Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to Navigate CHA Temptation on a Budget

During CHA, we were inundated by photos and videos of all the wonderful new papercrafting releases. I admit it...I looked too. I oooed and aahed over many releases. I have a long wishlist but I know that my budget would never allow me to fill all of those requests. So just how does one deal with the desire for new things created by CHA.

1. Narrow it down to a few must have collections. I noticed a pattern emerging in my wish list which included the same type of patterned paper designs from different manufacturers. I know you are going to say that each manufacturer is a little different. This is true, but the same trends are what was attracting me. Things like wood grain and chevrons. So after excluding the trendy papers or supplies, what were the elements of each collection that then drew my attention. This allowed me to determine which collections I truly coveted.

2. Can you replicate it with your supplies? We are often attracted to the same types of materials over and over again. Whether it's a favorite type of pattern or manufacturer, we already have a great collection of materials on hand. Look through what you have and see if you can remix your supplies to mimic the new kit collections. You might be pleasantly surprised and can save a buck or two while making your materials look fresh.

3. Do you kit club? If you subscribe to a kit club, chances are, you did so because you like the papers they put in their kits. Many kit clubs tend to work with the same manufacturers on a regular basis. This may mean that some of those papers you are wishing for right now will end up in one of your future kits. Consider staying away from those papers until you know for sure.

4. Learn to love 6X6 paper pads. Many manufacturers now make mini versions of their full kits. 6x6 or 8x8 pads are easy to store and offer you the full paper collection for around $5. You can get several of those collections on your wishlist for the price of one 12x12 kit. I know it might be missing stickers or alphas. However, time has taught me that I can make my own embellishments. I have a large supply of letter stickers and can cut my own as needed.

5. Compare the cost to the tool you really want. Time and time again, I hear people lament not having the budget to buy a new cameo or big shot. Then they just mention how they bought an entire new paper line. If you added up the cost of every pack of stickers, journal cards and paper, they could have bought that new tool instead. Comparing the costs just might make you consider what is a better investment for your supplies right now.

Remember, many of these new items will be on sale both in warehouse boxes and in on-line stores in a few months. If you still love the line that much then, you can pick it up at the sale price. You don't have to buy right now, but if you do, choose wisely.

As for me, I chose a few of the wood embellies I know I can't replicate at home. I got a couple of 6x6 pads for those must have new lines that I know I use and will love. If you are curious what some of my CHA favorites were, you can see a list of my top ten here. I didn't even get close to filling my whole list. Instead, I am hoping to save up for a Coharu washi tape printer along with some new stencils.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Shelf at a Time: The Glitter Experiment

There was a time when we all bought a lot of glitter. Then, stickles arrived on the scene and they were so much easier to use than loose glitter. My little baggies and vials of loose glitter fell to the bottom of the drawer. For awhile now, I have had the intent to use them more often. Glitter is making a kind of comeback. Plus, it would be nice to use up some of my stash.

After perusing Pinterest, I came to the conclusion that I wanted pretty little crystal like salt and pepper shakers to store my loose glitter in. Alas, several months of searching thrift stores and dollar bins has not been successful. I decided to move to plan B. This meant I would try any clear container that I could find.

What I did find isn't pretty. It's a very functional, clear glass kind of cheap shaker. It does have some positive attributes though. I can shut the lid...something that the pretty shaker option does not have. It would seem lately, that I have a lot of kitty curiosity where my supplies are concerned. The spare room doesn't have a door, which means a kitty proof spill option such as this jar may just be a good thing. On the right, you see my current method of glitter storage. This glitter came in a plastic vial which broke, thankfully, inside the shipping bag. Breaking into this mess has been so very unappealing that I have never even attempted to use the glitter within.

The glitter has since been transferred to the new jars. Again, it's more functional than it is pretty. The jars are a lot larger than I really need for the small packets of glitter that I have. However, I believe it's going to be more usable now. I can officially start my glitter experiment.Only time will tell if I use the glitter more or if it remains unused.

If you are unsure about using a salt shaker to store your loose glitter, I recommend a similar experiment for you. Invest in only one or two shakers to start with. If you like the results, you can always buy more. Try the shakers for a month at the least. This will give you an idea if this is the right storage method for you.

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Sketch It Out: a JYC 2012 Catch up Post

scrapbooking sketch by shimelle laine @

Here it is, the end of January, and I find myself still working on my Journal Your Christmas 2012 prompts. The  beauty of JYC is that I can skip around and use the prompts as necessary. I am hoping to wrap up the layouts in February, but I must admit that I find myself revisiting some of the prompts again and again. If I don't finish 2012 next month, I'm not worried. I'll be doing JYC this December as well. I enjoyed my holidays this year and the prompts helped to bring out a few tales that might no otherwise have been told.

I have my DT assignments turned in, so with a little time on my hands, I decided to revitalize my creative juices before diving back into my latest assignments. Sketches are an easy way for me to do that. Nothing works better for getting you to feel creative than to actually just start creating something. I found myself drawn to another of Shimelle's creations, though as usual, I didn't completely follow the sketch to a tee.

Christmas Tree Catastrophe by Christy Strickler Supplies| Cardstock: Colorbok; Patterned Paper: Crate Paper; Alphas: Pebbles; Ephemera, Buttons: JBS Mercantile; Other: sequins

Shimelle's sketch calls for two 4x6 vertical photos. I instead chose to use two horizontal photos which I cropped down to squares. I could easily have rotated the sketch to accommodate those photos uncropped. However,  really liked the sketch orientated this direction. When you use sketches, don't fight yourself about your photo choices. Simply choose what interest you and adapt the sketch around the photos. I added in more embellishments and extended the title and journaling just a bit.

The next time you are feeling less than creative, grab a few photos and a sketch, then pick a kit and just go. I used my JBS Mercantile January kit for today's layout. I was excited to play with newer supplies which led to excitement to get these particular photos scrapped. Creativity is a habit. The more you exercise it, the more creative you will feel. Now that I have done a couple of easy layouts, I no longer feel creatively drained.

As a side note, if you are looking for a way to stretch your supplies and use up some clear stickers or rub-ons, then you might want to head over to the Scrapbook News and Review Magazine blog today. You will learn how I created this title plus one for future use, all with a few simple supplies.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just Discovered: Zeus and Zoe

I recently came across this sweet  little etsy shop during my on-line exploratons. I am always looking for unique stencils and bits of ephemera to hoard. Zeus and Zoe has a variety of both. Here are a few selections that are being added to my wish list.

Chevron Stencil Scrap FX Scrapbooking Art Mixed Media Card Making Painting CraftingThis Chevron Stencil certainly caught my eye. 
Palm Frond Stencil Scrap FX Scrapbooking Art Mixed Media Card Making Painting CraftingA Palm Frond Stencil would be awesome for some island layouts.
Engineering Stencil Scrap FX Scrapbooking Art Mixed Media Card Making Painting Crafting The engineering stencil is more like 4 stencils in one.
 I always love Ephemera. Every packet is like a small surprise gift.
Zipper Pulls Chipboards Scrap FX Scrapbooking Art Mixed Media Card Making Painting Crafting Embelishment There are a lot of chipboard options, but I have never before seen chipboard zipper pulls with little phrases on them! These are a must have!!!

Project Life 2013: January

All month long, I saw various posts popping up about this week or that of PL. It seems I may be in the minority of documenting just parts of the month rather than doing it week by week as so many do. This brought up a big question for me. Even if I am taking the monthly approach, should I print the photos little by little then work on my layouts throughout the month? If so, which photos should I  print?

I had a lot going on this month. My son resumed his on-line homeschool classes and I found myself wrapped up in teaching him, housework and my regular DT work. The questions sort of answered themselves. It would seem that around the end of the month I have a bit of a slow stretch in between assignment due dates. This gave me the opportunity to go back through my photos and organize them. As I did so, I realized something very important.

I created a PL folder inside my January 2013 photo folder. I went through all of January's pictures and chose to drag and drop a select few into that January PL file. As I was saving my instagram photos to the folder, I began to see some bigger picture type stories emerging over the course of the month. Now, there is nothing wrong with me using those photos for my PL layouts. At the same time, I want to delegate my PL layouts to little moments that might not make it to big layouts. Waiting until the end of the month allows me to figure out which photos belong where.

While I did print a few photos in 4x6, I printed the majority in wallet size. Otherwise, my PL layouts might get bulkier than I want. After all, they are supposed to be an intro to the month's full page layouts. I also like how my Instagram photos print as little squares. I get some regular wallet size photos in the mix as well. It's a nice selection of photo sizes for visual interest.

I decided to lay my photos out on the pockets to see how many PL layouts I am going to need. As you can see, January is a bit of a slow month. It looks like a one page spread is going to be perfect for me. Now comes the hard I use a kit for the whole spread? Or do I choose to have a different paper for every  photo?

I ended up using a few paper scraps from my JBS Mercantile kits mixed in with my PL Seafoam cards. As I was working on the layout, I wasn't sure I would like it. In the end, there is something about tiny cards in pockets that has an appeal to it, though I do admit that I am not as skilled at making Project Life cards as I would like to be. I find is funny how I can make a 12x12 layout without hesitation but somehow these little cards throw me for a loop.It will be interesting to see if I can adapt my knowledge of layout design to creating better Project Life Cards.

If you are looking for prompt ideas for PL, you may want to check out the Little Things I love Challenge. Each month, you will be picking two things from your home and documenting what you love about them. Though the challenge is geared toward full layouts, it's also easily adapted to PL. This month, I chose to document my little " pay as you go" back up phone aka my Burn Notice phone and the places my cats wait for us.

My title page is my favorite so far. I know some people like to use group photos to begin their album. I chose the fireworks photos. I took a multitude of photos during New Year's eve. PL allows me to slip in a few extras that won't make it to the New Year's layout.

Overall, I am off to a decent start. I know I have some work to do this year. I'd love to have my cards look a little more pretty and dinmensional, though for now, the plain and simple approach is getting the job done.It's going to be an interesting endeavor, to say the least.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sketch it Out! My Bat Mitzvah Journey Begins

scrapbook sketch by shimelle laine @

If you are looking for the Scraphappier LOAD213 blog hop, check here.

First of all, I am not Jewish. Second of all, I am not coming of age. My best friend is planning her daughter's Bat Mitzvah and I have been asked to create a scrapbook album all about the young lady in question. I feel very privileged to have been asked. E is a very special young lady. I often see a bit of myself at that age in her, though of course she is uniquely her own self. I regard her, more as a niece, than just as my best friend's daughter. I want to ensure this album is extra special. I have begin making tentative plans with E's mom about what it should include.

E's mom is planning on sending some photos my way, but I wanted to get a headstart on the album. It's not something I want to leave to the last minute. E and her friend's seem to think that I am a cool enough mom to be part of their instagram accounts. The coolest part of this are the photos I get to snag from the accounts. Though they are not always the highest quality, I get photos that are not staged and that truly reflect E right now, interacting with her sister and her friends.

A Girl Named E_______ by Christy Strickler Supplies| Cardstock: Colorbok; Patterned Paper, Alphas, Stickers, DieCuts: American Crafts; sketch from

I chose a sketch from Originally, the sketch called for two photos, each in their own quadrant. Instead, I chose to place patterned paper and to then place a single photo over it all. After that, you could say the embellishments just fell into their perspective places.

Yes, I know the journaling is missing. I am purposefully doing that on some of the layouts for the Bat Mitsvah album. I am hoping to have friends or family comment on some of the layouts later on. You will also notice that E's name is covered. I will be sharing the layouts I create for this very special album. However, I don't have permission from all of the kid's parents to share their photo. To protect the kids, I will be covering names and sometimes faces from time to time.

Since I don't have all of the photos's from E's mom yet, I am still in the beginning phases of planning the album. I do want to include some of these instagram shots, but I am not sure what layouts will make the final cut. I figure more layouts than less to choose from will be better. Plus, what mom isn't going to love getting extra layouts featuring their kid?!?!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Scraphappier! The LOAD213 blog hop!

Thank you for joining in the LOAD213 blog hop. If you are arriving here first, you may want to head over to Heather's blog so that you can follow along in order. We have a lot tips, tricks and insight into the experience that is LOAD.

If you are wondering what LOAD is all about, at it's simplest, it's creating a layout a day. You get a prompt in the morning and you do your best to create a scrapbook layout by midnight.Usually when I tell someone I am participating in LOAD, I am often told I must be crazy.Most people will say they can't even consider LOAD since they take a long time to create layouts. They have too much on their plates with kids and family. If you decide to participate in LOAD213, the biggest thing you need to remember is that it's ok if you don't end up making a layout  every single day. Sure it's the point, but it's also not the point.

What's really  the point of Layout A Day? It's a look into your process. It's going to make you take a look at how you work with your supplies and the steps you take to create a layout. You have to understand who you are before you can successfully create every day. Since you have a time limit, you learn to make confident supply choices. There is no saving that paper for a special day when you participate in LOAD. You learn that every day is the special day meant to use your supplies. You also develop a creative habit. Creativity is exercise for the brain. The more you exercise it, the more you create.

It is a good idea to get prepped and ready for LOAD. Personally, I begin editing and printing off sets of photos. Remember that your goal is to create layouts quickly. You probably don't want to choose your wedding photos or anything in which you want to scrapbook with a lot of detail. I like to use everyday photos of my cats or my son, for example. I also gather kits and have them ready to work in a basket near my desk.

Sketches are a great way to save time if you find you hesitate when it comes to photos placement. I gather favorite sketches and keep them on a pinterest board.  I also like to use sketches from some of the challenge blogs out there.

Some days you will have more time to work than others. On the days you have a little more time, you might want to jot down notes about the way in which you are working. Personally, I discovered that I think by object or theme and then color as I work. This is changing how I store my supplies.

Most of all, don't stress out! This is supposed to be fun. Keep stress low by making quick decisions when you choose supplies. If you liked that green polka dot paper with the photo of your kid, don't second guess yourself and keep searching your supplies. Choose and move on. If you don't have a photo for that days prompt, don't sweat it. No one says you can't print another one. Don't limit yourself to the basket of supplies you have ready. If you know the birthday paper on you shelf will work better with the prompt, then go grab it.

Not all of you layouts will be exciting and awesome. Some might need a little love later on to get them looking the way you desire. It's ok.  I created this one during LOAD 212. It could use a little more embellishing.

Once again...just have a good time!

Be sure to hop over to Lynette's blog next. Here is a list of today's Blog hop participants:

Christy Strickler: <----you are="" div="" here="">
Lynnette Nagle: < the next stop!
Julie Shepler:
Betsye Erazo:
Marcia Fortunato:
Kristie Sloan:
Katrina Forman:
Jessica Baldwin:

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Three Striped Island Cats

It's a rare thing to have the three of them sit together. I had been trying to capture a photo for awhile. I was so glad my husband was able to get one with his tablet. This is one of those photos in which the quality doesn't matter. The cats are not going to line up for a group shot, so you take what you can get! We adopted all three of these cats while living in the islands.

3 Striped Island Cats by Christy Strickler Supplies| Cardstock: Colorbok; Patterned Paper, Die Cuts, Stickers,Alphas: American Crafts;Chipboard: Sassafrass,October Afternoon; Mist: Ranger; Other: wood heart, for Get It Scrapped

When I create my layouts, I often use items or colors that give me visual cues to the story I want to tell.  The coral paper reminds me of the resort my husband works at. Both the coral and the yellow are colors commonly seen in the islands. Yellow, blue and black are the colors used in the Bahamian flag. I often use them when creating layouts about the beach or the islands. Though the viewer may not associate the colors the same way I do, I love the way they jog my memory. For me and for my family, it adds a little bit more depth to the layout and it's story.

I chose papers from several of Amy Tangerine's Collections. Many times, you will find that you can easily mix patterns from several collections if they share the same manufacturer or designer.The way I use the pattern in my layouts is also important. I used the diagonal yellow stripe to point up towards the photo of the cats. The chevron pattern reminds me of waves and the floral print is a nod to the lush island greenery. Wood elements remind me of driftwood on the beach.

Though the symbolism I add to the layout through color and pattern is not always evident to the viewer, it helps me create a cohesive blend of patterns and colors. the layout feels more whole and complete. Think of it in the same way you would use words to tell a story. The words need to make sense in order to work together. Your journaling is not the only way to tell your story. Choose supplies that speak to your heart and jog your memory. When you add those selections to your written story and photos, you create a layout that tells a wonderful tale.

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