Sunday, April 29, 2012

Making My Mark

A couple of weeks ago, as I prepared for a trip to D. C., I was throwing a couple of books in my backpack (I have yet to join the Kindle Klub), when I realized I didn't have a bookmark. Sure, my boarding pass would do, but I was still in scrapping mode, and thought I could do better.

Here's what I stuck in my book:

Isn't it fun?! I took a bunch of scraps from Echo Park's newest collections, and piled them on the front and back of a sturdy piece of chipboard. After adhering everything, and before adding the baker's twine, I brushed on a coat of gloss medium. Start to finish, this cute little project took less than 15 minutes, excluding drying time.

Then, later this week when I needed one more project for the Scraptastic blog, I revisited this project and made myself another bookmark from the scraps of my April Great Adventures kit. I completed it with letter stickers, a flurry of colorful fibers and a brad that says "Dream Big". On the back is a favorite reading quote:

Now I can be in the middle of two books at the same time (I usually have one in the car and one on the bedside table), and my place will be marked securely in each. No more dog-eared pages or turned in book jackets. I'm also thinking they'd make great stocking stuffers for kids and the other bibliophiles in my life who still read the "old-fashioned" way.

Do you like to read? I love to read both fiction AND non-fiction. Any recommendations? What was the last book you read?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crawfish and Canoe Trips

Today is a photo post. First up are pictures taken on a recent canoe trip though the waterways surrounding Lake Maurepas. The last time the CBS Canoe and Kayak Club paddled in this area, I thought it might be a little chilly on the water and decided to pass. Tommy accompanied Kevin instead, and when they returned, he couldn't say enough great things about the trip! Darn...I could have worn a sweatshirt! 

This time I accompanied Kevin, camera and dry bag in hand.


 We were informed that we'd be taking a different route from the last trip, hoping to make it through some narrowing waterways clear to the lake! Oh yeah, Kevin is ready. We boarded the canoes along the old Highway 51 and paddled under Interstate 55.

Starting off the waterway is deep and wide, surrounded by the most beautiful moss-draped cypress trees. Aren't they gorgeous with their knees sticking up everywhere?

You can see that even in early spring plant life is threatening to choke off the waterways after this year's very mild winter. I hoped we would be able to make it through to the lake!

We spotted a couple of wood duck boxes along the swampy banks. The cone below it is supposed to prevent predators from climbing up, destroying the nest and eating the eggs and/or young!

Lucky us! There were still a few purple irises in bloom. Hmmm...I wonder if that's where LSU got its colors?

And here we are at the entrance to the lake! At one point we didn't think we'd make it. We encountered a downed tree in a particularly narrow part of the waterway, but the outfitter who was guiding the group was able to clear the way for us with a trusty hand saw.

At the lake all the canoes and kayaks (probably a couple dozen) spread out and had lunch. We parked between two cypress knees and enjoyed the peaceful morning, resting up for the paddle back.

I can't wait for our next canoe adventure. Kevin's school has one of the coolest clubs ever!


Here's what I'll be feasting on tonight:


It's the volunteer appreciation party (read: crawfish boil) at Jesuit High School. Even though Christopher graduated last May, I still volunteer at the school. I love the work we do and the people I do it with. Besides, Kevin will be there as an 8th grader in about 16 months. baby in high school?! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Start And Finish

Here's another look at how I start my pages...and a jump to the finished layout.

In this instance, I choose the photo first, and then amass a small stack of papers that I want to use. After picking my patterned papers, I throw on top any and all embellishments in the same theme or color scheme. A little washi tape, some journaling cards, several tags, borders strips, stickers, chipboard, etc. Only about 50% of what you see here, aside from the patterned paper, makes it onto the page.

It comes together slowly as papers are cut and items are tossed aside. The finished layout is a mix of papers from Echo Park, Crate Paper, October Afternoon and Studio Calico. An organized collage.

I seriously LOVE the viewmaster reels, from Echo Park's Note To Self collection. Lately they have taken the place of those mason jars from the Dear Lizzy line of papers. And potty people are still a favorite. I couldn't decide if I should paint them or not so they're naked. ;)

I wonder what my next obsession will be?! Cameras, perhaps? Do you have a favorite item that keeps showing up on your pages lately?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Epcot Flower Garden

OK...back to my Disney pics! Our trip was almost a year ago, and I still have so many good times to document. Immediately after our trip, I went through and edited all my photos, compiling the best into a photo book that told the story of our trip. My 11 year old son helped me compose the captions that went on every page! It took the pressure off of me, as I knew I didn't have to scrap every single memory since they were preserved in the book. (I used one of those Winkflash coupons which allowed me to add up to 100 pages for free, so the entire 100 page book was around 30-something dollars! Can't beat that!)

We arrived at Epcot after the International Flower Festival was over, but there were still signs throughout the park. This topiary display of Lightening McQueen and Mater met us at the entrance to the World Showcase.

I loved this paper collection, This & That Graceful, by Echo Park. It had so many great florals and I wanted to use them all! So as not to be overwhelming, I punched large circles from several of the sheets to add to my page. I then cut others out from the patterned paper to layer over the journaling spot, which was used more or less to ground the embellishments, and not for journaling. 

Expect more Disney pages in future weeks as I still have an envelope filled with photos for me to scrap. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Out On A Limb

Photos with a lot of green have been confounding me lately and I never know how to scrap them. I'll sort through my papers and nothing feels right, especially when there are no bright colors for me to latch onto. For this layout I picked out a few papers from Echo Park's This & That Charming, papers that had all those nice natural colors that I thought should work with my photo. But it didn't thrill me...until I added a little washi tape goodness. The orange chevron tape was just the punch it needed. I used it to frame my photo, set off my title, and otherwise spice up the design. It's an improvement.

Then there was this one little spot of "white space" that I couldn't leave alone, so I sketched an oak tree with inked foliage, in deference to the tree my son climbed in the park. Once he scaled it, he became unsure of himself, and didn't know how to climb down. I certainly couldn't come up and get him! Eventually, I coaxed him down to a point where he could drop into my arms. Yep.. it is a fun(ny) memory for sure.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Art Journal

I started an art journal several months ago. It's a fun little book where I get to play with my supplies and document things that might not make it onto a scrapbook page. To streamline the process, I like to use either scraps from recent pages or leftover kit contents. The colors are already matched which is a great time saver. Playing with scraps, I'm also not as worried about using up something valuable that I might want or need later. Double bonus!

Remember that paper chain I used as a mask recently? It's found a place on a journal page, along with some scraps and stickers from Scraptastic's Great Adventures kit:

Do you have an art journal, smash book, or similar? What do you do with your scraps?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photos from D. C.

These past few days I've been in Washington D. C., giving voice to those living in extreme poverty, families in a daily struggle for survival, children growing up malnourished with no hope of reaching their full potential, as well as those whose lives are impacted by preventable and treatable disease. 

Scrapbooking is what I do in my "spare" time. 

This is what I do in my more valuable time.


Here are some of the incredible people who presented at the ONE Summit, men and women who are making a positive impact on our world:
 Florence Ngobeni-Allen and Cristina Pena, spoke on behalf of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, where they are fighting for an HIV/AIDS-free generation of children. Florence lost her first child to the disease. She has since given birth to two healthy HIV-free children due to advancements in medicine preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Twenty-five years ago, Cristina, was one of only 20 children in the Los Angeles area diagnosed with the disease. She's still fighting the fight.

"The next famine will not be prevented by food aid" says Roger Thurow, hunger activist and author of Enough: Why the Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty and the soon to be released The Last Hunger Season. Smart, cost-effective investments in agricultural development are the key to preventing hunger, driving economic growth, and putting people as well as countries on the path to sustainability. Check out the trailer for the documentary that will accompany his book. Inspiring. We have 401Ks. They have 401Cows. Seriously!

"Poverty anywhere is an affront to people everywhere." After 20 years as a journalist in Africa, Gayle Smith is a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council. She consults for a wide range of NGOs, foundations, and governmental organizations.

South African Ambassador to the U. S., his Excellency Ebrahim Rasool inspired us all with his wisdom on advocacy. One of the greatest lessons from the apartheid movement-sing! Carry your burdens lightly!

Here are three of the more than 150 volunteer activists who were at the 2012 ONE Summit in D. C.

 Katie and I, fresh and optimistic, before our first meeting at Senator Landrieu's office.

 Cedric Richmond has some beautiful New Orleans flavored artwork in his office!

 LOVE this piece of art that greets you in the office of one of the Alabama Representatives.

Yes, as we were walking down the halls from one meeting to the next, my eyes were constantly drawn to the decor in the offices of the members of Congress. Some were like mini-museums!

A beautiful rotunda in one of the buildings.

 And I'll leave you with this...the gas prices in D. C.! Quite different from home. Thankfully, they have a very clean and efficient metro system!

Please get involved. Go to and lend your voice for those living in extreme poverty.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paper Chain Mask

Several weeks ago I happened upon an adorable paper chain pattern, which I sketched out immediately and set aside for a future project. I thought of it again when I began to work on this layout with the photos of kids running up and down the yard. It seemed a good fit, and I ended up using it to create an interesting title block for my page. I folded a strip of paper to fit the pattern and carefully cut around the silhouette. Instead of using the chain itself on the page, I stretched it out and used it as a mask, adhering it to the paper with repositional adhesive. Then I got out my ink pad and blending tool. Tim Holtz Barn Door Distress Ink matched the colors in the Scraptastic Great Adventures kit perfectly. After blending the ink onto the mask and into the background, I added some paint splatters in yellow and blue. Only after the paint had dried did I carefully peel off the mask, setting it aside. (You'll see in a future post how I put it to use as well.)

I had a lot of scraps hanging around my workspace from this page and the three I'd already completed with the kit, so I gathered them up, cut several flag shapes from three of the patterns, and arranged them sideways on the page, leaving just enough room for journaling.

In this closeup picture of the title block, you might be able to see my letter treatment. In order to help the white letters stand out, I used a Slick Writer to add dashes on each of the letters before outlining them, tracing the letter shapes as close as possible using a regular black journaling pen. Much easier to read now.

Since I'm big at layering, using an average of 6-7 patterned papers (pieces of patterned papers) on a page, there wasn't much left of my kit after completing this layout. However, I did manage to do one more thing, which I will share shortly!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Silly Sightseeing

While working on Diddle, Diddle Dumpling, the page featured in yesterday's blog post, I kept noticing all sorts of arrows and pointing fingers in this Echo Park collection, Note to Self. Arrow paper, arrow border, arrow stickers! I knew right then what photos were next in line to scrap.

Just before his senior year in high school, Chris participated in a 10 day service project in Mexico. They spent their time making life a little easier for the very poor residents of the central Yucatan peninsula. One project was to re-thatch the roofs of villagers. I wished for at least a few photos of the high school boys' service, but I suppose it wasn't the time to take pics when they were working. Instead, the camera came back with a bunch of silly photos from their free day...swimming in a cenote (gorgeous underground swimming hole), exploring Tulum, and acting silly among the ruins. At least Chris handed off the camera so that he was in some of the pics, even if they were silly ones. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Diddle Diddle Dumpling

I've recently added Echo Park to my list of favorite paper companies. Their full collection packs come with such an amazing array of stickers, letter stickers, borders, journaling spots, etc. And then there's the paper. The viewmaster reel pattern has to be my favorite from the Note To Self set. So cool! I cut two of them from the sheet and used them to ground a couple of embellishment clusters on the following page:

When I found my son sound asleep on the stairs, one sock off and one sock on, I immediately thought of the nursery rhyme, Diddle Diddle Dumpling. In the rhyme, he "went to bed with his stockings on, one shoe off and one shoe on. Of course what happened here is a bit of a variation of the original child's poem, but I thought it would be a cute title for my page.

This was something I wanted to remember in a fun way. Diddle Diddle Dumpling!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Strip Scrap Strategy

Whenever I want to do some fast scrapping, I turn to sketches and challenges to jumpstart my creativity. This time I viewed a Glitter Girl Adventure video, Three Scrap Strategies, and was inspired to create the following page.

I have had the Emerson quote paper for quite some time and the story behind the photo made it quite appropriate for my project. The orangutan in my photo, Berani, is a resourceful little fellow, who had once escaped his enclosure, using a rope and T-shirt to swing out over the moat and fencing. He took that quote to heart, but his keepers didn't appreciate his wanderlust and brought him back to the orangutan exhibit.

Also with my "camping" papers, I found orange, brown and green scraps to compliment my photo. Again, most of these had been in my stash for quite some time. In fact, the only recently acquired product on this page are the bingo cards, cut from a recent Simple Stories collection. As much as I like new supplies, it feels good to use up stuff from the stash! I might have to apply this particular scrap strategy again.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Jazz Fest Memory

Lately, I've been pulling out photos to scrap that are less than perfect. You know the ones. With a memory or story behind them, you print them, but then you are less inspired to scrap them. I have an envelope of these, some from 8 years back. The photo I took this particular day at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was a blurry one, but there was a story there, a story that I had written down in my blog...way back in 2007. I was able to go back into my blog archives, find what I'd written, edit it for my page, and print it out. What could be easier!?

And what could go better with this picture than the papers from Echo Park's This & That Charming collection? They were perfect. They even had a paper with various tickets and receipts, one of which was a "raincheck" appropriate for my story.

The Jazz Fest 2012 schedule has come out, and I'm already trying to decide which day to go. Should I see the Eagles, the Beach Boys, the Foo Fighters, the Neville Brothers or Glen Hansard? Most of course are on different days or conflicting times! It figures.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Different Look

Believe it or not, this page was crafted using the same Scraptastic kit that produced the layout in yesterday's blog post. I love the very different looks I can get with one kit. Here I left out everything that had red in it (even cutting the My Mind's Eye plaid so that the red stripe was absent). The result is a very calming color scheme and perfect for these beach pics of my youngest son. The candid photo on top tickles me. After a wet morning in the gulf, he's probably licking the salt off his lips!

As you can see, I'm still having fun with banners. This time I combined tickets cut from the patterned paper with various banner shapes and adhered them to baker's twine before attaching to the page.

Yes, now I'm remembering that white sand, clear water, salt air, and the sound of the surf. Is it only April? Summer is too far away!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Layered Paper Flowers

Every one of Scraptastic's Great Adventure kits include several shapes from an October Afternoon Sasparilla "flower sack" pack. There are stars, circles and flower shapes in complimentary patterns and colors. The fact that they come in different sizes makes them great for piling on top of each other to create a layered embellishment. Layer three or more shapes, in succeedingly smaller sizes, one on top the other. Finish off with a button or brad and you have a layered paper flower!

Before layering the papers for the flower on my page, I inked then slightly and curled the edges of the two bottom layers. This helped the papers to stand out against each other and gave my flower added dimension. After adhering my flower layers to each other, I punched holes corresponding to those on the button, threaded and tied it on with a bit of twine.

These kinds of flowers are a favorite of mine because they are fun, whimsical, and not too girly for boy layouts. My particular shapes were already cut, but they could be made to match any project from patterned papers you have on hand. I love do-it-yourself embellishments!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ride 'Em Cowboy

I love how certain companies repeat the same colors over and over in their various collections. It makes it so easy to combine papers on a the one below. That green on the border page is identical to the green in the Sasparilla collection and both are from October Afternoon. This was particularly fortuitous since I was getting low on my Sasparilla papers and with my patterned paper obsession, couldn't imagine using regular (gasp!) cardstock to border my page. It's a little busy, but I like it like that!


Several stickers and the brown leather patterned paper are courtesy of my stash, holdouts from an old Flair collection. Love how they combine as well!

Hopefully the page is so fun and colorful you don't notice that the horse's head is missing! I was in the backyard with the rest of the kids, probably taking pictures of something else, and missed Kevin's pony ride. I didn't get pictures of him on the horse, and was thankful that someone else had taken a few photos for me. Unfortunately none of them had much of the horse in them!Tee-hee.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Be Jealous!

Every year around this time, Louisiana strawberries are in season, and boy are they delicious! Sorry California...yours might be bigger, but these are so juicy, flavorful and sweet. They really are the best! My husband brought this box back from Pontchatoula, home of the Louisiana Strawberry Festival. Yeah, he's the best too. These ripe berries were picked that very morning.

 A couple of years ago I bought a scrapbook paper collection that included strawberries in some of the prints. I hoped to create a layout about all the yummy things we do with these strawberries: delectable in strawberry shortcake, fresh with a sprinkling of sugar, and delicious in smoothies. But every year I get busy washing and preparing them, freezing some for smoothies, etc. and before you know it they're gone. And then I realize I haven't taken a picture of the berries or a single smoothie! This time as soon as these babies entered the house, I got out my camera.

OK kids, now you can eat them.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Memory Collector

I fell in love with the American Crafts Dear Lizzy collection, but was worried that I'd have nothing to scrap with the pretty pastels. Most of my photos were boys, travel, beach, anything but girly. I'm always behind the camera and rarely in front! But I had forgotten about this silly little picture, taken in a mirror a couple of years ago. There it was, sitting in an envelope, waiting for these very papers.


Somewhat addicted to the cute mason jars printed on one of the patterned papers, I had already used one on a previous layout to "hold" confetti. Still I couldn't resist using another one of those adorable jars. This time it holds my little title, my very tiny title. I had no other letters that looked right, and these old Basic Grey stickers were the perfect color, if but a bit small. I think it works.

Girly colors, flowery papers, and even bling! I was using everything pretty on this utterly feminine page, and had a nice pastel colored ribbon that was begging to be put to use. But where and how? In the end I decided to try my hand at a ribbon "yo-yo" and it wasn't as difficult as I imagined. I had no idea how much ribbon was needed so I cut a rather long piece and began stitching along one side gathering it up as I went. The ribbon curled up naturally and when it began to turn back upon itself, I added a few more stitches, cut the ribbon, and stitched the pieces together. Easy-peasy! I think I've found another use for my ribbon stash!

So now I've scrapped a prom pic and one of myself with these gorgeous papers. What can I do next?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In The Zone

Whew...I've been in the zone lately...completely focused on the funtastic papers in Scraptastic's April kit, Great Adventures. So far I've completed three pages and am amazed at the different looks that can be created from one coordinated kit. The page I am featuring today, Zone Team, uses a cool chevron paper from American Crafts. I cut out a couple of zig-zag chevron strips and separated them from each other with a carefully spaced row of vertical cardstock strips on which I placed my title. Wow! Instead of getting lost in all that color, those letters really pop!

Everything on the page (except for the addition of a swimming brad) is from the April kit. Remember that little hole I punched in the red cardstock (see yesterday's post)? It's completely covered up.

Here's a little trick that I do to make ordinary stickers look more dimensional. I like to layer them, but first I back each sticker with cardstock cut slightly smaller than the original. I arrange them overlapping here and there and use pop dots to lift some up over others for even more dimension. I love the layered look, and with the plethora of stickers in the American Crafts' Remarks sticker book that came with this Scraptastic kit, you can layer to your heart's content.

How do you use stickers on your projects?

A Hoarder's Show Featuring Craft Rooms!

That's my prediction for 2015! Can you just imagine?!

Check this out! See if you recognize the realistic prediction amid the silly, funny, and far-fetched ones: I Predict!

It seemed unthinkable ten years ago, but is now very much within reach. Can this be the beginning of the end? Will you help?

And about that Hoarder's Show. It might just be a feasible idea! What do you think?