Sunday, June 26, 2011

A riff on Imagine with a little bit of Magic

I'm really excited about Jeanette Lynton's Magic scrapbooking how-to book which teaches you how to create interactive elements in your layouts. There are a lot of neat techniques/tricks demonstrated, and I've been wanting to try them out, but all of my current projects are using CM scrapbooks, which although I love for the quality, are not drop in style pages. Most of the Magic patterns are geared toward drop-in style pages and require to cut the Memory Protector to allow the interactive element to function. Since the CM page protectors slide on sideways and aren't as sturdy as the CTMH memory protectors, I didn't want to chance cutting them, and this rules out most of the Magic techniques. Still, there are a few that will work with the side load protectors. Of course I decided to try Filmstrip (pg 58), one of the more complicated. On top of that, I don't have a lot of teeny tiny photos as the book example uses, so I decided to adapt the technique to use in a layout from Imagine called Conclusion Combo (pg 57). And, since I can't seem to be able to leave anything alone, I also altered the Imagine layout just a touch.

These are just preliminary pictures as the filmstrip element's middle and top layer are not fully adhered yet. I have Memory Protectors and 3D foam tape on order, but didn't want to wait for them to arrive to start. I'm also planning to add a little emphasis to the tab where you pull it out. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, despite the fact that, due to all of the changes I made in terms of using a different picture size, it took a lot of reading, re-reading, re-re-reading. I will say that what I didn't realize is that there are actually three layers involved, top, sliding layer, and then the one below, so you really have to put some thought into where the pictures go. I would suggest creating the three layers separately and then using dotto dots to play with the elements you want to adhere. I ended up having to move things around several times so that everything made sense both on the closed version and the pulled out version. Also, because I didn't use a consistent size for the filmstrip (picture on the left is larger than the rest), I ended up having to have a wider stopper on the left, which I didn't figure out until I was moving the three elements around to figure out placement of pictures/journaling.

Although it was time consuming, and at times frustrating, I did have fun, and there's a real sense of accomplishment when you get it figured out and set up the way you want. I am definitely looking forward to trying out some other techniques from Magic!

CTMH Products Used:

Border stamp from 'Enjoy Life' with Outdoor Denim Ink, White and Moonstruck cardstock, playful lowercase

Scrapbooking Style

Everyone has a particular style of scrapbooking. Mine is pretty basic, with a focus on pictures. The formula has basically been pick the pictures you want and two coordinating cardstock colors. I do try and mix up how I use the cardstock, mats, punches, strips, etc, but the formula hasn't changed much in the last decade. I was originally skeptical that I would be able to incorporate stamps into my style of scrapbooking, but it has actually been pretty easy. In fact, I've had to hold back a little since I'm in the middle of a couple books right now. For continuity, I don't want someone to turn the page and say "what happened, am I in the same book?" So, here are a couple examples of how I've used my stamps/CTMH stuff to just add a little oomph to my layouts.

In the March layout, I used the 'Solos 7' stamp to add a few touches. Originally I just had the one long stamp with flowers, but I managed to create a lovely little ink smudge with my finger when I was moving stuff around, so I ended up using the single flower stamp from that set, cut out, to cover it up. You can't just use one of those, so I had to incorporate a few more, but I think it's a nice look overall. I also used 'The Works Alphabet'.

In the April layout I used very little stamping. Just a border from the 'Spring Up' stamp set with Smoothie ink and then sponged around the title/journaling boxes. The layout was so colorful that I thought adding much more would make it too busy. I really like the way paper was used here though. This is another way to create your own background/texture paper. I cut a bunch of strips of two different colors in varying widths and then alternated them on the page as an interesting backdrop.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Easy Weeknight Dinner

I know I haven't posted much work lately....I'm working on a bunch of things, but am waiting for some supplies to come in and am also catching up on my youngest's first year book. So, it's coming, but in the meantime I thought I would share one of our family's favorite recipes. Since I work fulltime, by the time I pick the girls up and get home it's about 5:30. Since the youngest, Carina (whom I will now refer to Lil Bit) goes to bed around 6:30/6:45 that's not a lot of time to get dinner together. This fits the bill and is basically the only time I make fish since it's quick, easy, and not fishy smelling (recipe was from Cooking Light):

1 1/2 T olive oil
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper (I use regular since I"m not fancy enough to have fresh)
4 (6 oz) tilapia fillets
cooking spray

Heat a large non-stick grill pan over medium high heat (I am also not fancy enough to have a grill pan so I just use a non-stick skillet).

Combine oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl, stirring well.

Rub fish evenly with oil mixture.

Coat pan with cooking spray.

Add fish to pan, cook 4 minutes on a side or until fish flakes easily.

The receipe originally said to serve it with polenta, but my husband would starve rather than eat polenta, so we use egg noodles.

Try it, it's easy and good! Ellie, my oldest who is almost 4, hereafter referred to as Little Miss, loves it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another GREAT deal from Close to My Heart!

Close to My Heart is providing new consultants with a great deal through July 8th. If you join by July 8th, in addition to getting a great value in your consultant kit ($129) which contains all the business essentials you need to get started as well as up to $250 in products, you can take advantage of the 'Beginner's Boost' offer. For $21, you will get 10 Autumn/Winter idea books as well as all 6 Stamp of the Month sets. The actual value of the 'Beginner's Boost' set is $150.20. What a great deal! This, in addition, to the products you receive in your consultant kit will really get you off to a running start. Having the stamp of the month kits in advance allows you to create projects/demos that incorporate the stamps and allow your customers to really see how they can use them, and since customsers receive a discount on them based on their sales total, they are very popular. If you want to learn more about this offer, please contact me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Free ATG gun/refill

Jak Heath ( is giving away a free ATG gun/refill. All you have to do is check out her site and link it to yours. She'll do a drawing by the end of the week. I haven't tried the ATG gun out, but know that many scrapbookers/papercrafters swear by it, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get picked!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heart to Heart Challenge - Create background paper to use on a Father's Day card

As I mentioned in the previous post, I've been excited about the possibilities of creating my own background paper, and have been experimenting with it this past week. My upline emailed me yesterday to tell me about this week's H2H challenge. You have to create your own background paper and then use to make a Father's Day card.

I had already been kicking around a plan for how to use the 'Something Splendid' stamp set my upline had given me. It's a really pretty set with large flowers where you build the flower by stamping the flower petals, then details, the center of the flower, and also includes some leaves/leaf vein stamps. I used the smallest leave, stamping it in a circle to form the flower/starburst images. Then I used the center of the large flower as the large circle and the center of the small flowers in clusters. It took a couple tries to get the spacing right, but I was really pleased with how this came out. It's pretty abstract but organic at the same time.

I used the paper to make a 5x7 card, accenting it with kraft borders sponged with Garnet (same as the large circles on the paper, also used Garden Green and Desert Sand). The other stamps were from The Works alphabet and the Lucky workshop set.

Experimenting with Random Stamping

Random stamping has been on my list of things I want to try for a while. I love the idea of being able to create your own paper. Let me start off by saying that I think 'random' is a misnomer. It's actually not random and requires one to think ahead. For someone who is a little, shall we say, particular like myself, it's a challenge to be random and yet intentional, but, I did enjoy this little experiment.

I used the 'Bless this Nest stamp set. I had ulterior motives as this is one of the stamp sets I am thinking about using for home gatherings. I wanted to create a visual representation of how versatile the stamps are. The Bless this Nest set comes with several different birdhouse bodies, bases, and roofs. I used a different color for each discrete combination to create the random stamping (note I did not use every variation possible).

Adventures in Cardmaking

Since I am new to cardmaking, one of my first purchases from CTMH was the Originals cardmaking how-to book. I wanted to be sure that I understood the ins and outs of the process and also try out some of the stamping techniques that I have been learning about. It's actually a lot of fun, and it gets easier and quicker with each different card I've made. I've always pooh-poohed cards, and as a rule don't buy them, but cardmaking is pretty affordable. CTMH sells a value pack of cards: 50 cards/envelopes (white or cream) for $14.95. That's 30 cents a card. And, since I have a ton of paper scraps from scrapbooking, it's really not a heck of a lot more than that to make/complete a card.

And, ask yourself these questions: How long does it take me to drive to a store to get a card? How long do I spend walking up and down the aisle reading cards before I find one I like? How much do I end up having to spend on that card? When I go to a shower, how often does the bride/mother-to-be end getting two or more of the same card?

So, here are a few of my first attempts at cards. I'm pretty pleased with the results. My goal was to use a variety of techniques, mix and match papers based on what looked good, so many of the papers are from different packs/kits, and try out a variety of sizes using the Originals layouts.

To blog or not to blog

So I had planned to eventually start a original goal was to start blogging once I had kind of gotten things off the ground with my Close to My Heart business. Turns out that eventually is sooner rather than later.

My upline clued me into this week's Heart to Heart challenge - create a card using paper that you create yourself through random stamping. As this was a process I was planning to try the last time I talked to her, she thought of me. Since H2H requires you to link your project through a blog or other website, and since they are phasing out the myCTMH sites (plus the pictures on there aren't that big), I figured I might as well go ahead and start my blog now.

In some ways this is a good thing. Although I have scrapbooked for over a decade, stamping and Close to My Heart are very new to me. I'm one of the thousands that signed up during this past May's big recruitment push. Since then I have been working hard to become knowledgeable about the products and techniques. I am actually having a great time learning new tricks and coming up with ways to incorporate CTMH and stamping into my style of scrapbooking. Starting the blog this early will really allow you to learn along with me.

You'll see that most of the initial projects that I've done don't involve scrapbooking. This is for a couple reasons. One, I'm three quarters of the way through the current book I'm working on and don't want to change the flow/overall look of the book too drastically, so I'm incorporating stamping/CTMH, but pretty subtly right now. Two, since cards are so small, and relatively quick to complete, it's a good way for me to get my feet wet and try a lot of new things in a limited time. So here we go....