Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Confessions

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Welcome again to a new feature on the blog.  I'm going to try and post a confession at least twice a month.  Don't expect anything too juicy - my life is way too dull for juicy.  Think of these posts as crafty confessions peppered with slightly zany admissions.  Confused yet?  So am I - just a little.  So on to today's confession.


Yes, this is slightly vague but I'll try to make it as clear as possible.  When I refer to "the light" - I am talking about the light in reference to shading and coloring stamped images.  I try to do it with consistency and confidence.  However, I look at blog posts and other people's work with the most confused look on my face.  Frankly, I have no idea what the eff I'm doing.  Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to do my very best to collect an illuminating amount of resources and ideas (pun intended).  I'll do my absolute best to share my findings and images here - starting with two great resources.
So that's it for now folks!  I hope everyone is having a beautiful and blessed Easter Sunday.  For those of you that do not celebrate Easter, I pray that your day be beautiful and blessed as well.  I'm hoping to fill this day with crafting and a little cleaning.  Until then...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Five

Happy Friday! I want to welcome everyone to a new weekly feature focused on five things that are important to me at this moment. These posts will range from the mundane to inspirational goodness to the somewhat wacky. I thought I'd start my first post with five crafty products I'm loving right now. These are items that can be found on most of my recent pages. Some of these pretties have made me approach crafting in a different way.  So without further ado.

1. Capture Yes, Please Amy Tangerine Embroidery Stenciling Kit
These beauties have totally revolutionized the way I approach my scrapbooking pages. I'm totally in love with this product.  There are actually two sets; the first set is pictured below and the second set (Inspired) is mostly letters and numbers.  I have both sets and am desperately trying to figure out how to make the letters work.  Each set comes with three different colors of embroidery thread and needles.  I love the image set.  Love it.

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2.  Yes, Please Amy Tangerine for American Crafts
This line was one of my favorites from the winter CHA show.  It's been a huge influence in my pages but not quite as much as the next item on my list.  Click on the link to see the whole line.  It's amazing

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3.  Lucky Charm Dear Lizzy for American Crafts
I wasn't sure about this line initially.  I was really turned off by the horses.  I'm not a horse fan - a story for a different time -  so I just sort of wrote the whole line off.  Totally my mistake...because it's beautiful.  There were two papers that really made me see the light so to speak.

Stargazers - Source
Falling Stars - Source
I really love the B-side of the Falling Stars paper.  It says "love you to the stars and back."  It's one of my favorite sayings.  Also - the star maps are completely amazing.  I just love this line so much.  So glad I didn't let the horses completely block my view.

I've really been trying to use my spray inks with intention and the slightest amount of fear.  I have a number of different brands - but the Dylusions have the most concentrated color.  I am using them primarily as a splattering tool.  Loving every minute of it despite the occasional mishap and swear word.  It's really giving me a chance to be artsy with the smallest loss of control.  
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I've been using a lot of their small stamps on my layouts.  My layouts haven't been big on journaling lately - but they do have a saying here or there thanks in part to Cocoa Daisy Stamps.  I've also been using this set from KI memories.

Before I go, I want to share one layout with a lot of the elements I've shared from above.  On this layout you can see four of the five products.  I really love the way this layout turned out.  I had a hard time with the finishing touches but am generally happy with the final result.  I particularly love my own take on patterned insta-frames.  

Supplies: Cardstock: Archivers; Patterned Paper; American Crafts, Echo Park Paper; Stickers: American Crafts, KI Memories; Brad: Basic Grey; Template: American Crafts; Doily: Michaels; Other: Buttons, Thread

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I would love to hear what's making you happy on the crafting or reading front at this time.  Until then...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Product Love - Better Late Than Never

There are a lot of great products on the market right now - Derwent Inktense Pencils are definitely high on the list.  I have a really hard time saying no to a lot of things - but these beauties were particularly difficult. I made it a few months - I'm proud to say AND I found them at a really great price point (about $1.05 per pencil with free shipping). So far, I've only got the opportunity to play around with a few images. I thought I'd share a few of my experiments here. Please note: I am definitely a beginner when it comes to using these pencils. There are some great videos on YouTube out there on these products. I would highly recommend looking a little deeper. So without further ado...

This first image is Lulu Loves Poppies from Stamping Bella.  This picture is actually my second go at this sweet girl.  I used what I'm calling the "brush to tip" method to color her.  The basic steps included dipping the brush in water; using the brush to get pigment from the tip of the pencil; and layering color in one direction.  I really liked the softness of these flowers.  I was unimpressed by the dress.

This is my first go at the image.  This is the "pencil, paper, water" technique - again named by yours truly.  The basic steps are to color the image with pencil and then use water to blend.  The colors were much more bright in this example and the blending was a little more seamless.  However, I really missed the lighter color and nuances in the first image.  I didn't realize that until I tried the "brush to tip" method.

The last two images are from Tim Holtz.  I love, love, love these blueprint, birthday images.  I used the "brush to tip" method on both of these images.  I used Canson Mixed Media Paper from an art store and had to give it a little time before adding layers of color.  This gave me a really bright effect in the end and I'm pretty happy with both as a first attempt.

I'm still in the process of learning how to use these wonderful little pencils - but I'm ecstatic to have them as part of my stash.  I will definitely have more images here in the future and will keep everyone posted on my progress.  I hope everyone is having a great Monday.  Until then...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reading Love

It's goes pretty much without saying that when I find flow within one area of my creative life, the rest of my creative pursuits go to pot.  So while I'm crafting on a regular basis, which right now includes small blocks of creativity combined with long blocks of layout making - I'm still not reading nearly as much as I'd like.  If I really want both reading and crafting to be big parts of my life I believe I have a few choices - I could really commit myself to both by turning off the television.  I could commit to drinking more coffee in the afternoon, thereby preventing my after work crash.  Or...I could just accept that everything in life is cyclical and this is my experience right now.  Still trying to decide on that front...

Nevertheless - I'm reading little by little or sometimes a lot as the case might be.  I finally settled into this book Saturday afternoon.

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I read a little over two hundred pages and then skipped to the epilogue.  I know, I'm a bad girl.  I'm still going to finish it - but I find myself longing for the books I read in 2012.  I loved so many of them.  Many of them have made it into my top ten list.  While this book is entertaining - it's not quite the reading experience I was hoping for - I think the second book will be better.  I would love to know what's going on in the male lead's mind.  It will be released on April 2, 2013.  I'm looking forward to reading it at some point.  I'm also juggling a few non-fiction reads - none of which are necessary to mention by name quite yet...

So that's it for now.  Hope this Tuesday finds you reading something really special that makes you feel immeasurably happy.  I plan to talk a little more about my new scrapbooking process in the upcoming week and possibly finish Beautiful Disaster.  Until then...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mother of...!!!!!!

I decided to do a challenge this week to really get back into the swing of things blogging wise...and I almost lost it.  I almost lost the will to craft.  I almost lost my breezy attitude.  I almost lost my mind.  I started with a really beautiful sketch by Shimelle.

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I watched the video.  Looked at both variations of the sketch and decided my nephew was a prime candidate for this layout.  His perfect little face seemed destined to be part of a super cute, totally out of my comfort zone, banner-inspired layout.  It seemed fortuitous - meant to be.  I even sat thinking about how it was okay if it didn't turn out okay - I could always start over.  Digital photos could be reprinted.  It was not the end of the world.  It was okay - as my mentor Ali Edwards has so eloquently said.  Famous last words...

This was my first go at the layout.  I had to think long and hard about how to make this layout without eyelets.  I settled on brads and was really happy with how things worked out - until I did the journaling.  The layout is okay.  The journaling is relatively straight thanks to a straight edge and pencil line.  It's very close to the sketch...and I hate it.  The journaling is awful and honestly - looking at it now - I hate the title too.  It looked so great when Shimelle did it.  My first attempt at making this better was adding a journaling block...

I temporarily adhered the journaling block and immediately knew this was some form of scrapbooking hell.  No way was this going to be okay.  So I trimmed the paper to include the top 1/3 excluding the banner and put it on a white piece of paper.  Thank God I didn't take a picture of that...I ended up cutting out the banner - which was quite the bitch, frankly - and starting over on a new piece of patterned paper.  My favorite pattern in fact...ledger.  Fortunately, I came up with this...

I tried journaling on the final layout above and ended up making my very small journaling cluster (see previous monstrosities) into a large cluster.  It's out of balance.  It's a hot mess but I love the banner and the title so I'm calling it a day.  I find this boy is just too cute for words.  Journaling seems unnecessary.  Quite strange, I think.

So that's it for this Saturday evening.  I'm done.  This is the best it's going to get.  I would give a list of products - but I just don't want to at this point.  Maybe I'll update it later.  It's been a hard crafty day and I want to leave it happy.  I hope this day has been a happy one for you filled with smiles and leg kicks and overall general goodness.  Until then...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fun Friday

Nine is the magic number.  Actually - I can't stand the number nine - but it's my number.  Or....maybe I should say it was my number.  I made nine layouts last year.  Nine.  When I did the math I almost lost the will to live...but here I sit...starting over.   I'm not looking at the number nine as a failure - but a sign of how mind-blowingly blocked I was last year.  I couldn't find my sweet spot.  I've come to terms with that now and there's only one reason...God.  

I don't talk much about my beliefs here - but it's absolutely worth mentioning.  I never do anything for Lent - but I thought I'd do something a little different this year.  Originally I thought about giving up cursing.  I then came to my senses and realized that there was no way in the world I could make it through a day without cursing.  I can't explain it...I just need it - like coffee and air.  So I decided to do one creative thing a day and everything changed.  

It's been almost three weeks and I've completed eight layouts.  Eight.  One less than the total number of layouts I completed in 2012.  And you want to know what - I love every effing one of them...warts and all.  It is a beautiful and BLESSED thing.  I believe wholeheartedly that God brought me back to my center - I don't feel that overwhelming need for perfection.  I don't feel the weight of disappointment when I make a mistake.  I move on - and trust me that's definitely God.  He is good in every way.   I originally planned on giving a list of things that have inspired me - that brought me back so to speak.  But in truth - I believe there is only one thing.

I'm going to take this opportunity to share my first two layouts of the year.  They're are some problems - but again, I love them so much.  So here goes nothing or maybe almost everything...

Patterned Paper: Echo Park; Stamps: Cocoa Daisy; Stickers: Echo Park, American Crafts; Template: American Crafts; Thread: American Crafts; Ink: Ranger Distress Ink

Patterned Paper: American Crafts: Stickers: Echo Park Paper, American Crafts, KI Memories, Diecuts: Studio Calico; Spray Ink: Ranger, Studio Calico; Template: American Crafts: Thread: American Crafts
I thank God for renewing my creative spirit - for making me less of a crazy, perfectionistic freak when it comes to scrapbooking.  I just am so very thankful.  I leave you with that this Friday.  Have a great day.  Until then...

P.S. I hope to give up cursing some day.  I just figure for now - who am I kidding?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

May I Please Have a Do-Over?

Don't call it a comeback...

Just kidding!  I'm back...I guess.  Again, I've been missing this place - wondering what it should look like in the light of a four month absence.  Currently I sit at my little computer desk with the smell of coffee inhabiting my senses and the sounds of Joseph Gordon Levitt in the background.  Pretty flowery language...just to say I smell coffee and The Dark Knight Rises is playing on my television.  Still I prefer the first version just as I prefer my life with this blog in it.  I did my best to walk away.  I even tried to start anew...alas, it was not meant to be.  This is my place.  This is where I belong - so I move forward.  My hope is to post once or twice a week to start.  Eventually I'd like to get back in a rhythm with a regularly scheduled format - but for now it needs to be pretty much pressure free.  My plan is to focus on crafting, reading, and watching.  I'm going to do my best to make this a worry free space.  I'm not going to worry about how far behind I am or how I haven't started painting or art journaling yet.  I'm not going to think about how I've only read 5 out of 50 books this year.  I'm also not going to think about how my original goal was read 70 books - don't know what the eff I was thinking.  I'm just going to try and embrace what I have in front of me...what my life is now.  So... here's a quick list.
  • I've read 5 books this year.  I read 45 last year and it was a true joy.  I've never felt so connected to my younger self.
  • I made nine layouts last year.  I've made seven since the start of Lent.  I'm a happy girl.
  • I've reacquainted myself with 6 X 6 paper pads.  I love, love, love them.
  • I've started paying closer attention to my style and curating my Pinterest boards with a little more discerning eye.  I've deleted over 1,000 pins since Lent.  
  • I'm closing in on my own version of artsy scrapbooking - taking the baby steps.
  • I've met my nephew and he is beautiful.  I love his sweet face - the feel of him in my arms.  
  • I'm finally starting to hit my stride creatively and I'm happier for it.
I will be sharing my layouts in upcoming posts.  I also plan on sharing inspirational links and pins.  Thanks so much for coming by or making your way back whichever it may be.  I hope this Sunday finds you well.  Until then...

Right Now: I'm going to turn off this movie because it's not really the kind of thing I want to scrap to...and get started on two layouts and a small photo book for a friend.  Wish me luck!
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