Monday, April 29, 2013

Something From Almost Nothing - Flowers

Prompt seven in Shimelle's Something From Almost Nothing class was all about using our stash of flowers. Honestly I wasn't inspired too much by the examples in the prompt seven handout, however there were a few ideas I wanted to try and I have plenty of flowers to use up! I decided that since I enjoyed it so much the first time, I would try Glitter Girl's Layouts Within Limitations Challenge again, with one exception - as I was putting each layout together with the limited supplies I chose, I could add in as many flowers as I wanted. This time I picked my papers and supplies before choosing my photos - here's a look at what I started with.

I then pulled my photos just as Glitter Girl suggested - three photos, two photos, and one photo. Starting with the three-photo layout, I lined up my photos across the page, added a border above and below, then put together some layered flowers as embellishments.

Next up is the two-photo layout. For this one, I used some of the punch out flowers on one of the embellishments sheets in my supplies. I went with Shimelle's idea of layer and repeat by using a flower, Candi dot and drama mask together for each embellishment.

And finally the one-photo layout and another one of Shimelle's ideas - use a row of flowers. (I even used up quite a few brads on this layout, adding to my total from prompt one!)

Once again I was surprised at how much fun it was to create these layouts with a limited amount of product!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A War Memorial, A Playground, and Bluebonnets

Remember last month when my friend Ellyn and I spent a morning practicing our photography skills at the Dallas Arboretum's Dallas Blooms? Well, that was just the first of what we are planning as a monthly inspiration outing - a time to get together and just take photos and find inspiration in the world around us. A few days ago, we enjoyed our second outing - this time we didn't go far, just visited a local park and a grocery store! I'll be sharing photos from our day in several posts. Here's a look at what we saw at the park.

A War Memorial (with the flags at half mast to honor those who lost their lives in the explosion in West, Texas, the previous week)

A Playground (Have you ever noticed how many protective bars there are on playgrounds these days? I don't remember it looking like this when I was a kid.)

Bluebonnets (Texas State Flower)

Ellyn made a point to capture a photo of her shadow taking a photo of me taking a photo . . . just like the one she accidentally shot on our first outing. (I believe this just may become our signature photo for inspiration days!)
BTW - did you notice that colorful cover on my camera strap? Ellyn made that especially for me! Thanks Ellyn!!

I'll be sharing more photos this week, so be sure and check back to see the water, the wildlife, my "job" during these outings, Ellyn's quilt, and the produce!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Glitter Girl To The Rescue

It's been a while since I've spent any online time with Glitter Girl, but her recent episode inspired me to try pulling a small group of supplies together (along with my photos) to create three layouts - without adding in other supplies along the way! I have to admit that I pulled out my photos first and had them in front of me as I was choosing papers, otherwise I followed along with Glitter Girl's process and ended up with three completed layouts.

No matter where we are, I'm always drawn to Coca-Cola displays like this one at the snack area of the Frontiers of Flight Museum. I did pull a couple of additional items for this layout - the Coca-Cola logo and the trading card (which Robbie added to my stash a while back).

The second layout looks completely different but actually used a couple of the same supplies (which was the point of the challenge, right?). The blue numbered paper across the bottom is the reverse of the small strip of red, white & blue paper on the previous layout, and I used the blue polka dot washi tape on both layouts.

Here's a closer look at the journaling.

The last layout uses elements found in both of these first two - patterned paper scraps, the red banner peaking out from under the tag and the yellow washi tape. (I did add the Scrabble letters to my supplies because the alphas I had pulled out weren't working for me!)

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first. I've never really used kits, so this limiting of supplies is always different for me. However I really needed a little boost to get scrapping and I'm so glad I took the chance and tried something new. I enjoyed this process enough that I'm planning to work on another set of three layouts using the same method. Have you tried this practice of limiting your supplies to create a set number of layouts? What do you like and/or dislike about it?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quick Cruise Layouts

I've almost completed THE SHIP section of our 10th Anniversary Cruise Album. These two layouts came together very quickly as I was filling in gaps in that section. The first one showcases a cross-section of the ship that I cut out of a brochure, while the second layout features photos of us touring the ship.

I've really enjoyed working on these cruise layouts lately, however my inspiration is waning so I may take a break and focus on other photos for a while. That's one of the things I love about scrapping non-chronologically - I can work on whatever inspires me at the moment!

Do you find yourself stopping in the middle of a project and picking it back up later or do you just have to complete an album before moving on to the next one?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In The Mail

A few days ago, I pulled out this pile of miscellaneous new and used envelopes.
I also pulled out this container of fun items I've been saving for a crafty day.
And I ended up with these 11 Mail Art envelopes.
I was having so much fun that I went ahead and pulled out a handful of blank flashcards, some washi tape and a few markers to create custom notes to go in each envelope. Then I  threw in a few flat embellishments just for fun!

I did take a photo of the pile of envelopes all ready to be mailed, however while I was editing photos that one was inadvertently deleted (oops). So you'll just have to imagine it yourself - all those happy envelopes piled high, stamped, addressed, and ready to be on their way!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sian's Card

Remember that card Sian sent with the Radio Times? I cut the card front off, then carefully removed the number stickers so I could use it as an embellishment on a layout about our stateroom on the Mariner of the Seas cruise ship.

I put new numbers on the card (our stateroom number) along with three little dots and the memories word sticker before adding it to this layout.

I included other photos with us in our stateroom and on the balcony in a divided page protector.

I consider this a two-page layout. Here's how the pages look together.

Of course, this left me with the back of the divided page protector to fill in. I chose photos on the deck of the ship. This side of the divided page protector will go across from the On Deck layout in our cruise album.

All this creativity inspired by a happy mail package and a card front turned into the perfect embellishment! (Thanks Sian!!) Anyone else use card fronts as embellishments?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mid-April Book Reviews

I learned about Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli from Lorraine in a guest post on Beverly's blog. I always enjoy young adult fiction, so I immediately added it to the list of books I wanted to read this year . . . and I'm so glad I did! This is an excellent young adult fiction book about a girl who is different - she calls herself Stargirl, plays the ukulele, does kind deeds for others she doesn't even know (like leaving flowers on a stranger's doorstep). Initially when she arrives at the local high school after being home schooled for years, no one likes her because she's not concerned about fitting in. However, eventually she becomes popular & is even put on the cheer squad. She loses her popularity when she continually cheers not only for her school's team but the opposing team as well. The story is actually told from Leo's point of view - the 11th-grade boy who falls in love with her. Together they go through a period of being shunned by everyone else in the school. There are a few twists and turns in the story that make it a very interesting read. I highly recommend it!

This month the book club I host read and discussed The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This is a quick yet very thought-provoking read. It starts with Eddie's death. Eddie is the maintenance man at an amusement park and he dies trying to save a little girl when one of the rides breaks down. He discovers that before entering heaven, he will meet five people who his path crossed in some way during his lifetime and he will learn five lessons. I was surprised by the people he met and found it a little disconcerting that in several cases he was connected to the person's death (not in a murder-type way or anything, just circumstances). I also found it difficult to determine the lesson in a few instances as they were not very well defined, but overall I enjoyed the book. While I would not consider it a Christian book because it does not follow Biblical teachings on heaven, I think it has a great lesson about how our actions affect others around us whether we realize it or not. Highly recommend.

Martha: A Novel is the third one of Diana Wallis Taylor's books that I have enjoyed. I especially like the way she creates a fictionalized account of the lives of women who are mentioned in the Bible. This book focuses on Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary. Martha is portrayed as a woman who placed caring for her family as a top priority. We see how circumstances may have prevented her from being married (yet) as her life was full of work. The story depicts how Martha felt and what she thought during the times Jesus was in their home, her confusion at his death, and her sense of awe when he rose again. I highly recommend this book also!

This last book is one that I purchased new in the late 1980s and have read numerous times over the past 30 years. I was feeling unmotivated one afternoon and pulled this small book off the shelf for a quick afternoon read. In How to Use Your Time Wisely, Phyllis C. Kaufman & Arnold Corrigan share their GOLD principle for using your time wisely. G=set goals O=organize your priorities L=make a list D=Do It Now! I am amazed at how relevant the tips in this books still are after all these years and thrilled to find out that I've been implementing most of them for decades. Of course, there are a few things that date the book - like the recommendation to keep a pad and pen by every phone so you can take a message or write a note during the phone call. (Obviously this was before cordless and cell phones were prevalent!)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thank You Gifts, Blog Friendships & Pass the Book

I have a few fun things to share today - all centered around happy mail I've received over the past few months.

First up is a beautiful thank you note I received from Rinda, along with four additional cards made by Rinda using some of her beautiful photographs. In case you haven't heard, Rinda and her daughter signed up with Team-In-Training to run a half-marathon raising money for leukemia research. I have come to know Rinda through her blog over the past several years and was honored that she provided the opportunity to help their team through a donation. Of course, I didn't realize then that I would be receiving such a nice thank you package!

BTW - if you'd like to help Rinda & Clara reach their goal (they are only $650 away as of today!), click here to find out how. It's definitely a worthy case and one more way to share friendship through our blogs.

Speaking of blog friendships, here's a conversation Robbie and I had last month.

Robbie - Do you think there's any way you can get a copy of this week's Radio Times?
Me - I'm not sure. What is the Radio Times?
Robbie - It's the British version of our TV Guide.
Me - Why do you need a copy of that?
Robbie - This week the Radio Times has four Doctor Who postcards that would be a great addition to my our trading card collection.
Me - Now I see . . . and how do you think I can get a copy of that?
Robbie - Well, you do know a lot of people through your blog . . .

And so it was that I sent an email to Sian with a very strange request and only a couple of days left in the week to see if she might have a copy of the Radio Times. "No," she replied, "but I'll head out and see if I can find one" . . . and she did! This package arrived a little later, making Robbie one very happy collector.

Of course, I was immediately drawn to the Fun Times card that Sian created and sent along in that happy polka dotted bubble envelope. I knew it would look great on a layout . . . and I even had an idea which layout I wanted to create! (Check back this week to see it!)

Just a few days ago, I received another package from across the ocean, this time from Jo with the return of one of the books from Pass the Book: Year Two. The Artist Unique has traveled around the world this past year, from blogger to blogger, and finally returned home . . . with a lovely array of goodies from Jo inside!

I am enjoying the return of these books as each one returns with notes from those who've read them along their journey written inside the front covers. There are a still a a few books out, so be sure to check out the Pass the Book: Year Two page if you're interested in one of them because Pass the Book: Year Two is coming to a close in just a few short months. [If you're interested in the Trading Card Treasures book, leave me a comment below. Margi is ready to pass it on but is in the midst of a blog hiatus.]

I like the fact that all these packages arrived in my mailbox because of the blog friendships I share with so many of you. Thanks so much for stopping by today - I hope you find a special package in your box soon!

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Own Starting Points

I created the A Mixture of Cruise Memories layout for my 2011 yearly album while I was at Ellyn's for Crafty Tuesday earlier this month. I did not have any other photos to work with, so I decided to use some of the scraps and a few additional papers to create my own starting points while I visited with the other crafters. Back at home a few days later, I flipped through my storage binder of larger photos and pulled a 5x7 photo for each one.

The first layout started out with a piece of off white cardstock and a maroon colored leaf patterned paper and ended with a cluster of smaller paper pieces in the bottom right corner.

I found an older photo of my parents with my nieces and nephew that worked perfectly with this color scheme. A punched scalloped circle, some flowers & brads, and a stamped sentiment adhered to a gift card envelope completed the layout.
The second starting point began with a piece of yellow cardstock, simply because it was the only other piece of 12x12 paper I had with me that day! I added an 8 1/2 x11 sheet of striped paper, a few scraps, and a 6x6 sheet, which ended up looking like this.
I chose an old black & white photo to use with this layout and found a matching piece of yellow cardstock to mat the photo. Two additional photo mats and a title block rounded out this layout.

I'm excited to have these two older photos scrapped and proud of myself for trying my own starting points without a sketch or any inspiration piece to begin with. Have you created your own starting points? Did you enjoy it?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

March 2013 Art Journal Page

My March art journal page started with the stamped letters for MARCH and my printed journaling.

Then I added several strips of washi tape and filled in the remaining space with doodling.

I'm have fun creating these monthly art journal pages as a switch from last year's Month in Numbers layouts. How are you documenting each month this year?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Mixture of Cruise Memories

Today begins the final week of the Finding Photo Freedom workshop at BPC. Once again, I have enjoyed coaching in this workshop as new and returning students set up their own Library of Memories system. Stacy's final challenge was the M&M challenge, which involves collecting a mixture of photos based on prompts she associated with the colors of M&Ms. (For example, orange = a photo of someone you love.)

Since I am diligently working on our 10th Anniversary Cruise Album, I decided to pull a mixture of photos and create a two-page layout for this challenge. However, this layout will actually go in our 2011 album rather than the cruise theme album.

I like the idea of having a mixture of photos to represent our cruise in our yearly album. I'm still feeling inspired by the cruise photos, so I'm sure you'll be seeing more layouts for the theme album throughout the month. Who knows, I might even finish it soon!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Color of Hope - book review

When I was contacted by Booksneeze and asked if I was interested in reading and reviewing Kim Cash Tate's new book, The Color of Hope, I immediately said yes because I had previously read and enjoyed the prequel to this book, Hope Springs (see my review here).  [I downloaded both these books to my Kindle, free from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.]

This book continues the story of the Sanders and Dillon families and once again addresses the issue of race relations and prejudice in a small southern town. I enjoyed spending time with these characters again as they gathered for the Sanders family reunion and attended the monthly joint church service that was started by the two local pastors (one white and one black) in the previous book. However, under pressure from an older deacon in his congregation, one pastor decides to discontinue the joint services. Once again this Christian fiction book drew me into the character's lives. There's an engagement, a budding new relationship (between different races) that causes much controversy, a search for answers leading to a return to faith in Jesus Christ, the reconciliation of a long estranged family member . . . and then there's Samara.

Samara, a biracial high school girl, is a new character in this book who struggles with fitting in, poverty, and neglect. She is befriended by Stephanie London (a member of the Sanders family) and emerges from her isolation as she experiences friendship and acceptance. Samara's story is a sad one in so many ways and there are some unexpected twists to her story that lead to tragedy and reconciliation. (Sorry, no spoilers today - this is one you definitely want to read!) Samara's favorite color is red - the color of hope.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Something From Almost Nothing - Stickers

I'm amazed at how much inspiration I've found in Shimelle's Something From Almost Nothing class and I'm only up to prompt six, which focuses on stickers. Like many scrapbookers, I have an overabundance of stickers in my stash so I was excited to use a few of them in response to this prompt.

I had a pirate-themed sticker sheet that I received in a gift package with lots of others stickers this past Christmas. Honestly I had no idea what I might do with it until I remembered these photos of tour boats we saw on one of our cruise stops.

I decided to flip through one of my embellishment notebooks and pull out a sticker sheet to use for more layouts inspired by this prompt. I ended up pulling out two stickers sheets (Dad-themed & talk bubbles) along with a die cut sheet that had the word "celebrate" ready to punch out.

I used a bunch of the Dad-themed stickers, three talk bubbles, and the "celebrate" die cut on this next layout. (I even used the remaining piece of blue paper from the die cut as mats for my photos!)

It was fun including a bunch of stickers from one sheet on a page.

Here's what was left from my original supplies.

I put the talk bubbles sticker sheet back in my stash, but decided to use some of the remaining stickers from the Dad-themed sheet on this next layout for our cruise album. I cut the stickers apart so I could make the words work.

No on would ever guess from the resulting layout that these stickers came from a Dad-themed sheet!

This left only a few remnants on the sticker sheet . . . and I threw those out! Yep, I just tossed those few remaining because that sticker sheet has been in my stash for four or five years. I feel great that I was able to finally use most of the stickers and I'm thrilled to add these layouts to my albums.

Have you used up any sticker sheets lately? Please tell me I'm not the only one with an abundance of stickers in my stash!?!