Friday, May 27, 2011

More JT Imagine Cartridge fun

This time I used the JT Cartridge on my Imagine to make winter layouts and a birthday layout for my son. Again, I'm posting them here because I've got to put them on the web somewhere or I can't add them to the Cricut board.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I made with the JT Cartridge...

I wanted to just post this on the Cricut message board, but I had to enter a URL for my images, so I need to post them here first. Basically, I used my JT cartridge in my Cricut Imagine to print papers and make a box and then I decorated it and made a card, too. I also made the box bigger than the DS game that was the present so that it would be tricksy packaging.

I finished the box with yarn from my remnants stash and added extra knots and stuff to make it messy and more boy-friendly. Hopefully it all worked out.

Interesting, I think...

Interesting that:

1. Thad is currently engrossed in "The Red Pyramid" by Rick Riordan. He's reading it on my Nook. I barely suggested he might like to check it out and he jumped at the opportunity, I know, because of the technology more than because of the book. Of course the book is proving to be quite interesting or he would have stopped staring at the immobile screen (except for page changes, of course, but that's not really very exciting) long ago.

2. Thad refused to even start the Percy Jackson series by the same author, for which we own paperbacks of the first four books. (Waiting for the fifth to come out on paperback so that my set can match. I always do this to myself.) I wonder if he'll be interested in reading those once he's read through "The Throne of Fire"?

3. I can't read "The Throne of Fire" right now because someone is using my Nook.

4. I don't mind this because my 10 year old is choosing to read instead of playing a video game. Not that I feel that video games are entirely a waste (at least they're engaging his mind, right? Not like mindless watching of TV.). I just like that he's choosing a book, even if it's presented in a non-traditional form.

5. He's going to a birthday party this evening and I have yet to prepare the present/card... I wonder if a 13 year old boy will appreciate stuff made on my Cricut Imagine? I wonder if a 13 year old boy appreciates anything?

6. If I continue buying series of books on my Nook, I never have to worry about the "waiting for the paperback" thing again. This pleases me.

7. Adam's surprise and super secret anniversary socks are moving along well, even though it's pretty slow. I'm throwing myself into working on them every morning. I'm not sure Elliott will recognize me after this is all over if I don't have a dark gray sock in progress in my hands. I have heard a million times that "slow and steady wins the race", but I'm really hoping eventually for some "warp speed and steady" to enter my fingers. This project is dragging.

8. I think that's it... I have to go make packaging for a present for a kid I'm sure will throw it all away within 2 minutes of opening the gift.

9. I will still make the packaging, moved by some inner compulsion to always give my best even when people will fail to recognize or appreciate it.

10. God and I just had a moment of mutual understanding on that one. Touche, Big G. Touche.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spice Jar Tooth Fairy House

I'm both really proud of and really embarrassed by this project. It's a house for the Tooth Fairy made out of an old spice jar.

I'm trying to trace back to what made me think of doing this and all I can figure is that it started with Thad losing a tooth yesterday morning. He put it on a piece of paper on the counter with the cutest little note: "Mom, please put my tooth somewhere safe. Love, Thad" This empty jar just so happened to be sitting very close to the note. I had used it up in our glorious Chipotle style food night and I was trying to figure out what to store in it.

Suddenly, as often happens, my mind suddenly rushed with a huge mesh of ideas. I thought of the Tooth Fairy. I thought of the wonderfully cute fairy doors I read about on Yarn Harlot's blog. I looked at the spice jar and thought of old fashioned apothecary jars. I thought of a safe place for a tooth. The Tooth Fairy's house, right? And also the idea of a wonderful little place that we could put a tooth where the Tooth Fairy could go in, stretch her wings, relax, grab the tooth, then leave money before leaving. Sort of a Tooth Fairy exchange place. And it all kind of meshed in my mind and this is what happened:

(The tiny door knob fell off during sanding, but I'm going to fix it.)

(I've always been obsessed with chandeliers, so Tooth Fairy had to get a chandelier for her crib.)

And even though this was technically made as a safe place for Thad's tooth, somebody else thinks it belongs to him.

(For the record, Thad, being a wise and advanced age of 10, no longer believes in the Tooth Fairy,
but we still have fun with it.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

A bit of "drama", Sensei style

I don't know why I'm compelled to call my every strong emotion "drama". Why is that? It's perfectly acceptable to have strong emotions. In fact, I believe so many of us desire people in our lives to actually feel through things--to care about things. I felt a little bit embarrassed about sharing this page, but I've done this kind of unspoken thing where I've decided that I'm sharing all of my pages from 2011 on my blog as a way to keep me motivated to keep up on my scrapping this year. This is one of my emotional pages.

The more emotional I get, the more organic my photo layout tends to be. It's like all of that stuff gets jumbled up inside of me and I can't force myself to make a grid of pictures, to line everything up all neatly and perfectly. The stuff I feel doesn't get lined up neatly and perfectly inside of me, so I put a little bit of that randomness onto the page. I had a really hard time getting this together, so I made a few decisions early on to give myself some boundaries so that I wouldn't stress myself out with the possibilities. (This is another one of my tips for getting some of your scrapbooking actually finished... You MUST set yourself some sort of rule that you will not stray from so that you can actually get your stuff on the page. IF, however, you receive a flash of brilliant inspiration contrary to your original rule, then you MUST break your original rule and go with your flash. I just like setting the rule out so that if my flash never comes, I'll still get a good page done. Get it? Got it? Good.)

Prior Decisions:
-2 page layout
-One page would be solely for showcasing the journaling I had recorded on the specific day that this all happened.
-The other page would be for pictures.
-This page would have an old, much loved, vintage feel.
-I would not force myself, as I usually do, to be done in one sitting. This one would take some time and my desk would be a mess and that would be okay with me. (Here that, Self?! The messy desk is FINE on this one for a while. You just shut your mouth.)
-I would ONLY use papers and embellishments from the Colorbok Flea Market collection. (Remember this rule, because I did end up breaking it in a flash of inspiration.)

Those decisions made, I set about making this:

After finally setting my boundaries, the page flowed so naturally and organically, it was another one of those processes where (seriously, I'm not preaching, just expressing my own experience in the creative process) I felt like I had Help. I am a Christian. Most people know that about me. Closer to the truth is that I'm more of a charismatic Christian, which is where people think it gets weird. Basically, I have this open and flowing experience with God pretty constantly in my life and I feel it expresses itself in all kinds of ways, whether through words, or through feelings, or through times like this when as I create, the process is so smooth and flowing that it's like He and I truly become one in mind and motion. We bond a lot by making stuff. It might sound crazy or silly, but you can think of it as me being connected with the creative energy of the universe or something, if that helps you, because it's still technically correct, I guess.

Anyway, the first moment It happened was after I had used the pink measuring tape fabric stickers at the bottoms of both of my pages. It seemed so fitting somehow, but I didn't know why, until later after laying my pictures out and tearing up just a bit again, I remembered the quote I eventually put there. "Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold." -Zelda Fitzgerald.

Then with the journaling, and the borders, and all of that. The other paper strips you see are ones that I took off of the tops of the papers in the Flea Market paper stack. I love these double sided strips and use them all the time. They're like pre-made embellishments. I like working with loose paper anyway, so I always get home and tear my paper packs apart so that I have all loose sheets. In ones like the Colorbok sets (which I love), you end up with all of these double sided strips that you can just tear off at the dotted line. I originally didn't like that they had holes in them, but then I grew to really enjoy the look.

As I kept going, though, I started to realize that the stuff in the Colorbok Flea Market collection wasn't going to be enough to help me out. I left the page, and the next day I went shopping for a 7Gypsies Letterpress Tray at Scrapbooks Etc., which they didn't have. But while I was there, I bought some Basic Grey rubons (Designer Rubons, 843940029959 rub-2995... they didn't have a specific name, just numbers... They're the black old fashioned travel themed ones, really cool) and rubons from Melissa Frances called "Vintage Transfers", which had a whole bunch of crowns and wings. Also very cool. I also picked up a sheet of pearl stickers, also from Melissa Frances, labeled "1962 Trinkets and Baubles".

I wasn't planning on using any of these things for the page I was working on. I just grabbed them because I loved them. They spoke to me. I'm developing more of a vintage style, like everyone else, so I resisted it for a long time, until I realized I just love it and I always create most easily with the products I love.

When I got home and I began working on my page again, I realized that some of the images and pearls I just bought would look perfect on the page. So I broke my rule. I put some of them in there. I added a whole bunch of old fabric accents I had in my stash. I put pearls everywhere (to indicate how precious I felt it all was).

Just working through the page gave me such a sense of fulfillment. It was emotionally releasing to get this kind of stuff down on paper. I realized how grateful I was for my son's growth, and what a joy he has been in our lives. He gets funnier every day he gets older. I wanted to express what I felt today as I made the page, and not just what I felt on the day I took the pictures. I made a custom journaling spot, which is one of my favorite things to do. It's very easy. Just take some good border stamps, like the ones I used here (the straight flourish), and stamp yourself a box. The corners were empty and, again, It happened when I saw that in the same set (Pink Paislee Pop Fashion) there was a tiny crown stamp, and I stamped the corners with the crown. (I used crown rubons earlier on Elliott's two pictures.)

I then basically drew lines across my stamped box with a normal gel pen and using a ruler. I like to push at different strengths as I draw my line to make them look more like the worn out, store bought stuff you usually get. Again, a lot of scrapbookers think they like "perfect", but what they usually like is "store bought" and the store bought stuff is almost NEVER perfect.

I worked through a lot of emotions about my kids growing up as I made this page, and it was so nice. One of my favorite tidbits I added was from the BasicGrey rubons, of the little ship at the bottom right corner of the picture of Elliott in the playpen. It's sailing off, towards outside of the bounds of the picture, symbolizing that his journey and his adventure are continuing. It was a quick little thing to put, but as soon as I did, there was a kind of release emotionally in me. I celebrate his journey, not just his times as a baby. And I'm so honored to be a part of it all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lost Coffee Cup, Birthday Layout

I'm talking about this:

...later. So scroll down to read about that, or stay here and read about my coffee cup first.

This morning I lost my coffee cup.

I was somewhat beside myself, to say the least. I'm not one of those people who can get overly dramatic about coffee and how it's the "brown elixir of life" and all of that, but I have grown quite fond of having a cup in the mornings. It really does help me wake up. I don't know if it's because of the caffeine (by this point in my life, I'm not sure the caffeine content of a cup of coffee could even matter to my system) or because of the mental thing that happens when I take my first sip. That "ahhhh..." feeling that comes over my brain. This is how I start my day. My day is now started. Before that point, my brain hasn't reconciled itself to being awake. Until I have my "ahhhh..." moment, I'm not too happy. I mean, I'm not a mindless harpy or anything, but I'm not perfectly content.

I think it's really more the mental thing. As of this morning, I had very strong evidence to support my theory. My coffee doesn't taste the same if I use a different cup. It's about the ritual of the thing for me. My coffee, in my cup, with my raw sugar and my fat free half and half is what equals "ahhhh..." for me. I used to be lazier about this. I would just use a different mug. But it would never be the same. I've started washing my mug before I make my coffee if it's not already clean the next morning. I want my mug and my coffee and my "ahhhh..." and it's not going to happen unless all of that comes together. Again, not having this doesn't mean I make it my excuse to be horrible to people in the morning, but I don't have my own inner contentment. I'm just faking it.

I looked on my desk. I looked on my other desk. I looked on the counter. I moved some dishes to make sure that I wasn't missing it behind something else. (The fact that my kitchen is currently in that kind of state is not something I'm entirely proud of, of course, but I also know it's not permanent. I just have been focused on other things lately. Give me 45 uninterrupted minutes and that space will look like Martha Stewart's kitchen. Give me 15 minutes and I'll have every counter cleared. It's not as bad as it looks.) I went into the dining room, I looked in the dishwasher. I looked behind the couch. (With my boys, you never know.) I even went so far as to post on Facebook that I couldn't find my cup. I found myself nearing my end when I pulled the bread machine off of the counter (we made homemade pretzels for Family Fun Night this week) and I still didn't find it.

Just when I was reconciling myself to not having my coffee in my cup with my raw sugar and my fat free half and half and was ready to settle for my coffee in not my cup with my raw sugar and my fat free half and half, I decided to look in the dishwasher one more time.

There it was. No kidding. It wasn't there the first time I looked. I mean, I know it was. But there it was, big as day, sitting exactly where the cups in the dishwasher go, looking all innocent like it had been there all along, and part of me just knows that it wasn't in there the first time I looked. But I know it was. But you know what I mean. I pulled it out, all shiny and clean, with its beautiful green interior (which I love... it's such a beautiful compliment to the color of the coffee... makes the whole experience so nice) and I stared it down for a second, wondering if it was off fooling around with one of the bowls or something the first time I looked. It managed to look a bit sheepish. (I might have caught it.) And I proceeded to make myself my coffee in my cup with my raw sugar and my fat free half and half.

But this morning, I ran out of sugar. So I either have to go shopping or switch to my coffee in my cup with my German rock sugar (from Teavana) and my fat free half and half, which is a good substitution. I can't use white sugar anymore. I've gotten spoiled to the richness of the raw sugars... They taste different. Coffee with white sugar will definitely not make my "ahhhh...".

I guess it's true what they say... as you get a little bit older (Notice I did say OLDER and not old, for heaven's sake. I know I'm not old. No one hit me.), you begin to become set in your ways. People can think of it as high maintenance. I tend to think of it as just being clear about my wants and desires. And the fact that my sweet husband knows all of these little details about me and he can make me a my cup of my coffee in my cup with my raw sugar and my fat free half and half... Well, that's the best "ahhhh..." of all. It gives him another opportunity to know me down to the details, and I love that about him--that he cares enough to know these things about me.

Anyway, on to the scrapbooking:

I am caught up with all of my 2011 scrapbooking for now. Basically, it's May, so my goal is to finish all of April's scrapbooking before the end of the month. Once I complete April 2011, I go back and work on my catchup stuff. I finished February 2009 with this page about my son's 8th birthday.

Basically, I usually start my scrapbooking time with some kind of a challenge to myself. I wanted to use the Basic Grey Nook and Pantry collection, and make most of the design out of paper scraps. (I'm using a non-specific color of light blue cardstock for my background. It was from a textured cardstock pack at Walmart.)

I set up my photos how I wanted them and then cut paper scraps to fill the holes and make a nice grid. Here, I've got everything placed but not glued down yet because I decided I wanted to antique the edges of everything. I'm using Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

One of my favorite things to do with these newer double sided kits from Basic Grey is to cut off the bottom strip of paper from each sheet, where the label is. If you flip it over from the label, you get all of these fun 1/2" strips of the other pattern. I use those on my pages all the time. On this page, I used two of them. I cut across a strip of leftovers with my scallop punch and then used the tiny bit left over from that at the top of the page there. I really, really love the way this all turned out.

I added some fun buttons in the design triangle thing, along with other embellishments (my title, the "tasty" and the journaling block are another triangle). I did two button triangles on the page, actually. I decided to make my title French because I didn't feel like writing "Happy Birthday" up there. It felt lame. So it's "Bon Anniversaire" instead. This is one of my favorite things to do. If you can't think of an interesting title, just make it a different language. (I usually use French.) Get the Google translator to tell you how.

The "8" from my sheet of stickers that came with the collection was totally not the right color for my page or this accent, so I colored it brown with a marker and it turned out great. Also, I felt the page still looked a bit plain once I was done, and I considered adding stitching, but my 10 year old was standing behind me, looking over my shoulder, asking for about the 100th time (don't feel bad for him... it was the 100th time in about 2 minutes real time, which is more like an hour in his time or 10 seconds in my time) if we could play Star Trek Scene-it. I don't like leaving pages unfinished, so I just decided to add some dots with a brown marker around the central block of the page, and that worked out fine.

The stickers and buttons on this page are also all from the Basic Grey Nook & Pantry collection. It makes coordinating so simple if you don't try to match everything yourself. It may feel lazy, but if you actually get pages done, it's worth it, right? I no longer think of it as lazy. I think of it as boundaries that produce freedom, kind of like with your children. You put boundaries down so that they feel safe and loved, and they flourish within those boundaries. Hopefully your flourishing will involve less crying fits, but hey. We all have those days. Especially if we can't find our coffee cups.

(Luckily I found mine today, though...)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fun with stamps: Make your own patterned paper

I love, love, love working with stamps. I love making my own patterned paper. I pull images from unlikely matches in my vast clear stamp collection. I truly hope that clear stamps never go away... I've noticed even JoAnn is starting to sell more of the repositionable rubber stamps. If clear stamps go away, some of my favorite effects will be gone, too!

Lemme splain.

I love using clear stamps with dye inks because it gives a mottled texture to the image. Some people hate this about clear stamps. You can relatively easily get rid of it. Either stamp the same image twice in the same place (if you have really steady hands), or coat your stamp first with Versamark Watermark ink and then get the dye ink on there and then stamp. Or just use pigment or chalk inks for perfect clear stamp images.

However, when you're making your own patterned paper, I believe the mottled look actually adds to the illusion that your paper isn't handmade. Now, unless you are a small portion of scrapbooking personality, you actually don't like perfect papers. You think you do. Go look through some of your patterned cardstock and really stare at it. The images in the pattern are aged in some spots, with extra ink in others, clear some places, and faded away in others. The images are NOT perfect. So you can, even though at first it feels weird, go for not perfect when you're trying to create your own patterned papers.

One of my favorite ways to do this is simply to use dye ink with clear stamps. Apply ink to the stamp and go to town. Sometimes I purposefully put less ink on the stamp by tapping the stamp against the ink pad (or tapping the pad against the stamp, if I'm using a tiny ink pad) purposefully softer. Also make sure you do some whisper stamping--stamp your image once and then immediately stamp it again somewhere else on your page. This helps create variety in your stamped images so that they don't look so super perfect and handmade. I mean, I mostly am aiming for perfection in my finished product, but sometimes my "perfect" is really translated as "looks store-bought". I think that's true for a lot of us.

I stamped the following patterned paper for a page featuring pictures of my son and my husband from April. If you're using multiple colors like I did here, it helps to use a coordinated ink set so that everything will look good. I used the Regals collection of classic (dye) ink spots from Stampin' Up!. I love the ink spots, too. Using the smaller ink pad gives you more control over how much you're inking your stamps. Ink heavily on one side and then sort of tap softer towards the end... That's another thing I love to do. Create your own fade looks. You can't do that with a huge inkpad.

Below is a picture of the paper with the stamps I used piled on top. They are, from left and traveling clockwise:

Inkadinkadoo 98693 Rock Star (Used the skull border and the star)
Basic Grey Oliver Shield (Used the flourish and the star)
Kelly Panacci Inc. (from Sandylion) KSTP18 Love (Used the straight flourish)
Basic Grey Crumpets (Used the dot strip)

I started here with a plain textured sheet of white cardstock. I used the straight flourish from the Love stamp set to go around the entire page, then began adding extra bits here and there. One of the best tips I EVER heard about making your own random patterns with stamping was from a show I watched on PBS a few years ago... I can't remember which show. The guest showed that if you stamp in a triangle shape, you can truly create random patterns. Since my stamping is confined on this page to the borders, I just did triangle shapes in the borders of the accent pieces such as the flourishes and the stars. I did a lot of whisper stamping with the red dot strip.

Once all of my stamping was completed, I inked all of the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, and then took my sponge dauber and scribbled in the middle of the page with it.

For those of you who think that scrapbooking this way takes way too long, I timed myself. From start to finish, creating this paper took me about 15 minutes. I work pretty fast because I refuse to get hung up on any one individual step. I have learned that in the end, after you've added all the elements, the finished product will be good. It doesn't have to look perfect at steps one, two, or three. The finished product will be perfect. Move on, even if it looks weird. It'll all come together in the end.

(Incidentally... If you get to the end and you think it looks weird still, I recommend putting it away for at least a half hour and messing around with other stuff. It's funny how focusing your mind on something else for just a while will keep your brain from re-focusing on whatever it was focusing on in the first place that made you think your work looked weird. When you pull the paper out again, you'll look at it and usually think it looks fine. These are my favorite tips for not driving yourself crazy when you're doing this stuff. ^_~)

Now to the actual page...

I had these photos. They're all random photos from our April that I wanted to mark and include, but I didn't want to make three individual pages. So I decided to turn this into a month collection.

I knew I wanted this basic layout, but I didn't like how wide the photos were on the page.

I could pull my trimmer out and trim the left photo, but it's easier to just slip the photo behind the one next to it like so. (I purposefully left one of the little edges up higher so that you could see that you can just slip photos behind sometimes instead of trimming them. It works really well. Why dull up your blade or risk messing up your photo if you don't have to?) This way, if you accidentally put too much behind, you can pull it back out again, and vice versa.

Once I had my photo layout figured out, I just played around with a few more things. I really didn't do very much more on this page. I had already had fun making the paper, right? I rounded the corners on the photos and the journaling block, creating a faux box from the uneven elements which I believe helps tie them all together into one unit even though their ends don't match up. The corners of the unit are rounded here... Do you see it? The top right and left and the bottom right and left of the entire piece are what I rounded, not of the individual items.

I finished it out with stamping April 2011 on the page in random colors (from the Regals set to keep it all coordinating). I used the Inkadinkadoo 97719 Maison Ornate Alphabet stamps, which is one of my favorite alphabet sets. It's ornate enough to be fancy for fancier pages, but also not so fancy that it looks out of place on a page featuring only boys.

I am so pleased with how this page turned out, too, and it was less than 45 minutes, including the time it took to make the paper.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Return of the Sensei

(Scroll down to the bold "Page Walkthrough" heading if you don't want to read me getting mushy about scrapbooking here.)

I've been posting so much about my knitting that I haven't been showing any of my paper crafting stuff lately. I find myself crafting my scrapbook pages, still thinking about how I could show people how to do what I'm doing, but I'm sadly without an avenue to do so. I really miss teaching! And paper crafting was always one of my favorite things to teach. I think paper crafting is a magnificent "gateway drug" into further exploration of the creative spirit. Paper crafting is one of those things you can do with very few tools, almost no experience, and only a little motivation. You can create something awesome, and it fuels your desire to create more. Pretty soon you, yes, you... the one in the back who thinks you can't do anything... I'm talking to YOU. Pretty soon you find yourself actually experiencing the freedom of creative expression, and it can lead you on to bigger and more complex things.

I love scrapbooking. I have two boys, and I scrapbook a lot about them. But I love it in general and feel that it is so important. It's important to get your stories recorded. I have a 10 year old and I'm already so appreciative of the baby pages I made for him. Your mind forgets so much, and it's a real treasure to have a record of your life for you to look through. Both of my boys, 4 and 10, really enjoy flipping through the albums. Thad loves reading about himself as a baby and Elliott just loves seeing pictures of himself. When he's old enough to read, I know he'll more fully enjoy what he's seeing in the pages I make for him.

I miss teaching! I want so much to share this craft, and really, just a love of creative expression in general with everyone I come in contact with. So, here is my first post as the return of the Paper Sensei. I'm going to walk you through some of my creative process as I was going through it on this particular scrapbook page.

Page Walkthrough

What is always first for me is printing out my photos. I have a system that is working SO well for me now that I almost can't describe how joyous I feel every time I work in it. I have catchup scrapping to do, just like every other scrapper, but earlier this year I realized that I was making my catchup gap bigger and bigger by letting all of my current events go unscrapped while waiting to catch up on previous pages. I vowed that I wouldn't let that gap get any bigger. I'm current through 2011 right now and still catching up in 2009, so hopefully by the end of this year I will be 100% current on my scrapbooking. Isn't it unbelievable!? I'll talk about how I'm doing that later, but right now I'll get to the page itself.

So I got the photos, one 4x6" and three 3x4". I usually try to follow some of the guidelines for good pages... Like, if you have people facing a certain direction in a photo, have them facing into the page insted of away from it. So you see the lovely Beckah Shae (my favorite singer ever) facing into my page, and the photo of my best friend and me where I'm kind of facing into the page, so I put myself on the outside there. The others sort of fell into place. I like grids and boxes of photos, but I like for everything to still feel a bit organic... Like, not perfectly symmetrical. At least usually... I always find reasons break my own rules, which is why I call them guidelines instead. But for this one, I stuck to it.

I wanted to accent my main photo. I love doing inking and stamping right on my photographs. I used to be afraid to do this, but I've been doing it SO much lately that it's becoming kind of my new signature... Kind of like attaching buttons with brads was for a while in my pages there.

Basically, grab any dye ink (you can use pigment, but it takes a long time to dry and you run a higher risk of messing up your photo) and a little sponger tool, which creates a softer edge. Get the sponger thing in the ink and just go around the photo. You can do it with the inkpad itself instead of the sponger, but it's not all dreamy like it is with the little sponge tool. I imagine you could just use a piece of sponge. Why not?

I kind of went crazy and stamped a lot then. I like layering a lot of different stamps and creating a fun look. For softer stamping (for instance, the text bits), I stamp on paper first and then on the photo, which is called whisper stamping, I believe. It just gives a fun, faded look. All of these stamps are Stampin Up!, from the Vintage Vogue and French Foliage stamp sets. (Can't find French Foliage online to link to it for some reason... Sorry! I only used the text stamp and the blotch stamp from that set. The rest is in the Vintage Vogue.)

I put everything back and really liked the stamped photo better, then decided to ink the edges on all of the other photos, too. I started playing with embellishment placement. I love layering accents, so I layered some fun butterfly shapes on top of each other.

From there, I started moving too fast to take pictures. ^_~ This is the finished page, with a tiny bit of journaling (off to the right). I took the challenge from The Busy Scrapper, which is a very cute and good book full of tips and fun ideas, even though if I had to choose which book to buy, I'd pick Elizabeth Kartchner's 52 More Scrapbooking Challenges. But the first book mentioned that to save time, you could do shorter journaling, and I've been taking that advice to heart on my pages. I've been trying to keep it short and sweet. We'll see how long it lasts.

I wanted to point out all of my design triangles, too. I don't know if you can find them all. There's a general scrapbooking guideline, too, about using design triangles on your page to give good balance and also to draw your eye into and around the page. I used three in this page: the two butterflies and birds are one triangle, the three pearl frames are another triangle, and the three white lines of text are the last triangle. You can see here that you don't have to make them all separate... In fact, all of my triangles are overlapping each other. But it creates a general balance to the embellishments (at least I think so) and it can help you in the future if you're wondering why your embellishments don't look right. Try arranging them in a triangle shape and see if that helps.

Here are a couple of final detail shots of the page:

Again, I LOVE layering my embellishments. These are some older butterflies from my stash layered over a lovely oval pearl frame sticker from Martha Stewart crafts that I bought yesterday because I simply could NOT resist it. I thought I'd never be able to use them and here I am using them the very next day. ^_^ I realized that I didn't have to use the frames to frame something specific... I mean, they're framing my butterflies, but really they're adding another dimension to this already fun layered embellishment. I really love the look.

Also, at my main title point, I put half of one of my favorite frames. I realized that I could cut it in half to create a lovely arch up there, and I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.

I love feeling free to do stuff like this... Use my stickers in unconventional ways... Cut them in half... That kind of stuff. It makes me feel really clever. Hopefully you got at least one idea from all of this. Now I'm off to eat a melty McFlurry that my sweet husband brought home for me quite a while ago. Blog post done! Time for icecream! Yum!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Confessons and Finished Objects

First I'll start with finished objects, since I had a major case of finishitupitis this last week which was amazing and long lasting and got me through some of the oldest projects in my bin.

Lacey Baktus
: (free pattern on Ravelry... awesome because you can use up a single skein of sock yarn and make a shawlette that's actually pretty big. You can use any size yarn for this pattern, too, and use up all the yarn you want.)

Garden Wall Scarf: (done from the book, Warm Earth, which is an incredible book written by my friend, Yumiko Alexander... She's amazing. Incredible. Super design genius woman. But she doesn't think she is. She's so humble and so shy when you say anything nice about her or her work. She seems genuinely pleased and surprised when anyone gushes over how good her stuff is. I would knit/crochet EVERY SINGLE THING in her book, which is insane, because you never get a book that good, right? You can buy the book at Tempe Yarn and Fiber, my favorite local yarn shop. I'm pretty sure it's, like, $16. A steal.)

I changed Yumiko's design because I didn't have enough yarn. I only was able to do two of the motifs, and then I put a netting bit between it to turn it into a scarf rather than the original glorious wrap that she had designed.

Remember back a while ago when I said I would do a really long magic trick with five wands and turn yarn into socks for my son? Well, I finally finished the spell work this last week:

These took stinking forever, too. They're the Vilai socks from Cookie A's book, Sock Innovation, which is an essential sock guide. This book, beyond having amazing sock patterns, was my introduction into learning how to read knitting charts. She has such an amazingly well laid out and thought out beginning section in the book that shows, line by line, how the charts are built from written knitting instructions. It was amazing. I am SO grateful to her for laying out the information in the beginning of the book, along with different heels and toes and all of that, so that now I'm a fearless sock knitting (and other kinds of knitting) machine.

Now to the unfinished objects. (This is my confession bit.) I'm just laying it all out so that I know what I'm working on, and it's fun, because I realize it's not so bad.

First up... My Michael Jackson Princess Gloves! These are knit from the most fun yarn ever, I think, with all of these fun little sequins (that's the Princess and Michael Jackson part)... I read once in a fantasy book about a girl getting married who had pearls sewn all over the palms and fingers of her gloves. It said something like, "...showing that the new bride was expected to do nothing more strenuous than lift a goblet..." And that stuck with me. I wasn't even a mom yet.

So as I was knitting these gloves, that image stayed with me. I saw these little sequins poking out and I thought of that. But then they reminded me of Michael Jackson. So it's kind of a fun thing... and then the very obvious joke being that if they're my Michael Jackson gloves, I only need to knit one, right? Which is appealing. But I do need to go ahead and knit the other. These are my personal pattern. Work left: weaving in all the ends on the first glove... (they're in there with my hand in this pic) And finishing the entire second glove.

First lace shawl: Gail (aka Nightsongs), a free pattern on Ravelry.

Surprise anniversary socks for my hot and sexy Adam: (It's my personal pattern... with weird modifications for his weird feet.)

The beginnings of Christmas socks for someone I won't say because even though I'm virtually convinced she doesn't read my blog, I can't ever be too careful. They're the Kai-Mei socks from the Sock Innovation book. I know you can't tell yet. I just started them yesterday. They are to become my first traveling sock, here pictured with their first victim... I mean, MODEL. This is a knitting blog tradition, in case you didn't know. To get people to take pics with a sock. Kiss did it. Barack Obama did it. Several other celebrities have done it. Knitters are crazy. (Spend 3 months knitting a pair of socks, though, and you'll understand why we all want them to get the attention they deserve.)

So, here, with the most worthy and amazing person to ever hold a sock, EVER: My friend, Christy, on her birthday yesterday.

Donna's batwings shawl...

And the Umaro blanket... I love Umaro! It's so pretty!

So the grand total, without hiding or missing ANYTHING, is 6... I have 6 current works in progress. I don't think that's so bad, especially considering that most people can't count on both hands what they're working on. So meh. I could confess to the extent of my yarn stash, but I think that people would laugh at me. It's pretty pathetic. But I like it that way. Too much of anything stresses me out. I think I'm kind of amazing, actually... I manage to fit everything I do into relatively small space in my home. I keep it all contained and picked up. I figure that I can't expect other people to be clean if I won't.