Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Creating for Halloween

Halloween is not big over here in Germany. They don't really know much about it and only think it's something commercial imported from USA to get kids to spend money they don't need to - I'm trying to educate them about this!

But I have introduced it to my German family and what is really good here is that November 1st is All Saints' Day which is a Bank Holiday and therefore, always a day off. And that means that we can do something every year on the actual day, and not worry about getting up for work the next day.

For years, we kept it very low key with just a family dinner, but we have been building up the spookiness and the decoration and the whole look and now it's become a tradition that the Hausmanns will host a Halloween dinner and everyone should come along - in a costume! They do so well, and humour me in my attempt to bring a little bit of home over here. ** Actually, I think they probably only come along for a piece of delicious pumpkin pie but at least they come!

I have been building up my decorations recently and last year I made this banner (here) and this wreath (here) that I have talked about before, as well as this banner (here) from early Bellaboo days. But this year, I really wanted to go a bit further and use up some more of the bits and pieces that I have collected as well as some of the papers that are filling my Halloween drawer but are rarely used on a layout. I mean, how many layouts can I make about a single evening, once a year!?!

And I decided that my poor under-used Cricut needed some attention and an idea for a simple banner came to be. Serious inking, glitter and Stickles add to the mix:

** Sorry that the photos are not so good but it's a loooong banner and I struggled to get a good shot - and difficult light these days.

And I had a leftover wreath that was just crying out to be used up and I had an idea to use black feathers and make some felt roses. These roses were just so fun to use and I love the effect - I added in some Stickles and glittered up those horrible spiders and the bat:

I painted some candles for my large candelabra and added some black feathers and lots of spider webs:

And last but not least, I decided that my mantlepiece was screaming out to be Halloweened up so I got some black candles for here too, added some candy eyes (they taste as disgusting as they look apparantly!) in a glass and glittered up some decorative pumpkins and a potted spider, mixing these in with mini real pumpkins which are all the rage over here:

** Couldn't resist taking a flash photo here to get the sparkle showing! Soooo pretty!!!

And costumes? This year, we are trying to create a Frankenstien's monster and a ghostly "bride" (we'll see how we get on - costumes are always thrown together in a matter of minutes, shortly before everyone arrives!)

I hate to think what the neighbours think of me - several of these items are outside the flat door - in the communal stairway and they must think I'm mad!!!

Monday, 25 October 2010

100 sheets!

Quite some time ago - back at the beginning of September - I decided to join S on her "School of Scrap" challenge which translated for me as "Cut into 100 sheets of patterned paper". I decided to include any 12x12 sheets of journalling cards but not to include any sheet of paper that had already been cut into - even if it was only half an inch. S added any sheets that came into her studio via kits back into her numbers but I decided that would be too demotivating for me!

Last night, my number went over 100! Yoo hoo! Go me! S's incentive for herself was that after 100 sheets, she could go shopping again but I just wanted to see how quickly this would happen for me. Of course, doing LOAD has helped (didn't date my usage but let's face it - every day, new sheets have been cut into!) and so has my goal of using up my Scrapagogo kits as well as joining Deb on her Create Free mini book. But 100 sheets is 100 sheets... if I could just get them totally used up now!

I kept a list of what I have used and it gives a few clues about where my scrapping loyalties lie:

BasicGrey - 39 sheets from 9 different collections
Cosmo Cricket - 24 sheets from 6 different collections
My Mind's Eye - 8 sheets
Crate Paper - 8 sheets (but all included in the Scrapagogo kits - I don't buy much of this myself)

And I can also see that I have used up (or at least cut into)14 sheets of Christmas paper (I have whole collections which are untouched) and just yesterday, started attacking my Halloween papers (only one of which is counted as this was #100) and in total, made inroads into papers from 16 different manufacturers and 35 different collections. Makes you giddy just thinking about it all!

 So, BG it is for me then!!!

Ok, so enough of the numbers - the main thing is that it's day 25 and I am still in on the daily layout (LOAD) and my pile of layouts this month is looking good!

I'll post some more layouts soon but in the meantime, I will leave you with this sneak peek of what I have been up to as well recently.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Pushing on

Can it really be day 23 of October already? Well, my diary says it is and I have the pile of layouts from LOAD to prove it.

It can be hard to come up with something new and interesting every day but maybe that is because I try to really change it up each day. If you look back over the days, I hope you might find that each day is a bit different and I am trying to use a different combination of colours or elements. It helps that I have been using up old kits so of course each one of these are different. But I have also just been grabbing old papers each day and scouring the room for bits and pieces that need to be used.

Very often, the designs have not turned out as I saw them in my mind, but these are just for me and so it's ok. Like Libby always says, "The scrapbooking police are not going to come knocking on the door!"

Each day in LOAD, there has been a prompt which I have been using most of the time to give me a jumping off point. This also helps. But again, if I have another idea, I will use that instead. I am not getting hung up on anything. I remind myself that this is supposed to be fun. And yes, this month it has been fun. And therapeutic!

October 18th
** The prompt was to make a hybrid layout - as in use your computer for some aspect of the page. Hence the printed journalling which I often avoid as it takes too long to get the size right! Another two pager which surprised me too. But I saw these gorgeous autumn photos and I was lost! They were so gorgeous that I knew I had to use them all - untrimmed. The little cluster was inspired by the Create Free mini book I have been working through. The kraft label in the background is the base we have been using for the collages for each page and just thought it would be ideal for this. Problem is, I have a bit of trapped space underneath the "M" but I can live with that. What I find more difficult is the lack of margin on the RHS. I suppose I just should have stopped talking but the journalling was all about what I love about autumn and nothing could be left out so the victim was the common margin. Design sin #1!

** See that gorgeous Gretel Woodland paper there? Well, when I looked through my PP stash, I appeared to have about 10 sheets of the same paper. I mean, I love this paper but 10 sheets? I think I wanted to use it at some point for a selection of inspiration cards but never got around to it. So anyway, I have been using it up over the last couple of weeks. It features on my 12 on 12, my Create Free mini-book and generally wherever I think I can get away with it! I think I have used up 3 or 4 sheets so far. Any ideas of what else I could use it for???

** Yes, more evidence of the lack of a margin. It's not bothering me (*twitch, twitch*), really not (*twitch, twitch*).

October 19th
** The prompt was to use a Page Maps sketch (here) which was great as I love her sketches. I need to remember to use them more often. I adapted it to fit my 12x12 format and then I realised I wanted to make it a spread so I mirrored it. I take a lot of photos. Many of them seemingly have no point to them, but I like them nonetheless. These photos are examples of this. I have scrapped before about going "home" to Birmingham and being a tourist there these days but this time, I used similar photos to just note a few things I remembered about the Bull Ring from my childhood and compare it to its modern reincarnation. Do you remember King Kong ???

 October 20th 
** The prompt today was to make a 30 minute layout. Mmmm. As R always says when he is driving too fast and I remind him of the speed limit, "Yep, got that!" So, don't even ask me how long this took me. But I had come across this gorgeous CC paper that I just had to buy when I saw it - Fleuriste - and I was determined to use it. It was so grungy and proved a bit challenging! the layout  was not as successful as I had in my mind, but overall I was playing and kind of like it! The cutting along took me at least 30 mins so maybe I will try this prompt another time. 30 minutes sounds a bit scary but I think I could do it if I put my mind to it! The main thing I keep thinking is that I am using up stash and photos and writing down thoughts and stories so it is all worth it - 30 minutes or 3 hours. This actually looks better IRL if you can believe me! 

 October 21st
** Make something larger than the rest to make it stand out. I went to my large photo box and my eyes fell on this photo which I still love. No, more like LOVE! So there it was. A simple design made the 5x7 stand out even more and there's that gorgeous BG Origins again. A favourite for sure.

 October 22nd
** The prompt today was to use different methods to make the important part of the layout stand out or to guide your eyes to the main thing in the layout. Flipping through my storage binder, I saw these photos and challenged myself to use them. BG Boxer had the perfect colours as I wanted to bring out the red of the poppies and the blue and greens of the uniforms. The photos themselves are not stellar but it's a story about something that I miss now that I live outside the UK. And I miss the poppies even more. When I realised what I wanted to say about the photos, I realised that there was a perfect poppy in the photo, a proud looking older veteran directly next to some flags, and a young cadet in the foreground. They all seemed to sum up what I wanted to say and so I decided to highlight them.  The title said everything we need to remember.

 October 23rd
** Still trying to use up the Scrapagogo kits. This one from May is a little underwhelming but I loved this green paper and decided to be a bit brave and use it all! More photos from my 2007 storage binder which really need to be used up but which don't have a specific story. So the thing that binds them became the subject of the layout. Texture. The ubiquitous cluster and done. 

I have much more to share as I have spent a few hours working on my Create Free mini book but you will just have to wait - maybe till tomorrow!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Weekend creativity

First off, LOAD is now officially over the hump and it's downhill to the 31st! 17 layouts done and only 14 to go. I think I can do this. And I'm still having fun so it's all good!

October 15th 

** Use themed papers in a non-themed way. For some reason, my BG Wassail came to mind immediately. Maybe I remembered that it had some rose and bird designs on it but I had never used it before even though I have the whole range (yeah, what a surprise!). When I looked at the papers, I realised I could pair this base sheet with some of my beautiful rose photos and have a layout about how roses are now my favourite flower even though they haven't always been. Since this photo, I have repositioned the journalling strips to the centre and the Glossy Accents on the title letters has dried to, well a glossy finish! I have to admit that this is not one of my favourites. Anyway.

October 16th 

**  I didn't follow the prompt really today except for just picking some photos and deciding the the warm colours of the August Scrapagogo kit were perfect. A bit of clustering, some layers, some journalling and done. This kit is now officially finished! One down, many to go. I can now see that the title should have been positioned top left but it's stuck too well to move now. Never mind.

October 17th

** The prompts this week are going to focus on process. Are we story, photo, paper, design or product first kind of people. I have a feeling I'm all of the above depending on what I am doing but it will be interesting again to go through this process. Today was pick a story we've been meaning to tell and go for it. What do you reach for first? What is your process? I know this is going to sound odd but really, the story, papers and photos all came into my head at the same time. What does that say???

What else has been going on? Well on the crafting front anyway?

I am still working on Create Free and have almost finished lesson 3 which is to make the small collages that will accompany each photo. I have done 3 of these gorgeous things so far (lesson 3 is to make the first 4) and then I can just go on and get them all done which will take me to the end of lesson 4. Of course, I realise now that I did my binder holes wrong and now I have to adjust the whole book (my photos are all landscape so I will need to open it upwards rather than from the right if you understand me!?!) but I am trying to stay concentrated so I don't mess up! I'll post photos when I have all the collages finished.

Other than that, I am grappling with some ideas for new Halloween decorations. I have a gorgeous mantlepiece that is just screaming out to be decorated so I need to get my thinking cap on. I currently have my wreath from last year (see here) on the front door and my newest banner (see here) on the mantle but it needs more. I have so much Halloween product to chose from, that I am determined to come up with something.

Last but not least, Deb has left me a couple of comments about multi-photo layouts and also tips for taking photos and while I am in no way stating that I am an expert or even any good at either of these topics, I thought I might try to write a couple of blog posts about them, to be posted sometime soon - so watch this space. If you have any tips or tricks you would like me to add to the post, leave them in a comment! Or email me using the link at the top of the page.

What have I learnt this month while I have been LOAD'ing? This is such a great hobby for "me" time. To help me keep creative and inspired. To clear my head. It really is creative therapy on so many levels. Just what I need right now.

What does scrapbooking mean to you?

Friday, 15 October 2010

Reaching the halfway point!

October feels like a very long month, at the same time as it is FLYING by!

On the one hand, creating every day makes the end of the month feel like a long way away but on the other hand, how is it possible that it is Friday again? I've said it before, but my job seems to make each week seem like just a single work day from my previous life! I say goodbye to students on a Tuesday and before I have had a chance to catch my breath, it's Tuesday again! Not real.

But the LOAD challenge is reaching the point in the month where not only am I feeling the pressure, but I also notice less layouts being uploaded to the gallery each day (meaning less people are managing daily layouts) and there is less action on the message board or comments on gallery layouts. But even if I gave up today, right now, I would still have completed 14 layouts which is a huge number compared to the zero which would have been done if I hadn't been doing LOAD! (Does that sentence even make sense?)

10th October

 ** Back to basics. Create a layout with only cardstock, patterned paper, your photos and a story. Not so easy. I missed my embellishments and all the doodads that give so much dimention and texture to my layouts. But I followed the prompt (and cheated by adding Thickers!) and scrapped the only photos I have of Christmas 2008 (rest lost due to a computer crash).

11th October 

** Use product with purpose. Be mindful of the meaning and significance of each piece of paper or embellishment you use to help reinforce the story. I tried to do with here in the layout about Cam - there is a lot of meaning to what I have used.

12th October 

**  Use product that makes you happy. The title to this says it all. There is nothing on this layout that doesn't make me happy!

13th October

 ** Use colour to reinforce the story you want to tell. Coming back to my BG hoard, I decided that Porcellain would help to set the soft pink scene for the photo here, supported by some soft creams and coffee colours which were all a part of our wedding colour scheme. 

14th October

** Use up some really old stash. No problem, I have piles and piles of the stuff. This beautiful Amy Butler paper was an absolute must have when it first came out and I got the whole range - in fact all three ranges that she brough out - along with all the  bits and pieces that came with it - alphas, felt flowers, fabric brads, stickers, etc etc etc. I used it on one project plus a few odd pages. Great to get it out and see how lovley it still is. I intend to use a chunk of it in my Photo A Day album for 2008 (yes, behind on that too!) Not sure about the cluster splatter in the top RH corner but I am trying to move on!

And I won a spot prize! Yipeeee! I got a SIX-month subscription to Paperclipping Video Tutorials! I am beyond happy as I have thought so often about subscribing. I love Noell's style and I am a regular listener to Paperclipping Roundtable on iTunes. 

I am a bit (!!) behind on Create Free but I did manage a bit this week and will post those next time! I am determined to finish it! I love the project so it is crazy not to do it.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

And more...

Not much to add here other than the layouts themselves. 

I am feeling so energised and motivated about my scrapping this week. LOAD is doing so much good for me. I am breaking into kits and paper ranges that have been untouched so far. Some layouts are more quick and get it done, and others (like 7th Oct) are ones that I have taken my time over and really enjoyed the process.

October 7th

**  I didn't use any Scrapagogo kit for this but rather grabbed the pile of BasicGrey Origins that I adore and got busy with it. Again, inspired by Nic H and a layout I had previously done, the prompt was to use a photo without people. No brainer for me as you might have noticed that most of my photos have no people in them and very often, my layouts too.

 October 8th

** The prompt and challenge today was to create a layout without photoss. I don't really know where I got this idea from (apparently this was created in a class and even though it is quite likely that I was in that class, I hadn't come across it before!) and the idea came to be out of "nowhere". Regardless of where it came from and whose idea it originally was (sorry that I cannot give correct credit to whoever's idea it was) the fact is that I could have made a list 10 times longer with all the things "I know" now, at this time. I am really happy with the result. There are so many things that are now coming to mind and that are missing from my list and now I have a great excuse to do another one soon/another time. I broke open the September Scrapagogo kit for this which I ADORE!!!! Totally my kind of kit.

 October 9th

** Eating into the Scrapagogo July (?) kit - another example of grabbing a kit and just finding something that worked for me. Still practicing my clustering, layering and using unmatched products. Libby, yes the AC embossing powder is really cool! Learning to play golf in the Austrian Alps? I can think of worse places to do that!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Still going strong...

... on LOAD that is.

Failing rather miserably on Create Free, although I have not given up hope on that one! Deb, I promise to keep on going! Maybe I can find a bit of time later this evening or tomorrow afternoon!

My problem is that the Flickr group for LOAD is so chock full of inspiration that I neeeed to check out every single one of the layouts over there in the gallery and you can imagine how much time that takes up... Yep, hours. But there are just so many gorgeous, meaningful, beautiful layouts there that I don't want to miss a single one. I really do look at each one and try to comment on as many as my time allows.

But onto my creations:

October 4th

** The prompt was related to an interview with Katrina Kennedy where she was talking about maximising the impact of photographs with clever cropping. I had done some layouts before along these lines (eg here or here) and so I knew this would be fun. It was great just to grab some of my favourites from my category drawers and go for it. And another kit broken into (May Scrapagogo)!

October 5th

** The prompt for this was to try using a B&W photo. No problem for me as I use them from time to time but when I looked through my photos on the computer, this one caught my eye and I thought it was perfect. The photo was taken by baby sister, Amber, and it was gorgeous in colour but I loved the effect in B&W. I borrowed the design extensively from a Nic H design that I did back in the summer (here), clustered up and am really pleased with the result. And yet another kit broken into (February Scrapagogo) although I had used a couple of items from the kit before (here). I'm feeling so motivated!

October 6th

**  And today's prompt was to make some sort of a film/negative style strip of photos. I wasn't going to do this at first but then a small pile of photos caught my eye that I had printed out last week for a TSM commission but hadn't used and I decided to go for it. Eskimo Kisses from last Christmas which was almost untouched and a background design inspired by Nic H again made this quick, colourful and finished! 

Such a great exercise to do LOAD. I'm reenergised, using up loads of stash, enjoying the creative endeavour each day and really pleased with the results. The prompts are great as a jumping off board even if I don't follow them every day. But it's great to make the time each day to do this. For me!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

It's that time again...

Yes, LOAD 10/10 has started.

This will be my third Layout A Day challenge this year and so far so good.

31 layouts for the 31 days in October. Possible I think. Gets me back into the swing of regular scrapping.

And my main goal of the month is to start using up the Scrapagogo kits I have sitting around here. I have plenty to chose from. Basically, every kit I have had since I started subscribing 10 months ago.

Here are my layouts so far:

1st October

**My 12 on 12 happened this month on the 26th, can you believe? I totally forgot on the 12th and only remembered later on that week. Then I forgot to continue with any day that I picked out to do until I finally decided that Sunday 26th would be a good choice - two weeks late but at least I did it. 

2nd October

** August Scrapagogo kit. 3rd layout from the kit I think. Loads left! A rare photo of the Chances together with the Hausmanns, Summer 2010.

3rd October

** March Scrapagogo kit - attacked already but needs finishing off. I love this kit and think it's really sad that I am really almost at the end of it! One of my favourite photos of the Chance visit to Germany Summer 2010. Aren't they just ADORABLE!?!

And yes, I am "into" clustering at the moment! Watch this space for more.

Last but not least, I have not forgotten or abandoned my Create Free. I am hoping to get back to it this week.


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