Monday, April 30, 2012

Blogs, blogs and more blogs...

I follow & read several blogs daily. I like to get them sent right to my email inbox.  I save some for reference or inspiration.  I've found if they are sent via RSS feed I never get there to read them. Some of the bloggers have had quite an impact on my creative journey.  I thought I would share a few of them with you.

I'm a big fan of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and having been following her for a couple of years.  I started art journaling, using stencils and I am taking 21 Secrets because of her and the information she shares so generously on her blog.  Today her post title is "Tutorial:  Digital Photo Collages" and I wanted to direct those of you who are digi people to this.  Julie's tutorials are well done and easy to follow.  Check it out here
For anyone who is interested in stencils whether you use them regularly or are a beginner Julie has a lot of information regarding them including a free stencil workshop.  Julie also designs stencils for The Crafter's Workshop.  She also hosts Art Journal Every Day on her blog.

A diferent type of artist/blogger is Ali Edwards.  I've followed Ali for years.  I've been scrapbooking for about 14 years or so and used to read her articles faithfully in scrapbook magazines.  Now I read her blogs, take One Little Word, do December Daily & A Week in the Life and now I'll be taking her 31 Things class over at Big Picture Classes beginning in May.  You can find Ali here
She actually has two blogs on one website. 

More artist/bloggers tomorrow.

Whose blogs do you follow?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A little of this, a little of that...

The last 6 days have been pretty busy.  I've been taking lots of photos for A Week in the Life. On my best day I took 54 photos and another day I only took 2 or 3.  The rest of the days I took between 12-25 photos.  I stopped at the kiosk at CVS to get those printed & I'll pick them up tomorrow.  I'm using the downloadable sheets that Ali Edwards provides for the journaling and have kept up fairly well.  One of my biggest problems is that I work in Mammography & Ultrasound in a Women's Imaging Center.  As a Certified Breast Patient Navigator I can not photograph most of what I do at work. And frankly the rest of my week is not that interesting..however as Ali and Stacy (Julian) are fond of saying its just as important to document the everyday, small moments of life as it is the big ones so I took some photos that I normally would not. Frankly I was suprised to see that the one day had 54 photos.  I actually took more but weeded some poor shots out.  I'm hoping to work on getting my photos (& journaling in my Project Life album tomorrow. I combine the two projects as I try to limit the numbers of albums I create yearly to a minimum.
I've been playing with different parts of Heidi's Memory Files.  I'm waiting for more of her products to be delivered before I finish 3 Memory Files I have started.  It would be nice to keep up with the class but I don't want to rush these.  I am making these for a trip my husband & I are taking in September to see our oldest son & daughter-in-law.  We'll be visiting Lake Tahoe with them and I really excited about the trip!  I love that you can have so many photos in one Memory File with her system.  I hope to have some time tomorrow to work on this as well.
I'd also like to do one piece this weekend for May Flaum's class A Curious Scrapbooker's Field Guide.  We are at the end of this 12 week class -sadly :(  I know May is going to repeat this class.  I can't say enough about May & this class.  It was amazing! I may even take it again even though it will be the same material.  By the time it runs again I will be in a different place creatively and I think I would still get a lot from it.
I hope that you have checked out Big Picture Classes upcoming FREE event - their National Scrapbook Day's Creative Crop.  I really enjoyed this last year and got quite a few pages done.  I need to straighten up my craft room when I'm done in there tomorrow so that I'm ready to go next Saturday.  To check it out or register, click on the Creative Crop badge to the right of this post.
What are you working on this weekend?  What classes are you taking right now?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Martha Stewart Home Office Collection with Avery

I'm still working on several different Memory Files for Heidi Swapp's Art of Observation.  I was able to get to Staples to look for the Rubbermaid Magazine Holder so that I could put my Memory Files into my album.  While browsing I came across Martha Stewart's Home Office Collection as I was looking for some more file folders.   I found these file folders in the photos - they are vertical file folders!  I thought - "wow, that would be cool to try using those for the Memory Files!"  Each package (there were several different styles to choose from) comes with 3 file folders.

 The package of 3 file folders.
 A close-up of the label.
Unfortunately, after opening the package I found that the vertical file folder is closed on 2 sides and only open on 2!  So now I think I'm going to cut open the 3rd side.  I'm still thinking about this.
Here's a single folder closed.
They did have these in the traditional file folder style in various designs so its still worth taking a look at this collection if you are looking for file folders for creating Memory Files.

I'll let you know (& show you) what I end up doing with these.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Creating a mini-book for Heidi Swapp's Memory Files

I am taking Heidi Swapp's Art of Observation class at Big Picture Classes right now.  We are in Week 3 however I'm still working on Week 1's project.  One of the elements for the Memory File we are creating is a Mini-Book.  Here is a look at creating a file folder for that mini-book.  I'll post more on the mini-book as I continue with it.  Email me if you need more information. If you are not taking the class and do not have the templates I think you could freehand the file folder template.

Print two copies of page template #2
Cut first template out on the inside line
Cut second template out using the outer most line
See examples above
Trace each template onto cardstock
Cut out along lines for each

Cut piece of cardstock 8 1/4 inches x 4 inches to use to
act as the spine to connect the front and
back of the file folder
You may want to check the vertical measurement -
I had to cut a little more than 8 1/4 inches to match
the file folder
Using a strong adhesive, adhere each piece of
file folder to the spine

This is what my sample piece looks like inside when open

Here is a close-up (sorry its blurry)
You can see just a little of the spine showing through.
I did not put the two file folder edges right up to each other
so that when I add to the mini-book it will still lie flat.

Here is what the outside of the file folder looks like
when open

The finished file folder

Friday, April 20, 2012

Camp Scrap with May Flaum

I wanted to give you an early heads-up on what will be a great event starting in June.  Camp Scrap will be June 11 – July 27th this summer.  Monday through Friday she will be posting new projects, tutorials, and videos.  May originally did Camp Scrap for Big Picture Classes.  This year it will be located on her blog but Big Picture Classes will be hosting galleries and message boards for students to share their work, ask questions, share information and get to know each other.  Oh, did I tell you this is FREE??!!  I highly recommend that you pop over to both sites & sign up on May's blog to get her posts and then head over to Big Picture Classes to become a member there - its FREE too!  And remember that BPC is hosting the free Creative Crop on National Scrapbook Day (May 5th). 
May will be releasing more information on Camp Scrap at the end of May (how appropriate!).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April seems to be flying by and May will be here before we know it!  May 5th is National Scrapbooking Day this year and I know many of you will be attending Crops and other events to celebrate.  If you're not planning on going anywhere you may want to check out these two events that you can do at home with your computer. Now that I have my studio I tend to stay home rather than going to Crops as I get much more done. will be hosting a day of challenges on National Scrapbooking Day(NSD) at their website.  Here's a link to that information.
You can print out a copy of their schedule that lists the challenges and supplies & photos you will need.  I missed this last year but hope to participate in one or two of their challenges this year.

Big Picture Classes will host their Creative Crop again on National Scrapbooking Day and here's a link to that information
You can also click on the Creative Crop on the right of this post to get the information.
Scroll down through the list of class to find the box with Creative Crop, click on Creative Crop for more information or "Register here" to sign up.  I did this event last year, had a lot of fun and got quite a few pages done.

I'd love to hear what your plans are for NSD!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Journal for Art of Observation

 I'm taking Heidi Swapp's Art of Observation class over at Big Picture Classes.  I decided to use items that I had on hand rather than follow Heidi's instructions for a journal.  I also needed something basically simple and quick to do.  This ended up not being as quick as I thought but I'm really happy with it.
This started out life as a black and white composition notebook that I got for 25 cents at a yard sale.  I gesso'd the front & back cover.  I've not done that part in the past and found that the paper did not stay glued to the glossy surface very well plus if your cutting is not spot on you'd have
color showing through when you didn't want it to.
The paper is from a K & Co. paper pack that I got at JoAnn's years ago along with the coordinating letter pack.  Drying time for the gesso and glue added to the time it took.  I've learned a lot from May Flaum and her class, The Curious Scrapbooker's Field Guide.  I'm very happy with the end result and the techniques I learned there made a big difference in the result.  Also, having the opportunity to watch May's process during a variety of projects (via class videos) has helped me tremendously.

 The second photo is the inside cover and I'm using a part of the fiber as a page marker.  The fiber is something I picked up in a yard sale too. This is about the only thing I would do differently - ribbon would be stronger and hold up to pulling better.
A close-up view of the front cover.  I used Close To My Heart's Liquid Glass for more dimension to the letters and to help them stand out from the paper.
In person the letters stand out from the paper a little better than it appears in the photos.  I used Tim Holtz's Distress Stain to color the page edges and I think that this gives it a finished/cohesive look.  I got this from May too!

Now to start filling the journal with my observations!

Getting current with Project Life

This is my second year with Project Life and I just can't seem to find my rhythm with it this year.  It started right off in January as I was finishing December Daily and had an end of year/beginning of year trip to Seattle to see family.  Then we ended up having to find a new car, decided to put our house on the market, did major decluttering/housecleaning and I'm taking quite a few online classes -its all added up to running around in different directions and being somewhat distracted.  I need to get back into the photo taking habit as well.  
I have 2 page layouts that cover 3 weeks and then others that cover an entire month (March).  But that's what I like (and I'm sure others do too) about Project Life - its so totally flexible. 
I'm not looking to add photos just for the sake of it - I really want them to be a reflection of our lives.  I've become very conscious of how many albums I have and I have no idea what my two sons and their families would do with them so I think that has kept me from being so photo intense as well.  So I'm hoping that now that I am current I can get back in to the swing of it and find a good balance between photos and journaling that tell our story.  
I'm planning on doing a Week in a Life with Ali Edwards later this month.  I plan on doing those pages in my Project Life album again this year.  Are you doing A Week in the Life?  
As you look through the photos you'll notice that I'm using a mix of items from Simple Stories Life Documented and the journaling cards from   Becky Higgins' Project Life Cobalt kit.  
What is your biggest challenge with Project Life?


March with overlay

April to date

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ella Publishing giving away Big Picture Classes

Over at Ella Publishing they are giving away 3 spots to 3 Big Picture classes. You could win a spot in Double Take, Picture Color or Design Challenges.  To check it out go here

Friday, April 6, 2012

Scraptastic Giveaway

Ashley Calder, the author of Scraptastic is giving away a copy of the book on her blog.  Go here  to leave a post for a chance to win.  To learn more about Scraptastic check out Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's review of it here
While you are at Julie's blog make sure you check out her other posts.  She covers a wide variety of topics.

A page from my art journal.

Wanted to share this piece that I did in my art journal this week.  I'm having a lot of fun playing with techniques that I have learned in May Flaum's class The Curious Scrapbooker's Field Guide over at Big Picture Classes.  I'm using my art journal to play with products and try things out.  I'm finding that there is a lot to learn about how products and techniques work with each other and the art journal is a great place to try them out.
I'm also taking 21 Secrets over at Dirty Footprints Studio.  Its a 9 month long art journaling class being taught by 21 different instructors with 21 different classes.  I've been enjoying the first week visiting several of the classes and checking things out at the Ning site that is hosting the classroom.  I'll be sharing more about 21 Secrets in the weeks to come.
I'm hoping to be spending a lot of time in my studio this weekend - do you have any plans for getting messy this weekend?