Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Sleepover!

After this weekend I have decided that perhaps a girl never grows to old for sleepovers! Especially if they include hours upon hours of scrapbooking! Friday evening Susan Beth and I went to Tamara's house to craft and spend the night. It was MARVELOUS! We had SO MUCH FUN working on projects and gabbing and looking through pictures and drooling over Tamara's new stamps and punches and then, of course, playing with said stamps and punches! I can't say that I came away with a ton of layouts finished, but I did make a few more complicated ones that I really like! Plus I chiseled away at Eliana's stack of pictures, so that's always good. We stayed up and scrapped until 2 am, then got up and back at it around 7:30. I almost couldn't sleep, tired though I was, because ideas were just swimming through my head. Thankfully I did fall asleep and I even remembered my ideas the next morning! So it was a productive crafting affair and once I put the finishing touches on some of the layouts I'll have something to share with you.

The Craft Room... (part 1)

Well, one of these days my craft room will be completely, perfectly, beautifully clean and organized. Of course, then I'll probably want to play in it and mess it all up again. So I thought I'd take pictures of it as I clean and organize and then, perhaps, you'll have a decent look at the changes I've made. I posted pictures of my craft room once before, but that was 2 years ago and it's changed a bit since then. So here is part 1 of my craft room tour:

This is one of three craft tables in my craft room. Aside from a place to work, it also houses my ribbon, cricut mats, some embellishment storage, and my computer corner! Here's a closer look at some of my storage solutions...

My homemade clip-it-up system! I used a rod from Ikea that we originally had in the kitchen when we lived in Iowa. It held our pots and pans. Then when we moved we didn't have a home for it, so we just kept it in the basement in a corner. Then one day I realized that I could hang it off my peg board and use it as the base for a storage system! I bought ringed curtain clips from Joanns and it works pretty well for storing alphabets and other embellishments. I still have a lot of embellishment filed away in the old system, but this is what I'm transitioning to.

This is the same ribbon storage solution I had a couple years ago, but I moved it to the other side of the peg board so that I could put different things over the other table. It's still a great solution for spooled ribbon and I love it!

For all of my ribbon scraps and unspooled ribbon, this is my solution. I either put the ribbon on cards or in little bags and hang them on the hooks. Each hook can hold 5-7 bags, so it's easy to thumb through them when I need to see what I have. It's a great way to keep ribbon scraps accessible for those times when you just need a few inches to complete a project! The holder is, I think, supposed to hold spools of thread or cards with DMC floss. I think. I got it at a consignment sale a few years ago when I bought two magazine racks. I got all 3 for $2, so I didn't care if I ever found a use for this since it was basically free. But now I'm glad I have it because it makes for a great storage solution!

And, of course, my computer corner! I'm really shocked that I was able to go for so long without a computer in my craft room. Granted I just brought my lap top down, but this has been SO nice to have down there! It makes it so easy to scan projects or hook up to my Cricut or watch hulu / listen to music / blog while I craft. It's great! Thank you, LEIF, for getting it all set up for me! =D

So there you have it. A mini tour of part of my craft room. Look for the other installments of this tour coming soon! =D

Friday, May 30, 2008

Building up the stash...

I got a little time to play last week, so I started building up my card stash. I wasn't in the mood for a full-blown crafting session, so I stamped this scalloped circle with 'thank you' (I think it's from an Inkadinkado clear set) and sat in front of the TV while I colored. I love my Copic markers, and this was a chance to play with them again. Nothing too fancy, but it was a relaxing way to spend the evening. I used premade cards from a DCWV set I got a while back, and I used the same wide ribbon on each of the cards. They're all different colors, but they worked well enough that I could use the same ribbon and use up some of my stash! It's nice to add to the card stack now that I used all my Thank You cards for Protocol and will need more soon! Here's a closer look at the four color schemes:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vintage Photo Cards

The challenge this week was to make a card with a photo, so here are a few for you to see! All of the pictures are old family pictures we have, and I scanned them in and printed them for the cards. I love these old family photos, especially the ones with writing on the back. The picture of the couple on the last card has written on the back, "Why girls leave home." Isn't that great?! I love it.

I taught these four cards as a class this week at Keepsakes and I have to admit that I like how some of the girls' cards came out much better than mine! For one, I printed the pictures a little differently so they weren't as yellow. That helped! Then on the last card some of the girls chose to use pink crackle paint instead of the brown and it was absolutely perfect! I really wish I could have sent my sample home with them and swiped one of theirs to keep instead! Oh well. I'll just have to keep it in mind if I decide to make any more of these in the future!

Good Luck!

Tonight was Petra Academy's graduation. It's sort of funny, but the three years I taught there we didn't have any seniors, so we didn't have any graduations. The last two years, though, we have, and I have been so happy to attend the celebration for these students. This year *my* kids graduated. I don't know why I think of this class in particular as *mine*, but I do. Perhaps because they were 10th graders my last year (Latin is only taught through the 10th grade, so it was their last year in my subject). Perhaps because I feel like I prayed through so many ups and downs with these students, even more than the other classes. I don't know, but it was an honor to attend their graduation. I will continue to pray for them as they go off to college and wish them all the best in the years to come. Good luck!

Masculine Cards from Scenic Route

I am really no good at making masculine cards. I don't know why, I'm just not. But I decided my stash needed a few more masculine cards, so while I was playing with my Scenic Route paper I made these two:

I think that first one is my favorite masculine card ever! At least that I've made so far... This particular sheet of paper lends itself well to masculine cards, and the stamp makes them nice for whatever occasion I need. Now I just need to stock up!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Update on the ice cream bars...

Well, I ventured a peek (and taste!) at the ice cream sandwiches after the freezer incident. Let's just say I wouldn't call it a success story. Yeah... they taste all right, but the texture is completely off and they aren't much to look at anymore.

I'm sorry, little ice cream sandwiches... I'll try to be more careful in the future.

Scenic Route Love

I love Scenic Route. I think I've shared that before. More than anything I LOVE the scrap strip paper that have with just about every line. I can't pass by it without getting some for cards. Well, one of the last times I was at the LSS I picked up this sheet from the Grafton line:

I had so much fun with it! These papers make it SO easy to whip out cards in no time! Here are four of the ones I made up the other day, and I'll have two more from the same set to show you tomorrow. I used a stamp from this Inkadinkado stamp set:

I love the stamp because it means I can make up cards in advance and just check off what the occasion is when I go to use the card! It makes stockpiling cards a little easier.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Green Bean Surprise!

What happens when you go digging in the big freezer to find tortillas and you pull everything out only to learn that there are no tortillas in your freezer? If you're like me you go back into the house to tell your husband that there are no tortillas and he tells you that dinner is ready and you sit down to eat and forget all about the food in the garage (which was once in the freezer and now is not) until the next morning when you go out to the car to get something and notice all that food sitting about, outside of the freezer. OOPS.

Yeah, that is sort of what happened last week. Well, more than sort of. That's pretty much exactly what happened last week. Thankfully it had been a cool week, so the food was still cold (a lot of the food was still mostly frozen) and we mostly had things like flour, bread, and cheese that could survive a little thawing and re-freezing without too much harm. I think the ice cream sandwiches suffered the worst of it, but I haven't had the heart to open up the box to see how they fared. I guess we'll find out when I go craving an ice cream sandwich next time.

There were, however, a few items that we chose to use immediately instead of toss back into the freezer, so it was a day of processing and cooking. We had a giant bag of green beans from Costco that I bought a long time ago and had never used, we had a ham that I'd made a couple months ago and frozen half of, there was some chopped vidalia onion waiting to be used, and a couple large bags of blueberries. I made some green bean casserole (my way- not the traditional fried onion and mushroomy way), some fried green beans (which are pretty good!) and I started making some stew with the remainder of the green beans. Leif made 3 batches of homemade blueberry ice cream. Mmm.

I wasn't sure what sort of stew to make with the green beans, but we had some carrots in the fridge, too, so I figured I could make some sort of stew. I dumped the green beans and onions into the crock pot, then saw the ham and decided to chop that up and toss it in too. At this point I decided against the carrots, since I didn't think carrots and ham go together. So I had a crock pot full of green beans, chopped onion, and ham (with a little bit of pineapple, since that is what the ham had originally been cooked in). I added some chicken broth and turned the crock pot on low, hoping to have some yummy stew at the end of the day.

It didn't magically turn into stew.

But it DID turn into some of the best green beans I've ever had! SURPRISE! It was really good! I don't usually eat onion, but this was a good way to eat them. We had them with dinner that night (we ended up having dinner with the neighbors who brought over smoked chicken and baked potatoes) along with some blueberry ice cream. I liked them so much I ate them for breakfast the morning after that! Mmmm.... good green beans.

So there you have it. THAT's what happens when you accidentally let your food thaw out and decide to use it right away. I don't recommend it, but at least the story has a happy ending.


It's the last week of the month and that means it's time for a WILD CARD CHALLENGE! This week it's not too wild, but perhaps a bit out of the ordinary.... This week your challenge is to USE A PHOTO (or more) ON YOUR CARD! You can do it however you want, but just make sure there's a photo on there! This is a great way to use up some of the pictures you printed but didn't use on a layout or some of those double prints from back in the film days. Do you love to take landscape pictures but don't know how to scrap them? Put them on a card instead! Go ahead and give it a try... and don't forget to link back here so I can see what you've done!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cricut Play

This is my first project with the Cricut Design Studio software. It's nothing too fancy, but it was fun to make and it gave me a little more practice with the CDS and my Cricut. And I got to use my new Jasmine cartridge, too! I love that I was able to cut this whole thing in one swipe by putting two colors of paper on my mat and arranging the cuts accordingly. The Cricut is so nice because once you have designed your cuts, you just sit there while it does all the work! It really is pretty amazing.

My favorite thing about the banner is the glittery letters...

I intended to have the letters just plain white (because the mat would show through the letter cut out) but when I ran the letter panels through my Xyron I discovered that the adhesive stretched across the letter openings and made them sticky. Instead of de-tacking them one by one I just poured glitter over it and voila! I have glittery letters with no extra effort!

I don't know what my plan for the banner is just yet, but I will probably try to hang it in Eliana's room somewhere. I have plans to make more banners, too. I want to make larger ones for birthday or baby shower decorations - wouldn't they be cute??

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cricut Design Studio - Product Review

A number of months ago I purchased the Cricut Design Studio software to use with my Cricut Expression. I found it for a good price (though I have since seen it on clearance at Joann's for much cheaper!) and was excited to have it. I delayed installing it on my laptop, since it had overheating issues and I was sure CDS would be too much for the sick laptop to handle. A month and a half ago or so I finally got a computer down in my craft room (woohoo!) and just recently I got a new laptop that doesn't overheat and shut down several times a day. So last night, for the first time ever, I pulled the Design Studio out of the box and installed it on my computer in the basement!

I played and cut with it some last night, just a little bit. There are some HUGE advantages to using the CDS software over just your Cricut. First, you can see exactly what you are cutting and where, so there's no guesswork as to paper placement on your cutting mat. That is wonderful! You can really make the best use of your paper by arranging things where you want them and making sure that they line up just right on your paper. You can stick down several different papers in different places on the mat and design accordingly so you can make all your cuts at once from a few different papers. You can also weld letters together to make words, which is great! That's a feature I plan on using a lot. Actually, I plan to do all my designing and cutting from the computer now, since it is so much easier than using the touchpad and screen on the Cricut!

Unfortunately, just in my first hour of playing with the CDS software, it's obvious that there are some areas that could use some serious improvement. It would be great if there was a way to erase lines you didn't want cut, or to fill in frames that you've made so they are just solid blocks. Right now I can't figure out a way to do either. There are also a few things they could do to make maneuvering the cuts on the mat a little easier. But all told, it's pretty good.

So far I'm enjoying playing with it. I made my first real "project" with the Cricut and Design Studio today, so hopefully I can get pictures of it up soon. It's pretty simple, but I did it all in one cut, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. And that's always good, right?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brayer Masking Tutorial

For those of you who own a brayer and don't know what to do with it, here's a little tutorial for you. I use a Speedball brayer, and it comes with a tan roller. The roller will get stained with use, so don't worry if it gets discolored with time. Treat it like you treat a stamp - ink it up, use it, and clean it off after use. You can clean it the same way you do your stamps, too. To make sure it's clean, just roll it on a sheet of scrap paper and make sure there is no ink left on it.

For this card I used my brayer, a piece of cardstock, three colors of ink (all shades of blue), heidi swapp butterfly masks, and some homemade die cut masks.

The first step to using your brayer is to ink it up really well. You want to roll it towards you on the ink pad, starting at the back and moving forward. When you get to the front of the pad, lift the brayer straight up and start at the back again, rolling forward. Do not roll the brayer back and forth on the pad as this will only ink part of the roller. To get continuous inking, you will need to roll in one direction only. Ink it over and over until the entire roller is covered with an ample amount of ink. For this card we will be working with the lightest color first, and will graduate from lightest to darkest as we go.

Once your brayer is thoroughly inked, start brayering your paper. I put down the butterfly masks before I started inking for this card. Roll your brayer back and forth both directions on the paper and work the ink thoroughly into the paper. When you start rolling, you may get harsh lines from the edge of the brayer, but keep moving it around and working the ink into the paper and those lines should disappear. Roll the brayer until no more ink comes off it. If the paper is not evenly covered, re-ink the brayer and work on the places that need more coverage.

After I inked the paper with the light blue, I used die cut butterflies to create a secondary mask. These butterflies will be the color we just inked. To make your own mask, just apply some low-tack or removable adhesive to the back of the die cut and apply it to the paper where you don't want the darker ink. I used ZipDry liquid adhesive, but there are others out there. If you have a small die, you could just cut the shape from a post it note and use that as your mask.

Once you have the lightest color applied, ink your brayer with the next darkest color. If you are working within the same color family (all blues, etc.) and going from light to dark, you do not need to clean the brayer off between inkings. If you are changing color families or applying a lighter color over a darker one, you will want to clean the brayer before changing colors. After you have thoroughly inked your brayer, apply the ink to the card front, getting it as close to the edges and corners of the masks as possible. You will be left with a small halo around the masks.

To get rid of the halo and get the finest detail from your masks, use the same color ink or darker (I used a slightly darker ink to create a subtle shadow) and sponge around the edges of the masks.

Once you are finished, pull the masks off the cardstock and it is easy to see the color gradations on the card.

I finished off my card by highlighting the edges of the masked shapes with a white pen, making dotted trails, then stamping glittered swirls around the edges, and adding a sentiment.

There are lots of things you can do with a brayer. This is just one idea showcasing the masking technique. Don't forget to leave me a link in the comments if you participate in the MIM card challenge this week - there will be a giveaway coming up for those who participate and you won't want to miss it!

Brayer Techniques...

Just for Tam, I'm going to try to work up a little tutorial on brayering. I can't promise anything too fancy, but I will try to come up with something. In the meantime, I'll send you to some of my favorite cards (and how to make them) by the blogger who got ME to start using my brayer: the one and only Michelle Zindorf. She is the brayer queen! Here are some of my favorites:

Still winter
At the end of the day
Sunset wheat
My heart is with you

So now that you have a little know-how, ON WITH THE BRAYERING! =D

MIM Card Challenge...

This week your challenge is to make a card using a... BRAYER! Most stampers have them, and most of them just sit on our shelves. So pull it down, dust it off, ink it up, and have fun! Here are some to get your creative juices flowing...

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Just a little note to say that I AM still alive... my parents are just here visiting, so the blog has taken a bit of a back seat to them. =D

But the good news is that I've been making progress on the craft room with my mom keeping me company while I clean, so chances are I'll be able to start creating again soon. WOOHOO!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

MIM Challenge

This week is a product / technique challenge...

Use alcohol inks.

That's it! Use them however you'd like, but use them! Here's an idea to get you going...

Monday, May 12, 2008

NSD Projects: Part 6

The final project from National Scrapbooking Day! This is my second favorite from the class. I'm sure I've got some travel photos from some trip or another that I haven't scrapped yet that I can put in this album. This one I love and would probably make again! (Which is cool, since I already have a second set of supplies for it from my door prize!!) This project used a TON of products from the new Heidi Swapp Travel line, which I LOVE!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NSD Projects: Part 5

This was the quickest of the NSD projects. It really just entailed cutting paper for the inside of the cover, then putting foil glitter flock rub ons on the surface of the cover. I love those rub ons, so it was fun to play with. I'm not a checkbook carrier, but this has a calendar inside and I think I'll use this as a year-in-review mini album instead. A good place to put the extra pictures from this year!

Happy Mother's Day!!

Here's the project I made my mom for Mother's Day. I originally got this idea from Kristii and was going to take her class on it at the LSS, but it got canceled so I just made my own. And I LOVE how it turned out!

Happy Mother's Day, MOM! I love you!

(The best part is that my mom flew in yesterday, so I really DO get to spend Mother's Day with her! I had this waiting on her bed for her when she arrived yesterday.)

Here are a few more details of the project...

Instead of the single large photo used in Kristii's project, I chose to use a cascade of photos from several generations.

I guess I'm not completely over the butterflies yet, but I love that the music from these comes from some antique sheet music I have that I scanned in and printed out. A little touch of digital goes a long way!

I'm especially excited about the cameo I used as a flower center. I knew I could do something cool with this when I bought it a year or more ago. But what has me excited most is that I painted it with my alcohol inks to get it just the right color for this project. It's always exciting when something works the way you want it to!

And just for good measure, another look at the whole project, with the shadow box lid open to remove any glare from the glass. I'm sorry the class I was going to take got canceled, but I love how this turned out, so I guess I'm glad after all! Thanks for the inspiration, Kristii!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

NSD Projects: Part 4

I wasn't as impressed with this project, mostly because it was so similar to (only more complicated than!) Ellie's baby announcements. And I made 40 of those.

Again, I used the back sides of all of the papers, so my tag album (you'll notice my little tags aren't shaped like tags, either, but file folders...) is peach and white with tiny polka dots instead of green stripe and green polka dot. I liked these colors much better! Ever the rebel...

Friday, May 09, 2008

NSD Projects: Part 3

This is another project that ended up looking nothing like the sample. I used the "back" of the paper (the green strip) instead of the front (which was a blue stripe - I didn't like the blue with the maroon and yellow!) and those cut out flowers on the front were supposed to be three flaps for hidden journaling / pictures. So... yeah. Mine is different, but I like it that way! (The girls sitting on either side of me have layouts that look very similar to this one, too... we were the rebels, LOL!)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

NSD Projects: Part 2

This project was my absolute favorite of the day. This one alone was worth the workshop fee. It was such an original idea, and I can think of so many other uses for it! I'm excited to make more of these and think they'll be really versatile! And I'm going to use mine to plan this summer's mom and me hikes!

I don't know if you can tell from the pictures or not, but this little planner was made from a legal size clear paper keeper! Chrissy Doolen really outdid herself on this one. It's so GREAT!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

NSD Projects: Part 1

I thought about making one giant post with all of the projects I made during National Scrapbooking Day. But instead I think I'm going to share them with you one by one throughout the week. That sounds like more fun. =D

So this is the first project we did at NSD. I should warn you that most of the projects I did don't look like they were "supposed" to. Some might say I have trouble following directions, but really my creativity just refuses to play in someone else's sandbox and takes on the project as its own. I'm okay with it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this project yet. It was supposed to be a way to sort your pictures for different layouts, but I already have a system that I like, so we'll see what I do with this. It wasn't in my top 3 favorites, but I did sort of have fun making the little scalloped edges on the envelope flaps. And I think it turned out cute, once I figure out what to do with it.