Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekend Web Round-Up - June 26

Here are a two great sets of video tutorials to check out over the weekend.

First up - Jessica Sprague the digital diva! Jessica offers amazing online classes on digital scrapbooking, photosgraphy, journaling and more on her site This week she has been celebrating the site's birthday with lots of fun freebies, challenges and FREE registration in a Photo Editing Class which starts on July 6! Be sure to go NOW to register! GO!

After you register, settle back and watch Jessica's free videos on getting started with Hybrid and Digital Scrapbooking. You are sure to be inspired to try it out!

Next up - Jennifer McGuire the technique queen! Jennifer is teaching a free 9 week class over at Two Peas in a Bucket called "Thinking Inking". Each week she provides three videos on stamping, embossing, inking, distressing and more using Ranger Inks and Hero Arts Stamps. Catch up this weekend on the 6 videos already posted and bookmark the site for the remaining 21 videos over the next few weeks! Wow - talk about inspiration! I can't wait to try some of these techniques out!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Inspired to Create?

Today I thought I would share an example of how you can take something from your inspiration journal/folder/notebook and use it to create a layout.

Remember this photo of a page in my son's book?


I liked the simple clean lines of the page so much I decided to use it as the basis for a two page layout. Before I started I took a good look at the image to figure out what it was that I liked so much about it and wanted to try and duplicate or capture. I identified that I liked 

  • the way the photos butted up against each other

  • the way that two of the photos were taller than the rest

  • the way they continued across the two pages

  • the captions written below each photo

Armed with this information I created this layout:

around the house

It is not exactly the same as the book pages that inspired it, but the aspects of the original that I liked are all there - the photos lined up next to each other spanning  two pages, the captions underneath and the two photos that are larger than the rest.

Remember that items you select and collect as inspiration may serve as a jumping off point, might be re-created exactly or become anything inbetween. It is all up to you! The more you look at a variety of objects, the more varied your layouts, cards, crafts and artwork will be and you will find your mind reeling with possibilities! 

I hope this week has been...ahem..."inspiring" for you and you continue to see everything around you as a possible source of inspiration!

Back tomorrow with a list of great sites and posts to browse over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Watch n' Learn Wednesday - Inspiration Journal

Today's featured video shows in quite a bit of detail how one designer from "Hero Arts" stamp company uses her inspiration journal to collect ideas and then experiment with and extend each idea. She also shows some of the projects she made based on the inspiration pieces.

Hope that gives you some additional motivation to start your inspiration journal/notebook/board etc.

Tomorrow I'll share a layout based on one of my inspiration pieces and walk you through the steps I used to create it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Organizing Inspiration

So how did you make out yesterday? Did you find some inspiration in the objects around you? I know I was more absolutley more aware of everything I came in contact with yesterday - looking at things with a more crictical eye and really taking things in. I find that when I am aware I see so many possibilities! I'll share a few things that inspired me yesterday that I documented for future reference (and yes, I resolved the image issue!)

Here's a batch of my favorite soaps from Bath and Body Works lined up and ready to be put away. I love the colors and the simple shape of the bottles.


The text, colors and overall design of this gift card enclosure really caught my eye.


The two page linear layout in my son's book about "Things That Go" would be great for a two-page scrapbook layout.


I thought this fish image on my younger son's shirt would make a cute paper piecing pattern.


This owl on a pillow from a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue was so cute and I love the colors and the stitching.  owl-pillow

What did you find that inspired you?  And now what do we do with all those ideas and inspiration pieces? Well, today we are going to create a place to put them all!  There are lots of ways you can organize your items and it really doesn't matter which method you choose - the key is to make it easy to add inspiration as you find more pieces and to be able to access everything easily when you are looking for inspiration! Here are a few methods that would work: 

  1. Create an inspiration bulletin board in the space you work that features an ever changing assortment of images, color swatches, quotes etc.

  2. Use a binder with page protectors to slip images into and some lined or blank pages to write and draw on.

  3. Use a notebook or sketchbook (any size) to jot down ideas, draw out plans or designs and paste images into.

  4. Slip small items into the sleeves of a photo album and jot your notes and ideas in the caption spaces.

  5. Use a file folder with the sides stapled together or a pocket-style folder to corral all your goodies in.

  6. Create a folder on your computer to add websites, tutorials and online images to without needing to print them off.

  7. Make or buy a bunch of tags and paste image/draw/write on each one. Slip them on a binder ring and hang up in your space.

  8. Use a pretty box or  a shallow drawer to store all your treasures.

I'm sure there are many more than eight solutions for keeping your inspiration close by (and if you have more ideas, please share!) You may need to think about or try a couple of different methods to see what suits you best. For example, although I am a visual person and I love to look at images displayed on a bulletin board, I dislike it when things get too visually cluttered. So ultimately I figured out that a binder style notebook is what I needed to use. I have a section for inspiring quotes I have come across, techniques I want to try and some page protectors for all the bits and pieces I collect. I also like that I can easily add printed pages by just hole punching them. I decorated the front and spine of my binder so I can identify it under all the mess on my scrap table and so that it is pretty to look at. It's also portable, so I can bring it wherever I am working, reading or surfing the web. It's what works best for me!

So, today your assignment is to create a repository for your inspiration items! Use something you already have or go shopping and treat yourself to something you will love to use on a regular basis. Remember that the key to using it will be accessability!

I would love to hear/see what you came up with. Email me a pic or send me a link to your blog posting about it! Share it so we all can be inspired!

Check back tomorrow for Watch 'n Learn Wednesday (hopefully the video issue will be resolved too!) and later this week we will create something using one of our inspiration pieces! Have a great day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekly Inspiration Challenge - Where do you find inspiration?

Hope you had a great weekend and a Happy Father's Day! I am STILL not able to post pictures and I am really hoping I don't have to go back to the drawing board and rebuild or change the site {sigh}. Keep your fingers crossed!

Anyway...this week we're talking about how we get inspired and where we draw inspiration from. When you actually find the time to scrapbook, do you sit down and think "where do I start?" I think many of us are like this! Sometimes when we have this creative block we turn to trusty sources of design inspiration like page plans and sketches, magazines and books and layout galleries online. I find lots of inspiration in these places too. But I also take pleasure in looking for and finding ideas and inspiration in the world around me.

I used to teach my art students that design is all around us. One way to see this was to look at and analyze everyday objects. We talked a lot about the elements of design in my classes - line, shape, color, value, pattern, texture, form and space - and I would have my students find an object and examine how the designer combined and used the elements. We looked at everything from tissues boxes and household items to clothing and textiles to see how these elements could be used in so many ways. We learned so much from just looking and studying. Now I find myself drawing inspiration for my scrapbook pages from the designed objects that surround ME most on a daily basis - children's books, clothing and fabrics, toys and decorative objects! (I SO hoped to post some pics of these items for you!! Hopefully soon!!!!!)

Ok, so here is the teacher in me coming out, and here is the first in a series of your "inspiration assignments" this week:

Find and collect some pictures that you like. Browse through some magazines and rip out some photos. Walk through your home and look at the objects you have surrounded yourself with. Take a camera with you and snap a photo of clothing, furniture, houses or cars that you like. When you are in the grocery store, look at the packaging and see which items you are drawn to. Bookmark and print objects, layouts or items you see online. Open your eyes and try to be aware of the things that are around you that you take pleasure in.

That's it. Pretty easy assignement, eh? Just LOOK and be aware. Have fun with it and check back tomorrow when we'll talk more about getting all that inspiration organized into ideas you can actually use in your scrapbooking! (and hopefully there'll be some photos as well!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekend Web Round-Up - June 19

I don't know about you, but I love the unplanned things that happen when I read my favorite blogs. For example, Melissa Kaiserman has been hosting over at Write.Click.Scrapbook. all week and her posts about organizing your scrap space have led me all over the web to find new ideas and inspiration. I was going to post a few of my favorites for this weekend, but I think I will just link you Melissa's post from today and let you click on some of the links she provides. If you are anything like me, you'll be on a serendipitous journey that will have you itching to get into your scrap space to purge, sort and organize! And, the links could take you all weekend to get through - I know I haven't finished yet! Enjoy!

PS...I hope to have this weeks missing pics and videos up this weekend after hubby has a chance to look into things. Check back soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Cupcake Paper-Piecing Pattern

Today I thought I would share a pattern I created to make a paper-pieced cupcake to use on a scrapbook layout or card.

Paper-piecing is not new. It's been around in some form or another for a long time and I can remember creating little birds and animals by cutting out and layering shapes from construction paper (gasp!) back in my teens when I used to make scrapbooks in magnetic photo albums! (another gasp!) Well, we have come a long way in this hobby overall and paper-piecing patterns are no exceptions. Browse through any online gallery and you are bound to see some amazing piecing work. And even better, the patterns are often free. I really like the patterns provided by the team at Scrapbooks etc. where you can download a wide variety of patterns suitable for many different themes.

So here is my first attempt at creating my own paper-piecing pattern to share with you! It really was a pretty straighforward process. First I drew the cupcake, then I drew back over it to create each individual shape needed to make the finished product. Once I had my pattern pieces cut out, I traced them onto patterned paper and solid cardstock in the desired colors and cut those pieces out.  Here are the four pieces - two layers of icing, the "cake" itself and the cupcake liner or holder.


Then I layered them all together to get the cute cupcake for my scrapbook page.


Note: before I adhered the pieces together, I ran the bottom "cupcake holder" piece through my paper crimper to mimic the fluted edges of a real cupcake holder and then I embellished the top layer of icing with some brads for a 3-D effect.  There are so many possibilities for paper-piecing - you can choose any color paper you like and then decorate the final product with brads, gems, glitter, doodles, Stickles etc. Or try inking or sanding the edges of each piece for a very different look. 

In order to share the pattern with you, I retraced the template pieces onto 8.5 x 11 paper, scanned it and turned it into a PDF file. Just download the file here and print it out onto an 8.5 x 11 piece of white cardstock or paper. Cut each pattern piece out and use them as your templates to trace the shapes onto the patterned paper or colored cardstock of your choice. Layer each shape as shown in the finished cupcake picture and adhere with paper adhesive. Embellish and use as you like!

Happy piecing! I would love to see what you do with this little cupcake! Email a pic or post your creation in an online gallery and send a link.

See you tomorrow for a new Watch and Learn Video!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekly Inspiration Challenge - CUPCAKES!

Who doesn't love a cupcake? These yummy, bite sized morsels have been making their way into scrapbooking for the past little while and they are one of the most delicious themes around! They are the perfect embellishment for birthday and celebration layouts, as well as anytime you want a sweet and pretty theme. You can make yummy cards, tags and gifts with them as well. If you haven't explored this confection for your crafting projects, have  a look at these inspirational photos and websites:

Doodlebug Designs Confections Themed Collection includes super sweet papers, stickers and brads.

Leah Fung made a 3-D cupcake from the scrapbooking supplies that would be so lovely for party favours.

And check out Close to My Heart - they have written a complete "Recipe Book" with instructions to make several yummy varieties of 3-D cupcakes.


If you like to use die cuts, Cricut has a few cartridges that feature cupcakes images. Check out the Doodlecharms and Celebrations cartridges for ideas. Sizzix has 7 different cupcake dies to choose from, as well as embossing folders and a die to make an actual cupcake holder (oh so cute for a party!!!)

And Stampin' Up has a great selection of cupcake themed rubber stamps that can be customized to any porject you are working on by using various tops, bottoms and sentiments in any color combination.

And just because I love to look at (OK, AND eat!) real cupcakes, get a load of these by Melinda's Fantasy Cupcakes!


How sweet are they? Check out her flickr photostream for more amazing cupcakes. How's THAT for inspirational?

So why not spend some time this week creating cupcakes - real or for your paper crafting projects!

Check back tomorrow for Tip Tuesday!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weekend Web Round-Up - June 12

Here are three great links to keep you occupied over the weekend!

  1. If you are into digital scrapbooking, you probably already know Jessica Sprague. If you would like to get into digital scrapbooking, you need to get to know Jessica Sprague! She is a genius and she is offering a  free class on her website that will help you out! 

  2. Debbie Raymond over at Adornit offer ideas for scrapbooking your vacation while you travel! Here are some more travel scrapbooking ideas for those you who are lucky enough to be heading out on vacation soon!

  3. Ann Costen has been guest hosting on Write.Click.Scrapbook all week. I loved her post about how being cheap has influenced her scrapbooking! I could total relate as I, too, am a cheapskate! Here are some ways I try to scrap for cheap or free! What are your tips and tricks for frugal scrapbooking? I would love to hear some so please share in the comments section below

Have a gret weekend and check back on Monday for a week of "delicious" scrapbooking ideas!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Layout Ideas - Flowers

As a mom of two boys I didn't think I would use a lot of flowers in my scrapbook layouts. At first I thought I was relegated to trucks and sports themes LOL! Not so! Flowers can show up on any kind of page and thanks to the huge variety of blooms you are sure to find one in any style or color you need. And, as we have seen over the last few days we can easily MAKE our own flowers if we can't find what we are looking for in the scrapbooking stores! I have happily found ways to use this favorite embellishment in pages about my female relatives and friends, myself, my relationships, my children's baby pages, places we visit etc. Let's have a look at a couple of layouts that use flowers as their main embellishments.


This lovely layout features my lovely god-daughter Payton! I created it a couple of weeks ago in response to the daily prompt from Lain Ehmann. And I saved one of my favorite flower tips for last - the white daisies on this layout were purchased on a stem of silk flowers from the dollar store! Yep! For just $1 I got a stem with about 25 blooms and once I took them apart from their stems I had roughly 90 individual flat daisies for use on my layouts! They are so easy to use - since they already have the hole in the centre from being on the plastic stem, you can simply adhere them to your layout with a colored brad for a super sweet look.

Oh, and you can grab the Page Plan for this layout here.


This layout which has photos that I love of my husband and son as a baby is a good example of how you can use flowers on "boy" pages by changing up the colors. The peachy-orange paper flowers combined with green, white and orange chipboard shapes create a page that is soft and sweet but definitely still boyish.

I hope this week has given you some ideas of how you can make and use flowers on your scrapbook layouts. If you would like to share your layouts featuring fowers, post them on your blog and leave a link to them in the comments section below. Can't wait to see them!

Drop by tomorrow for the weekend Web Round-Up and check back next week for some "sweet" inspiration!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Watch n' Learn Wednesday - Making Easy Paper Flowers

We are continuing along with our flower theme this week!

One of the absolute easiest ways of creating flower embellishments for your scrapbook pages is to use a patterned paper with a variety of flowers on it. A lot of times you can get a kit of papers that might have plain, striped, dotted and floral papers. I don't often use the floral papers as backgrounds or for matting because I find them a little busy. But by simply cutting the flowers from the paper and layering them you can have embellishments that work perfectly with the rest of the papers you are using on a layout. 

Here is a video that demonstrates this simple technique. (Notes: This video is aimed at very beginner scrappers and the host tends to speak very slowly, but you get a really good idea of the possibilities using this technique.)


How easy is that? A tip: I find that I like to use glue or paper adhesive in between the flower layers and then add a pop dot to the raise only the final layer. That way my entire embellishment is not TOO bulky but still has some nice dimension. Give this easy technique a try the next time you use floral paper!

Tomorrow we'll have a new page plan and a sample layout to go with it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Flowers

Yesterday we shared some floral inspiration. Today we have some tips for making your own easy and lovely flowers to use on scrapbooking layouts, cards and paper crafts.

Before you start, gather up some pretty scraps. You don't need a lot of paper to create these gorgeous blooms! Other tools you may have that would come in handy are circle punches or a cutting system, a scalloped circle punch, a heart punch, scissors, paper adhesive and various circular embellishments.

1) Layer it.

Use a set of graduated circle punches or cutters to cut 3 or 4 circles of different sizes from a variety of scrap papers. Layer them from largest to smallest, adhering each layer onto the next. Finish your layered circle flower with a brad, button, doodle, sticker rub-on etc.


2) You gotta have heart.

Use a heart punch (any size) to cut out 4 hearts from scrap paper. Place them with their points together and slightly overlapping. Adhere together. Cover the spot where the hearts join with a circle punched from a coordinating or contrasting piece of scrap paper. (Or use a brad, button or sticker as mentioned above.)


3) Shapely scallops.

Transform a scalloped circle into a 3-D flower with some scoring and bending. First find and mark the centre of the circle. Then using a ruler and a stylus (or bone folder), score from the peak of each scallop to the centre mark. Then, score from the low point of each scallop to the centre mark. Gently accordian fold back and forth, pushing the lines that go from the peaks to the centre upwards, and the other scored lines downwards. Finish off the centre with your choice of circular embellishment.


4) More than paper.

Try cutting flower shapes from felt, fabric, vellum, or even an office transparency for a unique look. (The vellum and office transparency shown below were cut with a Cricut machine and the felt flower was simply hand cut with scissors.)


5) Snip it.

A super easy flower can be made by taking a circle and snipping "V" shapes from the outside towards the centre. Layer another snipped circle on top if you like. Once again, finish the flower with a little something in the centre.


Bonus tip: For easy stems and leaves as shown in the first photo above: Cut  a strip-stem for the blooms to sit on from a textured or slightly patterned green paper scrap, or use a piece of rick rack or ribbon. Leaves can be made with your circle punch - punch a circle then slip it back into the punch only partway until you see a football/oval shape. Punch again.  Score and fold slightly down the middle if you like a 3-D look.

If you try any of these tips we'd love to see them. Email us a photo or a link to your blog. Enjoy making and using flowers on your projects this week!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Weekly Inspiration Challenge - Flowers

Where I live, the fowers bloom pretty late but lucky for me they are in full bloom on scrapbooking pages all year round!

Flowers are hot and it seems every manufacturer includes some in their collections  - from beautiful realistic blooms to quirky shapes and minimalist designs. They are also available in so many different materials - paper, stickers, vellum, chipboard, fabric, felt,  acrylic and more - that you are sure to find a style and type that will suit any project you are working on.

I love the look of flowers on my layouts and whenever I can add some to a page, I grab the opportunity. They don't always look right on the scrapbook layouts about my two boys, but I try to add them to just about any other page I can. And I love adding them to cards and gift items.

Your challenge this week is to use flowers on a project or page you are working on. If you use flowers a lot, why not try to make your own custom version? If you have never used them you might be surprised at how they add just the right finishing touch to a page.

Here are some beautiful inspiration photos to get you started. (Click on photos to see posts or tutorials)

From Emily Pitts at Studio Calico, lovely pleated and ribbon flowers.


Janna Wilson at Fiskars provides a downloadable tutorial on making a variety of paper and felt flowers.


And Alison Cope over at Scrapbook & Cards Today Magazine created some lovely ribbon flowers.


 Have fun getting inspired! Tomorrow I'll be back with some tips on how to create simple and cute flowers using scraps from your stash!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Weekend Web Round-Up June 5

Lots of fun things to browse over the course of your weekend.

First up, a new and exciting site:


You may have been familiar with the scrapbook magazine called Simple Scrapbooks.  As the name suggested, it provided ideas how to make scrapbooking easy - ideas for simple pages, techniques and complete albums. The women who worked on the magazine have become some of my favorite scrapbookers and when the magazine had to cease publication I was a little sad that I would not have a venue to see their work.

But they have come together to create this new website which they are calling "the inspiration collective". I love that there are 30 women who will be sharing their ideas, tip, techniques and layouts all in one site. It's like Simple Scrapbooks in a blog format! They also created a flickr group where layouts can be posted and shared.

This week marked the launch of the site so stop by and meet all the amazing women involved.

Next up are some great videos for your viewing pleasure!

I have been a fan of Leah Fung for a long time. I first saw her work in Scrapbooks etc. Magazine and their now defunct video series Scrapbook Lifestyles. Although she may not have been the first designer to develop the concept of using, altering and reusing a composition for scrapbooking layouts, she was the first one Iever saw doing it. Over the years I have developed lots of sketches (which I call Page Plans) and now I can't imagine scrapbooking without them. Click here to watch the video of Leah demonstrating how to use a composition.

After Scrapbook Lifestyle was cancelled, Leah continued to make videos. Make sure to visit her blog for the weekly video. This week she and her scrappy friends Donna Salazar and Johanna Peterson share organizational tips, but check out their past video blogs as well. There are  lots of great ideas and I still love Leah's style!

Finally, FIskars is known for it's great tools, but have you seen the great inspiration on their site? Check out the free scrapbooking and card layouts, informative articles and this great downloadable mini-book project by tha fabulous Janna Wilson.

Hopefully that  will keep you occupied over the weekend (like we don't all have enough to do!)

Check back Monday for the first of our weekly inspiration prompts!