Friday, 31 March 2017

Cats and Coffee?

But of course!

It's been a while since I made a card and this one counts double since it's for two challenges:

The Spring Coffee Lovers Blog Hop 

 and Challenge #43 over at Newton's Nook

I knew I wanted to use a Newton's Nook stamp set, but I didn't want to use a stamp from the Newton Loves Coffee stamp set in its original form.  I knew what I had to do when I saw the pot plant stamp set from Naughty Newton - I was going to have Newton knock over a cup of coffee.

This was going to be quite the exercise in masking.

In a nutshell, when masking you need to work from the part of the image most in front and work backwards.

To start with, I stamped a few of the Naughty Newton images in StayzOn on the masking sheets (and the cup from Newton Loves Coffee) and cut them according to the different stages of the stamping and masking.  Newton's front paws were going to prove interesting!

Alignment was a bit tricky since I've become used to using a stamp press.  It meant I had to trace over some parts which didn't stamp well.


When it came to the cup, I covered the lid of the stamp with some scrap masking sheet, inked it and peeled it off the stamp prior to stamping (hard to see in this picture)

Ok so the imperfect masking and stamping mean we're going to have to use darker colours when colouring!!

Now that we have paws and a cup, both the mask for the cup and the one for the pot need to be layered so this area remains protected when the rest of the image gets stamped.

At this point I decided the dirt with the flowers spilling from the pot sort of looked like coffee with some flowers floating in it so I decided to leave that.

I needed to extend the spill a bit by hand, but it still looked a bit lumpy like dirt.  Drawing has never been my strength which is why I stamp!

To stamp the coffee lid, I did the opposite of stamping the cup.  Now time to colour!  I'm glad I chose Copic markers so I could use darker colours to cover the imperfections.

Yes I know the light source isn't exactly consistent, but nevermind!  I used a Memento marker to go around the white cut edges and also the fussy cut flowers.  I also added a tiny heart from one of the stamp sets to the cup to tie in with the cup print paper.

I sketched some sloped lines on scrap cardstock to use as a template for the sketch, but most seems to have been covered!

Because of the darker colours I had to use paper with similar ones and it doesn't exactly scream "Spring" does it?  The cup print from Shimelle's True Stories 6x6 paper pad was a little more spring-like.  The polka dot is also from True Stories and cloud print from Go Now Go.  I fussy cut the smallest flowers from a couple of the Starshine paper pad in order to add a bit more "Spring" to the card.

The sentiment is from a Verve stamp set.  Newton has indeed been naughty...and jealous since he changed it with his best paw-writing.  (He makes no apologies for it because he doesn't have opposable thumbs!).

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Design Decisions Class Prompt 1

Design Designs is Shimelle's newest class which ran throughout November and as the name suggests is all about breaking down and analysing the decisions we make on layouts.

As someone who has taught classes, it may seem strange to others that I actually take them myself, but it's something many crafters do since we all have something to offer and I love seeing experienced crafters willing to learn from their peers.  Nobody ever truly stops learning. 🎓

Attack of the Man Dollies

scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decision class october afternoon starshine #designdecisionsclass

I often (OK pretty much always) do a "post mortem" on my layouts and cards when I'm done.  I'm probably overly critical, but this isn't a bad thing.  It helps me to continue to identify what I like and dislike and what I should or should not repeat on future projects.

For me, a lot of the classes I take aren't necessarily to learn new techniques (though some are), but if I find a fellow crafter whose style matches mine, taking her classes gives me material to use when Arthur* doesn't allow me to do it all.  Something needs to give and I need to remove some part pf the process.  It's the difference between having a layout done or not.  In such cases,  using a sketch - either an actual sketch or using a layout as a sketch helps me most.  For others, removing another part of the process might be more useful.  This is possibly something to revisit in the future.

embellishment cluster scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decision class october afternoon starshine #designdecisionsclass
For this first layout, I was so inspired by Shimelle's use of October Afternoon papers - especially a multi coloured stripe which OA does ever so well.  I loved the slight retro vibe the papers give to the project and I immediately thought of these pictures.

I chose a different stripe with colours that better reflected my memory of the photos and the colours in the pictures themselves.  I also wanted to use a fair bit of woodgrain since that (for me) often evoke a vintage feel.

I tried to stay towards "boy" colours and motifs since the story is very much a boy story and my boys (yes even the Man Child is included in this) are very BOYboys.  As a general rule, I don't have a problem using pinks or florals on boy pages, though.

embellishment cluster scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decision class october afternoon starshine #designdecisionsclass

 So in addition to the three design questions that Shimelle presents us with each prompt, I usually have a lot more of my own.  It started with the supplies for this layout.

Next part of the analysis is always the "post mortem".  I wish the red piece of paper was smaller,  but it was slightly complicated by the fact that the photos were not the same size as the ones in the sketch.

Overall I'm pretty happy - wish I had a third star with the woodgrain pattern but this was out of my control.

embellishment cluster scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decision class october afternoon starshine #designdecisionsclass

The embellishment areas are a bit different to what I usually do. and I don't normally use so much orange so that was nice for a change!

I was feeling a bit brave, but really I wanted to capture those retro feels.  I admit I used some filters on the photos since the boys were all excited about their "rare" find.

Remember that scene in The Big Bang Theory when they find those dolls and...More than one person has referred to NPCH* as Sheldon.  Anyway...

I'm also using this class as my challenge in Mercy Tiara's challenge for December which is to finish something!  I'll have to make sure one of my layouts fulfils the Tic Tac Toe mini challenge

Feline Hydration Appliance

scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decisions class go now go collection dear lizzy lucky charm sassafras lass #designdecisionsclass

embellishment cluster scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decisions class go now go collection dear lizzy lucky charm sassafras lass #designdecisionsclass

This layout shows that it's possible to use a travel themed collection (Shimelle's  Go Now Go in a layout which has nothing to do with travel (unless you count the 5 minute car ride to buy the thing).  😉

Plenty of the papers and embellies in that collection have lovely neutral patterns (as in non-themed - lots of bright colours!).  Even the bits that are travel themed are so versatile that they can be used to document short trips or used more metaphorically in terms of taking journeys in life etc.  I really love using themes in unexpected ways.

embellishment cluster scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decisions class go now go collection dear lizzy lucky charm sassafras lass #designdecisionsclass
I wanted my product choices to reflect the look of the fountain (The drinking fountain looks like a white daisy with a green stem and yellow centre). It isn't easily apparent in the photo.

I found a packet of green Sassafras blossoms quite by accident which look a bit big for the embellishment areas, but I really wanted to use them.  The navy floral is a way of doing that without being really matchy matchy.  

Several pages later in the album, there is another layout about this and it shows the rest of the story.  I plan to use similar (though not the same) colours and motifs on that page.  I have a page kit ready, but page not made.  

embellishment cluster scrapbook scrapbooking layout page shimelle laine design decisions class go now go collection dear lizzy lucky charm sassafras lass #designdecisionsclass
I think in both layouts, my urge to "Use ALL the things" kicks in strongly after a hiatus of any decent length.  It's something I recognise and try to control and it settles after a few layouts of more regular crafting.  

I even made a third layout (It was for Prompt 14, though) in the small hours of the morning and definitely less than pleased with the outcome, but more on that in due course.  The main thing is I have identified what bothers me, but not to the point I want to pull the layout apart (been there done that! 😱).  

Anyway enough of that - I need to get through the whole course before 27 December if I'm to succeed in my challenge!

*Please refer to left sidebar for acronyms! 😊

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Mercy Tiara Tic Tac Toe challenge for November

Not feeling quite content with submitting one entry for Mercy Tiara/Tracy Banks' 27 Day Challenge, I decided to have a go at the Tic Tac Toe challenge which is an additional bit of fun each month along with the main challenge.

The blog post about my first challenge entry and what it involved an be found here:

This is what November's Tic Tac Toe looked like:

I knew it would be easy to put something together with those prompts.  The idea is to pick three consecutive ideas (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) as though you were playing noughts and crosses!

I decided to use the rightmost column, but as it happened I included 2 other prompts without realizing initially!

Just Hanging With My Girl


I recently acquired most of the Cute Girl line by Crate Paper and you'd be forgiven for asking why someone with no daughters would need this line?  Well firstly, the colours and motifs are so very me...and I have no issue using pinks or florals on boy photos sometimes (as you can tell from my previous entry to the November Challenge).  I do have a couple of nieces and and my feisty (don't worry I've fixed the spelling on my layout) girl cat...And did I mention the collection features loads of cat motifs?  Pink and cats?  Be still, my heart!

Most of the supplies are from this line, but I think I also used a little bit of Shimelle's Starshine, Crate Paper's Hello Love and some embellishments from Maggie Holmes' Bloom Line and Cocoa Vanilla's Sugar and Spice (another little girl line)

So my three challenges according to the chart were:

Use a floral embellishment - check.  I used one die cut from the die cut pack, 2 large puffy stickers from Maggie Holmes' Bloom and at least one flower sticker from the Cute Girl.


Use two different alphas - check.  Actually I used three.  The large silver Thickers were Shimelle's Fitzgerald and the white glittery ones a much older line.  The small tile stickers were from those two-packs of flat alphas that October Afternoon was doing with their Daily Flash collections.  Both die cut pack and cut apart sheet included a flash card with "G" which I knew I wanted to use as part of the title.

Do some stamping - check.  I started by stamping a floral stamp on the yellow polka dot paper layer (from Starshine) so just a little shows.  I used a doily border stamp in three areas, but in the end only one ended up being visible at the top of the layout


 I also used some stamps on the labels from the sticker sheet - the date and a couple of sentiments from the Paper Smooches stamp set Charmed Cat Two.  Miss Crafty Cat aka Ophelia was a shelter cat so the "happily homed" is just right.


 Before I even started, I wanted to bust out the texture paste (I opted for Faber Castell's Texture Luxe in the Pearl finish  Dried kinda silver, but that worked!). 

This turned out to be one of the other challenges in the Tic Tac Toe grid (along with puffy stickers.  I have puffy flowers, words and that funny heart in a circle thing)

It feels like an age since I've done a more mixed media-ish layout and it's a girly page with no whiff of boys, so I was going to go to town with the embellies and all things girly.  I know my embellishment clusters are pretty full on, but it's probably no co-incidence that the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey is my most favourite character and she describes my style in a nutshell:

 So in the spirit of Lady Violet, I added acetate pieces from the die cut pack, cats either cut from the patterned paper or from the sticker sheet/die cut pack, word stickers, labels, enamel hearts and some very dimensional  crystals I've had in my stash for ages, a single Cocoa Vanilla badge (exercising self control and denial here) And mist.  Lots of crazy out of control mist droplets.

So there you have it - both parts of November's challenge done and dusted.  Now if I can continue harnessing this unexpected burst of mojo, that would be fab since there is so much to do between now and the end of the year.  Fun crafty stuff among the rest, but I still need energy and a shred of sanity to do fun stuff.

Thanks for checking out my layout and please don't forget to visit Mercy Tiara over on her Youtube channel if you haven't already.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Mercy Tiara 27 Day Challenge for November

Oooh look at me go!  I've finished a layout well before the deadline.  I must be ill!

Mercy Tiara (also known as Tracy Banks) is probably best known for her process videos on YouTube, but she also has a Facebook group for this particular challenge.  In a nutshell, on the first of the month, the challenge is given and it's due on 27th.  The winner then picks a challenge for next month.  Sounds fun!

Captain Underpants

mercy tiara scrapbook scrapbooking layout challenge pink crafty mama pinkcraftymama basic grey soleil sassafras nerdy bird purple

Other challenges include a TicTacToe challenge each month.

Here is Tracy's Video announcing the challenge:

This month the challenge needed to include 4 components:

*Two Photos
*The colour purple (rare in scrapbooking as a rule)
*About something funny or silly

The first reaction most people have to purple supplies is that there are very few of them and this is true compared to most other colours, but I found surprisingly many!

MME has some purple in the girl colourway of an old collection called Lime Twist and the Sherbet colourway of Jubilee
Basic Grey has featured various shades of purple fairly consistently over the years throughout their collections
Studio Tekturek in their Hey Kiddo collection
WeRMK in Hello Darling, Love 2 Craft and a plummy shade in Inked Rose
Sassafras includes some shade here and there
Dear Lizzy in Serendipity and a more plummy shade in Documentary
Stampin' Up! always has some DSP in a few shades of purple
I can also recall purple popping up in Echo Park, Bella Blvd, Bo Bunny and tiny amounts in various Amy Tangerine collections.  I'm sure there are others.

mercy tiara scrapbook scrapbooking layout challenge pink crafty mama pinkcraftymama basic grey soleil sassafras nerdy bird purple

I think I pay more attention to purple because it's one of the colours that appears in my son's school album, so I always make sure I have some on hand.

As soon as I started looking through my Basic Grey cache, I knew I wanted to use the Soleil collection, which in addition to various shades of purple, features yellows, pinks and orange.  The whimsical, slightly retro feel would go very well with my photos.  On first glance it's hard to see why, but Small Crafty Dude is wearing his Adventure Time Onesie.  Lady Rainicorn features purple, the pink robe goes well with the Soleil Collection, not to mention plenty of "Jake Yellow".

mercy tiara scrapbook scrapbooking layout challenge pink crafty mama pinkcraftymama basic grey soleil sassafras nerdy bird purple I teamed it up with a couple of pieces of paper from the Nerdy Bird Collection by Sassafras which also has that retro vintage vibe that goes well with Adventure Time.

I didn't want to use too much purple since there is only a tiny amount in the photo and its not what the story is about.

I have no idea what was happening with my layers.  I just couldn't cut them to the right size, so what should have been 5-ish pieces of paper under the photos (which are mounted on vellum for extra texture) are actually about 20 having been chopped and stretched and placing the photos strategically to hide the joins!

As is always the case when I haven't crafted for a while (in this case the gap is shorter than usual), I'm not totally thrilled with my layout, because I want to put EVERYTHING on it!  I had grand plans for more word stickers and brads and chipboard shapes and brads and and and...

mercy tiara scrapbook scrapbooking layout challenge pink crafty mama pinkcraftymama basic grey soleil sassafras nerdy bird purple So that's purple taken care of.
Two photos? Check.
Silly?  Goes without saying.

Oddly, I used relatively few pop dots compared to most layouts, but texture (as in non paper) comes in many forms - regular and glitter washi, glitter thickers, enamel dots and stars, gems, stickers, a badge and one of those enamel paperclip thingies

Some ink drops to finish off and I think I'm done with this one.  I have lots I'd like to get though this month.  I still have a couple of card projects I wanted to do from last month, still going with #The20Project and now there is a new class...

...and hoping to offer classes myself locally.  Argh!

Oh wait...the Daily Marker Challenge is also running.  My success has never been great in the past and I suspect this month will be much the same!

Thanks for stopping by and please visit Mercy Tiara over on YouTube

I'm determined to look on each success no matter how small and a finished layout for my album is definitely a reason to celebrate.  Another story told.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

2016 Cat Lovers Blog Hop and Shimelle Challenge #05

Phew! I made it!

Finishing that layout was a bit too Ride of the Valkyries for my liking...but then again:

I wasn't sure I would finish in time to enter their 2016 Cat Lovers Blog Hop hosted by Janis over at Her Peaceful Garden.  I'm not entirely assured I made the deadline despite being able to use the linkup.

A migraine all weekend hasn't been kind, so I had to combine my entry for this Blog Hop along with one of the challenges on Shimelle's  blog going all weekend since she's having an online scrap booking party.

Challenge 05 was all about the outdoors, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  I'll come back to that part soon. 

I had a great idea for a card, but if I had implemented it and then attempted to make a layout for Shimelle's challenge, I wouldn't have finished both.  Fortunately, I had two photos and a story to tell which involved cats and was outdoorsy so challenge 05 would be the one.

The challenges are open all week. But finishing one today has a little bonus in store!

Guest artist Helen De Ram presented this challenge and it was about getting the great outdoors scrapped in bright colours.  I'm all for colour so off I went.  I loved her layout and it had some aspects I don't normally do like that section of word stickers to fill in the centre, but I decided to be brave and  try it.

A fairly important part of the layout was a journalling card separating the photos.  I'm making an effort since #The20Project to use something besides thickers for titles sometimes.  I rarely separate photos, but I wanted to try that too.  My result is below.  Not my finest work, but I'm fairly happy...besides my shaky almost illegible handwriting (really bad shakes today)

scrapbook scrapbooking page layout shimelle laine american crafts true stories christmas magic starshine go now go collection cat lovers blog hop

I decided to attempt to use just supplies from Shimelle's collections (in a vain hope to make things easier by limiting supplies) and to include at least something from each collection - I even managed some B-Sides from her christmas collection (I don't celebrate christmas, but lots of the b=sides were so lovely!).

A few close might be able to decipher a word or two of my writing if you look  hard enough!!

scrapbook scrapbookin page layout shimelle laine american crafts true stories christmas magic starshine go now go collection cat lovers blog hop

scrapbook scrapbookin page layout shimelle laine american crafts true stories christmas magic starshine go now go collection cat lovers blog hop

scrapbook scrapbookin page layout shimelle laine american crafts true stories christmas magic starshine go now go collection cat lovers blog hop

scrapbook scrapbookin page layout shimelle laine american crafts true stories christmas magic starshine go now go collection cat lovers blog hop

PhiPha aka Ophelia aka Crafty Cat is feisty and sassy and frequently explores the roof despite her...rather...ample physique.  Poor Fossy was 14.5 years old when these photos were taken, and I don't recall him ever being an avid tree climber, BUT if PhiPha does something, he refuses to be outdone.

Sadly, Fossy passed away early this month, so I wanted to make a layout about him, but not sad stories.
So what happens the morning after the dust from the craftnado has settled?  You survey the craftermath and briefly consider some sort of salvage operation.  you soon come to your senses and add stuff to the layout - a couple more words to the middle area and some enamel shapes to each embellishment cluster.  I had better get it into the album before I do anything else!!

scrapbook scrapbooking page layout shimelle laine american crafts true stories christmas magic starshine go now go collection cat lovers blog hop

Friday, 16 September 2016

The 20 Project - Day 10 and Scrapbook Roulette Challenge Video Hop

Yes I have jumped straight back into page 10 of The 20 Project (bypassing 2-9), but I have a very good reason!  

That reason is my participation in a video hop with 7 other lovely ladies.  This is the first video on my YouTube channel and some very dire technical dramas resulted in less than ideal filming conditions.  It would not have happened at all were it not for one of my sisters (thank you!!)

I had also planned to do something else for my first videos, but in the end it doesn’t matter.  I have begun and the next video will be even better.  I'll come back to those other ones.

What is Scrapbook Roulette?

Scrapbook Roulette is when a number of items or techniques are randomly selected and must be used on the layout.  Claire has been doing this for a while and selected 5 embellishments for us to use.  We were free to use whichever paper, cardstock, theme, photos, alphas or mixed media, but we could ONLY use the embellishments from the draw.  Pretty tough since stickers and enamel dots were not allowed among other things.

The 5 items were:
Flair Badges (or brads for those who didn't have badges)
Roller Phrase Stamp 

I often have days where so much stuff goes wrong that you couldn't make it up.  This was one of those days.  Every possible technical disaster happened.  Eventually I headed over to my sister's house with my stuff.  She is set up to record videos for YouTube.  Even then we had some dramas and her stuff wasn't handy so I really appreciated her pulling it all out and working the camera for me...not to mention all that editing!

There will be a next time, but I will make sure I have things set up in a more or less permanent arrangement in my craft area the way I want it.

Here is the line up of everyone who took part in this fun challenge:

Rosie Howe
Claire Murphy
Allison Scianna 
Ariana Yvette Fizudeen 
Alex Trofimov  <---- You are here 
Audrey Yeager 
Katelyn Clary
Kristina Sorge

Some of these lovely ladies also blog, so please show them some love there as well. 

Ariana -
Audrey -
Katelynn -
Khristina -

Day 10 of The 20 Project.

Day 10...Today's challenge is all about not hoarding the pretty paper.  Shimelle's layout was fairly simple and she let the paper did the talking.  It was a very striking sheet of paper and while I had it in my stash, for ME it wasn't so special.  I think I even bought it for the B-side!  

Shimelle also used a special occasion photo for her layout and I was not.  This makes a difference to paper choice I think.

When I thought about all the papers that are 'too good' to use - the vellums, acetates and glittered sheets - are always among the first to come to mind.  I DO buy multiple sheets if I really like them and lately I keep returning to the raindrop speciality paper (called Chai) from Shimelle's second collection - True Stories.  I'm please to say I've used the film strips ( Shortbread) and the glittered diagonal stripe ( Blueberry Muffin) before (on the b side though!).

It's at this point that things happen fast.  I start being peppered with ideas and since I had a story I have long wanted to tell (involving rain), I thought I should just use ALL the papers, right?

I thought I'd try sticking vellum strips in the white areas here and there (ripping them off if I didn't like the way it looked).  The cloud vellum (Earl Grey) is more sparse than the one with hearts (Chamomile), but I needed Earl Grey/the cloud one.  In fact, after deciding to undertake this hybrid project of sorts, I kept finding cloud/umbrella/raindrop motifs in my stash.  Go figure!

I have noticed after I've had a few weeks (or longer) away from scrapbooking, I find myself wanting to use EVERYTHING...maybe because I can't be sure when I will scrap again and so I want to cram all my favourite motifs on the page...hich just doesn't work and leaves me feeling...less happy with my layout than I might otherwise.

The other thing I may have done a little differently, is cutting a bigger box from the Chai/raindrop paper...and maybe smaller mats for the others...and reining in my wild embellishment sticking frenzy a little bit.

Otherwise I'm reasonably happy and the shorter the break between pages, the easier it is for me to find my rhythm and style and create more smoothly

My next BIG challenge is teaching a group of up to 20 kids at my son's school next month for what they call Passion Day.  Perhaps it should be called Obsession Day instead?