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 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!

Monday, August 25, 2014

monday 8/25

Hello dear blog friend!

I can never decide what my post title should be so I decided to just put the date. I'm in an unoriginal mood, I suppose. :)

I hope your weekend was delightful! My husband was out of town for a gig so I was kind of worthless and vegged on the couch watching "Once Upon a Time" and "Wings" on Netflix. I'm really getting hooked on "Once Upon a Time!" Caroline and I are watching and we're up to Season 2, Episode 3. I've tried watching before but this time I started closer to the beginning and I understood it a lot more. Right now, I'm very worried about Pinocchio turning to wood and if he'll be okay. I guess I'll find out soon! 

Other than the binge TV watching, I did sit at my desk for hours, practicing my lettering. I made this art journal page...
These are things I always say and they make me laugh. Tiffany said, "Why didn't you make a layout about that?"
I said, "What would the picture be? There's not one!"
This is why I'm digging art journaling - there's no need to find a photo - you just start the page and have fun.

Not to say I've abandoned scrapbooking because I definitely have not! I have some layout ideas brewing right now.

Well I started this post early afternoon and now it's 9:30 pm and I'm watching another episode of "Once Upon a Time." Rumpelstiltskin has just met Captain Hook and I'm thinking he's going to be an interesting character!

See you again soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

art journal pages

Hello my dears,

I have been a bit MIA because I had a little accident! I was at my friend's cabin in the mountains Monday night and since I have been there so often and know it so well, I thought I could make it down the stairs without turning a light on. Wrong!! I missed the bottom step and down I went. I hit my head pretty hard and my tailbone took the worst of it. It ain't pretty - let me tell ya! I've been in bed for two days with lots of bruises.

I did manage to get up for a bit last night and play. I was longing for my markers and watercolors so I pulled them out to make a page. I watched this awesome watercoloring tutorial before sitting down to play and I was amazed by how much her instruction helped me!!

I highly recommend watching that if you are at all interested in watercoloring. (Click and watch on You Tube - it's huge there and you'll be able to see much better what she's doing.) I've watched many videos on it and this is the one that made it click for me. She is using distress markers but I used the same techniques with regular watercolors. (By the way, I now want to buy tons of distress markers! You can use them like watercolors!)

The best tip she gave was to wet a small area completely and then fill in with color and the color will stay within the area you carefully went over first. She shows a transfer method for tracing an image but I just used a very light distress ink stamp pad and stamped my image.

After watching the video, I looked in my stamp drawer for an image I could color in and found this bird. Perfect! Then I thought about what I could say with the word "bird" in it and I thought about how when I'm with Tiffany, I feel so free and as a bird! So I made this page in honor of my time with Tiff-Tiff.

I used a Stampin Up brush marker to make the word bird and I don't like it that much but I just used it anyway because I had already stamped and watercolored the bird. I have a bit of gray under the bird to ground him but I don't think you can see it in this photo. I made my printing a little messy just 'cause I was not that concerned about it being perfect and then I put a skinny orange border around it and called it done. I may add the word "Tiffany" above it but probably this is done.

I also watercolored this image I had started last week. I had a freaky moment one day when I went out driving and literally everywhere I looked, I saw the trees for the first time with a variety of colors. It was like someone took the blinders off my eyes and I truly saw nature as God painted it. It was an amazing moment! So I made this page to remember that moment.
I am still learning about watercoloring and not very good at it yet but I will get there! Still testing pens and practicing my lettering every day! I just bought a copic marker to try writing with the brush side and I also bought a calligraphy pen and ink well. I can't wait to play with them tonight!

I have more journal pages to share but they need to be completed. Will try to do that tonight. I have two journals going right now. One is horizontal pages from a mixed media pad (nature) and the other (bird) is 6x8 watercolor pad paper and it's a bit harder to do my lettering on but takes watercolor better. I bought two more mixed media pads at Michaels because they are buy one, get one free this week!

I hope you're enjoying your week and feeling great about life! I will as soon as my tushie heals! :)

See you soon my friend!

Monday, August 18, 2014

art journaling?

Hello bloggie friends!

This week's Scrap Gals podcast is all about Art Journaling. Art Journaling? Surprising...I know! There is a story behind this topic and here it is....

A couple years ago, I started following a wonderful artist named Lori Vliegen who specializes in hand lettering. I thought, "Hmmm...I could probably do that." but as with most things creative, I never took the time to explore it although I continued to read her blog and pin her work which is wonderful!!

Then recently, I visited the blog of Susan Branch, one of my favorite artists. I knew she had a blog because I had read it several times but this time was different. This time when I started reading it, I couldn't stop! I literally read her entire blog in about two weeks. It is captivating. She is captivating. I wanted to be captivating. Reading her blog made me want to be an artist. Like a real "paint on the paper" artist. Her books are all written completely by hand with her paintings making the pages come to life.

Of course becoming an artist seemed very daunting to me because I really do not draw very well and I knew nothing about watercolors or the style of art that Susan Branch does. But as I read her stories of sitting in her studio in the early morning hours painting, I had a hankering to do the same! I wanted to start with a blank piece of paper and finish with something that would make someone's heartstrings go zing! I gave myself a little pep talk and said, "You can do this - you can create art!"

I began to ponder about what I could do that would be fairly easy. What did I already know how to do that could be called "art?" Light bulb moment!! Hand lettering!! I've always been interested in calligraphy and hand lettering and Lori Vliegen's adorable art journals immediately came to mind and I knew she worked in a style I could try to duplicate. I decided to really work at it and learn how to do hand lettering. The idea continued to blossom until I bought a mixed media pad of paper and I was on my way!
One of the things I love about Tiffany is that she is game for most anything I want to do so she caught some of my enthusiasm, bought the same pad of paper and we both made several attempts at making pages...some we love and some we just tolerate.

After much trial and error, I found that I could write in a style similar to the hand lettering I love by using a Zig Calligraphy pen and then cleaning up the outer edges with a Micron marker (01, 03 or 05). I looked at lettering I love to show me exactly where the thick part of the letter went and then it just clicked in my head and know I now.
I always start with one big word and make a page based on that word. Here's the start of a new page...this is all I've done to it so far but I want it to talk about how this has changed my life. I am so excited about it and think about it morning, noon and night!

All the pages for my journal will be horizontal like the one above. I intended to share several today but I went on a quick trip to my friend's cabin in the mountains tonight and forgot about this blog post so I promise to post them Wednesday when I return. Meanwhile, here's a page I did for our little friend named Lilly. I love this so much I might not give it away. This is how I want my art journal to look...just an experimentation into drawing, lettering and painting. I want there to be lots of wonderful quotes and thoughtful journaling...
I made some mistakes on this but I don't even mind - it kind of adds to the homemade feel of it. I penciled in the flower after looking for one online. Then I drew the lines with a Micron marker and attempted to paint it and goofed a bit on that because I didn't allow dry time but again, I don't mind. It was a lesson learned. I just got a library book on watercolors and I've already learned a lot by reading it!

It's all a growing process...something new and different. I've been experimenting with hand lettering using pencil only and I tried filling it in afterward instead of starting with a calligraphy pen. I'll be sharing more about that later this week. I promise I have loads to share but this is enough for now and it's 12:33 am here in the mountains and my friend is asleep so I will say goodnight and I hope you enjoy this week's show and my little venture into the world of Art Journaling.