Supplies: Glitz Design (background cardstock), Bazzill (blue cardstock), American Crafts (white cardstock), My Mind's Eye (diecuts), Petaloo (flowers), EK Success (border punch), BasicGrey (alphabet stickers), Clearsnap (ink), Zig (pen), and misc. (mechanical pencil and ruler for drawing journaling lines, Russian postage stamps for embellishments).
The journaling says: "One of our first group excursions in Saint Petersburg was a visit to this cathedral, on foot. We climbed up many, many steps to the viewing deck around the cupola, where we had a great panoramic view of the city."
I had so much fun making this layout! The lovely thing about the background paper is that it has been printed in such a way that it looks like it has been distressed and treated with spray ink, but I didn't have to do a thing. (Don't get me wrong--I love to play with tools and inks! But it is nice when paper manufacturers can save me time by printing paper with special effects.)
When possible, I love incorporating postage stamps into my layouts. I found a religious stamp to enhance this layout about a Russian cathedral, and I also found two stamps that show the actual cathedral! (Note--if you ever visit Russia, a trip to this cathedral is a must. The panoramic view of the city from the deck around the cupola is stunning.) Since I cannot be sure that the stamps I used are acid-free, I matted them on bits of cardstock before adhering them to my layout. These cardstock mats act as buffers, protecting the layout from any chemicals that may leach out of the stamps over time.
I got my stamps on actual letters from Russian friends, but you can buy postage stamps from collectors and hobby shops. If you are interested, check your local phone book for a philatelic club or shop, or do an Internet search.
If you want to use a stamp that is currently adhered to an envelope, don't just tear the stamp off the paper, as you are likely to damage the stamp that way. Instead, soak the envelope in warm water for fifteen minutes or so, and the stamp will just detach itself cleanly from the paper. (This works better with the old "lick-'em-and-stick-'em" stamps; the newfangled self-adhesive ones can also be soaked, but they sometimes need a little extra gentle coaxing on your part before they will part with their envelopes.) Let the stamps dry, press them flat under a heavy book (if necessary), and then they will be ready to be added to your craft projects.
Here are a few close-ups, showing the stamps and the title treatment.
Thanks for looking!