March 31, 2013

SB Layout: Captured (by US Marshals)

For the last couple weeks I haven't done any actual scrapbooking- I've done lots of photo editing and printing, and designed SB page layouts, but hadn't made any actual pages with those photos. (I did make Easter cards, though- last minute, as always, of course- hopefully they made it to their destinations on time!) I've been hanging out on a new scrapbooking forum on the internet, and there's a couple challenges going on right now which got me back to my scrapping desk. The biggest challenge I've signed up for is to make 50 projects (with no time limit)... this layout is #1 of fifty!

This scrapbook page was based on a sketch from Shimelle Laine's blog. (you can see her sketch, and video, here.) Shimelle's sketch focuses on using triangles to draw your attention to the photo... my layout doesn't exactly use triangles, nor does it use an actual photo! The page topic idea came from another scrapbooking challenge (by Kathryn Scraps, from her blog Life on the Scrap Beach: the post is here) to scrap a 'pop culture' topic. My SB page is about our love for the television show Justified-- instead of using a photo, I used the insert flyer from one of the DVD box sets (since we really do love the show, we own every season-- and we've watched every episode more than once). 

My page title is kind of cheesy, but I think it fits with the page topic. The title is "captured by US Marshals" which is a play on the fact that the show really captured our attention when we first started watching it. It's really the only show we make a point of watching every week, and have bought every season when it came out on disk. (the season isn't even over yet, and we're already antsy to buy this season on disk so we can re-watch them all again!) 

For this SB page, I had to work with the colors in the DVD flyer image so I was sort of 'stuck' with the blue and red- but it turned out working pretty good, I think. I used a couple older pieces of SB paper from my stash that have a distressed, 'cowboy' sort of feel to them.  

I stamped some of my Tim Holtz 'Bitty Grunge' stamps (the two styles of stars) onto light blue woodgrain paper, then punched them out. The imperfect stamping adds to the distressed feel of the page, and in addition, I inked the edges of pretty much every piece of paper I used on this layout. (it took forever, but it really looks nice, even if I did maybe over-do it just a little.)

More inking and distressing- I distressed the edge of the light-colored paper using a paper-distressing tool, which sort of chews up the edge of the paper. Then (of course!) I inked the edges to cover up the white paper core. The letter stickers have a fabric look to them, but were a bit too light, so I also colored them with brown ink to match the layout. (this fits in with yet a third challenge on the SB forum, which involves making layouts using a number of different techniques on your pages- all the inking on this page meets one of those requirements.)

This layout took forEVER to finish due to all the inking, distressing, and futzy details I included. I even trimmed skinny red and brown stripes (and inked them, of course) to match the look of the rest of the colors. But, as long as it took, I really do like the final product. So: 1 down, 49 to go!! :D

March 25, 2013

my commute home in Illinois was never like this!

(I highly recommend click on the photos below to see them larger)

This is just one of the reasons I love where I live:

These photos are a good example of why the road about 10 miles north of town is called Wild Horse Pass...  today was a good day; there had to be at least 25 to 30 horses out there, right next to the highway in a dry riverbed. I watched them for about 20 minutes, took about 65 pictures- not very many of them turned out good, considering I was shooting west right into the sun- and even shot a couple minutes of video (once I remembered my camera shoots video, that is). 

Truthfully, I could have watched them for quite a while longer; hopefully I'll get another opportunity sometime soon.

March 17, 2013

a (real-life) scraproom tour

so, I thought I'd show the 5-cent tour of my crafting space. Now, keep in mind that this is real life, not anything staged-- so, this is what it looks like when I'm working in it. It's not exactly 'clean' but it's organized enough for me to find what I need (usually). I started out standing pretty much in the center of the room, and I took the pictures going clockwise around the room.

my desk, from the Container store- my primary workspace.
(notice the Diet Dr. Pepper, one of my essential supplies!)

my ancient television, in the corner of the room. If I'm not watching a DVD,
I usually have the Boomerang cable channel on to watch retro cartoons.
Sometimes the cats come up and hang out with me; in that case, I'll have to move some of the stuff so they can look out the window. I picked up the rolling liquor (?) tray table thing at an estate sale. It holds my extra page protectors, as well as unfinished and finished SB pages in boxes. Next to it is my Cropper Hopper paper storage which holds hanging file folders.

the cropper hopper hanging files hold pretty much my entire collection of patterned paper, arranged in my own particular order- sort of by manufacturer, as well as the 'mood' of the paper. The box above it holds any patterned paper sheets that have been cut into and are no longer 12x12.
 The cropper hopper is another piece that's been in my collection for years- I think I bought it about 15 years ago, and it's been holding my patterned paper ever since. The basket part lifts out so I can take it with me to crops (since I like to have all my supplies with me, lol!). Plus, it helps keep my collection of paper contained- I don't want to ever have more 12x12 patterned paper than what fits in here- otherwise, there's just too much for me to be comfortable with, and I know I need to thin out my collection. 

The wall opposite the desk is entirely full of shelves, both bookshelves and adjustable hanging shelves on the wall. I got these shelves about 15 years ago, too (also at the Container store) and have used them in every crafting space I've ever had- they're the best thing for holding all the 'stuff' that comes with my many different types of crafts. I also have two Ikea bookshelves, which are arranged one on either side of the hanging shelves.

the left-hand bookshelf holds my art journals, some art books, various other books
(incuding some of my childhood favorites- thanks, Mom!), and a number of cigar boxes
that I use for storing various smaller-size crafting and scrapping supplies.

a view of the hanging shelves, plus the 2x2 cube Expidit shelf (also from Ikea)
that holds my vintage typewriter and various other supplies.
The wooden table also came from Ikea, and is my secondary work surface.
(it used to be our kitchen table, actually- lol!)

a closer view of a couple of the shelves. I recently re-organized alot of my supplies
into these 12x12 plastic boxes, and I like this system a lot. Things are organized
into categories so they're easy to find, and the boxes are easy to look through.

farther along the same shelves-- I can display my latest completed scrapbook page, there's still some empty space for displaying other things, and my paper cutters and sewing templates are easily accessible right next to my work surface.
 and, now for the total 'reality-check' part of the tour- the closet:

The closet had doors on, but we took them off to give easier access to the space inside. This is the 'not-so-neat' part of my crafting space-- it's various spaces and boxes hold my acrylic paints, random vintage books I use for journaling, and rolled sheets of paper, along with boxes of fabric, sewing supplies, cross-stitching fabric, polyfil stuffing, etc. and other things I don't need to access very often. 

and last but not least, one of the newest / oldest items in my crafting space, my pencil sharpener, which is attached to the wall next to the closet:

this pencil sharpener came from my Grandma's house, and had been 'lost' for quite
a while, till I re-organized my crafting space and found it again!
Thanks for coming along on the nickel tour of my crafting space! Right now, I'm not actually not working in this space, though- lol! go fgure, right?!? I've got my computer, photo printer, and idea books spread all over the table in the kitchen, planning scrapbook pages and layouts, and editing / printing photos. 

March 13, 2013

SB page: in a different light

a close-up shot of my latest SB page, which
includes lots of layers, textures, and distressing. 

a closer shot of an embellishment cluster which
includes a tag, word sticker, punched butterfly,
and a mother of pearl button from my button box.
the lower corner of the layout- I made the ink splatters
using walnut ink and a dropper. (made very carefully;
I didn't want to dye myself along with the layout!)

The entire page showing the details of walnut ink,
distressed paper, and some crocheted trim,
which I dyed to match using my spray inks.
The photo on this layout is another random 'leftover' photo that I found in my scrap room... I used to collect milk glass vases, and I took this picture of my kitchen window back when I lived in Illinois. Milk glass can be rather plain looking, but when the light hits it just right you can see all the intricate facets of the cut-work designs; the journaling on this layout talks about taking the time to notice those details in life. 

Since there isn't much 'color' in the photo to speak of, I wasn't quite sure what color scheme to go with on the layout. I had a big pile of different papers on my desk, and shuffled them around for about a week before I settled on this scheme. I quite like the colors I came up with, and it's mostly because they have some 'hidden' significance to me: the white-washed woodgrain reminds me of the aged (and sometimes peeling, lol!) paint that was in some places in my house (it was built in the 1920s, after all!), and the greenish-blue paper I used in the photo mat is very close to the color we painted the kitchen walls. (It was Martha Stewart paint in jadeite green-- I love that color!) I tried not to go too crazy with the distressing on this layout, but once I did the photo mat papers, the vellum looked 'too' perfect so it got the distressing treatment too: I crumpled it up and inked the creases with Tim Holtz Tea Dye ink. 

And now, I will be moving on to scrap some more recent photos for a while! Yes, I finally got my photo printer out of its storage drawer, and have started printing new photos to scrap. Not that there's a shortage of old ones, but I feel like scrapping something before I forget why I took the pictures!
(Plus, it's kinda fun to watch the cat stare at the printer while it's printing, like it's going to attack her! lol!!)

March 10, 2013

retro scrapbooking!

to be truthful, this post is mostly because I haven't edited or printed any of my more recent photos lately. So, no pages with recent photos have been scrapbooked! Even the last SB page that I made was photos from over 10 years ago, taken and printed from my film camera. I seem to have difficulty getting my digital photos from the computer onto photo paper so they can be scrapped, lol! Plus, I do think it's kind of interesting to see how my style of scrapbooking has evolved through the years. Anyway, for your enjoyment, here's a couple 'retro' scrapbook pages from my early days of scrapbooking:

I really like the photos on this page- my house back in Illinois had some beautiful plants in the yard. Unfortunately, I don't exactly like what I did with them on this page... at least I didn't cut the photos themselves with the fancy scissors! It looks like I had an aversion to journaling, too- I apparently didn't know what to write about these photos after I made the page, so I thought it was better to write nothing at all. (I think I have a lot of SB pages like that- what's with that, anyway?!? I guess I thought it had to be award-quality novel writing, or something, I don't know!) 

I spent quite a bit of time 'fussy-cutting' this bouquet of apple blossoms out of its photograph... I should see if I still have the negatives for these photos, and get them reprinted sometime. I'm sure they're there, somewhere in my photo boxes. (yeah, right- like that will happen, lol! I have quite a few newer photos to do something with, first.) So, since it probably won't happen, I'm glad to have them safely in my photo album, even if the page is lacking a few elements. (like journaling! at least I can fix that one!)

This page just makes me sort of sad, to see what I did to these photographs. The page is photos of some of the first plants in the flower bed at my house-- the flower bed was about 45 feet long by about 5 feet wide, so the first plants looked kinda sad, in all that space, till they grew and filled in the space. And, this page looks kinda sad, too, with the weird shaped photographs and all that empty space. (I didn't do it on purpose, though.)

I apparently thought photographs of flowers needed 'flower' patterned paper, and I wanted to match up the edges of the photographs to make them like a continuous larger picture. So I cut out the extra stuff in the corners to make them really odd shapes? (what the heck was I thinking?!?) I soooo wish I hadn't done that! And, I guess, since the only flowers you can really see are yellow, I decided bright yellow was the perfect choice to accent the photos? (not!) I'm not even sure I could do ANYthing to make this page look any better, so I'll probably just leave it alone, and try to do justice to my flower garden by making better SB pages with some of the other photos I do have printed.   

(although I'm tempted to start re-working that top page with some washi tape and label stickers... I should probably leave well-enough alone, though, and just be content with adding some journaling to it.)

March 08, 2013

a couple tricks up my sleeve--

Like I said in my last post, I don't really like things that end up crooked on my SB pages. (Unless they're 'crooked on purpose' that is, but again, like I said, I haven't really fully embraced that style). For me, one of the 'fiddliest' parts of making a scrapbook page is laying down the letter stickers- questions like: how much space do they take up? will they fit where I want them? are they straight? know, that kind of thing. I do have a 'tool' I bought years ago that sort of helps with that; it's a non-stick ruler: you place your letter stickers on the edge of the ruler, get them straight, and then transfer them to your page. Problem is, you can't really see through it, so you don't get a good sense of what your stickers will look like (design-wise) once they're on the page. So, this is my ingenious (and free!) solution to that problem:

I used the plastic from the sticker packaging! High tech, right?? lol!! (and free!)  I wanted to make sure the smaller letter stickers were going to fit in the space above the main word, so I laid them out on the clear plastic packaging left over from the larger sticker letters. Then, I moved the clear packaging around on top of the page, so I could gauge what they were going to look like. From there, I transferred them onto the page itself. (and then, of course, I messed around with them endlessly to make absolutely sure they were straight- lol!) But using clear plastic is a good way to help figure out where you want your sticker to end up without having to stick them down on your page (and possibly un-stick them again to move them).

I also tried an experiment last night, to 'copy' a new product that's trendy right now. Vellum is popular again (go figure, right? it was popular years ago, then fell 'out of favor' but it's back again now!) so manufacturers have been coming out with some really pretty patterns. One of them is a beautiful gold polka-dot vellum, shown here used on a SB page (not mine, btw- the link to the page is below): 

(page image borrowed from the page gallery)
This gold vellum is beautiful, especially how it shows the pattern underneath it-- but it's over $1 per sheet, and since it's popular, it's unfortunately out of stock at a lot of places. So I decided to try making my own:

Since vellum is translucent, all I had to do was place a sheet of large polka-dotted SB paper underneath it as a template and draw in the polka dots onto the vellum with my gold leafing marker. Looks pretty good, doesn't it? (Ariel thinks so, anyway!) It's maybe a little more 'handmade' looking than the manufactured paper, but it'll work just fine for me! Now, I just need to come up with a layout to use it on, lol!  

March 07, 2013

a scrapbook page takes shape-

amid the clutter and chaos that is my normal manner of working on a craft project!  I was trying for the 'artsy, messy' style of scrapping that's popular right now, where you add freehand-cut layers of matting underneath your photos, maybe some misting or splatters of color and ink on the background page, things like that:

Turns out that no matter how hard I tried, I just can't do the 'messy layered' look... it just isn't comfortable for me, design-wise. I can't do things 'crooked and freestyle' at all; I have to have things lined up, and straight on my pages. So, instead of 'messy layers' on my page, all I got was a messy scrapping space on my desk! 

The photos above and below are both of my discards- things I thought I might use on my page, but didn't, or things I did use, and now need to put away. A lot of work for one 12x12 inch scrapbook page and two photos, isn't it?!? lol!!

Seems I can't narrow down the choices when making a page without having lots of options to choose from... nor can I decide on a color scheme, apparently, since there's blues, purples, red, pinks, greens, and yellows in the discard pile! And, you can't tell this by the photos, but I don't work very fast, either-- I have to sort of 'ruminate' on my decisions for a while, from the very start of the page. I technically started the planning process for this page a week or so ago, when I tried out a new color of spray ink.  From there, I made two changes in what photos to use on the page, and last night I worked for over two hours on the bulk of the actual 'page design' to crop and mat the photos and design the actual 'page' itself. So, without further ado, here it is!

old-fashioned flowers are the best kind.
I really love this page, even more now that I'm seeing it in the photograph, I think!! (That's a good thing- sometimes I'm not so happy with them after seeing them photographed!) These two pictures are about 10-12 years old, and are of the flowers in my garden back in Illinois. The background is pink spray mist along with some gold ink splatters, which I think turned out really nice, if I do say so myself! (that's one of those techniques I really haven't mastered yet, so it's sort of like gambling to try it, for me... you don't always know what you're going to get.)

This photo is a close-up of the upper left area of the page- it shows how I mix  'new and old' materials on my pages. I'm not consciously trying to do that, or anything- it just happens! The wood veneer butterfly is new (and trendy), the chipboard letter stickers are new (picked up at a clearance store, for a fabulous price!), the blue background papers are at least a year old (from my local scrapbook store's garage sale), and both the green paper that I used to mat the photos and the pink vellum in the background are from my stash (and both of them are at least 10 years old).

This photo shows the lower right area of the page: another wood veneer butterfly (they're just so cute!), and a bit of a screen-printed transparency. I wasn't originally going to use that transparency on this page, but it was laying in the discard pile next to the page, and I decided it would add an extra bit of 'dimension' to the page. I guess this goes to show that some good design accidents can happen out of the chaotic way I work! (this photo also shows a bit of the gold color shine splatters, though the photos don't do it justice at all... trust me, this gold is beautiful, and if you don't have any of it in your stash, go to Michael's right now-- it's by Heidi Swapp, and it's buy one, get one 50% off!) 

March 06, 2013

yesterday's commute home:

enjoying a gorgeous sunset over the Estrella Mountain range on my way home from work yesterday evening. I love the majesty of the desert landscape!