Friday, May 29, 2015

A Tribal Gathering

This time of year the travel collections for scrapbookers seem to be everywhere. And that's not a bad thing! They are beautiful, colorful, fun, and make me think about traveling...and then the fact that I don't, not really. Sigh. 

It's a short-lived disappointment as I go through my photos trying to find something that I can scrap with the beautiful papers of Crate Paper's Journey collection. The tribal designs got me thinking, "I have a tribe. My family!" And the following page was born:

When I serendipitously captured the boys from my "tribe" gathered around the coffee table, I had no idea what they were discussing. I doubt they even remember. But it's the strong sense of togetherness that I wanted to capture. Sons, nephews, uncles, boyfriends...all sharing in conversation. Looked to me like the Great Tribal Summit of 2014!

I continued with the Native American tribal theme by piecing and stitching an arrow:

A dreamcatcher and USA map were fussy-cut from the journaling card paper and embellished with enamel dots and an arrow, pointing to the "summit's" locale.

I borrowed and multiplied Susan Stringfellow's idea for patterned paper teepee's SEEN HERE, and strung a banner across them with stickers from Crate Paper's Craft Market collection. It's pretty cool how colors and color schemes seem to flow across a manufacturer's collections like that!

Supplies from the Scraptastic STORE: Patterned Paper-(Crate Paper Journey Collection-Wander PaperQuest Paper, Let's Go Paper, Tribal Paper), Embellishments-(Craft Market Accent Sticker SheetSimple Stories Life Documented Enamel Dots), Alphabets-(Pebbles' Happy Day Woodland Chipboard Thickers, WeRMemory Keeper's Chipboard Thickers).

So, yeah, I may not be the world traveler I'd like to be, but that doesn't mean I can't find some pretty creative uses for the travel collections out there!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Isn't Life Grand?

Titling a layout isn't always the simplest feat. I'm so indecisive. Should I allow the title to wander all over my page, plump with descriptive words, or should I be simple and concise. What about restating the obvious? It's usually an easy out! But what can I do to make my title less ordinary? about posing a question? That's what I did with the layout below:

The title is a rhetorical question. After listing a few of the wonderful attributes of a week at the beach, I ask for agreement, "Isn't Life Grand?" A mix of Thickers and WeRMemory Keepers letters make it fun:

There are so many beautiful embellishments in Scraptastic's Purple Rain kit and add-on. I love the decorative clips and chipboard hearts:

Baker's twine and an enamel heart give dimension to the popped up die-cut below:

Here's another one with the Purple Rain kit and add-on:

Again, I use a mix of lettering for my title:

This cluster is chock full of fun pieces from the kit (die-cut tag and heart, transparency pieces, enamel heart and an awesome acrylic bird-in-flight):

Vellum and acrylic words overlap beautifully:

Now, about those sesame seed cookies in the photo. Descendants of New Orleans' Italian immigrants have perpetuated elaborate St. Joseph Day altars, piled high with traditional dishes, breads, cookies, and more. My tradition on March 19 is on a much smaller scale, but just as delicious. ;)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Purple Rain-Main Kit Only

As the designated photographer of the family, it seems I'm always behind the camera, rarely in front. That means I'm usually missing from many of the scrapbook pages that I create. I'm remedying that situation today by scrapping a selfie, only the second selfie I've ever attempted. And let me tell you, it took several tries to get this one photo. It's not an easy feat!

The page I'm sharing today was created with papers and embellishments from the Purple Rain main kit from Scraptastic. I usually mix up my kit and add-on papers and embellishments immediately. But this time, I made it a point of keeping everything separate and working with only the main kit. Pretty, isn't it?

Just like it's namesake, the beautiful and haunting mega-hit by Prince, Scraptastic's Purple Rain kit is a show-stopper. Who knew teal and purple would be such a stunning combination? And, since this picture was taken at a Mardi Gras parade, it's quite apropos that the predominant colors of three of the papers approximate the traditional colors of New Orleans' carnival season:

Placing my photo half on and half off of the three long strips left the opposite side of the picture  bare and lonely. So I surrounded the left side of my photo with a plethora of die-cuts, tucking here, overlapping there, creating a nice and cozy cluster of prettiness:

Instead of adding a title elsewhere, I took on the words of the die-cut which hangs over the top of the picture, and titled this "Love Life":

Yes, I do, and I'm having fun celebrating it with this gorgeous kit.

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Christmas Card

I haven't scrapped a single Christmas photo from this year...until now. As usual, I didn't take very many...too busy! But I did happen to catch this one magical moment of my nephew engrossed in the card that came with one of his presents. Instead of tossing it aside, he holds it up and looks intently, as if he could read. So cute!

What spurred me to finally scrap this photo? It was the cute and colorful Christmas Cheer collection from Bella Blvd. Nevermind the fact that Christmas stuff is on sale this time of year. Bonus! 

But back to the collection at hand. Bella Blvd. always has the most delightful patterns, and my favorite paper from this set has to ever so useful Christmas Cheer Borders Paper. It was that one piece of paper that inspired the miniature cards on the layout below:

This assortment of little cards came together quickly and easily. A bit of fussy cutting was combined with strips of the varied patterns along with several cut-out words, all adhered to blank white folded card bases, in miniature of course.

I was thinking that these little cards would make great gift tags as well. They are just the right size to attach to a wrapped package or hang from the handle of a gift bag. Add "To:" and "From:" to the inside and you're done!

Finally, an all-in-one matt that includes photo, journaling, and title works to separate the elements at the bottom of the page from the busy background of colorful holiday words. It also helps to cover less and preserve more of that awesome playful background paper. I certainly didn't want to cover it all up!

With so much going on already, a simple title was just the thing for this page. I made it an extension of the journaling, one flowing into the other. 

Check out this collection and more great steals from Scraptastic Store in their Frugal Fridays section. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MME's Hello World: Vicksburg

Another city, another travel page! These photos are from a quick visit to Vicksburg, MS. I was there for work and had a little time after dinner to drive along the scenic riverfront before dark. Even in the fading light, I was able to snap a few pictures. Three of those photos are featured on this page, created with the colorful Hello World collection from My Mind's Eye:

I used one 4x4 and two wallet sized photos on the page, slightly overlapping the smaller pictures:

The Hello World collection is full of pretty prints and a plethora of embellishments: brads, die cuts, journal cards, stickers, transparency pieces, chipboard, wood veneer and more. The many bits and pieces make it easy to create interesting little clusters like the one surrounding my title:

This collection from My Mind's Eye may be labeled a "travel" collection, but you don't need to go far to use these papers. In fact, most of these prints (arrows, florals, stripes, and triangles) are so versatile, you needn't go further than your own backyard.

SUPPLIES from the ScraptasticClub STORE-Patterned Paper: (My Minds' Eye Hello World collectionAll Aboard Suitcases PaperAll Aboard We Are Here PaperBeauty In Flight PaperBeauty Bonjour PaperDiscovery Here & There PaperDiscovery Flowers Paper) (October Afternoon Saturday Mornings Bacon Paper), Embellishments: (My Mind's Eye Hello World collection-Adventure Decorative BradsMixed Bag (die-cuts), Hello World Stickers, Adventure Chipboard Stickers, and Adventure Journal Cards).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Scraptastic Store: Map Background Tutorial with MME's Hello World

This tutorial was created for and shared on the Scraptastic Club blog. I hope you like it, and I also hope these instructions translate well for those of you with newer die-cutting machines and photo-editing programs. ;)

When I had the idea of creating a patterned paper map background, I wasn't exactly sure how it would turn out, so I plugged away without taking photos or screenshots of anything. Once complete, and not a disaster, I knew I wanted to share how it was done. So back in I went, retracing my steps for the tutorial below.

Here's the finished page with a photo taken on a leisurely lunchtime drive through Jackson, MS.

I centered the map and gave it a large border with room for a title, journaling, and embellishments:

And now, here are the steps for creating an amazing custom map background of your own. If you give it a try, I'd love to see your page!

Map Background Tutorial

1.) In google maps, locate and zoom in on the area that you want to use for your background. I was originally was going to use this idea for a photo taken in another city, but the streets were too grid-like. The irregularity of this location was more appealing, so Jackson it was. I also made sure to include the exact spot where my photo was shot, so that I could mark the finished page with a geotag, as seen below.

2.) Using a screen capture tool,  save the desired area of the map and open it up in your photo-editing program.  I use Photoshop Elements 6.0. Yes, it's old, but it gets the job done!

3.) With a brush tool set wide enough to span the streets and cover up their names, carefully trace all of the streets in white. I wasn’t concerned with being perfect. The slight waviness and imperfections give it charm. For any big mistakes, there was always the option to undo and try again!

When all the streets are finished, there may be a few spots that need to be fixed, where landmark names or other designations that are written over the map as shown below:

4.) Use a clone tool or brush tool set to grey and paint over the undesired words and symbols.

5.) Next, use the paint bucket fill tool to change each of the grey and green areas to black. Avoiding the streets, carefully clicked on each section of the map, one by one. My end result was this:

6.)With the image complete, you can now trace, resize, and cut  your background with a digital cutting machine.  

7.) Finally, the fun part! Back each opening with a mix of colorful patterned papers. The easy way to accomplish this was to lay the die cut map onto a backing paper and trace the openings, then fill the traced sections with papers cut ever so slightly larger. The die-cut map section should fit over this perfectly. (As you are adhering patterned papers, check every so often correct alignment.)

Do you recognize this section of the map from the image above? Cool, huh?!

The end result was truly worth the effort, as I now had a unique city street background for my page! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rube Goldberg Silver Bell Delivery System

Have you heard of Rube Goldberg? He was a cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. His name has become synonymous with overly complex systems that work via chain-reaction to perform otherwise simple tasks! It, in essence, A Rube Goldberg machine makes performing a task a lot more difficult than it should be, but in a fun sort of way! In the 80's movie, PeeWee's Big Adventure, PeeWee's breakfast maker does just that, cooking up a pancake and eggs breakfast via all sorts of linked up contraptions.

There are Rube Goldberg contests at schools and universities across the country, but one of my favorite examples is the massive Rube Goldberg machine in this OK Go video, This Too Shall Pass:

What is really remarkable is that this video is seamlessly filmed, not cut and spliced! 
I wonder how many takes were required to get it so perfect!?

In 6th grade, Kevin's assignment in science class was to create a Rube Goldberg-inspired contraption using at least three different types of simple machines. His contraption begins with five metal marbles spinning, dropping, and rolling into a cup, which is attached to a pulley via a lever. When the cup is heavy enough, it drops, pulling on the string which moves the lever. The lever pushes a baseball off its perch, and the ball rolls down the ramp and bumps into the skateboard, sending it rolling across the room...all to deliver a silver bell! It was really cool, so of course I snapped a picture and I've finally got it scrapped:

Except for the addition of white cardstock for my background, and the mix of chipboard lettering for the Rube Goldberg title, all supplies are from the Scraptastic I Lived kit and add-on, quite possibly my favorite kit to date!