Tuesday, October 28, 2014

did that really happen?

Every night when I go to bed right now, I think of last Tuesday night and a smile slowly spreads across my face. I ask myself, "Did that really happen?" Then I feel giddy because yes, yes it did! What really happened was that I was backstage at the Grand Ole Opry with Keith Urban!!!
No, I didn't speak to him. I could have. I was close enough. There were moments I could have mustered my courage and said something. Anything. But I didn't because really, what do you say to someone who is larger than life? "I love you" or "I'm a huge fan" has been said to him so many times that by now it must seem a bit old.

So I just stood nearby, watched him and grinned like an idiot!

Here's the story. I'm very blessed to have friends who, like my husband, work in the music industry. Driving home from hanging with one of our besties the other night, I saw Keith Urban on a billboard for the Opry. I had just left my friend's house and her husband plays drums for Lee Greenwood. I remembered her telling me earlier that night that Lee was going to be on the Opry on Tuesday and I realized it was the same night as Keith!! I called her practically screaming asking her if we could all go and she said they would see. The next day, Lee kindly said we could go if I promised to take pictures of him, as I did the last time. I told my sister before we went for a walk and we both jumped up and down in the parking lot screaming!!

I was kind of sick to my stomach on the way there, knowing that I would be close to Keith. I know how it is backstage, you just kind of run into people and they walk around right where you are so I knew we would probably see him. We got there and it was quiet so we went out on the stage to watch. It was a sold out crowd! I've never seen that before!
my sister and girlie - we love to snag a seat on stage when we can

After listening a few minutes, we went back to the dressing room. Then it happened...Keith appeared out of nowhere! Right outside Lee's dressing room door! Right outside it! I stood there not knowing what to do while he talked to The Willis Clan, a group also performing. I felt goofy but I snapped some pictures anyway...why not, I thought, he's used to it.

My hand was shaking so I steadied myself, took a breath and tried again....
This is not zoomed in, people. This is how close I was to him! He's outside the doorway, I was right inside it. Swoon.

Then right after this moment, it was time for Lee to perform so I had to run on the stage, out the side door, down the steps to the back and steady myself and take about 300 pictures of him so I could get at least 20 good ones. Not easy because my hands were still shaking from seeing Keith!!

I couldn't believe it when I walked out and saw the crowd! It's not normally this full!
Thankfully, I gave myself a lecture in my mind and calmed down enough to get a few good shots. I love to hear Lee Greenwood sing. I've been a huge fan of his since my teenage years and I know all the words to his songs by heart. I got in the floor in front of the stage and went up and down the aisle grabbing the best shots I could.

The crowd goes wild when he sings, "God Bless the USA" and I love how everyone stands!
Of course I tried to get the band members too because my husband is a musician and I wish more people would get great pics of him! There's our friend, Andy, on the drums.
Lee was incredible, as always. Then we had a few minutes to breathe before Keith came out. He sang "Without You" by himself, on the guitar and I thought I would melt. It was incredible. We stood on stage and watched him and then we were like, "Let's go out front again!" We had to see him move!
His whole band was awesome!
So then we went back to the dressing room, grinning like fools still and took a few pictures. (Don't we look shell shocked?)
Here's our besties, the Hulls: Andy, Jenny and Evan. Isn't Jenny stunningly beautiful? Love these three.
It's always super fun to be backstage at the Opry and see all the pictures on the walls, like this one in Lee's dressing room...
That's Dolly Parton, Porter Waggoner, Paul and Linda McCartney. What a moment in history!

I normally look around more and chill and take pics but I was just a nervous wreck with Keith wandering around! Ironically there was a huge pic of him onstage right outside the door. I almost took one of that with me in it and said "Here I am with Keith" but there were too many people. ha-ha!

I saw Caleb Johnson (winner of this year's American Idol) hanging out and we casually got a drink and stood and gawked at him. LOL. I joked earlier in the day that Caroline might see Hunter Hayes there and then later we read a tweet that he had been there! We didn't see him but she may have fainted or something if we did so that was good.

So the best part is...on the way out (when we finally forced ourselves to leave), I stood at the door where there's a table, putting my camera in the bag and we see Keith coming our way! Well there was nowhere to go (it's a small area) so we just stood there and looked at him and he walks right in front of us, gives us a nod and all three of us just grin like idiots, not saying a word!! Then he walked up to the man at the door who has "the list" and shook his hand and said good to see him and then we walked behind him out to the parking lot and watched as he got in his super cool sports car. It was just like we were all regular people. Like we wanted to go, "Well see ya later Keith!! Good seein' ya tonight!"

Then we smiled all the way to the car and I've been grinning ever since.

Did that really happen? I'm still asking myself that every day!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

20 tips & tricks for using themed products

This week, on The Scrap Gals Podcast, we're sharing a list of 20 tips and tricks for using themed patterned paper, stickers, die cuts and other embellishments! I hope you'll listen to the show and keep this list for a handy reference guide when you want to make a themed layout. I know I plan to!

#1: Cluster embellishments together in a straight line across the page.
This awesome page by Katie Ehmann for American Crafts makes a big splash with the embellishments layered in a line. 

#2: Use a themed die cut, sticker or stamp for the focal point of a card.
Ya gotta love a great bunny sticker. This one's by Doodlebug. This card was a snap to make!

#3: Make the perfect spot for your themed product with a grid design layout.
I LOVE this layout by Laura Vegas (one of my all time favorite scrappers). I can see replicating this layout with so many different themes. I love a grid design and the squares are the perfect spot for a cute themed embellishment!

#4: Incorporate something themed into your title by substituting a letter.

#5: Use a themed embellishment on either side of your title.

#6: Build your page around a large embellishment. Make it the focal point.
I loved this clown so much, I built my entire page around it. 

#7: Use themed pattern paper as an embellishment.
Sometimes the theme of the paper is so busy, it's really all you need! When that is the case, try using non-themed, generic embellishments instead of more themed.

#8: Build a scene with your themed embellishments. 
I'm totally breaking out the tree stickers now!

#9: Tuck a themed sticker or die cut behind your photo and let it peek out.

#10: Look for non-themed opportunities in your themed product.
Don't just look through your themed product when you need a themed sticker...remember there are often generic shapes included in holiday or event sticker sheets or die cut packs. 

#11: Make a banner to hang a group of themed embellishments from.
Punch a small hole at the top of a few die cuts and string them along in a corner or across the page.

#12: Use a white background so your theme will shine.
This layout is by Susan Stringfellow and I love it! 

#13: Divide your page into thirds and keep the theme in the top or bottom third.
The layout below is a little less than 1/3 of the page but you get the idea! 

(This layout was posted on TwoPeas & the link doesn't work so I don't know who to credit it to.)

#14: Cluster themed embellishments around one side of your photo.

#15: Create a visual triangle with 3 themed embellishments.

#16: Push your theme to the edge.
Mat your entire page with a border of themed patterned paper. Just a little goes a long way so leave only 1-2" of busy pattern showing on your border.

 #17: Ground your themed embellishment on a tag.
Sometimes when the pictures are really busy, as they are here, I like to keep everything simple and just use one or two themed embellishments. The kitty cat title is just a sticker I grounded on a chipboard tag. The orange paper is Halloween themed but it's very subtle to keep the layout clean.

#18: Cluster your title with a grouping of themed embellishments.
Mix several themed stickers or die cuts together with your title to make it all more interesting!
(This layout was on Pinterest via a Google search.)

#19: Use a semi-circle at the top of your page and sit a themed sticker inside.

#20: Make your theme go around the block.
Block off sections on your layout and leave one or two sections available for themed embellishments. Here, I've used an older "Fair" sticker but I think the page still looks up to date because the rest of it is clean and simple. 

another example of blocking a page off....

and this lovely, awesome, spectacular layout by the great Nancy Damiano....

I hope you enjoyed this list and feel inspired now to make some pages with a theme! 
Share your best tip or trick for using themed embellishments by commenting below!

Go and be crafty my friends!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

fall & halloween are my faves!

This week's Scrap Gals podcast is all about fall and we mention our favorite new products for scrapbooking our fall memories. As we talked about our favorite new lines, I kept thinking about how much fall product I already own!

I have at least 2 inches of fall and Halloween paper but where the excess really comes in is my themed embellishments. It's quite ridiculous, actually.

Here are all of my fall and Halloween embellies spread out in all their glorious glory...
Can you believe this???

Keep in mind, this is afterpurging. I've recently purged every theme and topic of paper and embellishments. Each item shown here was a must-keep or can't part with item! Let's take a closer peek. 

While these are certainly not new products, I still love them all!! I love the whimsical pumpkin stickers on the far left to the Making Memories die cut sheets at the very top. 

I still love those foam Making Memories ghosts and the silly little metal rimmed tags that say Yikes! and Scary!

I even still love the hand-drawn look of the Debbie Mumm stickers - if anything, I love that even more now than I did when I bought it! I love those silly smiley pumpkins by MAMBI. And next to it...the huge K&Co. die cuts (recently purchased at Mighty Dollar).

Over the years I have purchased several boxes of Halloween embellishments and they were hard to store so I moved them into clear baggies I buy for this purpose. Not like a sandwich bag - more like the bag that products come in with a sticky edge.

The reason I'm okay with owning this much fall and Halloween product is....it all fits in this!


This is how I store my themed embellies. All cozy in a drawer with the paper in a plastic file behind it. I love every bit of this and just seeing the pictures makes me happy. It's a strange sickness we scrappers share - the love of the stuff!!!!

Who is with me? What does your stash of fall and Halloween product look like? Less or more than me?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

everyday life

My bestie, Tiffany, and I had a conversation today about blogging. I told her that my favorite blog posts to read are ones where I get a true glimpse of the blogger's everyday life.

If I like the person enough to read their blog, I really want to see what they are up to; I want to see them in the photo. I told Tiffany that sometimes when people post a picture of the work in progress on their desk (which I love), I want to reach into the computer screen and turn the camera this way and that to see everything going on in their house!! I want to see their furniture, their outfit and more!

My favorite blog posts are similar to a reality TV show....just a whole lot of nothing really but enough of something that makes me feel like I am connected to the blogger. I want to do more of that here.

I really do have a very fun life - I just forget to share it here! I usually post to Instagram or Facebook and then there's nothing left to say. I want to change that. I was a better blogger (and scrapbooker, actually) before social media came into my life.

So with this renewed focus, I promise to share more daily pictures like this one of me, grinning from ear to ear when I found Susan Branch's "A Fine Romance" at Barnes and Noble after weeks of wanting it....

Or this one from Target when Caroline found Frozen themed soup....

Or this one of Tiff with her four bags of books that cost a quarter each...

Or this one with my sweet hubby at lunch one Sunday afternoon...

Or this one of my daughter when we visited the newly renovated Krispy Kreme!

Or even this super crazy one of me with a bear in the Smoky Mountains!

I'm going to put up a sign or something to remind me to take everyday photos and share them with you, dear blog readers! Thankfully the task will be much easier in a day or two because this week, I'm upgrading my 8 GB iPhone 4 to a 64 GB iPhone 5S! Finally I can make the videos I've been wanting to make to share here and I even have an online class or two in the works!!! Very exciting!

So stay tuned - I promise to overshare very soon! :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

it's feels like fall!

Hello blog dearies!

I hope you're having a lovely week. The weather here has been wonderful and plans to be more wonderful this weekend. Saturday will have a high of 72! Eeeek! So exciting to have it feel like fall. I even snagged some mellowcreme pumpkins tonight which I've about made myself sick on. Of course I washed them down with a diet coke. ha!

I've been practicing my lettering daily. I thought I would try my hand at drawing some fall images and coloring them in. Came out kinda cute!
I didn't really even know if I could draw these images but I looked each one up on Google images and then sketched them with a pencil. I really want to learn to draw simple things like this more. It was a lot of fun!

Caroline had a lot of fun this Sunday at church playing our new Kids Ministry mascot - Rover Comer. :) She even got to go on stage!

Check her out as in the middle of what we call "Praise and Worship." She had some moves I couldn't capture with a mere camera. :)

I was very proud of her although I don't think she will continue to be Rover Comer because she came out of the costume drenched in sweat! LOL I think a boy would be better suited.

I also had a fun role with the kids. I was a puppet called "Fast Talking Freida." Perfect, wouldn't you say!? I forgot to get a pic! I will next Sunday.

Today we're going somewhere exciting but I can't share it until it's over, per a promise to my girl. Pictures coming soon!

Have a fun Tuesday!

Monday, September 01, 2014

my favorite cards

Hello dearies!

This week on the Scrap Gals Podcast we're talking about "Scraps, Tags & Cards!" So fun!

I thought I would start the week out by sharing some of my favorite cards I've made.
These have all been on my blog before but some are from years ago so maybe they'll be new to you. :)

Let's start with my favorite card I've ever made. This is a design that can be used over and over with different patterns and for any occasion...

One of my go-to techniques is to use strips of patterned paper...

My favorite technique - diagonal strips...

Here's another way to mix patterns - just cut random size rectangles....

Card using a word cut out with my Silhouette Cameo with paper peeking through...

Here's a fun one using my hexagon punch...

Here's a basic card design you can use for any occasion...change the patterns/sentiment....

Look for paper with spaces you can fill in with a tiny punch/die like a heart/butterfly, etc. I filled in each of the spots on this paper with a different heart...

Square cards are fun! This one is 5x5 and has punched squares of patterned paper...this is an easy go-to design to use over and over!

Here's a post that shows a great sentiment set to use inside (purchased at Target).

Here's how I store my blank card bases/envelopes...

I hope that will help some of you to get started making cards! In this week's show, I give a step-by-step plan to make a card because I think many people just don't know where to start!

Happy Labor Day. I hope you'll be crafty!