Monday, February 28, 2011

4x6 Photo Love

or "What I Did At The Crop"

I attended a day crop this past Saturday.  I find that at home it is difficult for me to concentrate on any type of paper scrapping.  I am easily distracted by the laundry, cleaning, family needs and just day-to-day stuff.  So I packed up my supplies and went off for a day of creating.  It's not quite as exciting as a day spent with Lord Tim, but then I am easily thrilled!

The main concentration of my day was Shimelle's "4x6 Photo Love" class over at Two Peas in a Bucket.  It is totally FREE, so if you aren't already playing along, I highly recommend it! Shimelle posts one class each month, at the end of the month.  January's post was to use a single 4x6 photo in a layout.  The new class posted today will use two 4x6 photos, and so on each month. 

I loved Shimelle's ideas for a single photo, and also loved the explanation of her placement of details.  And while a lot of embellishment is decidedly NOT my style, I chose to give it a try.

This style works great for when you want to capture an event with a single photo - something that doesn't figure big enough to warrant multiple pages, even if you took tons of photos. 

My take with a horizontal photo and lots of totally random and unrelated embellishments.  I'm not thrilled with the finished layout, but the memory is captured and that is what matters most! :)

And here is the vertical photo version.  This one took me about two hours to assemble as I played with the placement of various elements.  But I'm actually quite pleased with the final layout!

Sarah doesn't like this photo of herself - I guess she doesn't see what I see here - my little girl all grown up.

This layout won me third place in the layout contest for the day. I got a nice pack of 12x12 papers by Colorbok.
And some of the details up close.

paper flowers and adhesive pearls are much more "me" when it comes to embellishments! :)

I also finished up an album that was 95% complete from a BPC class back in 2007, that just needed a few finishing touches.  One more thing I can cross off that UFO list!

And I began working on my "Permission to Live a Creative Life" album (based on the self-paced class by Courtney Walsh over at Big Picture Classes). But that isn't far enough along for photos yet, so will appear in a later post.

In the meantime, I could use some help with it.  What are your favorite quotes about creativity and living creatively?  I'm collecting them, so please chime in! :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Picture Inspiration 1/52


I played with taking the picture with the sun behind me.  Nice not having to squint.

Post-processing included sharpening and Pioneer Woman "Lovely" action.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Embrace Imperfection

This BPS course wasn't quite what I expected.  I thought Karen made a lot of good points in Week One, but I really wasn't sure how it was going to affect/improve my personal scrapbooking. Until I sat down to do the mini-album for Week Two.  And realized that the reason I have so many unfinished projects is that the need to "get it right" and "have all the right materials" often prevents me from ever starting! It was somewhat of a personal revelation.

When I decided to really commit to the "Embrace Imperfection" mini album I also committed to creating with supplies and materials on hand - and just make whatever I had work.

Digging through my stash, I found a ziplock bag with this basic 6x6 paper album already cut and the cover page partiallly assembled.  All the matching papers (scraps) were in the bag, along with some cardstock diecuts and rub-ons.  All I had to do to complete the front cover was cover up the old title with a new one and add the bracket!  The paper line is "Tressie" from the out-of-business Top Line Creations. It was one of my favorite lines of all time and I still love working with it, so I was happy I had enough to complete this album!  And the upside-down "e" - was ON PURPOSE!

 As I started assembling pages, I tried to limit myself to 15-20 minutes a page and to not obsess over details.

But I absolutely HAD to include this quote from Brene Brown from her book "The Gifts of Imperfection."

The word tickets are by Tim Holtz.  Another one of those things in my stash that I never think to use!

And remember this photo from the Perfect Protest?  Yep, I kind of thought it was "perfect" for this project too!  I also played with purposefully putting things at odd angles and not centered.

I wish this quote had attribution. I'd love to read more by whoever wrote this! :)

Using Glimmer Mist caused the paper to warp and get all crinkly and uneven. Normally I would have tried pressing it in a book for days or ironing it... or just tossing it and starting over.  But since this is an exercise in imperfection, I let it be.  It still bugs me a little.

The plastic ticket (and bird) are Maya Road Office Sheers.  More cool stuff that I bought way too much of!

This quote has been passed around in the One Little Word classroom over at BPS.  Another one that really speaks volumes.

  The warped and wrinkled page above is the opposite side of this photo page.  It made adhering the photo a bit of a challenge. But I think the odd angles of the background papers hid the curve of the photo pretty well!

I inked the edges of almost everything that went into this album.  Making it "shabby chic" seemed to be the way to deal with intentional crookedness, hand cut word strips and uneven spacing.

The Tressie Rub-Ons. I love the addition of the little bits of bling to the flowers!
Have you noticed that the double page layouts alternate between blue background and white background? I was using both sides of a double-sided two-color cardstock. That was interesting to work with as well!


And last - a close up of the back cover.

I finished it off by binding with brads, first making a wrap-around binding so the brads and raw edges don't show.

The "pages" are roughly 6.5 x 6.5" and are scored at the binding edge so they open flat.

Overall, I was very happy with the finished project and somewhat surprised by what I learned about myself in the process.  I hope this new knowledge will allow me to finish up some of the other UFO's on my ever-growing list!

Blogging for Bliss Update

Blogging for Bliss just completed a stay with Rachel in Illinois and is currently in transit to visit Lee in Canada!  Lee, make sure to let me know when it arrives!

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Little Word | Captured | 8

Going... going... gone!

Last week we had temperatures top out  in the low 60's on Thursday and upper 60's by Friday afternoon.  It was enough to allow the snow which had lain frozen on our yard for over six weeks to finally melt.

Photo one is 8:45 a.m. on Thursday 2/17 - on my way out to work.

Photo two is 4:00 p.m. same day, as I came home from work.  Definitely more yard showing, but I was surprised by how much snow was still left.

Photo three is approximately noon on Friday.  By Saturday morning it was all green (well, dead winter green) except for the spots where snow had been piled when shoveled.  There is still snow at the curb line.

I was so HAPPY to finally see the yard again and to spend ten glorious minutes out on the back deck Friday afternoon soaking up the sun! 

But being the little tease that Spring is, she went back into hiding on Saturday morning, leaving us instead with temps back in the 30's and winds running 40 to 50 miles per hour!  As if the cold wasn't enough...

Imagine how not-so-thrilled I was to wake up this morning to this:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sharing The Love

I really enjoyed seeing everyone share their Valentines cards made for spouses and friends and the Valentines projects - some really adorable blog stuff!  And it inspired me (last minute, Valentines Day morning) to make a card for hubby:

The front - pink cardstock (inked - how else do you make pink masculine?), love bling, and the print paper are from no-longer-in-business Top Line Creations - one of the former scrap biz companies that I repped for.  It was great to be putting some of that leftover inventory to constructive use!  The grey/black metallic paper was from a combo pack from Michaels. Used a Fiskars punch to create the scalloped edge.

And a teeny peak at the inside, but sorry... the sentiments are private!

This was delivered for me on Valentine's Day.  Two dozen roses!

I have discovered that although I possess various and numerous talents, the ability to arrange flowers in an asthetically pleasing manner does not number among them.  I did my best, but this is one area where I simply do not excel.  So I'm embracing imperfection.  Luckily the flowers are gorgeous regardless of my total lack of arranging expertise! 

Funny, but when I went out after the doorbell rang, there were two identical boxes on the front porch. Both from Pro-Flowers. The second box was for Becca. Her boyfriend of 22-months-and-counting sent her a bouquet as well.

Also 24 roses, but a completely different color combo.  Where I had red, white, pink-tipped, and peach(?), Becca's arrangement had cream, pale pink, pink-tipped, and a variegated yellow with pink edges.  Peter had also sprung for the vase (I have plenty of vases and Jay knows that) and some bath products.

Here's a closer shot of  the color combo from my flowers - just a few hours later - look how much some of them had opened up!
And a close-up of my favorite color from this bunch.  Of course these are the ones that are already in full bloom and so destined to last the shortest.  But it's all good! :)
Last, but not least in this Sharing the Love post - the balloon that Rachel brought home from work.  We had gone to her restaurant (The Historic Piper Tavern) for lunch (since both teens had to work dinner shifts and needed our cars) and had seen these balloons all over the restaurant.  I had the yummiest Crab Au Gratin.  And now I have the balloon as a souvenir! :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Little Word | Captured | 7

The happiest moments of my days this week:

Update:  For those who wanted the Photoshop PSD version of The Best of Days journal (all combined into a single psd file) you should be able to download it at the link below.  Let me know if it works or if you have problems.  The link expires February 19th.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best of My Days

I try to maintain a Gratitude Practice. I have a beautiful red leather journal - my intention when I started it (in July 2009) was to journal daily - 3 things that I was grateful for - at the end of each day.  Well over 500 days later, my journal has just 25 entries. 

I can't seem to make writing in it into a habit.  In fact, I did better when I was doing the Weekly Gratitude layouts!  But I still love the concept of a regular Gratitude Practice.

Then I saw a post on Kolette Hall's blog that spoke to me in a big way!  Kolette linked to this post where the blog author originally posted the idea  of the "Best of My Days" notepad.
The concept is beautiful.  A small and portable little journal where you write just ONE thing each day that is the "best" of your day.  It can be the thing for which you are most grateful, the thing that made you happiest, the thing that brought you the largest measure of joy (for me, all of these would usually be the same thing!).  But no matter what you call it, just one shining moment for each day. 

Ashley Ann offered a free download of the pages she had created. (you can get it from the link above). I was sold! I promptly downloaded the pdf and printed it out on kraft cardstock. They print 3 months to a page.  But my first attempt at making an entry stopped me dead in my tracks:
I knew immediately that the very limited space to write (particularly given my natural verbosity) was going to frustrate me and that I wouldn't actually use this.  But I wasn't ready to give up either, because I really really loved the idea! 

So I pulled up a blank document in Photoshop Elements and went to work.  A few hours later (hey, I'm a slow worker when I'm starting from scratch), I had this:
It is a total scraplift of Ashley Ann's idea and I thank her for that! My take on it is a full 8.5x11 sheet per month, instead of 1/3 of a sheet per month, and lines for writing. Much more in my comfort zone. And I've created pages for each month.  They look great printed on kraft or white cardstock - unfortunately, I've run out of kraft cardstock!

You can't see because the background is white, but there is a 1/2" margin to the left of each "page" and if I cut them apart at exactly 5.5" I have two pages, each with enough margin on the left to be hole-punched and put in a binder or bound using a bind-it-all, assuming you don't mind the back side of each page being blank (or you could adhere photos or create layouts on the backs).

I've also thought of numerous other options on how to put these together.  If you trim off the margin from the second page of the month, you can glue the two pages back to back and have the month front and back on "one" page.  On the other hand, if you trim off the margin from the first page of the month (say February), you can adhere that to the back of the second page of the prior month (January). Then as you page through a bound volume you can see a full month at a glance.  You could leave all the margins intact (use them for doodles, ribbon, or embellies) and put each page in a 5.5 x 8.5 page protector.  Or trim off all the margins and a bit of the bottom edge and put them in a 5x7 page protector. Now I just need to decide which of these methods I'm going to use!

My plan is to include these pages in my One Little Word album and record the happiest moment of each day.  But I could so see these making the most wonderful little Gratitude Journal!

Now for the fun part!  I've saved each month as a fully layered PSD file, a JPG, and a PDF.  And I'm happy to share!  If you'd like the files, send me an email to scrapdreams AT verizon DOT net and let me know which version you want.

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Friday Fitness

I acknowledge that this post is a tad bit late... but I have plenty of reasons justification  excuses.  Want to hear them?  No, I didn't think so.  I'm just glad I'm finally posting it...
Although I "lost" three pounds in just a single day in January, I posted an actual two pound loss for the month.  Once my appetite and digestive system returned to normal, some of the weight did go back on. I expected that.  It means I'm still losing at the disgustingly slow rate of a half pound a week.  But slow and steady is easier to keep off, right? 

These numbers record from where I was in late September 2010, at which point I had already lost the first five pounds, so if I wanted to be truly accurate, I have lost 17 pounds since I began.  Even my doctor noticed today that I was down 15 pounds from my August visit! My new short-term goal is to see the down side of 170 by the end of February.  I know that is reaching, but I'm going to try! 

My measurements were down 1/2" in the waist and hips and a full 1" in the abs which is the number that really matters to me right now.  That is where the unhealthy fat sits, so I'm really happy about that number! 

What is frustrating at this point is that my February photo looks no different from my January photo, or from my photo last April when I was a full 12 pounds heavier.  No, I'm not making it up - and this is painfully honest for me to post - but see for yourself:
Okay, my hair looks different.  It is brushed and I'm wearing makeup instead of being straight out of the shower!  My husband tells me if it is any consolation, he has noticed that my belly has really gone down.  In his very nice and helpful way, he tells me that last August I looked pregnant.  Thanks dear.

On the exercise front - once I got beyond the nasty virus I really wanted to go back to the gym. But every time I had the opportunity, we had snow. or ice. or freezing rain. And I didn't want to venture to the gym on bad roads.  So I got back on the dreadmill at home.  

I started where I had left off in PT - at 8 minutes walking at 3.0 mph.  I added on one minute for each time I got on the dreadmill.  Which meant as of Saturday I was up to 15 minutes!  Today I finally hit the gym.  I went 15 minutes, but was able to go at 3.2 mph on their treadmill.  It does feel slower there - and smoother.

I'm still doing yoga and/or PT stretching exercises almost every morning.  I'm still tracking calories and exercise at My Fitness Pal.  A fitter, healthier me is emerging.... slowly but surely.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Little Word | Captured | 6

The girls had a snow day.  Becca's boyfriend came over and they made a happy snowman - but half his smile popped out of place! Still Cute!

Jay attached a cardboard tray to the deck railing and put out bread for the birds.

We've seen two blue jays (a pair?), a woodpecker, and a few smaller birds - one I think from the flycatcher family and one from the titmouse family, although I can't identify them with any certainty.

But the birds are quick to come and go, so no photo opps there - even though the blue jays were quite the little piggies. 

After the birds were done, this little guy came and helped himself.  And stayed awhile stuffing his pudgy little belly.

But I have to be honest - Jay took the photos. I was just happy enjoying the show.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What I Did At The Crop - Part 3 of 3

And last, but certainly not least...
Falling into the "better late than never" category...

I finished my JYC/December Daily album!

When I went to the crop, I had only the Manifesto and Days 1 through 3 finished and printed:

These pages are digital except for the cardstock backing and the "celebrate" sticker on Jay's birthday page.  I had created the template myself, trying to imitate Ali's 2010 December Daily templates, but was very frustrated because my outlines just wouldn't do what I wanted them to! And at some point Ali's templates went on sale, so I went ahead and bought them.

That was as far as I had gotten by mid-January.  I had lots of photos and ideas, but no more pages! I wasn't even sure I was going to finish the album at all. 

At the crop, I did all the digital work for December 4th through the 24th, but had to wait until I got home to print and assemble the pages:

These pages became true hybrid.  At the crop I resized each of Ali's templates (they are 6x8) to 5.5x8.5 to fit my album, then edited, cropped, and fit my photos and journaling into the templates.

My pages included a mix of the JYC prompts, Picture the Holidays prompts, and some of the stories I had written for Sian's Christmas Club.

In most cases I used Ali's daily dated templates.  And finished it off at home after the crop by adding a scrap of patterned paper, a title with sticker letters, rub-ons, or handwritten, and coloring in the date with markers.
 But in a few instances I used the photo templates, like this full page one of the Amaryllis bloom.

And this page with photos from our Christmas in Hawaii.

My favorite pages ended up being these two - where I highlighted the new Christmas song by Train, and showcased the beautiful card I got from Jacky!

I did manage to add a little bit of emphemera - but certainly not what I had in mind when I first thought of trying on Ali's style!

Love the Thickers letters and the Fancy Pants papers and rub-ons!

I found I ended up with a lot of pages with no journaling at all.  I really feel like I had fully answered the JYC prompts in my two prior albums and just didn't have anything new to say!

I had to create my page for the 25th at home because I hadn't even downloaded those photos to my computer yet!  And having finished this, I decided to end my album with the 25th and call it good!

To finish it off, I borrowed an idea from Karen and created a disclaimer page that covers the fact that I've skipped days and used so many different formats to create these pages.  But hey, I found a way to use one of the transparency overlays I had set aside for this project!

And a title page with some photos I had not used in the album.  These last two, created on January 31st. 

And with that, I'm calling it done!  Thus making good on my goal of finishing this album by the end of January!

I have plenty of room in this album still, so I plan to include next year's JYC in this album in the same size. 

But I've learned that Ali's style of hybrid doesn't work for me for a month long daily project.  I don't have the time or the patience to pull it all together the way she does!  I adore her style, but it just is not for me!

Next year's album will probably be all digital, without templates, just creating a 5.5 x 8.5 digital page a day.  And I'm going to have to figure out what pages I want to create before the month starts.  I may concentrate more on Shimelle's photo prompts, most of which I didn't even get to last year!