Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Have you taken inventory lately?

I know it may be strange, but I noticed one day (probably after tripping over some of them) that the shoes in our house tell a lot about who's home and who's not. My boys have always gone barefoot in the house and as soon as they walk in the back door, they take their shoes off. So if they're home their shoes are in the kitchen; if their shoes aren't there, they're not home. This summer there tend to be a lot of shoes by our back door because Nathan and Zack are home for the summer - Yeah!!
So when I was assigned a layout with the subject of "Inventory" for Get It Scrapped, I knew this would be perfect. As I started to put it together, I decided that since I had several photos I would keep things simple and let the shoes speak for themselves - by using speech bubbles, of course! I had a bunch of speech bubbles from Studio Calico and I used some of those. But I also needed more that were, perhaps, a different color or needed to be pointing in a different direction; so I also cut some of them freehand - really very simple! I also outlined all of them to give a little more definition and punch and also to make them all a bit more cohesive. Here's the result:

My favorite one is the "shoe graveyard" on our back porch. It does get out of hand at times, and sometimes I'm annoyed by the mess. But then I remember that like most kid messes, it won't always be there...and then I'll be sad (sort of :P). In a few short weeks the pathway into the house will again be clear---not necessarily a good thing, since it will mean that summer is over and the boys have gone back to Minneapolis for college. But I know that, at least for a little while longer, it will return again at Christmas time :D

Check out how other designers at Get It Scrapped have interpreted this assignment in this article: Ideas for Scrapbooking Inventory Photos that Record Your Everyday Life. There are some very clever ways to take inventory.

Then leave me a comment - what do your things say about YOUR life?

Friday, August 9, 2013

I was charged with scraplifting...

No, really - my assignment for Get It Scrapped was to scraplift myself, that is to take a layout I had previously done and use that as my inspiration for a new scrapbook page.  I could use the design layout, an element of the page, color inspiration, whatever. The hard part was choosing a layout; I had several scrapbook pages that were candidates as ones I particularly liked. But I finally decided on this layout about Aaron:

Original layout
This was a fun layout I did right after he bought this HUGE Lego set - it was his graduation gift to himself when he earned his Master's degree. I was with him when he purchased it, and the whole experience was a lot of fun as he was the envy of every guy (young and old!) in the store.

Besides the story and the basic design, one of my favorite things about this layout was the Simple Stories patterned paper I used. I loved the arrows and banners printed along the edge, and I knew that I could get a similar look by using strips of various washi (decorative) tapes. So when the same son asked his girlfriend of 5-1/2 years to marry him, I decided to scraplift this design to create a layout documenting this special event. 
Scraplifted layout

Fortunately Aaron had planned ahead and had his brother and sister-in-law nearby to take pictures of the proposal. (In fact, they were e-mailing pictures to me as it happened!) With the second layout I wanted a soft, romantic feel. This was a little tricky since the colors in the photos were quite bright, so to balance the contrast between the soft background and the bright photos I used a mix of muted and dark washi tapes. Since I knew that the darker and brighter tapes would be the first to draw the viewer's eye, I concentrated those in the vertical center of the page, pointing towards the photos. I also highlighted a few of the photos by framing them with subtle vellum frames.

It's easy to see from this that the same basic design can yield two very different looks. The basic framework is the same on both pages, but by changing the colors, photos, and story, and making some adjustments for more photos and less journaling, I could create two pages that are unique.
For more information about these layouts and to see how other designers approach their scraplifting process, check out this article at Get It Scrapped: "14 Scrapbookers Lift Their Own Scrapbook Designs and Show You How"

Just a note about the final layout: I love the new vellum-type photo frames (these are from Basic Grey), but I didn't have one large enough for my focal photo, so I cut my own from patterned vellum and darkened it slightly with Distress Ink so that it would coordinate better with the others. I also altered the purchase ones just a bit to cover some colors that didn't coordinate, and I flipped them over to the "wrong" side so that they were matte instead of shiny. Finally, for the smallest frame I used a stamp from Studio Calico on vellum to frame Kylie's beautiful engagement ring.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Time to Get a "Real Job"

Cityscapes are one of the newest trends in scrapbooking. One of my first assignments for the Get It Scrapped Creative Team was to make a layout using the cityscape trend in an interesting way (something other than a photo of a city skyline). Check out this article, Scrapbooking Ideas for Using the Trendy Cityscape Motif, showing my take on the assignment along with other Creative Team members' interpretations. It's fun to see how different designers with different styles interpret the assignment so differently.
For my assignment I knew that I wanted to do a layout about my oldest son, Aaron, entering the "real world" workforce on a full-time basis for the first time. I'm so proud of his accomplishments and wanted to brag on him just a bit :) So many college graduates have difficulty finding a full-time job in their field, either because the market is bad or because they still really don't know what they want to do. So I think it's pretty awesome that he was able to get a couple of good job offers and was able to choose one that he feels suits him well in a company that has done well at weathering the ups and downs of the economy. Aaron will be working as a structural engineer - that is, designing buildings and other structures - and he will be working in the Twin Cities (MN), so I felt that a cityscape background was very appropriate. I know that there are several patterned papers that show cityscapes, but I decided to make my own background paper. My background would show the impression of a city without being very specific to any one city. I've used this technique in the past with other shapes and knew it would work well here. So here is what I did:
As you can see, I did experiment a bit first on plain cardstock and I loved how it turned out, but I decided I wanted to use a subtle print as my base. I have some grid papers from Studio Calico that I just love (I love graph paper and shapes in general); I chose one that had straight and diagonal lines that reminded me of the connectors that Aaron was designing during his internship. The pattern is dark enough to add interest, but also subtle enough to work with my stenciling. I left off the triangles at the top - it was supposed to be another bridge but I felt it looked more like pyramids.

 Once I completed my layout I added windows on some of the buildings. I felt that it needed something because it seemed to me that the cityscape was a little lost (I wish that I'd made the buildings just a bit taller) and the windows were just the thing. I only put them on some of the buildings, partly because I was lazy! but more because I wanted to keep the attention centered on the photos and journaling, and really only a few were needed to create the impression of the cityscape. Here is my final layout:

Just a note: When I did the experimenting I used a Colorbox cat's eye shaped chalk ink pad (since that's what I had handy). Although I kind of liked the subtle streaks that it produced, it was harder to hang onto so a couple of times it was pulled out of my fingers - that's what created the dark splotches - and before too long the pad pulled apart from the base. So for my final layout I used Distress Inks (I blended Black Soot and Iced Spruce) on an ink blending tool (from Ranger) and that was much easier to handle. I really think it could be done with pretty much any ink pad as long as you're sure to start on the template. Different pads would probably produce different amounts of streaking (which could be cool) but for the smoothest result I think the ink blending tool works best.