Picture Perfect

I admit it.

I am not one of those people who are current in their scrapbooks. I have photos I took a few days ago that are done and ones I took 10 years ago that are not. I have found, through trial and error, that it is best if I create what I feel like and what I am inspired by. To force myself to work in chronological order just leads to frustration and less-than-acceptable pages.

So, despite the warm temperatures, flowers and sunlight, I just finished a page about winter.

These papers are new from Bo Bunny — Doubledot Vintage. They come in many different colors and are perfect for times when you don’t want to work on plain cardstock, but do not want a busy pattern to compete with your photos, either. For that reason, I kept this page really simple. I used chipboard letters by Maya Road and Grungeboard letters for the title and painted them with the Pearl Metallic Paint Dabber. Although you can’t see it in the photo, it leaves a bumpy texture that goes perfectly.

So you see, I couldn’t have completed this page last November when I took the photos … Bo Bunny just released the perfect paper! It really is best to wait for inspiration.

Chicken Scratch


This project just sort of evolved, but I absolutely love it!

It started with paper I found from Melissa Frances. Since I have chickens on the brain, it was a no-brainer, so I bought it. I originally intended to use it for a scrapbook page, but it is so cute, I wanted to look at it all of the time. So, I used it to cover a sheet of chipboard, added a bit of ink and ribbon, letters from Maya Road covered with crackle paint and a die cut from QuicKutz. I attached a stack of Post It Notes (it will look better once I get yellow ones!) and glued some magnets to the back.

Now, I can look at it on my fridge all of the time AND I have a place to write things we need to get.

Perfect. Just perfect!

 

Back to scrapbooking

Somehow the days just flew by … I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I last posted.

But, I assure you, I have not been idle.

Like you, I am sure, I have been scouring the net for new products to be released at CHA. I am using Pinterest to keep track of my wish list. There are so many great new products … in addition to pretty papers, there are awesome new stamps and dies from Tim Holtz, Art Parts and stamps from Wendy Vecchi, Liquid Pearls from Ranger and much, much more.

I have also been working on some projects for an upcoming technique-based plan in the works. I can’t tell you all just yet, but I will probably have an announcement in early February.

Of course, I have also been crafting. This is a page I challenged myself to do …

This style — with a small grouping in the middle and a lot of white space — is a popular trend. Personally, I have trouble leaving so much white space. I figure if it’s not needed for journaling, you should add an additional photo or make the pictures bigger. So, following this style was difficult for me, but I think I managed to pull it off …

I used the Martha Stewart Around the Page punches to create the border. The patterned papers are from Memory Box. The green flowers are from Prima. The others are from Bo Bunny and the leaves are from Petaloo. I used Copic to airbrush the large blue flower and the green leaves. Then, I added a few gems and brads from my stash and some chipboard letters from Maya Road, stamped with a Wendy Vecchi background stamp, colored with Distress Stain and then highlighted with Distress Ink.

What do you think?

Winter sparkle

You can be sure of one thing when you live in Michigan — during the winter, the days are short and generally cloudy.

Christmas lights and holiday fun helps get me through November and December, but when the decorations come down in January, the cloudy, dark days can easily bring a person down.

So, I decided to extend the sparkle of the holidays right through winter by making an elegant candle holder.

I started with an inexpensive, plain votive cup. (I got mine at the Goodwill store for less than a dollar.)

At first, I planned to add just a bit of sparkle to the bottom third of the cup, so I started with strips of 1/4 inch Sticky Tape, like this.

Leaving the top of the tape on, I went in between the lines with Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and added a light layer of  glue.

NOTE: You will want to use your Microfine Metal Tip for this and really spread the glue around. If you put it on too thick, it may drip down the side of the glass.

On the glue, I sprinkled Ultrafine Transparent Glitter in Blue Rain (120).

Then, I peeled off the covering on the tape and added Faux Snow. And this is where I got a bit carried away … In fact, I loved the look of the Faux Snow so much, I used Designer Dries Clear Adhesive to cover almost the entire exterior of the cup! It reminded me of a sparkly sweater and I just kept going and going.

Then, using my finger, I applied a little adhesive to the top rim and dipped it in some additional glitter.

I let the cup dry over night and then gently brushed off the excess.

Naturally, I wanted a little more added to the votive. I found a couple of clear beads from Maya Road in my stash and went to work making embellishments for my votive.

The first one has a flat back, so I used Art Glitter’s Very Black Permanent Stamp Pad and a Tim Holtz snowflake stamp to add a bit of design to the back.

I then heated it to set the ink, covered the back lightly with a layer of Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and dusted it with the same Blue Rain glitter I used on the glass.

Then, I thought that as beautiful as this white and silvery votive was, I still might like a little color. So, I took a smaller bead and covered one side with adhesive and then a layer of Microfine Opaque Bahaman Blue (512).  Because the surface was not flat, this was a bit more difficult and I had to repeat the process once the first layer was dry. Keep in mind that if you do the same, make sure to smear the adhesive with your finger … Designer Dries Clear Adhesive can dry with a bit of dimension that you will be able to see in your finished product if you don’t smear it out.

Next, I attached a bit of ribbon and a few jump rings.

But, it still didn’t feel quite finished to me.

So, I adhered a piece of Sticky Paper to a scrap of white cardstock and then ran it through my Sizzix Big Shot with the small bird die from Tim Holtz. Then, I removed the protective layer off of the Sticky Paper and covered the image in the same Blue Rain glitter. For a final touch, I added an eye with Ranger’s Liquid Pearls and then attached it to the votive with Designer Dries Clear Adhesive. Because I was attaching it to the Faux Snow on glass, I had to hold it for a minute or two before it took hold.

Then, I inserted a flameless tea light and …

CAUTION: I have no idea how Faux Snow or glitter will hold up to heat or a flame, so I would recommend ONLY using flameless lights inside the votive. They are safer and just as pretty!

This is sure to keep the winter blues away!

I received Art Glitter products in exchange for this post.

Christmas Mini Album

I’m probably spoiling the surprise, but I am so in love with this project, I cannot wait to share it …

So, Stephanie, if you are reading, stop now and go to a new site …

My sister, has a new man in her life. He’s a great guy and they have a lot in common. They’ve been together for quite a while and things seem to be getting serious, so I decided to make them a mini album to document their first Christmas together.

I wanted something they could record their new traditions, their love and their time together during this most wonderful time of the year. So, using book covers from 7 Gypsies, I created this …

 

I wanted to give the look of Christmas Eve night, so I used a Tim Holtz mask and then covered the cover with Distress Ink in Faded Jeans and Black Soot. Once that was done, I sprayed it with Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist.

For the title, I used one of Tim’s stickers and alphabet stamps from Close To My Heart (with Snow Cap ink from Ranger). The “1” is Grungeboard from Tim and the “st” are chipboard from Maya Road. I stamped both with a Studio 490 stamp from Wendy Vecchi in Archival Ink and then covered them in Distressed Ink and then a layer of Diamond Glaze.

The date is stamped and then covered in Glossy Accents. I added eyelets with the Crop-a-Dial from We R Memory Keepers and then attached some beads and chain. Finally, I added ribbon from Bo Bunny.

Inside, I cut pages to fit from Bo Bunny paper, added embellishments, cardstock, ribbon, etc. and then attached two pages back to back to make them thicker (and hide the backs of the brads, pins, staples, etc. Mini albums are a great place for those leftover embellishments …

Where I left space for photos, I didn’t attach the embellishments completely, so my sister can slip in her photos behind the film ribbon, in this case. It is only attached on the edges and the key is pinned to the ribbon itself.

Since my sister and her boyfriend are going Christmas shopping in NYC, I included pages for shopping, along with pages for holiday treats and family traditions.

I’m not showing you all of the pages because I want some of it to be a surprise, but I hope this gives you an idea of how easy it is to create a mini album of your own — for Christmas or for any special occasion.

On the move

I am in the middle of moving from one house to another.

Moving is nothing new to me … I’ve moved 14 times in my lifetime — including 2 cross-country moves … but that doesn’t mean I like it.

This time is more difficult than most because we are drastically downsizing — our new house is less than half the size of our current one. On top of that, we seem to have accumulated much more during the eight years we have lived in this house than I have at any other time in my life. Needless to say, my house is currently filled with boxes for the new house, boxes for a storage shed, boxes for eBay, boxes for charity, boxes for other people and boxes that we don’t know what to do with.

My scrapbook room is partially packed — I have yet to find the right boxes for packing my collection of 12×12 paper, since I don’t want to break anyone’s back when they attempt to move it — but most of the rest has been placed neatly in boxes and is unusable for the next couple of weeks. To prevent myself from going through a crafter’s withdraw, I kept my Copic markers, my basic tool kit, some of my rubber stamps and few sheets of paper accessible. I figure at the least, I should be able to make a card without ribbon, charms, buttons or embossing powder, but at least I’ll be able to color until I get all unpacked and settled in at the new house.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a layout I did about another kind of moving — taking a train ride.

I wanted this page to show the train ride as much as possible, so I played with stripes, checks and other repeating patterns that remind me of train tracks.

The papers are from Webster’s Pages. They are actually part of the Spring Market collection, but I just used portions of the papers that didn’t have jars of peaches and fruit on them. I think they worked well.

The patterned cardstock is from Bo Bunny, the sanded cardstock is from Coredinations and the rest of the cardstock is from American Crafts.

For the title, I used some of the light patterned paper from Webster’s Pages and stamped on it with Hero Arts stamps (the words) and a Studio 490 stamp (the button holes). Then, I did one of my favorite techniques: I stamped Maya Road chipboard letters with a Studio 490 background stamp, then colored it with Distress Ink and then added shine with Diamond Glaze. I used the same technique on the banner (stamp from Technique Tuesday).

The tag was made with another Wendy Vecchi Studio 490 stamp. I stamped on patterned paper, crumbled it a bit and used Distress Ink to help age it. Never be afraid to stamp on softly patterned paper. It gives you a bit more dimension than plain cardstock. I used the same technique on the facing page.

And then I added a few brads and a photo corner (Tim Holtz) to finish it off. Since trains are so masculine and industrial, I thought a bit of metal was crucial to this page.

Ribbons, Ruffles & Lace

I am so proud of the young woman my daughter has grown into.

Even if she wasn’t my daughter, I would still think she was beautiful — inside and out. Sure, she has her less-than-perfect moments, but I love it when she talks non-stop and when she giggles while watching television. I appreciate how hard she pushes herself to get what she wants. And, I love that she never gives up.

But, when it comes to the clothes she wears, we do not see eye-to-eye.

When she was little, I dressed her in ruffles and lace. I put her in as much pink as I could find. And then she reached that age where she picked out her own clothes. Suddenly, my sweet girly girl was wearing hoodies and jeans, sweats and T-shirts in every color but pink.

I have come to terms with the fact that my little girl is more comfortable in athletic wear, black and gray. It doesn’t make me love her any less. But it did give me something to preserve in her scrapbook …

The paper is from Pebbles. The banner is Maya Road, painted with Ranger Distress Crackle Paint and Distress Ink. The letters are cut out from my Cricut. Rub ons are from Lily Bee Designs. The journaling block is from Sizzix/Tim Holtz. The punch is EK Success and the ribbons and twine are from May Arts, Maya Road, Bo Bunny, My Mind’s Eye and my stash.

The flower buttons are from Pebbles and I added Liquid Pearls from Ranger to the centers to provide unique dimension — and a bit of shine.

One tip: I had trouble with rub ons in one corner of my page. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get them to work. So, I added a few buttons to cover it up. Then, to make it look like it was intentional, I added buttons on top of some of the rub ons on the journaling block, as well. I don’t think you can tell — can you? (click on the photo for a closer look)

Remember, unless you spill coffee on your pictures, you can almost always find a way to fix any mistake!

 

The Cat Who …

I recently discovered The Cat Who series of murder-mystery novels.

The books, written by Lilian Jackson Braun, tell of the adventures of a semi-retired journalist, Qwill, and his smart Siamese cat, Koko. They take place in Moose County, a rural region 400 miles north of everywhere, in Michigan.

While I enjoy the basic mystery portions of the novels, I also like to read about the slow-paced small-town life, the quirks of Koko and other small tidbits in the stories. I am particularly intrigued with the creative license Braun uses in her fictional county. It appears she has taken the best of Michigan and combined it into one location. So taken by trying to figure out where Moose County is, I decided create a scrapbook page about the clues in the book.

As always, click on the photo for a larger view …

The paper and flower stickers are from Cloud 9 Design. The state die cut was a gift from my sister. I printed the journaling on vellum and the clues on cardstock. The cat is a digital stamp by Doodle Pantry, printed on X-Press It Blending Card and colored with Copic Sketch markers.

As a side note … Copic will not react with laser or toner from a copy machine. They may react with ink jet printers. I have an HP and it works fine. I haven’t tried it with my Epson photo printer yet. So, always check your printer before coloring. Trust me, you will not like it when the black bleeds into your images and you could damage your nibs.

Back to the layout … the large letters and question mark are Grunge Board from Ideaology. The question mark is painted with Adirondack Paint Dabber and then covered with Diamond Glaze. The small letters are chipboard from Maya Road. They are colored with Rusty Hinge Distress Ink … a lot of ink for a solid color, less ink for the spotty ones … and then covered in Diamond Glaze. The black is painted on, then glued to the top of the squares and then the entire image is covered in Diamond Glaze. I love the finished look … especially the way the Diamond Glaze puddles where the letters meet the blocks. Once dry, I used Black Soot Distress Ink to ink the edges and then adhered it to my page. My favorite adhesive for these is Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear. I used Removable Glue Dots to hold the letters to my Nonstick Craft Sheet while painting. Trust me. You will want to do this!!

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!

An apple for teacher

Rather than give a real apple to the teacher on the first day of school, give her something she can enjoy all year — and many years to come with this adorable hanging apple decoration.

I created this back-to-school idea for Glue Dots — and it is much easier than it looks.

To start, I cut out eight apples with my Cricut in red and three additional apples in green.

Next, score each of the red apples down the center, like this …

If you wish to apply Distress Ink or anything else to the apples, this is the time to do it.

You can also cut off the stem and leaf at the top of each apple.

Then, using Craft Glue Dots, attach one side of each apple to another until you almost make a circle — leaving the final two apple sides unattached.

Use the green apples to create a leaf and stem (I used Black Soot Distress Ink to color the stem) and attach it to the center with another Glue Dot.

Then, apply Glue Lines to the center of the apple and add a string or wire (I used We R Memory Keepers twine). Leave enough for the top to make a loop and enough on the bottom to hang charms. Keep in mind that you can always trim it if it is too long, but you can’t add to it if it is too short.

Once those are adhered, add additional Craft Glue Dots and seal up the apple.

Next, add a star. I used two corrugated stars from Close To My Heart, colored them with Fired Brick Distress Ink and then applied a few Craft Glue Dots to the center of one, attached the twine, and then covered it with the second one.

Finally, I tied on a Maya Road clear charm to the bottom and it is ready to give to teacher!