Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The New PaperScientist Blog is Here!

After a lot of thought, I decided it was best to push forward. As I mentioned earlier in the year,blogger is not currently meeting all of my needs in regard to website design. After a few month of playing around with the main MSE site, I have developed a new blog design. It's one that I hope you will find easier to navigate.

The new blog reflects a lot of the changes coming to MSE. Over the years, I have had requests to tell more of my expat stories. I will be sharing those and pocket pages to document them on the new blog. For a long time, I focused all of my creative efforts on scrapbooking. Within the past few years, I have had an increased desire to create more mixed media and art journal projects. I also want to create and share quick crafts and home decor. I will still be sharing lots of scrapbook layouts and page inspiration on the main MSE site. The paperscientist blog will focus on my other endeavors.

There is a lot of good information still here on this blogspot blog. It will not go away. However, all new future blog posts will happen on the new MSE Paperscientst Blog.  I hope you will pop over and check it out.

You can also keep in touch with MSE by subscribing to the Lab Report, MSE's free newsletter.

Thank you for joining me on this creative journey! I look forward to sharing more creative inspiration with you at My Scrapbook Evolution and  The Paperscientist Blog.

Monday, May 23, 2016

News from Behind the Scenes: May 2016

I haven't posted much to this blog for a little while now ( and not and frequently as I had wanted to for MSE in general). There has been a lot that has garnered my attention, but also, a little housework on the back end of the website. I wanted to give you an update so that you can have an idea of what to expect.

Blogger isn't meeting a lot of my needs these days. I have come to regret the decision as to whether or not to merge this blog into the main MSE site so long ago. When I bought a domain name, I should have just merged the two. Lesson learned. Meanwhile, I am struggling with the decision of moving this blog over as a subdomain to the main site( which is a HUGE ton of work), or simply to leave this be and begin posting to a blog series there.There are pros and cons to both. This blogspot still sees a lot of traffic but I prefer working through the MSE website. It has more functionality and it is so much easier for me to format the posts there. Rest assured that whatever my end decision is, I will announce it for you here.

I have been doing some tweaks and edits behind the scenes of in an effort to provide new content later this fall( and maybe as early as this summer). For the most part, you won't notice anything until the new content goes live. I am adding in a new article series about my life as an expat. Much of my Project Life and pocket pages will be shared through it, as that is how I document my life abroad. Since we have a new apartment, I have found a need to start decorating it. What better way to do that than with things that I have made! These articles will start appearing under the new MSE LifeStyle category.

For added security, I have decided to upgrade the website with an SSL certificate. Under the previous hosted plan, it was a shared certificate through Hostgator. This new certificate will be for MSE only. Hostgator will handle the changes for me, however, I have been informed there might be a conflict in some content on wordpress. In some cases, the current wordpress installation and the SSL certificate cause some images to not display or for the person visiting the site to receive a mixed content warning. I am hoping this won't happen, but wanted to let everyone know in case it does. ( You can read more about this issue here is you are considering an SSL certificate for your site. It also explains what an SSL certificate does.) Please, rest assured that MSE is safe to visit! I also have a plan through Sitelock which scans the website for malware and keeps hackers at bay ( it's peace of mind for me as a website owner and ensures you have a safe site to visit). I will also be updating the plan through Sitelock to include a CDN. For you, that should mean MSE uploads faster.

It seemed so daunting to start a website of my own a few years back. However, despite those times when it's a headache, I have learned a lot.It continues to be a learning experience which is always good for the soul.

Meanwhile,as a family, we have settled in and love our life in Abu Dhabi. We have gotten an idea of what our homeschool schedule and social life will be like. I am making adjustments but also, looking forward to a few weeks of rest during the summer.

I hope everyone enjoys their upcoming school breaks! Happy Summer everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day with 3 Luck Inspired Scrapbook Pages

St. Patrick's day is not one of those holidays I find myself documenting often. It's not that we don't celebrate it...we do. It just seems that it's one of those holidays that flashes by in the blink of an eye. I can literally think of maybe two layouts that I have dedicated to the day itself (one of which I will share today). I figured today would be the perfect day to share a little inspiration with you and perhaps inspire you to document something about the holiday itself or about luck.

This is one of the few pages in which I have documented the actual events of St. Patrick's day. My son built a leprechaun trap. I went with a traditional green color palette. Green being a sort of given color when you choose to document St. Patrick's Day. If you need some tips for creating a monochromatic green layout, you can find some here on the Layout a Week Challenge Blog. You can also find some green color palettes and inspiration here.

If you don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, it's perfectly all right. Instead, you can choose to create a layout about how lucky you are.I feel like this is a wonderful opportunity to practice being grateful. Many of us try to do this everyday, but generally, the focus on living a thankful life is often documented  most in the fall when Thanksgiving is celebrated.Here's your chance to do an "I am lucky" or thankful page with gorgeous spring color as your inspiration.

I created this layout last year for an article at Get It Scrapped. My goal was to document what luck means to me. I wrote about opportunity and how I appreciated the chance to take advantage of opportunities that came my way.

This layout is about my son and how good things always happen to him. This is a hybrid layout I created back when I was with JBS Mercantile. I used green but added navy and yellow as accent colors. Even though the layout isn't about St, Patrick's day, I used a couple of shamrocks on the page.Many people think of luck when they see them, so the shamrocks work on a symbolic level rather than a literal reference to the holiday.

I used photos of myself and my son to document luck, but really, you could use a photo of anything. For example, you could use a photo of your home to document how lucky you are to have a roof over your head. Or use one of those Instagram foodie photos to document how lucky you are to be able to go out to dinner ( which gives me an idea for a page...I remember a time in which my husband and I couldn't afford to go out to eat). Luck is really all a matter of how you perceive it. You can document a page about St. Patrick's day or you can document something you are thankful for. What will you document? If you make a lucky themed layout, feel free to share it with me in the comments below.

Follow My Scrapbook Evolution's board Holiday: St. Patrick's Day on Pinterest.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Game On! It's March and That Means It's Time to Play Calvinball!

First things first. I need to explain what Calvinball is to anyone who is new to it. It's a scrapbook related game created by my freinds, Doris Sander and Celeste Smith. The game is based on the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. It involves an ever changing set of rules and just all of us, having fun. There is no prize. The goal is to get us scrapbooking more. The easiest way to explain it all would be for you to stop by the Get It Scrapped Forums. The details are all there.

Now technically, the game started March 1st. I know...we're 4 days into the month. That however, is part of the beauty of Calvinball. With the rules changing and morphing( and you having the ability to add more rules), the outcome is never certain and even those who start a bit late are still guaranteed to have a chance at a high points total.Plus, it's just plain fun. If it makes anyone feel better, I am getting a late start this year.

It you need encouragement and want to know more information, then it might be easy to just talk to some Get It Scrapped members live and in person. It just so happens that the Get It Scrapped March online crop is this Saturday( tomorrow). I plan to attend and I know many people there will be happy to help you get started with Calvinball. You can learn how to join the crop here. It's free. You just need to register with the Get It Scrapped Forums to gain access. Registration is also free.

Meanwhile, to the veteran players( I have been playing for years), let the smack talk begin!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

For the Love of Mixed Media Blog Hop

 I have been dabbling in mixed media art off and on over the past few years. It is something I enjoy but don't always make the time for. One of my goals in 2016 was to change that. Being held accountable is always a good thing, even for your creative process. Collaborating on a blog hop meant that I would not only be held accountable for my piece being finished, it also meant I would find inspiration along the way.

I decided my first mixed media project for 2016 should be something with a Valentine's day theme. I had an ulterior motive. Not too many of our Valentine's day decorations made it with us on the big move. Some were old and not in good shape. Plus, we didn't have much for Valentine's day anyway. After talking things over with my son, he decided to join in on the project as well ( which made me completely happy). Initially, we had planned to buy a few decorations from the store and alter them. After some thought, we felt we should challenge ourselves to use only what we had in the house.

Mixed Media Wire Heart

I am sharing my son's project first because, in many ways, I think his is the best of the two. He was inspired to create a heart out of copper wire.

 He cut a heart from cardboard, then cut slits with a craft knife.He then inserted wire into the slits and wound it around the edges to secure it. He was then able to place the heart and wires in the center of a larger wire heart. The cardboard and wire strands in the center served to reinforce the larger heart a bit. He decorated the heart with some wood veneer bits and a locket. The locket was made with a silicone mold and hot glue, then painted red after it dried. He used a lace scrap as the hanger.

The project was easy to make and has a nice rustic feel. It's perfect if you need some quick valentine's day decorations.

Tip: The gauge of the wire seemed to make a difference. I tried a heart with a thinner wire and it wasn't stable. My son did wish his wire was a tad bit thicker.

Valentine Cat Fairy

After seeing several cute cat fairies around pinterest, I determined that I wanted to make one. I had a small wood heart with stand left over from my JBS Mercantile days. I covered it with scrapbook paper and painted the edges with acrylic paint. I printed a largish photo of my cat, Momo, and cut him out. 

I made the wing with a silicone mold and hot glue. I left it unpainted, but as you can see from my son's project, the hot glue takes acrylic paint nicely.

tip: The photo I used wasn't the best of my cat. The lighting made him a bit blown out. I thought it wouldn't matter much, but I felt it would have been a better project if I had chosen a great image to begin with.

Ready for some more inspiration?

The wonderful thing about mixed media is that there are no rules about what you can make. Many of the projects shared today were quick and easy. Be sure to  jump around to the other blogs to find more mixed media Valentine's Day inspired projects. There is no particular order to the For the Love of Mixed Media blog hop. Just hop around and enjoy the inspiration.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It is Time to Improve My Planner Process

Much of 2015 saw me experimenting in my planner.My goal was to find the right balance between a planner that is both beautiful and functional. My goal for 2016 remains the same.Over the past few months, I have experimented with my planner process. I have found an effective way to use my planner( meeting the functionality requirement), but decorating it to meet my desired definition of beautiful still remains somewhat elusive.

I could say I am stumped but I know what is bothering me. I see so many shining examples of planners out there on Pinterest and mine feels lacking. I have two main areas that I know need improvement. I also know that, as it was with making scrapbook layouts, I probably won't just sit down and suddenly create something awesome. It's going to take work and a bit of time.

Identifying My Planner Process Issues and How to Deal with Them

The first step was for me to identify what it was about my planner process that is an issue.

1. Time 

I have other creative pursuits (namely scrapbooking). Planners have become a wonderful way to also document your life and in some ways, they can replace scrapbooks. However, my planner's main function is to help me plan for my website and creative team work. I don't want to take a lot of time up decorating it and would rather devote my free time toward creating scrapbook layouts, crafts or mixed media projects. I needed to streamline my process so that I spend a small amount of time decorating but am satisfied with my efforts.

2. Supplies

There are a lot of wonderful planner supplies out there. A LOT. I have looked around some of the planner communities in an attempt to gain inspiration and guidance toward the right supplies. It would seem that the planner craze has created a similar environment to the one many scrapbookers encountered a few years back. It's an environment which makes you feel compelled to buy. I have felt that pressure and I have no desire to put myself back into that mode again.I prefer to spend my crafty budget wisely and to not over buy. However, in the current planner craze phase that many people are experiencing, that doesn't leave me with a good idea of which supplies I should get. Instead I find myself confused.

I considered a planner kit club. Many exist. Kit clubs can be a great way to keep yourself on a budget while satisfying your need for new supplies. However, I have a few personal reasons for why a planner kit club will not currently work for me.The first being that many come with pre-printed inserts. Many of those inserts mirror similar pages in my Erin Condren Planner and it seems like overkill to have more. There are some which only come with stickers, but knowing how I work, I would end up with a heaping pile of unused stickers quickly. Therefore, in this case, a kit club is not a good option for me.

This leaves me with my scrapbook stash which is (despite a big culling prior to my last move) quite  a substantial resource. I have stamps, washi, punches, stencils, and some stickers.I need to dig into it more. It just can be hard to design what is right to use. Except for the washi. It is easy to use in my planner.

My Planner Process Solution: Simplify Everything

 I am using the Erin Condren Planner and each month, the insert includes a quote or phrase. I was spending a lot of time being indecisive about what to add to the insert. I could choose to not add anything but I felt like I should a least do something. I also don't feel confident about my design skills when it comes to planners.This is a bit weird for me as I feel it is something I am strong with in regard to my scrapbook layouts. Theoretically, what I know should transfer between both with ease. For whatever reason, it does not feel like that for me. I over analyze both the design and the supply choices.

For January, I opted to add a simple stamp above the phrase. I then chose to write about something I was looking forward to in 2016. Even though my planner is for my website, I didn't feel this had to be anything website or craft related.

*quick tip: I messed up stamping the image directly onto the planner. To fix it, I simply stamped the mage onto white cardstock, cut the image out and adhered it over the top of the messed up image.

Similarly, I chose to keep the February insert simple. I had a few heart die cuts laying around on my desk. I placed one above the quote and added a strip of washi. I am enjoying how quickly this minimalist method allows me to decorate my inserts. It also doesn't feel like a messed up design or sticker sneeze which makes me like what I have.

Keeping the insert simple allowed me to choose supplies more quickly and complete the insert with ease. It gave me a boost of confidence which means that later on, I can slowly add more to the decorative process.

Once the inserts were done, it was time to tackle the monthly page spreads.I have been using a layout I like. However, I didn't care for how it was decorated.

The spread above is a good example of my transition. On the left page, there are pages from December. On the right side, the page is the first few days of January. Lets do a quick recap of how I use these pages. The top row represents task that need to be completed for my website. The middle row helps me keep track of scheduled social media posts. The bottom row is where I keep a to do list of tasks related to creative team work,guest posts, and classes I am working on. I use the space on the far left for notes about possible blog posts I am considering( covered right now, because I am not ready to share it all with you yet). The bottom lined space of the page is where I write my editorial calendar.

When I first started working in this planner, I was determined to stamp all of the headings.You can see that I stamped MSE( for My Scrapbook Evolution) on each block under the 28th, 29th, 30th and 31s. This did save me time from handwriting all of them.I would also stamps each block in the middle row with the letters SM for social media and each block on the bottom row with Other. It occurred to me that I need only stamp or hand write one heading for each row.

Starting on the blocks for January,I chose a strip of washi tape and stretched it over the blocks in a line over each row. I could then add a sticker, label or scrap piece of paper at the end of the row. I chose to handletter each heading, but I could have also used stamps.

You can see this a little more easily on these pages in February shown above. Using the washi tape strips and one label for each row sped up the decoration process quickly. I also like that it looks and feels more consistent. I utilized some of my markers and pens which don't get a workout as often as they should.

The spread does still need some work. I realized that some of my washi tape choice were too thick and didn't leave as much room in the blocks as I would have liked. The stamping done on the page is ok. I like the stamps on the bottom where I will be writing in the editorial calendar. However, the social media blocks look messy. I think this could be remedied if I find a better font.I also feel like I am still missing some cute things like stamped animals or stickers, but I can add those in later after I fill the month in if I have time.

My planner still has a way to go when it comes to decoration. However, I am fully satisfied with how functional it is. Given more time, I can continue to streamline the planner process.

Thank you for supporting MSE! Please shop your stash first, but should you find you need anything, consider using one of our affiliate links.

Follow My Scrapbook Evolution's board Planner Love on Pinterest.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Top 5 Posts of 2015

Despite my editorial and creative calendars being a bit disrupted at the end of the year, I had a great year with My Scrapbook Evolution. Lots of people came and visited the site.I met new people, created a lot of projects and overall, I was happy and ready to move on. I almost didn't write this post as I am already looking toward the future. What changed my mind? I had a website statistics recap pop up in my email. Among the various statistics were the top 5 most read posts on the MSE website.It piques my interest and I though it might do the same for yours as well. So without further adieu here are the most read posts for MSE in 2015!

1. Pocket Life: My 2015 Title Page

2. The Hybrid Experiment:Adding a Golden Glimmer

3. Photographing Scrapbook Layouts and PaperCraft Projects

4. My 3 Favorite Resources for Finding Design Team Calls

5. How I Effectively Use My Planner for My Website

Thank you for supporting My Scrapbook Evolution in 2015! I appreciate you for stopping by and taking the time to read my posts. I love interacting with you in the DigiScrap Geek member group. I hope you are looking forward to a fun and creative 2016! I know I am!

buzzoole code

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016! Planning,Dreaming, Creating but Making No Promises

This past year has sent so many changes my way. Good changes, mind you! It started off rough but it ended in such a splendid way! This year, I greeted 2016 with my family watching fireworks in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Moving here was a huge change but one which has improved so many things in our lives. I absolutely love our new home!

The process during the move has been a learning experience for me as well as a period of growth. I did my best to plan and accommodate for the move (writing extra blog posts ahead of time, scheduling a month off from the DigiScrapGeek Podcast). I really did. Delays happened and my plans failed. I could use those delays as an excuse (and I guess in part I am) for not keeping up with the blog and missing podcast recordings. Instead, I am choosing to use them as a lesson to me. Sometimes you just have to let life happen and go with it. Sometimes you can't plan. Sometimes promises can't be kept and so it's better not to make them.

In thinking about my upcoming plans for 2016, I realized that I just need to relax a bit more. I have a tendency to over plan and then get upset when things on the list aren't happening. The funny thing is that pretty much nobody ever sees that list except for me(though there are times I refer to specific projects in newsletter or blog posts). I kind of view each item on those lists as if they are a promise to myself. And who are we often hardest on? Yep, ourselves. Some parts of the list I am good about shuffling about without guilt and others not so much. This year, I plan to be more realistic with what I can accomplish.

What does this mean for My Scrapbook Evolution? I do plan to have an editorial calendar. I am not going to share it publicly( because then I feel like I fail you if I don't deliver X article on X date). I do have a list of articles and tutorials to write. I will write and write often but I also give myself permission to rest and not stress out about the schedule. Schedules can be adjusted. I have a lot of dreams and projects I want to realize. I want to share them with all of you. However, I need to let them unfold as they will, focusing on one at a time, so that they can become real. It's not much different in many ways than what I have done in the past. It's just that as each year goes on, I get a little better at being realistic about what I can accomplish. 

Above is a picture of my cat sitting on my planner. She is reminding me to put down the pen, to stop making lists, and to either rest or just go do something. I took this picture a few weeks back while trying to plan out the end of December and all of 2016. I ended up snuggling her awhile and taking a rest( which lasted several weeks and may or may not have involved worthless time trolling the interwebs). I haven't posted in weeks and guess what? The blog didn't explode or disappear. People kept coming to visit MSE. I took a bit of time to replenish myself from all the excitement and stress of my move. I am starting to feel my creative reserves are ready to be tapped once again.

I am not making any promises other than to say that I will be creative. I will share what I make with you and the DigiScrap Geek Podcast will be back soon.

Here is wishing all of us a wonderful 2016 full of creativity, dreams, and time with family and friends!