Friday, December 30, 2011

A Year In Review

A friend of mine is participating in the Year in Review blog hop, so I thought I'd join too. What a great way to look back over the year, highlight some of my favorite projects, and summarize what I've been up to. I'm going to break this up into types: some favorite single cards, some lovely sets of cards, some of my favorites scrapbook pages, flat/graphic cards I made this year, things I've been learning.

Some of my favorite single cards:

Both of these cards have some self-designed elements
which makes them feel oh-so-personal

Some lovely sets of cards:

[October -- testing out fun new supplies]

[November -- using what I had]

Some of my favorite scrapbook pages:

[Made in November; posted in December]

I love grids.

Flat/graphic cards:

I got minted!

And made some invitations!

And I drew a lovely Christmas card!
[Made in August; posted in December]

Things I've been learning:

How to take better pictures

How to take intriguing detail shots

How to experiment with new ideas

Happy 2012, everyone!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mixed Patterns Campbell's plaid Card

When I saw the challenge from Embellish Magazine for this week, I almost died. Ok, not died, but I did a little happy dance. You see, not only are these some of my favorite colors (I love fall), but you see that tie under the scarf? It's remarkably similar to the Campbell's dress plaid. It's not my family tartan. It was my high school's color. That's right. This pattern of plaid was my high school color. If we get into specifics, our "colors" were navy, green, and white with "a touch of yellow." No lie. They were that specific.

I was talking about a card, wasn't I? So, here is what I did. I used the inspiration from their picture exactly [see below]. Using the Campbell's Dress plaid, a little houndstooth, and a little Scottish touch (thus "Scot"--not "Scott"), I have a beautiful birthday card for another Scotland lover: my dad. {And Dad, if you're reading this, yes, you will have to wait a full month.}

The houndstooth paper was printed from a digital paper by Biograffiti
Campbell's plaid -- it's around
The brand of the scalloped paper is a mystery.
Woodland Phrase Stickers by Martha Stewart (whatever, they were adorable and on sale)
The shield is a free cuttable for the Silhouette Cameo
The design/typography was inspired by PaperTreyInk's Holiday Photo Finishers;
Fonts used were: LemonChicken, Currency, Bebas Neue,
CK Tall Type, Modern No. 20, Hill House, and Lobster 1.3,

Challenge picture below. It is perfect! Talk about an inspiration!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Use what you have

I appreciate good design and art in any form, but paper crafting can be a wee bit expensive if not controlled. I want to address the question: how do you balance paper crafting with new items and follow the motto, use what you have?

1. Keep your organization and tools simple. I have a large paper filer for my paper. This is sorted by color. I have a bag that carries my tools, brads, washi tape, ribbon and other bulky items. A smaller bag keeps my embellishments. Other than that, I have my computer and a regular printer/scanner. For Christmas, I got a Silhouette Cameo, but I have been functioning using the basics listed above for 14 years. Using less space keeps me organized and less wasteful without hoarding.

2. Get to know a design program. My work set me up with the Adobe package, but if you are not so lucky, Photoshop Elements can become your best friend. It does pretty much everything I do design-wise and is a wonderful tool for any crafter. CreativeLive gives a wonderful 8-hour online video showing you everything! Once you have this and understand the basics, you can design so many things (like words, sentiments, journaling, layouts) on your own.

3. Buy only what you love. Using products that you know you love makes a big difference in your happiness with your craft. If there is a texture paper or embellishment that inspires you, buy it and use it on several projects. Each page, card, or other project that you use with it will make you happy, and that is better than buying 20 pages for 9.99 or a set of stickers on sale (yay!) but that makes you feel drab.

4. Sell stamps on ebay when you are finished with them. Some organizations don't ship overseas, and there is host of people who would love your leftovers!

5. Save lovely scraps. This saving method can easily turn into hoarding, but the key is knowing what you love and what is so-so. Save what you love. Toss something that is so-so. Strips can be used as a banner. Or you can print on it. Squares can be used as part of a grid. (Ex: my Christmas layout in which I used a pink square from 2001. No lie. It is older than my nephew.)

6. Test run a style before you invest. Jumping on the bandwagon can be fun, but some trends are just trends and may not fit your style. Before going out and buying one of every color, try one or 2 of an item to see if it fits your style.

7. Be proud of everything you make. Don't just make to make. Don't just buy to buy. Think about the types of projects that make you happy and the styles that make you happy. Keep track of your tastes on a place like Pinterest to determine what trends or new ideas you think really match your style.

8. If there is a paper or embellishment that you think is starting to kill your creative mojo, use it now to get it out of the way. Make a single card (like I did for a Christmas present) or a set of cards (like I did for Thanksgiving). You're probably thinking: how did you not like those items? Let me tell you: I had had the stickers for at least 8 years each, and they were just sitting there taking up space. The longer they sat, the less likely they were to get used. They were cute, and I did like them, but my scrapbooking style had evolved so that I was not going to use them in my scrapbooks. But as cards, they were great. The end result was adorable, and they are no longer taking up my precious storage space and killing my mojo.

9. Treat yourself on occasion. It's totally fine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Polar Bear Christmas Card

For our Christmas card this year, I followed my husband's taste by having one side of the card a non-photo holiday card with a polar bear. I call this the front of the card. (The back had a full-bleed photo. Oh sneaky me.) Before I made this, I agonized for ages over how I was going to make a card that represented him. Ages! Then it came to me! I had never seen this idea before, but it just made sense: an outline with words.

I absolutely love this polar bear and love how the cursive words look like fur. The secret to my bear? I traced the outline of a polar bear with cursive words, scanned it, and edited the color in illustrator. It was really that easy. To ensure people knew I did it myself, I included our names and the year at the belly of the bear. From what I have learned, very few people noticed this. Many people didn't even notice that within the outline were holiday words. Alas. I still love him.

Font: My own handwriting and Bebas Neue

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Black, White, & Turquoise Christmas Gift Tags

The Play Date Cafe is hosting a color challenge where the colors are black, white, & a splash of turquoise. I instantly thought of typography, and with Christmas a week away, gift tags seemed most appropriate.

I designed the text in Illustrator, using inspiration from a stamp from PaperTreyInk's Holiday Photo Finishers and a saying from After I designed and printed the tags, I added some turquoise accents and backed the tags in black glitter or music notes. For some people stamping is easier. For me, making the sentiment myself is more fun and personal--and most importantly: cheaper. I'm a big fan of using what I have, and I have a printer.

Paper Goodies:

A.Muse Washi Tape
Recollections Glitter Tape
Black glitter paper


Arabic Typesetting
CK Ali Edward's Hand
Baskerville Old Face
Bebas Neue
Hill House
Bebas Neue

FFF Tusj Bold

Friday, December 16, 2011

ColourQ Christmas Colors

The ColourQ challenge this week is very Christmas-y but outside of my box. This color choice reminds me so much of how my sister decorates for Christmas: curly with polka-dots, texture, pink, lime & pine green, and red. I channeled my inner sister and ran with it.

Here is my scrapbook page + detail from our Christmas last year. I'm a big fan of grids used on layouts. They make things cleaner, simpler, and prettier (in my opinion). But they are especially useful if you have a short story or are lacking for inspiration. A grid almost always helps!

Left page of the 2 page spread

Details from the two-page spread (2nd page not shown)

The chipboard embellishments were from October Afternoon;
 Paper by BoBunny, Susan Branch Art Impressions Inc for Colorbok, Doodlebug Designs, Inc;  
Twine is "Lime Twist" by My Mind's Eye

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Boston Summer in 3 layouts

Before I moved here, I visited. I stayed with Tom and his family all summer, and when we'd have visitors, we'd go into the city. Must-sees on a visit to Boston: Red Sox game, Green Monster, Cambridge, Boston Commons and Gardens, Museum of Science. Once you've done these, then go exploring the other stuff. And visit during the Summer or Fall: July - October. The weather is atrocious the rest of the year.

These are 3 very different layouts. The first, I use a grid and a frame. The second, is a single picture with a cluster. The third focuses on the title.

The grid & frame:
Narrowing down the pictures could have been difficult, but these were easily my favorites. I decided which pictures I wanted to leave full sized and cut the rest down to fit the grid. Then there is matting: white, red, and blue. I added tickets, passes, etc as embellishments on the side.

I love a good grid.
Navy and red Bazzill Basics paper.
Red Recollections glitter paper
Jolee's boutique stickers: Boston
Newspaper-looking paper: Writing by Creative Imaginantion

The single & cluster:
I choose a 5x7 portrait image, matted and centered it. A vertical layout shows action, and a horizontal line shows gravity and peace. So I clustered at the horizontal line since the story is him relaxing at a fire pit. Adding a second, lower cluster moves the eye diagonally through the journaling. The circle is there to give balance and pull the eyes back up to the image.

Paper: Cosmo Cricket: Ginger (Cerca 1934), Wednesday (Girl Friday);
and Basic Gray: Jovial pomegranate
Journal card: ELE805 Social Club Elements by Cosmo Cricket.
Fun & I'm lucky: EcoModern die cuts by K&Company
Glitter paper by Recollections
Ribbon from a bag from Anthropologie
Fabric Brad: Wild Saffron by K&Company
Washi tape: Amuse

The Title Focus:
Here I used pictures as the frame and accents and used them to highlight the title and journaling. I masked a rectangle before I spritzed to add an extra layer of interest.

Paper: khaki and checked scraps;
Laugh and happy: EcoModern die cuts by K&Company
Circle punch

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lucky You!

I'm giving Studio Calico's Sunday Sketch a shot. I'm absolutely in love with their 4th sketch/card, so I used that as my inspiration.

This card is for my friend Suzanne from who was contacted to be published in a British craft magazine. As in, they found and contacted her. Which is the ULTIMATE compliment! So congrats to you, Suzanne! You totally deserve it!

The bingo paper was a downloadable I got from Pinterest.
The striped paper is from Crate Paper.
The notepad paper is actually a sheet from a notepad from PaperTreyInk.
Recollections scalloped glitter tape + unknown striped paper (x2).
White card stock is from PaperTreyInk. Their paper is the thickest!
Lucky YOU! and Congrats! was designed by me in Illustrator.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Sketchpad Win

Back in November, I opened my email and saw a comment on my blog was posted by Amy Tan{gerine}. After about a minute of complete and total confusion, I totally flipped out. Completely and totally flipped. She chose me as her winner to win Kelly Purkey's Sketchpad. Have you seen their work? They are design geniuses.

YAY!! The excitement has worn down a tad, but not by much. The sketchpad has 75 fantastic layouts--all well chosen--and it's one of my go-to's for inspiration. There are tons of great places to go for ideas, and I use as many as I can. This is one.

As an aside, her blog post that day was about her time as a student. Apparently, we both went to Georgia Tech. We also both transferred. Neither of us became engineers. Since I was only there a semester, it seems that we did not overlap, but that shared experience makes me happy.

Talk about a slice of the good life! :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Banners Challenge

Embellishment Magazine Color Trends challenge of the week is "banners" + green, purple, orange, and brown. Given my Clemson upbringing (orange + purple = team; green + brown = football games) and my tendency towards masculine looks, this challenge was really right up my alley. Unfortunately for me, the person for whom I made this card is not a Clemson guy, so I really couldn't run with that theme (dang). He is, however, an English guy and a Tennessee fan, so I used a lighter orange with writing. Ta-da! A masculine card.

Here are the steps:
-Use scraps of 3 colored papers to make little triangles.
-Glue the little triangles to a a deep purple strip scrap.
-Affix 2 brads to bring the banner look together.
-Add sentiment

For the sentiment, I cut the "happy birthday" using the Silhouette Cameo my mom got me for Christmas. If you don't have one, a stamp or a handwritten "happy birthday" right above the banner and on the side would look great with the banner a little higher. White and silver ink shows on the brown.

(I still can't believe she got me the Cameo.)
Purple and orange spritz on the purple paper.