Friday, January 28, 2011

Roll the die challenge

Good morning, everyone! Hope most of you got more than the four hours of sleep that will be fueling my day today. I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd started following the new Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog.

One of their mini challenges is called the "Roll the Die" challenge. Basically, they have this set of dice with different design elements on each, and you make a project based on which elements are rolled. This month, the challenge was to create a card, inspired by fashion, and with some bling on it.

For my inspiration, I chose a favorite blouse of mine:

Doesn't this blouse remind you a little of some of the papers in the Curio line by Basic Grey? I didn't use the BG papers, because there aren't any in my counterfeit kit, but still, I wanted to mention the similarities.
I love flowers, of course, and the big roses on the blouse inspired me to create a few of my own to put on my card. And please notice that the center of each little flower is a rhinestone (ie, bling):

I was also inspired by the loose ruffle around the collar to create this element:

I wanted my 'ruffle' to have a loose feel to it, so I laid some glue strips on the card, and then gently laid my folded paper on top of it, without pressing each fold down onto the paper.
And finally, here's the finished card:

They are having a blog hop where everyone is showing off the cards they created for this challenge. I missed out on the hop because the internet ate my email, but I would still encourage you to follow the link above and check out what everyone created!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I've got a new toy

For the past few weeks, I've been searching for this little guy:

I had finally realized that I was never going to get those frayed edges on my paper with just a sheet of sandpaper, no matter how hard I tried. I actually had to search several stores before I finally found them sitting at the register in Archivers. Last night, I tested my new distresser out:

This may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but I'm really happy to have the ability to fray the edges of my paper, with very little effort. And here's a full view of the layout I distressed:

You can't tell it from this photo, but it was ridiculously crowded in the piazza around the fountain. I guess I can understand why, I mean it's a gorgeous fountain. But it would have been nice to share the sight of it with just my boyfriend instead of having to wedge ourselves between other bodies as we threw our coins in the fountain. Supposedly, if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you will one day return to Rome. It worked for me the first time around. We'll see if it works again!
Here's a closeup of the little flower cluster underneath the photo. I pulled apart a Websters Pages bouqet, and used about half of it on my page.

You'd think I'd be sick of making layouts about Rome by now. Well, I'm not. But I am anxious to really get started on my Egypt album. My goal is to finish completely with Rome by next Thursday. This is not an impossible goal, but it's also not a sure thing. I will need to finish a Rome layout every day from now until then in order to meet my goal. I "sort of" accomplished that today... except I made what was originally supposed to be a two page layout into a single page layout. That leaves me with an empty page in my album, so now I have to either delete another page, or create another one. I didn't originally plan on making a title page, so maybe that's how I'll solve my dilemma...

Monday, January 24, 2011

A letter to my cat

Dear Tigger,

Please stop locking yourself in the bathroom and/or bedroom. I have had to rescue you three times in the past two days. When you shut the door, the other cats cannot reach important things like their food, water, and litter box. While your cries for help are truly pitiful, I do not enjoy having to liberate you from your prison every few hours. Surely this will not be a difficult skill to learn. After all, none of the other cats struggle with this issue. And what will you do if I'm out of town when you lock yourself in? So, for the peace and sanitation of this apartment, please, please, please stop pushing the doors closed!

you people mommy

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Travel layouts abound

Howdy, folks. I'm back today with three more layouts: two from my trip to Italy, and one from my summer road trip through New England with my sister. First up, "Whimsy":

Alton and I passed through the piazza where the Pantheon is located twice. The second time through, Alton took this photo of the fountain. Someone had stuck a long-stemmed rose into the mouth of one of the creatures. All of the product on this page, except the bling, comes from Websters Pages.
While we were visiting Vatican City, I made a special point to mail several postcards. The Vatican post is supposed to be extremely reliable, and I had quite a few people ask for postmarked cards from my travels. Alton snapped a photo of me putting my postcards in the mailbox:

I made this layout using the "Courage" kit from Scrapbooking From the Inside Out. I covered the chipboard stars with Tim Holtz's tissue tape. The tape says "postcard" in many different fonts, which is why I chose it for this layout. I colored the stars with Quick Quotes powderpuff inks and some Glimmer Mist. The letter stickers were also colored with powderpuff ink. I bought a souvenir envelope from the Vatican Post Office and used it on this layout. I cut the top flap off, and turned it into a pocket on my layout. I stuck a journaling card, as well as two other decorative elements inside the pocket.

This last layout features a photo taken in Boston. My sister is nuts about those smooshed souvenir pennies that you can make a lot of places. So I caught a picture of her as she was making this one. I wanted to capture the warmth of the day and bring to mind the red bricks that are everywhere in Boston, which influenced my color palette. I chose the green patterned paper because the shape of the motifs on the paper is the same shape as the pennies as they come out of the machine. And finally, I spritzed a bit of Glimmer Mist across the page to bring to mind the copper of the pennies themselves. All products used on this layout were also Websters Pages (except the mist, of course).
I am frantically stitching away on mom's sampler. I'm almost done, which is a good thing, because she'll be here in a few hours to collect the thing! Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Mom is a bad influence!

What a busy week this has been! I can't believe it's almost Friday. As I mentioned in my last post (I think), my mom and dad came down for a visit this past Monday. Mom brought me these:

Mmm, I love overdyed threads! She also showed me a design she'll be releasing next month at market, and several ideas she's working on. Mom blows my mind with some of the things that she comes up with. But she's very reluctant to let me share photos on the internet of her work. Which is why you can't tell her about this, wink wink. I'm frantically stitching away on a reproduction sampler she is also going to release at market. It's very pretty, and uses some extremely bright colors. Here's a corner of the design:

I was supposed to work on the sampler tonight BUT as soon as I got home, I worked on a scrapbook layout, and now my hands look like this:

Even though I've washed my hands several times, they are quite... pink. I'm terrified that a tiny bit will transfer onto the sampler fabric, so no stitching for me tonight! Hopefully, the rest of the ink will come off in the shower tomorrow morning and I can get back to work on the sampler tomorrow evening. The goal is to hand it back to her this weekend. At this point, I'm hoping to be done by Sunday!
After we'd admired each other's stitching projects, discussed design ideas, etc, etc, Mom asked if Dad and I would mind driving to the Michael's in Fayetteville. She's putting together a class kit, and had already raided both Greensboro Michael's for a particular item. She was hoping to get the rest of them in Fayetteville. So off we went. And this is where I accuse her (irrationally, of course) of being a bad influence. See, I NEVER shop in Fayetteville anymore. So I claim that she is entirely to blame for this Michael's purchase:

I LOVE this new line from K&Company! And I used it today to make this layout:

This flower is why my fingers are so inky tonight. I colored some of the white layers to match the pink elements on the page. (and btw, I love these fabric flowers, but they smelled bad. I mean, genuinely antique and mildewy bad.)

I also added a couple of splashes of ink to my journaling card. I really love this effect:

Returning to my Monday with Mom and Dad, we next hit the Big Lots. And again, Mom's bad influence resulted in this purchase:

It's hard to tell from the photo, but those big kits are Basic Grey treat box kits. They were a dollar apiece. I grabbed a couple of other Basic Grey items for myself, and some others for my sister, which are not in this picture. As we walked up to the checkout line, Mom found the DVD "Junebug." She kindly agreed to let me buy it. Junebug is this hilariously dark comedy filmed in North Carolina. But the coolest thing about the movie is the fact that my Aunt Teresa has a speaking line in the movie. Yeah, she's even listed in the IMDb. How cool is that? So I think it's way fun that I now have my own copy of "her" movie, all for a whopping three dollars!
I leave you with yet another image of Lucky being his adorable, chill little self. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, January 17, 2011

In search of Pink Nuns, the layout edition

A while back, I blogged about my search for nuns in pink habits while in Rome. And today, I've finally gotten around to creating a layout in honor of my obsession. Since I didn't actually SEE any pink nuns in Rome, I wanted to make the background very, well, pink. And I wanted it to be frothy and girly and just plain fun (for me, anyway). So I grabbed some Prima: papers, flowers, and bling. I can't think of a company that does over the top girly better than Prima does. I pulled out all my pink paints, inks, and Glimmer products. And this is what I came up with:

I added tons and tons of flowers:

And coated these Melissa Frances cherubs with a light layer of pink Glimmer Glam:

I used a Glimmer Screen and a couple of shades of pink Glimmer Mist to create this water color element:

I painted some white chipboard letters with pink paint, and used pop dots to fit them over top of the pearl bling:

I had originally intended to put my journaling directly above the watercolor element. But, I quickly realized that, first, my nun story was kind of long and wouldn't fit in that space, and, second, I didn't want all that black or brown ink marching across my pink layout. So I wrote out my journaling on a 5x7 card and attached it to the back of my layout.
I'm enjoying this extra day off from work. My parents are coming down for a short visit, and Mom is going to share some of her cross stitch designs for next month's market. Can't wait to see what she's been up to. Happy crafting, everyone!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back to School challenge

Recently, I've been following a new blog called the Counterfeit Kit Challenge. They take an image of a monthly kit from one site or another, and challenge you to create your own kit inspired by the items listed/pictured. There are tutorials for homemade embellishments, and now layout challenges. So yesterday evening, I tried my hand at the first mini challenge, the back to school challenge.

For this challenge, I watched the "Scrapbook Stamping" lesson for January on the TwoPeas website. The idea is to make a layout using word stamps for your title (or subtitle, or as a border), and then, to participate in the Counterfeit challenge, you have to use your inspired kit. With me so far? So here's my layout:

The stamp is from a Donna Downey collection by Unity Stamp Company. Everything else (except the centers of my flowers, I guess) is taken from my counterfeit creation of the JBS December kit. Can you see the doily tucked under the title and the bingo card? The original kit had Maya Road doily transparencies. My doily is recycled from a package of Prima flowers. I cut it out and painted the backside green to make it stand out a little from the paper underneath. My yellow flowers were colored using Glimmer Mist in Mimosa and Jingle Bells.

The picture in this layout is of Alton and I standing on the side of one of the great pyramids at Giza. This was the first 'site' we visited on our tour of Egypt. What an awesome place to begin with! A century ago, you could climb all over the pyramids. These days, there was only one that you could climb, and only a small way up. Which was fine with me, because it was a rather dizzying experience. We're standing near the entrance to the interior of the pyramid. For a small fee, you could walk/crawl inside of the pyramid. Alton and I opted not to go inside, because our guide assured us that we would be able to enter one of the step pyramids for free later in the day. So here we are, and in case you can't tell, I'm having the time of my life, standing on a building that was created some 4 and a half millenia ago, half a world away from home, and sharing it with someone special.

Okay, I'm done waxing nostalgic for now. Off to play with the pink nun layout (I hope). Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Keeping it simple

I finally had to go back to work today, and it was not pleasant. First, there was the walk to work: across The Wooden Porch of Terror, down the street to the detour around the The Glass Hill, and then walking in the street at The Intersection of Polished Glass. If I thought I could have found a parking space, I would have been MUCH safer driving to work today! And then there was work itself. Lots of chaos and confusion as all the people who didn't have court earlier in the week tried to figure out what to do next, and we coped with a week-long calendar for Admin squashed into two days. Needless to say, I did not get much accomplished other than sitting in a courtroom waiting for my turn.

Anyway, I didn't really seem to accomplish much during the rest of my time at home. Only one layout finished, and it was a very simple one about the courtyard from the Vatican Museum:

I wanted to do more layouts, but the spill I took on the driveway Tuesday left me just sore enough to feel uncomfortable standing at my scrap table. Probably because I didn't try to scrap on Wednesday until AFTER I'd attempted to remove some more of the snow off my back porch. With my dustpan, because I don't own a snow shovel. This year is the first time in 10 years of living in Robeson County that I've actually needed one!

I did make some pretty decent progress on The North Wind. Here's the before picture:

And here's what's finished after 2 days of snowbound stitching:

I came home today with every intention of getting some scrapbooking done this evening. Here's what I accomplished:
1- pulled some papers and began plotting my "Pink Nun" layout;
2- watched a video class and pulled some papers for the "Counterfeit Kit Challenge";
3- admired the newly released Unity Stamps (I only want about $300 worth of them. Dream on, girl);
4- chatted with the gang at Webster's Pages Ning board;
5- admired the newly released (or soon to be released) Webster's Pages lines.

That about covers my scrappy progress for today. And I have nothing to show for it but a credit card in danger of being used too much. I'm going to try to be good, but when the product is soooo pretty, it's really hard.

Maybe tomorrow all those Pink Nun and Counterfeit ideas rolling around in my head will turn into something tangible!

Til then, keep creating, and keep safe!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day!

Greetings from frozen southern North Carolina. It's another day home from work due to the ice and snow. I know I'm going to be really, really sad when I do make it back to work and have to catch on everything, but I did have fun crafting and creating yesterday. I finished two layouts and got a little stitching done, too.

I started with this two page layout covering the beautiful artwork of the Vatican Museum:

While I was digging around for the papers for the museum layout, I ran across the photo I used in this next layout. It's a picture of me as a toddler. I took it from my parents' house a while back, intending to create a layout using WP Wonderfall line. Somehow, I never had time to get around to it, and the picture kind of got buried. So I drug it back out and finally got it scrapbooked. Here's the layout:

And a couple of detail photos:

I also spent part of the day working on another angel ornament. It's not a ton of progress.

I think I'm going to go back to "The North Wind" for any stitching I do today. Seems appropriate, somehow, given the frozen world outside my window. I also need to shovel my porch. It doesn't get any sun, so it'll never melt if I don't help it along. Sigh! I'm really not looking forward to the task. On the bright side, walking to work means that I won't have to scrape my car windows. Stay warm, stay safe, everyone!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Half Penny Angel and the snow

Yesterday evening, I finished an ornament for a friend. The design is Half Penny Angel from The Primitive Needle. I converted it to an ornament, stitched it on 40 count Sand Dune by Lakeside Linens, and finished it as a pillow. This was my first attempt at adding beads to an ornament. It worked, but it was an... interesting... experience. I don't know if I did it right, but I added the beads as I was joining the front to the back, placing the bead between the two sides on every 3rd stitch. The beads were all on the inside of the piece, and I had to push them through when I turned the ornament right side out. There's probably a more efficient way to do that...
Anyway, here's the ornament:

I've got the day off today, due to a ridiculous amount of snow (ridiculous for southern, coastal plains North Carolina). This is what it looks like outside my window this morning:

The weatherman is saying that we already have 3 and a half inches. That's great. What I'm not looking forward to is the ice storm arriving this evening.

The plan for today includes napping, reading, scrapping, and stitching some more versions of the ornament in the first picture of this post. Stitching can be a bit of a challenge in this household. I leave you with this image of the assistance I received last night in finishing the ornament. This is what my lap looked like:

Notice that there is room for a third cat to squeeze in just below my leg, since I OBVIOUSLY curled my leg up for just that very purpose (and not because it's comfy to sit that way for a few minutes). And please don't think for a minute that that unused space stayed empty for very long.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My first Egypt layout (and my crazy cats)

I created my first layout from our Egyptian vacation yesterday! Here it is:

I used papers from the new Spring Market line from Websters Pages. The background is glimmer misted with "Jingle Bells" and a Crafters Workshop screen.

I layered some of my cutwork and added buttons to try to create some dimensions for the piece:

I distressed my accent photo, but then forgot to distress the main photo before I glued it down, whoops! Check out the man carrying a load of pita bread in this picture. It was hot, fresh baked, and absolutely delicious!

Alton and I both loved the experience of wandering through that market. The entire area is protected from the heat by those movable carpets you see overhead. Along with a few touristy stalls, there were pharmacies, a butcher shop (which stank to high heaven), electronics stalls, clothing stalls, and, of course, the spice stalls. Basket after basket full of red, black, white, green, and blue peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, and many others. I bought some chamomile and saffron. While I didn't write down how much I paid for the saffron, it was something like a dollar or two an ounce. I saw it in a local grocery store the other day for, I think, $15 an ounce. I haven't used it yet; I'm waiting for the right occasion!

In other news, it looks like we might be getting a major ice storm overnight and into tomorrow, so if court is canceled maybe I can get a ton of crafting time tomorrow! And if the power goes out, at least I know that I'll have the cats to keep me warm. Sometimes I'm so jealous of them when I see them taking one of their many naps. Here's Lucky in sweet mode:

And Princess guarding my ottoman from all the other cats:

And finally, I watched Lucky being weird this morning. Honestly, I don't know what else to call it. He climbed onto the window from the cat tree and left his hind leg cocked up against the tree for about a minute and a half before moving on to attack Spike. Weird, weird, weird.

Happy crafting everyone, and stay safe!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Is this really a 2-page layout?

When I first started scrapbooking, all I ever did were two page layouts. And I had a difficult time conceiving of a single page layout. There were always too many pictures that I wanted to use, and the idea of cutting down from 6 to one or two seemed ridiculous. Of course, now, I almost never make double paged layouts. The changeover was fairly subtle, but I think I can trace its roots to my discovery of Bad Girls Kits. Those girls did such a wonderful job of encouraging creativity and trying new things, and most of what I was inspired to do only took one page.

So now, when I actually need to make a double paged layout, I struggle. I struggle a lot. Take these two pages here:

I mean, it has many of the qualities of a double page layout: continuity of paper and embellishments; one over arching theme; only one title and one journaling spot for the two pages together. Don't get me wrong, these two pages are meant to sit side by side in an album, but consider the creative process I used to get there. I made the left-hand page, and when I was finished, I made the right hand page with the same basic set of products. I didn't lay them out together and map everything out at one time. So I'm not sure that it really is a double page layout. Or, if it is, maybe it's just a very poorly planned double layout. What do you think? (be nice)


I 'made' these flowers using some small silk flowers layered on top of some Prima canvas flowers, and also added some American Crafts flower ribbon. The ribbon had quite a bit of netting on either side of the flowers, which I trimmed off. I used some of that netting as lacing in these JBS buttons:

And finally, I trimmed off some of the green paper on the right hand side that's behind the pink paper and cut sever flowers out of it to add to the front of that page:

The journaling on this page is about our walk past all the bridges and towards the Piazza Navona in Rome. Hmmm, comparing this layout to my last one makes me realize that I somehow managed to get the pages in my Rome album mixed up. It's not a huge deal, but I wonder how that happened!

I'm curled up with one of the cats in my favorite chair right now, but I'm thinking I might be heading towards a nap in the very near future! It's so cold and blah outside, the perfect weather to cuddle up with a warm, purring little friend and take a snooze.

PS. Did you notice that my warrior angel has ripped her way through my layout?