Friday, January 30, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers

It's that time again.  Another calendar post.   Four pages down, eight to go.  I am starting to think that I can do this thing, lol.  Anywho.  So far I have been sticking to my recipe and original plans pretty good and this month was no exception.  I was not crazy about the floral paper that I chose initially so I changed it.  I tried to stick with the program for a few days and make myself use it but eventually I realized that I was not going to do the page if I used that paper.  Maybe next time.  I still like the colors and the idea of using the two different types of floral papers.  I may still change it out but for now I don't hate it.  Much. 

Just for the record, it is really (really, really) hard for me to toss paper that I am not crazy about.  For whatever reason, my heart makes me find a way to use it.  One thing about the more generic paper pads that I love is that the backs are white so I can use it as white cardstock if I don't care for the pattern. 

This layout is on the flatter side so that is a win for me. One of my biggest concerns about the end product is that I am going to have a calendar that won't lie as flat as I want it to.  I am crazy about the papers that I settled on for this page! The colors are so pretty!!  Here is a look at the page....

As you can see here and on most of the pages that I do, I have sewed some of my photo mats.  I don't use sewing to hold things down as much as I do to add some interest to my layouts.  I just love the way it looks.  When I first started sewing on paper, the biggest problem that I had was the paper buckling and leaving an air hump on my mats.  In order to prevent that, I just make sure that I glue everything down well before I start sewing.  You have to be careful to not glue too close to the sewing line (especially if you are using runners or other dry adhesives) because it will gum your machine so bad.  Ask me how I know this......

If I am being 100% honest, I have to say that 9 times out of 10, I just sew individual papers than I mat them.  It is just easier and since my go to adhesives are really, really strong I haven't had any problems.  Sewing on pages is easy peasy and truly one of my favorite ways to add interest with no bulk.  You don't need to have a special machine, thread or skill.  If you can do the basics, your good to go.  I don't even change my thread or stitches! 

As a crafty gal, there are a ton of hobbies that I enjoy and one of them is cooking.  Not the everyday, get some food on the table type cooking (chore) but the trying new ingredients, photo worthy food type of meals.  I own upwards of 100 cookbooks and cooking magazines but buying them is so not a waste of money for me as I cook from them all of the time.  I love to try new ingredients and combos so much that my family is spoiled for it!  They don't like to eat leftovers and unless it is a favorite meal, will throw out the bored card if I cook something more than once. 

At first, cooking like this was time consuming and expensive but since I have been doing it for a few years, the cost have gone down and I can bang out a menu in no time flat.  For me to cook something more than once it has to be absolutely delicious, so I don't keep a recipe file for any recipes but the ones we truly love (unanimously).   These dishes are the ones that I share with my kids & sisters. 

The only real issue that I am still dealing with is that my food rarely comes out looking like the recipes.  I realize that my food is not styled or anything but it really comes out looking different.  Here is a look at what I mean.  This is a photo of the Potato Gnocchi dish from the magazine (Good Housekeeping, I believe).......

Beautiful!  It looks so tasty!!

This is mine............

What.  Not as beautiful.  In fact it is a hot holy mess but I promise it smells fantastic.  It was good but it will not make a comeback in this house.  I don't particularly care for gnocchi but the husband and the kid made a huge fuss about the fact that if I don't like it, I don't cook it.  So now, we have things that I don't like.  Like veal, lamb, liver, beets, scallops and creamed spinach.  Ironic that most of the times we have to put up with kids that don't like certain foods.  In this house it's me.  I don't cook myself a special meal,  instead I usually just have everything but the meat or nasty vege.  Who eats beets and really likes them?  Yuck!  This works fine for me, in fact, I would love to have meatless meals 2-3 times a week (that got vetoed very fast!)

Does anyone's food (hobbyist like myself, professionals we already know you nailed it) ever come out looking like the picture?  If yours does, how do you do it?  This issue won't stop me from experimenting in the kitchen.  Honestly, if it tastes good and looks edible it will get eaten but I would love to hear any secrets you have to share.  I promise, I will not blab to another soul.....

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a fantastic day!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

eBay is A Place to Find Everything...

It truly is.  And it is open and available to you 24 hours a day and you can get there from anyplace in the world.  I bet you could get there from space if you were an astronaut and needed a space flashlight.   Don't believe me, here is a space flashlight on eBay. 

I have been selling on there for years and years and at first, I only sold my crafty stuff.  Layouts, albums, scrapbook kits, etc.  I still do from time to time and currently have a few projects listed but I discovered that I have an eye for interesting things.  I really do.  I was probably much more surprised than you but less than my husband who often says "who the heck would by that?".  Me that's who.  The crazier the better. 

I love to hit yard sales, thrift stores and resell shops and could (and do) spend hours doing it.  Lately, my goal has been to turn it into a thriving business.  My last little birdy will be leaving the nest in 2 years.  I don't want to go back into the work force but I also don't want to be busily unemployed either so I decided that selling treasures was demanding enough to keep me busy and interesting enough to keep me from being boring.  It doesn't feel like work.  A lot of work it is though. 

There are no employees yet so everything (find, clean, research, photo, post, market, ship, service) falls on me.  I'm not complaining.  Not at all.  I have learned so much and it gives me the ability to collect without hoarding.  Probably one of the most interesting things that I have found are the year books.  Especially the military ones. 

They are extremely hard to find!  The really good or interesting stuff normally is.  People tend to hold on to this type of memorabilia because it is so personal to them.  But as time goes on and things get passed from one person to the next, the attachment fades and things get let go of.  Sometimes to the trash but often, and this is magical to me, to someone who missed an opportunity or lost an item that they loved but can't easily replace.  This is the love part of this journey for me. 


I have held on to the book pictured above for a couple of years for this very reason.  It seemed so historic and I loved looking through it at the photos of our fighting men at their work.  This is an item that can't be found in retail stores.  In fact, there are very limited venues for books of this type.  Here are some photos of the pictures inside......

What's with the car?  And why is he doing a jig???

I haven't listed this book yet.  I guess I am just not ready to let it go and I can't seem to get comfortable with a good price.  These can sell for a lot or they sell for a little.  Don't think that just because something is old and rare, that it is valuable.  The price for these books is inconsistent and depends on many different variables.  The graphics, condition, age deployment number, event relationship and popularity of the ship all play a part in how much an item like this will sell for. 

Everything on eBay is not a bargain but there are a ton of treasures!  What kind of treasures have you found on eBay? 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

So Lucky

Blessed would be a more appropriate word but since March is the month of Luck, leprechauns & green I'm just going to go with it.  This page was made in the same way as the other two but it has a completely different feel.  I mixed it up by using 2 patterned pages that feature bold black words on a white background.  One of the patterns is oversized and the other is much smaller.  I really like the contrast in the patterns.  One thing that I found really interesting about this page is how the photo mats & embellishments contrast with the black & white background.  In LOVE with this and will definitely use the style again. 

The blue-green color scheme reminds me of an ombre style color scheme but instead of the colors fading from dark to light in one color, they go from blue to green.  I hope that makes sense.  Just one of my wonky ways of looking at things. 

The embellishment that ended up being my favorite on the whole page is the sequins with the enamel dot in the center.  The white on cream color just make me happy.  When I placed the sequins, the hole in the center was so distracting and I couldn't stop looking at it.  I spotted some white ranger enamel and wa-la, bring on the joy! 

Another thing on this page that is noteworthy to me is the green paper that I used to mat the small word pp.  I mentioned on another post that one of my goals is to use what I have.  What I had was a lime green sheet of neon cardstock.......

This would not work.  Not at all.  So I broke out my mist and painted it with these 2

The end result was fantastic.  Not only did I end up with a color that was spot on for my lo, but the paper buckling gave the whole layout some lift without me having to use a single pop-dot.  I could have flattened it out but I really liked the way the edges lifted. 


Speaking of lift, one of the reasons that I decided to go with my own design calendar this year instead of a predesigned one was because I truly enjoy fat, juicy pages.  I do need to keep my finished product in mind so some of my pages have to have flatter embellishments.  The dimension that this wavy page adds gives me the look of a fat page without all of the bulk. 

The detail shots below show how flat most of the elements are.





 You can clearly see that flat does not have to = boring.  The edges of the paper add lines & separation, the colors add pop and the shapes give you the feel of fullness without the thickness.

Glue.  One of the things that can be used to give a layout more substance is a heavy glue.  It really stiffens up your paper and because the glue is wet, unlike a tape runner or glue stick, your paper will wave & lift.  Wet glue is obviously not appropriate for all uses but is very good for pages like this where you need strength and form. 

So I have a question for you.  How often do you clean your work space?  I admit, I cannot start a new project until I have put everything away from my completed one.  Even if I am working on a page in a mini-album, I have to clean my space before starting a new page.  If I don't, I can't find anything and I end up taking a long time to finish and sometimes I get so frustrated/distracted that I don't finish at all.  Can anyone relate or am I weird?  Here is my desk during a project.  It really isn't that bad but I just started this so the disaster has not struck yet. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

The Thing I Love Most About

having family over for a meal is the sharing.  The sharing of stories, the sharing of time and the sharing of recipes.  My family and I love spending time together and will use any excuse to visit each other. 

My sisters and I like most of the same foods and 3 of us love to try new recipes so we are always exchanging.  One of my brothers will eat anything as long as it is accompanied by meat and the other brother will eat anything that is wrapped in bacon!  I love that someone is always trying something new, even my meat loving brothers. 

My husband loves that I try so many new recipes.  I have recently gotten back into the habit of planning our menus and have been cooking with a new recipe every night.  The two dudes that live with me are in heaven.  I have also been cooking less food.   As my children leave home, I have been finding it very hard to cook smaller meals. 

Since I began cooking at the age of 12 or so, I have had to prepare food for a large family and adjusting to cooking for 3 has been the impossible task.  We ALWAYS have leftovers that no one wants to eat.  Always.  My fridge looks like a Tupperware wasteland. 

I have tried everything to no avail.  Leftover night, new meals from the leftovers, packing lunches and snacks.  Nothing works to keep this leftover mountain manageable.  But, I digress.  I was talking about trying a new recipe.  On the menu for tonight is a recipe from The Best of the Best.  It was created by Emeril Lagasse and was fairly simple with easy to find ingredients.  No preserved lemon in this dish.  

No photos either but I like to think that if it had had one, the dish would have looked exactly like this........

with the exception of being styled.  I think I nailed it.  It tasted delicious and bonus......  No leftovers!

On the creative front, one of my goals this year is to use what I buy, when I buy it.  I have really cut back on my scrappy purchases but thanks to the incredible designers in the paper crafting industry, I can always find something new and interesting to create with.  One thing about scrapbooking, I never feel that there is a lack of interesting supplies. 

These are my most recent purchases:

Some of this is just plain supplies that I needed more of like the tombow glue, spray bottles and staplers.  But the rest is pure creative spark......
I have been hearing so much about the pan pastels and seeing so many projects that have that smudgy, chalky look that I finally invested in them.  They were pricey!  I got a set that included colors that I use a lot of and my plan is to use the pastels to create backgrounds and ink edges......
I love to create mini albums and want to use these ring binders to turn an old book into something interesting.........
No plan for this but seriously.  Gold hearts on washi tape.  Had to give it a home!
Ditto on the ombre bling.  It will be cut apart and added to everything I make until it runs out. 
Neenah white is everywhere and everyone is using it.  Thanks for enabling:)  It is the only reason I bought this since I am zero picky about cardstock most of the time. 
Amy Tangerine paper stack.  Nuff said.  I have seriously already used several sheets....
I love those hearts!  I should have bought more :(  Bold gold is still very, very pretty and useful to me and these embellies are generic enough that I can use them in a million different ways.  So are the Pink Paisley stickers.  There are 4 sheets of chipboard stickers in this pack!

Well that's all for me folks.  Have you been able to find new crafty things to come home with you?  I'd love to hear about it, especially if you don't have a scrapbook store near you.  I don't and really miss having a large selection of products to choose from (even though I still manage to spend all of my scrapping dollars teehee). 
Thanks for stopping by and have a crafty day!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Making Progress on my Calendar

I have started on March (yeah me) but the great news is that February is completed.  It is pink overload, big time.  Anywho, the basic design follows the plan that was sketched out at the beginning of my project.  Following a plan keeps me from having to make time consuming design decisions for each and every page.  But I don't want it to be boring either so I keep it interesting by changing the number of photo mats, position of the mat/s on the page and of course the papers and color scheme.

The month of love is more than likely going to call for photos of us and of the things that we are doing to celebrate each other (flowers, candy, cards, parties.....).  The papers are really busy and bright so I tried to place all of my embellishments tight to the photo mats and very monochromatic.  Love it.

Another of my creative goals for the upcoming forever is to stop using my pinterest board for just looking.  Honestly, it has been very freeing to allow myself to just create.  I probably scrapped 5 pages all year long for my family (most of the albums and pages that are on my blog get sold on ebay:).  Sasha Farina is definitely one of my favorite scrappers, ever.  Like stalker type favorite.  Crazy love her work and am always pinning her stuff.  Finally, I actually scraplifted something.  She is so inspiring!  I am the worst scraplifter in the world and my page does not come close to touching her design voodoo but it makes me so happy! 

This is a link to hers on my pinterest board.......

This is mine


This layout is about my niece and how sweet she is.  I loved how she was smiling and how dark the background is in contrast to her bright pink sweater.  Not set on the journaling yet but I will eventually add it.  I tend to put my journaling on the back of my layouts about half the time because it makes it easier for me to write something meaningful.

What I mean is, it takes some of the pressure off because I feel that if it is on the back of the layout, I can write without the pressure of having the journaling be perfect.  So if I misspell a word and scratch it out, it doesn't feel as if I ruined the entire page.  It also gives me more space in case I am in the mood to ramble:)  Here are some closer looks at what I did...... 

Lots of dimension going on here.......

When was the last time you saw a snap?  I added some sewing thread in an infinity pattern to give it interest.  I also added brads to the centers of the flowers and dots of stickles randomly for sparkle...



There are a lot of throwbacks on this page.  Tearing, snaps, stickles, brads and vellum but also some new products/techniques too.  Hope you enjoyed. 
As always, thanks for stopping by and looking around.  I would love to hear from you and welcome your comments.......

Decorating My House With My Scrapbook Pages

Hello there craftnistas. 

It's all about the decorating today.  We moved into a new house (is it still new if we have been here for 4 years? haha) and we are still decorating.  What to put on the walls and in the rooms has seriously become a bomb of indecision for us.  We have plenty of stuff, I make plenty of stuff and we certainly buy plenty of stuff but we stall, big time, when it comes time to actually decorate with it all.  I know that we are not the only non-decorater types that have this problem.

So in order to stop the madness, I decide to start decorating with our family photos.  It's not a huge decorating project but it is a very personal one for us.  A baby step to be sure, but a step nonetheless.  Husband is 100% on board and thought it was a great idea to start with the 100's of family photos that we have and to put said photos in the rooms that are most used by the people in them.  For instance, one of my sisters always stays in the same room so we are going to put her pictures in there and in the family spaces like the family room and sunroom.  The children have a dedicated space so all of the kids photos will go in that room.  I love the idea of them being able to find their pictures on my walls when they come to visit.  Hopefully, they will feel even more at home.  Here are just a couple that made the cut.....

 Being the crafty girl that I am, I had to celebrate by making something.  I have a million of these cheap brass frames and I wanted to create something special with one of them.  I didn't want to do something for the wall but for the side table in my sunroom.  This is the type of frame that I used.  They can be just about anywhere and are very inexpensive......

The first thing that I did was cover it with a light coat of gesso.  I don't mind that the brass shows through or that the paint may wear off over time.  I really like that vintage, distress type look.

I added some plain old acrylic paints, inks and sprays to give it some personality. 

Still looks like a cheap brass picture frame with paint on it but the magic will happen soon.  As the frame dried, I went to work on the layout. 

Since it is of me & my sisters, I used lots of pastel colors and flowers.  This is a permanent solution folks.  The layout is very dimensional so 1, I have to build it in the frame and 2, I have to remove the glass.  To begin, I simply sketched out my basic design and grabbed a whole bunch of stuff from my stash.

I placed the base layers (all the flat stuff like pp and photo mats) directly on the easel back of the frame. 

Next, I placed the backing back in the frame and than add all of my fluffy stuff, inks, title and photo. 


This is my completed piece ready for the photo of me & my sisters.  I plan to put it on the side table in my sunroom.  I love it and my sisters are going to love it too.  In fact, I will probably have to make one for each of them.  

Thanks for stopping by!