Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 recap / best of

Everyone seems to be posting their top 10 layouts from 2011. I love that idea and have done so in the past but this year I am feeling more grateful for the goals that I have achieved. (Plus a lot of my favorite creations are out for publication, so I can't share them.)

so here is a brief review of my 2011

Scrappy 2011
Goals: My scrap goals for 2011 were to submit more, work on my card making skills, work on my photography and get back to enjoying myself.

  • I submitted A LOT! I am proud to say that that new years resolution was a resounding success. I made myself submit something every month, and actually turned it into a habit. I also had a lot of success from it - getting my first ever print publication in the Fall issue of Scrapbook and Cards today, and a total of 13 - THIRTEEN projects picked up for publication, most of which will be coming out in the spring.
  • I also worked on my card making skills a lot. That was a resounding success also, combining with the first resolution to result in numerous card publications. Additionally, I have come to really ENJOY card making, possibly more than layouts at this point. 
  • My photography skills improved, but that is still a work in progress. I took a class and learned a lot. I started working with manual mode and got a new camera for Christmas. So, I believe this will be a resolution for 2012 as well. 
  • I have not totally left the politics and pressure behind, (lord knows there have been some rocky patches in those areas of scrapping in 2011) but I have gotten back to finding what I love about this art. To beat a dead horse, the card making seems to have helped with that. Card making allows me to play sometimes and not put too much pressure on myself about it. If I mess up a card, it's just one small card, not a big layout and accompanying photos. 
Personal 2011
Goals: workout more, stress less, be happy
Result: not nearly as successful as the scrapping resolutions
  • Working out has been rocky. I succeeded in running a 10 mile race in the spring, but managed to hurt my ankle. Recovery took a while and when I started running again, I hurt my knee. It has been on again off again ever since. This will be a 2012 resolution as well. 
  • Stressing less is REALLY hard for me. I have pretty much managed to conquer my road rage, which is a pretty big step since I drive a lot. However, the yoga, pilates and meditation have been on again off again with only marginal success. Again, I will continue working on this.
  • Being happy is closely related to the stress for me, and so this year has been rocky in that respect as well. However, the end has been looking up! I definitely feel that I am ending this year on a high note.
In other news this year:
  • Ellie learned to read
  • Seth started Pharmacy school
And now, because I can't resist, a few of my favorite creations from this year. I already shared the calendar. So here are my other favorite altered items:
Imaginisce Advent Calendar
Altered Dress Form

And here are a couple favorite cards:
I will be back with favorite layouts in the next day or so.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Smash book planner idea

This month for my reveal at A Cherry On Top I got to work with the K and Company Smash book! It's sort of a review/idea/tutorial but I wanted to show everyone just how cool these books are. I love journals of all sorts and when the Smash books came out I was dying to get one, but I didn't know what I would do with it. I love collecting ideas but I didn't really want something else to carry around with me.

Then I came up with the idea to make it an 'everything' book. I made it into a planner / list keeper/ idea book. I keep my to-do lists, my idea lists, and my schedule in it. (I still keep a schedule online with google calendar where I keep details like times and addresses, and where my husband can see it)

Well, I don't want to re-type pretty much everything that I said in my article, so you will have to go over there to check it out - along with tons more photos.
Suffice it to say that I now carry this book EVERYWHERE I go, and I am LOVING having everything all together in one adorable package, even though it doesn't fit in my purse. (It's on my to do list to get a purse that is big enough to fit it, and preferably one that has a special slender pocket that I can dedicate to it!)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Card

What are you doing for New Year's Eve? Me? Same thing as last year - staying in and relaxing, probably even going to bed before midnight. And you know what? I don't feel guilty or lame about it - it's what I want to do. For years I put pressure on myself to have an awesome new year's eve, and was almost always disappointed - having spent too much money and had not enough fun. A party would probably solve that problem - having all of my friends over usually does. But then, who wants all that prep and clean up right after the holidays? So, I've decided that I'm happy with a very low key new year's.

I'm not saying that it will always be this way, but at this point in my life, where things are constantly go, go, go - the real treat for me is time when I DON'T have to go, go, go. And on that note, here is a little low key New Year's card for you - featuring an SRM sticker and some My Mind's Eye papers.

This card was featured in the Cards magazine blog New Years Cards Gallery!
I know it's early, but I hope you have a happy new year, whatever way you choose to celebrate!

Hmm, and now that I am looking at this card, I'm thinking - wouldn't that make a great Hanukkah card? Blue and grey - I might have to try that color combo next year. Maybe I can break out of my bad Hanukkah card rut! That makes me want to run right into my scrap room and try it now - it's never too soon to start right?!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

As part of a recap/best of I want to share this calendar that I created using SRM Stickers, My Mind's Eye papers and twine from the Twinery. This was part of my guest design work for SRM stickers and one of my favorite projects from 2011, so I am really excited to finally get to start using it! It's a great project for this time of year though, for obvious reasons.

I created unity throughout the calendar by using the same paper set on all the pages. I also used 3 squares - a photo, a calendar and a space for notes - on each page. (except one).

I didn't want every page to be the same though, so I varied the design of each page by sketching out the designs ahead of time. Finally, I added a sticker sentiment and some twine and/or ribbon to each page.

The base of each page is just plain cardstock so that it was easy to place the finished pages into my Bind it All and punch the holes for the bindings.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I don't know why, but I just adore this card! It seems so unexpected, I guess, with the pinks and oranges and blues. These papers (and the button and chipboard) are Crate Paper, mostly Random, and some Emma's Shoppe. I cut the card and the snowflake with my Cricut, using the Damask Decor cartridge. The snowflake is part of the card, then I layered a pink cut, an off white doily cut, and a transparency with silver script.

The sticker is SRM stickers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

'interesting' Key West recap day 1 & 2

Don't worry I won't bore you with a full recap of every day, but these first couple days had some really interesting moments that I wanted to share.

weapon and bomb talk in the middle of airport security
I am sure that I'm not the only parent to experience this, but it's still kind of scary/funny. Ellie is very curious right now, asking questions about EVERYTHING. And of course she wanted to know why she had to take her shoes off at security. She asked that long before we got to the airport, and not being ones to hide things from her, Seth explained that it was because someone tried to blow up a plane using a bomb in his shoe. We discussed how dumb that was not to mention mean, bad etc. But then when we got to security and she was taking her shoes off, she says, "Mommy why would do kids have to take off their shoes, why would a KID want to blow up a plane?" I shushed her and told her they wouldn't and to talk about it later and we moved on.

Then Seth forgot to remove his multi-tool swiss army knife thing, so he had an extended secondary search where they took it from him. and as we walked away she asks, "Why did Daddy try to take a knife on the plane?" LOL! oh my!

fast forward past the running through the airport to make our connection which they were actually holding for us (and the other 8 people making the same connection). fast forward past the airline losing the GATE CHECKED car seat, and past the scare that Kenny and Phyllis had when their house sitter said that their heat was broken (with the dogs there) and on to Ellie reading the sign for the Half Shell raw bar that is supposed to have a slightly sexual connotation, as she says, "Why do they want you to eat it raw" LOL

other than that drama - here is what we've been seeing:
I don't know why, but I love this photo. I think it just really tells the story. She is so intent on swimming, so matter of fact. It's adorable. I also love the ocean in the background.
Here it's just her pure joy. Swimming swimming and more swimming!
and here is what I got from playing with the silhouette setting on my new camera. That is seth sitting oceanside reading, while I am sitting poolside watching Ellie and playing with my camera.

moving on to day 2.

Look Ellie an Egret! Don't look at the Egret Ellie!
Driving down the road we see an Egret on the side of the road, and happen to stop beside it at a light. "Look Ellie, Look! It's an egret, isn't it pretty?" and then the egret proceeds to grab a small lizard that REALLY closely resembles her beloved pet Queen Julia, and SLOWLY eat the wriggling creature. Ellie rolled down her window and screamed at the bird to no avail of course. I thought for sure she was going to start crying. Then we talked about the circle of life and how Queen Julia eats crickets.

Ellie meets her first inmates
We headed on to the Monroe County Correctional Facility to the Animal Rescue farm that they have there. A while ago they started collecting abused, abandoned or neglected animals and housing them in an area under the correctional facility (which is built up on concrete pylons to withstand hurricanes. They have all manner of livestock along with a python, emu, lemur, crocodile, ferrets, birds, rodents and a bunch of tortoises. (Im sure I forgot something) Ellie got to pet a galapagos tortoise, a ferret, a bunny, a pony, and hold a baby crocodile. She also got her face painted. The inmates were the ones holding the animals, so then of course we had to talk about what 'inmate' means - lol. It was interesting to say the least.
She looks less than happy here, but that's only because I made her slow down for a second so I could take her picture. She was LOVING petting this tortoise!
Nothing makes her hold back, the other kids were petting, but Ellie asked if she could HOLD the alligator (crocdile? Im not sure)
And here is the ferret. She was asking him all kinds of questions about it. 

So far key west has been a definite learning experience for ellie!

Of course, face painting, for some unknown reason was the highlight. She breezed right past Santa - I don't even think she realized he was there. (which was ok because we had already seen Santa and I really kinda didn't want her coming up with something ELSE that she HAD to have from Santa - like the picture of his reindeer that she asked for the first time) Anyway, she breezed right past Santa, stopped briefly at a few animals and zeroed in on the face painting. I knew they had face painting, it was one of the selling points to me to take her there, but I didn't tell her ahead of time just in case. She waited patiently in line for what seemed like forever! The other kids were leaving their parents in line and looking at the nearby animals - not ellie! She refused to budge from the line. She was THAT intent on the face painting. And this is what she got - a polar bear. LOL! She really has the worst luck with face painting 'artists'this was the second try, because the first time the red from the hat dripped and it looks REALLY macabre. This one only looks like a skeleton - lol.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hanukkah Cards

Happy Hanukkah!

Why are Hanukkah Cards so hard for me? I honestly don't know! The only thing I can come up with is the blue and silver or blue and gold color scheme, but that doesn't really seem to cut it as an explanation.

Here's one that I made a couple weeks ago. I thought it would be fun to make the candles out of ribbon with gems on top as the flames. But there seemed to be enough going on after I created the menorah, so I left it at that. And now, it just looks kind of juvenile don't you think?

This one I actually kind of like - notice that it has blue, but the blue is paired with browns and greens.

On this one I tried to 'copy' my success with the blues and browns, but it didn't work as well. I think because the sentiment is a slightly different shade of blue.
This one, a big part of the problem is the photo - that is for sure! This is from when my camera was really on the fritz. But still, this card just makes me shudder. Again, here, I am blaming two different shades of blue - the ribbon and the paper.

So, yeah, seriously looking for some ideas here as to why I can't seem to make a decent Hanukkah card to save myself! I mean, I guess if I had to pick a type of card to stink at - Hanukkah isn't such a bad one since there are less of them than pretty much any other type. But still, it really kinda bugs me! This year I FORCED myself to make a couple but I dread it because I know they won't turn out right.

Hmmm, I wonder if that has something to do with it? Dreading working on something is bound to stop up the creative flow. But how do you get around that?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Playing with my Cricut

I've had my Cricut for a while now, but I never really bothered to 'get to know' it. Then I went to a crop and met a friend who showed me how to set the pressure to make it not chew the paper, and I wanted to give it another try. I got a few new cartridges and have been playing around ever since.
I have found that it is sometimes difficult to marry the cricut with my style of scrapping, but not impossible. It's also a sort of new way of thinking about my paper crafting. There are so many options with the cricut, and I can make them all match!

Here is a Christmas card that I created with the Damask Decor cartridge and some Crate paper and My Mind's Eye papers, and My Mind's Eye chipboard. The sentiment is SRM stickers.
The card is cut from Crate paper Random paper, and then layered with another cut of blue denim Random paper and the green print Random paper. With this card I ran into a little bit of a photography problem. I'd love some ideas if you have any on how to fix this problem. It happens whenever I have a window, or cut out like this.

I created the card so that the tree rests over the red polka dot paper, but when I went to photograph it, it wouldn't lie flat enough so really show that. I took the shot above with the card laying flat. Then the one below with it standing up. But you can see with both of them that you don't really get the full effect. The front of the card is askew from the back because it is slightly open in both photos.
And on a side note, don't you LOVE those SRM stickers? I wanted to keep the card simple, and I wanted to use the ornament, so I decided that putting the sentiment on the ornament was the way to go. I had to trim the stickers a little bit, and overlap them, but that's the beauty of these clear stickers - they still look GREAT!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nook Advent Calendar winner! picked a winner and the winner is lucky number 11 - Andrea Amu!!

email me your address and I will get your prize out in the mail! Although bummer that didn't remember this earlier because I was JUST at the post office this morning.

And thank you to everyone for the lovely comments!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Toot and a Moxie Fab Challenge card

I just got an email that I am going to be published in Paper Crafts again! So excited!

In other news, here is a card that I created for the Get Inspired in the Kitchen Challenge in the Moxie Fab World This card features coredinations cardstock which I embossed with a sizzix folder and then sanded. I used my cricut to cut the diamonds. The sentiment is SRM Stickers.
here is the inspiration

Design Principles - Proportion tutorial at ACOT

My latest tutorial over at A Cherry On Top is up. This month I discuss using the design principle of proportion effectively in your scrapbook pages. This is a follow-up to the class on Balance.

These are part of a 5 part series on using the main principles of design in your scrapbooking. However, next month I will be taking a break from the series to do something a little different.

Anyway, back to the current class. You can see the whole thing on the A Cherry on Top blog,

Here is one of the pages that I made for this reveal. I used Lily Bee's new Head Over Heels line. This page illustrates the proportion of color and the smaller embellishments paired with smaller photos.

You can see the article here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You're the Sweetest Card

This card is for the Moxie Fab World Pay it forward challenge. I used an SRM sentiment and delicious chocolate dipped strawberry sticker, along with some Jillibean soup and a Doodlebug card. I just love how bright and cheery this card is!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ACOT Challenges!

The monthly challenges are up at A Cherry On Top! They are full of inspiration and the possibility of some prizes (ACOT points). This is my first month being in charge of writing the article. I made a little mistake but nothing catastrophic. So check it out here!

and here is my challenge Trends and Techniques, that I just realized I have been hosting since.... September of 2009!! Can you believe that? I can't.

Anyway, this month I challenge you to use fabric on your layouts. Here is my example layout - which features Clearsnap, Pink Paislee and Fancy Pants along with a bunch of fun techniques. Usually I try to make a new layout for my challenge example, but this month with all the craziness of the holidays, I decided to use one that I already had. This is from my guest designer work for Clearsnap and you can read more about it on my original blog post.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Nook Advent Calendar Giveaway

I'm so excited to share with you the Advent Calendar at My Scrapbook NookMyself and 24 other Nook friends are hosting a giveaway during the count down to Christmas. Every day untill Christmas one Nook girl will host a giveaway, so make sure you stop by and check out the Nook blog daily to see who is hosting a giveaway. And today is my day!

Here is a little bit of advent calendar inspiration for you. This is an advent calendar I created this year featuring Imaginisce Santa's Little Helper, SRM stickers, Twinery twine and a lot of felt and fabric glue.

Just a quick note about making this: it looks sewn together, but it's NOT! I sewed a border around the outside of the backing, just for some definition. I also stitched around the squares of patterned paper, but I adhered them to the squares of felt with fabric glue. The felt squares are also stuck to the backing with fabric glue. So, yes I can sew, but it was SO much easier to glue it together!

I die cut the scalloped circles, and used my cricut for the circles. I probably should have used the cricut for both - that would have saved time. Set it and forget it! I made the rosettes while I was watching tv.

Ok, now onto the part you are waiting for. Here is what I am giving away - 3 15yd bundles of Twinery twine, one Bo Bunny stamp pack, one WRMK stamp and one Imaginisce stamp. I reserve the right to throw a few more random things in there when I actually find an envelope and get it ready to mail. :)

For a chance to win this, simply leave a comment here before December 10th at midnight EST. I'll do a drawing and announce the winner next week. Make sure you also hop on over to Leah Killian's blog and get entered for the grand prize sometime between now and Christmas Morning. You could win a free subscription to the always inspiring Nook kits!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Season to be jolly card

I have been thinking up cards for the Moxie Fab medallion challenge for a while now, and procrastinating. I guess it's lucky that I did, because I saw the new sketch challenge from My Mind's Eye and it was perfect!

Here is the card:
and here is the sketch.
I used the Holly Jolly papers from My Mind's Eye, some Twinery twine, an SRM sticker, American Crafts Cardstock and some favorite findings buttons. My camera has been acting up, so this picture isn't the greatest. Unfortunately I think I am going to have to take it into the shop tomorrow. Eek! hope that doesn't cost a small fortune. Anyway, the card is embossed with a sizzix embossing folder.

I haven't done this in a while, but I actually let myself have fun and play this weekend, so I indulged in a little old fashioned challenge combining...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shed Sweet Light is up at

my latest article is up featuring a double page Hanukkah layout that I created last year.

Check it out HERE where you can see the full page in much better quality.
here is a little preview though - I just LOVE this photo!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Scrapbook Nook Advent Calendar Giveaway

I'm so excited to share with you the Advent Calendar at My Scrapbook Nook. 24 Nook friends and I are hosting a giveaway during the count down to Christmas. Every day untill Christmas (starting today!!) 1 Nook girl will host a giveaway, so make sure you will check out the Nook blog daily to see who is hosting a giveaway. So have fun playing along! ps little hint: check back here on Dec 6 ;)

and here is a quick Christmas card for you. It's simple, but for some reason I just like it. This was one of the cards that I created in this year's ACOT crop Christmas card class. (Which I seem to be making a yearly thing of) It features some Prima North Country, and a SRM sticker.