Saturday 31 March 2012

TSG149--Sketch It Up!

The challenge on this week's "There She Goes" blog was to use this sketch (below) to create an item:
I took the opportunity to do my "homework for the "My Creative Classroom" on-line course I am presently following, called Everything Embossed-II.  Deena Zeigler shares LOTS of great ideas and techniques in this course--well worth the $$.

The technique I tried out involves stamping an image directly onto an embossing folder then adding card-stock and running it through your Cuttlebug or Sizzix machine. I used a Universal Backgrounds (D1477) stamp from Close to My Heart, and a music note folder by Cuttlebug. The result is pretty impressive--the stamping ends up appearing as background to the raised, embossed areas, which remain ink-free.

I had to do a bit of experimenting as regular dye-based ink did not show up well, and just smeared onto the cardstock. CTMH's Archival ink produced a cleaner, clearer image, but I ended up using a third version, done with a Color-Box Chalk ink-pad in Toffee for a more subtle look, on the eventual card.

This image shows the first, smeary version, then the second Archival Black ink version. I rubbed the embossed sections directly with a light-coloured ink-pad to emphasize them.

My card uses some discontinued card-making papers from CTMH called "Silhouette." One of my goals for Lent has been to complete un-finished projects, so I figure using up old material counts! The black button brads are also CTMH supplies. I used tan twill with a melody-print from Paper Wishes.  The sentiment is from the Perk Up! stamp set by There She Goes Clear Stamps. I love that sentiment...calms me down just looking at it...

This challenge runs through midnight, Sunday April 1st, if you have any crafty time over the weekend. See the link at the top of this posting.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Sunshine Sketches...Summer Album Part V

Lay-out sketch "One-Way Mirror" from Magic-Interactive Scrapbooks, by CTMH
Today's focus is the use of sketches for scrapbook lay-outs. They can be very useful when inspiration is running dry! I actually created this two-page lay-out several months earlier, as part of a work-shop; just kept it in reserve, ready to add the photos at the right moment. As the caption mentions, this particular example comes from the scrap-booking how-to book, MAGIC, by Jeannette Lynton. The original is shown here:

I particularly like this book because it comes with a DVD showing techniques for the interactive elements you can create, and also templates for any special design features, like the the scalloped border on this lay-out. You can see my paper copy of the template at the bottom of this photo.

Another useful example is Quick & Easy Sketches for Scrapbookers (photo at right) by Memory Makers Books.  The magazine is now defunct, but the book is still available at Amazon--just use the link, above.

There is also lots of free inspiration out there on the Web--check out this link for 12x12 scrapbook pages.

  • One of the advantages of sketches is that most give you precise instruction on how to cut paper, size photos and position everything. Easy, peasy! All the trial and error removed, allowing you to use your time for...
  • Customization! Using a sketch is just a jumping-board for your imagination. There is still plenty of room for you to implement your own style; you can stay as close or as far from the original as you like. Below is another rendition of the same sketch, from LAST  year's vacation album:
Please excuse the wonky angle --I was too lazy to take the pages out of the book! Anyway, as you can see, a completely different look due to colour choices, embellishments, etc. I chose to really emphasize the main photo on the left page with a shaped mat, using cardstock and vellum; it even extends over onto the right page. I also included extra photos: you can see small tabs on the lowest right corner. Lifting each one reveals another photograph.

A few more details from these examples:
Die-cut dragonfly anchors the photos and journalling on the ICE CREAM lay-out.

Detail of the oversized mat from the FOGGY DAY at the FORTRESS OF LOUISBOURG lay-out. The vellum softens the image and reflects the foggy conditions in which the photo was taken. Extending the mat onto the right page ties the two together.
In this example, I chose not to use the scalloped border template, and created my own using a lacy border punch.

Close-up of the title, just because I was so pleased with how it turned out!

So next time you are stuck, reach for a sketch and get going!

Thursday 22 March 2012

Beachin' It--Summer Vacation Album Part IV

The image at left is part of the title from today's posting on our vacation album from last summer, featuring:


It is one of this year's trendy items, and lots of fun to play with. I use baker's twine from The Twinery. You can browse their site by using the link provided. The Twinery just came out with four new colours to add to the existing fourteen. Close to My Heart also came out with four coordinating colours in the latest catalogue (you can shop it here), and Paper Wishes sells the version by "W R Memory Keepers."

Detail of the quilled seal and spelling with twine.
Anyway, there are many different ways to use it as an embellishment for scrapbooking. Here I have wrapped it around one of the letters of my title. It also echos the wavy shore-line of my principal photo. I've found the best way to adhere it to pages is to "draw" where you want it to go, with a thin line of glue such as Glossy Accents or Liquid Glass. If you're nervous you can always pencil in your line, and then squeeze the glue over top of it, hiding it with the twine.
This also works well if you want to use the twine for lettering. The glue prevents the ends from fraying too much.

On this companion page, I used the twine to outline my journalling box. I hid the free ends under one of the loops, but you could also just poke a hole into your paper and thread the free end to the back of your project.

This page also shows those chipboard circles from the Elements paper pack coordinating shapes, which i have used to draw attention to the surf-seeking teenagers.

This sunny shape is another chipboard piece which details the where, when and what of the photo.

And here is main photo for this two-page spread. Sometimes you need only one picture to capture the feel of the event. The titling was again done with the font from the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge. Bring on those good vibrations!

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Summer Vacation Album, Part III

Pages four & five of the album "Welcome to the Cottage"
I just want to mention that some of the best photos taken this summer were done with people's cell-phones, not cameras! Technology just keeps getting better and better...

On this lay-out I wanted to illustrate that its okay to extend titles, embellishments, etc onto the photographs. If you use acid-free paper, your photos won't deteriorate over time. It can give you more design "space," and sometimes it is helpful to cover unwanted elements in the photograph. On the lower photograph, there was a lot of space on the left side of the image, and extending the title onto the photo didn't even really obscure the "view."
This close-up of part of the title shows the wonderful font included on the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge from CTMH. Those little dots are cut out by the Cricut machine--all I had to do was choose the size and pop them up with foam tape. Further back you can see one of the chipboard shapes from the Elements pack. I used it for part of my title (AT or @) and added some twine for fun.

The journaling pockets are another CTMH product (item Z1461), as is the corrugated cardboard star (Milepost Shapes) and the copper brad (I thought it looked kind of nautical). I also used them to dot my "i's". The pockets add some interactive fun to the page--you have to slide out the tag to read the journalling. I carefully cut a slit into my page protector so the tag can be easily removed.

Here is the companion page, made using a pocket page.

Here, I wanted to draw attention to the fact that although the pockets are all oriented horizontally, you CAN put a vertical picture in there, you just need to plan where to bi-sect it. I used some more twine around this photo, so your eye sees it as a whole image.

These pocket pages were key to finishing the album in one weekend. I did not need to design every page--just slipped the photos into the pockets, matted on some coordinating paper, and voila! The pockets were also useful for holding journalling, souvenir items, etc.

Here is a close up of the embellishments on this journalling tag. Isn't that little wooden scalloped shell cute? It too is a CTMH item and comes in a set of six (item Z1693). You'll see more of them throughout the album. The sandcastle is another Cricut creation, and the chipboard shapes are part of the Dimensional Elements.

Okay, that's it for today's installment. More to come!

Oh, and it feels like summer here today--25C or 78F for my American friends, so appropriate to be looking at summery photos...

Sunday 18 March 2012

Case Study Challenge #82--CSC82

A beautiful spring day here, lots of grass greening up. Much nicer than all the green on display yesterday--we live near a university and the students were well into the St. Patrick Day celebrations--until the wee hours...

Here is the inspiration for this week's Case Study Challenge:

The March Muse, Laura Bassen, submitted this version for her entry:

All the hearts, hands and houses reminded me of "4H," the youth development and leadership program common in rural communities across Canada and the US. I grew up on the prairies, and while I didn't live on a farm, I had a lots of friends who were "country kids," who were involved with this excellent program.
I was thinking the 4 H's were HEAD, HEART, HANDS and HOME, and this is what I came up with:
I checked the 4H website and the fourth H is actually for HEALTH, but I still like the idea of HOME, plus it fits the challenge so well!
The hearts on my picture were made using the Scandinavian Hearts template from Paper Wishes. The pieces look a little like a hand, or at least a mitten, before you weave them together. I used four shades of cardstock from Close To My Heart, cranberry, sorbet, creme brulee and olive.

I mounted them four-square with foam tape and framed a house around them using baker's twine from The Twinery in charcoal, and a back-stitch technique.
The sentiment is from the Perk Up stamp set from "There She Goes Clear Stamps."
I plan to frame my picture in a shadow box and display it in my kitchen.
One last view, showing the dimension on those hearts.

The Case Study Challenge 382 is open until midnight this Tuesday, March 20th, if you'd like to play along. The link is at the top of this post.
Head, Heart, Hands and HOME!

Saturday 17 March 2012

Dreaming of Summer--Album Tutorial, Part I

Title Page to the Album "Welcome to the Cottage"
Layout: CTMH Elemental Workshop on the Go
My friend (also blog-follower and fellow-CTMH consultant) Kristin, asked me to post photos of the album I worked on at our annual scrap-booking retreat, in January. Others' ideas are always an inspiration to get you kick-started on your own projects, so I am happy to oblige; that is what blogging is all about! I would love it if the rest of our group would do the same--there was some serious creating going on this year...

Anyway, I thought I would also make the postings into a bit of a tutorial on how to get a vacation album done, as opposed to having it sit, unfinished, on the crafting table where no-one can enjoy it. So please bear with my thoughts on the subject!

This album, documenting our first summer as cottage owners, was a circumscribed project. That is, only so much time, so many photos. It helps to limit the size of the project. Then, I tried to limit my paper and embellishment choices. This is helpful in two ways: first, it gives a sense of cohesion and flow to the album; secondly, it saves the time of looking through your entire stash for that PERFECT item. If you discipline yourself to work only with what is in front of you the results are often even more creative.

For this project, I used a paper pack from Close to My Heart called "Elemental," pictured above.  It is a series of geometric prints in colours that worked well with my photos; because of the small scale of the prints, they didn't compete with the pictures. I also used the recommended complementary products, the dimensional chipboard shapes and the journalling pockets, because they coordinate perfectly. I made sure to have a good supply of matching cardstock on hand. A fun, new (to me) product was the baker's twine from The Twinery. It comes in 14 shades and is so versatile! I will demonstrate various uses for it as I share the lay-outs.
Second-third pages, documenting the journey!
The other aspect I limited was the use of fonts and die-cuts. I used the "Art Philosophy" cartridge for the Cricut, also available from CTMH, the "Go Canada" cartridge and one other Sizzix alphabet die set, "Slim Jim." Strictly speaking, this isn't much of a limit, as the Art Philosophy cartridge has over 700 images including two fonts! However. The idea again being to keep decision-making to a minimum and to keep the whole project consistent.

Just a couple of design do's to point out:

  • work in threes/design triangles. The orange/Sorbet elements on these pages are the dominant colour, but they don't overwhelm because their use is limited, and they help the eye to follow from the title to the journalling tag, to the map of the final destination.
  • Include ephemera/ticket stubs/brochures wherever possible. This helps to give a flavour of the destination to your project, and often includes information about which you don't otherwise have to journal. Here I included a postcard of the Confederation Bridge, which connects New Brunswick to PEI. You can't actually get a decent photo while driving over it, but it is an impressive sight and an integral part of the journey.

  •  Use the negative elements of any die-cuts to conserve paper and to repeat the shape for design cohesion. On this two-page lay-out I have a half-scalloped circle on the right side, and used the left-over paper for a border on the left.
  • Pay attention to and use any interesting details on your chosen patterned paper. The 12x12 CTMH papers have a zip-strip at the top, which you can cut off and cut up. I used the scalloped border as a "wave" on this page describing our journey over the Northumberland Strait.

  •  Add dimension and interest by raising some elements of your page with foam tape. I just buy rolls of Scotch brand tape by 3M, available from any office supply or hardware store. It is acid-free, photo-safe and you can cut it to any size you desire; great value.

  • Another easy way to add dimension is to create folded ribbons of paper. Just score your paper before folding, for straight and crisp folds.  This adds minimal bulk and great detail.

  • Go ahead and showcase current trends; they help to set your story in its contemporary time-frame. This year, banners are everywhere! I made sure to use them throughout the album, again for design cohesion. On this page, I used a banner, "hanging" off the back of the driver's seat, to add extra journalling.
Well, this has become a very long post! Time to focus on the day. I will continue my album posting during this month. Hope you will return to see more.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Rain or Shine...

Well, its only March, but we've been having some showers which have melted away all the ugly, end-of-season grey snow, so it seemed like a great time to break out the "umbrella4you" stamp set from the {stamps} of life, pictured below.
When I saw that polka-dot section for the umbrella, I KNEW I wanted to create some polka-dot boots to go with it. So I dressed up the little girl from the "kids2love" set.
I stamped the polka dot section on a piece of scrap paper and cut out boot shapes to fit the girl's feet. She is standing in a puddle made with Pearlescent Cardstock from Wausau Papers, with a little Stickles added.

The umbrella is paper-pieced with some old DP from Sizzix, called "Watercolors." I used some for the dress, and the card base, as well. I saw an umbrella embellished with pearls on Karen Giron's blog, the sweetest thing, so added those to mine, too.

The sentiment on the inside of the card:

A little blurry, sorry. Anyway, it is part of the umbrella4you stamp set, as are the rain drops, in a couple of different sizes. I didn't have the right aqua shade of stamp pad, so I coloured the stamp with marker, which made an even more watery effect.

So, don't you feel like stomping in some puddles now?

Friday 9 March 2012

TSG146 Challenge-Part Two

I am posting the second and third tags inspired by the There She Goes Monday Challenge, Tag it!
I had planned four tags, using the elements from the set "Perk Up," and posted the first one on Tuesday. I received a lot of very kind comments on that first tag (warmed my heart!) Not that I'm looking for more pats-on-the-back, but I just think these images are too good NOT to share... so here goes.

This tag uses more Close To My Heart "Cherry-Oh" paper. The sentiment is stamped on a "fancy label" Sizzix die by Stephanie Barnard. There is a coordinating stamp set, "stamps4fancylabels," with a variety of frames for the die.

I just LOVE how you can personalize the cups and mugs with the TSG set:
Doesn't this mug look like it had a BAD day...? It is sitting on a ribbon of corrugated paper cut from---a Starbucks insulating sleeve!

Then I had to carefully mask some of the sentiment letters to create the word "help" on the banner at the bottom.
All the cross-stitches and criss-crossing twine are meant to reflect getting mended (or feeling better...).

This tag is supposed to reflect a baker's shop window:  pink awning, signage, and fresh goodies on display on a doily-covered counter.

Each of the baked goods is a separate stamp from the Perk Up! set--aren't they fun?

The doily is a fabulous die from The Scrapping Cottage which my dear crafty sister gave me for my recent birthday. It is quite lovely, with some embossing as well as the detailed design. It made the perfect setting for the treats.

Anyway, I may not get to the fourth tag before Monday, March 12th. But! you are welcome to play along, at  the There She Goes Monday Challenge. Check out the other inspiring stamp sets from this company while you're there!

Tuesday 6 March 2012

TSG146 Challenge

This tag was created for the There She Goes Monday challenge. This week, the idea was to create a tag, or group of tags. As I had just received my package of "Perk Up"stamps, the timing was perfect.
This set contains a myriad of sweets, cups and ways to personalize them, along with memorable sentiments, such as the one I used here. You can actually arrange the "eyes" (on the lower mug) to be looking in any direction, as they are a separate stamp. The series of heart "thought bubbles" are also included.

I used an older paper pack from Close to My Heart, called Cherry-Oh, along with twine from the Twinery in Blossom and Caribbean. The ribbon, inks and markers are also from Close to My Heart. The tag, which I cut free-hand, is rather large for a gift enclosure, but I plan to attach it to a card base and send it to a friend.

The TSG Challenge closes next Monday, March 12, if you'd like to play along!
Time to put the kettle on for something hot to drink...

Sunday 4 March 2012

Inspired By Challenge #13--Bear Hugs for Baby

Isn't that little guy so BEARY cute?

This card was created to play along with the Inspired By Challenge #13 (click on the link at left).

I was unable to upload the photo inspiration for this challenge, but you can see it by going to the Inspired By blog (sorry, Laurel, not sure what went wrong?).

I particularly liked the stripes, the wall-hanging on a rod, and the cute denim pockets.

My version uses old papers by K & Company (for the stenciled letters, and pocket) and Basic Grey (background stripe). I cut the lettered paper into pennant shapes and "hung" them by threading them with "denim" twine from The Twinery. They were also popped up with foam tape to differentiate them from the background paper.

The bear and sentiment are from the "Chubby Chum Pals" stamp set by Paper Smooches. You should check out the website or blog--they just released a bunch of new stamp sets, some with more appealing critters and others with great geometrical designs. I love Kim Hughes' style!

I stamped and paper-pieced the bear. I free-hand cut the pocket he is sitting on and "stitched" it with a white Uni-ball Signo pigment ink pen. The blue outlines are done with a Sakura Glaze pen. Buttons are from Close to My Heart, and organdy ribbon from JoAnn's. The tag-shaped card base is from Michael's.

You can play along with this challenge by uploading your creation to this link by midnight, Wednesday, March 7th.