Playing with the polar bears

Whenever we visit the Detroit Zoo, we always spend some time in the Arctic Ring of Life.

If you have never been, let me tell you, it is amazing! The exhibit covers four acres with space for foxes, polar bears and seals. There are educational displays that explain the customs of the arctic, as well as share details about the animals. But the best part is tunnel where the seals and polar bears swim all around you. Clear dividers prevent the polar bears from eating the seals, but when you are inside, it appears they are swimming together.

Last fall, we were fortunate enough to witness one of the bears swimming, climbing and posing all around the tunnel. Almost like a trained bear, he would go to a window, pose for photos, then move onto the tunnel, pause again, wave and move on to another location. I’m not sure who was having more fun — him or me — but it was an incredible experience.

To remember the day, I created a mosaic page, with the help of grid paper and tools from Wish in the Wind. I love the focus on photos that mosaic pages call for and Wish in the Wind makes it so easy!

Here’s what I came up with … (click on the photo for a larger view)

I started with white grid paper from Wish in the Wind and then lightly sprayed it with Perfect Pearls Mist. Once dry, I added Distress Ink to the edges and then set to work.

I did a mix of 1″ squares and full photos, showcasing some of my favorites of the day. I matted some of the photos with cardstock from American Crafts and added a few accents from Colorbök.

For the title, I used one of the photos of our hand prints on the ice wall. I cut it to size and scored the top so it will open easily and added a few brads to make sure it stays in place. The arrow photo turn from American Crafts holds it in place. Underneath, I added a piece of cardstock and journaled about our day.

Then, I used one of my favorite techniques to make the letters … I colored the chipboard (Maya Road) with Distress Ink and then added Stickles to the bottom half of the letters (to represent ice/snow). Once dry, I covered them with Diamond Glaze and then used Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear Glue to adhere them. Simple, inexpensive and elegant!

Inspired at McDonald’s

Inspiration can come from anywhere — even the bathroom at McDonald’s.

It’s true. I’ve been inspired by ads, commercials, quilts, other scrappers and much more, but this is the first time I found inspiration in the bathroom of McDonald’s! OK, so I have to admit, the entire place was inspirational. The McDonald’s we stopped at to use the WiFi while we were on vacation was in Muskegon. Inside the restaurant, there was a huge vintage photo of downtown Muskegon. I spent quite a while staring at it, but figured I would make the people eating near it uncomfortable if I took a photo.

However, when I used the bathroom, I was all alone and had no problem snapping a few photos so I could replicate it in my scrapbook.

This is the tile … I loved the way it changed color as you looked at it from different angles and the way it appeared to shimmer. I knew immediately that it wouldn’t be hard to replicate in paper, but I didn’t want to forget how it looked, so I took my camera into the bathroom and snapped away. It isn’t the first time I’ve taken photos in a public bathroom, nor the first time I have been inspired by tile, so I wasn’t very shy.

Here’s the results of my inspiration …

And, here’s a close-up …

I started with Kraft Glassine paper from Tim Holtz.

Using a piece of blending foam, I applied Ranger’s Perfect Medium to the paper and then added a variety of colors of Perfect Pearls, repeatedly, working in layers and going in perpendicular directions until I achieved the look I wanted.

Then, I cut the paper into 1″ squares.

Finally, I covered them with a thin layer of Glossy Accents, dragging a paint brush across the adhesive as it began to dry for more texture.

I let them dry over night on the Nonstick Craft Sheet and then used the scrapper tool to lift them up. I trimmed off the leftover glue and then attached them to the page, leaving a little room for “grout”.

The title was cut from one of the Sizzix Dies by Tim Holtz. I used Distress Ink around the edges and added small dots with the Glaze pen by Sakura. I placed it on the page with dimensional foam adhesive.

The letters are chipboard and from Maya Road. I inked them in Painted Shutters Distress Ink and then painted them with several colors of Perfect Pearls, mixed with water. As a final touch, I lightly dabbed a bit of Black Soot Distress Ink over the top. Once dry, I used Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear Adhesive to attach them.

Then, I added photos and a few brads and called it done. What do you think?

By the Sea

This is one of the samples I made to hang in the Scrap Tales booth during the Great Lakes Mega Meet.

I made it with Creative Imaginations papers and die cuts, along with a few brads, some dimensional foam and Distress Ink. Although it looks complex, it is really a quick and simple page.

Here’s a closer look at the left side … you can click on the photo for a larger view.

I tore the paper and used Distress Ink along the edges to help separate the patterns from each other. I added dimensional foam (3D Dots or Pop Dots) under the mermaid and one of the flowers to help them stand out.

The title was cut out from one of the papers.

The other side is similar …

I used a couple of brads to attach the die cut. I also left the top of the paper unattached, so I could tuck the photo (and a tag with journaling in the future) in behind it.

Use it all

There are paper crafters who save every little piece of scrap for future use.

I am not one of those.

I started out that way, but found myself spending way too much time sorting and filing and never seemed to use the scraps.

So, I created a new system that works for me and thought I would share it.

First, I keep to just a few brands of cardstock — American Crafts and Bazzill are my favorites. That way, scraps tend to match the papers I am working on and I find that I use them more often.

Next, I take anything large enough to use again and place it in a large Ziploc bag. No filing — I just toss it in. When I need another piece of cardstock to go with a layout or for cutting out a die, it only takes a minute to find it. And, by making it easy to find what I need, I actually use my scraps, so the bag doesn’t become too full.

For patterned paper, I only keep large pieces that I plan to use on a card. I have a plastic paper shelf I toss them on for future use.

It’s a simple method, but it works for me.

However, that doesn’t stop me from using what some would consider garbage on a scrapbook page. Sometimes the packaging on a product is as scrap worthy as the product it is holding. On this page, using papers, tags and ribbon from My Mind’s Eye, I added the top of the ribbon card as a tag on the page. (it’s the one that says Great Southern)

I also added some leftover chipboard letters from Maya Road (covered with Distress Ink), the word Guam — cut out of Cricut’s Songbird, and tickets made from stamps and die cuts by Tim Holtz.