Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pick of the Week for December 10 - 2014

My pick this week is a stamp set by Stampin' Up! called Wondrous Wreath. My first exposure to this stamp set was a hostess club meeting, and I wasn't terribly impressed, even though I thought it was pretty. When purchasing stamps, I tend to be selective according to how often I will use the stamp, and since I do more scrapbooking than card-making, I usually need to be able to see a use on the scrapbook page.

Then, I started thinking about my little Mommy and how fun it would be for the two of us to make some holiday cards together. I showed her the Stampin' Up! holiday catalog, and she liked that Wondrous Wreath set, so I decided to take a chance and buy it.

We chose a really simple design with two different colors schemes, using Distress ink on blank cards I bought on sale at Joann.

To see what other creative people were doing with this set and get ideas for variations, I did a search on Pinterest and found some great projects using the Wondrous Wreath.

Here's a card by Nancy Amato that goes with an autumn theme, complete with pumpkins. Adorable!

Sharon Cheng did this holiday card, adding cute little birds as accents to the wreath.

This one by Louise Sharp uses a variation of the typical holiday color scheme to lovely result. I love the gold accents.

Here, Teneale Williams cut the stamped image in half to create a swag. Beautiful. (Be sure to scroll down for the second card.)

And finally, this one by Tina Rappe, shows the stamp used in a totally different motif, not holiday-themed at a all, and there are plenty examples of other ways to make this stamp set quite versatile.

I haven't found any ideas using these stamps on scrapbook pages, but I'll keep exploring, and maybe I'll come up with ideas of my own. I know the stamp would work really well for 3x4 cards in a holiday spread for pocket scrapbooking.

Click here to see the set on the Stampin' Up! website. There's also a die set to make cutting out the wreath and its accessory images easy-peasy, and it includes the words "noel" and "joy."

If you're looking to add this stamp set to your stash, keep in mind it's only available until the end of the month as part of the holiday catalog.

Monday, November 3, 2014


On one Tuesday night of the month, I meet with a group of paper-crafters to create a couple of projects and shop from the Stampin' Up! catalog. Most of the ladies in the group are card-makers, and usually our projects are cards. For our last meeting, we did make one card, but our leader, a wonderfully creative lady named Sharon, decided to do a french-fry box treat holder.

While I thought it was an adorable project, I really didn't have much use for one treat holder, and I didn't see myself making more of these. Instead, I did something I love to do: I repurposed.

Here's the supplies I started with:

Four little stamped, die-cut pieces, the stamped, punched greeting element, a yellow ribbon, and that french fry box, stamped and already assembled.

First, I decided to make a card with the supplies. I used a piece of card stock from a previous free project I'd done at Archivers several years ago for the card front, and I took apart the french fry box. Playing around with the flat pieces, trying to figure out how to use them, I finally cut two strips that, put-together, would be the right length to span a standard card.

Next, I arranged the die cut pieces in a cluster I liked and cut the ribbon into two pieces, adhered with a tiny attacher. Using a bit of red twine, I tied the greeting piece to the ribbon and attached the card front to a bright yellow card. For my last step, I splattered gold mist on the card, a finishing touch that really makes the design work.

The result:

A card that I can use, and all those cute supplies did not go to waste.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Favorite Photos - October 2014

1. My sweet husband and I ventured North for our anniversary trip, and it rained every day of the week we were there. I love this selfie of the two of us under an umbrella on the shore of Lake Huron. was cold, too.

2. Horse drawn carriages for hire on one of the main streets of Mackinac Island, one of the places we visited off-Mitten during our getaway. No cars are permitted on the island, so the only forms of transportation are these vehicles, horses, bicycles, and our own two feet.

3. During our horse-drawn tour of Mackinac Island, we stopped at this high point, and whoa! What a gorgeous view!

4. The monumental Mackinac Bridge, connecting the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan, a beautiful feat of modern engineering. I love this photo because I summoned the courage to face my fear of heights and drive over it, and because my husband took the photo from the passenger seat to mark the occasion.

5. Our second visit to Mackinac Island, as we were waiting for the ferry to take us back to the Mitten, a bright and fantastic double-rainbow filled the sky. Here is one end of it, anchored in Lake Huron.

6. On our actual anniversary, dinner out. Twelve years of marriage, and oh, what a crazy wonderful ride it's been! How lucky I am. How happy. How grateful for us.

7. My sweet little Mommy holding up a wreath we made together. Love, love, love that smile!

8. A lovely, luscious autumn day, walking through the neighborhood.

9. And on another fall day, these birds, taking flight.

10. Little Mommy with a brand new hairdo. While taking photos of her out in front of the nursing home, I told her, "Show me sexy!" and that's the response I got. Beautiful woman. Always has been. And I sure do love her.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pick of the Week - October 1

As I have likely mentioned previously, I recently relocated my craft space back where it was before my Mom moved in with us in March of 2011. I scrapbook differently now than I did then, and my stash has grown and changed a lot. For a few weeks, I've given thought to and been on the lookout for storage solutions to help me organize my new old space.

The crate in the photo above was a great find at one of the area Target stores. Made of sturdy white plastic, it is the perfect size for storing my assembled sticker sheets and patterned paper, as well as kits and two rows of Thickers. I bought two and plan to buy a couple more.

So far, this solution is working great, and at $3.49 each, it's great on the budget, too! Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available at Target's online store, but that just means a shopping excursion to the nearest Target!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pick of the Week - September 24

Here it is, my favorite season. I love the turning leaves and the apples and the cider and the chai (which is, of course, available all year long, but I reserve my enjoyment of it for the fall because it tastes like autumn in a cup to me) and the pumpkin everything and cooler temperatures and some luscious days, even that wandersome wind that blows the leaves around in a dance like no other.

Yes...I do love the season for all of its particular flavors and sights, and I'll admit I tend to overdo the photographing and scrapbooking of all things autumn. I probably have more photos of leaves than anything else. makes me happy, so it's all good.

And now for my pick:

LOVE these leaf stickers from Martha Stewart! I haven't used them yet, but oh, the possibilities! I imagine a white card with one leaf and a stamped "happy fall." Or a layout about how my husband and I celebrated our anniversary--coming soon! I can't wait!--or perhaps I will save these stickers to use in my wedding album...someday.

Lovely little leafy things they are, and I know I will find a use for them on something wonderful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pick of the Week - September 17

Truth be told, I haven't been doing a lot of actual scrapbooking lately. I've been using my time for paper-crafting on relocating my craft space and doing an album reorganization. Those things are mostly complete, though the organization of the craft space, now that most everything's been relocated, is now on the list. I need to adjust to the new setting, get into the groove of scrapbooking again.

And somehow find or make time for that.

Hey, how cool would it be if we could actually MAKE extra time? Just whip up a batch some Wednesday afternoon when the to-do list is running long?

The word we're all looking for here is...ANYway...

My pick of the week is a class I've been taking from Shimelle Laine called Cover to Cover. My main purpose for taking this class was specifically to get inspired to develop a better album system for storing my layouts, and that has certainly worked. But this class is a whole lot more that. There are so many inspiring ideas for pages to create, how to acquire photos from childhood, how to use up supplies, and so on. The class first ran in 2012, and now it's a self-paced collection of 25 lessons with several videos and some bonus extras.

At $30, Cover to Cover is a little bit pricier than many of Shimelle's other classes, and it's well worth it. I'm only up to the 18th lesson, and I've already learned so much and been so inspired.

Now...all I need is to figure out how to make some time...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On the Writing Process

Shimelle Laine wrote this post on her blog about writing and invited her readers to participate, so I am going with it.

What writing are you working on?

I am always working on writing more often, making writing a daily habit. Right now, I don't have a project going, though that has been in my head, on that ever-lengthening to do list, for a long, long time. With autumn coming, the season change brings a time of transition, and I hope to find new ways to bring writing more to the center of daily life. Journaling, especially writing every day, keeps me grounded and centered, and I find the page calling to me a lot lately as I navigate very difficult waters in my life. I've also started art journaling, and of course, there's always the writing I do on scrapbook pages, though I haven't done any scrapbooking lately either. Overall, it seems I'm "clearing the decks" for the things I really need and want to do, and it's a process I'm needing to exercise great patience about.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

As it pertains to art journaling, my work differs from others because I'm brand new to it. Not the writing itself, of course, but the way of expressing myself with artistic expression as the background. I love it, too! I have a great bit of exuberance and interest and energy brewing for art journaling. I want to do more, explore more. As it pertains to scrapbooking, I differ in that writing is not the chore it is for some people who feel they are not "good" writers. I don't tend to label myself that way. I've always had a penchant for writing, so it comes more easily for me than it does for others. At the same time, my scrapbook writing could be more detailed and tell more of the actual story, rather than relying on basics that don't really say much, and I do tend to squeeze journaling in at the last minute, rather than planning the pages around the story I want to tell.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because it is like breathing to me. It's how my mind and spirit breathe. Writing of any kind sustains me, keeps me anchored, gives me a place to dump all the garbage of any particular bad day, sort through it--though that often takes some time and distance--and find the treasure. I write because I can't bear not writing. Writing saves me. Writing elevates me. Writing cures me. Writing is what I do because a writer is what I am.

How does your writing process work?

Process is something I probably need to tweak. Most of the time, I find time to journal, and I put pen to paper. I start with the date and usually the day of the week, and then I plunge in. With scrapbooking, again, it's more of an afterthought once the page is finished except for the words, something I definitely want to change. With art journaling, I usually start with a feeling or a thought that I want to express and play on the page with colors and images, then write on top of that, let my mind wander, or include a quote that I want to savor and keep.

When I write fiction or poetry or a blog post (I forget about blog posts), it's usually free-form, meaning I don't do a lot of planning or structure building. I feel more natural when I just write from whatever's inspiring me and let my mind empty on the page. I've never been much for structure in the form of outlines and planning each scene and chapter and section. Writers do that, and it's probably a better way to go, but when I think of doing that, sitting down to plan out the writing, it feels like I might as well just start writing, rather than spending time on planning. That's what works for me, you know...when I'm actually writing something more creative.

There are times, too, when I go from prompts, and it's something I find useful as a jumpstart or springboard. I once wrote a short story from a writing prompt that simply instructed "write about sin." Those things, challenging my mind to create a story, excite me, similar to the scrapbook challenges I've used for the past few years. In fact, I've been thinking about incorporating writing challenges into my life again to hopefully get more writing done.