Monday, September 26, 2011

ScrapFest 2011: Top 10

It's been a week since I attended ScrapFest 2011, a mega-event for papercrafters at the Mall of America.  To describe such an enormous event is a challenge, so I'm going to sum things up with a "Top Ten" list.  I'm also going to share a few projects I've completed with the goodies that I got at Scrap Fest.

Top Ten Memories from ScrapFest 2011

1. Last year I had to miss ScrapFest, and I was especially bummed that I missed out on the free Beadniks make-n-take.  I was hoping that Beadniks would do another make-n-take this year, so the first thing my friend and I did when we met up at MOA (the Mall of America) was to head up to the third floor and check out Beadniks, a bead/jewelry store.  My wish came true--they had a new make-n-take this year!  In the photo below, you can see the metal pendant that I stamped with the word "Love."  I do not have much hand strength, so I was a bit nervous about whether I'd be able to stamp the words and punch the jump ring hole in the metal disk.  But I need not have worried--these tasks were both easy to complete with the tools provided by Beadniks.  For just three dollars (plus the cost of supplies) anyone can rent the tools and make more pendants, and that's what my friend chose to do.  I, on the other hand, did just a bit of shopping at Beadniks and then decided to head back down to the first floor of MOA and start doing ScrapFest make-n-takes.

2.  The main activity at ScrapFest is doing make-n-takes at various manufacturer booths.  Unlike the pendant make-n-take at Beadniks, the ScrapFest make-n-takes are not free.  However, for the twenty dollar cost of an admission badge, you can do as many make-n-takes as you wish.  The manufacturer booths are scattered around the first floor of the mall, and most have long lines.  I recommend wearing comfortable shoes and bringing a book or magazine to pass the time.

3.  That said, I did not have to pull out my magazine at all, because I ended up standing next to friendly, chatty people in all the lines.  It was particularly interesting to find out where everyone was from.  I had thought that most attendees would be locals, like me, but most of the people I met were from out of town.  I even met people from Illinois, Michigan, and Nevada!  Most people said that they don't have scrapbooking stores in their areas.  That made me feel really grateful to live in the Twin Cities, where we have several Archivers stores, and a few independent scrapbook stores as well.

4.  I know that some people are really hard core about ScrapFest and manage to do 20+ make-n-takes.  As for me, though, I would go crazy from standing in line so much.  So, I just picked a few make-n-takes to do.  Do I think it's worth the price of admission?  Absolutely!  I got to try materials and techniques that I might not normally use, and many of the manufacturers gave away "extras" with their projects--see photos below.

5.  I also took some time to shop at Archivers while I was at the mall.  They had lots of new products in, just in time for ScrapFest.  I bought a lot of Christmas papers, quite a bit of the "Sidewalks" collection from October Afternoon, and also a nice selection of Lily Bee Design and Reminisce products.

6.  Since I was already at the biggest shopping mall in the country, I took some time to visit some other shops.  I satisfied my girly-girl side with some stationery from Sanrio.  And, being me, I also paid a visit to Izba, a Russian gift shop.  Whatever your tastes, the ginormous Mall of America probably has a store to suit you.

7.  To save time and money, I brought my own food.  I sat down to a bag lunch with my friend, and I brought a batch of homemade cookies to snack on while I was standing in line.  Mall food can get kind of pricey, and I'm on a budget, so I chose to put my "fun money" toward craft supplies, not food.

8.  In addition to bringing my own food, I also brought my own adhesive.  I rarely use glue sticks, but they are pretty popular at the manufacturer make-n-take booths.  So, I tucked a pack of dry adhesive in my shoulder bag.  I only needed to use it a couple times, but I was glad I had it.

9.  To me, the most exciting part of a make-n-take is being able to incorporate it into a layout.  So, during the week following ScrapFest, I made sure to spend my free time using my new goodies.  I used my supplies from the Authentique make-n-take in the layout "Yuriev Monastery" (first photo below), and I used my Beadniks make-n-take pendant in the layout "Cute as a Button" (second photo below).  I was also able to use a lot of the fun, cheerful "Sidewalks" products that I'd bought on my second layout.

Supplies: 6x6" patterned papers (Authentique), 12x12" patterned papers (Lily Bee Design), floral die cut (My Mind's Eye), all other die cuts (Authentique), alphabet stickers (Lily Bee Design), ink (Stampology/Autumn Leaves), pens (Zig), rhinestones (Petaloo).

Supplies: cardstock (Bazzill); patterned papers, stickers, die cuts, ribbon, button, metal "Play" accent (all from October Afternoon); ink (Autumn Leaves/Stampology); pens (Zig); thread (DMC); stamped metal tag (Beadniks free project).

The journaling on the first layout ("Yuriev Monastery") reads: "Novgorod is magical!  One moment you're walking through a cold, drab landscape, but the next minute you turn the corner and beautiful onion-domed churches and towers rise before your eyes.  Though dilapidated after decades of Soviet neglect, the buildings are still breathtakingly gorgeous.  Restoration work is underway both inside and outside, and soon the monastery will gleam as it once did.  I hope I can return here someday, to see Yuriev as it was meant to be seen.  But even as it is in these photos, its careworn grandeur speaks to my soul."

The journaling on the second layout ("Cute as a Button") is much simpler and reads: "Cute, playful, and very loving...that's our Tina!" 

10.  I was also eager to use the supplies I'd bought, so I devoted some of my free time to them as well.  I used a recycled bottle cap bead purchased at Beadniks to make a keychain (first photo below), and I used some of my new Reminisce products to make a Christmas ornament (second & third photos below).

Supplies: recycled bottle cap bead (Glass Garden), fancy headpin (C-Koop Beads), small glass bead (manufacturer unknown).

Supplies: chipboard rocket (October Afternoon), space monkey paper & stickers (Reminisce), aqua stickers (October Afternoon), orange stickers (Lily Bee Design), ink (Autumn Leaves/Stampology), pen (Zig), fiber (extra shoelace).

I've enjoyed the week of fun that ScrapFest and my new craft goodies provided me.  I'm still itching to try out some of the new holiday papers that I bought, so you can expect to see several Christmas layouts on this blog in the near future.  Hope you've had some time for crafting this past week, too.  I'm off to check out everyone's blogs now.  See you soon!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Playing with Pockets

Hello!  Today I'm here to show you "Scott's School Pix," the layout I made for this month's Bo-Bunny sketch challenge.  When I saw the sketch, my first thought was, "If you turn that sketch upside down, the tiers of frills could be used as pockets for small photos."  So, that's just what I did (see below).

Supplies: patterned paper and stickers (all from Bo-Bunny), pen (Zig), 
gift card holder (Panera), notebook paper (Mead).

Except for the acid green star paper, which is from the "Blast Off!" collection, all the papers and stickers on this layout are from Bo-Bunny's "Learning Curve" collection.  Besides turning the sketch upside down, the only other design change I made was to replace the frills and butterflies with diagonal lines and stars, in order to make the layout masculine.

My husband, Scott, moved several times as he was growing up, and some of his old photos got lost in those moves.  Since I don't have a photo from every year of his schooling, I just picked three representative photos to put on this layout.  One is from primary school, one is from middle school, and one is from high school. 

To further play up the idea of pockets, I used an old gift card holder (shown in the two photos above) on my layout.  First, I cut the gift card holder in half.  The front flap became my title block, and the pocket flap became a pocket to hold my journaling.  In keeping with the school theme, my journaling is a list of schools my husband attended, written on school notebook paper.

I had fun dressing up the gift card holder with Bo-Bunny stickers.  All the coordinating bits and pieces that come on the sticker sheet really help to create a cohesive feel on the layout.  I also doodled along the edges of some of the stickers and borders on the layout.  I remember that when I was in school, I loved to doodle on my notebooks, in order to personalize them.  So, I decided to do the same on this school-themed layout.

I hope that back-to-school time is going smoothly for your and your family!  Here all is well, but we are all tired from the change in schedule.  Oh well, I'm sure we'll be used to it soon.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Vintage Layout for Grandma

Two months ago, Nadia Cannizzo was the guest designer at Scrap for Help, and for their monthly challenge she provided a sketch.  At first I was nervous about trying that challenge, because Nadia's style is so very different from mine.  I tend to create simple, graphic, cutesy pages, while Nadia's layouts are detailed, layered, and flowery.  But, since the point of a challenge is, after all, to be *challenged*, I went ahead and tried Nadia's sketch.  And you know what?  I absolutely loved the result!  So, when I found out that Nadia runs her very own sketch challenge blog, Once Upon a...Sketch, I knew I wanted to participate.  I am participating for the first time this month, and here is my take on the current challenge at Once Upon a...Sketch.  My layout, which you see below, is called "2010."  (One of the rules for the challenge was to use a year as the title of the layout.)

Supplies: cardstock (The Paper Company), snowflake & ledger patterned papers (The Girls' Paperie), tan lattice patterned paper (Graphic 45), green/cream patterned paper (7 Gypsies), brown/white/blue floral patterned paper (Bo-Bunny), pale cream patterned paper (Fancy Pants Design), vintage-look circular embellishments (Bottle Cap Inc.), acid-free notebook paper (Earthbound), die cuts (My Mind's Eye), polka-dotted sticker frame (Basic Grey), numeral stickers (American Crafts), all other stickers (Bo-Bunny), ribbon roses (Offray), button (Blumenthal-Lansing), thread (DMC), pens (Zig), ink (Color Box and Versa Color), frame mat (repurposed), twill ribbon (repurposed), twine (vintage), torn book page (vintage).

The journaling reads: "This was the last year we celebrated Christmas with "Gramma."  We'll sure miss her."  In fact, my grandmother just passed away on August 26, so I am still in the throes of grief.  I wanted to create a special page to commemorate the last holiday I spent with "Gramma," and Nadia's sketch seemed like just the thing to guide me.

I wanted to fill this page with things that look old, beautiful, and cherished, like my grandmother was.  Some of the items on the page just look old (like the torn papers and the curled edges), but the frame and twill are repurposed household items, and the twine and book page are vintage items.

To make the frame (above), I repurposed an extra mat insert that came with a photo frame.  The mat was plain white, so I covered it with Graphic 45 paper.  To enhance the aged look of the paper, I dabbed green and brown inks on it, concentrating on the edges.  Then, I distressed the edges, allowing bits of the paper to crumple, fold, and tear. 

To create the illusion that the frame was hanging on the page, I made a "hanger" from twill ribbon, a fancy die cut, and a button.  The twill ribbon actually came with some dish cloths that I bought recently (see above).  After I got home from the store and unwrapped the dish cloths, I stuck the twill ribbon in my scrap bag, knowing it would come in handy someday.

Many of the stickers on this layout are from a vintage-themed Bo-Bunny set.  I added ink to some of the stickers, to add to the vintage look.  The set even came with tiny alphabet stickers, which I used to spell out my grandmother's name, Myla (see above).

The twine that is tied around the frame and the title block is vintage twine that my husband's grandmother gave to me.  She gave me a huge ball of this twine, and bits of it have been appearing regularly in my projects lately--anywhere I need to create a soft, vintage look.  The book page (above) is also vintage--it's a reproduced 1904 illustration from a Bobbsey Twins book (see this post for more info).  I chose this illustration of a granny-type lady giving cookies to children, because when I was young my grandma was always feeding our extended family, and cookies--especially Christmas cookies--were her specialty.

Hospitality was important to my grandmother.  To her, feeding her guests was a way to show them kindness.  If she were still here today, she would love to sit down and share some cookies and coffee with YOU.  I'm trying to carry on her tradition, and I love to cook and bake for guests.  Here is a picture of me with some of my holiday baking from last Christmas (below).  Imagine that you are sitting down now with me in my kitchen, and we are sharing coffee and cookies as we look through each other's blogs.  Grandma would be proud!  Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Scrap-Busting Sketches

It's no secret that I looooooooooooooooooove October Afternoon.  In particular, I love the weekly sketch challenges on their blog.  Very often, these sketches are great for using up scraps.  In this post I'm going to share with you two layouts that I made for recent OA sketch challenges.

The first one, titled "Bookworms" (below), is from OA's most recent sketch challenge.  I stuck to the sketch pretty closely, except I added lots more circles above the block of photos.  I think my reason for doing so is self-evident.  :)

Supplies:  patterned paper, stickers, buttons (all from October Afternoon); burgundy cardstock (The Paper Company); kraft cardstock (Wausau Paper); pen (Gelly Roll by Sakura); decorative scissors (Fiskars); border punch (EK Success); thread (DMC); pencil; standard office hole punch.

Every single piece of patterned paper on this layout is a scrap.  Say hi to the scrappy bookworm (below)!

I mixed and matched the stickers in the title and journaling, using some older stickers and some newer stickers (below).  The journaling reads: "We all love to "read" books!"  Even those family members who are not yet old enough to read independently still love to be read to and to look at illustrations.

My second layout for this post is called "Fall Walk" (below), and it is from an older sketch challenge.  Again, all the patterned paper on this page came from scraps.

Supplies: patterned paper, stickers, journaling card, ribbon, metal accent (all from October Afternoon); background cardstock (TPC Studio); pens (Zig); ink (Clearsnap); dimensional adhesive (3M).

The journaling on this one reads: "On days when Scott officed from home, we sometimes took walks at our lunchtime.  Lots of fun!"  For an extra touch, I popped the fussy-cut fox off the page with foam adhesive (below).

Thanks for stopping by to check out my scrap-busting OA layouts.  Before I go, I want to leave you with one final thought...  I'm writing this post on the evening of September 11, 2011.  Lots of bloggers are writing about the significant anniversary that is taking place today, but I can't.  Even after ten years, the pain is still too strong.  It's not that I want to forget about the events of September 11, 2001.  I couldn't forget, even if I wanted to.  But thinking about it for too long is just too difficult.  I still can't read books or watch movies about that fateful day.  I feel sad not only for the people who lost loved ones on that day, but also for the people whose lives are still being affected by the events that took place ten years ago.  If I could have one wish today, I would wish that all the fighting could end and people everywhere could live in peace as brothers and sisters.  So, instead of thinking too long about the significance of today's date, I chose instead to spend time on Blogger.  I am so pleased with all the wonderful friends I have met all over the world via my blog.  I wish that everyone in the world could be as kind and friendly as scrapbookers seem to be.  Thanks, fellow bloggers.  You give me hope that someday the world will be a kinder, gentler place. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Turning Books into Art

I've been hearing a lot about the challenge group Color Combos Galore lately, so I decided to check it out.  Their color challenge for this week (lavender + brown + white + red) is absolutely delightful, so I decided to give it a whirl.  I created a layout called "Words are Wings" (below).

Supplies: cardstock (all from Wausau Paper), chipboard butterflies (DCWV), book pages (vintage), ink (Versa Color), alphabet stickers (Bo-Bunny), border sticker (Doodlebug Design), foam stickers (Darice), buttons (Blumenthal Lansing), twine (vintage), wire (Artistic Wire), pen (Zig).

In addition to using the color combination for the week, I also used the design prompt, which was to use text-patterned paper and journal about reading/literature.  My journaling reads: "May books always bring you flights of fancy, my boy!"  To go along with that idea, I created text-filled butterfly embellishments.

There are a lot of wonderful text-print patterned papers available, but I decided to make my own page elements by recycling pages from old books.  Normally, I would never dream of removing pages from books, but these old Bobbsey Twins books (above) just had to go.  My mom enjoyed them when she was a kid, and I enjoyed them when I was a kid, and I thought I could pass them along to the next generation to enjoy anew...but when I re-read them I discovered that the books are no longer appropriate for children.  Although these copies of the books were printed in the 1950's, the text is obviously the original 1904 and 1907 stories, since the Bobbseys travel by horse and buggy in the books.  There is nothing wrong with traveling by horse and buggy, but I do object to many of the attitudes in the stories.  In one book, a bully leaves a dead rat on the Bobbseys' stoop on Valentine's Day!  In the other book, small children play with fireworks without adult supervision!  And don't even get me started on the racial stereotypes in both books!!!  Let's just say that in the twenty-first century these books are better off being turned into scrapbooking embellishments.

I used some DCWV chipboard butterflies as templates and traced their shapes onto book paper (see above).  For each butterfly, I slightly varied the layout and orientation of the text.  Then I glued the cutouts atop the chipboard, inked the edges for an aged look, and added details.  The larger butterflies (first photo below) each have a twine-threaded button for decoration.  The smaller butterfly (second photo below) has a body made of foam stickers and little antennae fashioned from beading wire.

I may be just a bit biased, but I think my kiddo looks awfully cute when he's reading (see four photos below).  :)

I really enjoyed my first Color Combos Galore challenge.  I will definitely keep participating in this group!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Stickers Go Farther

One thing leads to another!  In my last post, I shared a layout that included leftover sticker scraps.  That reminded me of a time when I created a layout that involved deliberately cutting a sticker into pieces.  That layout, "Smolny Cathedral" (below), was for the Color Room Palette #50.  I created it back in March, before I started this blog.  Slowly but surely those older layouts are making their way onto my blog.

Supplies: cardstock (American Crafts), doily patterned paper (October Afternoon), mottled blue patterned paper (My Mind's Eye), fussy-cut scalloped paper strips (Kaiser Craft), fussy-cut stars (Echo Park), border sticker (Doodlebug Design), alphabet & snowflake stickers (Bo-Bunny), label sticker (October Afternoon), pen (Gelly Roll by Sakura).

The photos on this layout are from my 1995 trip to Russia.  For me, the photos capture the essence of Russian winter: snow, bundled-up pedestrians, and beautiful architecture, complete with onion domes!  The journaling reads: "April 2: One of our first excursions was a trip to Smolny, where we heard a concert."  If you ever make it to Saint Petersburg, a trip to Smolny is worthwhile.  The cathedral is no longer used for worship; instead, it's a concert hall.  You can also pay a little extra to go up into the top onion dome and look out over Saint Petersburg.  Our group opted not to do that, since the weather was so cold and snowy on the day we visited Smolny.  However, I did get to climb to the top of another cathedral dome (Saint Isaac's, which you can see here) to get a panoramic view of the city on a sunnier day.

As you can see from the in-progress photo above, I made the two snowflakes on either side of the layout by cutting apart a larger sticker.  After I completed the "Smolny Cathedral" layout, I still had pieces of the snowflake sticker remaining.  You can see them on either side of my scissors in the photo.  I was able to assemble them into a complete snowflake on a different layout (which will appear in a different post).  So, I got three snowflake images from a single sticker.  I love it when things work out like that!

Before I sign out, I wanted to share one more thing with you.  Tomorrow is the first day of school for most kids in our city.  I'm very excited for my son, because this year in school his class will be scrapbooking, after a fashion!  When I attended Parents' Night last week, I got a copy of this note: 

"This year we will be journaling daily.  We would like the journals to be more meaningful and something kids want to save and add to later.  We will be creating "Life Books" this year and are asking kids to bring in pictures and items that can be put in their books before they journal.  Examples of items that kids can bring in are postcards, ticket stubs, napkins, part of a box from food or toys, etc.  Please help them be creative.  They can bring items to add to their journals anytime during the school year.  Please get them started by finding 4-6 items."  

I think this is a great project!  Using photos and memorabilia seems like an easy way to jump-start kids' writing ideas.  My son already likes to scrapbook alongside me, so this kind of project will be perfect for him.  He was very excited when I told him about the project, and he immediately picked five items (three photos, a postcard from our summer vacation, and a pocket map from the Minnesota Zoo) to use in his first journal entries.  I'll be sure to let you know how his journal progresses during the school year.

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!  See you again soon in cyberspace. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Turning Sticker Scraps into Journaling Lines

Hello again, friends!  My last two posts have featured layouts with one of my favorite supplies: Doodlebug Design border stickers.  When I use those border stickers, I often have to trim them down to a smaller size.  So, I end up with lots of leftover little bits and pieces of border stickers.  I decided to challenge myself to use up those bits and pieces, and I hit upon the idea of using them as lines for journaling.  Today I want to share with you a layout called "Happy" (below) that features this idea.

Supplies: cardstock (American Crafts),  pale green patterned paper (Colorbok), all other patterned paper (My Mind's Eye), "Happy" banner stickers (Basic Grey), yellow snowflake border sticker (Bo-Bunny Press), all other border stickers (Doodlebug Design), dot stickers (trimmed from Doodlebug Design border stickers), large journaling spot (Bo-Bunny Press), small journaling spot (Echo Park), yellow/white label sticker (Creative Imaginations), mini alphabet stickers (October Afternoon), mini number stickers (Creative Imaginations), blue snowflake sticker (Bo-Bunny Press), blue corner stickers (Bo-Bunny Press), border punch (EK Success), pen (Zig by EK Success).

The journaling reads: "Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa Price's was a happy affair.  There were cookies, gifts, and smiles!  :)"

Did you spot bits and pieces of border stickers in other places on the layout, too?  I really had a ball with them on this layout.

Christmas is still quite some time away, but autumn will soon be upon us in the northern hemisphere.  To my American readers, I want to say "Happy Labor Day weekend!"  To my other northern hemisphere readers, I want to say, "Happy Autumn!"  And to my southern hemisphere readers, I want to say, "Happy Spring!"  Whatever season it is where you live, I hope you have a great day today.  Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Reduce Photo Paper Wastage (Idea 3 of 3)

Hello, friends!  I hope you're having a good weekend.  I'm back with the final post in my mini-series of ideas for reducing photo paper wastage.  I'm going to let this layout, "It's in the Details" (below), speak for itself.

Supplies: grid paper (October Afternoon); polka dot and clothesline papers (Echo Park); dark brown, multicolored floral, maize floral, and fussy-cut songbird patterned papers (My Mind's Eye); yellow/blue floral, green floral, and "grass" patterned paper (BasicGrey); tree/owl patterned paper (Kaiser Craft); blue ledger paper (Bo-Bunny); brown border stickers (Doodlebug Design); blue letter stickers (Bo-Bunny); green mini letter stickers (October Afternoon); blue pen (Zig); green pen (Sakura Gelly Roll).

The journaling reads: "The photos on this page are "scraps" that I trimmed off larger photos.  I couldn't bear to toss these scraps in the trash.  I love how they show the details of our daily lives.  So, thse scraps became the stars of their very own page."

Now, not all photo scraps will work for this sort of project...but some will.  Not only did I save the scraps on this page from the garbage dump, I also made a unique layout that gives a fun glimpse into my family's daily life.  It was enjoyable to make the "house" and "landscape" on this page.  I cut everything by hand without templates (the grid paper helped me cut straight lines for the house, so it was not difficult).  I will definitely try to do more pages like this in the future--not just because of the "green" aspect, but because it was fun creating such a whimsical design.

As always, thanks for looking at my blog.  Have you created any whimsical pages lately?  Let me know; I'd love to take a look at them!