Monday, January 31, 2011

One More Last Challenge - Inspiration

OK so I like challenges! They help me to try new things and scrap in different ways. When I saw the element for Design House Digital's inspiration challenge, I was reminded of the colors used for Biograffiti's "looking back" challenge.

So I dug up the layout I did on creating cutouts for my Jessica Sprague Digi In Deep class, that I later modified to use Biograffiti's kit, that I now modified - took out some elements, added some others, recolored things, and voila!

A layout that matches the inspiration, complete with a pandora chain.
Inspiration Challenge

Paper and elements from biograffiti's Note to Self Add-on kit (recolored),
Play Word Art - Ocean Spray by Yin,
Dream & Smile Word Art by Angie Young,
remember word art - Remember When by Kimb's Designs,
Journey word art - Travelogue by Audrey Neal

Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Last Challenge - A Good Year in Review

There is just time to sneak in one more challenge for Design House Digital before the end of the month, this one to do a "Year in Review" page for a technique challenge. This was not as hard as it might have been, since I've already done a year in review book for in-laws Ron and Mary Jane, and it was a pretty eventful 2010 with the new house, Megan's graduation, the great visit from Lisa, Crissy and Danny, the ever-entertaining summer goats, and the impressive trip to Toronto in November for Ron's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Year in Review

I used a template from Simply Yin, modified to add in a few photos so it had space for 12. Background paper from Royanna Journey, elements from cajoline New Year's kit.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Altered Necklace

As I was digging though cigar boxes, shoe boxes, cups, tins and whatever else holds my collected and found objects to put on my Valentine tags, I came across my little collection of "monocles", really optometrist lenses, but oh so cool, and made of glass and metal, they make the coolest little clinking noises, when combined with other metal objects.

And so I finally put together one of these necklaces for myself (after having made several for presents over the last few years).

The letter charm is from Tim Holtz ideogoly, and the fleur-de-lis may also be Tim Holtz, and the silver cone is some found object...I think it was an earring.
Simple, but I'm telling you, it makes the best sounds, like some magical wind chime in a secret forest of gnomes and fairies.  Sigh...back to reality, the house needs cleaning...

Altered Necklace

Friday, January 28, 2011

Altered Valentine Tags

Just to prove that I do in fact get up from my computer once in a while these days, here are a bunch of crafty altered art Valentine tags I've been working on.

Ever since having so much fun with Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas, I thought it would be fun to replicate some of the techniques in Valentine cards. I don't have nearly all the gadgetry like Vagabonds and Cricuts and dies, nor the vast variety of inking, painting, staining products such as were provided in the class at Memories Live On, but I do have plenty of stuff to paint, stamp or otherwise adhere to manila tags. And since I bought the manila tags in the convenient 100-pack, I could be busy at this for a while :-)

Just a sampling of the stuff used - grungeboard hearts and swirls, glossy accents on die-cut letters, ticket stickers, letter charms, hand-died trim and buttons, found objects (jewelry, washers), paper ephemera, ribbon, ric rac and trim, pearls, glitter and stamping, Stickles, glitter paint, and lots of glue!

Valentine Tags

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gnome Power Color Challenge

Here it is the last week of January, and I have been thinking all month about the challenges at Design House Digital, thinking I had all month to complete them. Well, now I have less than a week, but that's ok, for how long can it take to make a digital scrapbook page?
This page is for the Color Swatch challenge. A very interesting and unusual swatch collection this month, and what jumped out at me was the magenta color.
I just took this picture of a very full rose in the back yard this past weekend...I will remember this picture because somehow, when I went to take it with my phone, I lost my balance and tumbled down, phone flying, hitting the ground, cover breaking off into pieces.  Fortunately I was crouching and didn't have far to fall, and I was far enough away from the edge of the pool that I didn't fall in.
The things I do for pictures!

Gnome Power
Background - Jen Allyson Notions Blue, 
other papers - Deena Rutter Scarborough Fair, Katie Pertiet Color Challenge
Brushes - Jen Allyson Vanity Fair, Mary Ann Wise Flourish Brushes, Jessica Sprague
alphas - Jen Allyson Notions Blue, Jen Caputo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Apple Blossoms Blueprint Challenge

The weather continues to be sunny and warm in the afternoon, especially if you find a spot protected from any cool drafts or wind.
Such is the spot in which the apple tree sits in front of the house. It may not actually be my apple tree, depending upon where the property line is, but it is mine to enjoy.

I have to admit my surprise when I looked up and saw it was in bloom! in January!
And so I grabbed "the big camera" to get some close-ups of the apple blossom branches against the incredibly blue sky.
This was another challenge layout for Design House Digital, using a blueprint sketch.

Apple Blossom Blueprint
Background paper - Mary Ann Wise Spring Blossoms, other papers and brushes - Jen Allyson Vanity Fair, mask - Tiffany Tillman Artistic Photo Masks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Speed Scrap # 298 - The Fog Files

I cannot over emphasize the importance of photos to scrapping. Current photos. While I do occasionally dig into the photo archives, the most meaningful pages are freshly made, while the memories are clear, else the details could be a bit "foggy".

Fortunately, my ability to remember details lasts for at least a week, and so these pictures I took a week ago, when the fog lifted, were still fresh in my mind as I used them in a speed scrap sponsored by Scrap Matters.

Speed Scrap 298 Fog

The instructions:
1. Pick out one paper for you background. It can be patterned or solid but only use one.
2. Pick an odd number of photos. Choose one of these to be your focus and place it on your paper. Now place your other photos on each side of your focal photo but make them smaller.
3. Pick one element and place it in three different places around your photos so that it makes a triangle. (a visual triangle)
4. Use at least three of the following items: stitching, ribbon, glitter, flower, button
5. Put your title on a journal card or paper shape.
6. Add your date and at least one sentence of journaling.
7. Add anything else you feel your page needs, don't forget your shadows.

I love the challenge of following instructions like this and turning them into something creative.
Backgound paper is Mary Ann Wise Spring Blossoms, all gold elements (button, suns, glitter) from Christina Renee Color Theory, journal tag by Angie Young Journal Brushes, Stitching from Karla Dudley Essentials. Template is original. I am currently very much into rounded corners!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ah, It is Warming! Scraplift Challenge

Alas, is it too soon to hope for an early spring? Will that dreaded groundhog see his shadow? Will we have to turn the heat back on in the house?

Well, according to this past weekend, no, no, and no!

With the thermometer approaching 70 degrees, but still quite clear up here in the hills, the sky is brilliantly blue and things are beginning to bloom!
And not a beautiful thing goes by that I fail to notice!

I did this layout as a scraplift challenge from Design House Digital. For the first time, I was less literal in my lifting than usual, which I consider a good thing. Growth!
What I did lift was vertical blocking and stitching. The theme of the original page was 2011 goals. But I don't do goals, nor resolutions. They're not necessary when you are like Mary Poppins...practically perfect in every way :-)

Goals 2011 Scraplift

The papers, brushes and tag are from Jen Allyson's Vanity Fair collection, the stitches from Roseytoes and Karen Funk Simply Boyish. My favorite brads are from Sara Schmutz Happy Camper. 2011 word art from cajoline. Template is original.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Music Quotes Page 6

I am really looking forward to printing these musical layouts, cutting them apart into 6" squares, punching holes in the corners, and making a mini musical inspiration book. If I look at it all the time, only my favorite songs will be stuck in my head. 

Music Quotes P5

Template from Jessica Sprague Digi In Deep class, part of the week 3 homework assignment. Papers and elements from Jessica Sprague, additional papers from Jen Allyson Vintage Findings, Far Far Hill Vintae Papers.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Morning Walk in the 'Hood

The morning dawned bright and sunny, and with no obligations planned (other than the usual cleaning and crafting), it was off for the "loop". After a year in this neighborhood, we are still uncertain if the route we walk is officially the loop, but it is 4 miles and it is in a circle.

This morning we decided to be a little adventurous and walk further along the trail to the back road, go around the big hill and back into the neighborhood from the south eastern side.

We were rewarded with quite a bit of ruralness, some great views, and a giant bird of prey on a hillside. Oh and two additional miles of hiking!

Speed Scrap 299 Walk

Template - cschneider-templates-freebie4 (included all the flower and button elements).
Papers - EarlK Designs Neutrals, Rosietoes Dear Santa, Nutkin Tailz Designz Dotty Fun.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two Years Ago Today...Remembering Paris

I can remember it like it was yesterday, in fact, I can remember it better than yesterday. We got up early, nervous of course as I always am on a travel day, but particularly so because Tod and I were leaving Paris after 10 wonderful days, and, we were leaving Megan (and Laura) behind in Paris. 
For 5 months!

Megan was good enough to get up super early and take the Metro, all by herself, from Vaneau in the 6th to our apartment on Rue Violette in the 17th in order to say goodbye.

The driver was just a tad late, and the apartment manager quite early (and being so polite, she insisted on waiting with us...gotta love the French), and so there were these rather awkward, yet emotionally charged moments.

Then when the driver arrived, there was no time for lengthy goodbyes, as he was blocking the tiny street. And so we piled into the van and drove off.
I can still see your face and your wave goodbye! How I missed you those 5 months, but how I loved that you were in Paris!

And so when I bought a new French themed scrapbook kit last week, I thought it would be fun to go back 2 years to the day, find a few favorite photos, and use them in the speed scrap sponsored by Scrap Matters (I heart Speed Scraps!).
I was able to use my new photo editing skills to salvage the photo of Megan and Tod at the cafe in the main square in Montemarte (previously the faces were too dark to even recognize).

Remember Paris
Template is the Mary Ann Wise (DHD) Flourish Template, everything else from Wilma Squared Shabby Chic kit from Scrap Matters.  The Paris stamp is from Persnickety French Toile Girl kit.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Essential Stuff

Part 2 of the "My Essentials" assignment was to add another page to create a 2-page spread of "My Essentials". It took me a couple of days to think this one through. I used the time during the 2-hour return trip from San Francisco (how lovely it would be without traffic in the Bay Area!) to think about what I would present, then the "how" popped out at me...repetition!

Not only did I use some of the elements and papers from the right-side page, but I used repetition within this page to reinforce the theme.

I love how it turned out :-)

Essential Stuff Page

I was fortunate to find cartoonish elements for everything I wanted to represent. The gnome, pile of books and sewing elements are from Kitschy Digitals, Woodland Die Cuts and Granny's Sewing Basket kits. The camera is from Jessica Sprague's Cardmaking class, and the Eiffel Tower from ELO Designs French Touch.  The palette I picked up in public domain images.

Here's how the 2 pages look together.  I think I might switch left and right...
and maybe drag a transparency of the map from the edge of one page onto the other...
Lesson 3 Essentials

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Fog Has Lifted

We pay a premium to live in Northern California, and so when it is anything but sunny and warm, we have a right to complain. Lately, we've had quite a bit to complain about. Despite forecasts to the contrary, we have not had the anticipated sunny weather, and so today, when the fog finally lifted early in the day (promising a good solar power day), I hit the streets for a quick dose of sunshine and photography!

Fog LiftingFog Lifting

The fog lifted to reveal that brilliant blue that only happens here! Yes, that is me and my shadow, that's the point.
Tree Blue SkyShadows

The wild thistles on the Toulon Court hillside are already pushing up new leaves for the season.

Colors are so earthy and rustilicious!
BarkCrown of Thorns

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dig In Deep Lesson 3 - My Essentials

Digi In Deep Lesson 2 was a relatively easy lesson, but oh the power of learning little tricks in Photoshop! Like making a giant bracket shape! And using pattern overlays!

And the fun pre-assignment was to take a self-portrait in the mirror :-)
Who says you can't have fun when you're home alone :-)
(I discovered the fun mirror tunnel effect from the closet mirrors in our hallway. I am sure I will take hundreds of photos in the hallway before I tire of this photo effect!)

Self Portrait 1Self Portrait 2
Self Portrait 3

Lesson 3 Essentials

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekly Photoshop Homework Wrap-Up

Phew, I had so much homework to catch up on, trying to finish Digi In Deep in January so I am ready for Digi In Deeper in February.

First, the basic lesson 2 homework. I used 3 photos of Lily in the snow. While this may look similar to templates I've used in the past, everything was created from scratch, using the drawing, shape, text and brush tools.

Lily and the Snow

The next assignment in Lesson 2 was to use 1 large photo and a couple of small photos; I used a common paper frame for repetition, a simple color scheme - I chose gray, peach, purple, and leading lines to move the eye around the layout - I created circular elements/mats to get the eye to continue to move around, along with brush work, also in a circular pattern. I popped the tag with the warp/blur technique.
These are photos I took on our evening walk around my neighborhood, the pond and fountain on the 17th hole.

Sunset on 17th

Then, 8 more pages of my music mini-journal. This is an exercise in design, using repetition of shapes and elements for continuity, while also incorporating variety. I am really enjoying this creative exercise because it is causing me to review some of my favorite music, and as it gets stuck in my head, it's good!

Music Quotes P3

Music Quotes P4

And finally, I had to create a template with 8 elements - I created 3 photo blocks with frames, a grunge mat, title, journaling, brushes, and date circles. The brush is from Jessica Sprague DID Lesson 2, grunge frames by Sara Schmutz, everything else is original.

Lesson 2 Template

Then I used the template to scrap a few photos from my Project 365 file.

Lesson 2 Sky Scrapbook

Phew! And now I can start on Lesson 3 tomorrow!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Speed Scrap Saturday

I managed to participate in two speed scraps today (in between Photoshopping, house-cleaning, golf practice, finishing up my 12 tags of Christmas, and dinner with Megan and Will), one at noon from Scrap Matters, in which I finally finished up with the Christmas pictures.

Speed Scrap Xmas Presents
Queen of Quirk Quirky template, CorinnzCreationZ Christmas Kit papers, Karen Funk Color My World frames, CQ Queen Christmas kit elements, Christina Renee Basic Alpha.

And one at Design House Digital at 7 PM, which I didn't start until 7:45, but got done before 9. This one uses one of my P365 photos that I tool on the 3rd hole of the golf course the other day. With so much big sky and wind around us here on the hill, I love the wonderful cloud formations I get to see.
I also love this frame in a frame technique that was a key element of the instructions. I do need to learn how better to use paper tears...I don't think I quite got it right, but still love how the tear reveals the similarly themed butterfly and wildflowers underneath.

Speed Scrap One Fine Day

Papers - Mary Ann Wise Spring Blossoms, Sara Schmutz School Is In, Tear - Tiffany Tillman, Staples - Karla Dudley, word art - Gen Bursett One Fine Day, Laurie Ann, Katie Pertiet Remember Today, butterfly - cajoline, frames - Anna Aspnes Something Springy, brush - Laurie Ann Wildflower Brushes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Music Scraps

One of my homework assignment this week was to creat an 8-page mini scrapbook of quotes, to be used for inspiration, as well as to practice design principles.

I decided to use music instead of quotes. It was hard to pick favorites songs/lines, and not all of these necessarily represent my absolute favorites, but let's just say I have no problem with any of these being stuck in my head.
  And some have certainly been poignant in my life.
The design challenge was to use no more than 8 papers, 8 elements, no photos, use clipping masks, semi-transparency, divided pages, use size and color leaders, and contrast in type.

Music Quotes P1

Music Quotes P2
Starter template, blue paper and heart from Jessica Sprague Digi In Deep Lesson 1 kit. Additional papers - Jen Allyson Vintage Findings, Far Far Hill Vintage Papers, Jen Caputo and cajoline musical elements, Katie Pertiet word art, Nanly bicycle.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Speed Scrap Thursday - A Collage & Dim Sum

I love the speed scraps at Scrap Matters...somehow, they challenge me to do something different that I would not think of on my own, and each time, I have been thrilled with the results.

The fundamental design aspect of this layout was the requirement for it to be "sans photo". This was the perfect opportunity to do a collage!

Speed Scrap Time

Background paper by Jen Alyson Vintage Papers, Clock elements from Nanly, cajoline, ptitesouris, alpha is one of my favorites - Christina Renee Authentic Artistry, photos are public domain vintage ephemera, flower brushes from Mary Ann Wise Wildflower Brushes.

This next speed scrap was to have only 3 papers, no frames, contain food, and feature a number. I used a facebook photo of Megan, Jay and Tod at Jay's dim sum birthday lunch in San Francisco. Photo needed a lot of doctoring, including hanging lanterns to blot out the strangers in the background.  I used lots of newly acquired skills to cut, layer, brush, hang...
love the way this turned out!

Dim Sum Lunch

Most papers and elements from the November Blog Train - The Orient. Papers - Digilicious The Orient, Ruby Lane Orient Kit, Mask by Jen Maddocks The Orient, Mags Graphics Chinese Take Out cookie and chopsticks, Moon Designs The Orient coin, Royanna Studios The Orient lanterns, Delicious Scraps The Orient alpha.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


There are some photos I am drawn back to over and over, like these angel wing clouds that I captured over our valley this past summer...they made such an impression on me, it was such a sign.

I used 3 different photos in this layout for the Biograffiti Note to Self challenge, using the principle of repetition to help tell the story.

Note to Self Kindness

Template, plaid paper, clocks and butterflies from Karen Funk Make It Count, b/g paper, ric rac, bracket and frame from Biograffiti Note to Self Add-On, everyday word art from Jen Maddocks August collab kit.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More of the Biograffiti Challenge

A couple more of the scrapbook layouts I created for the Biograffiti challenge:

I love all the photos I get of Natalie, and treasure every one of them. They always make me laugh!

Natalie Fries Scrapbook
Papers and elements from Biograffiti Note to Self Add-On, template modified from Fran B Template 36, Word Art Circles by Angie Young.

And this one from Lisa, Crissy and Danny's trip here back in March of last year, not the best photo, and I think this needs a little more work, but still fun.

Nasti Family Scrapbook
Kate Teague So Tempting Template, iKari ABStamped Brown alpha, all other papers and elements from Biograffiti Note to Self Add-On.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rewards of Scrapping

This past week I worked my scrapping tail off on the challenge from Biograffiti to scrap to myself in the past with my current perspective. The prizes were formidable and worth the effort, for here were the results:

3rd place - $10 coupon to Biograffiti's store goes to dwsebiz

And now for the Biograffiti Creative Team Guest Spots....
September -- dwsebiz
October -- dwsebiz
November -- dwsebiz
December -- dwsebiz

That's right, I won a 4-month Creative Team guest stint. I have been trying to achieve being on a Creative Team, cause, well, I am creative :-)

I scrapped a total of 17 layouts, nothing compared to the overall winner who did 30! But still hard to achieve during a very busy work week. Some of them are too personal to share, but here are a couple of my favorites:

Note to Self - California
A collage of several original photos (San Francisco, Pacific Grove, Hollywood, San Diego) against background papers - Biograffiti Note to Self Add-On + Karla Dudley Sunkissed.
Elements (tag, word art, staples, bracket) from Biograffiti Notes to Self.
Journal mask - LivE Sun Fun Elements Galore.

Steampunk 2020
Biograffiti Note to Self Add-On papers, word art & staples, Steampunk Template/elements from HF Projekte, Christina Renee Plain Ole Epoxy alpha, cajoline Atelier de Couture glasses.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas - Part 2

It was much too aggressive to attempt to create 12 altered art tags, ala Tim Holtz, in a single day. And so we resumed yesterday and within the reasonable span of 7 hours, completed the rest of the 12 Tags of Christmas!

These are 2 of my favorite, numbers 7 and 9, all about peace! The amount of detail that goes into each one of these is rather staggering, but also brilliant!
The background of the peace card is ink embossed with wood grain, then colored with distress ink, then painted with smooshes of distress stickles in sand and brown. The poinsettia is not just glued in place. First canvas is colored with watercolor ink, then mounted onto sticky paper, then die cut into petals. Each petal is edge-inked and shadowed with distress stickles, the glued individually into place. The letters are die cut from grunge board, inked, then stamped, and overpainted with glossy accents.

The tag on the right wet-inked and pearl misted,m then edge-inked and distressed. The flower is made by stamping and inking, then die-perforating a strip which is formed into a rosette and glued into place with a puncked circle and some charms. The letters are die-cut, glued in place and accented with Glossy Accents Button and tulle are glued in place. Pearls and baubles are wired and string in place. The tag is finished off with brads along the bottom edge.
All the ribbons are hand-dyed.

Peace Tags

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Notes to Self Challenge - P4 Paris

I took hundreds of pictures when I was in Paris in March of 2009, but I keep returning to these two as my absolute favorites. Hardly any need to explain why.

This is yet another page in the Biograffiti challenge to look back and tell yourself something from today's point of view.

Note to Self - Paris

This started with a modified Danielle Moy template, several papers, elements and word art from the Note to Self add-on kit from Biograffiti, another paper from Biograffiti's oohlala kit, several papers and elements from Pixelbooking's French Toile Girl Blue kit, and several elements from cajoline's Love Paris kit.

This next layout actually a "re-do" of one I started earlier in the week with the same pictures, but I abandoned it, only to return and find I rather liked it, just needed a little tweaking.

Note to Self Paris

Biograffiti Note to Self Add-on paper & elements and Oooh La La paper, Tiffany Tillman Storyteller template, Pixelbooking French Toile Girl Blue stamps, Collab Girls Creation Love is in the Air Masks.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Notes to Self Challenge - P3 Pictures

It has become so easy to take pictures these days...I take pictures every day. Yet it was only about 10-12 years ago that digital cameras became popular. Before that, it seemed more of a luxury, and certainly not convenient. But I do wish I had taken more pictures to look back on, goofy hairdos and all.

I grabbed a random bunch of pictures to put together a note to self to take more pictures.

Note to Self - Take Pictures

I started with a template from Joey Lynn Designs (modified), papers and elements from Biograffiti Note to Self add-on kit, clocks from Karla Dudly Clock Worqs, clock stamp made from these elements.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Notes to Self Challenge - P2 The Sewer

Next up in my Notes to Self challenge, more of a "what if".
I can still clearly see the kitchen of our house in Newark, New Jersey, with the man from the art lesson company indicating I had some artistic talent (of course, would he say I didn't have talent, but spend your money on art lessons anyway??), my mom asking me if this was what I really wanted (I believe I said "yes"), then it goes blank...I guess mom sent him packing, I did not get art lessons, and so, many years later (we won't say how many), I still attempt to paint.
And then there was the "what I want to be when I grow up" assignment, somewhere around 2nd or 3rd grade. My brother found my assignment and asked incredulously, "You want to be a sewer?? (as in, the hole in the ground for run-off sewage). That career, too, waited for a later period in life.

But, all in all, perhaps things worked out for the best.

Note to Self - Artist

Note to Self add on kit from Biograffiti, modified Biograffiti creative juice #21 template. Argyle paper from Sara Schmutz Color Wheel. Sewing elements from Kitschy Digitals Grandma's Sewing Basket