Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Have Great News

Good Day Everyone

Hope all is well in your neighborhood, I have been greatly enjoying the warmer weather these past few days in my own.  I am very much looking forward to Springtime, I have never really been a fan of Winter but I know that without the cold season, I wouldn't love the rebirth of Spring near as much.  And really that is what it boils down to for me, I really like the changing of this season.  Springtime with all the blooming trees, the Cherry Blossom & Blooming Plum, the Lilacs coming into their full sweet scent with soft purple hues, the earth awakening with the first glimpse of green in it's grass.  I simply savor all these wonderful & amazing changes.  Second to Spring - is Fall - I just love that there is so much to do in the Fall - all the festivals, the 'Ren' Fest, the circus, those are all a few of my favorites.  Hoping to get lots of neighborhood walks in this Spring, lots of 'park' time for the girls to burn off some energy, even more 'pool' time @ the YMCA so that our oldest will become even more comfortable in & around the water.  So we'll see!  Well are you all ready for my news?!!!

 I am officially a Scrapbook Designer!
 I signed my first contract on Thursday with "The Scrapbook Page" in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.  So I am now a 'Page Girl'!  : )  I posted a few weeks ago that I did their team tryout challenge ... well they like me and asked me to join their team for the next four months, so as I begin this journey I am going to try super hard to post more frequently so that you can join me in my new adventure.  Just to give a quick recap, here are a few photos of my favorite project (I actually turned in 6 for the tryouts), these photos are of my process in creating the mini heart album.  
The first step obviously was to get all my butterflies cut out, I used this Sizzix die. Once they were done I used Antique Linen distress stickles (here) on the 3 card stock butterflies, which is the one I used for the bottom layer, to give it some shine. 
Then for the 3 patterned paper butterflies (used as the top layer), I added the cystal gems down the center to represent her body and then used the brown fiber to act as her antennas.  The whole idea was rather ingenious I thought and made for a really nice addition to the mini.
Here is what the butterfly looks like all put together.  The double layer I think certainly gives it the dimension that I was going for, and added to the bottom layer with it's shine helps it to really stand out.
Here is one of the butterflies in the mini, unfortunately I didn't think to take a side-view photo so that you could see the bottom layer and it's shine, but trust me, it is really cool.
Well that's all I have for you today- hope you enjoyed. I hope that you'll venture back around to check out some other things I have coming soon.  Thanks for joining me!
Just B........

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Clear Stamps Reorganized

Hello Again
Hi everyone! Hope everyone is warm & well.  We have been covered in snow for far too long now and I have a real bad case of 'Cabin Fever' but lucky for me I also have lots of scrap book toys-n-things to play with and I have lots of ideas going on in my noggin.  : )
  Of course with that comes lots of unfinished projects too, like my December Daily (Gasp!!!) yes folks, once again I am having far too hard a time completing it.  Sounds silly I know, take a couple of pictures everyday and throw 'em in a book - add a couple of thoughts & some cool quotes to mix it up a bit and there you have it; sounds simple I know (I have fallen for this twice now) but I assure you it isn't that 'simple'.  I forget about the part of uploading all the photos, then editing them, don't forget cropping, then finally printing; if printing from home-which I normally do (heaven forbid if I had to wait for a printing company) then you have to make sure you have photo paper & plenty of ink.  Then after all of that, I still have to put the photos in the book, and of course I want it to look good, but I also want to incorporate some - if not @ least half - of the ephemera that I have pain-stakingly collected for the last month; so now comes the fretting (what if I screw it up, what if it isn't perfect, what if nobody cares, what if...blah, blah, blah) and so now you understand why for me, it's a losing battle.  So if I EVER decide to do another December Daily - somebody PLEASE pinch me!  : )  Needless to say that project is NOT done yet, but as soon as I get it done, I will be more than happy to share it with you.

Now on to greener pastures, let me think.......  Today I want to share with you some of the reorganization steps I have taken to improve my efficiency in my scrap space.  For Christmas I asked my husband to get me the 'Clip It Up' by Simply Renee (here), and well in order for me to use it the way I envisioned I had to get something other than the pockets that they offer, so I got on-line and found Century Business Solutions, they sell job envelopes (here) - they are basically an over-sized plastic badge holder, but even bigger.  The ones I decided to try are about the size of a piece of paper, maybe a bit taller, and they are vinyl - which I am hoping will last a bit longer.  So.... last week as we were being snowed in with about 9 inches of the white stuff, I got to work on getting this new system in play.....the outcome......OMG - I love it, absolutely love it.  I now have all of my cling mount/clear stamps sitting within arms reach of my desk and being that it is on the 'clip-it-up' it spins so that I can get to any one of them in a matter of seconds.  For those of you that don't scrap - imagine one of those older clothes racks, the circle kind that all the department stores use to have, this clip-it-up is similar to that and it spins, super cool and super handy.

This is what it looks like with all of my stamps in their envelopes

This thing is huge but so worth it I think in the long run

I think later I will add some side labels so that I can find my favorite 'go-to' stamps even faster

My first reaction to it, once I got it up was, "Do I really have this many stamps?"  The answer is, "Yes I do - how lucky am I!"  The reason I like this set up so much better is because I can actually see the set, I couldn't do that with my old system.  With this one, while I was putting all of the stamps into their envelope, I added a plain white sheet of paper behind each one - which I'm hoping will be helpful when I'm looking for 'the one'.  Do any of you ever have that feeling that even though you don't know exactly what it is your looking for, you'll know it when you see it- well it's hopefully going to work something like that, I think.

To the left is a look @ my craft desk - it's actually clean - a rare sight

Some other storage that is in my scrap closet

Some new storage that sits below the shelf of baskets in my craft closet

Here are a few other random shots I took of my space. In the first photo, my desk, although I hardly ever work @ it, it's usually the one covered with all of the products I'm using for whichever project I'm in the middle of, but you're lucky it was cleaned off for this photo (LOL).  I also have a 4 foot fold-out utility table (not pictured) which is where I do most of my work.  There is more space to work @ my table rather than @ my desk, so like I said, I use the desk more as a dumping ground.
In the second photo I have all of my baskets & other storage.  On the very top shelf of this closest I have 5 wicker baskets that I had picked up years ago to use with the changing table in our nursery, now that those are no longer needed for their original purpose I thought it would be good to find a new home for them and so here they now sit in my craft closet and house all of my ribbons, laces, & trims - well almost all of it.  I did break down each of my baskets to have a color theme (sort of) they are as follows: 
                black, silver, & gray
              brown, creme, & tan
                      red, pink, orange, & yellow
                blue, green, & purple

As for the rest of the storage: the canvas/wire baskets hold 3-dimension stickers and embellishments, along with some sticker packs; then the silver tins hold all of my paper things to alter: mint boxes, pillow boxes, paper lunch bags, even mini Chinese to-go boxes, and I believe that they also have all of my ATC blanks (you ask: what the heck is an ATC? go here &/or here to find out).  The clear box on the very far right has all of my DMC floss in it from when I use to do cross stitch, I now use it in my scrap projects instead.  
In the second photo, I have lots of things going on, I should have taken some things out before taking the photo, but oh well.  I'll start @ the top of my new black wire shelf: top row on the left I have 4 black fabric/wire baskets that hold all of my big punches, the 2 white boxes on the right hold my odd sized paper packs (4x4, 6x6, 5x7) and different office type paper packs (index cards, note pads, etc.)   On the 2nd & 3rd shelves I have 15 black photo boxes with different things corralled in them.  For example one box has metal things: binder rings, mini banker clips, extra large paper clips, chains, etc.  Another box has all my paper flowers in it and another one has lots of different pieces to make my own flowers.  One box I keep empty so that when I have new stuff and no time to put it away, I can put it in there until I do have time to put it where it belongs.  My 2 favorite boxes have a specific brand in them - one is Tim Holtz (here) and the other is 7 Gypsies (here).  As for all the other boxes; some have fabric, some have all natural elements (wood-cork-mica), one has felt & foam, another has plastic embellishments, and so on & so forth.  The bottom of the wire shelf is where I keep some odd-size things: so starting on the left I have a file folder with all of my stencils in it; next to it is the big black file box that has all of my solid color scrap card stock (meaning that it is not a full sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 or 12x12); then next to that are 2 other black boxes that have more things to alter; last but not least is the brown & black bag, that is my crop bag, so when I go somewhere to scrap - I pack up what I need in it along with a couple of other smaller bags for tools & such and take it all with me.  So there you have it, my scrap space & closet.  I do also keep in the closet - my sewing machine; my tool bag; my tool box; my 3 drawer cart that has all the rest of my ribbon stash, my large wood mounted stamps, and all of my dies & texture plates; and then also my small 5 drawer wood chest that has everything else in's a large closet.....  thankfully!  : )

So I guess that about wraps it up, I hope that you have enjoyed my mini photo tour of my scrap space; one day maybe I will put up a video on YouTube walking everyone through it, but until then I hope all of you are safe & warm.

Here's to Springtime.... come & get me......I dare ya! : )

just B.....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Design Team Tryouts

Hello Again, I'm here, really!  
How is everyone doing on this 4th day of February?  Is it really already a month into the new year?.... Wow - someone once told that time flies even faster when you get older, damn, I must be ancient.  But I am doing good, kids are good, husband is working hard ( so that I can spend more money on scrap supplies - just kidding).  Actually I have not being 'work' working so much lately and I am really getting spoiled, as most of you know I went part-time @ my job last February and once again they have hit their 'slow' period and so when they don't need me - because I am a part-timer - I always get kicked out first over the full-time people who need to keep their 32 hour average in order to keep their benefits.  I'm okay with that because in all this extra time off I have been able to get lots done.  
The first being a re-vamp of my craft space; yes I got down to the nitty-gritty and redid the entire area surrounding my craft space (did the actual cabinet a few months back so I left it alone for the most part).  So far I am loving the new reorganization, things that I use all the time are now @ my finger tips and the supplies I have an excess of are all together in one spot. I have paints, glimmer mist, distress inks, distress stickles, etc all right there @ my desk now.  I have all my journaling spots and altered art pieces sitting within arms reach of my desk too.  I have also gotten a little bit better lighting finally, I scrap in our downstairs 'family room' (for lack of a better word) and so even in the middle of the day it can be quite dark so the "Ott Lite" lights have been a blessing - probably need to get one more but all in due time.
The second 'big' thing that I have gotten done are my projects for a design team - yeap you read correctly, there is a local scrapbook store that does team 'try-outs' every 4 months and so I decided to try it this time around.  They have a prepared kit with a few odds & ins for you to create with, which was challenging enough, but then to top it off - you could add any other embellishments you wanted so long as it was supplies they currently have in the store -   What? double whammy! Anyways, somehow I was able to make 6 projects to turn in, not sure what they will think of my attempt, but I have decided to be okay with it no matter what, I tried it, it was okay, I have learned from the experience, and that's all it needed to be, so good!  So just to give you all an idea of what I did, here are some photos of the projects.

This first one is a card that I made with some of the left over scraps I had, and I made it a generic type of card, so it absolutely could be a 'birthday' card or it could be a 'thinking of you' kind of card.
The inside message
A place to leave your own personal message
This is the very first project I tackled, I am not good with 12x12 layouts, well layouts at all really, so I figured if I could get past this one, then I could finish the rest fairly quickly, lucky for me all my ideas worked.
It even happens to be a double 12x12 layout, which is almost unheard of in my 12x12 albums.  If I'm going to torture myself, one layout is usually more than enough for me to get the story told.
Just a close up of the tag
Another close up of the journaling I did about our annual canoe trips (which unfortunately Bill & I have missed out on now for 2 years - boo hoo)

These cute little file folders give the location of where we were and the dates that we went.

This is the last official project I did, or so I thought @ the time.  These are coasters that I altered using several of my favorites by Tim Holtz here, when I realized that I could only use products that the store carries, I was thankful for our shared love of Tim because they have a lot of Tim Holtz and I have a LOT of Tim Holtz.
I also have a budding love for Graphic 45 here, their papers are awesome quality and their patterns are unique and compliment each other very well, I can see me using more of their papers in the very near future.
Once I came up with the direction I wanted to go with these, it didn't take very long to finish them.  They were actually fun, I have several coasters that I've picked up along the way thinking that I'll do something with, after playing with these guys I will definitely have to do that.
I didn't journal on any of them, but if I end up getting them back I think I will make them 'gratitude' tags, sounds like a good idea anyway.
The close up of the flowers that I made, yes made.  I watched a tutorial on 'YouTube' on how to make these which sent me in the right direction; and then about a week later I got an e-mail from somewhere that had an even easier tutorial, so I tried it and I really like the look of them; can't wait to try it with some different laces & ribbons, that will look really elegant especially on one of my wedding albums.
These are just close up shots of the other side
Another close up
Last one
For this project, I really had to think about what I needed to do.  Knowing that I could only use certain products kept me quite limited, but as a went through my stash I found a die that I had been wanting to play with, and it just so happened to be one that the store carried, lucky me.
So this is what I did, the actual 'book' is the die I used, and for those of you once again that don't scrap - a die is basically a cookie cutter except for paper, cuts out exactly what the shape is: a flower, a heart, in this case a  luggage tag - I believe that is what is it called.  So I got all my pages cut out and got the stickers on and then had to figure out how I was going to bind it.  I knew the binding was gonna have to be small, but I didn't really want to use ribbon because it wasn't going to be stable enough and that's when I found the mini binder clips (lucky for me they do carry those - pretty much a standard) 
So the pages look something like this
Second page
Third page
Fourth page
Last page
This is the last project I did and it was a last minute idea too so I'm hoping that this one doesn't hurt me as far as getting on the team.
What I came up with is a mini set of mini cards.  I still had a couple of the stickers left over along with some of the felt ribbon that came from our kits, added some more of the same cardstock and came up with 3 little 2x2 happy cards; they have no greeting inside so someone could personalize it.
I kept it super simple, for 2 reasons:  one - it's just easier that way and two - because I wanted to show them that I really can do it all, I have several different levels of work: simple to extravagant.
Speaking of Extravagant
This was my labor of love
And I now love it
In my design team kit there was this white, chipboard, heart-shaped album.  You open it up and it is a double heart-shape starring @ you......   : /........  I'm not really a 'heart-shape' kind of person so needless to say, I have been challenged yet again; oh and by the way, I had 2 weeks to create all of this, every project had to done within 2 weeks.
 I will have all of you know that I turned in all 6 of my projects today.
My pages are similar and somewhat simple to look at, but they are loaded with grunge work.
I have been a mad woman for the last few weeks: inking, distressing, sanding, rubbing, buffing, etc.  And I can't wait to get my hands dirty again, that was FUN!
Again with this project, once I got a vision in my mind I just went for it, no second-guessing, and if I ran into an issue - I just figured another way around it.  I really did like the mental game of it, the challenge.  At first I was 'stumped' on how to create without being able to use 85% of my own stash, then I had a headache for a couple of days thinking about it (this is my 1st time ever to try for something like this), but then finally the realization came to me that the worst that could happen is that they decide not to take me on as a designer.

I'm okay with that!

Because I had fun....

and because when it's all said and done.....

I have this super cute, altered, chipboard, heart-shaped album that opens up to a double heart-shape starring back @ me!  : )

Thanks for joining me today!
For all the sweethearts out there - this post is for you.  I know that without my wonderful husband I wouldn't have much of anything in this world, so let there be love - Happy (early) Valentine's Day!!!

Just B....loved