October 06, 2015

waaaay old SB layout share: wildflower hike

I have no idea what happened, but this post has been languishing for months in Draft status-- oops! That's embarrassing; I could have sworn I posted it... anyway, here it is, finally:

Way back in March, I went hiking to Picacho Peak State Park (to refresh your memory, the photos are here: Desert Spring Wildflowers) and took at least 200 photos of the scenery, hummingbirds, and wildflowers.
I had so many really beautiful photos that I remember, it was tough to whittle them down to only enough for a two-page layout, but I decided to choose just a few really nice 'long shots' and some individual flower close-ups to make my layout. Below is the entire layout:


Both pages of the 2-page spread. The left-hand page is a traditional
12x12 layout, and the right-hand page is a pocket page protector.

Right-hand page, close-up view.
I didn't do much embellishing at all on the pocket page, because I wanted the focus to be on the flower photos. Pretty subtle patterned papers, just a couple tabs / tags, and two small stamped phrases.

Upper left corner pocket
This pocket contains a layered background cut with my Silhouette cutter; it's a sunburst pattern, although you can't see to much of it here. After I cut it, I think I used it as a stencil for gold spray ink, and liked the way it looked so much afterwards that I ended up using the 'stencil' itself behind this photo.

The left-hand page, a more 'traditional' 12x12 layout
On the left-hand page, I decided to showcase three of the 'scenic landscape' shots I really like. I used the same patterned papers, did a bit of inking and stamped the title, and while it's tough to see in this photo, the papers underneath the photos have the same gold spray ink on as the pocket on the right-hand page.

a third 'companion' page
I also decided to add in the map of the park, showing the area of the park where I took my photos. It's a bit wrinkled, lol, but I did want to keep it! I simply slid it into an 8.5 x 11 page protector, added my parking pass, and a journaling tag.
Seeing these pictures again after a few months makes me want to go hiking!! But considering it's only just barely gotten down below 100F high temps during the day, I think I'll wait a bit, lol!!

September 17, 2015

cards and crafting

now that I know the recipients received their mail, I can show the other cards and craft projects I've made recently!

This card started out because I didn't like that greenish-blue 3x4 inch die-cut piece of paper.  It has die-cut letters on it saying 'the daily grind' which I knew I would NEVER be able to use... I sat there staring at it for a while, when I had the (simple but brilliant, lol) idea to cover it up with patterned paper!  From there, I added more layers of stuff that matched the colors, typed and added the 'hello' and butterfly, stamped the 'xoxo' and tiny hearts onto the Polaroid shaped piece, and glued the entire thing to a card blank. Voila! 

This greeting card also started as a 3x4 scrapbooking card (the orange card with the 'good day sunshine' text on and an open area for journaling). I found the pea and peach die cuts, stamped 'hello' onto a banner, and attached it all to the 3x4 card, popping a couple things up with foam tape. Again, I just attached it to a card blank, and voila! Another completed greeting card! 

Last time I attended the all-day crop at the SB Barn, I made the following project for sending to my parents. (I couldn't post the pictures until I knew they got it, and there was a bit of a post-office snafu, but it finally got there, so I'm safe in posting it now!)  I think I found the idea for this project on Pinterest, made by a blogger who does Tim Holtz grungy-style stamping, but mine didn't end up quite as complicated as the original. (or as grungy, lol!)

I used the SB store's die-cut machine to cut 5 medium-sized
shipping tags from cardstock, and taped the edges together on both
sides with paper tape to make one long accordion folded piece.

Next I decorated the background of each tag with Distress inks and a bit of stamping.
(in the pic above, the purple circles and the orange 'splat' shapes are stamped.)

Then, I found photographs of us, the dogs, cats, and
some of the yard, and added them to the tags along with
a bit of patterned scrapbook paper and typed captions.

the top photo is all the cats enjoying their Christmas present-
kitty treats- out on the patio on Christmas day!

a couple more photos- one of Zola acting wacky,
and one of us taken at our last anniversary brunch.

Here's the entire album, standing up.

another shot of the entire album-- I really like the fact that
you can display the photos by standing the album up, which
you can't necessarily do with a 'regular' photo album. 

This was my first foray into the world of scrapbook 'mini-albums' but it definitely won't be my last.  There are so many interesting (and intricate) ways to make albums with flipping pages, pockets, hidden flaps, pockets, etc. This one was pretty simple, compared to some that I've seen, but I think if I'm careful with my cutting and my math (no easy feat, for me- lol!) that I should have a lot of fun! (and a lot of the album designs out there have 'how-to' Youtube videos, which is very helpful, since you can rewind and replay things, lol!)

September 10, 2015

Labor Day weekend crafting--

I did have a chance to do some scrapping over the Labor Day three day weekend; here's my latest scrapbook layout, using the walk in the woods photos from a couple posts ago. You can either just scroll through and admire the photos (click for larger) or you can read the text, where I explain a bit about my process of making the layout.

I had about half again as many photos printed, but I just couldn't get them arranged the way I wanted, so I had to make some editing decisions-- I took out the ones that were too similar, and a couple that just didn't make my cut from a photo design / color perspective. I decided to feature all the close-up photos on one page, and chose two of the 'regular' photos of the woods to use on the other page. I had originally cropped all of them in rectangles and squares with straight edges, but I ended up not liking how that looked so I got out my old-school circle cutter and my corner rounder. 

I think cutting the raspberry and thistle photos in a circle echoes the shape in the photo, and the rounded edges on the rest of the photos softens the lines and makes it a bit more relaxed or organic feeling. (hopefully? that's what I was going for, anyway, lol.)

Below is the left-hand page:

This page is based on a Scrapbook Generation 1-page sketch, with a few changes. The papers I chose are actually a mix of papers-- some from a Pink Paislee Christmas paper pad (the large polka dot, the green horizontal strip, and the blue zig-zag) and some other papers from my stash. I don't scrap Christmas or winter pages very often, but when I saw that paper pad in the store, I knew most of the patterns would be good for 'regular' pages, too!

The next photo is the right-hand page (sorry for the bit of glare from the upper left photo):

I extended the one-page design across the two-page spread by doing the 'opposite' background paper arrangement on the right-hand page. One other small detail- I decided to ink the edges of all the papers to get rid of the white edges and make them blend a bit more with the darker cardstock background. It was time consuming, but I think it was a good decision.

bottom right embellishment cluster: cork circle, enamel dots,
vellum phrase, decorative brad, pink sticker, and a stamped word.
Once I get all the background papers and photos attached, I start looking for embellishments for the pages. (this post shows a picture of the 12x12 Iris cases that hold all my embellishments- tags, brads, enamel dots, stickers, and all sorts of rhinestones, wood veneer shapes, etc.) Page embellishments are little bits and pieces that (hopefully) lead your eye through the layout and reinforce the shapes and colors on the page and in the photos.  

the title embellishment cluster: more cork, wood veneer
camera, gold brad, layered paper, vellum phrase, a bit of
pink, more enamel dots, and another stamped /cut-out word. 

left-hand embellishment cluster- the same combination of
items: brad, cork, enamel dots, stamped word, stripes, and 
blue, pink (in the brad), and gold,  which I used in each area. 

Choosing embellishments and deciding how to arrange them is a slow process for me, but it's also kind of fun-- looking through my Iris boxes to see what jumps out at me that could be used on the page, and deciding how to arrange the small items to emphasize colors in the photos and on the page. I decided to use pink in the embellishments so the raspberry photo wouldn't look so out-of-place, since otherwise it's the only pink on the page.

Embellishment clusters sort of 'lead' your eye across the layout, too, so I laid them out in a 'visual triangle' arrangement-- since we read from left to right, your eye goes from the lower left up to the title, then across to the right-hand page to the pink in the raspberry photo and down to the lower right-hand corner. (again, that's what I was going for, anyway!) And, even though it took a lot of effort and arranging on my part, the result I was trying for was a loose, collage-style layered look. (I just need to be a bit more decisive to make the process go quicker.)

Oh-- and after all that was on the page?? That was when I decided to add all the gold splatters with Heidi Swapp colorshine spray. I had to cover up the photos and embellishment clusters so I wouldn't get gold splatters all over everything. This is definitely a design decision better done at the beginning, for sure!! 

And now, a switch from scrapbooking to card-making-- which I don't do all that often any more. I made four altogether, but can only show you one right now, since the other ones are on their way to people who I know read my blog, lol!

it's five layers total, not counting the card base (which is not
nearly so bright in real life... my phone camera didn't capture
the color correctly, and I couldn't edit it back to the true color.)
I pulled some tags, die-cuts, and other things from my stash, and started layering things together just to see what worked. 

The butterfly is stapled to the pink tag, and everything else is glued / tucked underneath on the round journaling tag. The glitter on the butterfly wings was supposed to just be polka dots, but-- me and glitter glue? not a good mix-- so after a bit of a glitter glue accident, I had to cover up the evidence by outlining the entire thing. 

I have a slight obsession with tiny alphabet stamps (I only own 5 or 6 sets of them so far, lol!) so I used one of them to stamp the 'hello' on the blue banner. 

I hope the recipient likes it! 

I have a 12-hour SB store crop coming up in October, and at the end of September I'm going to the Scrapbook Expo in Mesa-- I haven't attended one of those in years. I'm taking two classes, as well as attending a 16-hour crop, so I'd better get busy editing and printing photos, and designing layouts! :D

September 08, 2015

it's random photo time, courtesy of my iPhone camera

I have found out that having an iPhone camera means 'random' really is random in terms of the content, when I get them onto my computer and look through them-- lol! Here's a sampling (and of course, click for a larger photo):

taken at work, 8/7/15. 
Cute little lizard that found its way into the building hallway.
(I let him go outside in the flower bed)

taken on my way home from work, 8/14/15.
The photo above shows something we've often wondered, but now I have photographic evidence-- we have always wondered whether the storms go around the town, because it very rarely rains at our house. The clouds show storms to the east and west of town, but right in front of me, right over the town?? No clouds!!! HA! We were right! (okay, it does rain sometimes, but not nearly as often as its seems to other places.)

Yum!! grocery store display, 8/18/15

The appearance of the Hatch chiles mean that fall is coming soon... (eventually).
Hatch chiles are grown in Hatch, New Mexico, and are wonderful when roasted, peeled, and added to all sorts of dishes... the aroma coming from this display was heavenly! I did buy some, and grilled them yesterday. After grilling them, you 'sweat' them for a few minutes in a covered dish... then you peel off the charred skin and scrape out the seeds, and they're ready to use in cooking. We grilled out burgers, and the roasted chiles were a tasty burger topping. (unfortunately, I did the peeling / handling without gloves, and my hands were burning even after washing them a number of times, lol!) 

But, to have chiles on hand for topping a cheese crisp, a burger, or to add extra flavor to a grilled chicken breast? I'll do it! (but not until after buying some gloves, lol!)

apple chicken salad, 8/26/15
This pic is of a new recipe that I will definitely be making again-- made with my newest kitchen toy, a spiralizer. The recipe was originally for tuna, but since I don't like tuna, I changed it around to use grilled chicken with romaine lettuce, a spiral-cut Granny Smith apple, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries, held together with a dressing that included mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. It tasted as good as it looked!

geez-- looking at the next photo, you'd think that the only thing I take pictures of is food, lol! But the camera on my phone is useful for when I'm out shopping...

German whole-grain mustard, 8/29/15
I actually saw this mustard when I was out shopping for scrapbook supplies, if you believe that! Well, sort of-- one of the places I hit up for SB deals is Tuesday Morning, which is a close-out sort of store; you can sometimes find good deals. They also have kitchenware, home decor items, linens, and some gourmet foods. I sent a picture of it to Tom to ask if he thought he might like to try it.  (I did buy the mustard, and it is very tasty!)

But wait! I have been doing some scrapbooking and crafting too, though--

SB layout in process, 8/24/15
I have found that my phone camera is useful for scrapbooking, too-- I take pictures of photo placement and paper choices. I've found that looking at them on the phone gives a bit of a different perspective, and it helps me to make decisions. This photo placement picture is also helpful for me to remember for later, since I haven't finished this layout yet. (but I will, soon!)

distant storm, 8/31/15
Another phone weather pic from my commute home. Even after ten years, I am still fascinated by how far you can see out here in the desert, and especially when you can see a rainstorm off in the distance; it's just cool!

Next post: scrapping and card crafting!!  
(probably with a dose of randomness in there, too... lol!)

August 25, 2015

a walk in the woods, macro-style

Small details of a late July afternoon walk in the Wisconsin woods, captured courtesy of my macro lens. Looking down (and up) at the small details gives you a different view of things. 

Click on any picture to see the photo larger.

wild raspberry (macro lens)

leaf patterns

golden light
(I did alter the coloring a bit in this photo)

lichens and moss (macro lens)

Lichens #1 (macro lens)
--reminds me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book

Lichens #2 (macro lens)

lichens and tree bark (macro lens)

forest renewal...

thistle (macro lens)

unknown forest plant (macro lens)

late afternoon sun

I hope you enjoyed my trip through the woods! 

August 24, 2015

in other news... the random edition

  • I am finally starting to feel like myself again after being sick with a cold. I had a cough that started in the middle of July when we took a 3-day road trip to Denver (to see the band Rush in concert-- it was great!!)... the cough didn't subside, and turned into a full-blown cold when we were back in Illinois and Wisconsin.  The cold symptoms were starting to go away a little more than a week ago, but the cough was still lingering... and a week ago, I either broke or dislocated my rib from coughing so hard! The doctor says the cough is getting better, and he gave me some medications to help quiet the cough so that my rib can heal.
    (only I could do something weird like that...)
  • At my work, we recently had a visit from inspectors representing the Health Ministry of the African country of Sierra Leone, because some of our products are sold there. It's amazing to think that this job allows me to meet people from places like that-- it was fascinating to talk with them.
  • We recently made a bulk purchase of 40 lbs of super-lean ground beef, so I've done a couple bulk cooking sessions- meatloaf, sloppy joes, that sort of thing. It's nice to know the freezer is stocked with menu options that I can choose from without having to cook a meal from scratch. Now, to work on menu-planning for the entire week! (that will allow me more free time for the next bullet point... plus, we're out of room in the freezer, lol.)
  • I've started scrapping again.  It's my seasonal shift in crafting, I think... the scrapbook store in Gilbert has 12-hour crops once a month, which I attended a couple weeks ago, and I just attended a Saturday night session from 5:30 to 11:30 pm. Now that I have my scrapping mojo back, I want to keep it! (gotta make some SB layouts of the Honey Museum we went to, before I forget even more of the information!! I also have some ideas in mind for Christmas presents, and it's never too early to start working on them... it is, however, too early to see Christmas decorations out for sale in the stores- ick!)
  • this is about the time of the year I get truly SICK OF the endless hot weather, and just wait for the temperatures to cool down. Fall doesn't come to the desert until about the end of October, though-- unfortunately, the 100+ F temperatures are not coming to an end anytime soon. (more time to spend indoors scrapbooking and crafting, I guess... lol!)

August 23, 2015

A honey of a museum-- ha ha!! (just a BIT of a pun, there...)

Okay, it's not really MY pun, it's the museum's pun... When we were back in IL and WI, I spent the afternoon with my older sister Judy, who lives in southwestern Wisconsin... we had a really nice lunch out, and visited a local museum she knew about in the town of Neosho, Wisconsin, about 1 hour from Milwaukee and 1 hour from Madison.  Who knew that honey had its own museum? It's associated with Honey Acres, a family-owned business that's been around since 1852 (the Honey Acres website is here).

notice the bee boxes in the background, there??

It was a gorgeous day for a drive through the country... it looked to me like the museum might be in the same building as their corporate offices? There was also a small sales area where we (of course) bought a couple items...

my sister Judy in front of the first exhibit, about bee-keeping in ancient Egypt.
I love the sort of retro honeycomb glass wall that's part of the doorway to the museum!

As far as museums go, it was typical of small quirky museums (in that it was a bit dusty and a bit 'aged' and 'kitchy') but it was also pretty neat, in my opinion. It showed bee-keeping in different periods of history and in different countries, and then went into the history of the family who founded the Honey Acres company.

This is a painted wooden bee-box used in Yugoslavia during the 1800s.
According to the literature, the painted murals 'helped the bees return to the correct hive.' Not sure whether I believe that or not (can bees really see those kind of details? Or, do they really have that poor a sense of direction?) but the decorations on it were folk art in their own right.

a close-up of one of the bee-box murals...
not sure whether this bear is going to win, or lose!

(Like usual, I took a ton of photos, and am only showing a few of them here in this post.) 
One of the exhibits that caught my eye was a display of postage stamps from all over the world featuring bees and honey... (they'd look good on a scrapbook or art journaling page, wouldn't they?? lol!)

a small selection of the bee and honey related postage stamps
(you can click to make any of the photos larger, of course!)

I confess, I don't remember exactly what I thought was so neat here to take a photo of it--
possibly I liked the different shapes of the woven bee skeps? Or possibly the fact
that bee-keeping is done all over the world, even in Japan?
In looking through my photos, I apparently didn't take as many photos as I thought-- or my memory is worse than I thought-- because I don't remember all that much of the information about the museum exhibits.  I do remember the exhibits explained the life cycle of the bees, how much work they have to do in order to produce honey, and that they produce an enzyme that changes the flower nectar into honey in the hive. 

 A few bee and honey facts (from their website): one bee typically visits between 50 and 1,000 flowers per day but it can visit up to several thousand; to produce 2 lbs of honey bees fly a distance equal to 4 times around the earth; bees do not sleep but they sometimes will rest in an empty cell inside the hive; microbes can't live in honey, so it has been used as a topical dressing for wounds; bees are the only insect to produce food for humans.

One of the displays is a window that opens into an actual bee-hive, where you can watch bees coming in and out, and working inside the hive... it was tough to get any good photos, partly because there was so much activity in one area-- perhaps the queen was underneath that pile of bees? (no idea.)

this is neat- seeing the shape of the honeycomb as they build it

a kind of bad photo, but this is the doorway into and out of their hive to the outside.
There was also a thermometer in there-- the bees generate a lot of heat with all their industry and working, because their website says the average temperature inside a hive is 93.5 degrees. (just like home in AZ, lol!!)

a gorgeous stained-glass window displayed in their sales area
one of the bee-keeping history displays showing some antique equipment

The American Bee Journal publication, from 1873
(I can't imagine it had a large readership, but maybe it did...??)

Close up of the upper section of the window-- gorgeous designs!
A number of the exhibits showed honey-extracting equipment, patents, and improvements made to the honey-making process that were made through the years by the the company, starting with C.F. Dienholt who came from Germany to Wisconsin, and his son August, who also worked in the business. Today, the company is run by 5th generation family members, and they distribute their products all over the world.

close-up of the bottom of the stained-glass window
I never really thought I liked the taste of honey, but their sales room had tasting jars of different varieties, and a couple of them were really tasty! I had to buy some, of course-- I bought a honey-dill mustard, and a couple other varieties, including some dark chocolate coins with orange-flavored honey inside-- yum.

bee boxes outside the building-- I'm thinking there are a lot more somewhere else...
This can't possibly be enough to sustain their whole operation, lol!

one lone clover flower I found outside the front of the building--
alas, there were no honeybees visiting it when we were there.
I think there was also a nature walk outside the building for even more bee-keeping and honey-making information, but we didn't have enough time to do that; we had to get going so I could get back to Wisconsin Dells by dinnertime.

I did manage to get a couple honeybee photos, though:

busy as a... a honeybee stopping at Judy's Russian sage plant

it makes me tired just thinking of all the work they go through to make that honey!
As small as bees are, and as fast as they flit around, I will still keep trying to get good photos of them when they visit the flowers, because I'm fascinated by them. (unless there's, like, 10 or more of them buzzing around one of our night-blooming cereus flowers-- then I just step away slowly and leave them be... lol! no pun intended!)

It was a really interesting (if somewhat dorky and nerd-ish) museum, and I would love to go back when we had more time... maybe on the next trip! 

But then again, there's also the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI... and the Lead Mine museum and tour in Shullsburg, WI that I went on years ago but would like to see again... and Frank Lloyd Wright's house and studio at Taliesen... and the Historic Cheesemaking Center in Monroe, WI... and the narrow-gauge funicular railway in Dubuque, IA... 

whew-- I think I need to make a to-do list! :D