March 31, 2015

Calvinball- SB layout share

close-up of chipboard embellishment
Whenever I scrap, even if I get the page started fairly easily, there's usually some detail or part of the page that just seems to take forever to get done. If there's buttons on the page, I need to put thread in the holes; if there's sequins on the page, it takes me forever to decide just where to put them-- things like that. I always seem to think of something that takes extra-long to do, or is extra-detailed.

As an example: the idea for this layout came together really quickly; I saw a layout in the Calvinball gallery here, and knew I wanted to scraplift the page design. I even found the photos I wanted to use and chose the papers I wanted fairly quickly. Then, I had to decide how to embellish the page. I settled on chipboard swirls- like the one you see above. Only problem was, the chipboard swirls I had were silver and glittery. And that wouldn't work on my page, at all!

And what did I do? I tried to find something else in my stash of stuff that would work, but once I get fixated on something like that, nothing else looks quite 'right' to me. In the end, it took me a couple hours altogether, but: the chipboard swirls were gessoed, painted brown, then sponged with antiquing gel, all to make them fit with the vintage look of the papers I chose. 

So, here's the final completed page (click to enlarge):

About an hour for most of the page; plus about another hour all together for the chipboard. But the chipboard swirls look perfect! (well, now, they do, anyway-- lol!)

This page showcases one photo (2 copies) of a Costa's hummingbird that I took a couple weeks ago when I was hiking. I happened to see this hummingbird landing on 'his' tree-- hummingbirds pick a vantage point to land on and sort of 'survey' their territory-- so I set up shop right next to this shrub to see if I could get any decent photos of him. I managed to get a few 'okay' shots, but nothing too spectacular. An older gentleman saw what I was doing and waited for me to finish so he could get a few shots of him, too. He said he photographs hummingbirds at the Botanical Gardens and can sometimes take two or three hundred photos and only get maybe ten really good ones out of the whole bunch. So now, I don't feel quite so bad! 

 For this page, I printed the photo in color then turned it to sepia-toned and printed it again. The sepia photo shows a bit more detail of his feathers and how many (tiny, tiny, tiny) feathers he actually has-- which is crazy, considering these birds only weigh 2-3 grams total!! With a wingspan over 4 inches and a total length of 3.5 inches, they're practically all feathers! 

I'll post a few of the better photos I got of him in my next post; meanwhile, you can click HERE to see what a Costa's Hummingbird looks like close up. 

March 30, 2015

SB layout share- Golden Days

This is another layout with photos from 2003 and my house back in Round Lake. And it uses another 'ancient' (ancient in scrapbooking terms, anyway) embellishment. The decorated tag I used on this page is from at least 10 years ago; I'm fairly certain I made it when my sister and I went to a scrapbook convention together, and I've lived in AZ for just under 10 years now (wow, how time flies!). This tag is another one of those 'how have I managed to keep it for all these years' kind of things. I guess I'm more organized than I thought! (haha!! Just kidding-- more like just lucky, I think.)

This SB page showcases two photos of the leaves from the maple tree in my backyard. That maple tree made it difficult to grow plants in my yard, but believe it or not, I did actually love raking leave in the fall. It allowed me to enjoy the crisp cool snap to the fall air, the clear blue of the autumn sky against the golden color of the leaves, the earthy smell of the decaying leaves, the crackling sounds they made as I raked, and the smoky aroma when I burned them-- and this page reminds me of all that.

Another page that probably still wouldn't be finished if not for the Calvinball challenge-- yay! for completed SB pages!

more scrapbooking-- layout share: BFF's

and, an apology-- I realized that one of the layouts in the last post was one that I had shown you before-- sorry about that! I guess it was because of staying up really late... :D

Valentine's Page Kit

Last time I scrapbooked at the Scrapbook Barn in Gilbert, I got a page kit as a make-a-take, to make the page above. It's a nice-enough page, and all the supplies for it were included. In the course of the last couple weeks of scrapping, I used the word paper banner for another page so I needed to make a couple modifications to the kit to actually use it. When I looked at my photos, I decided to take my page in a slightly different direction... 

corrugated heart with my page title: bff's.  (I dispensed with the
computer printed title in the kit in favor of glittery Thickers)
So as you can see from the photo above, I decided to make a page about Prescott and Bisbee. They really are BFF's... wherever one is, the other isn't far away. After Bisbee had her teeth cleaning and extraction, she had to stay quiet for a week so she could heal.  Keeping quiet was tough on her, but it drove Prescott crazy that they couldn't play together! When one of them is inside and the other one is outside, the inside dog stands in the doorway and whines... and so on.

The finished page
I used some of the words from the leftover banner paper to add to my now floral banner, moved the heart title, and used two larger photos instead of one large + 3 smaller ones, but otherwise, the page was made pretty much like the kit. I think it turned out pretty nice, it's a topic I've wanted to scrap, and now I have!! 

(Calvinball for the win!)

March 29, 2015

a quick weekend update

  • scrapping and sleeping in-- I stayed up late (2 am!!) on Friday night making scrapbook pages; I slept in on Saturday till 10 am. The Salsa Festival in town was on Saturday afternoon, but both of us having been up late, we decided to stay home this year. (Plus, the temperatures here have been horrible for this time of year-- 10-15 degrees above normal for highs. (The salsa wouldn't have been the only thing that would have been hot, for sure!)
  • working around the house-- Tom worked off and on pretty much the whole weekend. Things at his job have been crazy-busy ever since the beginning of the year, and he was trying to catch up a bit before the next week's craziness began. We both also did things around the house like laundry, watering some of the plants outside, doing some cleaning inside, etc.
  • doggy day of beauty-- the dogs have needed to go to the groomer's like, forever, and I finally called a few days ago for an appointment. Thankfully they're open on Sundays too, so they fit all three of them in this afternoon. Their appointment was for 1 pm, and they got done about 6:10 pm. We gave Sedona a bath a few times years ago, and while it is do-able, I wouldn't want to do it with three of them (!), and the groomers do such a better job at it than we ever could. They look like different dogs when the groomers get done with them!! (now if only it would last... lol!)

a few more layouts to share

It seems like I always have more ideas for SB pages in my head than I can ever get completed (that darn job, and having to make a living, lol!) but Calvinball has been the kick in the pants I've needed to actually make some of them and get them completed.

Home Improvement- my house in Round Lake, IL
These pics are from 2003, and I have had this layout idea
in my head for at least 5-10 years. 
 I have been carrying that paper-pieced dump truck around with me for at LEAST the past 8 years; I made it myself, from scratch, a loooong time ago. I'm pretty amazed I still knew where it was!

My Scrapping Essentials-- a visual representation of all the things I
need (or like to have, anyway) for scrapbooking.
 This page is another one that I started at least 5-7 years ago- I drew and cut out the pie chart by hand, and never got any farther than that. I finally finished it! My Scrapping Essentials include: snacks and soda (Diet Dr. Pepper, Raisinets, and Hot Tamales are my current faves); space to work in; stories and photos; paper (I looove patterned paper, and have more of it than I will ever use- it's just so pretty!); music or TV to listen to; inspiration; and embellishments. That's the fun stuff- glitter, brads, sequins, punches, enamel dots, etc.

The 'embellishment' section of the pie chart-- I kinda went overboard
when I decorated this piece, but I do like the entire page.

Quite often, I have photos that don't really 'fit' in with anything else to make an entire page or layout about... I decided to make a page that was just 'random' photos that I like for whatever reason. 

Close-up of the 'caption' section of the page- typed with my estate sale typewriter.
(See below for the entire page.)

Random Snaps, entire layout--
another one that I started ages ago.
I cut the glittery polaroid-style frames from a patterned paper and temporarily stuck them (empty) to a background paper when I first got the idea. The page stayed like that for about 2 years, till I finally decided I was going to make this page no matter what, so I added more papers, and chose photos for it. I do quite like it-- there's plenty more 'randomness' in my photo files, so I'll probably make a page like this occasionally from now on.

The photos on this page truly are random-- a rooster I saw when I was bird-watching at the Riparian Preserve (you can't get much more random than a rooster at a wildlife preserve, right??); a snail I saw right outside the front door where I work in Phoenix (snails living in the desert somehow still seem 'wrong' to me); us up in the hot air balloon; the restroom sign at the Honolulu airport (I loved that that they have the symbol wearing a dress and lei); and a 'shadow selfie' I took a few years ago at Mom and Dad's garden.

I've got more pages done that I'll post soon, but right now it's getting hot out here on the patio (it's supposed to be in the mid-upper 90s all week- yuck!), and there's scrapping to be done!

March 28, 2015

my workspace-- and a Calvinball progress report

one of the topics being discussed in the Calvinball forums, like with all scrapbooking, is "what does your workspace look like?" Here is my workspace in the middle of a page... I always say I think I conform to the laws of scrapbooking physics and the universe when I fill up all available space with stuff. Sort of like the saying 'Nature abhors a vacuum.'

(I abhor vacuuming, too, but that's a different topic, lol!)

in the middle of working on a page. This table is pretty big (it used
to be our kitchen table) but there seems to never be enough space on it.

my elfa shelves, directly to the left of the table.
 These elfa shelves (from the Container Store) have been in every craft room I've ever had. They've moved everywhere we've lived, and this is the fifth room they've lived in. I love them! You can rearrange the brackets to whatever shelf height you need, and there are different depths of shelves available. The very bottom shelf is the newest addition, when I realized I still had hanger space available. It's not a large space, but it's perfect for holding my post-it notes, paper trimmers, and a few smaller things that I was keeping right on my desk before.

Those four 12x12 Iris boxes hold: 1) small letter stickers, 2) my Thickers, 3) journaling tags and label stickers, and 4) shaped stickers and border stickers. This way they're easily accessible and I can rifle through them right when I want. I also have 12x12 Iris boxes for bling / rhinestones / wood veneers / chipboard shapes, and one that holds all my stencils/masks. I have tried other ways of organizing my supplies, and this way seems to work the best for me of all of them so far. Plus, since they're plastic boxes, they're portable when I go to a scrapbook store crop or my 3-day hotel crops.

my stack of completed Calvinball layouts so far
So far this month, I've made 15 scrapbook pages (counting both pages of a 2-page layout individually). That's not much compared to some people-- there are some very prolific scrapbookers out there-- but for the way I scrap, it's tremendous. It's been a lot of fun so far, and I can't wait to do it again! (maybe not soon, but counting points for doing certain things on a layout makes it more fun to use different supplies and techniques that I wouldn't otherwise think about. 

Read more about Calvinball here: Calvinball at Get It Scrapped and check out more Calvinball layouts in their gallery, here.

March 23, 2015

desert spring wildflowers- get read to scroll!! (photo heavy!!)

a couple of weeks ago, I got up insanely early on a Saturday (insanely early for me on a weekend, anyway-- before the sun rose) and headed south to Picacho Peak State Park, about 1 1/2 hours south, on the way to Tucson. I wouldn't ordinarily do such a thing but I had heard reports on the news that the spring wildflower bloom was the best it had been in the past 10 years due to the rain and winter temps we've been having. So, I figured I could sleep later!! 

We'd been to this state park once before, in 2007, I think (?) to hike to the top, but this time, I was going to meander around, look at wildflowers, and hopefully get some good photos. I took over 700 in the time I was there; you'll have to tell me what you think of them!

(and by the way, as always, click on any of the photos to make them larger- and hopefully even more impressive!)


7:30 am, the sun just hitting the north edge--
this is looking towards the "Sunset Vista Trail Head" I believe. 

looking south, towards the peak. The left-most tip is actually where the longest trail goes to.
(Hunter Trail: steep and twisting, difficult rating.)
You should have gloves, because you need to pull yourself up via steel cables in a few places.
(I didn't make it all the way to the top when we hiked it, but Tom did.)

Saguaro & 'nurse tree' ocotillo. Saguaros grow sheltered underneath or around another plant
or tree till they get big enough to handle the wind, sun, etc.  Eventually they will
outgrow the nurse tree, or even outlive them, in the case of a mesquite or Palo Verde.

I didn't see too many birds (I heard a few), except for a couple hummers--
they were quick, but I did snag a few (poor) photos. Not sure what kind
this guy is; the sun is on the wrong side of him to get a good look.

Saguaro forest in the morning sun-- isn't it magnificent?? (9:00 am)

desert lupine, close-up.

Saguaros in a field of California poppies and desert lupines

Desert globemallow, pink variety (I think). Usually these are orange-r than this,
but I think it's the same species. The flowers are small, about as big as a 50-cent piece.
Reminds me of hollyhocks. You can see these (bushy) plants along the highway, too.

Not a flower, but flower buds on some sort of cholla cactus.

too bad I was too early to see the flowers-- this cholla is just loaded with flower buds.

a scenic vista, looking southeast.
(actually, this state park is right off the interstate, so you can actually see traffic on I-10
from the park. The horizontal line in the background is the interstate.)

I really like this one.
At the left, you can see just a bit of a Saguaro
skeleton sticking up out of the brush.

gorgeous views-- my photo composition skills couldn't do them justice.

yup, it's what you think it is- a snail shell. In the desert.
I was off the marked trail a bit, heading down a dry wash that had
obviously held water at one time or another. (thankfully, there
was NO rain anywhere in the forecast that day.)

Standing in that wash, looking uphill... another Saguaro skeleton.

again, I couldn't do the scenery justice, but I quite like this one--
it says something to me about the 'renewal' of nature, with the ephemeral
wildflowers alongside the hundreds-of-years-old Saguaro skeleton.
(sappy?? maybe. probably.)

another view of the hillside.

I found GOLD!! (haha!! I couldn't resist.) isn't it gorgeous??

These poppies are delicate looking!!
(I'm sure they're tougher than they look,
though, to make it in the desert.)
It was a bit breezy, so they didn't want to stand still.

So, the marked hike I went on (then went off of) to take all these pictures was only miles long, lol!! It took me, oh, maybe, 4 hours to piddle around in, on, and around that trail, and I took 245 photos in that time. (of course, quite a few of them aren't worth anything, photographically speaking)

All this is to say, I have quite a few more photos to post yet, so check back again soon. I've printed quite a number, too, so I can make a few (okay, quite a few, lol!) scrapbook pages.

thanks for accompanying me on my wildflower walk!

March 17, 2015

Calvinball- "birthday bourbon"

A two-page layout based on a sketch from a Scrapbook Generations sketchbook (really cool sketch books that give photo sizes, background paper dimensions, and suggestions for how to personalize and adapt the sketches to your needs.)

This layout is Tom's birthday a couple years ago, when we went to a Phoenix restaurant that served a brand of bourbon he had wanted to try for years that we first heard about in a television show we watch that's set in Kentucky. It's quite a highly-sought-after and very limited release bourbon (called Pappy Van Winkle), and I found out quite by accident that this particular restaurant / bar actually had all three vintages of it (aged for 15-yrs, 20-yrs, and 23-yrs). So, this was his birthday celebration, trying all three varieties. And eating some wonderful food, too...

I actually saved the napkin from the winning variety, and included it on the left-hand scrapbook page.  This layout also includes two banners made from patterned paper and crafting floss. 

Memories of a good time, even if the food photos aren't the greatest. I guess that just means we'll have to go back sometime to get some better shots, lol!

March 16, 2015

cute pet photo interlude

me, totally zonked out on the couch, covered in cats.
 (This photo is from early January-- I was extra-tired from staying up for New Year's, I guess-- lol!)

Prescott, totally zonked out on the couch, a couple days later.

March 15, 2015

Calvinball update- "Seed Catalogs"

 (sorry in advance for the horrible yellow tinge to the photos- I've been scrapping pretty late at night, and the lighting isn't the best for true-to-life photos.)

that being said, the positive thing is that I've been scrapping! This Calvinball contest is getting me to complete layouts I've had halfway done for ages, or ones that have been just marinating in my head... (attending a 12-hour crop at the local SB store yesterday helped, too... haha!)

This layout has no photos at all, and is one I've wanted to do for years but couldn't figure out quite 'how' to do it. I got the vintage seed catalog cover images from the internet, and left myself plenty of room for journaling my memories of gardening and the excitement the seed catalogs would garner when they came in the mail. (Sadly, Mom says they don't send print catalogs anymore-- it was always fun to read through them, read the cool names they came up with for the new varieties, and see the pictures people sent in of their 5-lb tomato, 150-lb pumpkin, carrots that looked like faces, etc.) 

This page talks about the kinds of things I remember eating from the garden-- rhubarb, strawberries, fresh peas, green onions, radishes, apples, currants, plums, and pears from Grandma and Grandpa's yard... and Mom's process for selecting what new seeds were needed by going through the box of left-over seed packets she had stored in the kitchen cabinet from the previous year. 

this page used only patterned paper, journaling cards, and vintage buttons

Once I got that page done, I realized I hadn't said everything I wanted to so I made another one (see it below). I started out with a 6x12 yellow background and added canning jars that were cut out from a different piece of patterned paper. I added the canning labels from a third piece of paper and started writing. Again, I didn't have enough room... so I added a 3-inch strip of lined paper to the right side of the layout to give myself plenty of room to write. 

The second page talks about my memories of helping out in the garden, starting with helping to plant the seeds in the spring (and putting the seed packets on a stick at the end of the row so we could remember what was in each row), thinning out the plants when they came up to give them room to grow bigger, pulling the weeds, and picking the vegetables when they were ready. 

There was nothing quite like going out into the garden with a bowl and a paring knife to pull the first green onions and radishes from the garden, then eating them at dinner only 5 or 10 minutes later, or picking a dozen ears of sweet corn, taking off the husks, and dropping them right into the boiling water to have that 'just picked' freshness and sweetness that didn't even need butter.

cutout canning jars for adding my journaling, and more vintage buttons 
This page also talks about how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to grow up the way I did: to learn how my food is grown, and the effort and work that goes into getting food for your table and preserving it for the winter. So many people nowadays don't have any idea of the labor involved in getting that bunch of green onions to the grocery store, or what type investment of time, effort, and faith / hope in the weather and growing conditions you have to have to be a farmer, or just to cultivate some of your own food. I am truly grateful I had that experience, and that my mom and dad (I love you guys!!), by giving me the experience of working outdoors in the garden, instilled a love of plants and nature in me that I will always have. 

Even though I still don't like cooked peas, lol! (private joke-- I hate cooked peas, so I would always get a small bowlful of raw peas instead of having to eat the cooked ones... )

This post took way more space to write than I thought, just to talk about one layout. (but it's worth it-- it's a layout I really like, even though there are no photos on it at all.) So keep your eye out for more Calvinball scrapping posts soon! And, I went hiking last weekend to see some of the very ephemeral spring wildflowers we have here in Arizona-- the flowers were gorgeous, I got some fresh air, and I got a few good pictures out of it (along with a bit of a sunburn!), so I'll post some of those photos soon. 

March 02, 2015

a quick post-and-run!! Calvinball 2015!!

I apologize for the crappy color quality of these photos- they were all taken pretty late at night in my scrap room. Yes, I still do scrap (occasionally), and hopefully I will be scrapping a lot more in the next month or two! I signed up to take part in a fun month-long scrapbooking challenge called Calvinball, on a scrapbooking website. 

Do you remember the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes? (I do, since I grew up in the 1980s... it was one of my favorites). Calvin and his stuffed toy tiger/best friend Hobbes  would play Calvinball, a game where the rules were made up as you go along. This scrapping contest is for the entire month of March, to encourage fun, a bit of smack-talking, and scrapping. The rules change as you go, and you get points for making layouts, cards, posting about Calvinball (one point for me, haha!!), and bonus points for meeting scrapping related challenges- like a page with more than 3 photos, for example, or a page using specific supplies. 

If you'd like more information about Calvinball, you can go to the Get It Scrapped website and read more about it-- click here. Come join in! Anyway, to the layouts-- they were photographed late at night, hence the crappy colors. I did what I could to fix it, but really would like to re-take them sometime. (after Calvinball ends, when I have more time, lol!) 
--click on any of the photos to make them larger--

A layout about my scrapping essentials, which include patterned paper, inspiration, photos and stories, and Diet Dr. Pepper! This page has been partially finished for at least 1 1/2 years, and I never would have finished it without this contest. yay, me!! :D

A page with a pretty nice photo of Ariel, hanging out on 'her spot' on the back of the couch, looking out the window. I always wonder what she's thinking, if anything... watching the birds (does she think she can get them?), or is she just wondering when dinner will be served?

The  embellishment area at the top right- sorry for the glare; that banner is made of plastic. The letter stickers are teeny, and have to be at least 2-3 years old. (yay, me!! for finally using up some of my older supplies!)

This layout showcases photos of our Saguaro cactus's very first flowers!! We wondered how many years it would take; we bought it in 2006 when it was 5 feet tall, and in June 2014, it got its first flowers! (a whole three!) I did the best I could trying to get pictures of them, but the Saguaro is at least 10-11 feet tall, so it was kinda difficult-- I didn't want to fall into the cactus while I was doing it. 
larger photo, left-hand page

larger photo, right-hand page

and with that, I'm off... I want to see if I can sneak in at least a few minutes of scrapping before I head to bed! I'll be back soon, with more photos.

(and sadly, we haven't seen the owls anytime recently... Tom says he's heard them occasionally, so maybe they're still in the neighborhood- I hope so!)