Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Going Green for Christmas

Well, it's Wednesday which tends to mean it's my day to post my Jingle Belles Christmas card.

Week 13 is all about "The Holly and The Ivy".  To incorporate holiday foliage onto our cards - holly, ivy, mistletoe or even poinsettias - anything considered leaves and not flowers.

Each week the first thing I do is to have a rummage through my overflowing Christmas drawer for anything which might fit the challenge. This week, I was surprised to find loads of bits and pieces I could use and ended up over-achieving (again) and making four cards! Yes, I surprise myself sometimes!

Two were identical so here are the three:

Ok, so this is my least favourite and also the one I did two of, but I liked extending the cut-out off the card.

I have been enjoying just delving into my scraps bag and mixing up patterns and manufacturers. 

I love CC - this is just so pretty! 

So another set of cards sitting pretty in my drawer. 
 Thanks for looking and what's your pile of cards looking like? So great isn't it? Thanks Jingle Belles!

PS. Don't forget to check out my post (Help Me Celebrate!) to share what cheers you up and to be entered into my mini-prize draw to celebrate 300 blog posts! It would be lovely to hear from you!

I intend to make the draw at the weekend so there's still a few days - the more the merrier!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Mini-challenge - You've Been Framed

The Counterfeit Kit Challenge site is proving so much fun this month. Maybe it's because it's following on from LOAD last month and I am still on a challenge kick, but I have really loved diving in to the challenges as they come up.

The kit is still going strong and I think I might have one more layout to make with it and then I will break out the bits back into my stash ready for next month.

The latest mini-challenge was to use a frame in your work somehow. Frame the photo, frame the journalling, frame an element, use a frame as a main design feature - whatever.

I had my hands on a bright blue sparkly bling frame from MM that came in a kit last year that I wanted to use, but it just didn't inspire me so back it went.

Then I looked at the papers I had in my kit and decided to go for a completely different direction by picking out the darker colours and using my woodgrain (which is BG is actually a dark grey rather than brown) as my main background. The other side of a bright orange was a black and white spot, and I had put in a couple of pieces of BG basics in cream and kraft which looked like it could all work.

But the photos proved a bit tricky for this darker idea. No jolly, kiddie photos or flowers or most general topics would look good based on a nearly black background.

Then I came across some architectural photos I had taken (or maybe Ted had) in Düsseldorf when we took Ted there for him to take pictures and inspiration for an architectural project he was working on for school.

In this part of town there are three totally funky buildings designed by Frank O. Gehry and the metal covered one is just so great that I thought I would use those. Limited journalling, just giving the architect's name and where they are was all it needed.

As for my frame, I tried to get a bit funky myself and create an odd shaped frame to mirror the curves of the building and used it as a base for my title.

I just adore the lines of this building. 

I am really pleased with myself for getting this totally different design out of my kit which is so predominantly full of nature's colours. (I needed to add in the alphas and the ribbon). The challenge really got me thinking and it forced me to do something I wouldn't normally. I love it!

Do you like to be pushed outside the box?

PS. Don't forget to check out my previous post (Help Me Celebrate!) to share what cheers you up and to be entered into my mini-prize draw to celebrate 300 blog posts! It would be lovely to hear from you!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Help Me Celebrate!

First things first...

I have been such a creative bunny recently. Joining in on challenges, making cards, scrapping lots, catching up with missed assignments from past classes. And of course there is the reading. That could be considered creative if you stretch the meaning a bit :-)

And last week I ventured out into the world of other crafty people, to my local craft trade fair Creativa. I don't have a very local LSS so once a year, I brave the crowds to this fair and when I say crowds, I mean it. I am always surprised by just how many people are there even on workday afternoons.

It's a huge fair covering everything from scrapbooking to card making, from serviette technique (!?) to painting, from patchwork to doll making, and everything in between. The good, the bad and the downright bizarre!

Quilting seemed to be a main topic this year and a patchwork quilt in the colours of a local, rather passionate football club caught my eye (for good or bad, I'm not quite sure!):

Then there was the artistic display made entirely of paper (I think these were made of some sort of mushed up paper pulp):

Don't ask me what these insect looking wall things were supposed to be - I suspect they might have had lights inside but I don't think I will be rushing to get them on my wall. They remind me too much of some creepy crawly horror movie!

Mmmm? Really not sure about this.  Environmentally friendly, it might be. But it's a bit creepy!
And Easter was definitely in the air with so many bunnies and eggs and everything you need to make your own Easter decorations:

Even though the show itself seemed to be bigger than last year and there seemed to be more people there, I was a bit disappointed at the scrapbooking stands. Not as many real scrapbook stores represented and then the range of products was quite limited. Lots of really old products mainly reduced, much of which I already had and have even been purging from my supplies recently, and the new stuff was mostly Prima and Tim Holtz. No BG Luscious, no Echo Park, not even much American Crafts.

I was a bit disappointed. Not disappointed enough to have saved my money mind you!

I still managed to come home with a bad chock full of scrumptious supplies that cost waaaay toooo much!

I concentrated on embellishments as I have so much paper already and stocked up on lots and lots of Prima flowers, some bling and then other interesting bits and pieces I saw along the way. Of course, I got home and thought that I should have taken the plunge and got X or Y or why didn't I get two Z. But on the whole, I am really pleased with what I got. I picked up just a few sheets of paper (MME Stella & Rose) and a few alphas including 4 packs of Thickers but the rest is all embellishments. Pretty stuff!

Every year I come home vowing not to go again next year but with the lack of a good local shop, I find myself drawn to it each year again! And it's always fun to see some of the "interesting" hobbies that are out there.

Anyway, onto the celebrate mentioned in my blog post title.

This blog post is my 300th!!!!

I first started the blog back in 2006 so that means I'm obviously not posting often enough, but 300 sounds like quite a big number to me!

And it so happens that this weekend is the weekend of a retreat that I should have been at but which I needed to cancel. So I'm sitting here, nursing an icky cold but needing to do something to cheer me up.

So, in celebration of 300 blog posts, I'm going to do a little giveaway.

I have a little pile of goodies here (some Graphic 45 Le' Romantique papers and some La Blanche fairy rub ons) which I will be adding to with some bits and pieces that I round up from my room and I would love to share them with one of you.

To be entered into my first ever draw, just leave me a comment telling me something that cheers you up!

I'll pick a winner next weekend.

Friday, 25 March 2011

More counterfeit layouts...

My counterfeit kit is getting lots of use and I'm loving the challenge of using it for totally different styles of layouts and trying to find ways to combine some of the really old products I put into my kit with the newer stuff. Oh, yes, and then there's the challenge of creating titles with alpha sets which are already half depleted :-).

All in all, enough to get the old grey matter churning!

Layout #3 uses up lots of MME scraps, a really old 7Gypsies journalling tag and just two of the hundreds of photos I have from our golfing holiday in the Austrian Alps.

I am still unsure really how to tackle holiday photos. I don't want to produce pages and pages of layouts for each holiday (there goes me making it sound like we have holidays all the time!), so what's to be done? What I tend to do at the moment is just pick out photos that say something particular about the holiday and then move on like that - nothing matching, nothing very coherent and not an awful lot of detail. I'd be interested to know what anyone else does. 

Not a favourite layout, but overall, it's ok.

Another great thing that they offer on the Counterfeit Kit Challenge site is resources for printables and tutorials. I had some time on my hands and checked some of them out. This month's printables were based around bees because the original SC kit had a sweet little bee stamp in it. I liked a couple of the downloads and decided to print out some on transparency to cut out, and a little label type thing on photo paper. 

When I came across these gorgeous photos of sweet Isabella pottering in the garden, the little bees found a happy home!

This layout took me forever as I had the bright idea to do some stitching - wow, that adds hours on, I can tell you! But I wanted to try out making some bee flight lines to add some texture and interest so ploughed through. I really must get my sewing machine repaired - I want to do more sewing. It may have taken ages, but I enjoyed the process and the outcome.

I also followed up on some of the tutorials and was especially interested in the flowers. I love to add flowers to my layouts but even though Prima are gorgeous, they can hit the wallet a bit hard so some home-made flowers could be interesting. I liked the 5 petal flowers I saw on (link to tutorial here) and decided to try them for myself. Of course, I made it difficult by using some rather small squares of hessian which frayed horribly, but overall, I like the results and if I spent a bit more time and effort, I think this technique makes gorgeous flowers. 

Do you have a favourite home-made flower technique to share? 

This may not be a favourite layout, but it uses up scraps of paper, a super old label, one of the millions of paper flowers I have hanging around, some buttons and embellishments, and the background PP is really old - probably 4 years. So all in all, a very resource-full layout. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

And just one more

This is it. Really. Honestly. I mean it. No more. Just this last one. Promise.

Personally, I blame S.

She always seems to track down the funnest (not a word I think!) challenges and then, the cheek of it, she posts about it and joins in on all the fun. Without thinking about the consequences... Of me reading it and wanting to join in... What a nerve! :-)

Well, here's another one for me.... Another one and it has to be the last one... No really!

So S was blogging about a reading challenge she had come across via a new visitor to her blog who in turn had heard bout it on the blog Callapidder Days. Confused? You will be! (name that TV show!)

But on a serious note, I love reading and just don't do enough of it these days. I've got really lazy recently and hardly ever pick up a book which is such a shame. But every now and again, I get a bee in my bonnet and grab a book off the shelf (one of the MANY I have but haven't read... ) and get going. When I travel back to the UK I always stock up on chick lit at the airport and get through them so quickly. But the ones on my shelves are a bit more meaty. And it's wicked to have them sitting there unloved (bit like my stash!) so this is an ideal challenge for me.

It's supposed to be a relaxed challenge - make it up for yourself kind of thing so you choose how many books you want to commit to, you post about it, read them and post about them at the end. Easy, huh?

I already had a small pile of books on my bedside table so that was a good start and then I added a couple more to the list to spice it up a bit. Or not, depending on your taste in books!

My pile of  books looks like this:

The Heart of the Antarctic - Ernest Shackleton
The legendary Antarctic explorer is such an interesting story with the loss of his ship to the powerful grip of the southern ocean and yet managing to survive and lead his crew to safety across the ice. It's a story that's fascinated me for a long time and at last I am determined to read the book now.
The Endurance - Caroline Alexander
A gorgeous hard-backed book full of previously unpublished, stunning photography of the expedition by Frank Hurley. Another long timer on my shelf that needs to see the light of day.
The Romance of the Book - edited by Marshall Brooks
A collection of essays and excerpts about the book. This and the next book were both bought when I was writing my MBA dissertation back in 1998 and have been scanned but not read. All about reading and books  and the passion that brings out in people. Looking forward to getting to these books without the urgency of research!
A Passion for Books - edited by Dale Salwak
Another book in the same genre as the last. On the dust jacket it says that it's a celebration of reading as well as a defense against the feeling that the electronic world is going to kill the book. Such an interesting idea. My kind of topic.
The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I know nothing about this book. I received it from Dad for my birthday in 2009 so it's way overdue a reading. I have seen it on Amazon with a gazillion good reviews so I think once I get past the first couple of pages, I will love it. Set in Spain at the turn of the last century (I think) which is something that is new for me so another interest factor. Looking forward to getting into this one.
Harmony - A New Way of Looking at Our World - HRH The Prince of Wales, Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly
Definitely not one for everyone, depending on where you sit on the Prince Charles side of things. But I have his first book which is all about his dislike of modern architecture or rather his love of classic design and enjoyed it a lot. This one was bought for me by mum for last year's birthday - it was a case of "I saw this and thought of you" for mum when she first saw it! I loved it. It was a perfect present. It appears to be a philosophical look at the problems with the environment and what we should be thinking about to move to a sustainable life on Earth. Could be heavy but it's one that I want to take my time on. Wish me luck!
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
On the pile of books in the photo, this is the looking very sorry for itself book at the top. I scrapped about my love of this book (and Rhett) during LOAD which prompted me to pick it up and start reading it again. I think it must be almost 20 years since the last time. It has already gotten under my skin and I have found myself crying several times and sighing with frustration with Scarlet more than once. I love this book. The historical detail is incredible although of course, I have no idea as to its accuracy. It's a monster book (799 pages) and I adore each and every word. Still ever so slightly in love with Rhett.

Two works of fiction, 5 non-fiction. A couple of classics. One or two that are a little "out there". From the south pole through the southern states, on to the south of Europe. From exploration to quiet contemplation taking in war and saving the environment along the way. I'm excited to read these books which have been waiting for me for a long time - some are more than 10 years brand new!

There you go. A list that might say something about me. You tell me!

But definitely the last new challenge I am going to take on.... promise!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Stash finding a happy home - Jingle Belles #12

This week's challenge is courtesy of guest star Allison Fillo (blogging here) and she gave us this gorgeous sketch to use.

The first thing that I noticed was that great stack of layered items over on the right which really appealed to me, and seems to be something that is very effective while remaining simple.

When I looked through my papers and Christmas bits, I found a pile of themed embellishments. This is just the kind of thing I am looking to use up on my cards as I don't really use these types of items on my layouts and they are not really my style any more. But they are still cute which makes them perfect on cards - maybe these will go to the younger members of the family.

I decided to just go for it and make up 5 cards at once - all following the same design and using up these Doodlebug papers, stickers and jellies as well as a few other pieces in the same colour scheme. 

Simple, quick and done! Can't get better than that.

It makes me happy to see this type of product being used up and stops the guilt of having stuff that is just sitting there. 

One of these weeks I am going to go for something über-elegant, á la Deb but for now, happy to see my pile of cards growing. 

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Etsy challenge - Counterfeit Kit Club

I've been really enjoying my March Counterfeit kit, although sometimes I think I played it really a bit too safe, filling it with colours and textures that are so me. I love the challenge of trying to use stuff that is not so very comfortable! So, it's great that over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge site, prompts are offered a couple of times a month to get the creative inspiration juices flowing.

Last Sunday, the challenge was to go to Etsy and just find inspiration from browsing through some pages. It reminded me a lot of the prompts from LOAD last month, so I combined this prompt with the eBay one from LOAD and entered my name into the search field on Etsy and then looked through the results.

I was so impressed at the gorgeous items for sale and was almost spoilt for choice for ideas to use on my layout.

This beautiful iPad cover caught my eye quite quickly as the Amy Butler fabric is gorgeous and the lines of the cover are just great. I really liked the flap with the button and decided that I would take this element onto my layout. Looking at it now, I can see another layout featuring the vertical lines (maybe stitching) with the circular elements on top. Maybe I will get around to another one with this idea...

Photo from Etsy - lisaroyhandbags

I decided to make two tags with tabs around a central button and have that as the main embellishment feature of my layout.

As usual at the moment, I just grabbed some photos and made it work together with the papers. It's interesting that most of the time I actually start designing the page without any idea of which photos I'm going to use or the story I want to tell. I sort out the papers and start placing them down before I go looking for the photos. I really think this is something positive to have come out of LOAD. I've stopped double guessing myself and just go with the flow.

I think I can also think that this is all part of my OLW - Release.

And that all reminds me of an old Paperclipping Round Table podcast I was listening to the other day (from way back at the beginning of the show) where they were talking about process. Maybe that is a post for another day, because I think my process changes from one day to the next! What about you?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Catching up - yet again

As you know, I am a bit of a class junky. Love them, love learning, love being part of the class community, love trying out new things.

Of course, the problem is that I sign up for too many and then don't manage to do some/any of the assignments. But I do most of my classes over at BPC and they offer lifetime access so even if I don't keep up while the class is happening, I can access the classroom as and when I want and try to finish up.

I think I could do nothing but class assignments from previous classes for the next two years if I did that for all that I've missed (!) but every now and again, I get a bee in my bonnet to finish up a particular class. Sometimes it's even a class that I totally adored and I can't even tell you why I didn't keep up.

One such class was "Colour! or is it Color?" by Nic H. I loved her first class, fell in love with this colour class but lost my momentum. Now is the time to make amends! I'm feeling inspired and productive at the moment so I fished out the handouts and have been making some progress.

Actually, this first layout was completed back in January but I haven't shared it here. I think you can see that the colour for this week was green. Lots of layers, lots of distressing, three photos (got to love that multi-photo design), love of dimension and lots and lots of handmade leaves! I love this layout, and I love this little girl. Isn't she gorgeous?

And just one more for today by sharing this layout for the colour blue. I followed the design quite closely, even choosing the same papers as Nic H which is unusual for me. But something I realised when I was looking through my stash, I have very few blue papers - or at least very few that would have worked on a layout like this. I liked the combination of the blue with the orange and these papers from BG's Marrakech hadn't yet been broken into so this was a good opportunity.

It's a great design for a series of 5 photos that are connected, giving lots of space for journalling as well as plenty of room for lots of embellishing. It could be adapted for a single page layout, easily turned 90° or adapted in many different ways. It's a design I will be coming back to again in the future as I really enjoyed the ease of this construction.

Have you got classes lurking in the background that are calling you to get them finished? Try getting one out and trying to get just one missed assignment done! I promise you, it will feel great to get it done. You never know, it might spur you on to get the whole class finished!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What a Cool Yule! Jingle Belles #11

Another week has gone by and can you believe that it's really heading towards April already? The weeks are flying so quickly, it's hard to keep up. 

I really ought to do the Jingle Belle challenges as soon as they come out rather than leaving it to the last day because this way, I lose track of the days and then I have to do a bit of a rush at the end! 

The story of the life of a procrastinator! 

This week's prompt is a colour scheme suggested by Jingle Belle Leslie, (The Crooked Stamper). It's a gorgeous non-traditional color palette based on this gorgeous inspiration photo from The Lettered Cottage.

When I looked through my Christmas stash, I came across some really old (at least three or four Christmases!) MME papers featuring exactly these colours. I love the combination of browns, blues and whites (or creams) and had fallen in love with this paper when I had first seen it and had to have it (another story of my life!). I adore the papers, really really love them but had never used them (yet another story!) and so this was the time to get them out and make the first cut.

I am trying to keep the cards simple each week. I don't spend a lot of time on them compared to the hours and hours I put into each scrap layout and I don't think I have the necessary patience to create more anything more complex. I have a standard size that I'm making each card and the central tag seems to be a common design! I'm learning what works for me and picking up some tips from the others in the challenge. I'm enjoying  the process more than I have in the past and now feel quite motivated to get on with some more cards.

Does anyone out there have any design tips for me with regard to Easter cards???

Monday, 14 March 2011

A New Challenge

There are so many challenges out there in the blogosphere that it's hard to keep up with them all. There are so many I would love to participate in, but it's just not possible. So it's important to keep my eyes open for the ones that really draw me in.

I find lots of challenges that interest me on Deb's blog - I honestly don't know how she keeps up with them all and STILL produce such stunning creations for each one; and also S's blog - I am amazed at the quantity of fun, happy layouts she produces.

So far, I have joined in "Jingle Belles - Taking December back... one holiday card at a time!" courtesy of Deb and now I have decided to jump in at the deep end with the "Counterfeit Kit Challenge" courtesy of S.

If you haven't heard about the Counterfeit Kit Challenge, the idea behind it is that most of us have so much stash that isn't being used that we can use the big kit clubs as inspiration to shop our stash and create similar kits of our own. Then the blog issues challenges to use up the kit throughout the month.

This is right up my street as I love using kits but am not subscribing to any right now, and I have lots of stash (admit it, who doesn't??) that I need to use. I always feel like I need more, but we don't really need more do we?!? We need to use up what we have! And I've learnt to love using my stash thanks to the other big challenge I participate in three times a year, LOAD.

I lurked watched S produce kits in January and February and have now decided to join in for March.

This month's counterfeit kit is using the Studio Calico kit "Into the Woods" and also all four add-on kits as its inspiration - choose one or all of the kits, copy it exactly if you have the products, be inspired by the general feel of the project, or the colours or the theme. Anything goes.

Here is a photo of "Into the Woods" from the SC site (I decided to start easy by just choosing one main kit rather than getting ahead of myself) and I went with the general feel of the kit, including those gorgeous bright yellows and oranges.
(Photo from SC site)
I've noticed that I tend to shy away from these bright shades and yet I always love them when I see others using them, so that was a good starting point. Then I just looked around for some papers that were similar colours or designs and a collection of embellishments that fit the theme. I added in more than in the original kit as I tend to embellish more than most and I also made sure that I picked out some really old stuff that I would like finish.

So here is my kit:

Now that I see the kits side by side they don't really look so similar, but I am happy with how it's turned out. The papers along the top are full sheets but the sheets at the bottom are only partial. I dived into my scrap box to find some bits and pieces too. The alphas are all half used already so that will be a challenge in itself to create titles with limited letters. In fact, most of the products I have picked out are not complete and that will feel really good if I really get to use up most of it. I included lots of neutrals, and nature shades and textures which I love using.

I decided to jump straight in and make a layout using some photos of Maddie and Cameron. Yes, I know that there is yet another banner on there (!!) and I actually fished out the JBS banner stickers and letters for that to add into the kit but it seemed a good addition to the middle.

I like the overall selection of products and colours here and realised that I definitely wouldn't have mixed them up and used them in this way normally. So the kit has already proved fun and interesting for me.

I also picked out photos that didn't really have much to say to me (especially as I wasn't there with them on that day) and instead of talking about the children themselves, I journalled about how I "steal" photos like these from Liberty's computer whenever I am over there so that I can keep up with these scrumptious munchkins. Also a different direction for me.

I'm interested to make a few more layouts with my counterfeit kit (perhaps I should give it a name?) throughout the rest of the month, being inspired by the challenges the site gives out and also by the other counterfeiters. Sounds like good fun to me.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Secret scrapping

Usually, after LOAD I go into scrapping hibernation for a week or two, unable to work without the challenge of "having" to do a layout.

And there is really something in it. It's quite difficult to actually just get up and make something - for the fun of it.

This time, though, I had to get back into it as I had a couple of magazine commissions (The Scrapbook Magazine) and out came the paper and glue once again.

I suppose, it's also a type of challenge, working to a specific guideline regarding topic or product and maybe that's why it works so well for me.

Anyway, they won't be featured for a month or two so I can't show you the whole thing but here are some sneaks.

It's so thrilling for me to see my work published in the magazine and I love it when Liberty and I are featured in the same issue (sometimes even in the same article!). I really ought to spread my wings a bit and try some other magazines, but for now it's just so great to be part of a British publication - connects me to home in some way.

And here is my reward to myself for finishing LOAD and for getting the commissions done on time.

Yes, I had a little splurge and treated myself to my favourite of all the pre-CHA sneaks - For the Record from Echo Park, as well as a few single sheets from Glitz, a few embellishments (finally got hold of the TH film strip) and some kraft cardstock as I seem to be going through that at quite a rate!

Now to get back to scrapping just for me...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Jingle Belles #10

This week's challenge over at Jingle Belles is "Home for the Holidays".

Guest star Rose from Rose's Happy Place came up with the challenge after finding herself singing along to "Home for the Holidays" and so, this week we should make a card inspired by our own Home for the Holidays ... it might be our childhood home, our current home, or our home-away-from-home.

My mind went off in all sorts of directions, considering an alternative colour scheme of red, white and blue to represent going back to the UK for Christmas, through to something German now that home is here. 

But in the end, I went with Santa. 

I believe

Do you?

I believed in magic right through my childhood, refusing to listen to friends who told me otherwise. I knew that Father Christmas came to visit me each Christmas, even if he didn't visit any of my friends.

Father Christmas appears to have lost my address the last few years, but I am still a big believer.

So a simple card for this simple sentiment. 

The red bling is for the pretty fairy lights that were always the main attraction for me on the tree.

Want to get ahead for Christmas? Why not join us all over at Jingle Belles? The prompts are great and that pile of Christmas cards is so worth it! With the number I need to send each year, I will be done and finished long before December!

Monday, 7 March 2011

LOAD Recap 2

Now where were we?

Oh yes, just finishing off the layouts from LOAD and then I want to write a few lines about what I learnt this time around.

So shall we start?

25th February

Five Item Friday: 1 piece of patterned paper, embroidery thread, alphas, a border of some sort, an acrylic shape.

Definitely getting harder, this five items only stuff! And I cheated. I just couldn't get to grips with only one sheet of paper. So not fair!

But other than that, I really only used some thread, one set of alphas, an acrylic heart and some lace as my border. So I still think that I did pretty well to get it together! Normally, I use nearer to 20 items on a page so scaling back to anything was a challenge.

Anyway, just a bittersweet layout about me with a lot of journalling which limited the decorated section to only the top third. The photos took up the majority of the remaining space and I was feeling rather limited until I realised that it didn't need any embellishments really. The title fitted perfectly (total fluke!) and it was done. This was probably one of the quickest layouts I did all month as I had already written up and tweaked the journalling. I was under time pressure and rose to the occasion!

BTW, I bought several packs of BG chipboard letters some time ago (used here) and I love them. In white, brown and dark brown in two fonts, they are so versatile and I love how the white can be inked up a bit to really fit into the layout I am creating. I might have to keep my eyes open for more.

26th February

The prompt included a photo from a clothes catalogue featuring two adorable little girls in outfits featuring blues and reds, spots and stripes.

I decided just to go with the childish, playful feel of the photo and make something without much thought.

This BG paper (Euphoria) is quite difficult to use so I challenged myself to use some - I love the individual colours and many of the prints are great but it's all so BRIGHT when looked at together! But it seemed to fit the bill of childish and playful and had lots of blues.

Silly photos, some chipboard bits and pieces, some fun labels and a bit of journalling. Done.

Best layout? No way. Photos used and story captured? You bet!

27th February

The prompt today was to ask yourself questions about your layout as you make it - what if's, what do I like's, what works, why do I do's.

I can't really say that I actively followed the prompt but I did pick up this photo from last year which sort of tied into the story from Friday and asked myself what it was I wanted to say about it. I didn't really want to write about the day itself, just the photo - which I love.

I also noticed that I decided to cut the flourishes out of a full sheet of paper rather than using it as it came, and that my cluster can be small and still pretty.

28th February

Today, we were treated to an interview of Sandra Magsamen, author of Living Artfully which was very inspiring. And the following prompt was to self reflect and recognise what we have learnt this time around and to incorporate a new technique or whatever into our layout.

At the end of May and October last year, I took a photo of my completed pile of layouts and then incorporated it into my layout and I knew that I wanted to do this again but with a different approach. I knew that I wanted to talk about the wonderful people who I have got to know through LOAD and many of whom have become "friends".

That pile of layouts makes me feel so good and so proud and so productive! And all the comments on my layouts in the gallery make me feel great. It was such a great experience that I can't wait for LOAD in May.

Lessons learnt?

  • I realised that I really do have my own style now - when I tried to do a layout that wasn't me, it was so hard and took me so long! That doesn't mean that I don't love other styles. I really do. But somehow I have to adapt those layouts that I admire so much into a "Lisa" layout and not try to squeeze me into someone else's design. I love white space - totally adore it. But it's just NOT me! LOL. Try as I might, it's not natural for me. My white space layout - love it but won't be doing it again in a hurry (here), and a more Lisa layout with lots of stuff and a cluster of goodies (here).
  • I again noticed how good I feel when I am using up product and attacking kits that have been lying around since forever! I still have a bit of a way to go with a pile of 7 kits there on the floor and actually, still two kits from Libby's Bellaboo days (both of which I adore so much that it's really hard to bring myself to use them), but there is usually something that can be done with even the kits that don't grab me straight away. I need to learn to look at papers to see how they can be used for the layouts that I like to do and to look at the embellishments with a mix and match view. I should also be more prepared to add stuff into the kits if the embellishments are not working as they are.
  • I cut a lot this month. This is something that has been developing for me and it really became a bit of a thing in February. I found that I looked at papers in a new way asking myself if any element could be cut out to be used individually. Even very intricate designs were cut out, which took me a long time but also calmed me down and gave me time to sit and concentrate on the paper. It takes as long as it takes, and I like the slowing down it gives me as well as the focus. Loved the addition of this flourish and it just wouldn't have been the same if I hadn't really cut it out in detail like I did (here).
  • I am a slow scrapper! This isn't really anything new but it became more than clear this month. It takes me anything from 90 mins to three hours to do a regular layout. I envy those who can get their layout done in 30 minutes at the end of a busy day and I suppose that I could do that if I really had to. But generally, I don't have to. I make the time, letting other things lapse, to do the layout in the time it takes. I know that I neglected R in the process and I have the luxury of more time compared to many of my fellow LOADsters (many of whom have partners, kids, pets, homes, full-time jobs, activities to attend etc etc etc - how do they do it???) but that is my process and that is what I enjoy. I don't like to rush it. Often I way underestimate how long it will take and I lose track of time but it's so soothing for me. It's definitely cheap therapy :-) This layout probably took me the longest (here) because of the ribbon roses and getting the layers all in the right place, but I did notice that limiting the products on Five Item Friday speeded up the process as I had less decisions to make. This one (here) came together really quite quickly (for me!). I guess it was nice for me to be able to take the time when I wanted to and to have quicker routines at others.
  • I have often avoided printed journalling because of the time it takes me to get it right, sized right, cut and glued (especially when I have a clumsy day) but this month, I turned to printing out my journalling onto strips time and time again. It got quicker and easier as the month went on and I don't want to stop writing my journalling, but it was good to have an alternative for when I had more to say. I played around with this layout (here) to get the journalling onto a semi-circle and was so pleased with the result. Not perfect, but good enough! I tend to use American Typewriter font at size 10, 11 or 12 and then cut it into 3/8" strips (near enough). This means I can fit quite a lot into a small space and it's still easy to read. Saying this, the statistics are handwritten: 18 & printed: 10 so maybe I didn't do it as often as it felt!
  • I loved being part of the LOAD communitiy, seeing familiar faces, getting to know them more through their art, giving and receiving comments. I think this is really the main reason I go back to LOAD again and again. I love the challenge of being "pushed" into doing a layout every day and the sense of achievement at the end of the month, but the other girls in the group are the motivation to really get it done. I miss them all when it's over and can't wait to catch up with them again on their blogs, through email, or next LOAD in May. This layout was a special tribute to them (here).

A few statistics:
  • 30 single page layouts
  • 1 two page layout
  • 7 layouts with a single photo
  • 23 layouts with multiple photos
  • 1 layout with no photo
  • 124 photos scrapped
  • 8 layouts with three photos - most common number
  • 11 layouts made with old kits
  • 3 kits used up
  • How I'd love to count up how many pieces of paper I used but let's just say - a huge number!
  • Favourite layout - February 2nd - My one little word layout "Release"
  • Least favourite layout -February 26th - My silly, childish one "On Top of the World" (will have to try harder with these difficult papers)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

LOAD Recap 1

And so another LOAD comes to an end. I really think it was the best yet. The prompts were really good and got me thinking in all sorts of ways that were unexpected. I created 28 pages which I mostly love (just one or two on the more like side of love!). And I used up lots and lots of stash, finishing off three kits to the point where there were just scraps left, including one which was certainly my least favourite kit of last year. So that feels good.

But first, here are the first half of the last layouts:

21st February

The prompt was to go to your favouite scrapbook magazine/resource and spend five mins looking though. Find a new or different way of doing something or using product and go for it.

Actually, I didn't do this prompt as I had thought about these photos while I was doing the previous day's layout and thought I wanted to do a comparison layout of Joe and Ted at the same tourist site doing exactly the same thing. I was surprised when I tracked down the photos of Joe just how similar their poses were and yet what different boys they are/were. An interesting process for me, reminding me to do this more often.

Side note: I actually got Joe's age wrong here (he was 14 1/2!) even after going backwards and forwards trying to work out hold old each of them would have been. Ok, maths was never my strong point! But I figure it was close enough to leave it and the title wouldn't have worked!

Another kit finished.

22nd February

Product highlight day: use paper punches.

After finishing off the kit yesterday, I really wanted to attack another one of my least favourites and this one sprung to mind. It really was one I just couldn't get to grips with at all. The papers were way too bright and there were four different banner items in the kit and I was just wondering how many banners you can have in one kit! Even I got a little bannered out. But I am always up for the challenge and so I opened it up and looked again with a more critical eye.

I love this die cut and it was by far the nicest paper in the kit and so that was a good start. I had seen this cutting technique before and thought it would be a good way of creating a space for the photos and a separate space for embellishment and title. Then I spied this pack of title letters that have been sitting around for a couple of years and decided that this could just be a bright, silly layout about Easter.

I don't really have a lot of paper punches and I only buy the ones I really want to use, so I just picked out a couple and used them in a way that is a bit new for me. I punched the edge of the photos and I quite like how that turned out. And I punched the scallop circles and decided to try to make some flowers using the JBS crepe paper strips. At the end of the day, I can see that the layout is ok, but it's not a fave at all. I like the die cut background and the banner and seeing product being use up but the rest - bleh!

23rd February

Lift a design element from an advertisement.

I again decided to go my own way on this one and didn't use the prompt. I've done that before though and it's a really good prompt - one to remember in the future.

Having attacked the "least favourite" kit the day before, I decided that if I could make one more layout out of it, I could justify breaking up the rest and calling it done. So another banner layout was born and I vowed to try and make it to the end of the month without any more banners.

The inspiration for this came from an old email I had come across from 2008 from Libby. We were just about to go over to visit for Easter and for Maddie's birthday and Libby was telling me how excited the kids had been to see us. Such a simple little thing but I remember thinking how funny the "Maddie loving" was and it felt good to know that they like us going to visit. I'm not sure the excitement is quite the same now that they are older and I am not certain that R gets so much attention from Maddie any more but it was lovely to remember back.

Thanks to my photo storage binders, these photos from that trip over were easy to find and are perfect to tell the story.

Another kit used up!

24th February

Use a list as journalling

Obviously, towards the end of LOAD, I was feeling a bit rebellious as here is another layout that I didn't follow the prompt for! But it did start out from the prompt so does that count?

I started thinking about a layout I had seen in the gallery listing favourite books, recent faves, what's being read at the moment etc and thought that this was actually something I hadn't done yet. So I started writing down a few ideas and in the end decided just to go with my favourite book of all time.

The book itself as well as the story is very special to me and even though the photos look a bit uninspiring, it was important for me to include it on the layout.

Another kit with elements that have proved more difficult for me being used up although I have added in a few pieces for the cluster and the journalling paper.

I thought I would  break up this post into two as I realise it is quite long and I wanted to put a bit at the end about what I have learnt this time around. So watch this space for LOAD Recap 2.

Have any of the prompts triggered any new or unusual ideas for layouts with you?


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