August 27, 2013

languishing in DRAFT status...

I am still here, but my blog has been sadly neglected over the course of the summer. Not sure how that happens, other than sometimes my 'introvertedness' gets the best of me... I can only focus on so many things at once, and over the summer, my blog was the thing at the bottom of the list. But no more! 

I originally wrote this post originally back in May, but never hit the 'publish' button, so when you read it, keep that in mind... it's been more than a few weeks! 

A few weeks ago, I spent some time at a pretty fun estate sale. The person had an actual 'library' in their house- a small room (well, really a spare bedroom) with one whole wall of bookshelves chock-full of books. They were even separated into sections by subject matter! I didn’t really need any fiction books, but I did find a few things I wanted: a copy of Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Birds (finally- yay!), a very nice 2002 calendar, and a paperback museum exhibition catalog from the late 1980s. Why would I want these things? Well, the bird book is obvious; the other two, not so much... unless you happen to be into collage and art journaling! (or unless you wanted to know what day of the week something happened, back in 2002, I guess- lol!) 

Anyway, the calendar and the museum exhibition catalog didn't stay the way they were for long- here's a few selected pages of a 'just for fun' visual journal that I started:

papers include: scrapbooking, magazine, handmade
paper (textured) and an image from the internet.

Most of the pages are strictly paper, glue, and tape. No painting, no fancy stuff- just the basics (well, my basics, anyway). It was kinda nice to just glue things down with no real rhyme or reason other than I liked them together. Even if they didn't really 'go' together to 'mean' anything. (Tom asks me about that every once in a while when I show him a journal page, "but what does it mean?" "What are you trying to say with this page?" Honestly, sometimes the answer to those questions is, really, 'Nothing.' Other than my love of pretty paper, glue, and pictures. Sometimes that's all I need!)

magazine and book images, wrapping paper, hand-painted and stamped,
scrapbook paper, clip-art butterfly from the internet.

scrapbooking paper (inside the glassine envelope),
rub-on (on the envelope), decorative paper 
tape and 
an Alice in Wonderland themed playing card.
 The photo above gives you a good idea what the calendar looks like- it's a really nice heavyweight paper, and the paintings are very pretty, if you're into the cliffs of Dover, that is. I decided I wouldn't orient the whole book  either landscape or portrait-- just whichever I felt like for each individual page.

a close-up look at the glassine envelope + rub-ons...
I like how you can see a bit of the patterned paper inside. 

Another page, waiting for paper and glue
So, there was more to 'what did I do with my summer vacation' than just this journal. Let's see... We went to the town July 4th celebration, we really did go on vacation (for a week, back to the Midwest to visit family), I did a lot of estate saling and thrifting (even on vacation, lol!), and in addition to this calendar journal, I worked in some (two? three?) of my other journals. Oh, and I bought a Smash journal, and took a class and made another journal... no scrapbook pages, but I guess right now it's 'art journaling season' for me! 

I have at least a few hundred photos on my computer waiting to be edited, and tons of things to take photos of, too... (oh, hey! While we were on vacation we toured reproductions of the ships Nina and Pinta! On the Mississippi River, no less! I totally need to post those pics, for sure!!) I guess I have some photo-editing, and some photo-taking, to do!! 

May 06, 2013

no butterflies in this post...

...because there are a lot of other things I took photos of at the Botanical Gardens, too. I tried out my new camera and lenses while we were there, and took a ton of pictures. I took about 200 photos in just a few hours! Of course, not very many of them turned out, but still... there's no way I could show the good ones all in one post. So, this post is selected photos of animals, minus the butterflies- I'll post them separately. 
(and a reminder: click on any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.)

well, all animals except for the Chihuly glass sculptures at the entrance. I had to include a photo of those! We missed the special Chihuly exhibit when it was here in 2008, but apparently these three sculptures are now a permanent installation at the garden. (and I just Googled and found out that there will be another Chihuly exhibit in the Garden, starting in November 2013- yay!) 
there is an animal in this picture, if you look closely. There's a dove balanced on top of this odd-looking plant, which is a boojum tree (a succulent related to the ocotillo). 'A remarkable looking plant, often compared to an upside-down parsnip, it naturally occurs only in Baja California and in a restricted area of Sonora, Mexico. Long-lived plants, some are thought to have lived over 500 years.' (this info was taken from the Desert Botanical Garden's website.) They are 'summer-dormant,' which means they lose their leaves during the summer, but they bloom  during this time. They're really strange looking plants, but somewhat compelling at the same time (and they're kind of expensive to buy, too; we've seen small ones at the nursery, in pots).

there's a lot to look at in the Botanical Gardens, but I didn't forget to look up into the trees! Of course, it helped that I heard this hummingbird chattering away... for a tiny little bird, they have a really large voice.

We were just walking down a trail, happened to look off to the left, and saw this guy having a snack just a few feet off the trail!! He didn't seem to mind us at all- just kept munching away. 

I caught him mid-chew in this photo... lol! A little farther down the same trail, we happened on some bathers--

a couple Gambel's quail, taking dust baths underneath the trees. They were a bit difficult to see at first, till we saw the dust flying!

this one was very energetic!!

I've only just started figuring out how this camera works, so right now I'm still using the 'full auto' setting, which lets the camera do the choosing-- but I really like how it works so far!

this fellow was quite industrious, but I managed to get a couple decent photos of him while he was working on making his nesting cavity in this Saguaro cactus.

it looks like making a nesting hole is messy work.

here's a closer look at the dove on top of the boojum tree.

the dove wasn't alone on the boojum tree; farther down, I saw this bird, presumably keeping an eye on his nest. (see photo below)

this plant actually is full of stickers-- smart bird!! The nest looks pretty safe to me. I don't think it's a cactus wren (they would be more brown-and-white spotted) but I can't remember what the poster at the garden said about bird species, and my Google skills are failing me. I really do need that bird book! Wait, I think I remembered it! I believe it's a 'curve-billed thrasher.' (still need the bird book, just to be safe.)

as we walked back toward the entrance, we happened to hear this fellow from up overhead- he was roosting up in the shade of a tree. I managed to get a couple good photos of him, although it was from a bit of an awkward angle. As we left the garden, we heard one more strange 'clacking' noise... I was looking at some plant or another, and said to Tom, 'I wonder what's making that noise?' He said he saw what it was, and told me to come look-- when I did, I was really excited to see this guy:

Although they don't look much like the Looney Tunes character, this is a desert roadrunner! Before this, I've only ever seen one from pretty far away (along the road, lol). I had no idea they could be up in trees, but this one was just hanging out-- the sidewalk went over a wash, which meant we were pretty much at eye-level with him as we walked past. He was quite noisy, too-- the clacking sound came from him banging his beak together. I got a few so-so pictures of him, then switched to the longer camera lens (he was obliging enough to stay put) and got a few nicer close-ups, like this one:

I had no idea they have those orange and blue patches behind their eyes! I don't know much of anything about them at all, I guess, except that they're chased by coyotes in cartoons. This photo really emphasizes the fact that birds' ancestors are reptiles, though, doesn't it?? He's 'interesting' looking, but not exactly handsome. Still really cool, though, that he sat there and let us take pictures of him!!

I have more photo-editing to do, and then I'll post pictures of the butterflies. And also some plants, too.

May 02, 2013

breakfast at the hotel

Early Saturday morning at the hotel, I had to get something (I don't even remember what) out of my car. When I went outside, I decided I had to go back inside and get my camera, so I could get a shot of this (click on the photos to enlarge them):

see him?? look close at the top of the fountain...

here he is closer-- after doing some Googling, I think it might be
a 'sharp-shinned hawk.' (maybe?? I really need to get a new bird book.) 

perhaps he was looking to have his breakfast at the fountain? 
I got too close to him, though, and scared him off. 

It was a long weekend, with way too little sleep, but it was a lot of fun. I might not have gotten much accomplished, but I met some really nice people, and shared lots of interesting stories. That's one of the great things about scrapbooking- it's all about preserving and sharing your stories and memories!

I got all my stuff back home on Sunday, and even unpacked it all already!! Everything is back in its place up in my craft room; now I just need to finish up the layouts I made while I was there. National Scrapbooking Day is this Saturday, so I think Saturday and Sunday might be scrapbooking days for me.  (after a trip to the Botanical Gardens Butterfly Exhibit on Saturday- more photo ops to practice using my new camera!)  And, I might even be ambitious and start a few more projects- there's lots of layout ideas rattling around up in my head.

I'll make sure to post pics of the layouts when I have them completely done! (or at least post what I have done at the end of the weekend, lol!)

April 27, 2013

so far... not so much.

so, this weekend I'm at a 3-day SB crop in Tucson. (granted, right now I'm not scrapping- I'm on my way to breakfast!) Here's a bit of my workspace- not a great picture, but it was kind of late last night, and I was tired- I'll take better pics today.  
It always takes me forEVER to get 'into' the creative mode when I attend something like this... there was a lot of time taken setting up my work area, a lot of socializing- since I met some of my online friends for the first time, which was very nice- a bit of scrappy shopping (of course, lol!), some scrapping, and some frustration.  So, the sum total of my creativity so far is one scrapbook layout (which still isn't quite done):

'front' page
a layout with photos of our visit to Montezuma Castle National Monument. (it still needs the journaling and the 'finishing touches' added to it)

interior pages
 I made a lot of math errors, glued things down in the wrong place multiple times, and wasted some paper, but finally got this to where I was satisfied with it at about 7 pm last night. So, this is my 9-hour layout! (not really, but this gives you an idea about how things went...)

Today and tomorrow will be better! I better get going!! :D

April 25, 2013

random journal pages

just some random journal pages from the last couple weeks. Since I've been focusing on scrapbooking, till just recently I hadn't done anything in my journal at all-- I finally decided to give it some love! (my most recent journal is almost finished, now, so that'll give me the incentive to keep up with it.)

stamped text: I had a spelling issue, but as you can see
I didn't let it bother me- just stamped right over the error.

awkward: the entire page.  
This page definitely 'took a turn' from where it started out, lol! I started with a stenciled background made ages ago with acrylic (blue, pink, and green) and watercolor (gray) paint. The antlers came first, from a clip-art elk. (I think it's an elk, anyway- could be a caribou. Don't tell my dad if I'm wrong, because after growing up in a house with a taxidermist for a father, and getting a zoology degree, I really should know that, lol!) 

Anyway, the elk head was just hanging out on the page for a while... then recently I found the 'eye-image' necklace in a fashion magazine jewelry advertisement. It looked like it should just go there, if you know what I mean. (people who do collage will know what I mean- if you don't do collage, then just trust me- it was the perfect place for it.) I kept flipping through the fashion magazine and found the figure leaning on the railing, added it to the page, then added a skirt (which is actually a calla lily, taken from a different jewelry ad). Since I've already gone 'off the page' with it, I still may give the figure some legs-- not sure (I'm thinking bird legs). Then, the question of people staring popped into my head, so... the text.

odd? yup. but sometimes, 'odd' is what's in my head!

watercolored background (which reminds me of the Brady Bunch,
for some reason) with a clip-art hand and some collaged details.

your outlook on life totally depends on your point of view!
acrylic painted bubble-wrap stamping and a watercolor wash
over the top with collaged images and patterned paper. 

patterns and texture.
all pieces cut from a fashion magazine and
glued onto a watercolored background.

and now, it's back to 'scrapbook' mode for a couple days, because I'm going to be scrapbooking all weekend long in Tucson starting (bright and early) tomorrow-- yay!!!! I'm taking my journaling stuff with me though, of course- along with practically all my other supplies, including my typewriter, my inks and mists, my new camera, my laptop, plenty of Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet Mt. Dew, my Mad Men seasons 1-3 on DVD... lol!!  (I definitely don't pack light, that's for sure!) 

It's a 3-day retreat at a Tucson hotel and I'm really looking forward to it- if you hadn't already guessed :D  I found out about it on an online scrapbooking forum- and I'll actually get to meet a few of those 'online' friends in real life! I'm hoping to have a lot of fun, do a little messing  around with my camera and Photoshop Elements, sleep way too little, and maybe even get a few scrapbook layouts completed... I'll let you know how that turns out! 

April 24, 2013

Currently I'm:

  • Watching:
    -Chopped All-Stars: three rounds down so far!
    -Deadliest Catch: the new season just started- yay!
  • Reading: 
    -The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie R. King
    Set in the early 20th century, the main character is Mary Russell, a 15-year old girl who meets a retired Sherlock Holmes in the English countryside… and of course there’s a mystery to solve! (I bought a book by this author at the thrift store, and found out the book I bought was #9 in a series—so I had to start at the beginning with this title.)
  • Listening to:
    -Dawson’s Creek (TV show) soundtracks
    -One Tree Hill (TV show) soundtrack
    (over and over... when I get into something, I play it to death, lol! I have to concentrate at my desk at work, and I can’t do it if there’s lots of people talking)
  • Making:  
    -New art journal pages (I'm almost finished with my current journal- will post some pics soon)
    -Lists of things to take with me to a 3-day scrapbooking crop I’m attending this weekend in Tucson
  • Feeling:  
    -Annoyed that 4-day work weeks always seem to be longer and more difficult than a regular 5-day work week is!
    -Impatient to finally receive my Rx refills from the mail-order service (there was a delay in ordering due to a switch in our insurance plan)
    -Impatient for my 4-day work week to be over with!
  • Looking forward to:  
    -Having a great time at the SB crop in Tucson this weekend! (but will miss everyone at home while I’m gone)
    -Spending some quality time learning how to use my new camera.
  • Enjoying:  
    -The wonderful spring weather we’re having right now, before the summer temperatures hit with a vengeance. Currently it's still cool enough at night to open the windows, but has been getting into the 90s for highs temps.

April 23, 2013

Sweet Salvage

this past weekend, I headed out to Phoenix to do some flea-market shopping. (Well, 'flea market' isn't exactly the best term for it- you'll see what I mean when you look at the photos- but it's the best I have...) Once a month, there is a 4-day antique market hosted by Sweet Salvage in the Melrose District of downtown Phoenix. It's a once-a-month 4-day antiques shopping event, basically one weekend a month, Thursday - Sunday, with every month having a different theme. That way, the merchandise always changes (and if you wnt something, it might not be there next month!) 

This month's theme was Boho / Industrial Chic, I think... I bought a few small things (we don't need any large pieces of furniture, and this theme does not fit with our Southwestern decorating scheme), but took photos of some of the booths while I was there. The individual vendor spaces were accessorized so beautifully, it seemed like they could easily be vignettes straight out of an interior decorating magazine. Next month's theme is 'Sweet Retreat' so I'll definitely be going to see what the vendors can do with it!

love the red lockers!

tablescape with dog figurines and vintage silver

this booth was full of gorgeous vintage religious items

mother-of-pearl and vintage rhinestones-- beautiful!!

tablescape with vintage Santos figurine, angel wings, and coral, among other things.
I really tried to figure out what I could do with those
wooden wings, but ended up leaving them there.

painted hutch
with architectural items, figurines, and more

dogs and cigars- love it!! I really like this decorative bottle,
but there was no compelling reason to bring it home with me.

this booth had a shabby-chic front porch feel to it.

this booth is definitely 'industrial chic' style, with the
rusty car grill on the wall, straight out of American Pickers!

Check out the Sweet Salvage blog and website for more photos of interesting and unusual merchandise. (since I didn't go till Saturday morning, I'm sure I missed out on seeing some of the best stuff-- although what was there on Saturday was still pretty amazing.)

April 15, 2013

cactus nursery- 2 page SB layout (it's finally done!!)

whew!! This layout has been sitting on my workspace for a couple weeks now, and staring at me whenever I wanted to work on something else. (I started it back in this post, if you want a refresher.) So, tonight I finally decided it was time. I only needed to complete the journaling, but I was having a bit of a mental block about doing it for some reason. First I thought I'd hand-write it, but I decided I had too much to say (which is quite often the case, with me, lol!) so I went for the typewriter. Here it is:

sorry for the glare, but I didn't want to wait
till tomorrow to take the photos of it, lol!

I typed the text on a piece of plain ivory cardstock, then cut the pieces apart with my trimmer. I had to get creative with my cutting to get everything I wanted to say in the space, and make it look neat, without creating too many places where there was 'trapped white space' to make it look strange. Journaling like this takes a bit of time (to get everything typed and spaced right), but I like how it turned out.



close-up #1: a re-styled flower embellishment

close-up #2: second re-styled flower embellishment

It's not my favorite layout in the world, but it's finally done, and I like it. I still think I'm going to print more photos from that trip and make another layout, but this one is in the can (so to speak, lol!). 

April 14, 2013

my new toy! aka: happy (early) birthday to me!

I've been thinking about getting one of these for a while:

Now I just have to learn how to use it, lol!

April 10, 2013

non-layout scrappy projects (and some scrapbooking)

First, a detail shot of the cactus garden nursery layout so far. I'm not quite done with it yet; right now I'm at the 'fiddling around' and adding 'just one more thing' to it before I write the journaling stage of things, which can take a while, the way I work. I guess I'm just not a '30-minutes start to finish' type of scrapper, because I keep thinking of small details that would add something to the page. Instead, my layouts sort of evolve over a week or two as I work on them here and there when I have some time. 

detail of the horizontal strip background
I started out with only the multi-colored striped paper decorating the background borders, but quickly decided the other sections looked a bit plain by comparison. So I added bluewashi tape (it's such handy stuff to have around!) and two border stickers to the other background sections. I think the layout design is finally 'done' now, so all I have left is the title (which will be letter stickers (and journaling (to be typed on my typewriter and added in as strips).

So, I'm almost there! Except for the fact that now, something about the photos I chose for this layout sort of 'bothers' me... I chose photos that represented the main highlights of the place, but now I think I'm going to make at least one more page so I can include some additional photos.

And now on to some other scrap-related stuff:

I bought an 18x24 piece of quilter's template plastic, for about $3,
and s
pent some time last night making a 12x12 'sunburst' stencil.
(And I still have enough material to make a couple more stencils!)

Here's the first test of my new stencil- I like it!
There are some stencils available to buy with this design,
but I don't think they cover the entire space of the 12x12 page,
which is what I really wanted to be able to do.
Here's a totally separate layout that I made last night after I finished cutting the stencil. (I could have finished up the cactus nursery layout, but I just 'wasn't feeling it' for some reason, and I don't like to force my creativity. Things start to go wrong when I make myself work on a project without being really inspired.) Shimelle posted a new page sketch on her blog a couple days ago (go here to see it), and I used her sketch to scrap one of my 'orphan' photos:

a random (non-digital) photo of a peony bouquet, from the year 2002, by the info on the back. I have a stack of random single photos like this- not enough
to warrant a multi-photo or multi-page layout, but still nice enough photos that I want to include them in my album. This layout uses some challenge elements from the SB site challenge I'm working on, too: inking (the pink dot stencil in the background and the gold splatters), washi tape (it's a vellum border sticker, but I'm counting it, lol!), and die-cutters or punches (the large scalloped border).

The background paper I used for this page is also quite random: I went to an estate sale last week, and picked up an entire 12x12 Iris box of scrapbooking supplies and odd sheets of paper for a steal. At first glance, I was not going to use this paper for ANYthing except maybe as a background to protect my work surface, but then I decided it would fit in very nicely for this page-- I love it when things work out like that!

my splattering got a bit out of hand, but it turned out okay
in the end, and it echoes the gold dots on the vellum.

my newest (old) scrappy storage: two wire wine storage racks, made in France. I got these at a community-wide garage sale I went to over the weekend. The minute I saw them I thought I could use them for something storage-related! Of course, it required a pretty extensive 'clean off' and re-organize of my work desk, but I think it was worth it.
the left-hand one is empty, showing what they looked like when
I found them. Not very easy to store anything on them with
all that open space, so I had to get a bit creative with it.
I cut heavy-weight patterned paper to fit the 'shelves' on the wine racks, and folded a bit of paper for the back, to keep things from sliding off. I also added a couple punched circles as 'handles' in case I need to slide the shelf out of its space.
This shelf holds my brown and black ink pads, and the ink applicator
tool. These were on my desk before, so this wine rack was a
great way to gain additional actual 'work' space. I made a small 'tray'
for the ink applicator tool, so it doesn't get ink all over the paper shelf.

This shelf holds a cork-board (it's half of a cork trivet from Ikea, actually)
that stores a few other tools I use quite often. A chisel, my super-fine tweezers,
corsage pins, a paper piercing tool, and the like. 

(The corsage pins are handy for carefully positioning- and removing- stickers 
from a page if you need to move them; ask me how I know, lol!)
So, now that I've done some random scrapping, random re-organizing, and random creating of art materials, I think my next goal is to actually finish that 2-page layout. (hopefully, anyway! ...we'll see what happens.)