Thursday, May 31, 2012

Green Day in San Francisco

Almost kits and new challenges...I love the beginning of the month!

 First a couple of pages made with a new kit from Jen Maddocks, Green Day.   I loved the rich color of this background paper and the curly frames, plus the hexagons are so cool for tucking behind things.

The pictures are from Mother's Day, walking up Telegraph Hill toward Coit Tower.  The houses were even higher up the hill, and this one had beautiful colorful shrubs in front, and a path through them that looked like a stairway to heaven!

Mothers Day House O 

Here is the preview for Green Day available at Zig Zag Scrap.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mother's Day in North Beach

Before moving on to the festivities of Memorial Day weekend, I should finish up with Mother's Day. 

This picture was taken in front of the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Washington Square park in North Beach. It is also a sneak peak at the June collab kit at Oscraps.   More to come!

Mothers Day June Dand Days

Here is the preview for this pretty summer kit:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hybrid Digital Photo Books

This was written for the Oscraps blog:

You do of course print your masterpiece layouts, right?

For the prolific scrapper, this can be time consuming and expensive. But it seems nearly every week there is an offer from a photo printing company for discounts or free books. But there is always a catch, usually in the form of a fast-approaching expiration date. 

I struggle with this all the time. I love to print my layouts, and sometimes I want to use a book format, especially if I have a series of layouts that are subject specific, for example a particular vacation or a set of people or even a season. But unless I am working toward this goal, it is not unusual for me to find myself short of the requisite 20-page minimum needed for a photo book. Now the pressure is on. I need to scrap "x" more pages in a short period of time so I can use this photo book coupon/discount/deal. 

Been there? If so, I have a solution for you! I came up with this recently while pondering how to use a free 8x8 book offer from Shutterfly (I have no professional relationship with Shutterfly, I am just a good customer and really like their products and service).

Mix it up with hybrid digital!

I have to admit, I don't know if this will work with all photo-printing companies, but I know it works really well at Shutterfly, and am almost positive this can be done at Blurb. All you need is the ability to combine full-bleed pages, also represented as single-photo pages, with other formats. The idea is to mix your digital full-bleed pages with pages of photos using the company-provided templates. I know, perhaps not an earth-shattering idea, but with this simple idea, I was recently able to get two really nice books done without having to scrap a bunch more pages. And I am thrilled with the results! 

My first effort was for a Spring 2012 book. I found I had made several predominantly floral layouts, but I only had 14 pages. The thought of creating 6 more pages plus covers was daunting, and not going to be done before the book offer expired. I created a simple cover (products from Dido Designs Earth Song): And several of the pages consisted of 2-page spreads of coordinating layouts, like these: (products from Oscraps collab Hello Sunshine and Dido Designs Earth Song)  

But to fill the pages, I combined digital layouts with photos filled in to Shutterfly-provided templates. It was exciting to be using up some of the additional photos, plus being able to see side-by-side how I use some of my photos in digital layouts. (Products from Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palette Crazy Life) This template on the left was a very dramatic large photo with a smaller one on top, making for a very yellow hybrid-digital spread about spring daffodils (products from Dido Designs). There are many options for collage-like templates, perfect for floral photos. I didn't fuss with these much, just adjusted the placement of photos a bit (products from Anna Aspnes). The templates are also a good starting point, but are customizable. For example in this next page, I isolated one of the photos against a black background to match some of the black in the facing digital page (products from Anna Aspnes).  

I was so happy with the results, I used the hybrid digital method again to document a trip to San Diego. Coincidentally, once again I had 14 digital pages done. I needed 6 more pages, plus covers. I decided to make slight modifications to two of the pages for the covers, as this was quickest (products from Maya de Groot). And because I really wanted to start the book with digital pages, I created a two-page spread showing the hotel views and the first thing we did, go to a local farmer's market (templates from Anna Aspnes). As with the other book, there are pages with already made digital pages, coordinated and placed side-by-side (products from Oscraps collab Soiree): And then I turned to my hybrid-digital idea for several pages. I love this spread showing multiple photos from the San Diego Botanical building in a hybrid page on the left, with my daughter in the midst of them, facing a digital page featuring one of the beautiful orchids (products from Maya de Groot). This spread uses a simple single-photo template on the left, facing a digital page of the Belmont roller coaster on the right (template from Anna Aspnes). In this next spread, on the right is the page I modified for use on the back cover, facing a simple layout using three additional photos of the Hotel Del Coronado (products by Maya de Groot).  

 I finished up this book with a simple set of 9-photo template pages using photos from San Diego's Gaslight District.  

I am now hooked on this hybrid digital approach. Another advantage, besides saving time, is that it uses up more pictures that what I have managed to capture in my digital layouts. For me that is important, because I want to make sure as many of my photos as possible are printed and are contributing to my photo-story legacy. 

 If you have any questions or additional ideas for hybrid photo books, I am all ears! I am toying with the idea of including some blank pages into the photo books for hybrid-scrapping of related ephemera. I hope you find this idea useful. Now go forth and make books!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Week 21

In which David and Asako visited from Japan and there was an annular eclipse of the sun!

Week 21

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy 75th to the GGB

I went back and forth...I want to go, it will be too much trouble to go, I want to go, it will be expensive to go, I want to go, but it will be hard to take in the daytime activities and the nighttime fireworks.  In the end, we went, and yes it was trouble, and yes it was expensive, and yes it was hard to last all day and all night, but I am so glad we did, for the celebration of the 75th birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge was something special!

There are sure to be tons of scrapping pages about the event to come, but first, how to pick a photo of the day.  Although we didn't go too overboard, there are some 200 odd pictures, mostly of the bridge in some form or another.

This is one of my favorites, not only because I think it is a great shot, but because in all my 25 years of living here, I have never been to this beach before, at the far end of Crissy Field, just before the Warming Hut.  It was beautiful to be standing near the ocean under the Golden Gate Bridge!

GGB from Crissy Field 
But what also made it special was sharing it. This was attempt number 3 at a self-portrait, so my smile has waned a bit, but nice evidence that Mr AC and I were there together.  This was also after about 5 miles of walking, so we were a bit tired as we rested on the wall.  Imagine how we looked after mile 13!

And Ms AC & Sam-I-Am were able to join us for dinner and the fireworks, viewed from Fort Mason Green. The fireworks were so exciting, I forgot my tired feet and was able to walk back to the hotel at Fisherman's Wharf and go out again to Pier 39 for a little dancing before calling it a night!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Skipping Stones

There is no doubt in my mind, memories are made stronger and more poignant via scrapping.  Reviewing pictures, cataloging and indexing pictures, archiving pictures, choosing pictures to use on scrapbook pages...all contribute to cementing the memories more firmly in the mind.

This week's Ann Lift was a very pretty page about skipping stones, des ricochets.  But it was two small pictures on a very white background.  I don't so this style, but I do French skipping stones!

The subject reminded me of our visit to the canal St Martin in northeastern Paris when I visited Ms AC there in March of 2009.  I so wanted to be able to stand out on the locks and skip stones for the camera, but it was not accessible.  But still I was able to get pictures of the canal and locks.
AnnaLift 0531 Canal St Martin

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Painted Ladies

One last challenge for May, the copycat challenge. A lovely template with 3 little photos...I just don't do little photos, so I blew them up a bit, use a paper mask for more photos, and added another large photo in the background.

These are all pictures of a row of painted lady Victorians on Waller Street, the next block up from Haight, in San Francisco.   While the houses are beautiful, on a somewhat gray day they didn't look all that colorful in the photos, so I boosted the colors a bit with some color masks.

I love these houses, so beautiful, with so many gorgeous details.

Painted Ladies Copycat 
Credits: Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Seafoam, Metro Graffiti and Photographie.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Venice Revisited

I read something, been a couple of months now, that really stuck with me.  I think it was a photographer, and I cannot remember the exact context, but the message was, if you don't print your photos, some day they may be lost.

This is quite an important message in this digital photography era, in which thousands of photos are taken each year, then, as technology changes, do we make sure we preserve these photos?  
I remember in the early days of digital, when you sent the film away for processing, the photos came back with a diskette.  Who has a diskette reader anymore??  Fortunately, these pictures are printed.

And so, I am trying to make a better effort toward printing my pictures, so as not to lose precious memories.

Thus I used a free Shutterfly book (thank you, Kelly!!) to print just some of the pictures from our trip to Venice in 2009.  Not too much fussy, not a digital scrapbook, just making sure the pictures are printed

Create your own personalized photo books at

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 20

In which Mother's Day was celebrated, flowers bloomed,
and silliness was exhibited by wabbits and sams.

Week 20

Sunday, May 20, 2012


We know it as the go-to word in Words with Friends.  It is especially lucrative if you can play it simultaneously both horizontally and vertically, and if on a  triple letter, can be worth 62 points.

If you ever bothered to look it up in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, you would see that the definition of "za" is "pizza".  Now, I didn't know that slang shortened and altered Americanisms were acceptable words, but hey, I don't make up the scrabble rules.

To be official, it is apparently also both the 11th and the 17th letters of the Arabic alphabet.

Most importantly, it is where I had the most delicious Mother's Day lunch pizza, at Za on Hyde Street, Russian Hill, with views of the cable car passing by periodically.

While still closed, there was a gate across the front with "ZA" painted on the grating.  Once open, the neon sign, and the smells of freshly-baked pizza, welcomed one inside the tiny little locally place with the friendliest pizza staff I have ever encountered.  Well, there was that nice Venetian boy who smilingly served up a slice of pizza from a window where it had to be about 1000 degrees inside on a hot Venetian night.

But I digress...

"Za" is the subject of my AnnaLift this week.

AnnaLift 0525 Za
Credits: Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palette Metro Graffiti, Original FotoBlendz No 5, frame from the Oscraps collab Tango, word art from Anna Aspnes Artsy Layered template No 42, Anna Aspnes Warm Glows No 1

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Got Goats?

Why yes, we do.  450 of them, to be exact.  Yes, it is May and the first herd of goats have arrived to clear the Silver Creek hillsides!

Journaling: It’s May...the rainy season is over, the grasses and weeds stand tall and are rapidly browning, turning the hills the characteristic color of this the ‘Golden State’. This also means fire season, so to keep things come the goats! For the 3rd summer since we have been here in Silver Creek, May marks the arrival of the goats to munch on the hillsides, clear the grasses and weeds, and leave some fertilizer behind. I love watching the goats, each of them with their own ‘voice’, veritable eating machines. And I love that we use goats instead of noisy gas-powered mowers and blowers!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Circles & Splats & Bikes...Oh MY!

Pictures of bike riding in San Diego, with new kits from Jen Maddocks,Circle It 3 and 4, and Splatter Me Alpha.

Bike Ride 1

Bike Ride 2

Bicycle Love

It was really fun forming these circles into masks, frames and brushes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

AnnaLifting Mother's Day

Picture taken in front of Coit Tower on Mother's Day. 

AnnaLift  057 Mothers Day 

Credits: Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes: Girl Craze (background), Sophistica (behind photo), Crazy Life (heart), Everyday, Special One (alpha circles), Sweet Christmas (brad), Personalized Frames No 1 [ link ]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Streets of San Francisco

My Mother's Day treat, after pizza at Za, was walking to North Beach, which I love, and taking pictures, which I love, and now, making them into artsy pages, which I love!

This lovely yellow house with wisteria dripping over the doorway was on the way to Coit Tower.  I especially loved the golden blocky letters and numbers on the door, so I used this for the web inspiration challenge this month at Oscraps, which was about blocky letters.

In the background is he gate and doorway from another house on Oak, just before you get dumped onto Octavia, where there is always traffic and therefore time to take pictures.

San Francisco 463ABC 

Uses  Anna Aspnes Artsy Layered Template No 42, with Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Original No 1, Find My Way 2, and Anna Sampler No 2.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Week 19

In which I twisted my ankle while climbing down the hill from watching the goats, the azalea in the back yard started blooming, we went to see Dark Shadows, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo, and Megan used her Del Uva Groupon before it expired.

Week 19

Monday, May 14, 2012

Booking San Diego Done

I struggled with the darn covers, I never seem to be able to understand the dimension instructions and get it right, but it is good enough. After all, it is about the pictures and the memories, not the print alignment...sheesh. 
You'll love award-winning Shutterfly photo books. Start your own today.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Booking San Diego

I've done so many wonderful pages with the pictures from San Diego, I've decided to do a book with them.  That always sounds easier than it actually is.  Even once I have 20 pages, there are the covers.

But for now, two more pages completed, featuring the views from our balcony at the hotel Bahia, and some of the pictures from the farmer's market attended in Little Italy.

These both use Anna Aspnes FotoInspired layouts, some of the same ones used for weekly pages.  I like these because with just a few little embellishments, they are done!

San Diego Bahia Hotel

San Diego Little Italy

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

San Diego Botanicals

It was a breezy but beautiful sunny day when we went up the hill to Balboa Park.  The park was mobbed, which was fun to see, so many people enjoying the beauty of nature and all the park has to offer.

One stop, the Botanical Building, where there was a display of amazing and beautiful orchids.  I don't know much about orchids, but I admired the beautiful forms and colors.

Then along came some new kits from Maya, and I decided to showcase some of the pictures the way I love to scrap florals, with large pictures.

Aren't they gorgeous, and the kits perfect??

These are Maya de Groot's Template Set 8, each featuring a large focal photo, with two new kits, Travelers Treasure Box and APP-solute Basics.

San Diego Orchids 1

San Diego Orchids 2

San Diego Orchids 3

Love templates with large photos!

And love these beautifully colored papers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Del

Anyone who has been to San Diego, in particular Coronado, knows the Del. A magnificent and historic hotel, the model for the Grand Floridian at Disney World, the epitome of old-world luxury.

Scrapped with Maya de Groot's Traveler's Treasure Box, full of wonderfully rich vintage colors and elements.

Hotel Del Coronado

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pond Iris Redo

A challenge to redo an old layout in Anna-style.

Here is the old one...never like it, no matter how much I played and tweaked. I think it was too much yellow, and the beautiful photo that I blended into the background was lost.

TT 13 Pond Iris Pictures, Images and Photos

And the redo...same photos, much paler background to showcase the colors, a progression of photos by size, better titling, grunge, etc.

But still not sure I like it...
 Pond Iris Redo

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week 18

In which the goats arrived at Silver Creek.

Week 18 
Credits: Anna Aspnes FotoInspired Layouts Nos 1, 6 & 11, Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palette Everyday

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Roller Coaster in San Diego

Started as an iNSD speed scrap at Design House Digital, but since my computer decided to stop cooperating, I had to abandon the speed scrap.  Once I got everything back up and running, this just took its own coarse.

This is the historic wooden roller coaster at Mission Beach San Diego, the Giant Dipper, built in 1925 as part of the Belmont Part Amusement Center, by the San Diego real estate entrepreneur John D. Spreckels.

The original coaster was built by a crew of 100 to 150 people in two weeks as the centerpiece of the Mission Beach Amusement Center (now known as Belmont Park). It reportedly cost $50,000 to build including the two 18 passenger trains and featured 2,600 feet of track. It opened for business on July 4, 1925.  The coaster became very popular in the 1940s and '50s but by the late '60s it had fallen into disrepair. It closed in 1976.

In the early 1980s, people began calling for the demolition of the coaster, as it had been in disrepair and became a home for local transients. A date for the demolition was set, but a group of citizens calling themselves the "Save the Coaster Committee" intervened and had the Giant Dipper designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987 (National Register Number 78000753). Also known as the "Earthquake", it is one of two large wooden scaffolded roller coasters with structural integrity that remain on the West Coast, the other being the wooden coaster in Santa Cruz.

A few years later, the San Diego Seaside Company was formed to restore the coaster to operation. $2 million was spent on the restoration. New trains, manufactured by Morgan Manufacturing, seated 24 riders per cycle in six four-person cars. On August 11, 1990, the Giant Dipper was reopened to the public. The response was so strong that a second train was eventually added to the coaster.

Belmont Roller Coaster 
Credits: Anna Aspnes: Original ForoBlenz No 5, ArtPlay Palette Wander, ArtPlay Palette Crazy Life, Wild Word Transfers No 1, Oscraps Collab Tango, DHD iNSD Kit Retrospect