even think to Google “Lighthouse Bed & Breakfasts”! And, the fact that it was a return to one of the wonderful places we spent on our honeymoon made it even better.
mosaic_bigbay2 I created quite a few layouts of the lighthouse for our scrapbook. This one shows the interior of the building and some of the grounds around the lighthouse. I love using the Mosaic Moments system for pages like this. The grid paper makes it easy to showcase just the details — like the nameplate on our bedroom door, the Victorian doorknobs, the view from our window and the brick that used to divide the house into two houses. These types of photos are hard to scrapbook without the page looking cluttered or unorganized. Mosaic Moments Grid Paper allows you to add in all sizes of photos while maintaining a sense of organization. And the mixture of detail-oriented photos and those taken at a distance keeps it interesting.

mosaic_bigbay3

Circling the Silos

mosaic_silo

A few years ago, my mom and I stayed at a hotel in Akron, OH that was created from a Quaker Oats factory. The rooms and lobby were in the original silos. Restaurants, stores and a museum were in the mill and office building. It was an amazing experience.

Since everything in the hotel was round — including the rooms — I thought it only fitting to use circles on the page.

All of the circles on this page are created from one set of dies. I created a video to show you how easy it is. You can watch it, here.

NOTE: I did receive compensation for making this video.

Quilt It

mosaic quilt bantam

I love quilts. And I admire anyone who can make them. It is on my list of things to try, but I haven’t gotten there yet — with fabric anyhow.

What I can do is copy quilt patterns in paper to create beautiful Mosaic Moments pages, like this one. Click here to see how easy it is!

Waterfalls

mosaic_Wagner

One of my reasons for taking a trip to the Upper Peninsula was to hunt waterfalls. There are hundreds there waiting to be photographed.

This is one of my favorites. It’s right on the side of the road, so no hiking is required. It is in a beautiful setting with walkways and benches to sit and enjoy it. And it is filled with foam and rocks and twists and turns as multiple tiny tributaries join in.

I used Mosaic Moments Grid Paper as my base for this spread. And, I used pictures of the signs as both the title and journaling block. Why re-invent the wheel!?

Mosaic Waterfall

mm_mosaic_Candy_Spiegel

While I work on Mosaic Moments Grid Paper most of the time when scrapbooking, I rarely create solid mosaic pages. Normally, I like to leave a lot of my photos large and uncut. But, with these photos, I decided to cut every photo into 1-inch squares.

My photos of this particular waterfall were not all that great. The falls were hard to photograph because we were on top of them and they cut back under us. I took lots of photos in the woods on our trek to and from the falls, but nothing was eye catching. By cutting my photos up, I actually made each one look better (its magical how this happens) and created an overall visual that was much better than any single photo. And, I managed to fit parts of 11 photos onto a single layout!

Yes, this can take hours if you are cutting with a knife, but if you have the MM Die from Mosaic Moments, it takes just a few minutes. The MM die cuts a 4″x6″ photo into 1-inch squares with a single pass through the Big Shot or other cutting machine. And, it holds the pieces together so you are not left trying to put nearly impossible puzzle pieces back together!

There are times when you will want to use this die to create a giant mosaic and times when you do not.

GREAT USES

Enhance less than spectacular photos

Fit a lot of photos onto a page

Uses parts of photos if the whole photo isn’t desired

Perfect for flowers, landscapes, scenery, crowds, sunsets, beaches

 

NOT-SO-GREAT USES

Close-up photos of people or animals (if their face doesn’t fit in a 1″ square, they will look like aliens when cut)

Spectacular photos (the mosaic grid will detract from the beauty)

Photos with important details (the details will blend in)

Signs with lots of writing (more than a word or two is hard to read)

 

Give this technique a try — either by cutting by hand or using the MM Die — and let me know what you think. I’d love to see your pages!

Pointing the Way

mosaic arrows

This past June, my husband and I spent a week in the Upper Peninsula. We were supposed to spend the time camping, hiking and photographing nature. Our campsite was right on the beach of Lake Superior and I imagined several evenings sitting in front of the fire, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on shore, while watching the sun set.

We knew it would be a little cool … we took hoodies and fleece-lined sweats to keep ourselves warm overnight. And, we packed plenty of blankets, as well.

We knew if might rain, so we bought waterproof coats and shoes.

What we didn’t count on was three days of wind and rain, on and off, all day and all night. By the third night, everything in the tent was damp feeling — even though it was dry. The wind picked up to about 40 mph, the rain was coming down in buckets, and the temperature dropped to 48 degrees. We went to bed early (there was nothing else to do) even though we weren’t really tired. Every few minutes, a gust of wind would lift open the rain flaps on the tent and suck out all of the warm air. Every time the wind blew, I got a little colder. I had my hoodie up and layers of clothing on, but I was still cold. And, I must admit, I was a little scared that the tent was going to collapse in the wind. I asked if we could get a hotel room. Matt told me just to snuggle a little closer and he would keep me warm. So, I snapped a few pictures of the raindrops on the tent, snuggled a little closer and prayed morning would come soon.

I had just about fallen asleep when I heard Matt asking if they had a room available for the night.

Ten minutes later, we were comfortably settled down the street at a motel. We cranked up the heat, put our shoes in front of it to dry (we had been playing in Lake Superior earlier in the day and the exteriors of our shoes were still wet) and took long, hot showers before going to bed. It was wonderful to be completely dry and warm that night.

We called it an early Christmas present, since we stayed at the Christmas Motel in Christmas, Michigan.

Amazingly, our tent survived the night … Everything was just as we left it, although it was still so windy the next morning, it nearly blew away as we were trying to get it down. A neighboring camper had to help us! We weren’t able to pack it up, but we did manage to get everything into the car.

Of course, I had to scrapbook this crazy night.

While waiting for Matt to register us at the motel, I had taken pictures of the temperature and the rain on the windshield. The next morning, I took photos of the sign and outside of the motel. I used those, along with the pictures I had taken of the rain on the tent, to help tell the story on my page.

I also used the Mosaic Moments Arrow Die … it’s a versatile die because you can use either the inside or the outside or both together! I made a video to show you how it’s done … click here to watch.

Have you ever scrapbooked the weather?

NOTE: I was compensated for creating this video.

 

Petal Popping

pop up squirrel

See the cute little flowers that pop on this page? These are called Petal Poppers and they are dies made just for Mosaic Moments Grid Paper. They are so cute and they pop right off the page — literally.

I thought they were the perfect accent to showcase the squirrels in my yard who insist on eating bird seed.

I created a video for Mosaic Moments showing how this is done. You can click here to watch it.

NOTE: I was paid for making the video.