Friday, September 28, 2012

Having fun with BlueBird Chic Design Flair

Today I want to share a quick clean and simple page I made with flair from Blue Bird Chic Paper on Etsy.

Blue Bird Chic owner, Leah Farquarson, designs for Jenni Bowlin, American Crafts and Hambly amongst many others- swing by her blog Amusing To Create and check it out- her work is amazing.

I love the cool tones of this set!
The light purples look fantastic when paired with the warm tones in the Amy Tangerine's "Ready Set Go" line which I have been using on everything lately- the patterns are so perfect.

I wish AC had taken the vellum theme in this line further and put out matching vellum tape and vellum pie chart die cuts- I can never get enough of vellum- especially if it's bright.
I wanted to make something a little more complicated but when I saw this configuration I loved it just like it was.

Here are some detail shots:
Everyone loves the My Minds Eye enamel dots. I'm SO on the
bandwagon and playing the tuba! They are AWESOME!
Leah's pins are unique in that they have flat backs so a bit of double-sided
tape sticks them right onto your page- easy peasy.
Swing by Blue Bird chic and check out the beautiful hand made camera straps as well.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I learned: A travel themed mini book

Hello everyone!
I've been holding this project back for over 3 months but I decided it was time to share it and get your feedback.

I've made mini books before- my December Daily project from 2011 is an all time favorite of mine.
But this mini about our family road trip from New York to Salt Lake City was a challenge.

Here's a look:
I found you CAN spray Hambly transparencies!
Just let them dry out over night.
Materials: Hambly Screen print cover, Maya Road Tangerine mist, washi tape from Target,
American Crafts layered embellishments and Ormolu journaling spots.
I wanted try out two things with this new book:
1. A transparent Hambly Screenprints cover with a machine stitched spine
2. Border sewn and gessoed interior pages for an art journal look.
I used brittle vintage travel magazine pages for the inside of my book so
I covered most of them with gesso to guard against breaking.
The resulting pages are a joy to turn!  
The sewn spine became a challenge when I tried to run the finished pages through my sewing machine.
As I quickly found out, hand sewing a couple of stitches to keep the pages together BEFORE you run the whole thing through your machine is a very good idea- especially when working with slippery transparency material.

The mini quickly became an art journal project. Here I'm using a chipboard stencil from Retro Cafe Art.
 I also tried to make a confetti page with a glassine envelope but the resulting look was down right ugly so I ripped half the envelope off and just left one side. 
I made three false starts and punched holes all over the place before I got anything resembling a straight line.
Washi tape now covers the holes.
Unlike fabric, paper does not recover from a missed seam.

The gesso also provided plenty of journaling space for my travel memories. I really wish Hambly hadn't gone out of business- I love their products so much! A left over piece of their "Uncharted" design holds two of my favorite photos from our family vacation.
Stitching the gessoed page edges together made them sturdy and gave them the flexibility of fabric.
I no longer worried they would crumble apart and HUGE bonus- it feels great to touch and turn the pages.

Also, Hambly transparencies don't bend very well.
I used my Martha Stewart Score Board to make the spine but the material is so thick it resists permanent bending and doesn't close properly.
I used a piece of washi tape to hold the book shut this time but next time I plan to make a little fabric button hook for the closure.
Jenni Bowlin Studio kraft tags and Studio Calico car veneers-some of my favorite CHA summer 2012 items. The quote snippets from from a Glitz print from 2011- I wish I had gotten an extra sheet because the quotes are amazing.
Photographing the book was a dilemma as well. 
Since it doesn't lie flat I had to hold it while shooting.
Next time, I will use a knife to score a line on the transparency which should get it to lie flat for photos (and reading!)
The mini has very few actual embellishments. I used a pack of October Afternoon die cuts, Hambly camera rub-ons and  an arrow from A Flair for Buttons. The compass stencil on the right-hand page is from Prima. Stamps are from Studio Calico, Studio AE and Viva Last Vegas Stamps (which is awesome- check out their website)
Here is the back cover- I loved the texture from the stenciled gesso so much I left it mostly blank.
The Greek coffee cup was such a New York City corner deli thing!
It's not really available anymore so this stamp from Viva Las Vegas has major nostalgia factor.
The bubbles stencil from Studio Calico is AMAZING- I just reminded myself I wanted to try it again on another vintage paper project- the writing shows through the borders and looks really beautiful.
So what do you think?
Any tips?
Lots of tape used in this mini. Most of it came from Target and the Recollection's
brand sold in Michael's but I also used American Crafts Amy Tangerine tape and
Tim Holtz NYC subway tape (FAVE!!!!)

I'm very glad I pushed my technical limits with this project. 
I loved working with gesso even if I had to wait 48 hours for it to dry evenly.
And the final take away? Never be afraid to make mistakes while making what is essentially a "memory" project.
You can always go back and fix those mistakes.
Or you can decide- like I did- that the mistakes are part of your process.
The next book will be better but only because I took so many "risks" with this one.

Halloween cards made with Paper Source die cuts and stamps.
(Someone's been having fun at work!)

MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Loving the NEON! (again)

Good sunday morning!
I've been scrapbooking like crazy lately but it's all under publishing embargo so no posts lately.
Here's one page I can show you since it's on the Die Scrapperin Magazine promo link HERE and up for public online consumption:
Materials: American Crafts Amy Tangerine paper, Thickers and fabric stickers, Scrap FX dingbat chipboard, Maya Road wood veneer butterflies, Prima roses, Hambly transparency banners, American Crafts glitter brads, doilies from Etsy. Fancy Pants pinked edge coffee filter.
It took me 45 minutes to make this page and I FORCED myself to use those GORGEOUS neon colored doiles.
Some detail shots:
Lola and I chased lady bugs this summer- it was awesome.
Tiny Scrap FX ding bat and the AWESOME
Maya Road veneer butterflies- love them both!
I wish this stamp was part of the American Crafts
Amy Tangerine set- it's so PRETTY!
Happy Sunday!
Good luck to all of you who applied to the Jenni Bowlin Ambassador DT.
The opportunity was too exciting to pass up.
 I love Jenni Bowlin products to distraction so I looked at the requirements and double checked my schedule and thought:
Yes I can DO THAT!
Keeping my fingers crossed!
Detail from one of the pages I submitted for consideration.
Good luck everyone!

Smooches! Many! Lots!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On creativity and the impulse to "make something"

"I just want to make pretty things even if nobody cares".
Many of us have pinned that pictogram onto our boards or put them on our Facebook page.
It captures how we feel when people question our paper crafts hobby.

I've always felt this saying was a tad on the defensive side.
I make things that are pretty and I make things that are... complicated.
I'm proud of both.
I'm also proud to say I am creative- even if no one cares. Laughing!

When fellow scrapper Laura swung by my blog on Moday and commented she wished she could think outside the box more often I wanted to think about my reply.
Mostly I wanted to give encouragement.
And I wanted to say something that would help us both because many times I feel like I lack the creativity gene that so many scrap happy women seem to share.

This page marked a huge departure from the "norm" for me. I'm using pink.
I'm trying to keep things simple and the page thin enough to fit in my 12x12 scrapbook album
I haven't used since 2009. (!!!)  So while this isn' going to win any innovative design awards I love
 it and it's actually hanging over my desk as a reminder that I can and should stop using brown
and black in my pages so much! Plus? HELLO GREEN RIBBON! LOVE!
Materials: Cocoa Daisy September Kit, May arts Ribbon, Pink Paislee wood letters,
October Afternoon and Echo Park papers.
As I told Laura- the act of waking up in the morning and breathing can seem like a crazy out of the box act of pure creativity some days- especially when everything is going pear shape.
So the question is this:
Are you ready to own it?
Your creative talent and unique voice, I mean.
Can you, will you, stand by your impulses when everyone else is insisting "NOPE! That's not how you do that!"
It's a hard road to take.
If you have a lot of friends who also scrap or sew or share your creative pursuit, it can be even harder to stick to your very specific and interesting story.
But I happen to think it's the road you take- the trip- the adventure-
that actually matters.
So here is the advice I have Laura (who's blog: Who's This Chick? is CRAZY FULL of gorgeous scrapbook pages! Laura you OOZE creativity!)
I changed some parts up because I wrote it so fast I made a bunch of grammatical errors but it's basically the same thing.

I believe everyone is creative! Living life is a series of problems posed and overcome- how you solve that problem and how happy you are with your solution? THAT'S creativity!
I believe the key to personal creative development is being committed to your story. 
That doesn't mean spending thousands of dollars on scrap stuff. 
It doesn't mean taking tons of classes (although education is key).
It means constantly looking at the visual problems your pages pose and saying to yourself- how can I do this differently? 
How can I tell my unique story? 
Stick to scrapping exactly what you know, feel and love and TRUST me- you'll start seeing how creative you actually are.
I'm by no means an expert but I feel like I've come pretty far considering I stared scrapping in late 2009. I've never taken a class. I have no scrappy local friends- everything I do I learned from reading blogs online and thinking "What if I do THIS instead?"
I think my "creativity" isn't a talent but simply not being satisfied with my work and trying out new things.
What I try to do- even when I use sketches- is tell an authentically "me" story and try to do at least 2 things differently with each page- placing the elements of the sketch in different places, using colors I normally wouldn't use or materials I love that the sketch artist omitted.
Lastly, I think you could improve your feelings of creativity by just keeping a running journal of things you tried that you loved. Just noticing things like "I love this ribbon" or "I love pink and light blue together."  can lead to further exploration and a development of a unique style.
Do the same for things you love in other people's pages and you'll see how you'll develop your own "visual language" and start getting all kinds of ideas about what you want to do in your own work.
Swing back and lemme know if it worked!

So with that I'll share this weeks "Photo Inspiration":
A pattern on an "Old Navy" t-shirt- LOVE! Actually scrapping this now!
This is someone's front door! It's welded iron! LOVE the layering!
Will be trying this  (on paper) soon!
Magazines are a great source of inspiration!
Subscribe to at least 1 that isn't scrap or craft related. You don't  have to read it-
just look at the pretty pretty layouts!
I got in some trouble for taking this photo of the Muccia Prada exhibit at the
Metropolitan Museum- don't care- those colors and pattern combos are FABULOUS!
There are museums in your state- visit them!
What do you think makes for a creative person?
What do you do to spark your creativity?
Write it up below- I can always use more tips!!!

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Monday, September 3, 2012

An unusual items challenge- True Xoxo Girls Scrapbook Challenge Blog

Today I want to share a crazy experiment for True Xoxo Girls- a backlit vellum page
AND some fun news!

I was asked to Guest Design for Die Scrapperin Magazine again for the month of November.
You can click on the link above to get a 6 page preview of the issue.
I'm really excited!!!

Fellow Scrap FX DT teamie Erin Blegen will also be guest designing.
It can be hard to find copies of the magazine here in the States but I really think a subscription is a good idea.

DS is one of the best publishers of art/mixed media style scrapbooking around.
The regular DT is amazing and the work produced is incredibly innovative and vibrant.

Ok so here is my page for True Xoxo Girls.
To shoot this very simple backlit page, I used double sided tape to mount the page onto a window facing the sun. I then set my flash to the "backlight" setting. Using flash was a pain because the plastic school binder dividers I cut up to make the banners kept bouncing light back but I finally got a version with only a few hotspots.
Guess what? I still had to photoshop the Instax to make it brighter. It now looks like a mini television (yikes!). 
This month we had to use items not traditionally intended for scrap booking.
MATERIALS:The sunbursts are from a great 6x6 Artist Cellar stencil. Sticker from My
Mind's Eye, rain dots from Cloud 9 design (found on sale at Joann's), American Crafts Slick Writer pen,
a Me and My Big Ideas doodle print from years ago and a brad from Girl's Paperie. 
Some of my favorite interpretations of this month's challenge?
Washers covered in twine and twist ties used as embellishments on a page.
Swing by and check it out- TRUE XOXO GIRLS CHALLENGE BLOG
I promise you'll be inspired!
Late afternoons in August- there is nothing better.
MuChOs SmOoChEs!