Random thoughts about paper-crafting

So it's no shock to anyone that I move in crafty circles, especially on-line. There are several paper-crafting websites I visit daily to keep up with all things scrapbooking and stamping. Today, while doing that I ran across a message board post from a scrapbooker that prompted me to write down a few notes about journaling on scrapbook pages.

The gist of her post was "I have hundreds of layouts that are finished but I can't put them in an album yet because I haven't journaled on them. I don't know how to journal, what to write, and I hate my handwriting."

The "problem of journaling" is common among scrapbookers and the topic of journaling as it relates to scrapbooking is one that I have strong feelings about. To me, a scrapbook page isn't complete until the written story is recorded. 

Yes, a good photo can elicit emotions of many kinds, but unless the details of the story are written down, the story may fade away in less than a generation. A pretty scrapbook is just a pretty scrapbook unless you write down the story too. 

Since most people who enjoy scrapbooking are very visually-oriented, it's not uncommon for the written story to get treated as a lesser element because it's not as visually "pretty". 

While the embellishments and the pretty paper and the fabulous photos make a scrapbook page feel like a visual treat, it's the story that it records that gives it value and depth. 

Five tips for improving your journaling strategy:

1. Don't think of journaling as the last  piece of the design puzzle. Journaling shouldn't be an afterthought. Every scrapbook page deserves balance--photos, title, story and "the pretty". ("The pretty" is what I like to call the scrapbooker fun stuff--the paper, embellishments, ribbons, brads, and  any other element that is included as support for the story.)

2. Change up the voice from which you normally journal. If you feel stuck in a journaling rut, change up your approach. Have you ever written a letter in your scrapbook? A poem? Used the lyrics of a hymn or quoted a Bible verse? 

3. If you aren't sure where to physically place the journaling on the page, snap a photo of the page in progress and look at it with fresh eyes. Sometimes an image on a screen can present a fresh perspective. 

Also, if you can't dedicate enough space on the page to tell the story you want to capture, there is nothing wrong with creating a page of journaling--either by making a spread or by including the journaling on the back of a layout.

4. If you aren't sure what to write, grab a voice recorder (or an app) and imagine that you are showing this page to someone whom you don't know. Speak into the recorder what you would want them to know about these photos and this page. Look for things to share that may be not-quite-so-obvious. When you are finished recording, transcribe what you said onto paper and use it as your journaling.

5. Play word swap. If your journaling  reads a little lack-luster, pull out a thesaurus and find alternate words for a few of the key descriptors. 

Pictures are important--on this most all scrapbookers agree. However, journaling is vital. Writing the story captures the details that may otherwise be unknown, neglected or easily overlooked. Go the extra mile to preserve and share your stories with those you love.


Mastering Masculine Cards


We all have some of them and they all have birthdays and other card-worthy events. If you ask a bunch of card-makers which kinds of cards give them the most challenge to make...invariably they will say "man cards"!

I suppose people find it challenging because you can't just slap a flower and some ribbon on it and call it good. I don't know. Nevertheless, we are going to jump head-long into the topic of man cards because it's a topic I care about. Deeply. Because there are many men in my life! And they require cardage from time to time! 

If you want the easy answer, I'm going to spill the beans right here at the start.  My genius card-making skills summed up for all mankind--

You can never go wrong with stars!

If you truly are stuck on the creation of a card for a man of any sort--old young, tall, short, baby, teenager, warrior or can never go wrong with a design based on stars. Think of it like this: stars are to man cards what flowers are to feminine cards.

Stars can be simple or complex, 
one or an arrangement of many,
A single color or a rainbow,
Large or small,
Glittery or not.

Am I right?

For any holiday...or occasion. Stars can do the job!

Truly. Star cards rock!


Making use of photopolymer stamps--an extra tip

Have you ever noticed that the clear index sheet that photopolymer stamps come with can be used in the design process? When deciding if a stamp will fit in a certain space of it looks right, lay the index sheet over your project, placing the image over the spot where you might want it to go.

For example, in the cake project above, the index image allowed me to see that the flags would indeed fit over the top of the cake on the card.

Learn as you go...

Build a Birthday and so much more

Invariably, when a new Stampin' Up! catalog is released in the summer, one or two stamp sets are insanely popular right out of the gate and, like an over-played song on the radio, they get tons of airplay and not a lot of variety. Build a Birthday is such a set, especially among demonstrators.

It's an awesome set that is great for all kinds of card-members--from beginners to advanced card-makers. 

Hundreds of users have already created the birthday cake made of mixed layers stacked on the cake stand and adorned with candles or flags. A basic search of Pinterest reveals many many incarnations. Here's my first interpretation:

Pretty basic stuff. Fun and festive. Excellent for any recipient--male or female, young or old. Any birthday, any time!

I did a few of these and then I got a little fascinated with building a fanciful cake out of multiples of the largest "layer".

Like this:

And these:

And then just using it as an element to ground things, this happened:

Don't forget to look for alternative, out of the box uses for individual stamps within the sets. Don't get locked into just the obvious.

Build a Birthday pairs well with many sets but especially Love is Kindness. 

Live a scrapworthy life!


Inspired by a Table

A few weeks ago, my brother who is both talented and skilled in the art of wood-working, built this table by request of a friend.

As rustic, farm tables go, this one is a fabulous one. It's beautiful and sturdy and just waiting for a hundred years of family dinners and deep discussions. 

I love the table's design and I also happen to love the guy who built it and the friend who now has the pleasure of owning of course, it inspired a little card-making.

I have about three more cards waiting on my desk for assembly. I think this is going to be a go-to design for a while.

For the stampers amongst us, here are the details:
Hardwood Background Stamp and Fall Flair by Stampin' Up!
Card stock: Whisper White, Coastal Cabana and Crumb Cake (all by Stampin' Up!)
Patterned Paper: October Afternoon (I think)
Washi: Tim Holtz
Inks: Soft Suede by Stampin' Up and Momento Tixedo Black 
Twine: Darice

Live a scrapworthy life!


Three cards for Father's Day

The fathers in my life are all coffee-lovers so I chose this as theme for this year's Father's Day! 

Have you tried the painter's tape ink transfer method? How very fun (and remarkably inexpensive, as techniques go) is this!!

I couldn't stop at just one incarnation of here's a similar birthday style.

I can't wait to play with Stampin' Up! Hardwood background stamp some's awesome!

Live a Scrapworthy life!


Inspired by a chair and a rug

So I participate in a Facebook page called HGTV Fixer Upper Show Followers. It has many thousands of people who love Fixer Upper and Joanna Gaines lovely sense of style. We talk decor and re-do quite often. Farmhouse chic is the major theme.

A member named Wilson Jasna posted this photo and it immediately jumped out at me as a fabulous use of that new Stampin' Up! In Color Delightful Dijon, which, until now, I have absolutely detested.

The rug (from Target) is awesome and I love the mix of patterns between the chair and the rug. The table and chairs were picked up at the Goodwill and refinished and reupholstered. What an awesome bit of renewal!  

Alone, Delightful Dijon just reminds of cleaning up after the cat had an intestinal mishap, but paired with gray and black, I definitely love it.

Who knew?

live a Scrapworthy life!


Scrapbook Easy

So many people think of Scrapbooking as a huge, overwhelming task that takes forever and costs a fortune. While it can be all those things, it certainly doesn't have to be. 

After 19 years, I know a little bit about scrapbooking and paper-crafting in general. Sometimes not having more than a handful of option allows one to be creative without inducing an overwhelming bout with indecision. 

With my current pages, I'm going for a single thought, expressed boldly, illustrated by a single photo, on a kraft paper 8.5x11 base.

Confession: for many many many years I have collected and hoarded these black chipboard letter from Heidi Swapp. I adore these. I've held on to them for so long that the adhesive has long-since given up it's stickiness. In order to get them to stick, I peel off a layer of the backing and paint on matte Gel Medium with a tiny paintbrush. It's tedious but I love them.

Live a Scrapworthy life!


Sweet Pearls Bakery

The Scrapbooking continues.

So a while back I ran across these sweet to/from tags w jute ties in the dollar bin at Michaels. 

Love these. 

Live a Scrapworthy life.

Best day ever

No real explanation needed. Stampin' Up! set "best Day Ever" --just retired. Basic design copied from the old catalog.  Little tiny simple flowers always make my day.

Live a Scrapworthy life.


Retired stamp love

Ahh Stampin' Up!
How I love thee.

But every year, about this time, you make me say goodbye to some of my friends and I hate that.

Hate it.

One of the stamp sets being retired in a few days is #hello. I like hashtags...they are hip and a fun way to say a little observational something extra.

So here's my farewell to #hello.





Watercolor experiments

So after a binge of watercolor stamping videos on YouTube, I thought "how hard can it be". 

This is the result of dabbing ink pads directly onto acrylic blocks, dripping a few water droplets onto the block and the pressing a very heavy-weight watercolor paper onto the block.

FYI The ribbon on the above card is by Recollections (the Michaels cover brand) and can I just say it ties magnificently! Really magnificently. And it's a perfect match to Stampin' Up! Tempting Turquoise ink and paper.

Live a Scrapworthy life.


A Scrapworthy Life

IThree years ago, I fell off a cruise ship and broke my knee. In three places. I had surgery and spent 2 months on some very powerful narcotics. Somehow, during the time I was injured and subsequently retrofitted with stainless steel parts and pieces, my scrap-craftiness got lost and even though I had spent the previous 16 years as an enthusiastic lover of all things Scrapbooking, suddenly, I was no longer that girl. 

Nothing felt right. 
Papers didn't match. 
I had no voice in my head telling me to write things--other than a grocery list.
I was numb.
And afraid.
All my favorite scrapbook stores closed.
My card stock stash gathered dust.
Anything I tried to do felt flat.
I lost my creative spirit.
I lost my ability to pay attention to long term things and read long books.
I lost 40 pounds.
And my hobby.
It kind of sucked.

Three very long years.
In that time, we remodeled our house, experienced having a teenage son in psychiatric in-patient care twice, and subsequently, sold the newly-remodeled house and moved to Texas. 

We've now been Texans for almost a year.
It's growing on me.

So this past week, I had quite a bit of driving to do and for some unknown reason, I thought that maybe I would listen to some of the podcasts I've been putting off listening to for too long, as a way to pass the miles.

More than 2400 miles later (spread over 6 days), I'm six episodes into The Scrap Gals podcast and so thoroughly ready to scrapbook again, it's not even funny. See, I've known Tracie Claiborne for many years and no one is more enthusiastic about all things Scrapbooking than Tracie. She and co-host, Tiffany are two of the most knowledgable people around when it comes to Scrapbooking--why and with what, who does it and how to do it well. These two are the girls you want to sit beside and chat with at a crop--I've had the pleasure of doing just that--it's both educational and enjoyable.

Four minutes into the first podcast I chose to listen to--the one on Creativity--I felt like maybe I could get the spark back.  A few minutes past that, I was itching to get back to my craft room and pull out some papers! 

I'm rusty. 
I'm out of practice.
I'm starting slow.

I have a plan.
My new way of Scrapbooking is simpler. 8.5x11, my first love.
Hand-written journaling.
Single photo, single thought.
Limited scope, limited product.

The little strips of patterned paper on the layout above are pieces of a journaling card, cut up. 

By the way, I've been playing with Post-it's lately, so I'm including a Post It on each layout.

This book is going to be called the #lifeinTexas project. It's simple and observational.

Live a Scrapworthy life.


Little bits of Yellow

The color of the sun and Daffodils in spring.
The color of ribbon reminders on Old Oak Trees and fresh juicy pineapples.
The color of #2 pencils and summer squash.
The color of allegedly tiny little polka dot bikinis...and the occasional card creation on my desk:

(The inside)...

Happy Stamping!

Scrapbooking with Post-It's

It's very simple.
At this point in my life, I crave simple.
Post-it Notes are very simple.

Let's try this.


The story of the drawer shelves

I can't even remember how it started--but a while back I became infatuated with all the many uses and reuses there are for old drawers.

Kitchen remodels yield no-longer-needed drawers that most people just discard...but why throw them out when a new life is just around the corner?

Broken down dressers and chests of drawers my have seen better days but what of the actual drawers? 

I enjoy giving new life to discarded things...a little paint and hardware...maybe some wheels.

This drawer shelf hangs in my craft space and holds a few of my favorite stamps. It was a drawer I picked up $4 at the Habitat re:Store. 

My ever-handy brother cut the wood for the shelves and belied it into place. 

I added the rope trim and painted it all. I added a patterned paper to the back.

I have written many times that I love wood-mounted stamps and while the rest of the crafty world goes gaga over photopolymer stamps, I remain steadfast in my love for rubber on wood. Little blocks of art they are...all lined up on my shelf.

I digress...

More on the drawer shelves...

I like nice hardware on the drawer knobs are just the right amount of sparkle.

This was a huge drawer. In one of those happy accident sort of ever-handy brother placed the shelves in this one perfectly, spacing them like it was planned to be a rolling shelf for **stamps** in DVDS cases!  

There was some kind of dancing going on in the garage that day!

Drawer shelves. Who knew they could be so fun!?

Thanks for stopping by.

A little look around

So it was a festive Valentine's Day here...I did a little decorating around my paper room...

With the new house in Texas came a small bedroom for me to call my own--and store the crafty goodness and mess. A neat and tidy crafts woman I am certainly not. 

It's taken some time to get it arranged but I think I'm finally getting there...

The ladder shelf is overdone. I know. I have to let it breathe more. Not use every inch.

The ledge is a work in progress. Always.

This is the card made at stamp club last Saturday...well, I added the ribbon. No surprise there. :)

Trees are just so universally useful, don't you think? I do. I can't wait to use this tree set more.

I'm not sure how to decorate for March...spring? Cruise? Trees? 


Thanks for reading.


Ten Things I Love about Texas

In no particular order...

This boy is a much happier person.

I have a laundry room.

I get to attend my brother's auctions.

The food...particularly the Curbside Taco truck!!

This dude and his mom are just up the stairs. I see them every day. And it's not enough. 

From Dallas, you can fly to anywhere. Last weekend, Joal spent time in Belize making music. 

This. A big tree in front of the big window. With a happy boy underneath it, enjoying the glow.

Painting with my by blood, two by marriage.

This lady right here...who had the courage to say "if you lived here this would be easier"...that set us on a path. 

Cute confections show up on the bar all the time thanks to the midnight operations of the sister/baker. She flings fondant and does the frosting shwoop like nobody's business! Watch out...if you stop moving she will frost you and add some sprinkles too.

So now you know...