Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekend Forecast: Calling for a Freeze!

It's pretty hot where I live right now, but there is going to be a freeze on July 1st! More about that in a moment.

I did want to share a quick update about the website. I will be able to integrate this blog into the new site. You won't notice any major changes to the blog itself. You will notice some minor cosmetic changes such as the new header. I have had a few other commitments pop up which have delayed me working on the website as much as I wanted to. Currently, I am working at adding some content on the back end so that when the site launches, there will be some nice things for you to read.

The blog will continue to provide you with inspiration from my design team endeavors as well as interesting challenges and fun things around the internet. My goal with the website is to provide you with a set of resources such as sketches, color palettes, tutorials and product reviews. I have some exciting news things happening this fall and the website is just a step toward sharing all of that with you.

Meanwhile, you might still be wondering how it's going to freeze when it's so warm in the Northern Hemisphere. The freeze is a self imposed spending freeze. I can't take the credit for the idea. It all started over at ClubCK with friends I made in their forums. Sadly, the ClubCK forums have closed their doors recently. Many of us who became friends on that forum have found ways to keep in touch and keep some of the creative spirit and support alive. Some of my peeps proposed a spending freeze which I chatted about with some scrappy pals on other social media. Which led to them wanting to play along too.

Now you either have decided to play along or you think we are all crazy. After all,who doesn't want new supplies, right? I admit that I always want more. However, in an effort to keep to my budget and the constraints of my creative space, I have to make smart decisions that work for me. I tend to make my purchases in spurts during big sales or when warehouse boxes are available. My supply needs have been more than met and it's time to close the wallet.

My peeps have all agreed on some basic rules. No spending at all except for:

1. Kit Club subscriptions
2. adhesive
3. basic cardstock if you run out
4. Photo supplies such as prints, ink or photo papers
5. Use of household items/recycled materials is encouraged
6. Free items including gifts or free kits on the web are allowed.

You can make the rules more stringent upon yourself if you would like to. I have known ladies who will use brads or sew their layouts together rather than go spend money on new adhesive. That's totally up to you.

We do allow kit club purchases because some kit clubs require you to sign up for a specific time frame. If you end your subscription prior to the specified time frame, you may incur a penalty fee. Honestly, I also think kit clubs can be a good thing for your budget. IF you have it in your budget, a kit club is a surefire way of receiving the latest and greatest materials while knowing exactly what you will be spending each month.

There isn't a grand prize at the end of the freeze. If you are asking yourself what's the point besides helping out your budget, I will assure you there are several other benefits. When you can't run out to the store to buy some special paper or embellishment, you learn how to adapt what you have. It ignites your creativity and you will most likely get around to trying some of those new techniques or ideas you added yo your pinterest boards. You start shopping your supplies and learn better how to make your own kits. It feels good to use the things you might have forgotten you owned. As you shop your supplies, you can purge the things you know you will never use.

The biggest benefit of all is the sense of community. It's fun to support your friends and to share new tips or techniques along the way. Making changes to your lifestyle is always easier with support.

Now, there are still a few ladies stocking up on things. This means packages may be arriving in the next few weeks with new goodies. It's up to you whether or not you want to use those right away or save them for after the freeze is over as a treat for yourself.

In the meantime, you need to start changing your way of thinking. Delete sale emails or, if you do open them, do so and consider how you might just scraplift the goodies seen within the flyer using your own supplies.

Are you ready to freeze this summer? We will be tweeting about it on twitter, blogging about our adventures and sharing our photos on instagram. You are all welcome to join in on the fun. My friend @messtaken_ID has already shared a blog post!

The Official Freeze Starts July 1st!

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Get It Scrapped: Specifically Emerald

When you hear Emerald, you think of words like bright, rich and vibrant. Emerald isn't shy. It's the kind of green that puts itself out there without being garish. It's one of my favorite colors. In fact, I used it in my wedding.

Wedding Day: with my Mom by Christy Strickler |Supplies: Patterned Paper: Jenni Bowlin, Cartabella; German Foil: JBS Mercantile; Chipboard: Maya Road; Wood Veneer: Studio Calico; Die Cut: Jenni Bowlin for Silhouette; Mist: Pink Paislee; Embossing Powder: Ranger; Stamp: Jenni Bowlin; Doily: Martha Stewart; as seen for Get It Scrapped

Emerald alone is very powerful. Personally, I love to pair it with gold and tan. It's a very elegant palette. I chose to use Emerald sparingly here. I didn't want to overpower the portraits. I used tone on tone embellishments to add interest. The butterflies represent the change that was about to occur in my life.

While the first layout might be a formal setting, emerald green is awesome for less formal occasions as well. Planted is a lighthearted layout about my son at a homeschool co-op. The materials used in both of these layouts are similar. The addition of the fun lettering in the title and an array of garden themed papers make the second layout fun and energetic.

Though Emerald green is a jewel tone, pairing it with brighter blues, pinks or sunshine yellow helps keep it more fun and less formal.Choices in patterned paper and motif also play a role in how you perceive emerald green. I invite you to explore some more inspiration for emerald green at Get It Scrapped. If youare looking for more inspiration, you can Go Green with my mood board at Pinterest.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JBS Mercantile and Elle's Studio: Altering Things, Just a Bit

  When JBS Mercantile paired with Elle's Studio, I received a lovely kit filled with patterns and tags. I loved every single one and I was loathe to cover any of the designs in my hands.  Gone are the days when I look at a sheet of patterned paper or a tag with a pattern and accept it for what it is. I don't want to cover the design. So out pops my craft knife or a pair of scissors and I begin to alter the paper to fit my intentions.

As seen on the JBS Mercantile blog. Elle's Studio Cameron Collection with JBS Mercantile products.

A little slit here. A snip there. Then I can slip in my own embellishments or place a photo just so. Nothing is hidden. Some pieces are saved for later.

Then there is the matter of a title. Sometimes you need to alter things just a tad. I outlined the edges of these chipboard letters with a black marker to make them pop just a bit.This works best prior to placing them on the layout. It's very a very subtle detail.

The letter stickers used to be plain. However, a marker adds a little pop of color. Some markers may smudge. I used glossy accents to seal in the color.

Don't be afraid to alter items just a bit. Customizing the supplies you have on hand is always a good way to stretch your budget.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekend Update

It's Friday! While nothing unusual will be happening in my household, something new and exciting is happening behind the scenes on the blog. I haven't been posting a whole lot. This is, in a large part, due to my learning how to build a website. Yes, you heard me right. I took the plunge and bought a web domain. Currently, I am building some content and hope to launch it very soon.

Here is a little peek at  the new site. The idea of a web site emerged last fall. My son said my blog wasn't quite me and I needed something of my own. I played around with designing my own custom header. I still wasn't quite getting what I wanted. Over time, and with the encouragement of my family, the idea of a website formed and here we are.

I did want to give everyone a heads up about the upcoming changes. I have the option to import this blog within the new site. I have begun the process but am not sure quite what will happen when I press the go button. We shall see.

Stay tuned here or to twitter for further details.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Get It Scrapped: Theme Park Outings

We are no stranger to theme parks. My husband has been in the industry for over 20 years now. We have always been pretty lucky to be able to spend a lot of time hanging out where people go to vacation.

 Vacation photos are special events. However, you don't necessarily need special materials to document them.  As someone who has seen the inside of many a theme park, I can tell you that the clues for the right materials are all around you. Just peak inside your photos and remember the sights and sounds of each of the themed areas.

Lil Boat Captain by Christy Strickler |Supplies: Patterned Paper, Tape: Glitz Designs; Letters: Sassafrass; Die Cut: Silhouette; Mist: Pink Paislee; Other: twine, jewel, wood anchor, buttons, cardstock, for Get It Scrapped

These are photos of my son in the Land of the Dragons. It's part of a themed area for small kids in Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida. This could have been a great opportunity to use some dragon themed stickers or patterned paper. Instead, I went a bit further and looked for ways to incorporate additional aspects of the area's theme into the layout.

I did pull the nautical motif directly from the ride itself. I also wanted to capture the fun bright colors found throughout the area. Everything in the Land of the Dragons is a bright cacophony of color. The colors I used represent the little dragons and their homes. As a subtle nod to the dragons, I included a blue patterned paper that reminded me of dragon scales. The tape reminds me of all the bubbles. There is a cave with a river running though it. As you splash your way along, bubbles fill the air. 

I tend to group the photos from my theme park trips into sections. There are other rides in the Land of the Dragons. I will use bright colors, just as I did here, but motifs and patterns will tell the story of each event within that area separately. We spent a lot of time in this one particular area, but many theme parks consist of several " lands". If we visited a themed zone of the park and didn't spend much time there, the photos can be grouped onto one layout. An example would be the roller coasters. My son was too young to ride, so there are less stories to tell from those "lands".

As you pull your theme parks photos together, you must first decide what story to tell. Which areas did you visit the most and why? Are there particular colors, sounds, smells or sights you remember? How did the weather effect the outing? How were the lines? Try to jog your memory and choose your supplies, not just by theme, but by the things that triggered your memories. Don't just rely on your thoughts. Interview a family member to see what parts were most memorable for them.

For more ideas to document your family theme park adventures, stop by Get It Scrapped.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Project Life 2013: Where's April?

I have to begin with a disclaimer. I have not yet made my April Project Life Spreads. I made March, then forgot to share them on the blog. Then I got my June JBS Mercantile Historian kit and I thought it was so perfect for my May Spreads that I just skipped April entirely. No worries though. I will get to April. I promise!

First off, the month of March. I am running low on the divided page protectors so I decided on a little experiment. I decided I would machine stitch borders on a 12x12 sheet of cardstock, use PL cards and items, then place it in a sheet protector. In theory, it's a great idea. I struggle creating straight even lines, so this wasn't the perfect thing for me to try. I need to find another way to help me sew straight. I also found that meeting at the edges of the boxes proved to be a bit difficult.

On the positive side, this method allowed me to incorporate mini album pages onto my PL spreads. I used a blend of the JBS Mercantile Hodge Podge mini albumsprinted digital journal cards, and added in items from my JBS kit. I was able to add layers and slightly bulkier embellishments then normal. Sometimes I find that bulky PL cards won't fit well in the little pockets. I also found that I could break borders. If photos were a little large, I could let them hang a bit outside of the sewn squares.

During March, I had participated in 30 Days of Lists. I had pre-made list cards from the prompts which I added in with the March Spread. I had made the cards and used some of the PL products I had purchased prior to knowing about the JBS Historian kits. No worries though. JBS products coordinate well with other manufacturers.

I am planning to mix in full 12x12 layouts with my PL page spreads. So the idea of sewing on a 12x12 sheet of cardstock is still a good one. I think I can perfect it with a little practice.

Now, on to the May Project Life Spreads. Initially, I had thought to use the June Historian kit for my April PL photos. However, when I received it, I knew that the travel theme was perfect for my May photos. We made a short weekend family trip. Short as in 1 1/2 days, international flight included. May also ended up being a lot more eventful than March. I ended up using some of the papers from my JBS Mercantile Main kit as a supplement to the Historian.

I have a lot of these pocket pages left from my kits. I decided to treat the larger section as a mini layout. My favorite part of this page is the card about driving in Nassau. I cut a section from the card to use on another part of the spread and covered the hole with a photo. I then sewed the card to create a pocket for some memorabilia. Since I was short of car themed paper, I printed off a quick 4x6 size patterned paper block on cardstock. Many of the JBS digital papers coordinate well with the kit products. I also printed matching patterned paper cards for other sections of my PL spreads, as well as using some of the more neutral papers from the Modern Mercantile collection.

When I was able to, I used the back of the double sided patterned paper. I did that here with the blue sections which documented the weather for the month. I am still loving the instaweather app. I use the free version to capture our weather at least once a week.

Many of the cards in the Historian kit were designed for the smaller pockets. The smallest pocket I had was 4x6. To compensate, I cut 4x6 cards from the patterned paper. I mounted the small card on one side and made a small section for another story on the other side. You can see that with the currently card on the upper right side of this spread. The middle card is a 4x6 sheet of patterned paper. I cut a small card into 2 sections and adhered the sections to bracket the photo. Don't be afraid to cut your cards apart to help them suit your needs.

Postcards are often a nice 4x6 size. My initial thought was to slip it right into the pocket. Buy postcards while on a trip, and you can journal on the back side while you are away. In this case, I ended up using the postcard on a larger layout. I did add a small geotag marker to the map to show where we traveled to.

I wanted to document our hotel room and room service food. I used pattern paper to create three distinct bands on the page. The top is our room key and about the room.The middle documents late night snacks and the bottom row documents our breakfast.

Many of the cards have banners or cute decorations on them. Don't cover them up! Use your craft knife to cut a little slit so that you can slide photos or memorabilia under the banners. It will add some dimension to your cards without adding a lot of bulk.

I am planning to add some full size layouts to the May Project Life spreads. I'm still not as confident about my card making skills as I would like to be. I also feel like I am struggling with photographing my PL pages. I did learn to take the cards out of the pockets and to lay them on top of the page protectors. This took the glare away and made for better photos. It's definitely a learning process but I am enjoying the journey.

Stay tuned for the April PL spreads. Meanwhile, if you want one of those Historian kits to document summer travel, you are in luck. There are still a few in the JBS Mercantile store. Hurry though. They tend to sell out pretty quickly!

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Tales of a Craft Class Junkie: Weekend Update

Who doesn't love a free class? Especially is it's taught by Shimelle. For the next few weeks, she will be teaching a scrapbooking class called Break it Down over at UKScrappers. Each day, over the course of the week, Shimelle will post a concept regarding everything from photo and story choices to supply options and design.

Almost the Same by Christy Strickler |Supplies Patterned Paper: Heidi Swapp, Farmhouse; Letters: JBS Mercantile, Sizzix, October Afternoon; Stamp: Elle's Studio;Ink: Tsukineko; Tape, Stickers: JBS Mercantile; Brads: Queen and Co.; Wood Veneer: Maya Road, Studio Calico; Other: glossy accents, canvas

 I am playing along too, but I am off to a slow start. The materials for week 1 and week 2 are now available. The class, overall, is a great way to practice using your time on a daily basis to create small bits of one larger project. This is a great class for anyone who doesn't have a lot of spare time to create.

The weekend is only partway finished. I'll be working on the Break It Down prompts in between my Creative Team work and time spent with my family. Hopefully, I can finish the next Break It Down project before week 3 kicks off.

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