Monday, September 30, 2013

Card Share: Crisp Autumn Apples

(As seen in the September '13 issue of CARDS magazine)

A real quick post today to share a card that was in the September issue of CARDS magazine. It's a mix of Bella Blvd. and Jillibean Soup patterned papers and some yummy looking caramel apple diecuts from Imaginisce. Kind of makes me want to go eat a crisp, fresh-picked apple right about now. :)
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Altered Project: Family Pallet Wall Art

Thanks to Tom we have a new piece of home decor — a piece of pallet wall art. I came across this project on The Winthrop Chronicles blog and loved it.

It took a while to find a cast-off (as in free) pallet, but one fateful rainy night, back in March, we stumbled across a whole bin of them after dropping Alexa off at dance.

Rather than cut the word with a scroll saw (as per the original directions), Tom went to Hobby Lobby and found an assortment of large chipboard words. He brought a bunch of them home for me to choose from. As you can see, I went with the word "family". Tom painted it to match the colors in the room.

Here's what the pallet looks like hanging in our family/living room. Tom hung it right above my favorite reading chair (beside the entertainment center). It makes the corner even more cozy and balances off the pieces of artwork hanging on the other side of the entertainment center.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Craft Space: Where I Create

Hello! Hello! Today I'd like to welcome you into my home to see where I craft and create.

When we built our house, it was with the intention of using what was "supposed" to be the formal dining room as my craft room. Our former kitchen table and chairs became my craft table and it is centered in the middle of the room. The rest of the room contains storage cabinets and wall hung display space. There's also a butler's pantry right off of the craft room. I use this as my office area and it's where I print photos, journaling, and do computer work.

So come on in and take a look...

1. This is my work table. Sometimes Alexa joins me for a chat or we do crafts together. With four chairs, there's plenty of room for everyone to keep me company. I keep frequently used supplies, adhesives and embellishments right on the table.

Another view of the table.

2. This rolling cart sits right beside my chair. The top drawer holds adhesives, containers of brads, rulers, markers and my long-neglected Dymo labeler. The second drawer is full of various stickers and rub ons. The third drawer houses a binder of older alpha stickers and the bottom drawer holds cutting and sanding tools. The tackle box on top is full of buttons, separated by color. I keep my trimmer and a container of embroidery floss and twine handy as well. The photos I'm currently working on usually sit on top of the tackle box.

3. Two Pottery Barn wall displays are to the left of the table. 

The top left shelf has mini albums and current layouts on display. Just below that are some photos tucked behind a pin board. The pin board itself holds drawings and crafts Alexa has made, along with packages of newer product. 

Here's a closer look at the shelf:

The right hand display pinboard holds more of Alexa's creations. The shelf below that holds home decor projects (and a stray layout or two waiting to go into an album).

A closer look at the display shelf:

Attached to the very bottom of the display boards (thanks to my hubby), there are curtain rods for my current "go to" alpha stickers and packaged embellishments. Items are easily removed and brought over to my work space because they are clipped onto hooks that hang over the rings on the rod.

Here's a closer look:

4. This shelf display is to the right of my craft table. The shelves hold family photos and decor. 


Below the shelf display is a storage cabinet that holds my ribbon stash, sewing materials, inks, extra adhesives, etc. A storage caddy on top holds product for current design team and freelance work as well as new supplies that I'm not done playing with yet.

Sitting on the floor, beside this cabinet, is a metal mesh storage cube. This is where I keep all of my cardstock and seasonal collections. Each cardstock color is stored in its own 12x12 plastic envelope (as is each seasonal collection).

5. Behind my chair is a storage cabinet, similar to the one above, holding completed albums. 

Above this cabinet is a collage of family pictures flanked by the two albums I'm currently working on (I scrap chronologically so one album is typically January through June and the other July through December) displayed on metal plate stands. Once the year is over, I label them and add them to the cabinet.

Here's a look at what I keep on top of the cabinet. The smaller basket holds a hodge podge of embellishments that don't belong to any particular theme or current collection. The larger basket holds seasonal embellishments. I like to sift through these baskets looking for items that match the theme, season or color I'm working with. The black binder holds sketches I've printed out.

6. So, where do I keep my patterned papers? Right beside my chair in a pretty market basket, all within easy reach of where I sit.

So that's pretty much it. The space where I create. Thanks for coming for a visit! Next time bring your supplies so we can scrap together. :)

Note: This is a re-run of a post from February of this year. It has since been updated and is easily found via the "Scrap Space" tab on the home page of my blog.
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Card Share: Hero Thank You

I created this card about six months ago for a hero-themed call at Paper Crafts magazine. I was thrilled when it was picked up for publication in a special issue called Handmade Cards, available (in print) starting today.

I used Little Yellow Bicycle's Just Because line because it gives the card an understated patriotic look. I layered up diecuts, product packaging and embellishments inside the frame for a clean, clustered look.
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Every Summer Has a Story (Simple Stories I Heart Summer)

Every summer has a story and, as in previous years, I've documented what we did this summer. Last year I used Simple Stories Summer Fresh to create a page called Summer Brings Us Good Times. This year I relied on yet another Simple Stories summer collection — I {Heart} Summer. Do you see a trend here? 

I embellished the pre-printed banner at the top of the page with various stickers, even creating a little cluster with a bingo card from the 6x6 paper pad.

Turns out I didn't leave quite enough room for my title so I had to get creative. I started it above the photo and added in a chipboard popsicle (from Little Yellow Bicycle) to hold the word "story".

See the rock Alexa is holding in the photo? Smooth, round rocks and pebbles are all you see along the shores of Lake Ontario. Alexa likes to collect and decorate them (when she's not attempting to skip them along the surface of the water). She drew a smiley face on a little pebble last year and I tucked it away in my stash. Well, I was able to work it into this page (take a peek inside the frame on the right side of the page). It makes me happy to see it sitting there.

Paper Issues has a new challenge starting today (at 12 p.m. EST) called Endless Summer. Come link up your summer-themed projects (I know you have some) and you could win a $20 gift certificate to the Paper Issues store. Projects do not have to be new. Hope to see you over there. :)
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Simple Stories Feature

If you're a frequent visitor to my blog, you've probably figured out that I love Simple Stories. They are on my very short list of "go to" companies. Above is an apple picking layout I did last year using the Harvest Lane collection.

A few weeks ago, Layle Koncar, Simple Stories' Marketing Director, contacted me and asked if she could feature some of my I {Heart} Summer collection work on the Simple Stories blog and that's exactly what they're doing today.

I'd love it if you'd pop over there to take a look. :) 

On a totally unrelated note, I've added a new Pinterest button to my blog. To use it, all you have to do is hover over an image, then click on the round, red "P" that pops up. It will take you right to Pinterest for easy pinning. :)

Have a great weekend and thanks so much for stopping by today.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sunshine Documented (Echo Park Here & Now)

Every once in a while, I like to do a layout that reminds Alexa how much I love her. Since there really wasn't much for me to say about her eating a tortilla chip (LOL), that's the route I decided to take with this photo. It's an ordinary, everyday kind of photo and it worked well with what I wanted to say.

This page is pretty much a mix of Echo Park Here & Now, Fancy Pants What a Wonderful Day, Pebbles Lakeside and Elle's Studio. I love it when I find collections that work well together. Don't you?

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tips and Tricks: Stretch Your Paper and Embellishments

Hi everyone! I wrote up a feature for the My Creative Scrapbook blog and I thought I'd share it here too. It's all about how to make your patterned paper and embellishments go further. I have a bunch of tips and tricks to share with you.

1. Cut elements from a piece of patterned paper. Look at all of the wonderful arrows and word bubbles on Echo Park's Here & Now Chalkboard Quotes paper! Let's cut some out and use them on a layout, shall we?

I used three word bubbles on this layout (highlighted by black dotted boxes) and still have plenty (plus the woodgrain side of the paper) left to use on other projects.

2. Combine diecuts to create an embellishment cluster or scene (highlighted by black dotted box). I layered two frames (only using a portion of the yellow one so I have the rest to use another time) and added in the hot air balloon, "best friends" diecut, some flowers, a couple of arrows and a heart. Letting some of the elements extend beyond the frame visually connects this cluster with other areas of the page.

Here's a closer look at the cluster:

3. Cut up your stickers. The half circle stickers you see on this page (highlighted by black dotted circles) were originally full circles. I cut them in half so I could accent multiple pockets on this Project Life page protector. Did you also notice that I used idea #2 for the top right pocket? A frame, combined with arrows and stickers creates another fun cluster.

I hope I've inspired you to look at your paper and embellishments in a new way. Layer them up. Cut them apart. Stretch them to their fullest.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Over the summer, Alexa attended Cupcake Wars camp at a local cooking school. Over the course of the week, they baked and decorated over 400 cupcakes! On the last day of camp, campers' families came in to taste test and judge the cupcakes. Alexa is shown above with her "graduation" presents — a box of cupcake mix, a recipe book, and a muffin tin of her own.

Once the score sheets were tallied, we learned Alexa and her team won 1st and 2nd place in the appearance and taste categories. Here's one of their winning cupcakes based on an ice cream sundae.

The cupcakes below were made by another group, but I thought they were cute. They were called "Bake Sale Pies" because each cupcake is decorated to look like the lattice top on a pie.

Aren't these beach scene cupcakes adorable? They were baked inside of an ice cream cone then decorated with candies to resemble a beach ball, floaty, and sunbather on a towel.

I didn't try these duck cupcakes but I thought their Starburst beaks and donut hole heads were cute and creative.

As if the girl didn't get enough cupcakes during her week at camp, last week she wanted to use the mix she received as a graduation gift to make a batch of Nutella frosted cupcakes. Nutella is her current obsession, as is cake decorating. Who am I to deny the girl some fun so I let her loose in the kitchen.

I have to say these baked up nice.

Here's a shot of the decorator at work, all professional using decorating tips from my days of owning a bakery:

The finished product, topped with a pretzel and sprinkles (odds and ends she chose from the pantry):

These were a winner in our house and the frosting? Totally delicious. Here's the recipe as I discovered it on Roxana's Home Baking blog:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 13 oz. jar Nutella
2 c. powdered sugar
approximately 1 T. milk or heavy cream

In a mixing bowl, cream the Nutella and cream cheese.

Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/2 c. at a time, mixing well after each addition.

When all of the sugar is added, increase mixer speed to medium-high; mix for 1 minute.

Add enough milk to make the frosting smooth and easy to pipe.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Bounce with Me (My Mind's Eye Lime Twist)

(Photo by Clix! Portrait Studios)

I've loved the color purple since junior high school. It even says so in my yearbook so there's proof. But man, I'll tell you, it's a tough color for me to scrapbook with. In the twelve years I've been scrapbooking, I've done two, maybe three purple layouts.

With a passion for purple, you'd think I'd be thrilled Alexa's jazz costume was purple and I was...until I had to scrapbook the darn photo. 

I can't tell you how many times I put this photo aside in lieu of scrapbooking something else. I finally got sick of ignoring it, bit the bullet, and decided to get it done. You know what? It wasn't so bad. I pulled in a bunch of complementary colors (like green, turquoise and fuschia), used a mix of product from various manufacturers (like My Mind's Eye, Little Yellow Bicycle and Echo Park) and just went to work. In the process, I even rediscovered some older (purple!) product that's been in my stash for some time (like Crate Paper Kaitlin rub ons).

It wasn't the easiest layout I've ever put together, but it wasn't the hardest either. I'm glad it's done and if nothing else, Alexa's beautiful smile makes me smile.

How do you feel about scrapping with purple? Is there a color you absolutely love, but have a hard time scrapping with? I know I'm not alone in this. Please share.

Have a great day!
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Altered Project: Happy Fall Y'all 2 x 4 Pumpkins

When I came across the tutorial for these 2x4 pumpkins, I immediately asked my hubby to make them for me. I mean, are they not the perfect collaborative project for a woodworker and a scrapbooker? 

Of course I couldn't just dress them up with ribbon and berries and be done with it. I had to pull out my fall supplies (which included a package of the brand new Doodlebug Owlette Mini Doodlepops from the Paper Issues store). Aren't they the cutest? OK, enough about the owls (I'm a little obsessed with them)...

Here's a look at the large pumpkin:

A detail shot of the embellishments on top of the large pumpkin:

A look at the embellishments on the front of the large pumpkin:

Here's a look at the smaller pumpkin:

And last, but not least, a closer look at the embellishments on top of the small pumpkin:

It's always nice to have new seasonal decor, especially handmade. These will definitely have me smiling all the way through until Thanksgiving when I'll have to pack them away.

I'll be back on Friday with one last post for the week. Have a great day!
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