Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give Yourself Wings

When Debbie V. first posted her canvas art class, "Give Yourself Wings", at Lifetime Moments, I was intrigued. She claimed that anyone could create these beautiful works for themselves, and that it required no artistic talent or special training, nothing but a willingness to play with paint, paper, brushes, corrugated cardboard, and bubble wrap. Yes, bubble wrap!

Yet, I was so skeptical about my ability, that I created my first piece NOT on an artist's canvas board, but on the back of a priority shipping box! LOL!

My next painting was my own interpretation of Debbie's class sample, with a quartet of whimsical trees. The most amazing part of the painting is the background. I just love the mix of colors, their translucency, and how they show just a hint of the patterned papers beneath the paint. So cool. Can you see the bubble wrap in the trees? :)

Now, I was on a roll and had it in my mind to attempt a portrait, a la Kelly Rae Roberts' style. But once I had that beautiful background, I was really intimidated and thought I was sure to ruin it once I tried to paint a face! Sketching the face out on paper, I found it wasn't that hard. Now...to just transfer it to paint! To make things easier, I cut out the oval face and traced it onto the painted canvas. Filling it in with flesh-colored paint was a bit tedious as the lighter colors take sometimes 3-4 coats to cover well. But once it was done, it was easy to add eyes, lips, a simple nose, eyebrows, and hair. And to my surprise, she actually looked pretty! One of the best tips I took away from Debbie's class was to use charcoal pencil to shade. Here I used it on the face and neck of my portrait. Oh my...that was so easy! And the way the charcoal settled in the ridges of the paint gave such a neat effect!

A cityscape was next.

And I can't wait to do another one. (I think I need an intervention.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rustic Fall Centerpiece

The Cub Scouts, working on their Citizenship activity requirements, created these adorable stick vases for the residents of Sunrise Assisted Living facility, and arranged them on their dining room tables before the evening meal.

It's one of those projects that requires lots of preparation. Gathering the hundreds and hundreds of sticks and twigs and cutting them down to appropriate sizes took hours! But the end result was worth the effort.

Basic Instructions:
*Collect sticks and twigs, cut to various sizes appropriate for the jar selected.
*Clean empty jar, removing any labels. (Plastic peanut butter jars are perfect.)
*Wrap jar with a rubber band, twice if needed for snugness.
*Insert sticks under the rubber band, until the jar is completely covered.
*Secure sticks with hot glue, slightly above the rubber band.
*When the glue is cooled, scoot the rubber band up and over the band of glue.
*Hide glue and rubber band with ribbon tied around the stick vase.
*Finish with real or silk flowers.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Day We Met

My sorority was having a 50's dance the next weekend and I had choices to make: Ask the boy who liked me. (My mother said that I didn't like him because he was so nice! LOL!) Go with Patty's friend's friend. (I was tempted for his long hair.) Or go with Kathy's boyfriend's friend. (Sight unseen. Uh-oh.) So on Thanksgiving Day, after the turkey had been devoured, Greg and Kathy introduced me to one of Greg's best friends, and the rest is history. That was 36 years ago.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Planner/Journal

(LM Archives)

30 Days of Gifts 2007 - DAY 9:

Christmas Planner & Journal

by Madeline Fox, LM Design Team

The turkey is but a carcass. Black Friday shoppers have gone and conquered. As December bore down on November, it became clear that I needed a plan. Better yet, I needed a planner! This was my favorite holiday season and stress was not going to get the better hand!

I began with a 7-gypsies Composition Book Naked Journal and patterned papers from Basic Grey’s Figgy Pudding, Dasher, and Blitzen collections. After adhering papers to the chipboard cover, I used book tape to reinforce the corners and spine. My book would become a combination Christmas planner/holiday journal and pages were designed to hold an assortment of journaling boxes, pockets, tags and booklets. The double-sided papers from the Figgy Pudding line were perfect for making library pockets. One design shows on the outside of the pocket with a complimentary design peeking from inside! With so many additions, my planner/journal became quite plump. An elastic cord closes it neatly.

Planner Pages:

* Do You Hear What I Hear? (pocket pages hold CDs of favorite Christmas music)
* Books (pocket page holds booklet listing favorite Christmas books, checklist of those we own)
* Movies (pocket page holds booklet of favorite Christmas movies, checklist of those we own)
* Traditions (library pocket to hold tag(s) for listing and/or journaling about favorite seasonal activities)
* Christmas Card Checklist
* Party List (menus, who’s bringing what)
* Gift Lists (pocket page)
* Receipts (pocket page)
* Holiday Decorating
* Favorite Ornaments
* Favorite Foods (journal box, library pocket)
* Christmas Eve (tag to journal what we did, who visited/where we went, favorite memory, funniest thing that happened)
* Christmas Day (tag to journal what we did, who visited/where we went, favorite memory, funniest thing that happened)

Page embellishments include Basic Grey rub-ons, stickles glitter glue, Queen and company felt fusion, alphabet stickers, ribbon and fiber.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Favorites Book

(LM Archives)

30 Days of Gifts 2007 - DAY 21:

Scrapbook Favorites Book

by Madeline Fox, LM Design Team

Since beginning to scrapbook several years ago, I’ve accumulated quite a few albums filled with bulky layouts. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t get to share these pages with my parents or extended family as often as I’d like. The weighty books are not easy to carry around, so they sit, gathering dust on a bookshelf. I thought it would be nice to share prints of my favorite pages in a more compact and easily portable manner by using a Maya Road 4" x 8" Chipboard Binder Album.

The landscape orientation allows me to display either two layouts side by side or a two page spread on each page. The chipboard pages are thick, and the sturdy binder just begs to be decorated. I chose fun, colorful papers from KI Memories Pop Culture for the cover and embellished it with ribbon, a Magistical Memories Chipboard nested star shape, Fancy Pants Fashion Sense heart pins, and American Crafts Thickers chipboard letters. A little sparkle was added to the title with Stickles glitter glue.


1. Paint edges of chipboard binder with paint to match or coordinate with the patterned papers for the front and back covers. Let dry.
2. Cut patterned paper for front and back covers, 4 ½ inches x 8 ½ inches, and adhere.
3. Cut 1 inch x 4 ½ inch strip from coordinating patterned paper and adhere near spine.
4. Cut patterned paper for title, 2 inches x 6 inches. Mat on contrasting colored paper and trim.
5. Cut a 3 x 7 symmetrical rectangle from lace cardstock. Adhere title block to this rectangle and attach to front of album. Stick heart pins under title block.
6. Tie ribbon around front cover.
7. Paint chipboard star and attach with beadchain to the ribbon.
8. Cut various patterned papers, 4 inch x 8 inch, and adhere to chipboard pages.
9. Mat prints of favorite scrapbook layouts and add to album pages.
10. Apply stickles glitter glue to title chipboard letters on cover and set aside to dry.

Holiday Memory Book

(LM Archives)

30 Days of Gifts 2008 - DAY 8:

Holiday Memory Book

by Madeline Fox, LM Design Team

Easily put together by you and your child, this Merry and Bright Christmas memory album is made from one collection pack of My Mind's Eye "Be Merry" patterned papers with plenty left over for cards, layouts, or other projects. Plain or lined papers provide copious amounts of journaling space (or a place to add photos). Page embellishments are either die cuts from the pack or images cut from the papers, with ribbons, and a couple of chipboard embellishments thrown in. The 3 ring "quarter pint" chipboard album by Basic Grey measures 6 inches by 6 inches. It includes front and back covers and 6 interior pages. I was having so much fun that I cut and added four more! Older children can create this project completely on their own, but younger ones don't need to be excluded. They can paint the chipboard edges of the album, tear papers, glue elements, and provide their adorable handwriting for the page titles.

This book could easily be adapted to using many of the cute holiday paper collections in the store. Visit our Christmas Themed section for ideas!

Basic instructions:

1. Paint white border around all chipboard pages, and around grommets in front and back cover.

2. For interior pages, cut background papers 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 (or piece patterns to make a 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 sheet.

3. For exterior pages (front and back covers and their insides), cut background papers 4 3/4 x 5 3/4.

4. Adhere papers to chipboard pages of album.

NOTE: When adhering papers to pages, adhere only one page at a time so as not to cover up the prepunched holes in the chipboard. Adhere paper to front of page, punch holes, adhere paper to reverse and punch holes again.

5. Add die cuts and other embellishments from your stash (chipboard, ribbons, glitter, etc.) Additional images can be cut from the patterned papers (Christmas trees, snowmen, and squares for presents).

6. Label pages and fill with memories!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DIY Snowflakes

I wonder if we will get to see snow again this year? If not, we can help mother nature along and make our own snowflakes...on the computer screen! It's very addicting, trying to make that most beautiful flake!

Snow Days

It's also a good place to try out various designs and THEN cut them out of REAL paper. A fun winter craft!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear Santa

Don't know who to attribute this to, but it's precious!

Dear Santa:

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground, and thirty-five rolls of wrapping paper so my son can win a plastic whistle.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a Target receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:
I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.

It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Campout Snapshots

(Archiving LM Blog-October 24, 2009)

Over the last few years I've taken all the requisite camping photos...the tent, the campfire, the boys in their Cub Scout uniforms. This year I tried to be less conspicuous and more observant at the same time, and came out with some wonderful shots of my son and his friends. I particularly like the one where three of them are huddled at the end of a dock overlooking the lake, immersed in talk. I would have loved to hear what they were saying!

Instead of trying to get the entire pack during their tug-o-war contest, I focused in on a smaller group to capture their expressions. They were having so much fun.

And Kevin requested this last shot. He remembered posing exactly so a previous year and wanted to recreate the picture. I think he had a great idea! With the rails acting as a yardstick, comparing the two photos will give us an idea of his growth from one year to the next.

Now comes the fun part, deciding on scrapbook papers. There's Camped Out by Bella Blvd., Nutmeg by Cosmo Cricket, and Autumn Bliss by My Little Yellow Bicycle, to name a few. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Journaling Cards

(Archiving LM Blog Post-October 17, 2009)

They might be called "Elements" by Cosmo Cricket, "Postcards" by Amber Road, "Journaling Cards" by Collage Press, "Cut-Outs" by Bo-Bunny, or simply "Cards" by Fancy Pants. Whatever you call them, these cut-apart cardstock accessories have become one of my favorites when building or embellishing scrapbook pages. Often they are double-sided with one side reserved for journaling...the perfect size for a date and a sentence or two. (And that's just fine for a scrapbooker like me that doesn't always have a lot to say.) Other cards are decorated in designs that coordinate with the patterned papers in the line, sometimes with words or phrases, or a fitting image, the perfect layering accent. Group a few together or use them as a grounding point for flowers or other embellishments. Larger cards can form a base for your title. For more dimension, try roughing them up; distress the edges with ink, tears, and creases. One page of "elements" can dress up several layouts. And they are perfectly sized for cards.

These two pages are embellished with elements from the Cosmo Cricket Snorkel collection:

No Photos, No Problem

(Archiving LM Blog Post-October 9, 2009)

I am too reserved and shy when it comes to taking photos in a restaurant. Not only am I not comfortable, but I'd get serious groans from the kids. Still, when we stopped for lunch on our way to Florida, I should have at least pulled out the camera to capture a picture of the restaurant sign. Unfortunately, I failed to remember until we were bumping down the street away from Felix's...and there's no going back when the beach is beckoning. No problem! Even without accompanying photographs I scrapped a page, a DOUBLE page, about our road trip to the beach, and had a GREAT time being creative without the constraints photos would bring. Try it! Use a large title or an elaborate paper piecing, and tell your story with journaling. Having such a unconstrained area in which to play can unleash your creativity! But next time, I WILL try to get at least a couple photos of our stop.

DIY Flower Leaves

(Archiving LM Blog Post-August 17, 2009)

There was something missing. I had layered three patterned papers with a journaling block, ticket stub, tag, big plaid heart, little bird, and three flowers. And in the middle of each bloom were fancy flower centers: a Maya Road chipboard button, a Jenni Bowlin milk cap, and a star sticker, each brushed with a generous amount of KI Gloo. Pretty flowers, yet there was still something missing! Then it came to me. Why not add leaves? Never mind that I didn't have any ready made ones on hand. Dimensional leaves would add a bit of extra color to the page and finish it off nicely. I had the perfect paper at hand. The backside of one of the sheets in the Collage Press collection that I had used for my layout was a nicely muted green. I went about cutting several little leaves and defined their edges with inking. Then I creased each one down the middle, tucking them underneath the flowers, adhering only the inner edge to the page so that they would remain dimensional. There you go! A quick and easy homemade flower accessory!

Cross Craft Inspiration

(Archiving LM Blog Post-August 7, 2009)

Quilting was a hobby I dabbled in during my pre-scrapbooking days and my biggest project was a queen-sized, hand-pieced, hand-sewn Dresden plate quilt for our bed. I loved sorting through the quilt shop's printed fabrics, picking out just the right ones for my design. After I cut the various fabric into the hundreds of "petals" I then had the task of arranging them into individual sets of 19. I would play with the pieces until I found that "perfect" arrangement, stitch them together, and then go on to the next plate and find another harmonious pattern, each one different from the last. I had the same sort of feeling as I arranged and rearranged patterned paper squares for a recent scrapbook page. After punching out dozens of squares from scraps, I placed two rows of five across the top of a piece of cardstock. I went through so many combinations and arrangements, shuffling them around until I had what felt right for my photo...then hurriedly adhered them to the page (before I rethought the arrangement and changed them around again)!

Pleased with the finished project I then tried a variation on the design and created a total of 4 pages using that same little square punch! It was sort of like quilting again, but without the needle and thread! A fabric design also became the inspiration for the cute little crab on my page. The piece de resistance were it's button eyes! I knew that I could create something similar with paper. Forgoing the sewing machine, I gave my paper squares and paper crab pen-stitching to achieve a similar look. It was so much quicker using the pen. ;)

Inspiration In Reverse

(Archiving LM Blog Post-July 26, 2009)

Many times I'll finish a page and it will inspire a card. This time it was the other way around. A card inspired the page! The wild designs and colors of Basic Grey's "Fruit Fizz" originally intimidated me...until I noticed how it was used on one of the card samples in the Basic Grey Lime Rickey card kit.

Taking a clue from the card, I used the busy patterned paper as a frame around the page and matted the center portion on black cardstock. As accents for my page, I made super-sized "whirlie birds", with one for each of the kids in the photographs accompanying the layout. The birds on the "Howdy Doody" patterned paper are adorable, and I think my whimsical recreations add a lot of character to the page...to go with the "characters" in the photos. Silly boys!

Chipboard Fanatic

(Archiving LM Blog Post-July 13, 2009)

I am one, and I admit it. Chipboard continues to be one of my favorite supplies. And making it look good is so easy too. Here are a few of my favorite techniques:

1. Covering with patterned paper. Spread a generous amount of adhesive (KI Gloo works well for this) on the piece of chipboard. Let dry. Cut around the shape with an exacto knife. (It doesn't have to be perfect at this point.) Finally, sand the edges. (Cut a nail file to a point to get those hard to reach areas.)

2. Spray with Glimmer Mist (or any other brand of spray paint). Even if it goes on unevenly, it seems to dry to a smooth coat.

3. And last but not least...PAINT! You don't have to be a Picasso to do this either. My favorite look is a base coat of color with final application of stain. Apply a thin coat of paint and let dry thoroughly. Sand edges (which will allow stain to soak into the chipboard). Rub or brush on a layer of stain, and immediately wipe away with finger or damp paper towel to give the desired look.

Beach House Signs

(Archiving LM Blog Post-July 10, 2009)

Every year before we head for the beach, my sister goes to the dollar store and buys each family something to hang outside their screened porch. (That way the kids know which 5 of the 14 beach townhouses belong to our families for the week, and they don't accidentally end up walking into someone else's house in search of their cousin(s)!) One year she picked up colorful little stuffed fish of the Finding Nemo variety. Another year we had sparkly swirly windsocks. This year, a few weeks before our vacation, she brought out these little miniature surfboard signs of unfinished wood for each family to decorate. I knew I'd have fun using my scrapbook stash for this endeavor! I volunteered to decorate one for my parents' house and chose the hibiscus design (above). A gecko decorated the one leading up to our porch (below).

What You Need

Patterned paper
Letter stickers
Ribbon and/or fiber
Acrylic paint and/or sharpie markers
Waterproof varnish

Basic Instructions

Adhere patterned paper to the wood, cut off excess, then sand edges. Paint designs (hibiscus and gecko) with acrylic paint and/or sharpie markers. Add letter stickers for names then varnish for added durability. Finally, finish them off with pretty fibers or ribbons and hang outdoors! :)

Think Out of the Box

(Archiving LM Blog Post-March 16, 2009)

Valentines papers for beach photos? Of course! When I first saw the colors of Fancy Pants’ Valentine collection, Splendid, I fell in love! There it was, mixed in with the black, white, pink, and red…my favorite shade of blue, aqua the color of a tropical sea. As soon as I had finished a Valentine themed layout and sent Kevin off to school with a set of Fancy Pants cards for his classmates, I set about finding a photo to go with my leftover pieces of patterned paper and that gorgeous shade of blue! I didn’t have to look far. There in my stack of unscrapped beach photos from last summer were two pictures of my son and his cousin heading out into the water. And best of all, their swimsuits looked like they were made for those papers. Splendid indeed!

So don’t forget. When you’re looking for just the right shade of green, check your Christmas papers. If it’s orange you need, flip through your Halloween-themed stash. And when looking for a gorgeous aquamarine pattern…Fancy Pants’ Splendid Valentine collection!


(Archiving LM Blog Post-February 20, 2009)

Art journal, illustrated journal, book of me, creative therapy, whatever-you-call-it…it’s a chance for us to include ourselves in our art. Are you game? It’s never too late to start! I just found out about Nancy’s Creative Journal Challenge, and have been playing a little catch up. In fact, playing is the best word to describe what I do in my journal! But YOUR journal can be whatever you want it to be. You can be verbose or use words sparingly if at all. You can make it artsy or plain. You can choose to included photos or do without. Prompts, posted weekly on Sunday evenings, are there to guide you, but the interpretation is up to you. Be silly or serious…it’s your book!

Artists who have completed all the topics at the end of the 12-week session will be entered in a drawing for a grand prize. And as an added bonus, your entries are eligible for Winter Scrapfest points! (Please refer to the Winter Scrapfest rules regarding how to count points).

Nancy’s Creative Journal Sign-Up Thread

List of Challenges:
Week 1: (choose your book)
Week 2: My Personality
Week 3: My Financial Outlook
Week 4: Guilty Pleasures
Week 5: Health
Week 6: What Frightens Me
Week 7: My Favorite Book or Movie

More of my pages:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanks for the Memories

At the end of December, an awesome community will cease to exist. Lifetime Moments, an amazing source of scrapbooking supplies, inspiration, and friendship is closing its doors, as the economic downturn has forced out yet another small business. LM has been my home on the web for over 7 years, six of those as part of a wonderful design team. Working with Jackie and the other girls has been an awesome experience. She expresses well what the community has meant to so many, "So much of our lives have been shared in our online community – sadness and grief of lost loved ones, happiness of so many beautiful new babies, new relationships, new homes, new jobs, sound advice, caring concern, shared interests and so many fun times." I know our friendships will carry on in other places, but I'm so sorry to see the dream of its owners come to an end. They say when one door closes, another opens! I'm wishing Jackie and Thad all the best.