Thursday, October 31, 2013

More Halloween Inspiration

 When a holiday comes around, we often have a list of pictures we want to take. For Halloween, that means we typically capture the costume, the pumpkin carving, trick or treating and candy sorting. In the last Halloween post, we talked about including your background in the story and documenting the weather. Experimenting with titles is another way to make recurring events more interesting.

Today, on the JBS Mercantile Inspiration blog, I wrote about using the things kids says to help guide both your product choices and the creation of your title. You can literally jot down something your child says to you and use that as a title. You can also use symbols to make a more interesting title.

Warning: Tiny Vampire...Anyone With a Camera will get the Stink Eye by Christy Strickler Supplies| Cardstock: Colorbok; Patterned Paper, Jewels: Glitz Designs; Ink: Hero Arts; Letters: Heidi Swapp, Basic Grey; Wood Veneer: Studio Calico; Based on a scraplift skecth of Emily Pitts for Masterful Scrapbook Design's Tension Seminar

Look for items that can be substituted for words within the title. These symbols make the title more interesting. Playing around with the symbols will likely cause you to come up with a more interesting title than just using the photos alone. This title is much more exciting than something like Neon Vampire Teeth.

Explore both symbolism and voice when considering what you want to use for a title. Look at the actions of the people in the photograph to determine what symbols might work for your title. If you didn't jot down something your subject said, chances are that you know them well enough to think of a phrase they may well have used.

Additional Resources

Click here to view more details

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Happy Halloween!

It's just past midnight which means it's officially Halloween in my region! It's one of my favorite holidays! Every year it seems I take the same photos. After looking through a few sets, I have come to realize there are hidden messages within the pictures.

Did Somebody Say Candy? by Christy Strickler Supplies Patterned Paper: Basic Grey; Stickers, Die Cuts, Chipboard: Basic Grey, Elle's Studio; Buttons: Queen and Co.; Other: sequins, cardstock: Submitted to the Inspiration Challenge for October 2013

There is nothing like a pile of candy to sort out on Halloween. In the excitement, it may be difficult to capture a shot with the perfect background. That's ok. Those hidden items in the back help tell part of the story. These photos were taken just prior to a big move. There is a lot of empty space and some moving boxes in the background.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by Christy Strickler| Supplies Patterned Paper,Stickers,Die Cuts, Letters: Basig Grey; Enamel Dots: Freckled Fawn; Other: Doily, Flair, Tape, Journal Card; Based on a sketch from; 

 My husband and son are eating roasted pumpkin seeds in our driveway. Not only does this capture a Halloween tradition, it also gives a hint about the weather that day. It was so hot, that my son was able to run through the sprinklers while I roasted the pumpkins indoors. While this photo doesn't capture a family moment in front of a perfectly decorated mantel, it does tell a lot about what it was like where we lived.

All month long, I have been inspired to create Halloween and Fall themed layouts using the October JBS Mercantile kits. I have especially fallen in love with the Basic Grey Persimmon collection which was a predominant part of the kits. If you are looking for a way to be inspired for Halloween or Fall, try creating a kit based around a specific collection of products. Write down an traditions your family has or look through words or phrases within the kit to spark journal prompts and titles. Items in the background or the day's weather may also become important parts of this year's story. What hidden messages can be found in your Halloween photos?

Additional Resources

Get Inspired by A Product Line- a challenge from Document Life Workshop
Holidays and Seasons: Everyday is Halloween Pinterest Board

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The December Daily Reality Check

Every year the pressure mounts. Who is doing one? Everyone seems to be and so it sort of feels like you should too. Quite honestly, the peer pressure isn't all bad. A December Daily sounds like a wonderful project. I have sort of tried to participate during the past few years though it's mostly a half hearted effort.

My biggest issue with the December Daily is that it often comes in mini album form. I adore mini albums. I should amend that by saying that I adore mini albums made by others. Sure, they are really cute and all, but I just am not into creating them. I struggle with limiting my plethora of photos into one tiny album. In past years, I have chosen to make a series of 12x12 layouts. Last year, I participated in Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class with some success. This year, I have decided to opt for a series of pocket pages for a Project Life/Photo Freedom style approach.

Now that I have a sort of game plan, I guess I need to think about supplies. This has been a hot topic amongst me and several of my friends lately. There are so many kit options. My friend, Keslter Jean listed a few of them on her blog. We both went back and forth about  which kit would work best. In my opinion,it boils down to the following variables: budget, whether or not the kit comes with an album, and whether or not the kit comes with a class.

For me personally, I want a kit without an album. I like to work with 12x12 size and I like having all of my albums in a row on a shelf. I understand the value of the album being included for many people. I just wish there were more kit options available without. It would also seem that, this year, many of the kits come with access to a class. If the kit happens to pair with a teacher or groups of teachers you enjoy working with, then this would be a great value added on to the kit contents. Unfortunately, it seems that several of the classes only come with the kit purchase.

At the end of the day, no matter how much I want one of the kits, my budget comes into play. My wallet is telling me that paying $75- 100 per kit is just not going to be a good idea right now. Plus, I am having a heck of a time getting around the idea of buying Holiday items when I know they will be on clearance very soon in the foreseeable future. Now I am back to square one. What should I do for a DD kit?

Plan B is to see exactly what comes with the Kelly Purkey kit from Simon Says Stamp. It's still on pre-order but the exact contents remain a mystery. Once those are revealed, I will consider whether or not it will fit in my budget.

Meanwhile, Plan A is my best option. It's a pretty sure bet that JBS Mercantile will have Holiday items in one of the upcoming kits.I know that having a kit at the ready makes it more definite that I will follow through on the DD project. While I could opt to buy some of the new release holiday lines, there is a chance that some of them will be present in one of my kit clubs. Making a kit from my current supplies seems like the best path.

When I pulled out my Holiday supply folder, it was a mess. The first order of business was to sort the contents. I divided them into two piles: traditional holiday colors and non-traditional colors. I ended up with two full bags of product. This was quite a reality check for me. It made me realize just how much I really had.

Many of the kits for sale are chock full of product. I have to ask myself whether or not I could even use it all were I to buy one. For me, the answer is no. I would have a ton of leftovers. As I look over the supplies I currently have, I know I would feel guilty if I bought a huge kit and didn't use up some of my older supplies.

I decided to use the nontraditional Holiday palette for this year's December Daily. It includes a mix of papers from Cosmo Cricket, My Little Shoebox, Pink Paislee and October Afternoon. Within those papers, I have almost complete sets of some lines. I also have a zip loc baggie of older scraps which contain colors that seem to work best with this palette. Choosing these as my kit base will allow me to use up most of my Holiday Stash.

I also have the largest set of nontraditional color embellishments, which factored into my decision to choose this palette.This kit includes partially used sticker sheets, rub-ons, and die cut packs. My goal is to try to use up some of those sticker sheets. I have also added some of the gold and silver rub-ons and chipboard from Pink Paislee's luxe line for a little sparkle.

To refresh my supplies, I purchased some Holiday themed flair. I will be supplementing the embellishments with items from my Freckled Fawn Oh Deer Me Kit. I also have some of the Holiday themed Project Life cards . You can easily make older supplies feel fresh again by supplementing a few new pieces of paper or embellishments. Often times, the items from a previous year will coordinate with the current year's collection if they come from the same manufacturer. October afternoon is a wonderful example. I have paper from their Deck the Halls collection. Their new Silent Night line would work well and I could buy a few die cuts or stickers to refresh my older products.

Now all that's left is to find a class. Many times, I find that participating with a friend makes things more interesting and I am more likely to complete a project if I have someone to share the experience with. There are a few options available that do not require a kit purchase. My friend, Monica Bradford will be offering her December Inspired class. While I will be following along with Monica, my main source for holiday storytelling inspiration will be coming from Get It Scrapped's Your December Story.
Click here to view more details

You know me. I am a craft class junkie and I feel like the more classes the merrier.

I am still considering that Kelly Purkey kit, but after looking through my supplies, I no longer feel left out of the December Daily Kit madness. I invite you to do the same if you are still unsure. Look over what you have, see if you can supplement your current holiday stash with a few fresh new supplies, and if you want a little camaraderie, consider joining in on a December class that does not require you to buy a kit.

I recommend the following sources for custom flair badges:
BlueBird Chic
Panda Eight Designs
A Flair for Buttons

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Monday, October 28, 2013

With the Best of Intentions

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.- Robert Burns

The schedule went way off the rails on Friday. Perhaps it's because it isn't really written down anywhere. It's more of a mental list of the whens, whats and hows. Either way, I came to terms with it and moved onward. It's about being flexible and learning to roll with the punches so to speak.

I have been pondering whether or not to write out a formal website and blog schedule. I always hesitate, given that, once anything is in pen and a date has been committed to, I feel compelled to make sure it publishes on that exact date. Being a mom means that there are no exact anythings some weeks. The only thing you can count on is that you will be adapting in one form or another to a change somewhere in the schedule.

Friday came and I had all the intentions of sitting down to write my weekend update post. We started off on a good foot, but somewhere partway in, my son asked about the upcoming week's schedule and shouldn't we be factoring in a shorter week due to Halloween festivities. His solution was that he would get extra math studies out of the way. Now it's not a common thing in our household for either him or me to be enthusiastic about math. Also, we were in the point of the lessons which required me to teach rather than for him to have a few extra practice problems. I didn't want to curb his enthusiasm for his schoolwork that day and so, the first adjustment of the schedule occurred.

Saturday morning came along. We slept in a bit and then sat around on the couch. Sometimes it's important to veg out a bit after a long week. At some point, we decided to pop out for lunch since it was a lovely day. I took the liberty of playing photographer. We looked at some birds and some boats and by the time we got back home, we had decided to play a video game together. It's a family affair. Once again, I pushed writing the post off.

Sunday came with a repetition of sleeping in and lounging. Somewhere partway through the day, we decided to hop in the car and drive to the grocery store across the other side of the island. My Husband took the scenic route which provided the opportunity to practice shooting pictures from a moving car. Nothing too exciting, but a nice opportunity to just look around and chat. Sunday slipped away and still I hadn't written the post.

Now it's Monday. I could I guess beat myself up for not staying on the allotted schedule. I see people do this all of the time. Not just with blogs, but with photos to scrap or activities to do as a family. Whatever it is, suddenly, it becomes too much and the ability to adapt is replaced with the paralysis of what what has not been done.

Today is all about avoiding the paralysis. Instead of a to do list I have written  a what I have done list. It changes my perspective and now that it's written, I can adapt my what I want to do list. Because when it really comes down to it, we all know the what you need to do and what you want to do lists will always have new items added to the bottom.

Additional Resources
Fitting it all in- a post series by Ashli Oliver at the Purple Mailbox about how she manages her time as a crafty mom

Things You Might have Missed Last Week

Exercise 2: A Quick Grid Layout

The Scientific Method: Stamping on Cellophane

He Loved this Song: Tips for documenting a lost loved one

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everyday can be Halloween!

I admit to having quite the collection of Halloween scrapbook goodies. Year after year, I have a tendency of falling in love with almost every line I see. I decided it was time to stop hoarding them so that I could use them. Not just for Halloween, but year round. 

I have been working hard behind the scenes. I have made a lot of videos and created quite a few layouts. Some of my supplies are traditional. Others not so much. From costume jewelry to fake mustaches, this class has it all

In Every Day Can Be Halloween, you’ll make fun Halloween themed layouts as well as explore how to use your Halloween supplies all year round. You’ll even get to experiment with color palettes and items typically found in the Halloween section and concoct your own cool and funky embellishments. Open your imagination and get ready to haunt your creative space and use up all those Halloween supplies taking up valuable space in your stash. 

If you'd like to join in on the fun, head over to the Art Studio at Scrapbook News and Review for more information!

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Get It Scrapped: Photos in a Series

There is a cacophony of sounds. Kids laughing and running. Bells going off. The music from different arcade machines compete for attention. A midst it all sits a little car that doubles as a photobooth. Chuck E Cheese sits in the passenger seat, beckoning for little kids to come sit down and get their photo with him. My husband thought I might like just such a photo, so he encourages my son to have a seat.

Three takes and just as many tokens later, he had the right shot. I came home from work that night and he presented the photos to me as a gift. I wished I could have been there but I was also glad for the time my husband spent with my son. I loved the little photos, even if they weren't the best quality.

Like many memory keepers, I have dozens upon dozens of photos. I chose to file my little gems safely away to document another day. Fast forward to the present. I pulled open my photo file and discovered my little gems again. Only, now they were in pretty rough shape.

 Many times, those little machines we find at arcades, theme parks or malls do not print the photos onto high quality paper. In this case, the machine used a material similar to receipt paper. The photos, despite being stored flat, were a bit crumpled and had faded quite a bit.
I should have scanned the photos right away. The original crisp image would have been preserved. Keep in mind that some items such as plane tickets or receipts may also fade in this manner. Can you imagine if I had added these to my scrapbook album and opened it later to find this? Scan anything that you think might deteriorate. If you are not sure, play it safe. Scan it anyway!

Now it came down to whether or not I could salvage the photos. I scanned them and loaded them into photoshop. The photos were already in black and white. If you try this with color photos, I recommened converting them to black and white first. I experimented with a variety of black and white filters and changed the brightness to help darken the images. You will need to experiment with your particular photos or receipt to find what looks best.

My results are not as crisp as the regular images were originally, but I am pleased I was able to improve the way they looked. They are very grainy but they still capture the moment very well.

Captured in Three Takes by Christy Strickler |Supplies Cardstock: Bazzill; Patterned Paper: JBS Mercantile; Letters: Jillibean Soup, Lillybee Designs; Wood Veneer: Studio Calico: Stickers: Echo Park; Ink: Ranger: Stamp: Poulain; Brads: Basic Grey; Flair: Panda Eight Designs; Other: Vellum

I can only imagine what my husband was saying to my son all those years ago as he tried to get just the perfect photo. I arranged the photos in a row as though they came from a traditional photobooth. I used wood shaped men to represent my husband at each shot. Talk bubbles encompass what I imagined him saying to my son. I felt the ticket paper was perfect for a layout about Chuck E Cheese. I used bright papers to help the grainy photos pop out from the layout.

Whether you are a scrapbooker or you are creating pocket pages for Project Life, be sure to scan photos or receipts that might not be printed on high quality paper. You don't want to come back later to find that they have faded. 


Most items from this layout are from the JBS Mercantile August papercraft kit. Some kits still available while supplies last.

Additional Resources

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