Monday, July 30, 2012


We R Memory Keepers - Peppermint Twist Collection - Christmas - 12 x 12 Double Sided Paper - Winter Wonderland

Many of the layouts I see on the many sites and blogs I follow use circles to create interest.  As my husband often points out, I tend to use lots of squares in my layouts - square and rectangular pictures in layouts that seem to use straight lines.  So I decided to put together a layout that reflects my spin on all those circles I keep seeing.

I also wanted to continue working on using up some of my favorites from my stash.  This paper from We R Memorykeepers fell into that category.  The design with the deer and all the pattern on the diagonal really appeals to me.  But I couldn't figure out how to incorporate it into my layout without destroying the impact of the pattern.  So I decided to put circles and this piece of paper together in a layout.

 It took me almost a week, but I finally came up with a layout I really liked.  I used some deep purple CM tone on tone paper for the background to add a little surprise to the holiday color palette, cut lots of circles from the patterned paper to take advantage of the patterns in the design, more circles out of the solid portions of the patterned papers and even more circles from red and green paper in my stash.  I finished out the circles with some round cardstock embellishments and stickers left over from previous Christmas layouts and a little bling from the CM Enchanted collection.

The diagonal motif in the patterned paper inspired the placement of the clusters of circles across the page.  I also was careful to keep the vertical pattern within my circles.  Here are some closer shots of the clusters of circles.

I'm submitting this layout for the July 1 sketch challenge at Stuck?! Sketches

Have you combined any trends with treasures from your stash to create a great layout that is way outside your comfort zone?  I'd love to see them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Studio Calico Challenges

I've become a big fan of challenges.  They both provide inspiration and force me out of my comfort zone.  They keep me from falling into a creative rut - the rut where all my layouts start to look alike. 

Lately I've felt like I was headed there.  Most of my layouts are 2 page designs, and most of the pages I've finished seemed to have a horizontal focus.  They used elements that ran across the pages horizontally to link the 2 pages and the photographs tended to be spread from side to side with any open areas in the design being at the top and/or bottom of the page.  So I'd been thinking about doing a layout with a more vertical focus to connect the two pages, but couldn't seem to get started on one.  This week's Studio Calico sketch challenge provided the jumpstart I needed.

SC 7/22/2012 Sketch challenge inspired by Nicole Samuels

The sketch is a one page sketch but had the photographs concentrated from top to bottom on one side of the page.  In this layout about making Christmas cookies, it was easy to extend the design across the second page, maintaining the vertical focus.

I incorporated my journaling into the photo blocks by printing it on vellum in a size that aligned with the different photographs.  I added a couple of small stickers to highlight the journaling.

 The next step was the vertical title.  This was a great opportunity to play with this week's weekly challenge.  the challenge was to use at least three different letter products to create a long title.  Since I have a really hard time combining different lettering styles, I wanted to push my self to do this.  Here I used American Craft Thickers (for the "C"), October Afternoon Sticky Keys, and these great red herringbone letters from Jillibean Soup that were buried in my stash.

After I put the vertical title on my layout, I wanted to add the banner elements.  As I played with the design, I decided they needed to be horizontal to balance the photo blocks and title.  I combined a piece of ribbon, an old BG journaling tag, and a BG tag from the PB&J collection.  The snowflake is a piece of a border sticker from a BG Christmas collection.

The last thing to do was to add some embellishments to the far side of the page to balance the layout.  I used more BG Christmas stickers, another tag from the PB&J collection and a MME brad to finish it off.  

I love the completed layout.  It's different from anything of done recently, incorporated a variety of products from my stash in new ways, and combines 3 different lettering styles for a fun look. 

What are your "Creative Ruts" and how do you get out of them? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Christmas Surprise

Sometimes I find a piece of paper I really want to use and it serves as inspiration for a layout.  This was one of those layouts.  When I was pulling paper, I came across a sheet of Prima holiday paper (which I don't remember buying - I didn't really even think of Prima as a source for great patterned paper) and was instantly determined to use it.  But the graphics were so bold and had such a large scale that I couldn't picture a layout. So I stared at it a while and finally cut it into two pieces based on a natural break point in the pattern.  It still didn't work for me, so I cut the larger strip into 2 pieces, again based on a natural break point in the pattern.  Then I looked at the B side and realized that pattern would be a great accent.  GFrom there I pulled a couple of sheets of Creative Memories paper to serve as wall paper and pulled some pieces from my scrap pile to use as accents.  Here's the finished product:

It turned out to be one of my all time favorite two page layouts in an album.  And in part, because it was another really economical page,  Here are some tips I used to maximize my stash.

  • I've mentioned this before, but look for patterned paper with a strong coordinating graphic on the B side.  Here the holiday graphics were awesome, but the brown patterned paper served as a perfect accent.  This is another layout that used only a single piece of patterned paper.
  • Wallpaper with a colored paper for maximum impact.  Here I used paper from the Creative Memories Rugged collection.  Creative Memories is one of my favorite sources for paper I am using for wallpaper because it has a nice weight - heavy enough to be easy to use and thin enough to avoid adding lots of bulk to my albums (because I like to get lots of pages in my albums).  In addition the CM paper generally has great depth in its colors.
  • Use scraps to accent the patterned paper and to mount pictures.
  • Use your punches and die-cut machines.  Here the embellishments are almost all Christmas and winter motifs I cut with my cricut and holiday themed cartridges.  I added them to the layout with both regular adhesive and foam squares to add depth and continue the feel of the patterned paper.

  •  Don't become too focused on the theme of the embellishments - the tag on this page is from the Basic Grey Clippings snippets tablet.  I added some tiny glitz letters to customize the tag and added some elements I cut with the Cricut. 
  •  Appreciate the happy accident.  Here one of the leaves on the brown spray turned over when I put it through my small xyron.  The red leaf actually adds depth and detail.
Maybe its better not to have a picture in your head . . . .

Fun Scrap Shopping Tips From My Husband (Seriously) and a Summery Layout

My husband can be pretty amazing.  Even though he complains about the amount of scrap stuff i have and the amount of money I spend on scrap stuff and the fact that I stay up til the wee hours scrapping, he is generally really supportive.  He understands that the creative outlet is really important to me, so he keeps taking pictures and puts up with my scrap habit.

But this weekend he outdid himself.  On Saturday he "scrap shopping."  Here's where we went and what we got.

First we went to Archivers where I used my 30% off coupon on some MME washi, took advantage of the buy 2 Thickers, get one free deal, and bought enough American Crafts and Studio Calico to get a free 6x6 Studio Calico paper pad.

While we were there, I looked at acrylic blocks for the stamps I've suddenly begun accumulating.  He looke at the price and told me not to buy them.  He said I could get a better deal at the hardware store.  (More later about that.)

When we left, he told me that the flocking material  (e.g., for DIY thickers) they were selling in little containers was much cheaper as a model railroad supply (for earthtones) or in woodworking stores (in other colors).  Who knew!

Then he took me to Staples where he watched me wonder around looking for office supplies that could be repurposed for scrapbooking.  I left with some great supplies from their Martha Stewart Line - labels in different colors, cool little raindrop shaped stickers and some little blue, green and grey tags with matching twine.  So cute and such a buy!

Then we went to the hardware store where he bought a sheet of acrylic for about $15.  He came home and cut me a lot of different sized blocks for stamping.  And we have most of the sheet left. 

Then on Sunday, we were off to Michaels - where I got a second Iris cart just because it was a good deal (on sale for half off and 20% off your total purchase).

So with all that shopping, I didn't have much time for scrapping.  But, while I was organizing my space with my new cart, I did find this layout I did a while ago when I experimented with mists and washi.  It's a bright summer layout that was way out of my comfort zone.

To create the background paper, I sprayed a piece of kraft paper pretty heavily with blue and green mists and then tilted the paper to mix the colors and cover the paper.  The washi made a border down the side.   I finished it off with a Heidi Swapp border, Creative Memories tags, Basic Grey letters and a Basic Grey metal flour.  The doily is from Freckled Fawn. 

I'm linking this layout with the Paper Issues washi challenge. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beach Buds

I've been having a lot of fun with the 2Peas CHA challenges, but the supply list challenge had me really stumped.  The supply list included a number of things I rarely if ever use (pictures of me, my own handwriting, quotes) and you had to use something from your purse.  Who knows what's in the bottom of my purse. 

So to get me started I decided to look at some of the sites that often have sketches that inspire me.  I ended up at Purple Pumpkin and Once Upon A Sketch.  The sketches had some common elements which got me thinking.  Then I noticed that the theme at OUAS was "friend."  I remembered this picture from an afternoon my daughter and I spent at the beach, and I was off and running.

When I dug out the picture I knew I wanted to create a bright and fun layout.  Here's what I ended up with.

Here's the supply list and the layout elements I used to meet the requirements:

Something old - the blue and orange paper was from my scraps
Something never used before - the crocheted flowers from Purple Pumpkin and the Martha Stewart label (from Staples)
Something from my purse - the q-tip used to hold the banners
Handwriting - I wrote both on the label and I wrote the quote
Computer generated element - I downloaded the header image from the Walnut Beach website and printed it on vellum
Quote - "A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend."  (also serves as my journaling for the OUAS challenge)
Photo of me - I really am in one of those chairs
6 inches of twine or ribbon - I made the small skein of twine accenting the title
A "C," an "H" or an "A"- all three are in the title and the computer generated element.

 I ended up really loving the layout - it captured the bright, happy feeling I wanted and the spirit of my relationship with my daughter.  Sometimes going outside your comfort zone really pays off.

A Mountain of Prima

I know - it sounds like its too good to be true.  But, in celebration of the new blog design at My paper ARt Studio, you can go here to win this:


I know - its a hundred degrees out and hot and sunny.  But I'm never caught up, so I'm working with Christmas pictures.  Sound familar?

This layout was inspired by a Boys Rule sketch challenge.  I took the one page sketch and stretched into a two pager for Nicholas's sophomore album.  I like the designs mix of patterns and shapes.  It gave me a chance to mix lots of stuff from my stash (mostly old) to create a fun layout..If you look you can find Making Memories, Pink Paislee, TaDa, Basic Grey, American Crafts and Studio Calico - and maybe you can identify some stuff that I can't anymore. 

Because I was combining lots of odds and ends, I found myself clustering and combining elements.  Here are some of the embellishment clusters.  This helped create a more cohesive look.

This is my second post today - check out the title page I shared below.  Enjoy your weekend.


The talk this week has been all about the trends in te product lines showcased at CHA.  But there are trends in design too.  This week, I saw three different sketch challenges that focused on horizontal strips.  Two Peas put up a sketch challenge based on a layout by Lisa Andrews, Boys Rule put up a sketch using horizontal strips and Studio Calico has a sketch challenge based on a single horizontal sketch based on a layout by Laura Kurz.  So right now, horizontal strips across a layout seem to be a design trend.

Those three sketches combines with the SC weekly challenge that focused on using oversized fonts or elements on your layout to create this title page for my daughter's fifth grade album.  (Of course, I had to add my own twist by moving the strips to a diagonal, but the roots of the design are in those sketches.)

My title pages have generally focused on a single large picture and I really like the idea of using pictures from throughout the year on a title page instead.  The colorblock paper has been in my scrap pile for years and this was a perfect use.  The oversize font stickers are an old Memorykeepers Club gift from Creative Memories.  Most of the embellishments are from a MME Nostalgia prize pack I got from SC.  I added the banner stickers with words from a Basic Grey Picadilly sticker sheet and I was done.  It captures my daughter's personality and created a fun title page that reflects her year with no investment.  It doesn't get much better than that!

Let me know what design trends you're seeing.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Frozen Toes

I'm still working on my son's sophomore and junior year albums - and as I've said before - that means lots of soccer layouts.  This layout focuses on a Thanksgiving weekend showcase where we had freezing rain, sleet and snow.  I was inspired by Authentique paper and a Page Maps sketch.  Here's the sketch I started with.  I really liked the general design but it presented two challenges.  First, it was kind of "fluffy" as drawn and I wanted to make sure the feminine tone was removed.  Second, it was a single page layout and I wanted to stretch it to a double page layout.  As I started working with paper from Authentique's "Loyal" collection, I found it pretty easy to accomplish both goals - and with a minimum amount of supplies.  Here's the layout I ended up with.

Stretching My Supplies
Here are some tips I used to stretch and/or personalize my supplies and layout.

1.  Choose paper with strong coordinating patterns on both the A and B sides.  Here I used a single sheet of patterned paper, incorporating both sides.  I even had some scraps left.

2.  Use cardstock to mount pictures and add depth.  Here I was able to use scraps and still only had one sheet of patterned paper invested in the layout.

3.  Use odds and ends from embellishment purchases that are hanging out in your stash.  Don't be afraid to alter them to meet your needs

  •  The banner was from a LYB banner package and said "soccer fan."  I needed a shorter banner and wanted to use only the word "soccer."  I figured out how to remove a pennant and trim the banner so that I had a banner that met my needs.
  • The soccer ball stickers are from an inexpensive sheet of cardstock stickers that are soccer balls in various sizes.  I never used them and finally figured out that they didn't work for me because the soccer balls in my garage (and there are a lot of them) are not clean and shiny.  I fixed the stickers with a little sandpaper.
  • The sticker that says "defense" and the small arrows at the bottom of the layout were odd stickers left on sheets used previously.  Don't be afraid to mix stickers from lots of different lines.
4.  Make the most of your page and your pictures.  By layering the Thickers over the photo, I both made the picture more interesting and used up some letters in my stash that tended to blend into the page.

Hope these tips help you stretch your scrapping budget.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio right on the shores of Lake Erie.  For me, pictures of the water make me think of home faster than anything.  This layout focuses on a picture of  the Ashtabula Harbor.

I printed this picture from earlier this summer in black and white and was immediately struck by the timelessness of the image.  It could have been a picture of the harbor today, when I was a child or years before that.  That sense of timelessness in combination with Creative Scrappers Sketch 217 inspired this layout. 

I started with the B side of a paper from the LYB Paradise line and added some old MME and Creative Memories papers in my stash to create the soft color palette.  I added some Colorbok embellishments I picked up at JoAnns on the spur of the moment and a Freckled Fawn square doily.  A strip of washi tape across the top finished the layout.  I like that the layout has that vintage feel that plays on the sense that the photo could be from days gone by.

Using a Pocket

I see lots of pockets on pages and in new collections being previewed at CHA right now and wanted to use one on a layout.  This layout about making Easter "eggs" provided the perfect opportunity.  (At our house we make egg shaped cookies and frost them instead of dying hard boiled eggs.)

I used the Simple Stories Summer Fresh line for the layout and experimented with adding dimension to the chevron pattern in the paper by cutting piecs of the chevron out and mounting them over the same design with foam squares. 

And then I incorporated one of the pockets that came with the collection.  I layered both patterned paper and letter stickers on the pocket that came with the collection to customize the look.  Then I cut some kraft tags with my cricket for the cookie and frosting recipes and embellished them with washi tape.

How have you used pockets in your layouts?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Not Enough Pictures

I like to do two page layouts in the albums I make for my kids.  I just like the way they look.  But sometimes I just don't seem to have enough pictures to fill two pages.  Nicholas's "adventures" at his cousin Tyler's birthday party is one of those times.

Tyler got a complete "knight's costume" as a gift and Nicholas got right into the spirit of the occasion.  He is wearing the helmet that came with the costume in this picture and "The Knight's Quest" is an Easter Egg hunt - where he used a pink basket.  If you have teen-agers, you know that its hard to get pictures of them acting like a kid.  So I was definitely doing this layout.

The obvious solution is to get a larger print or prints.  But I was working on this layout at a crop Friday night and that wasn't really a choice.  So instead, I used large blocks of patterned paper throughout the layout to fill space.  Here's what I came up with.

Basic Grey, Amy Tangerine, Paper Play Studio, American Craft Thickers, Cosmo Cricket

While the layout isn't my favorite, I do love these flair buttons from Paper Play Studio.  I think I placed my order the first night the shop was opened and they are perfect for this layout.  And the best part is I have three left in this set to use on another project.

Now - back to all the new goodies from CHA . . . .What's your favorite?

Big Purple Pumpkin Giveaway

Once a month Purple Pumpkin stocks their shop and has a big "sale."  They have a great range of products to highlight your projects - doilies, twin, tickets, fabric covered buttons, etc.  The next sale is July 27 and is their 2d "birthday. "  To celebrate they are offering a huge giveaway - $100 to spend at the big sale. 

They are also offering goodie bags with orders and  the chance to buy "grab bags."  And I'm always surprised by the low cost of shipping from Purple Pumpkin. 

Check it out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quietly Thankful

We had computer problems for most of the last week.  Today I'm "thankful" that those problems are resolved (especially since I'm so excited by all the sneaks for CHA).  There are so many great new lines coming out.  I loved all of Studio Calico's sneaks and already have a project in mind for the handbooks.  I also loved things I've seen from Bo Bunny, MME, LYB, Simple Stories, Glitz, Crate Paper - the list goes on and on. I'm sure you all have your list of favorites too - am I missing some you think I should check out?

While our computer was out of commission, I did get to do some scrapping.  Today I'm sharing a layout with pictures from last Thanksgiving that I am entering in the Artful Delight sketch challenge and Boys Rule sketch challenge.  We celebrate Thanksgiving pretty quietly with my sister's family most years, and this year was no exception.  The layout came together pretty quickly with a combination of Creative memories, Coredinations, and LYB products -- and some odds and ends from my stash.

The striped paper really brings it together and was a late addition from my scrap pile.  Sometimes it pays to save those little odds and ends.  The secret is keeping them organized so that they are easily used.  I keep my scraps in an expandable file, sorted by color.  Each time I finish a layout, I add the scraps to the file.  When it seems to be getting really out of hand I go back through and "clean out."  I try to look there first when I need a small piece for some cricut work, to mount a picture or just add a little something to a layout.  Its a good source for small pieces when I am experimenting with layering too.  Do you have good system for keeping and using your scraps?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Red and Black

Sometimes it feels like I only do soccer pages for my sons' scrapbooks - and I'm sure you get tired of looking at them.  It has been such a big part of their life and my husband takes great soccer pictures, so I do tons of layouts. But I have a really difficult time finding different soccer and sports lines. And because I tend to do a group of layouts reflecting a season, I like to link them with similar papers and embellishments.

For this series, I put together simple layouts with no no soccer papers.  Instead I chose a general color scheme (red and black) to connect the layouts.  I made a series of title tags to link the pages.  And then, rather than worrying about connecting the entire series of layouts with consistent embellishments, I just tried to use up some odds and ends left over from different layouts.