December Daily: Days 16 to 20

There is definitely a pattern running through the supplies I’ve been using for December Daily 2014. While a clear stand out is the use of project life cards that keep showing up on many a layout. I have a few other favourites like washi tape and a certain packet of Kaisercraft Take Note Die-cut shapes that have made more than a few appearances too. For the next set of pages it would seem that ephemera was the order of the day. Since these ones were completed after Christmas Day I was able to do one of my favourite things and include some of the cards and wrapping papers from this specific Christmas in my album.20150127_1DecemberDaily16to20 20150127_2DecemberDaily16to20It just so happened that the bauble-snowflake card was the perfect size for this layout about the 16th. I’d already printed my photos and was looking for something else to add to the page when I found the card. The shape, colour and simple design were just the ticket for documenting my Pinterest inspired holiday craft. I am a huge fan of Pinterest when it comes to planning my Christmas celebrations, the ability to add visuals and ideas and instructions all together in the one place is so helpful and really helps me to narrow down the things that I want to make each year. Especially the visuals part. While my Christmas binder is great for all the list I want to keep track of. My Pinterest board acts as more of a visual feast for the overall look and feel I want for the celebrations. I’ve seen wreaths hanging in beautiful windows all over Pinterest and have wanted to attempt my own for a few years. We have these lovely large windows that look out on our garden, that are just the perfect spot for them. Though mine are certainly not the perfectly sculptured examples of Pinterest fame I was still pretty excited with how they turned out and dressed up that area of the house.20150127_3DecemberDaily16to20 20150127_4DecemberDaily16to20The 17th seemed a good day to include some of the habits that are part of my/our everyday routine. Given the different focuses of these habits though I chose to document it over two double page spreads. The first spread is a new habit I’m cultivating. At the encouragement of some local mums I began attending a fitness group during December. Its held in a local park so I can bring the kids, they get to play on the playground, and we all get to hang out with other people and make connections and as a side benefit I get fit too. Since it was something new I wanted to make it part of the story of this month. (But to protect the innocent in all our lycra clad workout gear I’ve chosen not to share it here on the ol’ blog.) Another habit I try to do on a regular basis is spend a bit of time in the Word. I have a little Bible app on my phone that has a Verse for the Day for every day of the year and along with other tools I try to use them on as regular a basis as possible. This days verse seemed particularly impactful to me. It was a great reminder in the midst of all my busy-ness and running around to think about and focus on the important aspects of this time of year and bring my focus back to where it should be. I had noticed that this year I was spending a lot of time and energy on trivial things and kind of having the meaning of Christmas left out of the mix. Again on this one I used some more ephemera – this time wrapping paper but in all honesty I’m thinking it looks a little garish and not quite suited to my colour palette. It’s stuck down pretty well – so any suggestions on how I might tone it down without wreaking the rest of the layout would be greatly appreciated?

20150127_5DecemberDaily16to20 20150127_6DecemberDaily16to20We spent Day 18 making a huge dent in gathering much needed supplies for finishing off Christmas presents, crafts and the all important Christmas Day menu. It also provided me with the knowledge that if I ever needed a get-a-way driver I need look no further than my husband. We were in fine form going from one store to another to grab the necessary items and finished our shopping in record time. It was really quite comical. We got so much done in such a short space of time that we even managed to spend a fair portion of the afternoon chasing each other around the park in the rain, which was totally in keeping with my reminder from the 17th. It was a fantastic day. In all the fun and excitement however I forgot to grab out my camera and snap a few photos. Since a lot of the stops on our list are places we frequent I figure I can grab some pics next time I’m in town and put together a little collage to put in the spot I’ve reserved for photos. I played up on the theme of Santa’s list again with my choice of paper. Given that my Christmas binder was an incredibly helpful source of knowing what I needed and where to get it from on the day. The gift tags on the side provided me with my ephemeral element for this layout since they were too cute to pass over.20150127_7DecemberDaily16to20 20150127_8DecemberDaily16to20Another day and another Christmas decoration. I like adding little festive touches in the bedrooms and sometimes it might just be a simple little tree or a few Christmas ornaments, nothing too over the top or difficult to clean up after the fact. This year since I had family coming to stay I was all about the garlands. For my parents room I went with a star garland made from book paper and a large cardboard star made using this technique here found via Pinterest, of course. I chose to use a similar technique and some book print scrapbooking paper to mimic the same thing in my page design. This time and I think more successfully I again used wrapping paper for my background. The gold Merry Christmas script was what I used to wrap all of the presents we gave and I like how it works with the black elements of the page. I also did some post processing on my photos and added a vignette around the edge to concentrate the emphasis on the garland rather than the stark bedroom walls.

20150127_9DecemberDaily16to20 20150127_10DecemberDaily16to20The 20th was a bit of a dud day. I’d planned to work on some more gifts but instead found it was the last day to drop off another task I’d been working on during the month. So instead of crafting I’d driven into Launceston to drop it off only to find the information was wrong and they weren’t even open. On top of which my phone died so I couldn’t even make alternative arrangements. Talk about frustrating. Instead of documenting that and having a whinge I decided I needed a win for the day and went with this instead. At first glance you may not even realize that I used ephemera on this layout but in fact my “photographs” are my ephemera. A set of gifts that I managed to accomplish early on in November were some wedding photo books for various members of my family. The “photographs”  here were actually the proofs sent with the albums. They consist of the album covers, first page and last page. Being the photograph taking, paper loving, album making type that we scrapbookers are, this was definitely the most fun gift to put together for me. That and the fact that they were done early in the piece helped to provide me with a lot of the incentive to go with my handcrafted gifts for the rest of my recipients, thus it was the perfect cure for a dud day.

I really can’t get over how fun it is to craft an album like December Daily. I so enjoy noting both the big and small occurrences that happen through out the month and love the way that this project captures different stories from year to year. These pages tell of stories that have been years in the making, some that are snapshots of barely a moment and others that simply capture the essence of our everyday reality during December, and yet they all find a home in this one album – love that.

Scrap 365: A Challenge to the Unfinished

If your anything like me you probably have a million half -done, almost-finished, kinda started projects rolling around your scrap space. If your really like me you have gazillion almost finished layouts too. I’ve been thinking that I really want to make a significant dent in my unfinished projects., particularly those layouts that I’ve intended to complete on that infamous ‘Someday’. I had a grand idea to complete 365 layouts last year as part of my being Brave because it was such a huge intimidating number. I started strong but fizzled (how unlike me) so I thought that adding in some accountability here on the blog might be just the push I need since it’s worked so well with my 2014 December Daily.20150123_1Scrap365 The thing to note here is that I said ‘Complete’ this is by no means a call to make 365 new layouts, whose got time for that. I don’t know about you but I certainly could not keep up any sort of layout a day type thing for an entire year. Each year comes with different seasons of busy and ebbs and flows depending on the demands of those seasons. I would be unrealistic and irresponsible of me to let scrapping take over my life like that. I need to have balance too. My intention here is simply to stop letting those unfinished layouts remain unfinished and those important stories left untold. I want to add photos to those layouts that are still waiting on a photo and add journaling to layouts that need journaling or a title or whatever that missing piece is. I simply want to take the steps that will get me to the point of considering them done.  You might say why put so much pressure on yourself and commit to such a huge number, why not just let them go. And I’m sure that I will find that some layouts and stories just don’t need to be told anymore but I’d really like to give it a try.

Finding layouts to make will be no problem at. The Start Fresh course from Simple Scrapper which I participated in at the beginning of 2014 (and which they are offering for the first time as Start Fresh Anytime, a self-paced e-course) provided me with a framework for the projects and layouts I’m considering for this. Obviously my albums will provide the unfinished layouts. But my Start Fresh binder has allowed me to separate each project I have on-the-go including annual albums and themed albums(like Baby Books) and break them down into the layouts/stories within that project. Kind of like a giant Scrapbooking to-do list, and you know I love a good list. For unfinished layouts I have noted what still needs to be added and for fresh layouts lets just say I have more than enough ideas in there to work on. In addition it has really helped me narrow down the important stories I want told. I propose to take a tally at the end of each month and let you know how many layouts I’ve completed for the month and how I’m going with it all. I’ve put/am putting a little ‘Scraphappy’ smiley face in my diary to keep track of how many layouts I complete on any given day. Just as an aside if you’re not a do-it-yourself kinda gal like me Elise Blaha-Cripe has a fantastic daily tracker for digital download to keep tabs on anything you might want to consider as a daily practice or 365 project like this.02062014_3ScrappyDoOverSo my parameters for Scrap 365 will be as follows. Done is better than perfect – Part of why so many layouts remain unfinished is because I got hung up on getting each aspect of the layout ‘just so’. Over the past year I’ve been working really hard at letting go of so much of my perfectionism and really feel like I’m making giant leaps in this area (at least as far as my scrapping goes, just don’t ask my hubby about other aspects of my life). Each single page layout will be considered in the tally – I figure if  I did a single page layout I would consider it as 1 layout on the tally so even if I do a double page spread (which is highly likely) it will count as 2 layouts in the tally. I’m not committing to a specified number of layouts per month just the grand total of 365. My intention is to reach 365 but even if I don’t I promise not to beat myself up over it and instead celebrate the victory of however many layouts do get completed. However in saying that not all layouts added to the total will be shared on the blog – for matters of privacy some people in my life have asked that I do not post pictures of them on my blog, and I totally respect their right to privacy. Just a heads up if you care to do the math and find a discrepancy between the tally and my blog content. And lastly it all counts – new layouts, layouts from years ago, new projects: no completed scrap page is off-limits and they do not need to have any set of specific elements to be counted. If done means I don’t have a title, or lots of journaling or I even go photo-less that’s fine. Done will be a judgment call based on each individual layout. 20150123_2Scrap365Just so you don’t think this is some pie-in-the-sky idea January looks to be starting strong. My focus this month has been on finishing my 2014 December Daily during the month of January – a previously unheard of occurrence for my December Daily’s and mostly fueled by the fact that I want to get it up here on the blog. I’m on target with four more days to complete to make it to the 25th which I will post on the blog next week.

As if my own impetus was not enough I discovered another great resource while following rabbit trails on Instagram this morning. Over at Elizabeth Dillow’s blog she has clearly had a similar idea to go after the Unfinished in her life and is doing it in a completely classy way by interviewing other creatives on the subject committing to complete one unfinished thing per month for 2015. You can be sure I will be following along. But please I invite you to either join with me or Elizabeth and get those Unfinished projects off the back-burner or let go of them for good. Be sure to keep checking back on me and give me a good kick in the pants if you think I’m slacking.

What unfinished thing is burning a hole in your to-do list?

December Daily: Days 10 -15

So I took a little break on crafting my December Daily about the middle of December to concentrate on my other Christmas Crafts and making some gifts for family. But I have been steadily working on it in fits and spurts ever since hoping to get it all completed during January and finish it all up. I’m feeling a bit pumped that I am so close to having it done, but it’s about time I shared the remaining pages with you – so without further ado I bring you days ten through fifteen.20150121_1DecemberDaily10to1520150121_2DecemberDaily10to15Day ten was just an average day around here a bit of crafting, a lot of housework and playing with my boys. When the housework and the playing morphed into my boys building a fort for the first time I knew I had to turn mum-a-razzi on them and snap away. I have such great memories of building cubbie houses and secret caves with my siblings out of the couch and whatever manner of blankets, chairs and cushions we could find. It’s such a rite of passage for childhood and here it was unfolding before my eyes. The boys were so imaginative and grabbed all sorts of boxes and toys to add to their house and spent the entire afternoon just creating and playing. My favourite part was when David grabbed some recently dry artwork they’d done and decided to decorate the ‘roof’. Although his kitchen was pretty impressive too.20150121_3DecemberDaily10to15 20150121_4DecemberDaily10to15The eleventh was notable because we sent a bunch of calves off-farm to where we get them agisted (basically where someone else takes care of your stock to feed/pasture them for a specified time frame & fee), it’s really the last step in our calf rearing process and a rewarding point to get to. When they return back to us they will essentially be teenagers (or heifers in farming terms) and no longer ‘my babies’. I especially love that last pic in the bottom right corner of the layout with both the truck and the calf shed. Since the calf shed is where most of my hard work happens it’s like the beginning and end of things. With so many pictures on this page I kept my colour palette to tones of brown and gold and classic black and white to not make it to visually overpowering. I’m not entirely sure about the balance achieved in my embellishment cluster but figure if it really bugs me I can always come back and tweak it later.20150121_5DecemberDaily10to15 20150121_6DecemberDaily10to15On the twelfth, I spent the entire day chained to my sewing machine whipping up Christmas presents. Since I was going for a Handcrafted Christmas I decided that three of the gifts I would give would be casserole carriers. They are so useful for taking meals in to bring and share events and I thought they would be especially helpful for each of the recipients. I selected my fabric based on the individual style and personalities of the people getting them but it made for a really interesting time trying to put this spread together. Especially considering the shade of green in the background paper. I loved how the doilies made the photos pop a bit more and settled the awful tint the green paper gave them but I am just not sure about the lack of colour in my chosen embellishments, it’s just a bit – meh. Oh well you live and learn.20150121_7DecemberDaily10to15 20150121_8DecemberDaily10to15I feel like the thirteenth was a far more successful layout. The colours have a much more cohesive feel and the embellishments add a nice touch especially the little cross-stiched holly piece. Since December Daily is a reflection of our daily life and this the first year that I have blogged during the month of December I thought it warranted a page in my album. Given all that goes on in December and the added pressure I put on myself in crafting my gifts I did sort of wonder if I would be able to manage everything I’d committed to, but instead of the blog being another form of pressure it actually worked in an opposite fashion. I found that blogging kept me focused and mindful of this project and actually acted as a form of accountability and impetus to continue. I’m sure that after a couple of years as a blogger I will love looking back at this album and remembering how new it still is now.20150121_9DecemberDaily10to15 20150121_10DecemberDaily10to15Sunday fell on the fourteenth so it was pretty much business as usual around here. Church, home, family time. For some reason I didn’t take a lot of photographs on this day but this one was a clear stand out. I used it to document the changes I’ve noticed lately in the maturity of my son and just really have a snapshot of what he is like right now. Specifically as it relates to his imagination and the things he latches onto and focuses on. I wanted a large journaling area and chose to super-size my journaling block based around a label shape that is popular at the moment. It would seem that I am all about the neutral colour palette in this project with no great emphasis on bold colours, perhaps that’s why the layout for the twelfth is a little jarring.20150121_11DecemberDaily10to15 20150121_12DecemberDaily10to15The fifteenth denotes another set of Christmas gifts, this time for younger members of the family with some hand-painted wooden dolls. They were so fun to sketch and make up and definitely well received, which makes me insanely happy. I used this layout as an excuse to dive into my over-abundance of tags and play on the theme of gifts with some ” To:, From:” Christmas labels and like the previous day mat my photos. I’ve rather got out of the habit of matting photos these days probably since I overdosed on it in the early 2000s. I do think it adds a little something-something to a layout and there are some experts out there like Aimee Dow of Betwixt & Between who seem to have a real knack for striking a balance with it. Me I’m not so sure I possess it.

Please tell me I’m not the only one, are you still working away at your album or have you managed to complete it and move on to something new?

So my Style: My 2014 Masters Entry

While I may not be able to show you my Art Journal Cover at the moment I can most certainly show you the other parts of my entry for my the Scrapbooking Memories Master Competition, now that all parts of the competition have run their course. I am so proud of these layouts and really glad for the opportunity to challenge myself with the tasks for this competition. I think they are a very clear representation of my style and approach to scrapbooking and they are just a whole lot of fun.20150116_1MastersEntry 20150116_2MastersEntry 20150116_3MastersEntryLet’s start with my layout for Task 1. If you need a refresher or are unfamiliar with Scrapbooking Memories and the Masters Task’s for 2014, this task was to scrap a single page layout with a 5×7 in photo that was engaging and had eye contact. Given those guidelines my thoughts immediately turned to this photo. Joseph was all of 5 month’s old at the time and I was attempting to just get a cute sleeping baby picture by snapping over the top of his bassinet and hoping for the best. Instead I managed to capture this fantastic and unexpected expression of surprise. I completely lucked out, and can’t believe that I actually caught it on camera.  Definitely one of my favourite pics of all time so naturally it just had to be celebrated on a layout.

The awesome green paper is one from Kaisercraft and was chosen not only because it matched the blanket but to fit in with the colour scheme of Josephs baby album which is various bold shades of blue and green with a hint of yellow. I started off just thinking I would do a plain square mat around the edge of the layout but decided at the last-minute to skew the two centre papers to create a little more visual impact. I love how they convey the energy and sense of fun of this layout and I was looking for another excuse to get those fabulous puffy Thickers on a layout again too. Most of the time I pull them out to use but end up putting them away again because they seem a bit to casual but for this one they add just the right amount of impact and quirkiness. 20150116_4MastersEntry20150116_5MastersEntry 20150116_6MastersEntry For Task two we were asked to scrap a layout using at least one unconventional item (non-papercrafting) and be as creative as possible. Since I’m not hugely worried about archival quality these days, for my take on it I chose to use a couple of shopping bags as my non-conventional items. Both the silver lace patterned background, the black fabric block and the fabric flowers are constructed from shopping bags. The lace look bag is a heavy duty plastic bag backed with chipboard to keep it sturdy, it was used to hold a purchase for our wedding and therefore was part of my wedding ephemera that I keep hoarding but haven’t actually used yet. The black fabric came from a reusable carry bag (like the green bags you see in the supermarket) that had sustained a few too many holes to be serviceable anymore. Since I’m not entirely sure what they’re made of I chose to mat my photo with some cardstock as a buffer between the photo and the shopping bag mat but what I really wanted them for was  creating pleated flowers. I thought this would be a great use for this unique material.20150116_7MastersEntry 20150116_8MastersEntry 20150116_9MastersEntryThey layout I love the most though has to go to my entry for Task 3 which was to make your journaling the focus of a page. Since we all know I am all about the words around here, that probably will come as no surprise. It was definitely an epic tale I had to tell for this layout – all about how my camera was ‘stolen’ shortly after I bought it so I had a lot to say on the subject. One of my big go-tos a few years ago was to experiment with paper engineering. I don’t often have the time to go to those lengths on a layout these days but my affection for some paper manipulation runs deep. The pull down tab is a rather simple one to master and simply requires a couple of slits in the backing paper to slide your pull down element up and down. Its a great technique to use when you  have double the amount of journaling for your space allowance.

Another of my favourite parts of this layout was the photo manipulation done to fuse the three images into one. I overlayed the images with a simple camera motif and changed the opacity on all but one section of an image which highlights the actual scene of the crime. Throw in some die-cut shapes, an Amy Tangerine camera paper and some nude Heidi Swapp Colourshine pieces just to drive the point home and call it done. This one in particular I feel is indicative of my style. The colour combination, the photo manipulation, the paper engineering are all examples of where I’ve come from in my scrapping and the use of die-cuts and project life cards are just so me, right now. I so hope you enjoyed looking at these layouts as much as I enjoyed making them. Be sure to share what you think makes your style you in the comments below.

Talk About Happy Mail!

I am totally freaking out! I can’t believe it, you know how I did that thing that scared the crap out of me, well guess what it paid-off! My hubby came home with a lovely little surprise in the mail yesterday. It was a copy of the latest issue of Scrapbooking Memories, which could only mean one thing…20150115_1TalkAboutHappyMailI’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!!

Cue happy dancing, hollering’s of Woo Hoo and crazy jumping! (yep I was just a little bit excited…) Since my subscription has lapsed I knew that the only reason for there to be lovely little magazine in the mail was because I’d earned an Honourable Mention for one of my Scrapbooking Memories Masters entries. I was so busy doing my crazy happy dance and far too excited for it to be reasonable, that I even let hubby break it open and go looking for my submission first. Really it didn’t make any difference what got in there just that ‘something’ did.

This is the very first time I’ve submitted anything for publication – ever. So I’m standing by my completely over-the-top reaction. 14 years, god only knows how many layouts, an incredibly huge passion for this amazing hobby and conquering fears like a boss, that is what this is all about. Can I just say – I am so proud of myself, you have no idea what a big deal this is. I have thought so many times about submitting and so many, many times I have talked myself out of it. So many times I’ve been too chicken. But it gets better…

The category that my work was recognized in, was for Task Four – the Art Journaling cover. I have never art journaled before either, this was my very first attempt. Take a look around this blog and you’ll find the odd technique or two but I’m not exactly known for my mixed media work, which is what I think of when I think Art Journaling. I love the work of artists like Julie Fei-fan Balzer, and May Flaum (who coincidentally has an art journaling class coming up very soon) but my personal style is far more linear and contained. so this task was by far the furthest out of my comfort zone.20150115_2TalkAboutHappyMailI chose to use it as an excuse to get a (very) early start on my One Little Word album for 2015 which is why I’ve been holding out on you and not shared what it is yet but since I can only show you a little sneaky-peaky of my Art Journal cover until the publication period is up you’ll just have to guess what direction I’m taking with this one. Of course if you’re really curious you can always go check it out in the magazine, just head on over to page 92 to see the cover I made.

I am so Crazy-Happy right now. This is totally a dream come true. I think I’ll be happy dancing for days. Woo Hoo!

Inspired Scrapbooking Year in Review

As you may well be aware I had the wonderful privilege of spending 2014 in the company of Stacy Julian and some amazingly talented scrapbookers during Inspired Scrapbooking over at Big Picture Classes. This class was a fantastic way to spend a year and the scope of it allowed for some varied subjects and layouts but gave enough focus to get the ideas spinning and narrow down what stories I wanted to get told and into my albums.

All in all I completed over 18 layouts inspired by the prompts and challenges during Inspired Scrapbooking. While I didn’t necessarily follow the exact challenges offered I did manage to scrap something on each subject and often multiple things. Best yet I still have a plethora of ideas on each topic to keep me going for quite a while.15092014_1InspiredRitualsI really quite enjoyed the pace of this class. Most other classes keep to a much shorter time line of four to six weeks and whilst that is great for maintaining energy and really focusing in on the subject matter more often than not I find other commitments can pull me away during the course of the class and I don’t end up finishing all the prompts. Often I will come back to them later when I need a spark of inspiration but by then the community and sense of sharing that you get in the class message boards has dissipated or gone altogether. With Inspired Scrapbooking we were all able to share with one another for the whole 12 months and really get to form relationship, you could do as much or as little as you liked and the no pressure attitude just made it a really joyful thing to be a part of.20150114_1InspiredScrapbookingReviewAnother bonus of a year long class I found was that Stacey provided us with a class syllabus at the beginning so we knew what topics we would be covering. This allowed me to work at a pace that fit with whatever was going on in my life at the time. For quieter months I could jump right into the topic as soon as the months prompts went live and for busier months I could do some thinking and plan ahead for the topics that were still to come or catch up on the month previous if I’d had precious little scrapping time.

I really found myself hanging out for Stacy’s monthly videos, she is really like a breath of life and her positivity and enthusiasm are just so encouraging and infectious. When I grow up I’d love to be such a wonderfully positive influence as Stacy or at least be lucky enough to hang out with her. That would be super cool. By far the most memorable one was for the topic of FUN. Even if you weren’t in the class, if you know of Stacy, I’m sure you can imagine just  how wonderfully silly she can be.20150114_2InspiredScrapbookingReviewI chose a few of my favourite layouts created as a result of Inspired Scrapbooking to showcase here today, as you can see the subjects were quite varied. From a design perspective I love the layout Everyday made for the Rituals subject with its vibrant yellow and black combo and I know I’ve banged on about learning to drive a manual car as it relates to my OLW last year but perhaps my Story of Car layout made for the month focused on Things will help explain just why it was so difficult for me to let go of the old one. The layout featuring David was so perfect for the topic of Personality, with such and expressive face how could you not be drawn in. It’s just so indicative of him at this age and could have totally worked for the topic of Fun too because from a sheer enjoy.  20150114_3InspiredScrapbookingReviewThanks so much for coming along with me for the ride. What has been your greatest source of inspiration during the past year?