Thursday, February 28, 2013

Finding your " Go To" Embellishing Approach

It took me a while to learn how much was enough and what I was really comfortable with. In fact, the awareness of how I embellish really wasn't as strong six months ago as it is now. I thought I knew. I even thought I knew my style. Looking back, I was still learning. I still am now. I have evolved and I am evolving still. What I do know is that I have found my embellishing comfort zone.

What is that comfort zone? It's the place where I know when enough embellishing is just enough. I have placed things I like in a manner that visually pleases me( and hopefully others). I like my layout. Sometimes, I just totally LOVE my layout. This means I can scrap a whole lot faster and with confidence.

Rare Moments by Christy Strickler Supplies| Cardstock: Bazzil; Patterned Paper, Stickers,Alphas, Buttons: Basic Grey; Brads: October Afternoon; Flower,velvet leaves, paper bag

How do you find the comfort zone? Well, you have to examine what you like to use and how you use it. You also have to practice. Practice, simply put, is making layouts. For a long time, I wanted to really learn how to layer papers and embellishments. Many people I knew or admired had these beautiful layouts dressed to the nines. I had to observe them, try things out on my layouts, and then observe my own process. Over time I realized that I had a love for the visual triangle.Odd numbers, most especially threes, frequented my layouts. I learned how I liked to tuck items and stack them. I knew what types of embellishments I liked to use.My layouts were somewhere between simple and packed full of embellies. I came to know where and when to stop.

I can't tell you where your comfort zone is. I do know you can find it by observing your own process. Take notes if you need to. Look at what you use and how you use it.Do you prefer flower or die cuts? What colors do you like? Are there a lot of certain textures that you prefer? Examine the layouts you love and ask yourself why you love them.

 With a little time and patience, you will find that sweet spot in which you know the layout is done. Knowing what you like to use and how you use it will help you direct your scrapbooking budget. I do caution you that finding that comfort zone is not the end of your personal scrapbook evolution. It is simply a part of it, but knowing more about your process will free you to learn new things in other areas.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

LOAD213: In the Home Stretch

There are just a few days left of Layout a Day. I have managed to keep up, though I must confess to being quite exhausted. It hasn't been an easy feat to manage LOAD, creative team assignments and my family life. I do feel good about making it through the next few days. After all, I have made it this far.

Yesterday, I decided to keep things simple. I chose a sketch from a scrapbook pal at her blog Scrapping Wonders. Beth is running a challenge and a series of blog posts aimed at helping you document your mobile photos. Her sketch was just what I needed!

The photos are less than stellar. The layout is UBER simple compared to what I usually make. So what!?!! I documented something my husband has been saying about my son a lot lately. This is another reminder that sometimes simple really can be a good thing.

He is Good at Being Good by Christy Strickler Supplies| Cardstock: Colorbok; Patterned Paper: Lillybee Designs; Badge: A Flair for Buttons; Alphas: Basic Grey, Webster's Pages; Ribbon; October Afternoon

So yes, I have been very tired. I do plan to rest a bit after LOAD is over. I won't quit scrapping completely though, just maybe not a layout every day. That's the quirky thing about LOAD. You might get a little tired, but you sure feel like it's a shame to stop creating once it's done.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Game On! Scattergories and LOAD213

Ever since I started subscribing to the JBS Mercantile kits, I have loved playing along with the games in their community. It's a great way to use up your kits, have fun and get some layouts finished. I honestly didn't think I would find it easy to play along with this month's game, much less find the time to do so. However, I was able to combine my LOAD213 layouts with the Scattergories challenge.

How does Scattergories work? Well, you pick a letter, then you choose supplies or items for you layout which start with the letter. The goal is to get as many supplies on your layout and you must use at least one product from a JBS Mercantile kit. Of course, we all get a little silly and we always push the rules just a tad.

Case in point. I pushed the rules a little bit here. My first letter was K. My son's name begins with K, so his pictures count. I also have kids on a flatback, kelly green ( sort of) flowers and letters. I used a JBS Mercantile kit cut and a journal spot with kelly green.

The Horned Melon by Christy Strickler Supplies| Patterned Paper: Jilliebean Soup, Lillybee; Alphas, Button, Kit Cut, Journal Spot: JBS Mercantile; Flowers: Sassafrass

When  I shared the photos of this on instagram, I had a lot of questions about the melon. Yes, it was very slimy and gross. No, he did not finish it.

I surprised myself by playing along again this morning. I chose the word M so I could bend the rules and bit and use Multiples of many items. The cat's name is Momo. I used a Monogram of an M and a mustard colored M word title. I machine stitches and used Metal Embellishments. this layout makes me happy because I was able to use up so many scraps from an older JBS Mercantile kit. To save myself time, I used one of Shimelle's layout starting points.

Mischief Incarnate by Christy Strickler 
Supplies| Patterned Paper: My Mind's Eye, Crate Paper, Studio Calico; Letters, Stickers: Jillibean Soup; Other: monogram, glass beads, metal flowers and heart

Playing Games with your supplies is  a lot of fun. It keeps you motivated to use your supplies. It also challenges you in such a way that your story becomes a little deeper in meaning. The layout about Momo was originally just about him being caught climbing the screen door. It ended up being about how I have an attraction to mischievous creatures.

What games can you play with your supplies? Try out a challenge like the one over at the JBS Mercantile forum. There are also a lot of challenge blogs for scrapbookers around the web. Consider writing a list of challenges to yourself. Trust me, you will enjoy yourself and your layouts will reflect it!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Sketch It Out! 2-22-13 Edition

A little while back, I created a layout which featured phone booth style photo strips for Scrapbook News and Review Magazine. I decided to create a sketch using that layout.

Today is the sketch of the week over at Scrapbook News and Review Magazine blog. Several staff members created projects based on my sketch. I hope you will stop by the SNR blog to check out their projects. I always love seeing how different each project is when everyone uses the same sketch.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Scientific Method: LOAD213 and the 6x6 Paper Pad

In January, I wrote about CHA Temptation and how I love 6x6 paper pads. I know that a lot of people prefer 12x 12. I still love my 12x12 papers. I do however, also love how easy it is to store a 6x6 pad. I love how I get a little bit of every paper from the collection. My wallet also loves the cost. Sometimes though, you have to get a little creative when you use them. Today, I thought I would share a layout using only one 6x6 paper pad and a sheet of cardstock.

I started off by using a sketch from  The sketch calls for the full use of the 12x12 canvas. This meant that I had to reduce the size of my canvas to accommodate the 6x6 papers. I cut the paper into strips and arranged them in a manner similar to the sketch. It was easy to choose the papers. Using a 6x6 pad takes a lot of guesswork out of the mix. All of the papers coordinate and it simply becomes a matter of choosing the ones you want.

Once I had adhered the paper to the cardstock, I stitched around the edges. I had used some of the borders from the top of each paper sheet. Many pads are printing designs on the top potion of the paper. The only con is that they also tend to have a hole in the dead center of the paper strip. I cut a paper strip of my own and used it to to cover the holes. I didn't need to carry the paper strip across the whole thing. It's easy to hide the gap with a photo.

It was now just a simple matter to embellish the layout as usual.  Would you have ever guessed this was created using paper from a 6x6 paper pad?

Up High by Christy Strickler Supplies| Patterned Paper: Pebbles; Flowers: Sassafrass, Recollections; Stickers: Studio Calico; Dies: Sizzix; Brads: Making Memories; Other: Letter Stickers, glass beads, metal from a soda can; submitted to Simon Says Stamp Metal-ology challenge

I know it doesn't look exactly like Shimelle's sketch. That's ok. Sketches should be a starting point and guide. I let creativity drive my choices and I like the end result. I also love how friendly this layout was on my budget. I do admit that using a 6x6  pad can be tricky. Part of the fun, for me, is the challenge of making it work.

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LOAD213: Family Dynamics

Yesterday's Layout a Day prompt is such that I believe we all need to explore it. What are the dynamics of the relationships in your life? How do you interact with others and what role do each of you play in your relationship? Everyone had a unique personality and we all play off of one another.Sometimes, it's interesting to note how those characteristics we have compliment or clash with those of our friends and family.

Family Dynamics by Christy Strickler Supplies Patterned Paper, Tape, Stamp: Glitz Designs; Button: October Afternoon; Wood Veneer Shapes: Studio Calico; Other: Die Cut letters, sequins, clear packaging envelope

This layout is just the beginning of my exploration of relationship dynamics. I also plan to document the relationships between our cats as well as more about the roles of our friends and family.

I invite you to consider how much more meaning you can add to your layouts by exploring this topic. As I mentioned, it's just one of those prompts that can be used again and again.

By the way, if you are curious about the  clear pocket envelope shown here, you can see how I made it over at the Scrapbook News and Review Blog. Yesterday, I realized we had a missing spot to fill for the Workshop Wednesday Tutorials segment. As the blog coordinator, I take it upon myself to fill in the missing spots. To save myself some stress, I quickly whipped up this layout using the LOAD prompt as inspiration. So in answer to some of the questions I often get about my time management...yes, though I am organized  sometimes I miss things. I'm Human. In the end, it's all about adapting and learning to make the best use of your time.

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Game On! Scattergories

Doris Sander has done it again. She's come up with another fun retro game for all of us JBS Mercantile fans to play. It's her version on Scattergories. While I have never played the game in real life, I plan to pop over to the JBS Mercantile community to play along, scrapbook style. I hope you will join in the fun!

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