December Daily 2017: First Thoughts

My passion for this project isn’t waning one bit even after all these years but my mojo always does. I love the lead up to the silly season and getting my December Daily “ducks in a row” so to speak is part of the fun. For sure in years past its been one of the biggest motivators to get me in the holiday spirit, but over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that when I put so much energy into the set up and “stuff gathering” of December Daily that I kinda feel creatively spent shortly after December begins. It’s like I spend all that time looking for inspiration, deciding on a theme, pinning things on Pinterest and collecting/organising my physical (and sometimes digital) product that once the month hits it almost feels like I’ve already created my album without actually creating anything. Not to mention with all of my creative energy this month having gone on starting/finishing my 2013 album I’ve been trying really hard not to over-do the Christmas crafting. So for this years December Daily I’m trialling something new. I’ve loosely gathered a small selection of embellishments and grabbed a couple of paper pads to get myself started, but I’m not going to create any foundation pages and I haven’t as yet picked a “theme”, that is if I’m going to pick one at all. It’s a bit of a risk, since I know how well I operate with foundation pages, but I didn’t want to burn out before I got to December, so only time will tell if the risk was worth it.The supplies I’ve gathered for my 2017 album are two Heidi Swapp paper pads. The Believe collection from 2013 and the Oh What Fun collection from 2015. I also have about a thousand (okay 10) of the HS Document December kits from 2015 that I picked up super cheap at Spotlight last year. I’m planning on having future DD’s in these albums in years to come (if you remember I already used one album for my 2016 December Daily), but the insides are fare game. I just won’t use the actual album this year, instead, I’m using an American crafts D-Ring with the red cloth spine. It occurred to me as I was going through previous albums during the Festival of Finishing that each of my children’s 1st Christmases is in one of these Red D-Ring albums. I had originally used this particular album for my 2011 December Daily but since I never got around to decorating the front cover I figured I could just switch it out for something else. My 2011 Album consists of a lot of large photos and minimally embellished layouts that are just inside some heavy duty page protectors so it’s a pretty easy switch. In addition to the consistency of having the 1st Christmases in similar albums, it also means I can put the 2011 one in something with a smaller footprint because unlike the rest of my albums it’s not quite so bulky. The only problem will be if I have more children, cos I’m not sure if you can still buy them anywhere, ha! I also have some gold Heidi Swapp numbers from a Project Life kit, which let’s face it was the whole reason I bought the kit. A few washi-tapes from My Minds Eye’s Sleigh Bells Ring collection and a few random older papers from Crate Paper that I have earmarked for specific story ideas I want to tell this year.I figure I’ve done December Daily enough times that I have a pretty good rhythm with it and posting on the good ol’ blog helps me keep accountable and on task with it. So maybe that will be enough to keep the mojo swinging. Another thought is that even when I do foundation pages, I inevitably switch out papers anyway. Maybe the pattern doesn’t work for that day’s photo/story or I have more to say than I allowed for with pre-made stuff. Unlike my pocket page pals who make their albums with cards and page protectors, it can be a bit trickier when you’ve already stuck the papers together or constructed an embellishment. I’d rather save myself the trouble of all that torn paper. But as long as I make sure to write down a story, any story, each day in my December Daily Log and take some photos I can always come back to it if I run out of steam. Basically, for this year I’ve got a few “bits and bobs” as Suse would say and a wing and a prayer…Doing December Daily, what’s your set up for 2017? Write me a comment or send me a link to your ideas for this year.


Workspace: Project Creation

One of the things about a functioning workspace is knowing how you use it and that’s what the next few lessons in the Workspace class asked us to tackle. For me I’ve noticed that I tend to scrap one of two ways. More recently my layouts have had a bit more of a bent to scrapping by collection/manufacturer as well as doing my usual thing of scrapping just randomly from my stash. So to evaluate my scrappy style I decided to do both a collection layout and a stash layout. For my collection layout I chose to go with a page using the Pink Paislee Moonstruck collection. It met all the points of a classic collection layout for me, it was a recently acquired purchase, I was excited about the patterns and motifs and I had a variety of elements to choose from – papers, washi stickers, diecuts and puffy stickers. In fact this is the first layout I have created with this collection so the sky was the limit in what I could pick and choose from the collection. To compliment it I also added in some tissue paper, a set of vellum butterflies I picked up at the Reject Shop a little while ago and an American Crafts DIY Shop heart vellum that I purchased at the same time as the Moonstruck bits and pieces. 20170116_1workspace_projectcreationThe way I work with collections is that I don’t buy the whole thing. I only ever select my favourite papers and embellishments, stuff I know I’ll use (even with paper pads I tend to go through and remove those patterns that aren’t my style and pass them on) then I keep all the papers together in a large plastic ziplock bag. The embellishments go together in my diecut basket directly in front of where I create, until I maybe have very little left. Then they get slotted into my regular system of storing papers by colour and embellishments by type. This process makes the whole scrapping by collection thing rather effortless. Everything is close at hand and I only go seek out extras if I have something very specific in mind like the vellum butterflies & heart paper. The only way I thought I could make it even more so was by maybe storing all of the collection items together in the same ziplock bag (or box as is the case with my Crate Paper stuff) but that makes storage awkward so I’m totally fine having them separate.20170116_2workspace_projectcreationThe only issues I had with my collection layout really had nothing to do with the supplies at all. The blue shades of the butterfly paper made me think of my friends lovely beach wedding so that was a photo and a story sorted which is my most common hurdle with collection layouts. I’m excited to get in and use the things but then what is the point of just making a pretty page if I have nothing to say. Story based scrapping is one of the most important parts of scrapbooking for me. The other issues I had were that blade in the knife I use for detail work is in need of replacement so it made my cuts a bit more feathered and less refined than I’d like and that I didn’t decide to put the vellum heart border around until the very end of the layout so I had to move most things in a bit more from the edge. Even the title used some modified diecuts so that was a bit of a no-brainer too.20170116_3workspace_projectcreationClean up was a breeze because I just popped the embellishments back in the diecut basket, the leftover vellum went back in it’s plastic sleeve and onto its spot on the shelf . I used all but two of the vellum butterflies which were just sitting loosely in a draw, so they got tossed right back in where they were and my tools (knife, journaling pen) went right back into their container on my desk. No mess, no fuss, no hassle.20170116_4workspace_projectcreationFor my second layout I started with the story. I had this funny photo of my son fast asleep in the Jolly Jumper that I wanted to scrap. Aside from his suit the colours are fairly neutral so I decided to draw on the navy stripes of his onesie as my starting point for gathering supplies. First point of call for most layouts is to select my patterned paper (usually for the background) and since navy was the colour of choice that’s what I looked for first. I did notice a few papers in my blue selection that will be moving on but unfortunately my supply of navy papers is a bit on the sparse side at the moment (or else it’s all hidden in Isaac’s baby album kit of supplies, hmmm just thought of that). I had two full sheets with a predominantly navy scheme, one was paired with green stripes and I didn’t like the way it looked with the photo and the other had a clock motif on it that I wasn’t overly enthused to use with this story (and as  I realized later also, about a centimetre cut off the side from another project, so wasn’t actually a full sheet after all.) Which left me with a 1/3 piece of the stamp-edge paper and 2/3rds of this old Basic Grey distressed paper called Phlordilie which I really liked the look of when paired together. Background done. 20170116_5workspace_projectcreationMy next step in my scrappy process is to have a quick flick through of my diecuts. Now this was the part of the process that surprised me. I saw one of the dream sentiments on a Shimelle diecut/cut-apart and decided I’d use that but then instead of going for something else like stickers or a 6×6 paper or whatever else I could reach for I just started pulling out all of the ‘dream’ cut-aparts from the Shimelle Starshine collection. And while I was on a Shimelle kick I figured I’d have a look through her signature line of stickers where I found the ‘Is this for real?’ sentiment, a perfect fit for this story. Now with a predominantly monochromatic colour scheme going on I figured the only thing left to do was add in another pop of gold, a title and my journaling. Without really trying to I had in effect created a bit more of a collection/manufacturer layout than planned.20170116_6workspace_projectcreationAll told this one was a bit more challenging to put together than the collection layout. I didn’t have the ‘right thing’ for my background in my stash of supplies and had to create a work-around for my background. Instead of going for a variety of supplies like I had thought I would, I kinda went for same old, same old. I wanted the same blue & gold combo as in the ‘Is this for real?’ sticker elsewhere on the page which was do-able with another sticker from the collection that I was never going to use as-is but I couldn’t find where I had put the pack that the gold book-plate diecut came from and had to do a bit of a search to find it. (It was hiding in an old Christmas kit that hadn’t been put away). I spent forever trying to think of a title to go underneath the photo and all those Dream, Dream, Dream diecuts but in the end couldn’t think of one and didn’t like my Thicker options anyway. But… and here’s the thing, all that being said, this is my usual process. I like taking random things and turning them into something cohesive. I enjoy the challenge of digging through my supplies and taking a bunch of mismatched bits and pieces and turning them into a layout I love, especially when I can use up an entire paper or finish off a pack of stickers/diecuts/whatever. The fun is in the process as much as the accomplishment is in the finished product. Is this my favourite layout ever – no. Is it a story I wanted told – yes! Did I get to use up some stuff – yes! Was it a bunch of fun to make – absolutely!20170116_7workspace_projectcreationClean up for this one was relatively easy too. The diecuts/cut-aparts are certainly on my desk for a reason, they are my most reached for supply besides patterned paper, which makes me giddy, and the Shimelle sticker book lives in the same spot so it was only a case of popping them back in their spot. Once I’d found the book-plate I could put it back in it’s proper spot and won’t have to look for it next time I want anything from that pack. Thickers and alphabets are sorted by colour in a binder so they were easy to put away and anything else I used got stuck on and back in it’s spot as I crafted.20170116_8workspace_projectcreationSo my take-aways from creating these projects surprised me. They had very little to do with creating individual layouts because collection kit or stash dive the results are pretty much the same. I reach for the same types of supplies most every time, they’re in good locations, stored in suitable spots, easy to find and put away (for the most part) and in the end I get a story told and a pretty page done, while I enjoy the process. Which is ultimately why I love and adore this hobby. What I did conclude however was that I have far, far too many on-the-go projects in process. The thing that got me most annoyed was not being able to find something in it’s spot because I’d put it in a kit and hadn’t put it back, also the fact that I didn’t think about looking in a kit for some navy paper until after the fact. Which tells me I need to finish some stuff and not start another large project until I’ve cleared a few of the old ones. I knew from the get go that my space could do with a bit of a purge just to free up some space and return some order because I was feeling like I was heading to capacity with my amount of supplies but my organization systems are actually working for me. I also realized that there are a lot of things I don’t reach for and it’s not for lack of proximity either. I cannot even remember the last time I used a rub-on and my stamps rarely see the light of day and both of those are only a spin in my chair away in the buffet & hutch where most supplies are stored but the enamel dots which sit on my desk in my little decorative lantern came as more of an after-thought for the stash layout and they’re within arms reach. So another takeaway is that I need to challenge myself to use a range of supplies on a regular basis. Such a valuable process to evaluate before I really dive into the purging/organization stage.





Jot Mag January Mood Board 2017

New Year, New Mood Board and this months mood board by beautiful Jot Girl Anna has me feeling all those relaxed summer holiday vibes. With a generous dose of cobalt blue against a ‘sea’ of white and some lovely warm tones of red, orange and a hint of pink, it feels cozy and relaxed, but fresh and fun. It’s like the perfect summer getaway where you spend your time lolling around an airy holiday house lazily reading books, walking along the beach and dipping your toes in the ocean. When days begin and end in the water, when meal times are for gatherings of friends or family that run thick with laughter and food in ample supply. 20170111_2jotmagjanuarymoodboard

With all that on my mind this one totally reminds me of childhood Summers at my grandparents house, where our days were filled with beach trips and picnics. Jaunts to Lennox Head, Byron or Bangalow for some retail therapy/family fun and a house full of cousins, aunts and uncles. So naturally I went in search of a photo or two and came across this one of us swimming in the rockpools probably at Lennox Head, although I can’t be sure. The other option was a pair of pics of us playing in the park in our bathers, because that was pretty much our permanent attire  for the summer but as far as I’m concerned there is nothing more representative of those days than this. Us kids in the ocean, Dad not even pretending he’d swim, but willing to risk a little adventuring and mum taking a brief break from being in the water to do Mum things like snap a photo or make sure we had enough sunscreen or round us up for lunch etc.20170111_1jotmagjanuarymoodboardThe lovely colours and patterns of January’s mood board had me reaching for Heidi Swapp’s Mixed Company papers and embellishments, the tones just couldn’t be more perfect. Slightly softer than those of the mood board but so pretty and on point. I liked the inclusion of the teal green that dusted it’s way through the papers as well. It’s such a lovely complimentary colour. The only thing Mixed Company didn’t have was the hint of red, a few Elle’s Studio stickers later, with the perfect phrases on them, and we had our mix. 20170111_3jotmagjanuarymoodboardI think I’ve enjoyed all the nostalgic reminders this mood board has brought up as much as I enjoyed creating this pretty page. I may have to delve into those old photos again. The quieter pace of Summer school holidays, being surrounded by family and adventuring in warmer climates are certainly a ripe soil for storytelling. Both of my sisters have expressed a desire to relocate to that area in recent months, so I know I’m certainly not alone in appreciating those memories. 20170111_4jotmagjanuarymoodboardWhat are some of your favourite Summer memories from years past? What makes them so vivid and rich in your memory?


Jot Mag February Mood Board 2016

I can’t believe the end of LOAD is coming up so fast, I haven’t missed a day yet and I can see my goal in sight and, oh, I am so, so ready to reach it. Only a few more days people… only a few more days. Today’s layout is truly a case of inspiration coming from everywhere. I’ve been keeping the Jot Mag February Mood Board in mind all month but none of the prompts or stories I wanted to tell seemed quite right for it. Purple is absolutely my favourite colour and team it with my second favourite teal, I am so there. Take a look at these vibrant colours.20150126_1JotMagFebMoodBoardDespite the purple and teal pairings when I started pushing papers around I just couldn’t get it to sit right so instead I decided to play up the pink on this one. Let’s face it there’s really not a whole lot of girly going on around here with all the fella’s in this house so lets just say I layered it on thick. I took it way back to my childhood with a layout about one of my favourite toys. It’s one I’ve wanted to do for quite some time and when Sharon Hill posted a layout on the same subject for LOAD10 it got me all excited about it again, although I wasn’t even sure where my own paper dolls where. While searching for something to use with my LOAD22 layout in my childhood memorabilia collection , lo and behold I found my paper dolls as well and they couldn’t have been more appropriate to use with the lovely Jot Mag inspiration.20150126_2JotMagFebMoodBoardMy starting point was the purple and pink starburst, it’s the design that was used for She-Ra merchandise back in the 80s and proved a perfect visual tool for leading your eye to the elements of the page, namely the She-Ra doll. You’d better believe I popped her up on foam squares so you can still dress her up along with her off-sider Angella. I also created a pocket at the back to store the rest of the outfits that had survived my childhood. I think there was about six costumes each but I only have three for She-Ra & poor Spirit (her horse/unicorn) never made it.20150126_3JotMagFebMoodBoard20150126_4JotMagFebMoodBoardThe title was also inspired by the typography for the show, using the font Baldur, which I sized & coloured in photoshop then fussy-cut out. With various 80s themed elements clustered around my journaling I tried to really play of the lovely vibrancy of this months mood board as well as just enjoying finding all these little gems in my current collection of scrappy things. Seriously when else is a gal gonna get to put a freakin’ unicorn on something. I absolutely adore this layout!


Jot Mag July Mood Board

It’s great how things just come together sometimes when your creating a layout but at other times you just need to sit and wait things out before you find that right mix of what works. This layout was a surprising case of both. These pictures from my sons 4th birthday have, no joke, been sitting, loitering, lolly-gagging on my scrap table for a year now, a year people!, and I just could not figure out how to scrap them. Enter the Jot Mag July Mood Board and suddenly the heavens opened and it fell together in about half an hour. That is an amazingly fast layout for me.20150731_1JotMagJulyMoodBoardI honestly think it had something to do with all that orange in the pictures. I am not a fan of the citrus colours – orange, yellow, lime green…yuck – and therefore have a hard time scrapping with them. Needless to say some of this years Jot Mood Board picks have been stretching me (March, & June anyone) but Blues, baby I am all there, they are my scrappy happy place and since orange is blues complementary colour I actually didn’t have to look all that far to find my muse for this one.20150731_2JotMagJulyMoodBoardThe top strip and ‘so very thankful’ came from a border strip paper called ‘Summer’s End’ by Fancy Pants and just so happened to incorporate all the lovely colours from this months mood board, it was simply then a case of poking through what else I had to complement them. A few stickers from Basic Grey’s Hopscotch 12×12 sheet that I was also having trouble using and voila, layout sorted. I’ll call this layout a major win-win, being able to use so many things that I keep pulling out an putting back is a great confidence boost. I was almost going to say ‘and not a spot of Heidi Swapp on this one’ for a change but ooohh, what’s that I spy but some Heidi Swapp flair up in the top cluster to bring in a little pink… uh yeah, hey at least I’m consistent. Speaking of Heidi, have you seen all the ‘Heidi Swapp loveliness showing up in the Jot Girls’ Instagram feeds. I cannot wait for them to come out with Issue 11. She is just such a wonderful inspiration and example both personally and artistically to me. Still so generous even in difficult times and circumstance and I could not be prouder to be a part of this community that is rallying around her at the moment.

20150731_3JotMagJulyMoodBoardSo very thankful is such a perfect sentiment at the moment. Not only for this layout about my beautiful boy, for having a fun and satisfying scrapping session but also about being a scrapbooker right now. What are you thankful for at the moment?

Jot Magazine June Mood Board

I know it’s completly normal for me to gush all over every Jot Magazine Mood Board offering but just so you don’t think I’m completly one dimensional this time I’m throwing a curve ball. My first thought on this months mood board was not ‘aaahhh’ but rather ‘eeeeeppp, what on earth am I going to scrap with that?’. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Natalie Elphinstone and pretty much every layout she creates is inspiration worthy in my opinion, but girl you really challenged me with this one. Originally I really wanted to scrap in my comfort zone and go with a heavy emphasis on pink and black and white polka dots but this is a mood board challenge after all so I decided to take the challenge portion to heart and step way out side of my normal. I just love the results.   20150626_1JotMagJuneMoodBoard I just found this particular colour combo and chosen motifs completely intimidating. The most imtimdating part of it was the lime green factor. For some reason lime green and I have just not been able to find scrappy peace with one another. It’s the colour that I seem most frequently to pull out and play around with but when it comes to it I almost always end up putting it right back again. Red and pink together have a similar effect on me in that I can’t seem to get them to play nice with one another either.  20150626_2JotMagJuneMoodBoardLuckily for me my son just happens to have a lime green rash vest and these poolside picks from his very first school swimming sports where such a complimentary choice for the summery fresh vibes of those watermelon hues, that it was a match made in heaven. I knew I had quite a few papers with a lovely lime colour to them but as far as embellishments went, I wasn’t so sure where to look. It just so happens that Heidi stepped in yet again, for me, with her September Skies Project Life Mini Kit and a superb selection of bits and pieces to suit. I even manged to get a little stamping in using the mason jar motif from a Dear Lizzy stamp set, a few different Kaisercraft sets to splash around the place and a Kelly Stamps ‘good for the soul’ stamp that legitimately sums up how I feel about any sort of water related summer past time.20150626_3JotMagJuneMoodBoardThe finishing touch for me was this little accordion fold album that came from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine a million years ago and could hold both my story and additional pics from the various swimming events the David participated in. I loved the imaginative sports that his school included for the lower grades and just their whole approach to building school community and student participation. It really is a wonderful school for him to attend. I love that the ‘medals’ awarded came in the form of stickers since it meant I was able to include that ephemera in both my title and some additional ones in the booklet, rounding out my penchant for using memorabila and the like on layouts.20150626_4JotMagJuneMoodBoard In these somewhat dreary and soggy winter months this reminder of warmer weather was definitely a welcome way to pass a few hours as I pulled the layout together. While it made me a bit uncomfortable and intimidated to begin with I am so pleased with what I was able to achieve on this layout. So thanks Nat and Jot girls for a bright spot of sunshine.