Sunday, July 29, 2012

Plaza de los Amigos

Epcot has always been one of my favorite WDW destinations. After a morning of thought-provoking and thrilling adventures in Futureworld, it's nice to slow down and enjoy the scenic beauty of the World Showcase countries. Heading clockwise around the lagoon (which we always seem to do), first up is Mexico. At around midday it's a nice respite from the heat to head indoors, where a festive marketplace is recreated inside the pavilion's temple structure. The Gran Fiesta Tour is not the most thrilling, but the pleasant little boat ride gives everyone an opportunity to get off their feet and float through an entertaining attraction.

The page design is simple and embellishments are handmade. Small scraps from Scraptastic's Nostalgic Summer July kit were arranged on a neutral background, squares at the top, a variety of rectangles on the bottom. This is a great design for using up leftovers, and even smaller pieces of patterned paper were cut in various flag shapes for the banner.

A hand-pieced sombrero adds a little touch of Mexico and is used to hold the title.

Yep...I'm still working on Disney pages from last year's vacation. It's fun to take out my photos and experience everything again. The memories will have to last until our next trip to see the mouse...and who knows when that might be!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bermuda Longtails

See, I found another spot to use those little wooden birds! It wasn't much of a stretch to find a place for one on this page. It's about birds actually.

On our walk about the town of Hamilton, Bermuda, we stumbled into a beautiful park, Par-la-Ville Park, since renamed Queen Elizabeth Park, and happened upon a statue depicting a flock of these longtails. Another day, we spotted several flying alongside the boat that was taking us to a cycling activity. The really cool thing about the second picture on the page is that it not only shows the birds in flight, but their nesting site on shore as well. The white "igloos" that you see are artificial nests cemented into the rock, where the natural holes and crevices that would normally hold their nests have been lost to erosion. The birds make do quite well with these substitute nests and their numbers are increasing. Although the Bermuda longtail isn't the national bird of Bermuda, it is often associated with the island.

I set out to use  Sketch #92 from my friend Susan Stringfellow's Sketch Savvy Blog and it gave me a great start to my page. It's such a lovely design, one which I plan to use again.

Did you notice the trio of bird embellishments on this page: the wood veneer bird from Studio Calico, the "Fly Away" snippet from BasicGrey's clipping collection, and bird stickers from American Craft's Dear Lizzy sticker book? I love when I can employ embellishments that help to tell the story!

(Patterned papers are a mix of October Afternoon's 9 to 5, Crate Paper's Story Teller, and BasicGrey.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stars, Stripes, and Swimming

Today is a double feature, two pages created with a patriotic collection from My Mind's Eye. The first layout uses a Starting Point by Shimelle and features two photos from last year's Disney World vacation. Shimelle's basic layout jumpstarted this page nicely. Once the background papers were down, the rest was easy, with small changes to title and journaling placement.

Don't you just love those little birds holding the twine?! They are wood veneers from Studio Calico, and with dozens of birds in the pack, they will be showing up often on my pages. At first I was worried that their small size would be a detriment, but their size means they can fit anywhere and they make the cutest accessories. I'll be trying to fit them in whenever I can now.

With all of those red, white, and blue papers sitting out on my desk, I thought it would be nice to do a second page before putting it all away. The perfect photo was on my desk as well. I had recently rescued it from tape and plastic (a makeshift photo frame my daughter had crafted), carefully wiped off smudges and residue, and now hope to keep it safe in the scrapbooks. It was from the summer of 1998, the second year my swimming-obsessed daughter was chosen for the state zone team, and this one picture of the Louisiana team was her only photographic memento. Those were such exciting times for her, as she was preparing to attend LSU and swim for the Tigers! 

There are a lot of swim quotes I could have included on the page, but decided on a movie quote from A League of Their Own. "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great." It says a lot. Every one of the kids in that photo knows about hard: two-a-day practices, 5:00 AM workouts, going to school with wet hair and smelling of chlorine. Making this elite team was quite an achievement for Laura.

Now my youngest has decided to swim. At 12 years old, he's getting a late start, but Kevin is just as enamored with the sport as his older sister. I just want him to have fun. It will be great to have another swimmer in the family.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

His First Specs

For many months now I've been whining about the lack of scrapbooking paper with blue, true blue, real blue...not denim or turquoise or aquamarine. Tired of waiting, I picked up this collection from October Afternoon and decided to go with it. The 9 To 5 collection does have a tad of blue in a few of the papers and I hoped it would look OK with the photo I had been saving for those perfect blue papers that never materialized. I shouldn't have been worried!

Two patterned papers from Crate Paper were brought in to go with the soft greenish-yellow (gold?) color in the houndstooth, stripe and diamond printed papers from 9 To 5 collection. The golden yellow doily print was chosen for the background and a little bit of the alphabet paper was tucked alongside and beneath the photo. I had some embellishments cut from a 9 To 5 paper, a tag and journal spot from Crate Paper, a wooden potty person, chipboard beaker, and a couple of stickers to arrange as accents to my page. Everything was coming along fine. And then...

I carefully peeled off the backing of an ancient 7-gypsies fabric label...and accidentally dropped it...directly onto my (already adhered) photo. ACK! Just when you are wishing the old adhesive would fail, it proves to be perfectly preserved and the most tacky sticker I've ever encountered is stuck firmly to my picture. I was able to carefully peel it off the photo, but it left a big old sticky residue of adhesive which couldn't be rubbed off no matter what I tried. Everything came to a screeching halt until a replacement photo could be printed and picked up from Sam's.

Finally, here is the completed page:

I just love this photo of my youngest son, which is why I was so particular about how it was scrapped. He was all dressed up for my niece's wedding and sporting his brand new glasses. This was his first pair and they complimented him well. He was so shocked when the optometrist instructed him to wear them all the time, not just when he needs to see something in the distance. We didn't realize his eyes were so bad either. Thankfully, it didn't take too long for him to adjust. Now they're just another part of him.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Well Done

His first year at Christian Brothers was not easy! Many, many nights he was up late, once or twice until the wee hours. Homework was a bear. Kevin would come home from school, ride his bike a little while, get a snack and then get right to it. A short break for dinner and he was back at it again. He was so discouraged when he would just miss honor roll by the slightest each quarter. Finally he made it in the 4th, along with an award for Spanish. Way to go Kevin! But all that hard work truly paid off in his standardized test scores. He would rather have remained at his old school, but I think we made the right choice. The all-male faculty, P. E. every day, intramural sports and activities, and the advanced curriculum all make for a great boy's middle school. One more year at CBS and there's no doubt he will be well-prepared for high school. 

Here's my page, using a photo taken by one of the Brothers. I wish his teacher didn't have his back turned, but it's a pretty good shot of Kevin receiving his awards.


I started with a sheet of BasicGrey's Clippings and piled on a few scraps, ending with an old walnut-inked tag, a Clippings sticker and snippet, and wood veneer "potty people" from Studio Calico. The background paper had a nice little spot for a stamped title, so that's what I did! Well Done!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Playing Tourist in New Orleans

When a scrapping friend from Idaho accompanied her husband on a trip to New Orleans, we planned a day of sightseeing. While her husband and coworker attended the convention which brought them to town, she and a friend joined me for an abbreviated tour of the city . I love playing tourist in New Orleans. We took photos in the city's oldest cemetery, lunched at a yummy restaurant, walked around the French Quarter, and checked out a creepy Voodoo shop on Bourbon Street. We ended the day with fresh-made pralines. It's fun to do the tourist thing every once in a while. The photo on the page is of a quirky little street band called The Royal Street Gum Scrapers. Ew...what a name!

This, my third page created with the Nostalgic Summer kit from Scraptastic began with an off-white sheet of cardstock, leftover from a previous kit. The plain background left me plenty of room to layer color upon color, pattern upon pattern.

I used my die-cutting machine to cut a fleur-de-lis and file folder for my page. The rounded corner design of the folder inspired me to use my corner rounder punch on the papers layered beneath the photo as well. I'm thinking I might use the folder for some of my extra photos from our day walking through the French Quarter.

Everything is from Scraptastic's Nostalgic Summer kit except a flower, ticket, buttons and letter stickers.

Showing off my hometown to out-of-town friends helps me to appreciate the unique culture and beautiful architecture of a place I so often take for granted. Have you played tourist in YOUR hometown lately? I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Is Paradise

This is paradise, the condo we rent for a week every summer (most years) on the Florida Gulf Coast.. For 51 weeks we anticipate the 7 days here. It's the perfect place, a small complex with my extended family renting several of the units. It's just footsteps to the white sand beach, even less to the beachside pool. All of the kids and the adults can gather for fun on the beach or for games inside (The Game of Things was a big hit this year!) and yet retire to our own units for meals and sleep. It is far enough away from the crowds of Destin, but close enough for shopping...on those rainy days of course. We can save a lot of money with a week of sunshine! With tropical storm Debby, this year was not such a week.

Here is a photo from a double red flag day, when the beaches were closed to swimmers:

Threatening skies meet threatening waves.

 A rainbow one evening ushered in a few days of sunshine:

A double rainbow!

 And tons of fun:

Catching Waves
The boy and his board were inseparable.

Pool Fun
I used the Paradise Beach collection to scrap a photo of our place in the sun. This line from Echo Park is quite interesting. There are two sides to each paper, and two distinct feels emanating from the set. One side of each sheet is deeply colored with the kind of subtle patterns that I love. I'll call it side B. The other side, side A, is more bright and playful, a fun look, but not always something I would choose. And yet, I fell in love with one of the side A papers...a paper with a scene no less! Here is how I used it:

This is Paradise!
One corner and the bottom side of the paper was dominated by the artwork already printed on the page, but it still left me a lot of room to play. I knew what I wanted along the top. Of course...a banner! But not your typical paper flag kind. I had bookmarked a page recently with flip flops strung across the top of a page and wanted to do something similarly fun. The sticker sheet in the collection gave me the perfect "toys" for creating such a banner. The images I chose were mounted on chipboard and strung across the page with baker's twine looping here and there and in and out of the punched holes. It was a perfect depiction of things we associate with our days at the beach.

The hard part was deciding on how to ground my picture. That's always tricky with such papers. I used a colorful strip of striped paper, an orange folder, and a wave sticker to tie them all together.

The grid design on the background paper made journaling easy...and straight.

The photo above is from our week in 2010. As soon as I finish editing all of this year's photos, I'll get busy with the rest of this great collection of papers.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Life of Simplicity

Back when my girls were young, and the three boys hadn't even entered into our family's equation, we took a trip to Pennsylvania. We had driven all the way to Philadelphia with my husband's parents and our two girls to visit Aunt Rita and cousin Rosie. We toured the city of brotherly love, checking out the steps of the Art Museum and giving it our best "Rocky" pose. We saw the cracked Liberty Bell and Betsy Ross's house. And we ate Philly Cheese steaks from Pat's. One day we left the city proper and drove out to the Amish country to see a life that was quite different from ours. And this was before cell phones and the internet. Yep...once upon a time there was no internet! Al Gore had yet to invent it. Hahaha!

It was an intriguing lifestyle. No cars, no electricity, no telephones or modern conveniences. Horses pulled the plow. Clothes were old fashioned and fastened with pins. I guess you don't miss what you've never had. It was a life of simplicity. On this page are two photos from that day in the country, scrapped with Scraptastic's Nostalgic Summer kit:

I used some of the more muted colors (b-sides) of the kit papers for this page, and kept with a few simple embellishments as well, tucking a piece of burlap underneath my cluster of journaling blocks and tags. After adding a couple of paper flowers, I then tried my hand at a homemade twine flower.

This Twine Flower Tutorial  is the best I've found. She shows you step by step how to create your flower, even changing colors midway to more easily illustrate the method used to recreate these rustic beauties. The flower on this page is my first attempt. My only variation was to only go around the loom once so my petals are not doubled. I think it came out fairly well all things considered! Next I hope to create a few flowers in various colors, using twine from my stash. If you try it yourself, please share your creations with me. I'd love to see what you make!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Studio Backlot Tour

This attraction is one of our favorite at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando. (See, guys, I said it correctly!) This was our first trip back to WDW since the name change and old habits are pretty hard to break. I quite often referred to the place as MGM by accident, and got reprimanded from the kids every time.
We love this ride so much that we had to experience it twice, and each time I snapped dozens of photos. Not only are there lots to see and experience, but it ends with a relaxing tram ride...once you pass Catastrophe Canyon...and that's my favorite part. Whenever you are given the chance to sit in one place and be entertained at WDW, I'm all for it. Here are three of our crew ready to check out the Studio Backlot Tour for the second time.

I have been longing for a "real" blue for quite a while and one of the blue diamonds and a skinny line in the plaid of this newest paper collection from October Afternoon, are pretty close. It also nice when older paper scraps can be mixed in with the new. In this case, I was able to work in some O. A. Boarding Pass, Rocket Age and Road Trip. My title is a mix of chipboard letters (a T. J. Maxx find), rub-ons, and a negative cut paper backed with cardstock. 

Next I need to pull out some of my photos from this "tour" and scrap them as well. It should be a lot of fun to work with those pictures. :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Sky's The Limit

My first page with Scraptastic's Nostalgic Summer kit showcases a photo of my son and his friend playing at dusk at a park in Mississippi. Their Cub Scout pack was camping nearby, and the "beach" area near the lake held an old fashioned teeter-totter. You don't find those things very often anymore, most likely because of the lawsuits that crop up after one kid jumps off and the other goes crashing to the ground! This was quite an interesting diversion for the two boys as I don't think either had ever been on one. They continued their fun as day faded into night.

A sticker sheet in the kit gave me both my title and the idea to create the kite embellishments. Tying each of those little bows onto the thicker jute string took a bit of dexterity but I love the finished look it gives to my kites. Not wanting those bows to come untied, I dabbed a bit of liquid adhesive onto their centers to keep them secure.

Some inking, a bit of pen stitching, and pop-dots when layering stickers, kites, and title letters added a little more interest to my design. In order to use both sides of that awesome patterned chevron paper, I cut out the middle portion of my page, flipped the cut-out to the opposite side and mounted it onto a slightly larger piece of kraft paper which I then positioned over the "hole" in my page. And there you have frugal tip of the week!

Next week I will share another page created with this kit and a link to a jute flower tutorial that I used in creating an embellishment for that layout. I hope you'll join me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wonderful Sweet

This collection from Simple Stories has to be one of my favorites at the moment. And the best part of that collection is the most awesome sticker sheet, chock full of fun and colorful designs. It's like having a big bag of embellishments perfectly matched to the papers. I love the casualness of their pieced and stitched look, ideally suited for summer activities both indoors and out.

For the page below, I utilized my favorite technique of backing the stickers with chipboard and/or pop-dotting them off the page. It brought to life my photos of a day outdoors, canoeing through the swamps near Manchac, Louisiana. We may not have had balloons floating above our heads, kites skirting the clouds, or pinwheels poking out our canoes, but adding these whimsical designs to my page served to accentuate the carefree day that we had experienced. And it WAS a wonderful sweet happy perfect day!
(This page was mostly created from items from Scraptastic's Summer Picnic kit. Additional supplies: corrugated cardstock, red cardstock, pop-dots, kraft baggie, and title block.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Flag Retirement-Part 2

I've completed three pages with one of Scraptastic's new July kits, Nostalgic Summer, and can't wait to show them off. But I haven't stopped to photograph them yet! Whenever I work with these kits, I tend to create my pages all at once, literally laying them each out and planning which papers and pieces thereof will go where, before I make that very first fearful cut. Once I do hack into my papers, I'm on a roll, and can't tear myself away until they're done.

Meanwhile, here is the second page of the Boy Scout flag retirement ceremony. It's a mix of old and new, new Authentique patterned papers, an old bingo card, some ancient Rusty Pickle letters, a Sticker Studio sticker, an embossed metal from who knows where, and an envelope that I made a gazillion years ago.


Yeah, I put off the journaling...again. I get antsy to finish and don't finish. It's a very bad habit. Maybe I should add a few words and the date before I forget.

Here's the kit I've been working with this week. Off to do some more creating!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Taps-Flag Retirement Part 1

We're back from vacation and I can't wait to get scrapping those beach pics! But first I need to get them off the camera and over to Sam's photo center. That's always quite a task as it usually involves a bit of editing before they're ready to be printed. Meanwhile, I'd like to share a patriotic page in honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday.

The Boy Scout's flag retirement ceremony was pretty dramatic, held just at dusk in the schoolyard of St. Ann's. Luckily I noticed the bugle lying atop the old flags and snapped a photo before the rendition of Taps opened the event. The still life of flags and bugle in the fading light of day was such a serene scene.

There were seven flags retired on this evening...flags that had flown in front of homes and even over the Capitol in Washington, D. C.  My parents had donated one of the flags, a tattered cloth that had flown outside their house. It was pretty ragged and worn, ready for a proper disposal. 

That wonderful background sheet from Pink Paislee with the cool "airmail" stripe running around the perimeter seemed the perfect start for my page. Next I pulled out all my red and blue scraps, arranging some on either side and underneath a strip of BasicGrey doilie die-cut paper.

Corrugated letters were used to spell out a simple title, and additional pieces of kraft corrugated cardstock help unify the page. I love that I found places for the little bird button,

and the blue soldier button, items I've held onto for quite some time.

I wanted this layout to remain somewhat simple and uncluttered (as best I could!) so as not to detract from the still-life photo and I even left a little white space on there. ;) Actually, I'll probably add a bit of journaling in that spot. Additional pictures from the ceremony will be finding their way onto another scrapbook page.

In case I don't get that layout posted in time for the holiday, have a save and happy 4th everyone!