Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tough Guy, Gentle Heart....

   Hi, and hoping you are having a great day!

Posting two days in a row, I must be on a roll.... but I finished another lovely layout last night, and just had to share it!
My brother is the subject of this layout.... he is a rough and tough kinda guy, but has
a really gentle, loving side... I decided to try and show both sides by making a background paper that looks kind of graffiti or grungy, and then have the floral touches... of course, the photo itself sorta tells the story anyway, with my tough brother standing in a field of flowers!  I'll bet he was messing around and doing "catalog posing" for this pic! 
"My brother Billy and I live in different worlds- he is an audio engineer and music producer in the alternative music world, and has a totally different lifestyle than my "white bread" existence. He works hard, lives hard and plays hard. But beneath the many tattoos and body piercings lies a gentle soul that loves children, pets and his family more than anything. He will alsays play with his nieces and nephews, and they all LOVE their Uncle Billy! He is also very sentimental, and loves anything with historical or significant meaning to his own life or someone else's. Even though I have known him his whole life, he still manages to surprise me with his tough exterior, and gentler inner man."

I have been experimenting with a lot of different techniques lately, and my favorite new
medium is Faber-Castell's gelatos.  They are stick paints that look like a little Chapstick, and you color with them like a crayon.... spritz them with some color mist or water, and VOILA!  you have some really cool effects on your project...  I used white paper with purple, yellow, gold and two shades of green.  I just spritzed my paper lightly, because I wanted the crayon strokes to show instead of everything blending together.
I also used an emboss- resist technique... if you have never tried it, it is a lot of fun!
I used embossing ink and stamped my image BEFORE applying the gelatos, and embossed the image with UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel).  I stamped and embossed once, and after the image was cool, overstamped and embossed it again... the overstamping makes the image really thick and textured, so it will stand out well when you apply the gelatos.
I premarked on my paper where my picture was going to go, and then used the same
emboss-resist technique for the first part of my title.
Here is another neat use for UTEE...  I took a precut chipboard bracket, and inked it
with white ink (Clearsnap mixed media ink).  When it was dry, I stamped "gentle heart" on the bracket, and dried it with a heat gun.  Then I stamped the whole bracket with embossing ink, and covered it with UTEE... use your heat gun to melt it, and it makes another great textured element for your page!
The squares background paper I got from the Color, Stories, Inspiration site for their Case File
No.46 Challenge... this layout was my entry for this week, and I used the sketch from Once Upon a Sketch for the month of November.... I am also entering this layout in that challenge... Here is the sketch and the case file:
For the evidence in the CSI challenge, I did a grid design (the background squares paper), painting, textured element, and something that shimmers or glows (I used glimmer mist on the gelatos)... for the testimony, I did something that surprises me, and the inspiration word "surprise".

For some of the background flowers, I used the squares paper and punched out some
flower shapes, spritzed them with water, and crumpled them up... when they were dry, I smoothed them out a little... not totally, and lightly rubbed them with shimmery paint.  Then layer them, and you have another element to put on your layout!
I have really enjoyed playing along with CSI and OUAS this week.... I hope you visit their sites
also get inspired!


Friday, November 23, 2012

A Love Story.... new layout!

     So, I apologize for not posting sooner, but with our holiday of Thanksgiving, time just got away from me!  What a heck of a crazy week!
      I recently joined an awesome kit club at, which has the most BEAUTIFUL kits for someone like me who likes vintage/shabby/technique driven type scrapbooking... they also have a monthly challenge based on using their product kits and a sketch.  Luckily, the colors in this month's kit matched up to this week's CSI color challenge, so I made my layout and submitted it to both sites.  Two birds with one stone!
Here is the sketch provided by Swirlydoos.....
...and here is the case file for CSI....
And here is my layout!  I must say.... I love, love, LOVE how it turned out... one of my
faves of all time.... I want to first point out the large circle behind the photo... one
of the cool things about the Swirlydoo site is that they have a ton of tutorials...  flower making,
new techniques and many more.  There is also a technique add-on for the monthly kits that features
new items every month, and there are technique tutorials to show you how to use them... even
though I did not order the technique kit, I did check out the tutorials, and found one by Lynne Forsythe that was AAHHH-MAZZZ-ING!  She showed how to use gelato sticks on corrugated cardboard to create a really shabby, distressed look... I just purchased some gelatos and decided to give it a try.... I LOVE how it turned out- it really gave some cool texture to my layout!
Here is a link to her tutorial:
Check it out!  Thanks Lynne!
Anyway, I employed a lot of really cool techniques on this layout in addition to Lynne's
technique...  I started by writing the story of my grandparents romance that I wanted to tell... it reads:
"On a fine spring day in 1937 Ohio, a young man named Bill decided to skip out on his high school graduation and hop on a train bound for California. After arriving and settling in, he started frequenting a drive in, where he spotted a lovely red headed young lady by the name of Ruby.
At first Ruby denied his advances, since she was dating someone else. But in the end, Bill won out, and they were married after only 4 months.
Their life together was not all roses and romance... they had financial and emotional struggles... they were seperated by World War 2... they endured happiness and heartache. But in the end, their love for each other persevered, and they were married for 61 years before Bill died. His last words were to Ruby, declaring his love.
They were my grandparents, and I am truly touched by their true love story."
I wanted a handwritten look, so I chose a font that I liked, and printed the journaling onto
a transparency.  Then I distressed and inked all the edges of all the papers I was using as
 well as the photo...
See how pretty the journaling looks... almost like a book page!
I used the chipboard frame from Dusty Attic in my kit as the round element from the sketch,
and embossed it with Stampendous Shabby Embossing Enamel in Shabby Green...
these are my new favorite embossing powders!  Anyway, then I did some slight inking over the embossing, just to tie in the colors...
The hands of the clock are by Tim Holtz, and I used a small pearl bead in the center.
Here is another view of the corrugated cardboard "done up" with gelatos... I also used a white
paint dauber on it as well as on the edges of the papers, photo and flourishes... the flourishes are
a Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz die...
Did you notice the little pearl stickpin? That also came in my Swirlydoos kit!
There is a lot of detail on this layout... I used a little metal plaque covered with cardstock
that I wrote the date the picture was taken on....
Here is another interesting detail... doilies! Yup... the paper kind used in bakers everywhere...
they are cheap, pretty, and you can spritz them in all sorts of colors... I used Tattered Angels mist in Taupe for this one...  the rub on (LOVE) is Kaisercraft, from their Periwinkle collection.  It is on a piece of shaped chipboard that I covered with patterned paper.
Some more subtle details... a wooden tag (Prima Craftsman collection), and vintage pearl
heart button, and a round button I made myself.... Martha Stewart makes some
really cool molds for clay (you can get them at Michael's), and polymer clay (found at most craft stores...) is super easy to use...  just soften it up a little in your hands, press it into the mold, pop it out, and bake it in a 275 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  It will seem soft when you pull it out, but it will harden up as it cools.  I have used this technique for other things (like jewelry making) and you can paint the polymer, use perfect pearls on it, ink, or whatever you like... it is very versatile stuff!
The flowers that came in my kit were a bit too blue for the rest of my layout, so I gave
them a little Tattered Angels mist bath (Taupe).  I also used plain white paper roses that I spritzed with TA mist as well, and added a little white paint dauber to.  The final touch was another wood piece from the Prima Craftsman collection.
Whew!  This is quite a layout! But ever so much fun....I am really proud of it!  I also
have some more flair.... it is on the "Watch List" for CSI this week... way cool!
     So for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope it was a good one, full of good food, family and fun.... we all should be so thankful for ALL the blessings in our lives EVERY day...
Bless you all, my crafty friends, and I will see you next week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Star Witness for CSI!

Hi everyone... Hope you are all having a very fine day!
     I just wanted to post that my latest layout, "Miles Fan Letter" was chosen as Star Witness for this week with Color... Stories... Inspiration (CSI)... It is their "top spot" and all the layouts submitted are voted on by their design team, and they choose the winner... This time, it was me! I am SO happy!

Now I have more flair.... Woo hoo!! Thank you CSI

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fan Letter Layout

Hello everyone!

     So it seems that winter has finally come to my little corner of California- not the bone chilling, snow laden, wind chill below zero weather we experienced while we were living in Ohio, but winter here nontheless...  with it has come mine and my son Miles annual cold and Miles' ear infection... it was for that reason that I missed the Color Stories Inspiration Challenge last week, but did get an entry in for this week...

          As always, the challenge was to use all the colors in the scheme, 2 evidence items, and 1 testimony item...  I used flowers, swirls, frames and a doily pattern for my "evidence", and for my "testimony"  I used the fan mail format, and inspiration words "sunny" and "cheerful".

I just love this picture!!
I started this layout with lots of distressing... mostly on the edges of the main patterned paper, and the photo.  After the edges were distressed, I applied embossing ink and Stampendous Shabby Embossing Enamel in aqua.. this is my new favorite embossing powder!  It comes in a bunch of colors (which I ordered last week!) and has nice chunks of stuff in it that gives it a totally shabby look... love it!

Color Stories Inspiration usually provides a wonderful sheet of digital printables
that coodinates with the current challenge... I took advantage of that this week and fussy cut
the big black and white flowers (which I watercolored... pretty, huh?), and used the
quotes that had to do with the subject I was writing about.

The journaling was extremely important in this challenge....
I had an idea of what I wanted this layout to look like, and was having a really hard time coming up with an idea to incorporate everything I wanted to write about the picture and still keep all the embellishments I had laid out for the layout.  The first 5 or 6 tries was very frustrating... the page looked very overwhelmingly busy to me, so I put it away for a couple of days  Sometimes that really helps!
Anyway, I finally decided to do my fan letter as individual words and sentences, which
added to the playfulness of the layout, and allowed for more freedom in spacing and laying out the journaling.
Here is what I wrote:
Dear Miles,
I am your biggest fan... you came into this world with so much against you- your first surgery when you were only four hours old.. a rare genetic syndrome, epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy and Autism. You can't speak, have fine motor issues, and you are losing your ability to walk. But in spite of it all, you have the heart of a lion... you are always so happy... you light up everything around you. Miles, you have such a good attitude about your life and such a sunny dispostition that it is hard for anyone to believe you had such a rough start. I remember when you were still in the Neonatal Unit you would smile in your sleep... the nurses nicknamed you "Miles of Smiles", and the name stuck! We should all have as good an outlook in our lives as you do, my son!


Love, Mah-Mah-Mah

(Mah-Mah-Mah is the only word my boy can speak!)
This layout is colorful, just like my Miles is !!

I hope you have enjoyed this layout... I am having such a good time with my blog,
and also on the forums...
Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Featured Layout!

       Woo Hoo!

      I just opened up my email and found it that my "Sisters.... Found" layout has been chosen by Color... Stories... Inspiration (CSI) as a featured layout... in the "Most Wanted" category... I really excited and honored.... thanks CSI- you made my day!

I have "flair" now!!

How fun is this?


Life is Like a Camera Layout.... A Tribute to my Pop

Hello... hello!

I can't believe it.... two layouts in one week!  In addition to the CSI Challenge of the week, I also wanted to enter the Once Upon a Sketch Challenge for October... and I must say, I am super proud of this one!!  This month's theme was a little ironic for me... I have really been struggling to take better photos of my work, and I think I succeeded in getting a great picture of this layout!

To begin with, OUAS provided a... yes... sketch!!  Quite lovely, and it was really fun to see all the different incarnations the designers came up with...
Great job with the sketch, Nadia Cannizzo!  OUAS also provided another guidline... a quote that needed to be incorporated in some way into the layout:
great life quote.
When I saw this quote, I immediately thought of my Pop... he was my maternal grandfather, and he and my Nana (maternal grandmother) were largely responsible for raising myself and two of my siblings.  I remembered a picture from (I think...) around 1968 or so of my Pop with his new Poloroid camera taking a picture of himself taking a picture of himself in a mirror.  No, that's not a misprint!  He always thought it was funny, and so do I!
Here is my interpretation of the sketch and quote:

This layout is chock full of details and techniques, but I am really proud of the journaling... I love taking a simple picture and telling a story about it, and I really feel like I succeeded here:
       My maternal grandfather’s name was William Beatty, but to me, he was Paw-Paw when I was little, and Pop as I got older.  Whenever I think of good times, I always think about my Pop.  My Pop was all about good times… I will always remember his sense of humor-he was one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  He always had funny little sayings and songs, and would keep us entertained with the “Twin Oaks Shuffle”… a dance he made up when he and my Nana owned a small grocery store named Twin Oaks.  Sometimes he would get laughing so hard, his dentures would cause him to drool, which made all of us laugh even harder.  Even this picture was indicative of his sense of humor… he thought it would be funny to take a picture of himself taking a picture of himself.  Say that five times fast!
    Although I never saw it until the end of Pop’s life, I am sure there were many negatives in his life that helped to shape him and who he was.  His parents divorced when he was young, and his father died at an early age.  Pop was a paratrooper in WWII, and he saw terrible things during the war.  He also had many different careers in his life.  I don’t really know who he was before I met him, but I am certain that the positive experiences as well as the negative ones helped him gain insight and knowledge that shaped him into the person I knew… compassionate, funny and a totally awesome person.
  Pop’s life ended tragically, but I can’t say I ever thought he gave up.  Looking back on his very interesting life, it seem to me that he was sort of the “King” of “taking another shot.”  While he may not have been a rich man, he was always his own man… he and my Nana owned their own business and were their own bosses for much of their lives, and although I’m sure it wasn’t easy, he wouldn’t have achieved all he did by not taking another shot.
    Pop left me, my mom, my brother and sister a lasting legacy– He was a wonderful father and grandfather who kept us laughing and made us fell loved.  And no matter the circumstance, he always was, and always will be my hero.
      So, I began by choosing my photo, and then writing my journaling.  I always try to write honestly and from the heart... I think that is what makes journaling more meaningful.  I wanted to print my journaling directly onto my patterned paper, and I have now added this "how to" to my list of tutorials to post at a later date. Look for it soon!

The paper is used is by Bo Bunny... their Mama-Razzi collection.

   I took the quote from OUAS, and printed it on my computer... then I rubbed ink on it (Tim Holtz Distress Ink- Old Paper) to tone down the white lettering, and finally covered the whole quote with embossing ink and UTEE (Ultra thick embossing enamel).  Then I distressed the edges, inked them, and mounted it on one of the motifs from the paper.  I am particularly proud of the angel wings... I thought the were particularly important since my Pop is gone from this world, but I am sure he is watching over his family.  I went into the jewelry findings department of my local craft store, and found these cool metal angel wings.  I then used embossing ink and Stampendous's new Shabby Embossing Enamel (I LOVE this stuff.... just ordered a whole bunch more colors... very vintage looking) in Shabby Blue and just barely sprinkled it on the wings, then heated it.  I think it came out SO cool... then I glued a little Tim Holtz gear on it and Voila! a custom embellishment for this page!
    Another interesting thing I did was the large gears... I cut and embossed them from gold (not shiny though...) cardstock with the Spellbinders Gears die.  I lightly sprayed them with two different colors of Tattered Angels glimmer mist... can't remember the specific color names at the moment, but they were a dark brown, and teal green color... them I inked the edges with the new Mixed Media Ink (in Leather color) from Michael's.  I think they look pretty good!  The smaller ones at the top of the layout are layered and also have some of the small metal Tim Holtz gears on them as well... Did you spot the little gears also as the flower centers?  The enamel "46" plaque is also Tim Holtz...
Here's some more details... I love the little blue chip stamps... they remind me of my childhood!
    I did a lot of paper tearing and distressing on this layout... here is the big tear at the bottom of the page, and I filled the hole with a blue chip stamp and small gear...

    And lastly, another fun, subtle detail for adding texture to your layout can be something like this clear photo frame ribbon (Tim Holtz).  I have been looking for just the right project to use this on, and this fits in perfectly!

     I hope you have enjoyed this layout... it was so much fun to make, and really got my creative juices flowing!






Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sisters, Found Layout and some fun tips....

Hello and hope you are having a lovely Sunday....  I have a new layout to post today... this is for the weekly Color... Stories... Inspiration Challenge #42.  The topic I chose this week has to do with family.  I grew up without my Dad, and found out when I was a teenager that I had a whole family I had never met.  I took a picture of my two sisters I didn't grow up with, and my journaling is about them.
Here is the case file for this challenge:
And here is the layout I created:

Two of my beautiful sisters, Elizabeth and Shannon....

I didn't have exactly the right color rhinestone flourish, so I have a little tip for you....
I took a red permanent marker, and COLORED the rhinestones with it....
it takes a couple of coats, but you can't even tell they weren't red before... cool huh?

Here's another tip.... I used spray color mist on one of the doilies, and also on some
of the flowers to get just the right color I wanted.... I also used spray mist on the lace
that is on the layout... this works GREAT with embroidered laces, like Venice lace...

The "Sisters" title was cut with the Cricut Songbird Cartridge....
the "FOUND" is a little wooden plaque I found at Michael's and covered
with paper and inked... then I fussy cut a motif from another sheet of
patterned paper and glued it on.

I also did some in depth journaling... it reads:
                     "I grew up with my Mom, my Grandparents, and a brother and sister. I never        remembered my  Dad, who I had last seen when I was a toddler. I wasn't until I was a teenager that I found out that my Dad had remarried, and I had two more half-sisters. What a surprise!
My Dad and and his family came into my life again during a very dark time of my life... I had lost both of my grandparents, who had been largely responsible for raising me and my siblings, and my husband was going through a crises in his life. I reflect back now and thank God that my "other" family showed up in my life at this time. I may have lost my beloved Nana and Pop, but I gained a Dad, another Mom, and my two sisters, Elizabeth and Shannon, their husbands, and a new niece and nephew.
I have spent the years since then getting to know my new family... I may not have grown up with them, but my sisters and I are so much alike, it is kind of scary. We all have a similar sense of humor, are dedicated to our families, worry in the same way, and even look and sound alike. Genes do tell the story, after all! All four of my siblings are amazing people!
I may not have grown up with Shannon and Elizabeth, so we don't have all those childhood memories together, but we are working on getting to know each other and building our relationships in adulthood. I feel so fortunate to have such a big, loving family, and I look forward to growing old with all my siblings and their families!"
You hear the term "fussy cutting" a lot in scrapbooking lately... basically, it means
detailed cutting of a motif that is on patterned paper.  It can give you
embellishments if you don't have many for the project you are working on,
and it can give your page another layer of texture.  On this page, I combined
fussy cuts with flowers and flourishes to get the look I wanted.
Have a great week, and see you soon!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

CSI Challenge #41- My Secret

Hello, hello!

So, a new week is beginning, and with it comes cooler weather... thank goodness!  But, also with the cooler weather comes ear infections for my little guy, but even with that going on this week, I still managed to come up with a layout for the Color, Stories, Inspiration challenge for the week.  I really love these challenges because they always have such great color palattes and inspiration items to work with.

So for my "evidence", I did texture, layers and ombre... I will be doing a tutorial a little
later on on how to add texture to your page using the perfect pearls. I used some of the bits
and pieces of the lovely downloads that CSI offered for this week, as well as the background
paper that was also a download.  For the "testimony", I used the Journal of Secrets prompt as my
inspiration.  I am so used to doing layouts of my family and friends, I found it a real challenge
to do one of myself... AND, to journal a secret!! 

Another secret of this layout is the pull out tag...
the secret is that it is not really a tag, but a decoy for
the "real" secret....

The real secret is hidden below the flower cluster, which lifts up to
reveal it... fun, huh!

I am continuing to enter the weekly challenges, and am going to be entering another
Once Upon a Sketch Challenge that is due by the 31st.  I want to get a few more
challenges under my belt, and then I plan on starting to offer some
tutorials... I have had requests for my special album binding technique, and
flower making.
Oh, and BTW, I applied to the ZVA Creative design team this week... I should hear
by the 26th whether or not I have been chosen... wish me luck!