Friday, June 27, 2008

Takes My Breath Away

Have you ever seen something, or felt something that takes your breath away? I have. It happened to me this past spring at Easter time as we worshiped in church and sang "We Fall Down" by Chris Tomlin. Few songs move me as that song does, and I really just wanted to crumble and plaster myself to the ground before the foot of Jesus as His sacrifice for me became so real. I was reading a bit about the history of the song, inspired by these words from Revelation 4:8b-11:
Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."

One day all who believe in Jesus, the King of Glory and Lord of All, will be bowing down before Him. All of our voices will proclaim His holiness over and over again. Even the powers of the mightiest nations will fall down before Him and lay their crowns at His feet. This image just gives me goose bumps - the image is simply too great to imagine in its entirety.

As I was perusing through my photos from Easter there were, of course, photos of our daughter in her pretty Easter dress. I don't recall if I bribed her, or what, but she actually cooperated, and I have some wonderful shots of her in her beautiful hand-me-down dress. And then there are others...not so cooperative - where she covered her face to avoid the camera. Her way of telling me she was done with mom's photo shoot.

Interestingly enough, my favorite photos are not of the beautiful smile and sparkling eyes gazing at my camera... When I saw this photo it took my breath away, and the words of this song by Chris Tomlin popped into my head.
We fall down
We lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb.

The connection I made between the photo and the song lyrics have been on my mind since March. I am not sure why I did not drop everything to scrap the vision I had, especially since this layout took me all of 30 minutes or so to create this afternoon. What motivated me? A simple word, offered by Patter as a part of the Faith Sisters scripture challenge - HOLY.

As soon as I saw her challenge, which I read last night, I knew I had to make this layout a priority. God was telling me I had waited long enough. Now that it is takes my breath away. Not because my work is that great...really, this is a very simple layout. But because it brings to life the imagery of Revelation 4...all of us falling down at the Lord's feet and giving Him our crowns, whatever those crowns may be. At the feet of the sacrificial Lamb nothing else will matter, and we will not be able to stop professing His holiness, as we sing in His courts forever!

There is power in worship music. There is power in capturing a wonderful photo. And there is power in scrapping your faith, and bringing elements together that only God can bring to mind. It is moments like these in which creating becomes holy, and it takes my breath away. Thank you Lord Jesus!

Digital Credits:
Pink Paper: Dahlia and Co.
Overlays: Willro &Co. Designs (altered to white and blue)
Crown: Sal’s Shabby Lane by Sailor and Lula Designs (overlayed with white and ghosted by reducing opacity)
Font: CAC Shishoni Brush and Scriptina

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

See You See All

A Backwards Approach to My Scrap Routine

I love this photo of our daughter, taken when she was about 20 months. Something outside caught her eye, which doesn’t surprise me. That girl doesn’t miss a thing. I guess this photo reminds me of how early on she had such keen observation skills. If there is a sequin in the carpet, Abby will find it. A thread in the yarn bin…well, can’t say for sure as I don’t knit, but if I am missing a clear stamp, a brad, or anything small on my creatively “organized” workspace I just call Abby and she helps me out. She says she has "eagle eyes". (LOL)

This is probably the first time I began a layout without a theme in mind – no title, no journaling. I’ve had the photo and Wild Asparugus paper set aside for it for probably going on 2 years now- in a craft keeper waiting to be scrapped. Maybe I was waiting for the theme to come to me…but at any rate, it sat there.

When I received Glimmer Mist from the Scrapbook Playground June sponsor, Tattering Angels, in a purple color – I immediately thought of the papers and color scheme I had set aside for this photo. I created my own ribbon through the Fiskars “Leave it to Weaver” punch by cutting a 3/8” strip of a textured solid Wild Asparagus paper and sprayed heavily with the mist, after shaking it up good. The strip was sodden. I admit, I had to do this twice as the first time I did not allow the strip to dry thoroughly, and it tore as I wove it. The second time around I happened to be taking brownies out of the oven. As I propped open the oven door to allow the heat to escape, I looked down at my newspaper on the floor with the wet strip of glimmered paper – ah ha moment! I carefully lifted the strip and allowed excess liquid to drip off, and placed the strip on the edge of the oven door. Not only did it provide a fast drying time, but acted as an iron as well, flattening my faux ribbon perfectly. It’s hard to tell in the photos but I also sprayed my flowers with glimmer mist, as well as the little chipboard birds sent to me by Tattered Angels.

As you can see I had fun with my Fiskars “Threading Water” punch as well and made my 90 degree turns on this layout. I had trouble perfecting the bottom left corner…alas, the cover up. (LOL) My most fun in this page however, was creating my larger bird. I needed a left facing bird and had none. I spotted a Technique Tuesday tile in my stash and it was the perfect sized bird. I traced the bird on the tile onto the back side of Wild Asparagus patterned paper (I love how the back sides are a solid color with linen or other similar texture pattern). Cutting out the bird I then used my dotted texture plate from Fiskars and trusty EK Success Embosser tool to add texture to the shape. Having saved a “white crayon” from the Easter egg dye kit, I covered the face and feet of the bird with the wax to resist the Glimmer Mist. When I sprayed the bird the majority of the glimmer remained on top of the dots while the liquid rolled downward into the lower recesses. I allowed the bird to dry thoroughly, distressed the edges a bit with my favorite Coffee Bean ink and used a “Rain Dot” by Cloud 9 for the eye.

The branch was also created using the Technique Tuesday tile to trace onto cardstock, adjusting to fit my area. I decided to make the tree a spring blossoming one, and used more Rain Dots for the flower centers – I love the green contrast with the rest of the layout.

So now I had a completed layout, with no title or journaling. To me, a layout is not complete without some sort of written story. I contemplated titles but was very limited by the space I had left, and I knew I wanted to use the awesome “clear” brown letters by Making Memories that I had found a while back. Their elegance was perfect for this layout. I finally came up with the idea for the journaling, and decided to key in on Abby’s acute observation skills, then and now. I wrote:

I know that you are not missing a thing outside that window. Is it a bird? A leaf blowing in the wind? You are a remarkably observant child. I see you…and you see everything.

The title See You just came out of that journaling, it fit, and why not – I rather like it as it is kind of different, and you may think a little strange, but that’s ok. It’s art, right?

Today I want to encourage you to scrap a favorite photo you have had sitting around for a LONG time. Even if you have no idea for a direction of theme, scrap it, play with the layout…and when you have all your design elements in place, I am willing to almost guarantee that the title and words will come to you. For me, this approach was totally opposite my usual creative approach, but God took control and made it work. Praise Him for the mojo He gives me!
(and if you are still stuck on what to do with that photo bake some brownies!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RAK Winner and more Cosmo

Ok...well, I have been burning the midnight oil as there is a Paper Crafts deadline Wednesday and I had some ideas... I hate it when I have ideas and then run out of time to create them for a deadline - so that was my goal tonight. 3 projects done!

The first is a birthday card to celebrate Paper Crafts 5th birthday - way to go! I love that magazine - there are ideas for everything! I had fun with my Scribbles paints on this one - I love the dimension and have them in a rainbow of colors. I cannot resist going to the aisle just about every trip to Michael's - trouble is I will need to find a new storage solution as my basket overflows!

The second is a inspirational card that is magnetic - put it up on the frig or file cabinet and let your imagination run wild! I love the Glimmer Mist on grungeboard, which I had treated first with paint and ink, and more ink after the mist dried.

The third is a simple Valentine project. Sometimes simple is more - and I love the look of rub-ons on this translucent carry out container. The sides use cardstock I had left from Cosmo Cricket's "Hey Sugar" line.

Fill this up with Valentine M&Ms and it should be very pretty!

Today Cosmo Cricket contacts their top 12. Will I be amongst the lucky chosen? Probably not, but I will keep on scrapping and keep on submitting - because hey sugar - it's what I was born to do!

I was up so late the midnight hour has passed and there is a winner chosen for the "Find Your Groove" book RAK!
The lucky gal whose post number was randomly selected is:

"Angela said...
Your CC layouts are lovely, Rita! Good luck with the DT app!"

Congrats Angela - would love to know which MB you found me from, and PM me your addy.

Enjoy the creative journey everyone - I really think it is a bit of what heaven will be like.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Woo hoo!! Cosmo -did you notice??

I just cannot help but shout out...just in case Cosmo Cricket is still deciding upon the 12 finalists for their design team...

I just got home, logged on and my friend Detta brought this to my attention:
Creating Keepsakes home page

Not that really stokes me, even if I am not selected, having Erin pick my Little Miss Sunshine layout as the CK page of the day totally MAKES MY DAY! I've already submitted the idea to print publishers...not let's hope someone likes my idea enougth to pick it up.

I just love Rockin' the Cosmo Cricket and I hope I will get a chance to show you what I have up in that ever thinking creative little mind of mine! (LOL)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Scroll Down for RAK Giveaway

Thanks for coming by. Please note the book giveaway is posted on June 19 - you must leave a comment on that thread to be in the drawing. Comments must be posted by midnight Monday. Good luck!

Snippets for Cosmo and Ruby's Album

Have you checked out the very cool Blackboard by Cosmo Cricket? It comes in super album shapes, alphabets and fun shapes.

I found Ruby's Album at my LSS last week and paired it with the Get Happy line. This is my husband's hands down favorite mini album that I have made to date - he loves the contrast between the blackboard and bright, intense colors of the cardstock. I havc to admit, there's few things I like better in this world than brightly colored paper product on BLACK. Although all shades and tones of color look awesome on black, as does really - whatever your favorite color combo it will be awesome on Cosmo Cricket's BLACKBOARD!

Today I want to share a mini album titled "Snippets of Us". Snippets are a great way to scrap little odd and end photos...perhaps you have a favorite photo, but you have no idea on how to use it in a layout. Snippets are (per the dictionary) a little piece, especially of information, i.e. a snippet of news. So why not create a snippets album about your family, or a loved one using a Blackboard mini-album? Here is an xample of snippets about our son…

Below are instructions that I hope will help you create your own Snippets album.
Cosmo Cricket Ruby’s Album
Cosmo Cricket Get Happy Cardstock and Rub ons
Cosmo Cricket Retro Mix Blackboard letters

Cloud 9 Sentiments Stamps (circle journaling blocks)
Staz On ink - Teal Blue and Black Cherry
Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink - black
Misc. buttons
Glitter pens, favorite journaling pen, colored pencils, ribbon

Time Savers:
1. Scan in one page of the blackboard album, reduce size slightly, print image and cut out to create a shape template. When used it will allow you to cut your patterned cardstock at the same approximate curve radius as that of the blackboard album.

2. Use a white sheet of cardstock, 2 journaling stamps and 2 coordinating colors of ink – stamp out all journal blocks at one time, cutting out and inking all edges. (I used the Coluzzle small circle template to trim out Cloud 9 Sentiments journaling stamps.) I allowed for three blocks per page to give balance, and offer plenty of room to write snippets.

3. Print photos to size and trim out, or select 2-3 photos per page that are already in your photo collection, and crop. The inside pages use primarily 3x4 and 2x3 photos, all distressed with black ink along the edges.

With all of these elements now ready to go, the SNIPPETS album can be assembled in less than two hours – as long as you keep embellishments simple. I used rub-ons and buttons – they are fun, the buttons are bright and it was quick to grab them from their storage container. I was tempted to doodle more on the pages, but resisted to a few dash marks around the curves using a white colored pencil.

Each page of this album was designed to allow the contrast of the blackboard album to make an impact with the bright papers of Get Happy. This image shows you the clean lines prior to finishing the album with photos and journaling. If you are “all about clean lines”, by all means make this idea your own and position your photos straight, journal blocks contained within the color blocks, etc.

For the inner strips cardstock was cut to 2” width, and that strip cut into two 6” pieces. The template was used to hand-cut the curved end using a micro-tip scissors. Finished height is 5 5/8” – measuring from the two furthest points.

For the outside portion, patterned cardstock was cut to a 3½” width, then cut to 6” lengths, and again using the template to cut along the curved edge, creating the same height.

For the cover I printed “Snippets” onto a 3x4 journaling card using my favorite “stamped” and distressed font – Social Animal. If you read my tips in a previous post, remember to use two of the smaller cards together for a 4x6 piece of cardstock to feed through your printer, which will prevent frustration with jamming on smaller pieces. Once printed, cut the journaling card to size. I chose to cut around the bracket shape, and am saving the other portion to use as a frame on another project. I used letter brads from my stash and added subtle color to the blackboard letters with colored pencil, which allows the black to pop off the red background. Buttons follow along the curve for a fun accent.

Have lots of snippets? That's okay. Don't forget you can always compile albums together, or even mix up the shapes of the Blackboard albums for a real interesting mini album. I assure you it will be a fun family album to look through time and time again. Enjoy the creative journey - and GET HAPPY with Cosmo!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hello Sunshine!

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by! If you are looking for the book giveaway please see the next post.

Hello Sunshine – I love the name for this collection by Cosmo Cricket because it is my greeting each morning to our 5 yr. old daughter. She inevitably wakes up before I do every morning, because I am scrapping into the wee hours until I force myself to quit. My day begins with hearing pitter patter of bare feet on the hardwood floor…then the bedroom door carefully opens and I hear, “Mom, is it morning yet?” Or lately, she has been crawling into bed beside me with a laugh and says, “I just want to snuggle with you mom.” Her smile is wide and her dimples are twinkling along with the sparkle in her eyes – she is my sunshine every morning.

I love this photo taken early one morning. It was her turn to be the “weather person” at pre-school, and she was looking out the window to see if it was sunny, cloudy or rainy. It was sunny! I just thought it was so cute how she took her job so seriously.

Cosmo Crickets awesome journaling cards were a true inspiration for the direction of this layout. When I laid eyes on the card with clouds, sky and grass it immediately made me think of what one sees out the window. I was also drawn to my quilting days and one of my favorite quilt designs called “Attic Windows”. I decided to replicate the idea behind an attic windows quilt, by framing in a window around the journaling card. BUT, I also could not dismiss my former career days working as a graphic artist for a window treatment manufacturer. Another journaling card, when hand-cut to create an arch from the design, made a perfect arch window to be built into the frame as well. Once I created my window, using strips of black cardstock and foam adhesive for dimension – I realized it needed a window treatment! The Fiskars Threading Water punch created a perfect window valance. I admit, I was working into the wee hours on this layout because the mojo was just coming and coming and I could not stop!

Birds also greet our morning with song, and I love my birdie stamps. This layout features bird stamps by Inkadinkado, Autumn Leaves, and Heidi Grace Designs. I also used a Cloud 9 dotted line stamp to create some journaling lines that bleed off the left edge of the page.

I hope you enjoy this layout as I did while creating it. When you get your own Cosmo Cricket “Hello Sunshine” journaling cards, go through your stash and find that photo of a favorite subject at the window – and feel free to scraplift this idea. It really adds a fun, whimsical element to your page.

Don't forget to leave a comment in the post PRIOR to this one to get in a drawing for an awesome Memory Makers autographed book! Thanks for joining me for this little snippet of my creative journey!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Celebrating Friendships and RAK - Autographed Book Giveaway!

If you have two kids you sometimes may wonder if they will ever get along. With 5 years between our two, it seems they squabble plenty with the purpose of getting the attention of their parents. Babysitters and everyone else always report how sweet they are together...and I wonder whose kids they are referring to. (LOL)

However, there are times when our children really do show love and caring for one another...and this layout called "Two" celebrates one of these times. I would have loved to have heard the whole conversation, but I did hear some instruction on how to pick up your feet so you don't trip on the railroad ties. (LOL)It features Cosmo Cricket's "Get Happy" line, which is full of intense, bright colors that I just love!

(Are you still with me? Keep reading or skip below if you just want to see the book giveaway RAK - I tend to ramble a bit.)

I love using Tim Holtz's crackle paint on Cosmo's blackboard - love the blackboard! I admit I took my knife to distress and crackle the paint a bit more as I prefer lots of crackle and distress to tie in with the distressed look of the paper line. I covered a Magistical Memories birdie shape with more Cosmo and totally grunged cool American Crafts ribbon with ink.

I also want to share one of my latest tool's a Fiskars squeeze punch that gives a great little detail to corners.

One thing I love about the 4x6 journaling cards from Cosmo is they feed right through your printer as if you were printing a 4x6 photo. Just use your ruler to position your type, always run a test page and hold your journaling card over the top, and up to light to make sure text hits just where you want it to fall - and print again on the journaling card! Here is a tip - for the 4x3 journal cards, always seemingly paired with another of the same size - cut out both together for a 4x6 size, do the same thing and afterwards cut the cards apart. This will allow you to use the computer for journaling on at least one of your smaller cards, two if you really plan ahead! (LOL)

And now for the RAK I promised...CHA Chicago is coming up next month - and my friends Kitty Foster and Wendy McKeehan will be doing a book signing for their second book called "Fabulous Friendships: Scrapping the Relationships That Make Life Fun":

To celebrate their new book, and the layouts I happen to have in it... I want to offer a copy of their first book called "Find Your Groove - A guide to Discovering Your Scrapbook Style". I loved this book, and it allowed me to finally LABEL my scrap style. It really affirmed what I suspected...I'm an eclectic scrapper, even though my layout published in the book is categorized as journalistic. (LOL) (It just happened to be a page in which I had an emotional story to share.) I love to share this book with my scrappy friends, not only for ideas, but to help them identify with their own style.

Here is a pic of me with the authors at their book signing last year.

So yes, it is an autographed book by two fabulous scrappers and authors! I am very excited for them in having their second book now available, published through Memory Makers. All you have to do to win "Find Your Groove" is leave a comment on this post, and I will use a random number generator to pick a winner after midnight on Monday, June 23 - this gives those already gone for that Fiskars Crop in St. Paul a chance to get their name in. (LOL)

Also be sure to check out the new, and sure to be equally fabulous book available on We always have photos of Fabulous Friendships to scrap - this book will be sure to light your mojo on fire! Maybe I will see you at CHA at the book signings being held at 1 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Used My Cosmo Stash

I've loved this photo of my friend Janelle, and adorable Otis, since I took it last February. With Marti and Sara's "used your stash" challenge at the Playground I finally got it scrapped. Can't wait to see my friend's face when she sees that photo of Otis at 8 weeks - the snow was so deep he had to be carried as it was way over his head. Now he just bowls you over, he has grown so much, and I don't think a there is too much that can slow him down.

The stash challenge this week includes these specs:
Brads (at least 3) - I used BoBunny and Karen Foster
2 Ribbons - American Crafts and KI Memories
3 Patterned Papers - must be older papers from the stash-I used Cosmo Cricket papers from their Winter Wonderland and Hey Sugar lines.
Something recently purchased - that would be Cosmo Cricket "Hello Sunshine" AND my very cool, new Fiskars corner punch. See that detail in the upper right corner of the photo?
Alpha of some sort - EK Success stickers

I have to admit I plunked that Hello Sunshine snippet on to my layout as it was still on the cutting board from last nights project. I love that these three various lines from Cosmo Cricket - a Christmas theme, Valentine theme, and Summer themed papers all came together on one layout. It was a matter of seeing the different intensities of the same tone of aqua color, and distressing with my faithful Coffee Bean brown ink pad by Rubber Stampede to tie them all together. The result is a layout in one of my favorite color combinations - aqua and red.

Oh, and the red flower embellishment - yeah, I know it is a winter layout but the color and size made such a statement, and I figured I could chill it out with a snowflake shape punched from more Cosmo. Did I pull that off ok? (LOL)

Stay mojo was really hot last night and I have more to share tomorrow! Wanted to pop in and share, and now back to my blackboard album - these totally rock! My hubby already commented - I am using bright colors on it and he loves the contrast with the black. More later! Thanks for coming by!

Watch for Cosmo Cricket

I love Cosmo Cricket. When my friend Julie O. asked if I was trying for the DT I had to go investigate! So here it is, days from the deadline to put my hat in the ring, and I am trying to whip up some new projects. (I wanted to get my SBPG DT projects complete first - so my mind was clear to go!) The layout above was created with elements from the Winter Survival Kit offered by Homegrown Scrapbooks - and as you may recognize - it features Cosmo Cricket and my very sweet hubby.

I found one of CC's awesome blackboard mini albums at my LSS over the weekend - and I have the idea in my head (have had several actually, but think I have settled on one). I can't wait to work on it...but tonight my mojo was not for the album project...but I had a strong urge to create some layouts after perusing through my photos and finding some that tied in with the awesome Cosmo journaling cards.

My intentions were for simple layouts due to the time, or lack there of to get these done. The first layout was simple enough, because coordinating products make it so easy to whip out a layout. But on the 2nd layout I was totally inspired by a Cosmo journaling card to make an arched window - can't wait to show it to you! It was rather putzy - but love the effect. Thinking I should set it aside for Memory Maker's Masters just in case I run out of time, but I am too eager to share it with you. (LOL)

Too bad I have to go to work today - which means I better get to bed. I just wanted to share a Cosmo layout, and give a shout out to watch for more Cosmo Cricket coming your way On My Way! I had a blast with my Fiskars tools as well!

And once more - thanks to Stephanie Fearn at Homegrown for giving me the opp to be a guest designer for Homegrown's WSK kit - they always have awesome kits so check it out if you are a kit club fan. AND thanks for inviting me to be a roomie with you and some gals at CHA - takes a load of my mind to have that resolved. I am really looking forward to put my demonstrator training to use and help promote Fiskars brands in Chicago next month.

One more for a nightcap - Abby with "big Joe" from daycare, as opposed to little Joe who was a baby. (LOL) My girl talked about Joe all the time...I think he is/was her first crush and she really misses him after he had gone to kindergarten.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer Activities

Yesterday was Father's Day, and Kyle had picked out an awesome super soaker for his dad - one that even squirts water out the side so you can hide behind a corner!
I scrapped the layout above using the Summer Collaboration kit by Busy Bee and MLW Designs at kjoi Studios. The colors are awesome and I have lots of summer photos from last summer to scrap yet! This layout was actually created last week, and Jesse is using my super soaker. I professed the need to take pictures, and thus stayed dry - wasn't quite warm enough to get soaked, IMO!

Water gun fights are a part of our family summer fun. We also hope to get in our EasySet pool, that is if our outdoor plumbing is ever fixed so we can use it! It is cool today, after all those storms, but the heat will be here soon! I also made sure we have our fishing licenses, and look forward to catching those little bluegills, and whatever. Kyle hopes for bigger game fish this year.

Last summer I vowed to learn how to do the fishing thing...I know single moms who take their kids fishing, and figured that I should buck up and do it so I could take Kyle fishing when his dad is too busy. Baiting the hooks was not so bad, although those red worms are aptly named "wigglers"! When a hook gets swallowed though - that is when I have problems. Fortunately I took the kids fishing at our friends lake house, and Shawn was kind enough to help if we had a fish that was too hungry. I have not yet learned how to tie a hook on the line, and I suppose I better if we need to cut one loose.

CHA is also coming up - VERY SOON! July 17-20. Are you going? Fiskars can use my help at their booth, and it would be a lot of fun, and I really want to meet the Fiska-Leads and others from the message boards. I have some money saved up for a scanner that no doubt will end up going for my expenses if I do go to CHA - so am very much looking for a room mate. Give me a holler if you are going and need to share expenses!

On the Fiskars friend Paula, from Elgin, and her mom (also a Rita) are coming through Madison on the way to May's Fiskars crop in St. Paul this coming weekend. We've been wanting to meet since she joined the board, and this Friday we are getting a tour of Fiskars headquarters in Madison! I am so looking forward to meeting the people who work so hard behind the scenes and getting a glimpse beyond the "goose pond". (LOL) Apparently all the leads are coming to Madison, as well, but not until later on Friday and they have no breather in the schedule to meet up with us. One more reason I really hope to go to CHA!

Congrats to the ladies who just made the My Little Shoebox Design Team. I disocvered MLS at CHA in Chicago last year and was totally blown away by their product. If you look back in my archives to July 2007 I featured the company on my of those small, lesser known manufacturers. I hope they find a way to get more traffic to their booth this year, and I wish my store would carry their product!

Cosmo Cricket is also having a DT call. My friend Julie brought it to my attention, and I don't know...even though I don't seem to have any luck getting on a mfr. DT I will probably give Cosmo a shot because you cannot get on a team if you don't apply - and I really love their product lines! I bought me a blackboard mini album last week which will go so well with the Hello Sunshine papers I fell in love with weeks ago. The ideas are all up in my head - I hope to share it with you soon!

PS: Have you checked out Cory and Kimmie's new blog - Use Your Stash! I have it linked - if you are like me there is plenty of stash that needs to be scrapped! Check it out!

Friday, June 13, 2008

On Boots and Water - Photos on Cardstock

There is PLENTY of it – water that is! The past week has been quite something with all the rain. Therefore, I thought it was a good day to share a recent layout featuring WorldWin DoubleMates cardstock – about rain boots! I loved working with this cardstock as a June sponsor for the Scrapbook Playground. Thanks Worldwin!

My family and I spent most of Saturday in the safety of our basement as severe weather thundered outside. Then it would get eerily calm, and soon another storm front rolled in. The only good thing about this is that my scrapping area is in the basement - I scrapped while the kids crafted. Fortunately for us, the tornadoes touched down north and west of us. This was a repeat yesterday afternoon as well as more severe weather dropped inches of rain on us in a few hours time. Severe storms continued through most of the night, but thankfully I awoke to a calm morning.

Our 5 yr. old was at Vacation Bible School when the storms gained momentum and sirens went off. I was to pick her up at 3:30. Around 3 pm it rained so hard you could not see….and I wasn’t going to venture out into it. At 3:15 it was still raining hard, but I could see to drive. I went over to the church…pulled just in front of the fire lane, so I may have still been illegally parked (hopefully pulling way over so trucks could get through was good enough). I had no umbrella, and we were having serious, driving rain. I grabbed the visor thingy that goes in my front window and used it as a shield to run into the building. Not too many kids were to be seen so I assumed parents must have came to pick up their children as soon as the weather became threatening. After not finding Abby in the gymnasium, I ventured back to the main entry and asked the whereabouts of my child, to be informed that all the kids were under the stairwell. Hmmm…wonder why they didn’t have someone telling parents this as we arrived…I must have looked like I knew what I was doing. Not! (LOL)

Stairwell number one…no Abby. Stairwell number 2 – no Abby, but did find my friend Renee singing happy songs with the pre-schoolers. She is such a great leader of children’s music – all those little kids were full of smiles as they sang happy songs.

Stairwell number three – I peeked in and before I could focus I heard, “MOM!” and out came our daughter. Wow – what a blessing that the Catholic church in town has so many stairwells to shelter those children from a storm. Apparently the volunteers practiced the day before, and all the kids were secure in storm shelter areas in less than 30 sec. after the sirens went off. Amen for good planning and huge thanks to Vacation Bible School volunteers everywhere!

The rain stopped (yeah!) as we were ready to go outside. A cop car was behind mine…oh no…did I get a ticket for parking in the fire lane? No, whew! I decided to hurry out of there, buckled up Abby and away we went. As we drove off she said, “Mom, I was so BRAVE! The sirens went off and I did not cry or anything, and did what the teacher told me. I was so brave mom!” I praised her up and down – no doubt the teachers told all the kids how brave they were.

I wanted to share Yellow Boots with you and an idea you may not have considered. Have you tried printing your photos on textured cardstock? When your photo has one color that stands out, as do the yellow boots in this layout, printing on a similar color really packs a punch. I have done this as well with subtle patterned papers. Some papers will have a pattern on one side, and a less busy design on the other – not quite a solid, perhaps a linen print, fine dots, distress smudges – these all work well for printing photos. If you are printing photos of people you need to be more aware of the design and how a persons face might look with a bunch of little dots on it. (LOL)

The fun part of working with WorldWin DoubleMates is that the cardstock is two-sided. I tore the edges specifically to allow the darker yellow of the back side to add a design element to the layout. If you haven’t tried something like this consider it. Everyone probably has a favorite flower photo – and it’s a good subject to try something like this.

Yellow boots – our youngest is always wanting to be like her older brother. Of course, if they don’t get holes in them before being outgrown, she is the recipient of all of his rain boots. She was excited to get yellow boots that matched her brothers. Unfortunately his own yellow boots began to leak and we had to get him new ones. We could not find yellow, so in this photo he was wearing black boots. Boots are THE footwear of choice for a quick escape to play outdoors. And these days…there are plenty of puddles to play in.

I hope that this post finds you safe and dry. Our family continues to pray for everyone who has been affected by the flooding and tornadoes. May God give you strength as you persevere through this time of trial.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Grunge and Ink

It's the last day of school for my 4th grader - hard to believe he is already going into 5th grade. We never have big summer plans or vacations, but always plan on doing fun things around or near home. This summer Kyle is looking forward to archery. He recently decided to take this up and I had more pictures to scrap. What an intense look, huh? You can see in the second photo that he is merely accommodating his mother by looking at the camera, if ever so briefly. WorldWin sponsored the Scrapbook Playground in June and I was thrilled to create a archery target (thanks to google searches so I can find out just what a real one looks like!) with their bright colored cardstocks and my trusty circle cutters. I do believe I have just about every brand of circle cutter available, and I can honestly say I use them ALL! It seems they all make circles of various sizes so I can play around with all of them to get the right amount of spacing in my layered circle design.

Also, lead Fisk-a-teer, May, sent me an awesome set of punctuation stamps by Fiskars - the set is called Etcetera. As soon as I laid eyes on the large punctuation, namely the bracket and exclamation point - I knew I wanted to create an archery layout. I had fun creating my own archery themed background paper with these stamps. These stamps were the catalyst to get me going on scrapping this page. Kyle loves it - and that is why I scrap!

I also used my stamp pad to add lots of grunge for an all boy-effect. I guess you either like grunge, or not. I was showing my work to a non-scrappy friend and she thought I had an ink accident. I explained I was going for a grungy look, and let's just say she did not like that look so much. (LOL) What about you - do you like grunge or are you all about clean lines and crisp designs?

Sometimes life can be that way. One minute life is nice and steady...everything is going cleanly and it is clear sailing. Next minute, something happens and life gets a little smudgy, perhaps even scarred. Or, if you are like me, the past can be a bit grungy, and it has thankfully turned around into a pretty crisp and clean path. The great thing is is that no matter where you are now, or where you have been - God's grace is sufficient for all. He takes the grunge of my past, the grunge of my now, and the grunge of my future and wipes it all clean through Christ who died for my sin. I can have fun getting ink on my hands and my layouts, and rest assured that my heart is clean when I ask forgiveness for my failures. Salvation is just about as easy as inking the edges of your cardstock - life can't get any better!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Flutter bye....oh butterfly!

It's that time - end of the school year, and I always like to make something homemade for the teachers, even if it is a card to hold a gift card. Abby has a number of teachers in her pre-school program, so I came up with the idea of buying them a flower that would come back year after year (dianthus) and creating flower pokes as an accent, keepsake. I used Fiskars Ultra ShapeXpress and Frames-1 along with Butterflies-2 templates, and a variety of patterned papers from my stash that matched the bright pink flowers. Stickles really dress up the outer edges of the wings, and buttons, with fun wire looped in the top and twisted around a paint brush handle complete the whole butterfly creation. On some of the less busy papers I used heart-shaped Rain Dots, for the love Abby has for her teachers.

A magnet on the back easily allows them to be transferred to the refrigerator or metal cabinet. On the lower half of the back side I used my Fiskars Round n Round large circle punch, put adhesive around all but a 1/2" or so, and centered it on the lower half of the card with the open area at the bottom - this creates a pocket for the stick.

As you can see, I used green cardstock for my base shape on all of them, which simplified the process. The quote, which is one I have loved for years for teacher gift giving, ws printed on the computer.

Want to see my favorite?

Pretty isn't it? I thought I was so clever in using a piece of green fun wire, about 1.5" long, and curving it into a slight V shape. I put a glue dot in the center, and then pressed the center of the butterfly shape onto the wire - gently curving the wire so that the wings of the butterfly had much more dimension than foam squares could provide on their own.

Not to completely change the subject...but what a weird weather day. Last night it was SO humid that my camera fogged up when I took my plant pokes and flowers out onto the deck for a photo shoot. This morning the sun was shining as we had a steady rain. All day long the clouds came, then the sun, clouds, sun...but what arrived about mid-morning was the wind. I am not sure what MPH it is out there...but flowers in planters are breaking off and it's dodge trash can time in the streets, if you know what I mean.

So I was cautious. I had the flowers and their pretty little pokes all lined up in a cardboard coffee carrier for easy transport into Abby's school this afternoon. I opened the car door, prepared to hover over my special little gifts and WHOOOSHHH!!! The wind came, caught the raised wings of those butterflies and off they flew across the school parking lot!! I quickly set the plants down and the pokes that did not get taken on the car seat and took off after them. They blew under cars, up again, over some rocks, onto the grass...and ALMOST to the highway. I caught the both of them -surprised at just how fast and limber I can be. (LOL) Returning to the car I counted my pokes...oh was missing. I am certain only 2 had flown off, but I had left my car door open...and I suspect another WHHHOOOSH of wind came along and snagged a 3rd butterfly while I was chasing the others down. Pooh!! It was my favorite one too! I just loved the Tinkering Ink paper and the butterfly template gave me a complete visual so I could line it up just so for symmetry in the wings...just like a real butterfly would have. I was crushed - I've been working on these babies for the past several nights and now I was short one.

Urggh! But oh well...there was nothing I could do about it. I went into the school foyer where the kids and three of the four teachers had gathered. The other teacher is a speech pathologist and apparently her last day was Thursday. Guess who wasn't getting a flower poke? But the other teachers were going to email her and let her know she had a flower on her desk. The teachers enjoyed the pretty card, but most of all they said how much they enjoy receiving flowers this time of year, especially ones they can plant and watch them return each spring.

So have you learned a lesson from this? I have. Besides the obvious...if the wind starts breaking the 40-50 mph speed find a covered BOX for transporting light weight items. More so, however, it makes me wonder if I might be able to craft a larger scale version and create my own style kite? Fun wire is very light weight...foam adhesive squares are pretty durable... by George I think I am on to something!

Happy crafting, and if the wind is blowing your way be on the look just might find one of these in your yard...and you can report back to me on just how durable those glue dots are! (LOL)

I'm really LEANING right now...

..on God that is. I am leaning, learning, trusting. Giving it all up to Him, or at least trying to. I know that He can close a door as easily as He opens it. I admit it leaves me a bit confused...why was it opened in the first place? It gave me lots of hope, and with that hope my brain kicked in to full gear, full of ideas was exciting just thinking about it. It all seemed like such a perfect fit for who I am and what I do best, and I know I would have rocked it. But the door has been closed, and I know it is going to be okay. God IS in control...and I can lean on Him when life throws me a curve.

How is your life? Is everything on the fast-paced, straight and narrow path? Or has a curve been tossed into the equation? You know what you have to do when you come to a curve, right? Slow down! Or you will never make it safely around the bend. So I am going to slow down, take a DEEP BREATH, go with the flow, and TRUST.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:4-6

I came here to blog - my writing therapy, and wondered what layout I could possibly share that would go with my feelings this night. I created "Curve" as a light-hearted, fun layout, and certainly did not intend for it to accompany a post of when I am feeling "a bit" disappointed. But God put the image of this layout in my head and I know it is what He wants me to share with you. WorldWin sponsored the Scrapbook Playground design team this month, and their Double Mates cardstock is featured - it is great cardstock to work with. Being that it is two sided, it is easy to coordinate colors on a project. I took the photo on a trip to the zoo last year...I kind of wish Mr. Flamingo had had his beak side to the camera, but that's ok - I love the curve of his (or her) neck, the colors in the plummage, and how despite the noise of people and mid-day activity this bird could tuck in his beak and take a nap. Talk about slowing down on the curve! (LOL)

This layout also shows my first attempt at making a 90 degree turn with the Fiskars Threading Water border punch. Not bad, but not perfect. A trick I discovered after the fact is that by turning my punch upside down before making the adjoining 90 degree punch, I could line up the holes perfectly. I am also fishing for other tips on accomplishing this on the Fisk-a-teer board, and I will be sure to share anything I find out. For the price of die-cut papers a punch that can accomplish the same look will pay for itself many times over.

My title play was rather unplanned...just kind of went with it and thought that using a mix of geometric shapes would be interesting... and interesting it is, but not sure that it would be considered a balanced design. (LOL) What do you think of it? Not sure where my head was when I started cutting and punching circles, but at any rate, it is more interesting than a straight-lined rectangular strip of cardstock. I've always been a fan of curves in my designs - I like the flow, and the circle shape has lots of great symbolism behind it.

I am not sure I like curves in my life, however. But I know we are thrown a curve every once in a while so we can take a step back from our busy lives, reflect on all that is truly important, lean on the Lord, and thank Him for His blessings. All that we pray for and desire will be made known to us in God's timing, and in the meantime, I will quote Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, "When God closes a door He opens a window." I pray that it is so.

Thinking Outside the Box....errr Punch!

It was one of those eureka! moments. You get an idea for a layout, which gets even better when you notice something about the title...then you find a way to use a tool in a bit different way. That is how "Allium" came about...and all cardstock project featuring WorldWin for the Scrapbook Playground. I knew I wanted to create an allium flower on the right side of the page. THEN I noticed the letters of the word...and the flower could represent the letter "i". I cut thin strips of green cardstock for the stem, in proportion with a stem on the photo that just happened to e bleeding off. (I just love it when LOs come together because of happen-stance!)

I was perusing my stamps and my eyes landed upon Brittany's Castle acrylic stamps by Cloud 9 that I had just received from lead Fisk-A-Teer May -they had not even been put away yet. A little starburst-like design instantly caught my eye and reminded me of a little burst of tiny flower that makes up the many on an allium head. I stamped the design in a circular pattern to set a base for my flower-making project. While I was at it, I decided to add some smaller stamped flowers at the lower left of the layout, getting out my cool Sakura glitter pen to make the stem.

I then began searching punches for a little flower. Finding none small enough - I grabbed the smallest snowflake I had, thinking it would suffice. But it did not quite deliver the look I was going for...I usually get a pretty clear vision in my head of how I want something to look...and keep pressing forward until I find a way to make it happen. Disappointed in my little purple snowflake I had a EUREKA moment - and went into my Fiskars border punch case for my floral punches. My very first punch ever purchased, the Flower punch, offered just what I needed.

So as not to waste a lot of cardstock I cut 1/2" strips and fed them into the backside of the punch vertically. (Had I punched straight borders I would probably have about 12-20 12" purple border strips that I did not need.) The flower design found in the center of this particular punch provided just the size I needed to create an allium out of cardstock. Better punching right side up the petals angle upwards, giving extra dimension to my layout and mimic an actual allium flower. How cool is that?! A touch to the center with my green glitter pen and a very cool page embellishment in born.

Previously when I have used this punch I considered keeping those perfect little flowers that are "waste" from making a border. Considering the number of things I keep for possible scrapping, however, I thought that was taking frugality a bit to the extreme. Instead my five year old loves to have them...and inevitably I end up vacuuming her confetti from the floor. (LOL)

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the creative process of this layout. A tip - you could feed your cardstock strips through a Xyron. I considered this, but actually wanted my flower petals to stick up for dimension. Instead, I took a piece of Xyron tape and just dabbed it onto the stamped area, leaving a thin sticky residue. I used my paper piercer to remove each flower from the punch and applied it to the stamped area.

Embrace those eureka moments along your creative journey and have fun scrappin'!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Memorial Day Fun!

Memorial Day weekend offered my family a couple days of respite. We spent one day at our friend's lake house. The fish weren't biting but we had a great visit. My friend Deb and I came up with a treasure hunt for the kids - I have to scrap that layout yet. It was so fun coming up with clues to send them around the property and of course at the end they received gold treasure in the form of honeysticks!(LOL)

The lake house is always a nice retreat from the busy-ness of everyday life. No internet, there is a TV but even the kids don't turn it on. We play games, cards and on this trip went to a Memorial Day sweet corn fest sponsored by the area VFW Legion.

On Monday morning we backtracked a bit and visited my sister and her family, where everyone would be gathering. The kids rallied a game of volleyball, quite sure that they, when up against the parents, would easily take us. As it turns out the adults had to take it easy on them and we "worked hard" so that the kids could win the last game. (LOL) I have never been good at sports (although if lawn golf was a sport it would be my new thing!) - when it came to volleyball all I was ever good at was serving. I am sure it was all those farm girl muscles - and I had to be careful not to serve it out of court. Not much has changed...all I was really good for was serving, but I did help my team in that respect.

Give me a creative project any day over sports...that is truly my thing. The layout above will forever preserve the adult team victories. Did you know that Fiskars posts a new sketch every month? They do - and if you get it loaded in time (I think I missed it) your name is in a drawing for a prize. "Volleyball" is my take on the May sketch, and papers by Heidi Grace, using her Midnight Kisses line, was perfect for this "get out the red, white and blue" kind of day.

This past weekend I scrapped! The challenge was to focus on cardstock only layouts. I had a blast - and love thinking outside the box when patterned paper is not in the creative equation. I ended up making more cardstock projects than required for the 6/5 upload at the Scrapbook Playground. Stay tune for a teaser...I found a new use for a Fiskars border punch - some serious outside the box, creative thinking. Can't wait to show you once I get the photo taken. Happy crafting!