Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hand crafted holiday

It seems every year I try a different sort of craft project to give as a gift. When my little one was a baby I did mini albums. Last year I ventured into wall hangings. Here's a look at four gifts I created this year.

Project one
A desk box with note pads and pen - patterned after design by Linda Taylor.

This is the same card box I used to create my project for last week's Paper Thrills challenge!

CTMH Supplies used: card box, Wonderland paper packet, chocolate card stock, Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge, liquid glass.

Project two
Personalized coffee mugs.

These mugs were so simple to create using the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint marker. I ordered the marker online from an art supply store. I found the mugs at a dollar store. The paint marker was easy to use. It dries in about one day and then cures in the oven to a dishwasher safe finish. I was very happy with the bang for my buck (and my time) on this project.

I actually created coasters as a part of this gift, too, but I wasn't as happy with the way they turned out. If anybody has had success with coasters, let me know.

Project three
Embellished photo album.

This was a fun project to create. The album was an inexpensive one from Target, but I really liked it because it had ring bound pages so that the recipient (my mom) could add more photo pages if she wanted. It was easy to jazz up with some chipboard, die cut letters and paper flowers.

Project four
Framed quote

I purchased this frame with photo mat at a craft store with a coupon. I removed the glass and then returned the mat to the frame so that my embellishment space would not be limited. I used both sides of a piece of double sided paper to embellish the mat and the space behind the vellum quote. I further embellished the mat using grungeboard, paper flowers and a few pearls and gems.

I love giving hand crafted items because they are unique. Some of these items - the photo album and the frame - required very few supplies outside of my current stash. Some of these items - the desk boxes, the photo album and the frame - were very much in my papercrafting comfort zone. The mugs took me the furthest from my comfort zone, but I love the result (and the bang for my buck.) So, I love giving hand crafted items because they are unique, but also because I get to craft a bit of love into each project. The time I spend envisioning the gift, gathering the supplies and creating it are a part of my gift, too.

What about you, what did you craft this holiday season?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Paper Thrills challenge 35 - Ad Challenge

The new challenge is up over at Paper Thrills. In honor of all of the shopping that has been advertised in the last week, it is an ad challenge. Normally I'm kind of intimidated by ad challenges. I have a hard time making my style, photos, products etc. work with the things I see in magazines and store circulars. This time, however, I went with an ad of a different sort and I love the way it turned out!

I found this ad in Ms. magazine last month:

I was totally inspired by the row of small photos near the top, and I set out to replicate it. Here is what I came up with:

I took some elements from the ad in addition to the row of small photos and their mat.
      I placed my title on the photo mat - although mine is on the right and only on the top.
      I included a larger element on the bottom left of the design - although mine is up a bit higher.
      I used text along the bottom of the design - although mine is focused on the right hand side.

I'm so glad I took this challenge. I'm not convinced it's going to change my mind about ad challenges in general, but I certainly like the way this one turned out.

Have you ever been inspired by an ad?You should take the challenge. If not, it isn't too late to start. Either way, head on over to Paper Thrills to check out the other design team members' work. While you're there, why not play along?

I can't wait to see what you create!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paper Trail Blog Hop - Roxie

Welcome to the December edition of the Paper Trail blog hop. If you have arrived here from Terri's blog you are on the right track. (If not, don't worry. This hop is circular so you can start anywhere.) I'm loving the pinks and blacks in this paper pack!

I started out with a layout using a fun technique my friend Linda showed me to draw attention to a small portion of a photo: crop the significant part and then mat it and place it over the hole in the photo to emphasize one portion on the whole photo.

I was nervous when I attempted this technique, but I love the way it draws attention to the tulip leaves to that they don't get lost in the snow. This layout is out of the ordinary for me in that it doesn't include any journaling, but I think the other elements - photos, title, butterflies and colors - work together to tell the story.

On my layout I also used hemp and the Just Blooms Flutter Paper Shapes.

I loved the Roxy paper so much that I decided to use it to create some cards for a young girl's birthday and a baby girl's baptism.

This template worked well for both cards. The Art Philosophy cartridge and the Cricut made it quick and easy. I really like the ready made zip strip border on these papers! I used some small sparkles and hemp on these cards as well.

Are you ready for some more Roxy fun? Hop on over to Linda's blog to see what she has created!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanks, again

Finally I'm sharing the next installment of my daily thanks.

9 - I'm thankful for daylight and seasonal decorations.
10 - Thanks for alone time and family members who do food shopping.
11 - I'm thankful for our zoo membership - especially on cold snowy days.
       I'm also thankful for the highways that are near our house.
12 - I'm ever so thankful for people who have listening ears, ask hard questions
       and really understand.
13 - Thanks be for food other people have prepared!
14 - I'm thankful for individuals - like one student - who think of others and take
       time to check in.
15 - Thanks be for reprieves and teachers with a sense of humor.
16 - I'm thankful for babies and a clean toilet.
17 - Thanks for time to catch up and painted finger nails.
18 - I'm thankful for those organizing moods when I am able to purge and for
        many ways to recycle.
19 - I'm thankful for movie popcorn, locally grown and home prepared food and
       new recipes that work out well.
20 - Thanks for found time and inspirational conversations - especially those that
        actually encourage me to make a change!

I'm still working out some details for my album. I think I'll include some photo-free pages (why, not, right?)

Are you keeping track of your thanks this month? What are you discovering? Do you have a plan to record these thanks?

I would love to hear about your month of thanks. I can't wait to see what you create!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paper Thrills challenge 34 - The Sweater

The new challenge is up over at Paper Thrills. This week the challenge is to use items you would find on a sweater. Here is my sweater layout about my little crafter:

This layout was fun to create. I dry embossed the light blue cardstock and then sanded to reveal the white core. The patterns said sweater to me as much as the buttons and fibers.

Head on over to Paper Thrills to check out what the other design team members created. While you're there, why not create a layout and play along? While you're there, check out the guest design team challenge!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The first days of thanks

Just because I'm not posting, doesn't mean I'm not thankful! In fact, that is the beauty of my conception of thirty days of thanks. Here is a bit about my month so far:

1 - I'm thankful when I don't have to cook dinner, especially when it is healthy and yummy and everyone in the family eats it!
2 - I'm thankful for the chance to watch my favorite TV show (even if I'm working while I'm doing it.)
3 - I'm thankful for early morning appointment times and offices that are as quick as they say the will be.
4 - I'm thankful for reconnecting with long-time friends.
5 - I'm thankful for a chance to escape my regular life for one day and scrapbook with my friends!
      I'm also thankful for backrubs.
6 - I'm thankful for the chance to play the organ at church and the support of the congregation and the choir. I'm also thankful for my five-year-old assistant.
7 - I'm thankful for keys that are lost and then found!
8 - I'm thankful for being at least a little bit ahead of the game. I'm also thankful for friends who support us in eating local food.

This project has been interesting. One thing I'm noticing already is that I don't want to be limited to only one thanks. Thinking about what I'm thankful for is making me more aware that I am thankful and therefore giving me more things to record. I guess I'm developing an "attitude of gratitude" (thanks, Oprah!)

Are you recording your thanks? What are you noticing?

I'm still pondering the project I will create. Originally, I had a mini-album in mind, but I'm also wondering about a layout or series of layouts. And I have to confess, I haven't taken any photos for this project yet. What ideas do you have about recording thanks? I would love to hear what you plan to do - and thanks, in advance!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thirty days of thanks

I love the way November inspires people to reflect on - and share - their gratitude. Each year I'm motivated by those who share a daily gratitude and this year I have decided to join them and share my thanks both here and in a mini-album.

I know a little something about myself, however. I can easily  find something for which I am grateful each day, but I am pulled in too many directions to commit to posting that frequently. I also know that I am not good at working on a mini-album one day at a time. Since I'm trying to be realistic so that I can be successful, I've come up with a plan that I think just might work!

I will record my daily thanks in a notebook (or on sticky notes, in my calender, phone etc.) and then post once a week. Throughout the month I will take photos and gather supplies (including the mini-album itself) and then in December, I will be able to create the album.

Would you like to join me for thirty days of thanks? I would love to hear what is making you grateful right now and see how you record your gratitude.

Check back later this weekend for my first list of thanks!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A blog award!

Thanks to Jill over at Paper Thrills for awarding me the Versatile Blogger Award!

 All recipients of the Versatile Blogger Award are asked to:
  1. Thank the one who awarded you.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself that readers might not know.
  3. Award 7 other bloggers with the same award.

So, thanks again, Jill for the recognition!
Seven things you might not know about me:
  1. When I started scrapbooking I swore I wasn't going to get sucked in. I was only going to do my wedding album.
  2. Seven years later, the wedding album is still in progress and I've created at least 20 others!
  3. I play the pipe organ.
  4. I teach piano lessons.
  5. I married my high school sweetheart. We were together 7 years before we got married.
  6. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I'm really enjoying sharing her books with my children.
  7. I love the Chicago Cubs!
 And now I get to recognize seven other bloggers:
  1. Kerrie at Scrappy Happening
  2. Jennifer at Midwest Scrapgarden
  3. Linda at The Paper Taylor
  4. Karen at Inky Fingers
  5. Marina at My Scrapspiration
  6. Vicki at Wizard's Hangout
  7. Pam at p-inks
Congrats, ladies and thanks for your inspiration!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paper Trail Blog Hop - Dreamin'

Welcome to the November Paper Trail blog hop. Thanks for stopping by. If you've arrived here from Mary's blog, you are in the right place. Don't worry if you are starting here - this hop is circular so you can start anywhere!

Now, let's get to the paper. I have been dreamin about this paper! It is the first pack that I bought from the new idea book, and I love it. I did the workshop and created a bunch of layouts (including this one). So for this month's hop I decided to create some cards instead. Cards are often daunting to me but I've found a few strategies that help me:
  1. Make a few (or more than a few) cards at a time - even if you don't need them right now, you will someday!
  2. Use similar (or identical) products - after all, if they work once, they will work again and the recipients aren't likely to notice.
  3. Don't rely only on your brain (or Hallmark) for inspiration. I love to use CTMH's current idea book as a jumping off point.
When I sat down to create these cards I gathered my paper, kraft cardstock bases (4.25x5.5 standard size) the Dreamin' workshop stamp set, Colonial White Waxy Flax and some buttons from the blue assortment. I flipped through the idea book starting at the back and the tag card created using the Wicked stamp set (August SOTM) caught my eye (p 139). Here is the card I created inspired by the one on page 139:

On top of my kraft base, I added some Goldrush cardstock and B&T paper from scraps leftover from my layouts. The dandelion image is from the workshop stamp set. A little bit of waxy flax and one perfectly sized button, and I was very happy with the result.

Although my base was the same, my supplies were the same and my source of inspiration was the same, the other two cards look distinctly different.

I love working with what is already on my desk. This card takes advantage of the zip strip on one of the B&T papers and once again utilizes the workshop stamp set, waxy flax and button. I modified the design from a smaller square card I found on page 79. Can you see the resemblance?

I also created this one:

I plan to use it for a friend's birthday (happy coincidence I was already making cards.) For this one I had to supplement my supplies a bit. I dug into my embellishment bag and found a CTMH Just Blooms flower from the Big Pinks collection (now retired.) Like the two previous cards, this one took its design from a card in the Autumn/Winter idea book. Can you find the card? I will randomly choose one commenter with the correct answer to win a small prize.

There is more Dreamin' to see. Enjoy the rest of the posts, and start by hopping on over to Vicki's blog to see what she's created.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winter Card Workshop

Check out the cards that I made in preparation for my workshop:
The pattern is Winning Combination from CTMH's Originals card confidence program. The papers are from CTMH's Wonderland paper packet. Using this pattern, you can make 24 cards from one packet. This workshop is based on the ideas of Linda Taylor.

Making 24 cards is what we set out to do, however, I had greatly underestimated how long things would take. Still, we had a good time and each of us completed some nice cards.

I gave my cards as examples, not necessarily models that needed to be copied, and I'm glad that I did. I loved the creativity around my table tonight. With the same papers, stamp sets and embellishments, the women created gorgeous - and sometimes very different - cards. I ended up crafting a card based on the example of one of my friends!

Thanks, ladies, for the inspiration and the laughs. Two big reasons I love crafting in groups!

If you would like a kit to create your own cards or if you would like information about future workshops, please contact me!

In addition to the paper, I used sparkles, bitty sparkles, the bling assortment (bling buttons and stick pins) and buttons from the blue assortment. Stamp sets used: Holiday Magic, Christmas Love, Made with Love, Wonderland workshop stamp.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting into home dec - Paper Thrills challenge #30

I have framed layouts before. I've even created framed pieces using my supplies that don't include photos, but still the current challenge at Paper Thrills - to create a fall wall-hanging - made me a bit nervous. I took my inspiration from Aly Dodsall who did a whole week about home decor at last month and here is what I created:
I started with a Styrofoam wreath - a 12 inch one, I believe. I followed Aly's suggestion and cut some paper from the (retired) CTMH Olivia collection into 2X3 blocks (about 50 of them).When I started arranging the paper on the wreath, I found I liked tilting the blocks and creating the fun zig zag effect inside.

After the paper was on I was a bit stumped. I just couldn't decide where to go. My hubby suggested photos - after all Paper Thrills is a challenge blog for scrapbookers. That was the next burst of inspiration I needed. I used CTMH's new Foundry Pin Clips as my photo holders. The pin clips were perfect because in addition to fitting with the style of the project, I will be able to switch out the photos as I wish!  I found the ribbon and then added some Mocha Opaques from CTMH and voila, challenge complete!

Now head on over to Paper Thrills and check out what the rest of the design team created. While you're there, why not play along yourself? I can't wait to see what you create! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I see you...

The current challenge at Paper Thrills is a fall color challenge. It was especially challenging for me since I had summer and winter photos! I chose some papers that reflected the color scheme (from CTMH's retired Olivia packet) and then started searching through my photos. I was pleasantly surprised when I found some summer playground photos that looked nice with the fall oranges and browns.

I have created multiple pages featuring my kids playing at our neighborhood playground. I wanted this one to be a little bit different. I chose to focus on the photo of my shadow and use that perspective to tell my story. Here is the result:

I embellished with a kraft border from CTMH (now retired) and a couple of stamped die cuts.

The focus of the layout was really the story rather than the embellishments as with many of my pages.
Here is the story.

Now head on over to Paper Thrills and check out what the rest of the design team created. While you're there, why not play along yourself? I can't wait to see what you create!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Paper Trail Blog Hop - October Believe

Welcome to the October edition of the Paper Trail blog hop. If you arrived here from Karen's blog, you are on the right track. This month we're featuring the Believe paper packet.

I pulled this packet out on a scrappy day with a friend last week. I knew I wanted to create a layout using some photos from last Christmas, but I was amazed how versatile this kit turned out to be! I ended up creating four pages including one that about a summer day at the park!

My first layout, the one I planned to create, includes cute photos of Christmas morning getting ready.

I used the Art Philosophy cartridge to cut the present tag, title and the star embellishments. I finished the layout off with a few stamped stars on the corners of the base card stock.

While I had my supplies out, I found a couple of photos that felt more classic, but still fun. To my surprise, they also fit well on the Believe papers.

This layout came together with some Cricut die cuts, a punched border and some clear sparkles.

My next photos were a summer day at the playground. Imagine my surprise when the colors of my kids clothes matched perfectly with the Believe paper!

I embellished this one with buttons and Waxy Flax.

I really enjoyed creating with this versatile paper packet.

Thanks for visiting! Now, click on over to Betsey's blog to see what she created!

The Miracle of the Moment

Well, I'm squeaking in just under the line with a layout for the September challenge over at Scrapping Everyday Miracles. The challenge this month was to create a layout that focuses on the miracle of the moment and to use stamps as you create.

 While many moms would agree that a sleeping child is a miracle, this is especially the case for our family. My daughter has not gone to sleep easily since she was born so this photo of her napping - while we were on vacation no less - truly shows a miracle moment for me. I added some hidden journaling to share a bit more of the story.

The title block, the title itself and the bracket on the journaling block are all stamped. The paper is from CTMH's Dreamin' packet.
Thanks for the challenge! I had fun playing along.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I know for sure

One of Paper Thrills new challenges for the week is a theme challenge: what I know for sure. I found a fun photo of myself and then tried to figure out a few truths in my life that I know for sure. It was fun - and therapeutic - process(check out #2 and 3).

So, what do I know for sure? Check out my layout.

Head over to Paper Thrills to check out the other DT members' layouts. Then, why not consider what you know for sure, create your own layout and play along!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun Fall Layouts

Alright, so I actually finished these layouts this summer before school started, but my photography time has been cut into by my day job at school. I'm still scrapping away, but most of my creative time is after dark - not an ideal time to photograph layouts at my house. Still, better late than never, here are a few fun fall layouts:

The patterned paper here is from CTMH's Olivia kit (sadly no longer available). I actually stamped the leaf embellishments using a coordinating stamp set, some layering and the rock and roll stamping technique. I'm happy with the way they turned out.

Another layout using the Olivia kit. This one is loosely based on a layout from a Creating Keepsakes from last fall. Can you tell I love the bracket shape?

This layout is based on a sketch from Sketches for Scrapbooking Volume 7. It is a book of 30 two page sketches and one of my current go to idea books. The paper is CTHM's Lucky. I used the Lucky chipboard assortment to embellish. I'm really loving those pieces, and the pack comes with so many I don't feel guilty using seven on one layout!

Inspired to create? Check out my sketch challenge for the month.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heavy Metal

Challenge # 25 this week at Paper Thrills is to use metal as your only embellishment.

I created a layout of items in my parents' house that make me feel very nostalgic - like I'm 5 again.
Here is a of sneak peak at my layout:

Want to see more? Head on over to Paper Thrills. While you're there, why not play along?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dreamin about a workshop

Would you love to make a two page layout in one evening? Are you feeling the back to school vibe? Ready to try some new products and learn new techniques? Attend the Dreamin workshop on Tuesday, September 20 at 7:30 and you will create a layout like this one:

The workshop uses Close To My Heart's new Dreamin paper pack, exclusive stamp set and Glitz glitter gel.


There are two ways you can participate in this workshop. One option is
to purchase the workshop kit that CTMH offers for $29.99 (plus shipping
and handling) and at the end of the workshop take the entire kit home
with you. If you're not sure about this, why not try the $10 option?
(shipping and handling included) Come to the workshop, complete the
layout and take home your finished product and your scraps. Less
commitment, less mess.

Interested in attending the workshop? Just email me to let me
know if you would like the full kit or the $10 option by September 9. 
I hope to see you on September 20!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September Challenge

The challenge for September is a sketch.
Here is my take on  it the sketch:

The papers are from a Close to My Heart special from a couple of years ago. I added the new canvas badge buttons in the embellishment cluster. These are one of my favorite new toys from CTMH. They are adhesive backed and you can alter the front in any number of ways. Here I stamped using the stamp set that coordinated with the paper and viola - a coordinating embellishment!

Want to play along with the challenge? Create your own layout inspired by this sketch (interpret this however you will.) Post a link to your layout as a comment sometime before September 30. If 5 people play along, I will draw a random winner for a small prize!

I can't wait to see what you create!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Paper Thrills Challenge #23

Challenge #23 - a sketch challenge - is up at Paper Thrills!
Here is my interpretation of the sketch:

The photos are from the same day as one of my earlier Paper Thrills layouts. Out on a mountain walk with the family I saw this flower blooming right where so much destruction had occurred. It was inspirational to me and since we had the whole family along - including two grandparents to help wrangle the children - I took a couple of minutes to try to capture what I was seeing. I'm still pretty new at this photography thing, but when I see beautiful (and still) things like this it makes me want to learn more!

Head on over to Paper Thrills to see the sketch as well as the work of the other design team members. While you're there, why not play along? I dare you!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August News

August is a bittersweet time in our house, as it may be in some of
yours. We are still in the midst of the summer schedule, but at the same
time, we are preparing for September and the new school year. (I'll
leave it to you to decide which is the bitter and which is the sweet.)

This August is extra sweet because it marks the release of Close to My
Heart's Autumn/Winter idea book. Let me tell you it looks great! Some of
the big news in this idea book - cardstock weight B&T papers, lower
prices on stamps and paper packs and a Cricut cartridge that coordinates
with many new stamp sets! In addition, there are two fabulous specials
going on that you will jump to take advantage of. For the month of
August, CTMH is running the Extra, Extra campaign! 
And starting August 15 you can also take advantage of the National
Stamping month special:
Now that I've whetted your appetites, get out your calendars to make
plans to see some of these great products.

AUTUMN OPEN HOUSE - Wednesday, August 31 at 7:30 PM
Come browse the new idea book, share some snacks and make a fun
Halloween card using the August stamp of the month (now just $5 with an
order of $50 or more.) No RSVP required.
DREAMIN' WORKSHOP - Monday, September 19, Tuesday, September 20 or
Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 PM
Come create this gorgeous two page layout using some of the wonderful
new papers, a workshop exclusive stamp set, shimmer designer brads and
the new bronze glitter gel.

There are two ways you can participate in this workshop. One option is
to purchase the workshop kit that CTMH offers for $29.99 (plus shipping
and handling) and at the end of the workshop take the entire kit home
with you. If you're not sure about this, why not try the $10 option?
(shipping and handling included) Come to the workshop, complete the
layout and take home your finished product and your scraps. Less
commitment, less mess.

Interested in attending the workshop? Just let me know which date works
better for you and if you would like the full kit or the $10 option.

I hope to see each of you soon. Please let me know if you have any
questions about these events or Close to My Heart products.

Happy creating!