July 28, 2011

a quick scrap!! (or, what I do when I can't sleep)

We usually get up around 5 am-- earlier if one of the dogs is restless or if Ariel the cat decides it's time for us to get up: she jumps up on the bed, which sets the dogs off (their crates are next to my side of the bed). So, you would think I'd have no problem getting to sleep, right? Wrong. Most of the time I read in bed which makes me tired, but sometimes I know that just won't do it for me because my mind is just too active. Last night was one of those nights, so I worked on a couple SB projects instead. One of them is still in process, but the other was this page about catching lightning bugs (or fireflies, if you want to be technical) when I was a kid: Like I said, it really was a "quick scrap" because there was almost no design thought at all. The bug and jar stickers are Sassafras brand "Felties" that I got a couple months ago as part of their last "mystery box sale," which was a grab bag of all sorts of really fun products at a great price. (They're doing it again, by the way; $175 of product for $45, domestic shipping included. Check it out here: Mystery Box sale.) When I saw this sheet of stickers, I knew they would work perfect for a layout about catching lightning bugs. By the way, this page is 6x12, so it's a bit of an "odd" size, but I think it works perfect for this design!
The title: the small letter stickers are Making Memories Tiny Alphas, which I absolutely love-- the look of cutting letters out of a vintage book without actually having to do it! Each package has 468 individual letters, both lower and uppercase, and are a great price at only a couple dollars per package. So why have I kept them in their package, unopened, for the last 6 months?!? I think I feel like I have to "save" my supplies till something special comes along?? I'm finally starting to get over that, though; watching the TV show "Hoarders" might have something to do with it-- LOL!! The larger letter stickers are also from Sassafras, from the same mystery box sale the stickers came in. They have so many patterns and colors of letter stickers available (glittered, patterned, fabric-looking, etc) and they're really a nice size: not too big, not too small.
This is just an angled shot showing the dimension to the multi-layered felt stickers. This page is going to go in a ""Random Childhood Memories" album (when I buy one, lol!!) along with the Barbie page, and others that I haven't made yet... I have a whole list of memories that I'd like to document, and have found some good inspiration on the internet for how to do that when you might not have specific pictures to go with them. So far, I think this type of page make a good "break" from scrapping a larger subject such as a vacation. Since these types of pages will most likely be smaller snippets of memories, there's no feeling of pressure to scrap them before I forget the details, like there can be with photos from a trip, for example.
okay, this is a goofy pic, I know, but I wanted to show how I got the texture and layers in the grass at the bottom of the page- two different colors of green textured cardstock, trimmed with some of my deco scissors, which I've had for years, and popped up with dimensional foam tape. Yay! for breaking out the older- and newer- supplies and tools and actually using them, right?!?! And Yay (sort of, anyway-- lol!!) for not being able to sleep, so I can actually get some of these projects done- and out of my head!

July 24, 2011

scrap!! (or, why do I buy so much patterned paper??) ((edited))

the last couple scrapbook pages I've made were pet pages... they're such fun and cute photo subjects, but-- photos of animals don't always turn out the best, do they? (at least not for me, they don't.) This page was made using a sketch from the new Sketch Support 1-page layout book. You can find more information about it here. (I got these books last week, and showed them off in my last post.) Sometimes, I don't want to think too hard about page design, so using sketches is a good way to get a "head-start on a page. For this page, I used my photo editing software and changed the photos to a more sepia tone before printing them to take out any distracting colors, and I used vintage and found papers along with strips of scrapbooking paper for embellishing the page. This page is photos of Ariel (an extreeeeme close-up), and a photo of Prescott gone bad (he ducked his head right as I clicked the button). Quite a few of my pet photos turn out this way, so I decided to just embrace it and showcase that fact! I scrounged around in my collage and art journaling supplies, and found things that included a miniature playing card, vintage postage stamps and trading stamps, and other doo-dads. I paired those items with my favorite Martha Stewart butterfly punch and some mother of pearl buttons from my stash. Edited this post to add: by using the stamps on this page, this layout met the criteria for the "Going Postal" summer postage-themed blogging project, and I didn't even know it! (I've always loved postage stamps, postcards, etc. although I am not an "official" collector of such items as their own categories-- mostly just as part of my love of all things paper.) Anyway, if you want more information about the Going Postal blogging project, you can click here: 'I'm Going Postal, How About You?' Reading this link again brings to mind the fact that my Grandma collected postage stamps; I used to love looking thru her notebooks when I was little. I now have those notebooks... I will definitely have to write a blog post about that, for sure!
I popped up the butterfly wings with some foam dots, and used blue craft floss in the buttons. The embellishment clusters use orange, blue, and purple, to tie into the colors in the striped paper. The page title and journaling read: I do try, but... No matter how many pictures I take, a good number of them turn out like this- "Action shots," I guess!
This is a close-up of today's page... this close-up shows the dimension of the puffy letter stickers I used for the title. (they're a recent Big Lots purchase; sometimes Big Lots and Tuesday Morning- both closeout stores- have scrapbooking supplies, and you can find some good deals if you hit them at the right time.)
This photo is of the entire page: Prescott and Bisbee have such a good time with their chewies, bones, and chew toys, and I wanted to show that off. I do get some good pictures of the pets from time to time, and I think these photos show off both their personalities! They can get into "the zone" when they're into a chewie or bone, and these pictures show that off as well.

And the title of this post-- how does that fit in, you ask?? Well, I've bought a lot of patterned paper lately, and strangely enough, both of these pages are in more of a "clean and simple" style, with relatively small touches of patterned paper! So, why do I keep buying it, then? (don't answer that!! haha!!)

July 20, 2011


since I've gotten into scrapping again, I have plenty of ideas and things I want to scrap... both recent photos as well as other things, like the following layout of a childhood memory / reminiscence: I found the Barbie trading cards at a local scrapbooking store, and just had to buy them. They were the impetus for the page, since I don't have any photos of all the childhood Barbie stuff-- I don't have any idea what happened to it all, actually...?? (Mom: any ideas?? ...just wondering.) Anyway, I pulled together some multicolored papers and letter stickers that I've had for a while with some others that are recent purchases / trades. I'm not thrilled about what I did to the upper corner (I think a splatter of paint or ink there would have been better than doing the dots by hand), but I do like the page overall, and the fact that the memory is on the page instead of just in my head. :D
I thought the pink stickers would stand out more than they did on the pink polka dot paper, so I outlined them with a black glaze pen-- that looked so good, I did some more of it around the edges of the pages, which I think really ties the page together.
disregard the mess in this pic (it's my craft studio; of course there's a mess!) but I wanted to show off my latest estate sale purchase: the rolling cart, circa early-mid 1970s, perhaps?? I got it on Saturday (half-price day) for the sum total of $3; she said how about $5, but I bargained her down to $3... do you think the American Pickers would be proud of me? haha!! (I know I'm still small potatoes compared to their bargaining skills.)
These two pics are my latest, and last, scrap-related purchase for quite a while. Some new-sized page protectors that I'm excited about using and mixing into my albums: 8x8 inches, 6x12 inches, and a set of 12x12 page protectors that allows you to just slide photos into the different slots.
This pic is of a couple things I'm quite excited to try out-- one of them is the Sew Easy; it's a tool that helps you make evenly spaced holes for sewing on paper (similar to a tracing wheel, but the interchangeable heads allow you to make different types of stitches, including zig-zag, scallop, cross-stitch, and more, without having to punch each hole by hand). The other item is two new idea books that include 60 totally pre-planned sketches; all I have to do is decide on the paper and photos-- the sketches even include the dimensions for trimming the paper!! ...so now, I'm off to scrap!!

7/18/11: haboob, the sequel... (also known as haboob lite)

So, we had another dust-storm blow through on Monday, and I thought I'd share a bit of it with you. This is what I saw on Monday when I was driving home from work: yup, another dust storm. Not as impressive looking as the first one was, but kinda cool, nonetheless. I say "haboob lite" because the wind gusts were only reported as high as 50 mph, not the as-high-as 70 mph gusts the last one contained. Thank goodness, too, because I had to drive home in it, this time!
The wind really wasn't too, too bad, really- we had to slow down a little, but you could still see okay to drive. The dust is just so fine, with not much vegetation to hold it down, so a lot of it gets tossed really high up into the air in one of these storms. (Which does make me wonder: where does it all end up, anyway??) It reminded me of driving through snow or fog, both of which I'm used to, so it didn't phase me. And thank goodness for automatic window controls, right?! (I had my A/C on anyway, so mine were shut, but can you imagine driving into this with an open window? No, thank you! I would definitely be pulling over to take care of them, for sure.)
For comparison's sake, this is what it looked like on Tuesday when I drove home. Quite a difference, huh?? (there was still some residual dust in the air, but this pic is pretty clear overall.)
This is looking off the the west along the same stretch of highway. It looks like there's just nothing out there past that mountain, doesn't it?? This is actually kinda creepy to me, knowing how far (miles and miles) you can usually see out here in the desert.
Here's the view looking west on Tuesday (not the same mountain, I don't think, but you get the idea). This photo isn't much to look at scenery-wise, but it gives you a good idea of the wide-open expanses out here in the desert. You can see mountain ranges upon mountain ranges behind each other out there in the distance- I don't know how far away you can actually see, to tell the truth, but probably at least 40 or 50 miles?? This wide-open expansiveness is definitely one of the things I love most about Arizona; I'm so used to it now that going back to the Midwest feels a bit "closed-in" and claustrophobic to me now! (and I won't even talk about the Midwestern humidity; ick!! although the whole "dry-heat" thing really does make a difference, I swear!! LOL!!)

July 12, 2011

stamp de-construction project continued:

so this is what I started with-- 12 wood-mounted stamps that cost $1 each (80 cents each after my coupon), and a foot-long set of Hampton Arts stamps (containing 7 words / phrases and 4 shapes), that cost $3 ($2.40 after my discount!): I un-mounted them from the wood blocks, got out the scissors, started cutting, and after about an hour, I ended up with this:
all together, I ended up with 12 large phrases / words, a circle, and about 40 small words that I can use however I want.
the photo above is the stamps in the foot long Hampton Arts set of acrylic stamps-- after my success with "taking apart" the rubber stamps, I decided to do the same thing to a few of these, too! I cut "life unscripted" out of the rectangular frame, and cut "just us" out of the tiny scalloped frame. That way, I can do things like this:
(of course, I wouldn't do this exact thing, but this shows how I can use the empty frames with other stamps.) My total for this project is something on the order of 50 word / phrase stamps, along with 3 empty frames. Not too bad, for a couple hours work! Now, I just need to use them on my scrapbook pages! ...so, I'm off to the craft studio-- I'll be back (hopefully soon) with a scrapbook layout!

July 11, 2011

Sheltie math: 1 + 1 = 2... sometimes three- or maybe more?

Yesterday afternoon we went for a drive to north Phoenix to visit Helene and Wally at Roseglen (Helene is the breeder we purchased both dogs from). Bisee and Prescott do pretty good in the car, although unlike some dogs, they're never overly thrilled about taking a car ride-- thankfully neither of them gets carsick, though!

It's kind of funny: Prescott always seems like such a "tough guy" at home, and I don't think he moved from that spot the entire time in the car! Bisbee is much more comfortable in the car, and was quite interested in the scenery for most of the trip. She only laid down a couple times, which is when I managed to snap this picture of both of them.

Wally and Helene were quite happy to see the dogs (she always likes to see how her dogs turn out), and we were glad to show them off. Bisbee made herself right at home once we go there; here she is sitting in Wally's lap, getting some skritches!! (traitor! she never hops into my lap like that!! ...just kidding about the traitor thing, but really, she never does hop right into my lap.)
This pic is Prescott (in the background) and one of Helene's dogs, Krista... Helene got a couple doggie treats, and that always gets Prescott's attention! In addition to showing off the dogs, we also wanted to introduce them to Krista-- Helene has her up for adoption, and we wanted to see how the dogs would get along together. Krista is four years old; Helene had her for breeding, but never got a litter of pups from her, so she's looking to find her a good home. We know having two dogs is fun, and figure three won't be much more work than two, so the thing to do was to find out how they would get along... she seems pretty mellow and easy-going, so should fit in pretty well.
Here she is with Tom-- he was holding her so I could get a decent picture (and this still isn't all that good-- she didn't stand still very long). And do you see Bisbee in the background, making herself right at home on their couch?? lol!! Bisbee and Prescott are both an inch or so "over-sized" so they can't be shown (Sheltie show standard is 13 - 16 inches tall), so it was a bit of an eye-opener to see a standard-size Sheltie-- she looks so much smaller than they do; it's amazing how much of a difference that inch makes! She's never seen stairs, or a cat, so there will be some training involved, but we know that two dogs is twice as fun as one, so three dogs should multiply the fun to six times as much, right?! (along with the hair, I'm sure... lol!!) We just need to decide for certain, then make arrangements to bring her home (which probably won't be for a month or so). We were joking with Helene that she should institute a "frequent buyer card: buy 4 Shelties and get the 5th one free!" (although I don't think we'll go that crazy... lol!!)
This picture is just for gratuitious cuteness: three of Helene's newest litter of puppies, from Bisbee's sister Kachina. (This is the second litter of puppies Helene's had this summer; she's been extra-busy this year so far!) They are sooo super-fluffy and cute at this age-- and nothing compares to that puppy breath! Puppies are tempting, to be sure, but stair training sounds like a piece of cake, compared to going through teething and potty-training again... :D

July 10, 2011

random photo catchup

just a few random photos from last week... this one is a bit of dust storm aftermath... I thought it was so funny to see the dust covering the parking lot at work! just like a dusting of snow, except a dusting of dust won't melt or disappear, till it rains. Wednesday afternoon we headed to the doctor's office-- it was time for Bisbee's annual checkup. They don't mind the vet's office, and everyone at the vet's office loves to see them... I think part of the reason is they're so friendly and cute; who can resist that Sheltie smile?? (I might be biased, I suppose!!) Bisbee was a bit hesitant about the stethoscope though; Dr. Black said she was holding her breath while she was listening to her-- lol!! Anyway, Bisbee is perfectly healthy, if a lb or two over what she should be... so we'll be cutting back a bit. (Shelties are prone to getting overweight, so we keep a pretty close eye on their weights.) Dr. Brown and Dr. Villalba at Maricopa Wells have been great to all our pets, and all the staff are always very helpful and accomodating. They're even open late, and open 7 days a week!
These two pics are a couple "scrappy" purchases I made last week; I've been eying a tape dispenser like this for quite a while now, and used a 40% coupon to finally pick it up. It's like the industrial-type packing tape dispenser you'd use for shipping packages, only slimmed down, and it holds a double-sided tape roller for quick adhesive application for cards or layouts. It was a bit complicated to assemble and load the tape; Tom helped me out, though, so now it's ready to go!! (now, I just need some time to actually make a scrapbook layout!)

I also had a 20% off coupon for Michael's, so this "haul" was gotten for a song-- the wood stamps were all from the $1 bin (score!), and the foot-long strip of stamps was from the clearance bin-- double score!! They are all various words and phrases, and are a "project" in the making for me-- alot of scrapbook layouts right now use word stamps in the titles or journaling, and there are many "word and phrase" stamps are available, mostly thru online stores. A couple scrapbookers who do this very well are Ali Edwards (check out one of her layouts here) and Nichol Magouirk (check out one of her layouts here).

I've wanted to buy some of this type of stamps, but didn't want to wait for online ordering and shipping, so I decided the $1 stamps from Michael's could work for me. These phrases, as is, might not be all that useful, but my idea is to take them apart and use the individual components. "You make me so happy" for instance, won't be nearly as useful as the word "happy" on its own; then I'll also have the words "you, make, and me" to use however I want. So, my next task is to disassemble them all into the individual words, then use them on a layout or two!! (the rhinestone butterflies were also from the dollar bin; I don't have anything in mind for them, I just liked them-- lol!!)

(another post coming up soon; just have to edit the pics!)

July 05, 2011

haboob, or holy crap!

the monsoon season is finally in full swing here in AZ! That's good, for the rain factor, and good, if you like extreme weather, but bad if you have to be in the middle of it. This evening, shortly after dinner, Tom said, "hey, come out here and look at this!" So, I did: "This" was a massive dust storm that we could see coming from miles away-- it was pretty impressive to watch, so we did watch it, for maybe, 10-15 minutes or so... it's kinda strange, to see something like this coming, and not know when exactly it will hit.
fyi, the photo above was edited in Picasa a bit to play up the shadows, so you can see the waves of dust coming through the storm front. A dust storm like this is called a "haboob" which is an Arabic word that is a type of intense duststorm. Find out more about them in the Phoenix area here: ADOT information page. (once you're on that page, click on the Gallery link for some pretty stunning aerial photographs.)
a few minutes after this, it was pretty much time to go inside-- right after this, the wind hit with a vengeance, and we had to duck for cover! The weather channel had an alert, saying the storm was moving 20-40 miles per hour, with gusts over 65 miles per hour-- crazy!
the screen above was during the Weather Channel's weather alert: what I thought was funny is the "visibility 0.1 mile, ceiling 0 feet" note there. Yup, I agree!! Pretty scary, for the half-hour or so that it took to blow through!! Tom said this is the worst one he remembers since he lived in Tucson when he was little... while it was memorable, I'm definitely not looking forward to being in the middle of another one of these anytime soon!