Monday, March 31, 2014

Smile - Thoughts on Aging

I recently became a member over at Simple Scrapper, and let me tell you: that site is awesome. The content is spectacular and inspiring, and there's a great community of scrappers I'm just beginning to get to know.

Yesterday, during my Sunday morning scrapping time, I set out to use one Storystarter and one sketch that were part of March's content. I was also inspired by the week 3's content in the Scrapbooking Outside the Pocket class at Big Picture.

First, I started with a printed sketch and the list of Storystarters, a few pocket supplies from Simple Stories, and my photo:

Next, I pulled some coordinating scraps from my scrap basket:

My next step was determining which card to use where in my version of the sketched page. After I made those choices, I wasn't sure what card stock base to use.


Or kraft?

Though the kraft looks a bit better in the photos, in real life, the white card stock provided a much more appealing base for the photo and papers.

My finished layout looks like this:

(Supplies: card stock by Core'dinations. Patterned paper and stickers by Stimple Stories. Brads by Making Memories.)

The page came together in probably less than 30 minutes, and I loved that I used more remnants and scraps of supplies I already got a whole lotta scrappin' mileage from.

Want to check out Simple Scrapper and possibly join up? All the details can by found by clicking right here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Autumn Splendor in Heritage Park

As I wrote in my previous post, I assembled a bunch of autumn-themed supplies into a big kit to use for all the autumn-themed layouts I want to create. For my first project, I had several photos from a walk I took in my favorite local park on a lovely autumn day in 2012.

So many beautiful photos! I wanted to use as many of them as possible in one cohesive layout, and I thought I could include quite a few in a pocket page protector.

But which one?

I pulled out a variety package of page protectors from American Crafts and sorted through to see which ones might work for the design I had in mind. Choices, choices...

...and I finally settled on one with 6 4x6 pockets, planning to leave one open for a card of some kind.

Next, what to do with the remaining photos? I decided to create one 12x12 page with four photos, the remaining two to be featured on two 6x6 pages in the middle.

Like this:

I rounded some of the corners on the 6x6 pages.

I stamped a border along where the three photos would go on the 12x12 page.

And I created a card for the leftover spot in the divided page protector:

Everything completed looks like this:

And here are a couple shots of how it looks in the album:

Giving a shout-out to May Flaum and Noell Hyman, who were both inspirational in my process for these pages.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Own Kit - Big Theme Kits

It's no secret that I am totally digging My Own Kits. Having a limited set of supplies to work from keeps my creativity and productivity humming, and it's something I hope to keep doing as long as I'm scrapbooking.

During February, as I was going through my photos and my big binder of planned scrapbook pages (I should totally do a post about that!), I noticed that I had quite a few layouts to make with autumn and winter as the predominant theme, and I came up with the idea of assembling a bunch of seasonal papers and embellishments into two big themed kits, one for autumn and one for winter. Then I could work from those two kits, get some stash used, and get those stories told.

Easy peasy.

I went through my stash and came up with this kit for autumn:

First, papers. And I had a lot of them. The photo doesn't even do that stack of lovely autumn goodness justice. Some of the papers I selected were not autumn themed at all, but the colors spoke of autumn to me.

Next, a basket overflowing with tasty autumn goodness, including a bag of fussy-cut images, tags I made one creative autumn afternoon, burlap ribbon, rub-ons, pumpkins, leaves and brads and buttons. Anything and everything fall. There's even some raffia in there!

A few days later, and inspired by May Flaum's stamping class, I pulled out some stamps to include on my autumn pages. The swirl stamps aren't particularly autumn-themed, but they remind me of blustery fall days, so I threw 'em in. Why not, right?

For my winter kit, I went a little different direction, only because I have a couple winter collections that include papers and embellishments.

Here you see both old and newer lovelies from Echo Park and Bo Bunny, along with some pretty old remnant stickers by Basic Grey.

And here, some random stuff that speaks of winter to me, including ribbon, glitter tape, snowman buttons and snowflake brads, stickers and die cuts and wood veneer. Plus some things that can be altered to be very wintry indeed. (I'm sure I'll be adding stamps once I dive into this kit, too.)

Already, the autumn kit has jump-started my scrappin' creativity, and my next post will share my process for creating a multi-page layout with some of the supplies.

My Own Kit, February 2014

Last year, I started creating My Own Kits for scrapbooking. If I recall correctly, the first one was for March, and I loved the process of selecting papers and embellishments and stamps and stencils to coordinate into a kit I could use to create several layouts. Even with everything going on last year, I was able to put together kits for March through September, but things in my life got crazy in October, and it just didn't happen for that month or for November. At least not yet. I have papers set aside, but I haven't been able to add the other stuff. I did manage to assemble a huge December kit, my Journal Your Christmas kit, which is still packed into a scrapbooking bag on a chair in my craft room...

...but that's another story.

The kit I wanted to create for January still isn't finished either, but I did get inspired to create this kit for February of this year, and I can hardly wait to get into it.

Lots of hearts and florals and doilies in this one, and I added a package of Project Life cards to the mix, inspired by the Scrapbooking Outside the Pocket class I'm taking at Big Picture. There's some older stuff included, like the Queen & Co felt fusion that was a giveaway and the Stampin' Up! ribbon I've had for several years. Also some new stuff, like the papers and stamp set from Crate Paper. I'm hoping to create many pages about my relationship with Daniel since most of that story has gone unscrapbooked, and the theme of this kit will, I think, play well in telling the stories of us.

Coming soon: the Great Big Kits I put together for autumn and winter themed pages.

My Heart

With this page, I was getting down to the last remnants of My Own Kit, July 2013, and I had to get a bit creative in putting it together. First, I only had 8.5x11 card stock in that color from Stampin' Up! (I don't know if it's even available in 12x12, but the point was moot.) I wound up using two sheets, cutting one to 3.5 and covering the seam with strips of patterned paper so it looks like one 12x12. (Shh! Don't tell anyone my secret!)

The banner piece was cut from another 3x4 card, and I went simple with a sticker as the title. One thing I really love about making my own kits is getting stash used up. That little piece of rick rack was left from a package that's been in my ribbon box for years. Literally.

Her Own Style

One of my favorites of the pages I created with My Own Kit, July 2013. I wanted to go with an almost monochrome color scheme, adding pops of color for visual interest. I love when pages come together so easily.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


My Own Kit, July 2013, is getting a lot of mileage! For this simple page about my niece Olivia and one of her puppies, I was able to use a tag from the free printable sheet. Gotta love when that happens.

Love That Grin

For this page, I used a sketch from Bella Blvd, and the supplies are from My Own Kit, July 2013. One of my favorite techniques is to use stencils with ink like I did on this page with that gorgeous shade of Stampin' Up! pink to create those bubbly circles. I hope to do more with stencils on future layouts.

In the D

Another one with My Own Kit, July 2013. I "built" from the ground up, selecting the two 3x4 cards first, and basing the rest of the design on that. I didn't originally plan for design to fill most of the page, but as I worked, that's what appealed to me. When everything else was done, the page looked a bit ungrounded, so I added the ink from Stampin' Up! and called it done.

Monday, March 24, 2014


One year ago today, my nephew was diagnosed with leukemia. He'd been sick, and on the 23rd he went to urgent care, where blood was drawn. The technician at the lab called him and said get to the ER, something's terribly wrong. The ER doctor suspected it was leukemia, and the oncologist confirmed it the next day.

I still have the text my nephew sent me that Sunday morning, March 24, 2013. Leukemia is a scary word.

I told him in his hospital room that day, the people who survive cancer are the people who decide to survive cancer. I didn't know what to say to this 20-year-old kid who had already had a difficult enough life, who had just started to build a future for himself, only to have it all fall to rubble with one terrible word and its accompanying reality.


One year later, I am emotional when I think of all we've been through. I watched him fight for his life, cocooned in a cylindrical bed when he got pneumonia. I watched him endure the indignities of chemo side effects, countless blood and platelet transfusions, and so many other miseries cancer causes.

And I saw him do it with strength, with stamina, with courage reminiscent of his grandfather's.

Today, one whole year after that terrifying diagnosis, he is recovering from the bone marrow transplant that will give him back his life. He is not done just yet, but from what we can tell, he is through the worst of it.

Remembering those dark days, the diagnosis, the long nights as he lay in ICU sedated and medically paralyzed to help him heal, I don't know the words to clearly express how grateful I am to my nephew for fighting so hard and so strong and to the many people who fought with him, fought for him to live.

I know not everyone beats leukemia. I know how lucky we are that DJ did.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reading Rocks

I had a blast creating this page. I used My Own Kit, July 2013, along with stamps from TPC Studios, My Mind's Eye, Technique Tuesday, and Stamps of Life. The ink is from Ranger and Stampin' Up!

Once I've made several layouts with a kit and the supplies are starting to get sparse, that's when I am the most challenged in my creativity, and that's when it's the most fun for me. My inspiration piece for this page was the 3x4 card to the left of the photo, especially because it coordinates with the blue dress that my adorable niece is wearing. I also wanted to use the library themed journaling card to accompany the theme of the photo, Olivia dressed up as a book character. Those three elements became the basis of the rest of the design, which came together beautifully and gave me the chance to use bits and pieces of patterned paper leftover, as well as create fun embellishments with a variety of stamps.

See & Say

Using My Own Kit, July 2013, some Core'dinations card stock, and some ink from Stampin' Up!, I created this layout to add to a scrapbook I'm making for my mother, a collection of memories for her to flip through. The butterflies were plain chipboard that I colored with a perfectly matching pink ink, and the tag came from a free printable.

You Plus Me

Last year, I took the Hello Story class from Ali Edwards at Big Picture Classes. (That class is being offered again, so click here to register.) One story strategy from the class was mathematics, and this layout was inspired by that. I used My Own Kit, July 2013, along with a stamp from Pinkfresh Studio and Ranger ink.

What's New With Me

March is more than half over, already! And given that my last post here was February 20th, it looks like I'm posting about once a month, which is much less than I intended when I started this blog, but I suppose one post is better than no posts per month.


Once in awhile I like to do a post about what's been going on in my world and share some things I'm enjoying right now.

First: the weather, because who hasn't had a lot to talk about weather-wise this crazy year? Yesterday, was the first day of spring, and while my surroundings no longer look like that winter wonderland in the picture, there are still piles of half-melted refrozen snow nearby, and it was chilly enough to wear my winter coat most of the day. I used to live in Minnesota, and I don't think I've ever experienced a winter like the one we just survived. I am ready for some warm temperatures and sunny days. Bring on spring!

The month of March has been a bit turbulent as my family adjusts to my mother living in a nursing home. Trust me, it was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make, and it's been difficult to adjust as we transition to taking care of her in our home to sharing the caregiving with the staff where she lives. The good news? Mom is adjusting MUCH better than I could have imagined. The other day, which was a particularly difficult day for her, as we were walking her back to her room from dining, she said, "I love this place." That put a huge smile on my face and reassured me that, just maybe, everything will be okay with this new chapter in her life and in ours.

Last weekend, for the first time in a long, long time, my sweetheart and I got away. One night, nearby, at a lovely boutique hotel, just us two. A bit of heaven, complete with room service. If I hadn't had a cold, which I likely caught from Mom's sick roommate, it would have been perfect. Even sniffling, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful, restful atmosphere. We want to do that again. Soon!

I've had a little time for scrapbooking in March, and I'll be sharing more about that in posts to come. I'm taking two classes, one by May Flaum called Stamping for Scrapbookers that is packed full of ideas and tutorials and explanations about stamps and inks and how to use different types of stamps and May's process. Truly an awesome class that inspired this page:

(Details soon!)

And I'm taking a class at Big Picture called Scrapbooking Outside the Pocket, which is about making traditional scrapbook pages with pocket page cards. Here's a layout I made inspired by that class content:

(More details on this one soon, too!)

During my two sick days this week, I worked on planning pages since I didn't feel like doing anything else, and I'm hoping that the days ahead can be productive, that I can get lots of stories told and lots of pages made. Maybe I will do the 30 in 30 Scrapbooking Challenge next month...

As warmer temperatures hopefully arrive, I have plans to complete many items on a very long to-do list. It's time to clean out and organize and create more time and space for creating. Here's to sunshine days and warm breezes and all the hope and opportunities of spring.

So...what's new with you?