Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: The Scraps Book

I know that many of my readers are just as enthusiastic about books as I am.  So, I thought it would be fun to write book reviews now and then on my blog.  Today I'm reviewing The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert.  The book begins with these words: "DON'T READ THIS BOOK (unless you love books and art)."  I think it's safe to assume that anyone viewing my blog falls firmly into the "unless" category.  :)

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This is a children's book.  I have two built-in excuses for reading children's books, since I am both a mom and a teacher.  But I don't think one needs to be either of those things to appreciate Lois Ehlert's playful writing style and colorful collage art.  Really, this is a book for all ages.  Using words and collage, Ehlert shares the story of her artistic journey.  She begins by telling about her upbringing in a creative home.  Then, she explains where she gets her book ideas and what the lengthy process of writing and illustrating a book is like ("an egg in the nest doesn't become a bird overnight").  Finally, in my favorite part of the book, Ehlert shows a wide variety of scrap items that she uses in her art.  These include: colored paper cut in geometric shapes, vintage photos, bits of watercolor washes, carved wooden animals, Pantone swatches, metal shapes cut from an old pizza pan, birdseed, folk art, marbleized paper, and pressed leaves sent by friends from all over the world.  Her enthusiasm for collage with both artistic and everyday items makes me want to try similar techniques on my scrapbook pages and cards.

After reading The Scraps Book I also felt inspired to request more Ehlert books from the library.  As you see from the photo above, my son and I have a lot of colorful reading in our future.  What are you reading these days?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Photo Share (T-Day)

Imagine a day in high summer.  You're walking along the shore of a big, blue lake.  The sun is shining with all its might, but the breeze off the lake keeps you cool.  So does the ice cream cone in your hand.  Yum, it's French Roast coffee flavor.  Ask yourself, does coffee flavored ice cream count as a Tea on Tuesday beverage?  Decide that it does.  You can't take a photo of the ice cream, though, because it's melting quickly in the sunshine.  You can snap a few photos of the lake though.

The lake is not quite as dramatically blue as last time you were here, back in October.  This time, the afternoon sun is casting shadows.  There is still plenty of bright blue to be seen, though, in both the sky and the water.

Your favorite photo is one of your son, framed by some flowers.  He's not facing the camera, but his body language appears peaceful and contemplative.  When you're done enjoying the lake, you can go home and read aloud the library books that he is clutching under his arm.  

What a great summer afternoon!  Hope that you enjoyed reading about it.  Did you feel like you were there with me?  :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to Back

Hi, everyone!  I just have a short post today, with a tip for how to get the most from your patterned paper.  This is something I do almost all the time, but I have never blogged about it before.  My simple tip is: to use both sides of the paper.  Here's how I did just that, using this text/lattice print paper from Lily Bee.

The lattice print side of the paper became the background for the layout "Dream Big" (previously blogged here).

And the text print side of the paper became the background for the layout "Magic Moment (previously blogged here).  It does take a bit of planning ahead, if you want your pages in chronological order, to use both sides of a sheet of patterned paper.  However, I think it's worth it.  And my wallet certainly agrees, since this technique allows me to get two layouts out of each piece of paper.  I know that this tip won't work for everyone, but it's definitely something to at least keep in mind.

That's it from me today.  Hope your week is off to a good start!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Flintstones! (CPC)

Time for the mid-month reveal at Child's Play Challenges!  This month we invite you to create a scrapbook page inspired by the televison show The Flintstones.

Supplies: background paper from Lily Bee; orange paper from Bo Bunny; gold chevron paper from Pink Paislee; fussy cut banner paper from Imaginisce; cardstock from Bazzill; title card from Studio Calico; tape from 3M/Scotch; ribbon from Berwick Offray; chipboard from ScrapMatts; rhinestones from Dee's Place; sequins & spangle from my stash; corner punch from Creative Memories.

People and dinosaurs live side by side in the world of the Flintstones.  This inspired me to make a scrapbook layout using photos of people together with (animatronic) dinosaurs.  The layout is above, and a few detail shots are below.

I'm still kind of obsessed with adding rhinestones to everything.

Sequins and a spangle are also good for sparkle.

It was fun using these fussy cut banners to enliven some empty spaces.

This challenge runs through the end of August.  For more information, and to see inspiration from the rest of the design team, please visit the Child's Play Challenges blog.  Take care!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ten on the Tenth: Patriotic Colors

Hi, all!  My summer vacation from "Ten on the Tenth" is over, and I'm back with the latest installment in this de-stashing series.  Ten on the Tenth is a monthly series on my my blog.  Each month I show you how I used ten stash items to create three projects--a card, a layout, and a use-up-the-scraps project. 

This month I'll start by showing you the card (above) that I made.  Instead of a traditional folding card, it's a gift card holder.

Left photo: blue dotted paper from Lily Bee; red starry paper from American Crafts; white cardstock (2 sheets) from Pulp; rubber stamp from Inkadinkadoo; handmade banner stamp; punch card upcycled as stencil; fruit bag mesh.  Right photo: label stickers from October Afternoon (random assortment of sheets with only one or two labels on each); patriotic sticker sheet from Bella Blvd; tree patterned paper (flipside of Lily Bee sheet); star chart patterend paper (flipside of American Crafts sheet).

In the diptych above, you see photos of the supplies that I used.  I chose a red, white, and blue color scheme this time.  For my ten supplies, I used: two sheets of patterned paper, two sheets of white cardstock, 2 types of embellishments (label stickers and decorative stickers), two "upcycled" supplies (a punch card and fruit bag mesh); and two non-consumable supplies (two types of stamps).  I was excited for another chance to use my handmade banner stamp, which I made in May.  Unfortunately, the stamp ripped into pieces when I tried to pick it up.  I don't know whether I stored it incorrectly or it was just too fragile.  But in any case, I was unable to actually use the stamp for Ten on the Tenth.  :(  

Stamp disappointments notwithstanding, I made some fun projects with the other nine supplies from my stash.  Let's get back to the gift card holder that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  In the photo above, you can see how it looks with the gift card removed.  Below is a closeup of the labels and sentiment.

And here (below) is a picture of the back of the gift card holder, which has "to" and "from" blanks. 

Additional supplies used for gift card holder: wrapping tissue, Zig pen; Candi dots from Craftwork; alphabet stickers (both sizes) from October Afternoon; Tsukineko ink; ReStyle ribbon; household pencil.

Next I'd like to show you the other two projects that I made with my red, white, and blue supplies.  This will just be a quick overview, since I've already blogged about these projects in separate posts.

I made a layout called "AUS Meets USA," which you can read about in this post.

To use up the scraps leftover from making the card and layout, I created a second layout.  It's called "July Stars and Stripes," and you can read about it in this post.

That's it for this Ten on the Tenth post.  But I'll leave you with a teaser photo (above).  The upcoming September Ten on the Tenth post will focus on mini supplies, like the little journaling cards and button stamp shown in the picture.  I look forward to sharing projects with you again soon!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

CPC August Challenge

Hello, all!  I'm just popping by today to let you know the new theme for August at Child's Play Challenges.  This time around it's a classic toy: Weebles.  No matter how often you knock over a Weeble, it automatically pops back up, grinning all the while.  That perpetual, painted-on Weeble grin inspired me to use smiley face stamps on my layout.

Supplies: white cardstock from American Crafts; yellow cardstock from Wausau Paper; patterned papers, stickers, die cuts, & enamel shapes from October Afternoon; stamp from Inkadinkado; stamping ink from Hero Arts; edging ink from Autumn Leaves/Stampology; pen from Zig.

My retro-looking smiley face stamps accompany photos from a recent weekend of tie-dyeing.  A colorful grid design, made up entirely of assorted patterned paper scraps from my stash, ties the whole page together.  Overall, the effect is pretty groovy.  :)  Here are a few detail shots.

There are many other ways to draw scrapbooking inspiration from Weebles.  Please visit the Child's Play Challenges blog to see what the rest of the design team created.  Hope we'll inspire you!