Friday, May 10, 2013

Working with Coordinated Supplies

Happy May, Ladies!

How many of y'all made it to the Gulf Coast Crop and Shop weekend in April? I was able to go for a few hours on Saturday and was impressed with how creative you ladies are. Well done! While I was there, I picked up some fun new Basic Grey papers and stickers to play with. There are times when I want to mix and match patterns and manufacturers. There are times I want to be artsy and make my own backgrounds and embellishments. And then there are times that I want quick and easy. I don't want to think about whether this paper matches that paper. I just want to grab supplies and pictures and create. The easiest thing to do at these times is to use products from a single manufacturer. Scrapbooking companies spend many hours designing and producing lines that coordinate. They WANT to make this easy on us. They WANT us to be able to use their papers and letters and stickers and stamps all together. That is their goal! And sometimes, that is exactly what I want, too.

The line that I brought home to play with was Basic Grey's new Bowties line from their winter CHA release. They had several bright and happy lines this release, including Hipster, Bowties, and Kneehighs, but this is what I chose to play with. All the supplies coordinate. All the supplies are colorful. All the supplies begged me to play with them. All I added to my layouts was some cardstock, ink, and miscellaneous bits and pieces. Everything else came from the Bowties collection.

My challenge to you this month: Choose a line of products that you like. Pull out 3-4 papers from that line, plus some coordinating embellishments, and create a layout (or card or whatever project that you are inspired to make). You may add whatever supplies you want to your project. Post a link to your project here or to the ScrapHappy Facebook page before June 3, and Christy will randomly choose someone to win a $5 credit to the store to spend however she wants!

This first layout, I added washi tape and a printed label from Studio Calico. The journalling block was actually packaging from the Basic Grey enamel dots, and the letters were cut from one of the papers in the collection.
 I only added cardstock to this second layout.
 On this last layout, I added cardstock, washi tape, thickers, more label stickers, and some stitching (a friend loaned me her new Amy Tangerine stitching template, so I was experimenting and playing...highly recommend this
So...are you ready? Then run grab your collection of papers, get set, and GO!!! I look forward to seeing what you create!

- patterned paper, stickers, brads, enamel dots, transparent frames - Basic Grey
- washi tape - Doodlebug, Hambly
- label stickers, thickers - Studio Calico
- stitching template - Amy Tangerine
- cardstock, stamping ink, bubble wrap/dots stamp

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why Use Divided Page Protectors?

Greetings and Salutations!

How many of you have heard of Project Life or have wondered what to do with those lovely divided page protectors that Scraphappy carries? According to Becky Higgins (, Project Life can be anything you want it to be. Some people use it as a photo-a-day project. Some people use it to document weeks at-a-glance. Some use it to corral all the stuff of life that accumulates in our homes. But me? I use it to help with my everyday stories and to include more photos from my travels. Some people choose 'only' Project Life or 'only' traditional layouts. I do both. I use the divided page protectors to include more pictures in my albums. Say you print 6 pictures of an afternoon at the beach but then only use 2 of them on your layout. What are you going to do with the extras? Sure, you can make more layouts, but if you're like me, you can only bear to scrap so many beach layouts. Or penguin pictures. Or Christmas pictures. Or birthday party pictures. get the idea. So what do I do? I scrap those 2 photos on a traditional layout, then I slide the other 4 photos into divided page protectors. If there are more photo sleeves than I have photos, then I pull some of my supplies (scraps and 6x6 paper pads work great for this) and make a mini-canvas to fill in the blocks.

Another way I have recently used Project Life and divided page protectors is to rescue an old album of pictures from a trip my husband and I took to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon in 1998. I had previously made a scrapbook with these pictures, but I used non-archival products to make it. I didn't know better. All I knew about scrapbooking at that time was those people who cut their photos into cute little shapes and decorated them with cutesy not me. I refused to cut my pictures and make paper dolls out of cardstock. The good news? I organized my photos and journalled some of my memories in my book. The bad news? If I didn't 'redo' the album, those pictures and memories still would not have survived. So when I found a set of divided page protectors, I bought them and spent a weekend removing the adhesive from the back of the pictures and memorabilia and sliding them into these photo pocket pages. It was so easy, and I love the results. Even my husband and family have enjoyed the results. Every one of them has gone through my 'new' album and marveled at the improvement. And another perk of using the divided page protectors? no thought required. The designers who created the pages based them on solid grid-based design principles, so you never have to worry about an unbalanced layout.

 I hope this post has inspired you to try out divided page protectors. You may love it. You may not. But either way, you'll have discovered a new way to preserve your memories.

And now, quickly, before I go, I have a few questions to answer:
1. Scrapaholic Mommy asked: how did you do the white stamp is there white ink out that i don't know about LOL???
Answer: There are various brands and forms of white ink available on the market. I've tried several, but my favorites tend to be chalk and craft inks. They tend to be thicker and have a richer color. But I'll let you know a little secret...I rarely actually use the white inks. I cheat. I use clear Versamark ink then emboss them with white embossing powder. Works every time ;)

2. Leslie asked: So Cori, do you have pictures of your completed non-wintry album that you did? I'd like to see it.
Answer: I wish! The album is at ScrapHappy, so feel free to head over there to flip through the album all you want!

- page protectors - American Crafts, WeRMemoryKeepers, office supply store
- journalling cards - Becky Higgins, American Crafts
- label stickers - October Afternoon, unknown

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Scrapper's Block

How many of you have experienced 'Scrapper's Block?' It's frustrating; it's annoying; and it takes up valuable time that could otherwise be spent creating. I've been experiencing a serious block recently. I stare at my stash and my photos. I think about my stash and my photos. I sit down with my stash and my photos. And yet, I cannot come up with an idea or plan for what I want to do.

So what to do when you hit a creative wall? Look for inspiration. Inspiration is all around us: on-line, magazines, nature, God's creation, the smiles and laughter of our children, our own scrapbooks and history. Typically, when I am having trouble creating, I can take a walk with my camera, capture some of our beautiful world, and come back home inspired. Sadly, that did not work for me this time. So what did I do? I went shopping.

I found this adorable, trendy stamp set from Lawn Fawn at ScrapHappy, and I thought that it would be perfect for helping me get through this block. It is fun and is a chevron pattern that I frequently use when I choose patterned papers. Slowly but surely, I am working through my block. I have made a few layouts with this stamp set this week, and although they aren't my favorites, they are still documented memories that I can add to my albums, and I know that I will be able to enjoy this toy for many years to come. So without further ado, this month's layouts:

- patterned paper - Echo Park, Studio Calico, Lily Bee
- thickers
- enamel dots - My Mind's Eye
- chipboard stars - Pink Paislee
- stamps - Lawn Fawn, Kelly Purkey, and Studio Calico
- wood veneers - Studio Calico
- puffy stickers - Amy Tangerine
- stamping ink and embossing powder
- washi tape

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Not-so-Seasonal Seasonal MiniBook

How many of you readers live here on the Gulf Coast vs. The Frozen North? If you do live here, then you know that we don't have winter (and if you don't live here, well, now you know, too), and most of us like it that way. We like snow as a diversion, not a way of life. We like snow as decoration, not as something to be scraped and plowed. We like snowflakes to be in our scrapbooks and on our walls, not in our hair. And since so many scrapbook companies make gorgeous wintery, filled-with-snowflakes products, we have to find our own, unique, Southern way to use them. "How?" you ask? Well, let me tell you.

First of all, you can use them the obvious way: for a wintery layout or card. Say your family goes skiing every year in Utah - that'll be easy to use these papers and embellishments for a snowy project. Or your family gets stuck in the Atlanta airport for a day because of a threat of ice - again, easy. Just use the snowy, wintery themes on a snowy, wintery layout as they were designed to be used.

But say you never get to see snow...or you spend your winters at the beach or on a cruise ship...What do you do then? There's still this pretty new stuff you want to use, but you just can't figure out how to do it. And that is what we are going to work on and discuss today.

ScrapHappy has recently gotten in a large order from WeRMemoryKeepers, including cute, excellent quality albums (both 12x12 and 6x6), and some of their new paper lines. I was asked to make a minibook using wintery papers for a non-wintery project. After many hours of thought, I realized this morning that there's a minibook I have been wanting to do for several years: Our Year in Sports. Our family is active year round. We joke that you can tell what season it is by what sport the Girls are playing, so when it came time to make a minibook for the store, this seemed to be the perfect fit.
The WeRMemoryKeepers Winter Frost line is a lovely collection of pale blues, greens, and greys. A few of the sheets have small snowflakes in the background, but most of the papers have simple patterns, such as stripes or polka dots. I pulled out enough papers to fill each included page protector, then I sliced the other papers into 2x6 inch strips, inked the edges, and glued the strips to the edges of my 6x6 papers - no rhyme or reason - I just grabbed what was on top of the strip pile and glued it to what was on top of the 6x6 pile. .
The next step was to adhere my photos to my prepped pages - 1 photo per page. I typically print my photos 3.5x5, because my printer lets me get 4 of this-sized photos on 1 piece of letter-sized photo paper (I'm cheap, and I want my photo paper to last as long as it can, so I try to maximize the number of pictures I can print at once). When choosing which photos to adhere to which backgrounds, I, again, just chose the top photo and attached it to the top page - no stress, no decision-making, easy. The colors in this line are muted and neutral enough that all the bright colors from my Girls' various uniforms all blend. The Winter Frost line provides a consistent base for the album and helps the project feel cohesive. To create a title page, I used an additional paper from the 6x6 pad, added some Basic Grey chipboard letters and some Perfect Pearls, and called it done. Journalling for the entire album was done on 1 lined page from the collection (TIP: These lined papers that many companies are putting out now are PERFECT for backgrounds and journalling. I buy them in bulk and use them A LOT).
 If I wanted to, I could have stopped there and called my book complete. But I've been in Big Time Inky Mode lately, so I decided to add some messy, inky play to my book. First, I pulled out a stack of my handy-dandy, plain, manila tags. Next, I stamped and embossed some old sports stamps that I have had in my stash for years (seriously, every year I use these same stamps for any and all sports-related layouts I make. You would think I would get tired of them, but I don't). After embossing my sports icons and the name of the seasons, I pulled out my Tim Holtz Distress Stains and 'colored' my tags. I used 3-4 colors/tag, layering them and misting them to get the colors to blend. I finished off the tags by adding some black and white gingham ribbon to the top (TIP: Black and white gingham ribbon goes with EVERYTHING. Buy a whole roll. You won't regret it).
Again, I could have stopped here, but I decided to keep playing- this time with a Hambly transparency that I've been hoarding. I cut it into 4 6x6 squares and used my Crop-o-dile to punch holes to fit the new pages in my book. I stamped a WeRMemoryKeepers journalling stamp on one of my leftover grey papers from the paper pad, cut them out, and adhered them on the front and back of 2 of my transparency squares (TIP: When you work with transparencies, adhere similar-sized and shaped elements to the front and back of the page. This both hides your adhesive and keeps one side from having unattractive, unmatchy spots). I glue-dotted (Is that a word? If not, it should be) some Heidi Swapp Disco Stars to another transparency (again, front and back to avoid ugliness). On the last transparency I also added stars, but these were white chipboard stars that I recolored with spray ink to match the rest of the album. I then adhered more inked stars throughout my album to provide a bit more continuity, added a wood veneer title to the spine of my album, and declared myself done.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting for God

I have been asking God what He wants me to do with my life for over 3 years now - and when I say daily, I really mean DAILY. All the time. Begging. Pleading. Wondering. Questioning. Sometimes He tells me to "Do This Now" or "Do That Now," but until recently, I had to keep questioning and wondering the BIG "What Do YOU Want Me to Do with My Life?" Now I am starting to wonder if He is beginning to reveal His answer to me.

I am a Pediatrician. All my life, God has called me to work with children - with His Babies. In high school and college, I skipped the whole waiting tables/fast food/serving thing most of my peers excelled at. Instead? I babysat. I worked at the Birmingham YMCA after-school day care and summer day camps. I lived and worked with kids. I loved it. I loved them. I loved showing them that someone loved them and wanted them around. And so when it came time to choose a Life Calling, I became a Pediatrician - but not just any Pediatrician- and Emergency Room Pediatrician. Because not only did I love children, I also love(d) Instant Gratification. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I am a multitasker. I can't sit still and only do 1 thing at a time. Watching TV at night? I will also be reading blogs or a book, talking to my husband, folding laundry, and anything else my hands and body NEED to be doing at that same time. I'm a wee bit nuts. It drives my husband nuts, but in his own (very recent) words, "I'm HIS Crazy." He loves me anyway.

So what does this have to do with anything? Three years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In an instant, I had to relearn how to live. Being a Pediatric ER Doc? Gone. Multitasking 10 things at once? Gone. Staying up and working nights and weekends? Gone. Saving lives one earache at a time? All gone. Instead, I lost 2-3 months of my life. I existed. I relearned how to walk without a walker. I learned how to concentrate with a near-constant FOG in my brain. I relearned how to use the microwave (yes, there are times when I forget how to turn on our basic appliances). I learned what it meant to be The Patient, and not The Doctor. And through all this, I questioned. I asked. I begged. Why God? Why Me? Why push me and let me go through all that (often-miserable) training to have my dreams taken away from me? Why teach me how to save babies and then not let me save them? WHY?!!!

And through all this, He's been teaching me. Teaching me patience (I HATE patience). Teaching me to rely on others. Teaching me to (gasp, gasp, gasp) not only accept help, but to (gasp, choke, gag) ASK for help. Teaching me that I can't DO everything. Teaching me to be still. Teaching me to accept limitations. Teaching me to Trust Him and HIS Plan. But I still just want to know. I want to know WHY? I want to know WHAT NOW? I want to know WHAT NEXT?

The last few weeks have been rough. I've had another MS Flare and have been back on massive, high-dose steroids. I have had another three weeks of just existing and sitting on the couch. I have not been able to take care of my family. I have barely been able to take care of myself. Showering daily has become a GOAL, not an ASSUMED part of my day. I have read a lot. I have slept a lot. I have watched a lot of TV. And I have created a lot of art.

I am a scrapbooker. I am a photographer. I take pictures of everyday life and document my family's stories for us to remember later - and to help me remember. Another side effect of my MS is poor short term memory and difficulty forming new memories. I, literally, forget entire conversations and days. It's as though they never happened. Scrapbooking helps me with this. By looking at my pictures and reading what I have written, I can remember. By looking at them with my children, I can hear what THEY remember. I can hear their perspectives on our family's life. I can hear how they perceive this marvelous life of ours. I can process and question Why God has given me this disease.

During this Flare, I haven't been able to scrapbook as much. My mind and hands have not been able to coordinate well enough to play with pictures, words, and pretty papers. But I have felt this NEED to create - a need to express on paper how I'm feeling and the thoughts that keep swirling through my mind. God has reminded me of hymns and verses I learned as a small child. He has put them in my heart and in my mind to remind me of His Love. He has 'lead me beside the still waters for His Name's sake.' He has prompted a need in my heart to create. To create art with the words He has been whispering in my heart. To make a visual reminder of this season of my life. To document His Love for Me.

I don't know what comes next. I don't know what He wants me to do with my life. I don't know what He wants me to do with my love of children and Pediatrics. But I do know that He has a plan. I know that He is in control. I know that He wants me to play with pictures and pretty papers. I know that He wanted me to write this blog post and many many more about this journey He is leading me on. So bear with me, World. There's no telling what's coming next.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wood Veneers - What Do I Do With Them?

Happy New Year, World!

I hope you all had a very safe and fun New Year's holiday this year, and that you had time to spend on our beloved Crafty Hobby! This month I decided to talk to you about wood veneers. Have you seen them online or in the store? Do you wonder what you're supposed to do with them? I mean, they're cheap. They're cute. They come in many imaginable shapes. And they're little (usually). So what is their purpose? Why are so many manufacturers making them? Why are they so popular? Well, lucky for you, I have an answer: They're FUN. They're CUSTOMIZABLE. They MAKE A BIG IMPACT on your project. Want to see a few examples?

First up: Use them straight out of the package, just as they are. No altering. No fussing. Just adhere and go (a little tip: glue dots and liquid glues like Glossy Accents work best). 
2. Emboss: Cover the surface of your wood veneer with versamark or other embossing ink, sprinkle on the embossing powder of your choice, heat with a heat gun, and watch the magic occur!
 3. Colorize with your favorite ink or cover with glitter. In this next layout, I altered the veneers with Tim Holtz Distress Stain, let them dry, then covered them with a thin layer of Rock Candy Distress Stickles.

4. Stamp on them.
5. Paint them.
6. And most importantly, come into Scraphappy and find the inks and paints, glitter, and embossing powders you want to play with, pick up some wood veneers, go home, use your imagination, and HAVE FUN!!!

Patterned paper - Basic Grey, Simple Stories, KI Memories, Heidi Swapp

Spray ink - Studio Calico, Heidi Swapp
Mask - Studio Calico
Rhinestone stars - Jenni Bowlin Studios
Wood veneers - Studio Calico
Letter stickers - Heidi Swapp
Stamps - Studio Calico, Technique Tuesday
Embossing powder
Distress Stain
Stamping ink - red, green, Versamark
Washi tape